The Knife in collaboration with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock – Tomorrow, In A Year

January 01, 1970

(Rabid/Mute)

 

www.rabidrecords.com / www.mute.com

At first blush, the concept appears to make perfect sense: The Knife, along
with musicians Mt. Sims and Planningtorock and theater group Hotel Pro Forma,
score an opera inspired by the life and times of Charles Darwin called Tomorrow, In A Year (Rabid/Mute). Upon listening
to the soundtrack release, it soon becomes evident however that this is music
most likely best enjoyed during the performance of the actual opera. In other
words, some visuals would go a long way towards making these avant-garde,
highly experimental, electronic arias and librettos slightly more palatable.

 

Tomorrow, In A Year’s 90 or so minutes opens appropriately with “Intro,” a series of blips and
glitchy electronic twitches that are supposed to represent the earliest spasms
of life. From there, “Epochs” provides a throbbing, ambient, bass-filled
bottom-end over which vocalist Kristina Wahlin unintelligibly (in Swedish,
perhaps?) warbles lyrics like, “The animal carcasses and skeletons would be
entombed / A step formed terrace succession.” Take that, intelligent designers!
“Upheaved” is just as bizarre and radical, but it’s given some form by the
staccato stabbing of syllables sung by Wahlin and Laerke Winther: “Con-stant
earth-quakes / The won-der-ful for-orce…” Throughout, the music is occasionally
recognizable as the work of The Knife, one of the most innovative and appealing
purveyors of dark electronic pop working today. “Variation of Birds,” comprised
of several minutes of shrieking feedback-style noise, may have more in common
with a band like Wolf Eyes. But The Knife’s fingerprints are all over
“Colouring of Pigeons,” a mid-tempo orchestral pop track that begins with
dislocated vocal sounds and culminates in Karin Andersson’s eerily effective
singing. This could just have easily been on outtake from last year’s Fever Ray
album (or from Simon Le Bon’s 1980s Arcadia
project).

 

It might prove hard for anyone but the most diehard Knife
fans to sit through an entire album of this music (besides the breezy, buoyant
techno of a track like “Seeds”). But it’s evident that those involved have
succeeded in creating something unique and boldly experimental while still
adhering to the basic tenants and form of opera. The technique and
instrumentation differ wildly from the norm (if there is such a thing nowadays),
but at its core Tomorrow, In A Year goes through all the paces of this form of dramatic storytelling.

 

 

Standout Tracks: “Colouring
of Pigeons,” “Epochs” JONAH FLICKER

 

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