first impressions: the knife – tomorrow, in a year

*gratitude for this first impression review can be attributed to the dreijer siblings themselves, who are streaming their latest opus over at the knife website RIGHT NOW!

whoooo boy, and i remember a time when silent shout was a tough sell for a lot of people. even for the knife, this is about as far from kansas as one can get. to be fair, one can’t evaluate tomorrow, in a year in the same context as previous knife efforts, it being the soundtrack to an opera and all. in that respect, i feel like i’ll never get the full picture of this music without the accompanying visual aspect. nevertheless, i’m finding it to be an alternately fascinating and frustrating listen that earns my immediate admiration but may take longer to earn my love.

couple of things that struck me right off the bat after the jump…

ok, here we go:

  • it’s better to know going in that the knife’s only noticeable vocal contribution here (though it could be karin on the bonus version of “annie’s box” as well) is the track everyone already knows, the epic “colouring of pigeons,” and it’s near the end of the album. additionally, “pigeons” is the first and one of the only songs to actually sound knifey on first listen. unsurprisingly, it remains a highlight.
  • a good portion of the electronics on the first half of the record recall early fennesz. not a bad thing, but definitely unexpected.
  • the eight and a half minute “intermission” of ambient nature sounds undoubtedly works thematically given the darwin inspiration but feels like an overlong palette cleanser. guess you have to see the performance to appreciate it.
  • “seeds” would fit in quite nicely on the new four tet album.
  • the other album highlight, “the height of summer,” is a dead ringer for “heartbeats.” could be a bone to fans, i guess?
  • having a hard time discerning where mt. sims and planningtorock are chiming in throughout this. exactly how significant were their contributions?
  • for it being an opera, there’s a lot less actual singing than i was expecting. again, i’m curious to know how this translates live.

these are about all of the thoughts i can muster as the moment. needless to say, after the the recent accessibility of fever ray, this is less a case of the pendulum swinging the other way than in a completely different room. i’m committed to spending more time with this record as i think it merits it and will reward repeat listens as all previous knife work has. still, i feel that i’m missing something without the full theatrical experience to accompany it. here’s hoping the production crosses the pond sometime soon.

tomorrow, in a year is out digitally next week and physically on march 1.

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