Norwegian duo Röyksopp have been releasing off-kilter whimsical beats since the late nineties, their latest compilation Late Night Tales stays true to their genre defying style and gives listeners something to contemplate between each crafty track selection.
Their new compilation could not have been more aptly named. Each track on Late Night Tales contributes an unique connotation to the nighttime theme. At moments the track selections make you feel as if you should be sipping martinis at an after hours lounge while others seem to add a sinister darkness to the compilation; think Johann Johannsson’s droning strings in ‘Adi Et Amo’.
Stand out tracks include Röyksopp’s newest release ‘Daddy’s Groove’ which maintains the playfully twisted style that has become synonymous to their name. The track mixes echoed vocoder lyrics alongside airy synths and bouncy chord progressions. Elsewhere their cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Ice Machine’ similarly transforms the iconic group’s pop track into creepy electronica with a healthy dose of harmonic distortion and breathy, drawn-out notes.
Lending to the obscurity of the mix is the odd combination of Little River Band and Byrne & Barnes’ jazz tinged rhythms set against the minimal dream-goth of The Mortal Coil’s ‘Till I Can Gain Control’. Despite seemingly contrasting choices, together these tracks create a dialogue with one another to reinforce the theme of the entire mix.
A testament to Royksopp’s devotion to the avant-garde is the closing track ‘Flat Of Angels (part 2)’ which features a monologue from Benedict Cumberbatch, better known for his role as Sherlock Holmes on the popular BBC television series. Using spoken word on a compilation would be a risky move for less experimentally-inclined producers but Röyksopp do so with an attention to thematic detail that few others possess.
HBF Rating 4/5