In 2014 Norwegian electro-duo Royksopp said they were done, not necessarily with making music, but with what they referred to as the “traditional album format.” This made me a little bit sad. The albums they have released since their 2001 debut “Melody AM” have been some of my favourite “traditional album formats.”
I love them a lot. They took electronic music in this weird hybrid direction between ambient/house/dance and fit it into the box of more mainstream song structures to make some truly compelling music. Along with the mainstream song structure came some very tight lyric writing as well. If you are unfamiliar with their stuff, I envy the journey of discovery you have ahead of you.
Royskopp brought a level of care, attention to detail, and creative perfection to every aspect of the music they created that was expressed in a couple of additional ways beyond the sound. They partnered with a number of different vocalists and they made some great videos. They did a lot of work with Robyn and The Knife as well as an amazing track with Suzanne Sondfor, the video for which is really great. And their videos. So good!
Which brings us to today. Royksopp has released a couple of new tracks over the past few weeks so we knew more was coming. What came as a complete surprise to me late last week was the fact that this new music includes a collaboration with Alison Goldfrapp! I had no idea this was in the works but it is a most welcome surprise. As you know, Goldfrapp is great! And the song “Impossible” is very, very good.
Which brings us to the video. In a press release, Royksopp describe this new project, called “Profound Mysteries” as “an expanded creative universe and a prodigious conceptual project.” Which is how one can describe the the video: conceptual. As a visualizer, it is more compelling than most and I found myself trying to parse out what some of the source imagery may have been before it was put through a digital kaleidoscope. It is still just a visualiser though and for me has little to no connection to the song it is visualising. Gah, even this new word “visualiser” is grating.
I suppose it is not surprising that during the pandemic, more artists have been releasing “visualiser” videos. When you can’t gather together to create a little mini-film in person, it makes sense to use some computer magic to generate a visual to accompany your song. I really hope it doesn’t become standard though. I’m not a huge fan.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I consider the music video the highest art form. I think it is my generation’s (Gen-X) greatest contribution to western cultural life. So while the surprise of a collaboration between a couple of my favourite artists is driving my creativity this week, the fact that the video for the song is a random morphing of almost images, is reducing my enthusiasm a little.
What do you think of visualiser videos?