Delusional Disappointment, In An LP: The Knife, Tomorrow, In A Year

Following in the footsteps of Dots & Dashes supreme muso shape shifter Damon Albarn, masked maestros The Knife mark next week (1st March) with their first entrance into the stages, shrieks and sounds of opera lirica and librettos. Much has been made of Karin Dreijer Andersson's return to her now-fairly incongruous day job as one half of Sweden's premium Venetian-masked disturbed electro maestros and Tomorrow, In A Year is a bold stab into the darkness of the unknown, particularly for such vehemently shy and retiring siblings (until 2006 they'd never dared to venture out into the sweat-inducing spotlights of Europe's dingiest venues). That said, it's an opera in perhaps an even looser sense than Albarn's oriental operatic interpretation of late-70s hit Japanese cartoon Saiyūki. Or Monkey.

More of an expressive experimentation than a long player in itself, perhaps the proving pudding is to be devoured once the show finally takes to the stage outside of Scandinavia, dates and audacity permitting. Based, albeit incomprehensibly loosely on the evolutionist theories of Charles Darwin, it's a thorough and vulgar listen. Overwhelming almost every sensual receptor, the duo throttle vagabond listeners by the throat, demanding and commanding every wandering thought. Featuring the minimalist Krautrock soul of PLANNINGTOROCK and the unnerving bass-heavy electro sleaze of Mt. Sims, two of Berlin's finest post-modern provocateurs as well as understated sibling rival Dreijer Andersson, Olof's learned lessons from sample schools in the Amazon, there's a rather slippery grip on the man most famed today presumably as the guy on the back of that £10 note in your back pocket. Theoretically and logistically, Tomorrow, In A Year is the performance project of the decade thus far. Realistically however, and more decivsively musically, the Dreijer Andersonns fall flat, filling 90 minutes of patience-perturbing claustrophobic chaos, littered with vile and vulgar clangs (Epochs), futile frequencies (Geology) and threatening, psalm-like operatic bellows (Minerals). Upheaved far more sounds akin to the scatty electro shambles of Chrome Hoof than the unforgiving forces at work behind the simply magnificent Silent Shout of 2006. Serving more as an evolution of unquestionably cacophonous electro, Variation of Birds quite plaintively seems to rip off Noel Fielding's satirical caffeine-fuelled character off of Nathan Barley, and Schoal Swarm Orchestra sounds like a Natural History Museum installation. Be as it may their aim, sonically and soothingly, it just doesn't suffice. Letter to Henslow, with its looped ornithic overtones is at least vaguely interesting, if imagined as the sounds of the bright and early bird songs on the aperture of an apocalypse. Annie's Box is unerringly musical in comparison, with sorrowful strings stirring internal aboriginal wails, all complimented quite bizarrely by the din of dustbin lids, before Tumult reinstates an aesthetic of utter disarray and discomfort. The psytranced synthetic steel drums of Seeds are invigorating, harking back to Karin and Olof's initial audio adventures and the title track broods with an alluring Amazonian slump almost reminiscent of, gulp, The Blue Man Group. The Height of Summer then reverts infuriatingly to the common theme of discontent that underlies this effort, undulating obnoxiously. That said, the pagan palette of divine inspiration that courses through Colouring of Pigeons is quite palpable, and bordering on the sublime. Evolving slowly from bloodthirsty choral calls into gargantuan gongs and finally Oriental effects, it encapsulates quite efficiently exactly why breath's been so baited of late for every emphatically impeccable release involving the Midas touch of a Dreijer Andersson. Of course, only time will tell how well this operatic venture transcribes to its designated destination and whether the Royal Opera House will rattle and roar in approval or utter revolt. Currently however, Karin's prolific CV is somewhat marred by an unsightly coffee stain right where a triumphant stamp of fruition ought appear...

Tomorrow, In A Year can currently be streamed here or below:

Colouring of Pigeons by Rabid Records

For more info on the LP, head here and for UK shows, well, best keep those fingers crossed.