March 15, 2009
Anneli Drecker v2009
Drecker: Looking like she's fresh off the stage from an Ibsen play
The vertebrae of the stunning new Röyksopp album Junior is formed by three tracks with vocals by the Norwegian singer Anneli Drecker. It's been two years since I last wrote about her, but you can get her bio via Wikipedia (trust it?), but the highlights are that she started singing in 1985 with Bel Canto and has since done 2 solo albums: 200o's Tundra and 2005's Frolic. Until recently, her music was not easy to find, but is now available on itunes in many countries (US / UK) . Röyksopp should bring her back into the spotlight.
The new Röyksopp songs are cinematic in scope - huge melodic songs with massive synths, orchestras and layers of Drecker's vocals woven in and layered on top of the music. The most pure pop accomplishment is Vision One, which has the best lyrics on the record, a statement on man's retrograde ambition of willful obsolescence. One line leaps out: "It's too late to think that we can worship human emotions / Cause we've already evolved into machines in our minds." The music is ethereal, but grounded by a belching synthesizer that contrasts with the delicateness of Anneli's voice. One of the songs of the year no doubt in my mind.
You Don't Have A Clue, about loving a man who's unaware of how entangled he's become in a relationship, is built on a piano line that skips along. I love how she sings "You're hiding from yourself, yes you are, yes you are" as her voice climbs the scales. The third song, True To Life, is almost polyrhythmic. The edgiest of the three tunes (and the longest at 5:50), it sounds like it was created through a series of absinthe-fueled jams.
Now that Bjork has disappeared into an esoteric planet of inaccessibility, Anneli Drecker has really taken her place as the proverbial human voice in the machine. She's already has garnered much respect and, I suspect, prefers a life in which she can slip in and out of the garden gate of pop music.
XO's Top Ten Plus One Anneli Drecker Songs:
You Don't Have To Change
Her most accessible single, from Frolic. In every way you are, you don't have to change.
Who On Earth
For a child, this song is notable for a dramatic showstopper moment in which sings "Am I a concubine?"
Like Bjork on Homogenic: martial electronica juxtaposed with soft synths and orchestrals. Even better for the fact it's song in Norwegian.
6-minute masterpiece starting as a folk tune and evolving at minute 4 into a literal orchestral storm. Her voice is pleasingly double tracked with a male vocal. Rainstorm sounds like it cost a hundred grand, so many musicians play on it.
Turn The Lights Down (with a-ha)
Lovely lowkey duet with Morten Harket from their Lifelines album. More musically "organic" than most of Anneli's own work.
She wrote this soft, elegant ballad for Morten Harket.
It's All Here
Bass, acoustic guitar and keyboard. Shimmery. It's all here in my heart.
All I Know
Very Sarah Brightman, this sounds like a movie theme.
...and the three new Röyksopp tunes instantly hit the top. Each a diamond!
What songs did I miss? I know there are some Anneli fans out there...
Röyksopp Vision One: