Seven years is a long time to keep people waiting. Setting aside the fact that we did get a spiritual successor to The Knife’s 2006 masterpiece Silent Shout in the form of the self-titled debut from Karin Andersson’s Fever Ray outfit, it seemed that the intervening years have been littered with collaborations and softly spoken rumors that never quite materialized. So fans waited and continued to hold their breath for any signs of new music from the Swedish duo. Now I don’t know whether the stars aligned just right or if Andersson and Dreijer were finally able to re-capture that elusive spark that fueled the dark electronic landscapes of Silent Shout—a little bit of both, I’m guessing—but whatever the development might have been and whatever method might have been used to conjure those same spirits, we have a reputed triple album of new material from The Knife on its way and the world seems right again.
The first single from their upcoming (April 9th) album Shaking The Habitual, comes in the form of “Full of Fire,” a 9+ minute long detour into the mechanized wasteland of the some ruined earth, and both Dreijer and Andersson act as our Charon-like guides through the dark, surrounding haze. This is The Knife that we know and love, but there are subtle differences and changes to their established musical repertoire that keep the song from being a rehash of anything off their previous records, though that probably would have been acceptable to most fans. Andersson’s siren-like intonations haunt Dreijer’s palpable electronic wilderness like some feral ghost longing for an imagined reconciliation. You get a sense that the rumbling layers of ever-changing rhythms and peripheral electronic ephemera are being broadcast through miles of dirt and roots and decay.
Once again plying industrial beats and throbbing post-dance reverberations while injecting the overtly menacing surroundings with some semblance of humanity, “Full of Fire” feels like the culmination of the duo’s efforts to deconstruct and reassemble electronic music to fit their own unique perspective. And it only took them seven years to do it. But maybe I should just be glad that we finally have something substantial from the group. If this song is any indication of the direction that Andersson and Dreijer have gone in on Shaking The Habitual, the patience and bated breath of their fans will not have been in vain. It just makes the wait to hear more that much worse.
Plugging away since 1999, The National finally hit mainstream success with the release of their 2010 album High Violet. Of course, this entailed their first world tour, but in the new documentary Mistaken For Strangers, it’s only the backdrop for the relationship between lead singer Matt Berninger and his younger brother Tom, who had no idea that these short videos he was shooting would turn into a public document of their troubled, if still loving brotherhood.
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