Vinyl Moments – Röyksopp

There’s something particularly Nordic about Röyksopp. Somehow their music really captures the cold, lonely, and deeply beautiful pine forests and fjords. For this Vinyl Moment, I decided to start with the lovely Someone Else’s Club Mix of Remind Me.

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This is a curious single – Side A clocks in at well under four minutes, and for some reason runs at 45 RPM while Side B is 33. I’ve reflected previously on what might have happened with this version, and can only conclude that it’s a work in progress between the original version and the Someone Else’s Radio Mix that brought Röyksopp to my attention back in 2002. What would become the chorus – the “remind oh remind oh remind me” part – is still hiding in the middle section, and the squealy synth part that was originally where the chorus ought to be is still here.

So it’s maybe not quite as good as the final radio version, but it’s still very good indeed. From the second 12″ of the same single (or it might be the first – who knows which way around they’re meant to be heard?) I picked Ernest Saint Laurent‘s pleasant Moonfish Mix, an electro version which skips most of the lyrics, but still explores some interesting territory over its seven minute duration.

I don’t recall being entirely convinced about either side of the two-track promo for Sparks, so on a whim I picked Derrick Carter‘s So B.H.Q. remix of So EasySparks was an awkward final single from Melody AM, with some very odd remix choices, and this is a particularly curious one, although it’s better than I remembered. It’s mainly built on some tribal beats and a funky acid bassline, working around the computerised “so easy” from the introduction. There’s even the occasional hint of the original melody here and there, if you listen very carefully. I’m still not sure how much I like it, but it isn’t too bad.

Jumping ahead a couple of years, we arrive at the “difficult” second album, and its exceptional lead hit Only This Moment. The remixes were a mixed bag, but I opted for Alan Braxe and Fred Falke‘s version on Side A of the 12″ single. This mix turns out to be a massive, throbbing deep house reworking of the original, which is actually reasonably good, in spite of some slightly awkward chord changes.

The 7″ single for Only This Moment provides something very special – at the time, it would have been the first taste of the adorable What Else is There? but even now it’s an exclusive edit, which is something to treasure. Hidden away on Side B of a long-forgotten single, it sounds particularly fantastic, although it does end rather suddenly, leaving you wanting the unedited version.

Second single 49 Percent delivers another selection of remixes, and I decided to go for Ewan Pearson‘s Glass Half Full remix. It’s an interesting version, mainly building on the original by adding some more beats and bonus noises here and there. It works though – this is every bit as good as the original version.

Last but not least, the curious 7″ picture disc of 49 Percent, for the time being the last Röyksopp single that I own on vinyl, which I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually listened to before. As its b-side, it includes a track which also appeared on the bonus disc of The Understanding. Maybe it’s not as good as most of the things on the album, but it’s still pretty uplifting, and it makes a pretty strong statement to conclude this first run of Vinyl Moments.

So for now, Go Away. The next series of Vinyl Moments will follow in the New Year.

Erlend Øye / Various Artists – DJ-Kicks

From Kings of Convenience to The Whitest Boy Alive to his own solo work, with vocals for Röyksopp and many others, Erlend Øye is a very busy man indeed. The year after his brilliant solo album Unrest, he released a mix compilation which is quite unlike any other, one which deserves the right to be regarded as an album in its own right.

Erlend Øye‘s DJ-Kicks compilation kicks off with the warm crackle of vinyl and the sound of Jürgen Paape‘s So Weit Wie Noch Nie, a lovely gentle piece of electronic music with a touch of acoustic guitar and a vocal from way back when. The first signs of anything being amiss come at the end, as Øye mixes in the backing from his own Sheltered Life with an acapella version of It’s a Fine Day. Clearly his DJ style is eccentric to say the least.

This mixes into the Kings of Convenience remix of Cornelius‘s Drop, which sounds entirely like a Kings of Convenience track but sung in foreign, with its rhythmic acoustic guitars and gentle vocals. It’s got some extra beats and water noises too, but it’s altogether fantastic.

Next is the brilliant If I Ever Feel Better by Phoenix, mixed ingeniously by a vocal from Øye. I don’t often talk about Phoenix, because I’m never quite sure whether I actually like them, but this track is great. We then take a side step via Jolly Music‘s Radio Jolly mixed into Øye’s own Prego Amore, and then the quite incredible Rubicon by Alan Braxe and Fred Falke.

You might find it difficult to know what to make of Avenue D‘s 2D2F. I can’t help but think it’s brilliant, but it is just a touch on the vulgar side. Maybe you just need to make your own mind up on this one.

With a duration of little more than fifty minutes, the tracks come thick and fast, with The Rapture‘s brilliant I Need Your Love mixing via Lattialla Taas by Uusi Fantasia with a new rendition of Venus as its vocal into Justus Köhncke‘s 2 After 909, and finally Erlend Øye‘s then new single The Black Keys Work. If at any point you feel the need to breathe, you’ll just have to press pause for yourself.

With the dark backing of something from the early 1990s, Jackmate‘s Airraid turns up, sounding totally brilliant, and taking the album into slightly deeper house territory. Then Silicone Soul‘s remix of Poor Leno by Röyksopp meets There is a Light That Never Goes Out for an odd, if compelling soundclash.

The last few tracks steadily bring the tempo back down – Skateboard‘s Metal Chix (augmented with a vocal of Always on My Mind) is full of flanged synths and driving beats, but it mixes into Villalobos‘s extremely chilled (and largely backwards) Dexter, which in turn leads into Minizza‘s inventive pop sound with their version of Winning a Battle, Losing the War.

Finally, the mix comes to a close with Morgan Geist‘s Lullaby, now with another added vocal from Erlend Øye, this time singing A Place in My Heart. It’s much more laid back than some of its predecessors, but like every live performance it leaves you slightly with the feeling that the night will last forever. Quite exceptional.

This edition of DJ-Kicks seems to have become somewhat difficult to find, but there are still copies floating around second hand, such as from here.