by Sarah Carter
A yearlong project between artists Röyksopp and Robyn has resulted in an electronic mini album consisting of five tracks, varying in length and, unfortunately, quality. The collaboration flaunts many highlights but proves tedious in places – however it’s sure to satisfy the needs of plenty techno fans out there.
The mini-album opens with ‘Monument’ in the most atmospheric of ways. Vocals from Robyn are simple and alluring and it works well as an opener, bringing us into the ether slowly and melodically. With an abundance of electro layers dancing into the track, a tension builds in the most satisfying ways, but at nine minutes long, you can’t help but expect there will be more to come – but it never does. Unfortunately its only redeeming factor is the gentle sax that appears toward the end, as after the 8th minute the song becomes almost redundant.
Followed up with ‘Sayit’, the album begins to propel us into the dancier elements of the album. It’s a very simple track, showcasing very little of Robyn’s talent and a repetitive beat and sound. Honestly, it’s nothing short of boring and another track that could well be halved in length without you missing much.
First single of the album ‘Do It Again’ is what the artists themselves refer to as an ‘accidental pop song’ and it’s hard to disagree. Chart friendly and thoroughly predictable, but as infectious as a pop song gets. Robyn gets more of a look in on this track and is no doubt the saving grace that makes this track narrowly miss the realms of mediocrity.
‘Every Little Thing’ is probably a personal highlight of the entire album, as it’s less pop fodder and more techno gold. It’s beautifully crafted and seems to actually progress as a song rather than giving the impression that the record is skipping for four minutes straight. It’s short (in the context of the rest of the album, anyway) and sweet, and it’d no doubt do very well if released.
My heart dipped again when I noticed that the closer to this album ‘Inside the Idle Hour Club’ is five seconds shy of ten minutes long. I’m of the opinion that most songs of this length have good reason for it, and so far this album has contradicted that view. I actually stepped out of the room for two minutes and came back to this song while it was still playing and it appears I missed no great revelations.
However, I’m not ignorant to the style of building the song’s atmosphere with a long intro (Pink Floyd’s ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ anyone? Brilliant work to say the least) and in all fairness, this track has some of the appeal of such a song. However, it would have been nice to have had a send-off from Robyn on this track too, as this appears to be a display solely of Röyksopp’s work. It’s intoxicating and brings the album into a mellow close.
Overall, this album strikes me as a bit hit-and-miss, with some moments that show true promise and potential, but failing to quite hit the spot in others. As for calling it a mini-album, I’m not sure 35 minute really falls into the criteria. By all means give it a go if you’re a techno/electro-phile and if you can endure it, you have more strength than I.