Back when their debut album Melody A.M shifted half a million copies in the UK, Torbjorn Brundtland and Svein Berge were known chiefly for their chilled moments, the calm, soothing bleeps and haunting choral passages. By the time the second album The Understanding was rolled out mid-2005 things had changed, with Royksopp evolving from studio-based electronica into something with more power, more ambition. The songs packed more of a punch, Royksopp packed their bags to tour the world and Royksopp’s Night Out is the belated result.
An account of one night in Oslo at the climax of their World Tour, the Live EP sees the Norwegian duo tackle seven songs from their first two albums, plus an ambitious electro version of Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Go With The Flow’. A head-pounding aural assault, Messieurs Brundtland and Berge all but abandon their soft beginnings in favour of tranced-up, pulsating dancefloor-fillers, adapting Melody A.M’s songs to fit this newer regime as they go. ‘Poor Leno’ is stripped of its one repeated vocal line to become a five minute, bass-heavy instrumental, whilst the Portishead moments of ‘Sparks’ are condensed into the first minute before giving way to thumping, industrial electro-funk. Here, guest vocalist Anneli Drecker excels in her part as satin-voiced songstress, standing-in elsewhere for The Knife’s Karin Dreijer, impersonating her child-like Scandinavian tones with precision.
For those expecting a trawl through ‘the hits’, there is little here to suggest that Royksopp’s Night Out was conceived with this in mind. 'Eple' and 'So Easy' are jettisoned, leaving just ‘Remind Me’, and even though the live version leans more towards the hook-laden radio edit than the album version, the vocals are transformed into metallic, vocodered messages live, leaving it more Ministry of Sound than CD:UK. The tracks from the second album remain largely untouched, unaltered, even more at home in the club environment than they were on record as fuzzy synths bond with bleeping effects and blend with guitar and bass, leaving a mix that is one part house, one part Air.
As the curtain falls and ‘Teppefall’ plays them from the stage, the jubilation can be sensed even if not physically replicated, and whilst Royksopp’s Night Out may never generate the euphoric atmosphere of the actual show, it serves adequately as a record of one summer early in the 21st Century, when two men from Norway went from chillout merchants to global mind-blowers.
7ben marwood's Score