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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Röyksopp - Back To Mine #25

posted by on June 12 at 14:00 PM


I’ll be the first to admit. I like Röyksopp. I always have. I liked their last album, The Understanding, when nobody else did. Not just because it featured vocals by The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson, but because it was full of songs with texture and vibrancy and progressive dimensions.

Others didn’t like it as much as they liked the first album, Melody A.M. That’s okay. Wrong, but okay. They are both great albums.

And if you’ve ever seen Röyksopp live you’d have to agree that they rock pretty hard for a chilled out electronic duo from Norway. They can actually play instruments, not just laptops, and they have good voices. They sing most of their material, usually sung on album by guest vocalists, themselves.

But hey, I’m not here to make you a believer. I only mention this stuff because the internet is buzzing with how “unexpecatedly good” the new Röyksopp Back To Mine mix CD is.

And it is. Really good. The best thing about the Back To Mine series is how every one is a discovery about where an artist is coming from, either in a straight-forward fashion, or totally abstract. The Orb’s comp was fairly normal, while MJ Cole gave us classical music blending into Hip-Hop. That one blew me away. Orbital surprised me with their love of PJ Harvey and old-style rocking pop. The worst of the bunch was Underworld’s all-over-the-place mixtape. Just bad.

Röyksopp cleverly give us a mix of old and rare favorites (Harry Thumann, Kasso) some amazing disco (by none other than Edgar Winter!?!?) some proggy electronics (thank you Mike Oldfield) and even a little Funkadelic. With the astonishing effect of making me turn to the CD case over and over again to check who was playing.

In a note on the CD Royksopp apologize for editing some of the songs, and when I read that I just assumed that meant they’d done there own remixes or vocals (something they’ve done in the past with bands like Mekon and Annie, who’s debut album they co-produced). But their edits are totally unobtrussive and their mixing is quite good.

I had never heard the Harry Thumann song Sphinx, from 1983, before and I was certain (read: absolutely, totally convinced) that they had added their own vocals to that track, it’s just sooooo Röyksopp-ish. But they hadn’t, they were just giving us some insight into the world they inhabit. Same with the fantastic Edgar Winter track, Above and Beyond, which is banged up next to and into Ray Mang & Nathan D’Troit’s Off Side. Edgar gets some squelchy punch and Off Side gets a little disco boogie. It’s really fantastic!

I don’t want to give away all the surprises in the mix, but I will let you know there’s a new, totally weird Röyksopp tune under the alias Emmanuel Spice. The vocals on that are tripped out to fucking space!

Look, all I’m saying is you don’t have to be a believer, like me to enjoy this CD. But it just might change your mind, if you aren’t part of their following already.

A couple of full length sample of both the Harry Thumann track and Edgar Winter (mixed by Tom Moulton for heavens sake!) can be found at my blog.

P.S. Guess who just found out how to make Umlats! ö! ö! ö!

Update: The track with the tripped out vocals is actually Mike Oldfield’s Platinum, not the new Röyksopp ditty. Their tune mixes into Oldfields song and is a very chill affair. Still just as essential to the mix! Sorry for the confusion, but the printed track-listing on the CD is all fucked up!

RSS icon Comments


Thanks for Reminding Me, Terry. I should send the son of my Brussels buddy a birthday card.

Posted by Garrett | June 12, 2007 3:15 PM

i have this CD and can say i agree with Terry's comments. maybe not his enthusiasm, since these retro/italo mixes are extremely popular now and none of them will ever match the FREE mix "Mixed Up In The Hague Vol.1" by I-F. google it if you don't have it.

the Pet Shop Boys - Back To Mine rules supreme too in much the same way as this mix. i can't recall who's disc is the Italo/Disco selection but it's as good or better than Royksopp's attempt.

i've seen the Royksopp used at Everyday Music already so start hunting!

Posted by second | June 12, 2007 4:05 PM

I'm getting you a present. Will you get it if I send it home with The Other?

Posted by Ari Spool | June 12, 2007 6:37 PM

I don't know, Terry. I always thought the Back to Mine series was kind of just a kitchy chill-out/wallpaper comp... advancing the decline of real mixing and real DJing. They were kind of cool when they first came out -- the Danny Tengalia mix was neat -- but with today's ubiquitous podcast, is this stuff even necessary? And to drop 10-16$ on one, depending on your choice of medium, is it really worth it? Bring back the mixtape and axe the playlist.

Posted by Steve | June 13, 2007 12:18 PM


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