tue 15/10/2019

CD: Trentemøller - Obverse | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Trentemøller - Obverse

CD: Trentemøller - Obverse

Danish noir star reassesses his methods

Nordic noir: Trentemøller perfectly captures that eerie Scandi aesthetic

Since the mid-2000s, Anders Trentemøller has been a major part of the European live circuit. A long time indie rock musician in his native Copenhagen, he had actually come to prominence as a fairly commercial electro-house remixer, but it was his 2006 album The Last Resort that cemented his position. Blending a subtler version of his dance production tricks with British shoegaze guitars and a bleak and eerie widescreen sweep, it was the perfect encapsulation of a particular kind of Nordic noir aesthetic: hints of dark doings in bleak forests and the cold sublime of unpopulated vistas abounded.

He compounded The Last Resort's word of mouth success with devastating live shows, with full band and equally dark and impeccably realised visuals, and has been a fixture at festivals since. His last album, 2016's Fixion, was song heavy, with uptempo (though still menace-filled) synthpop / Joy Division influenced tracks alongside the moody brooding. This time, however, he's made a conscious decision to get away from the pressures of his live following, and aimed to “[explore] the possibilities in my studio, with no consideration of how it could be performed on a stage.” 

It was clearly the right move at the right time. Obverse is a truly beautiful record, with molecular level attention to texture that makes everything shimmer with an uncanny numinosity, even at its very quietest and most withdrawn. In one sense it's not a radical departure – the shoegaze fizz is still here, as is the David Lynch sense of elegant menace, The Cure circa Disintegration drama, and so on. But the sense of ideas being able to breathe and unfold at their own pace, not wired to the adrenaline-focused dynamic of the arena, is palpable. Extraordinary pieces like the fluttering ambience of “Trnt” which flowers diabolically in the last of its eight minutes into Sunn o))) style doom drone are nothing but themselves. What's organic and what's electronic, what's texture and what's illusion, what's delightful and what's terrifying are all brought into question – but wasn't in question is that this is an artist at the height of his powers.


Watch the video for "Try a Little":

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