Tomorrow, In a Year
Mar 31, 2010 Web Exclusive
I adore the opera. The larger-than-life voices, the pageantry, the over-the-top storylines all-pointing to a singular theme (eat, drink and sing arias...for tomorrow you'll definitely die)—it's tough to beat. Which is why listening to the soundtrack version of The Knife's (in association with Planningtorock and Mr. Sims) first opera, Charles Darwin homage Tomorrow, In a Year, is such a frustrating experience.
As anyone who has ever seen a The Knife live (or Karin Dreijer Andersson's solo project Fever Ray) can attest, the Swedish brother/sister duo knows how to use a striking image. However, when robbed of visual components, their inclusion of a shrieking soprano (Kristina Wahlin) over industrial beats and grinding feel, is, as Shakespeare best put it, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." While even a cursory glance at the track list revels nuanced historical meaning ("Geology," "Variations of Birds," "Epochs") the act of listening to an hour and a half of loaded discord feels a bit like a trip to the dentist: an important palette cleansing exercise that's likely to leave me with a fair share of nightmares.
This is a shame, as nestled amidst The Knife's attempts to devolve their music into a series of nearly unlistenable squeals is "Colouring of Pegeons" —an eleven-minute, multi-movement, multi-genred polyamorous affair that could easily be counted among the top tracks The Knife has ever created. Proof positive that listening to experimental music need not be a chore; this track alone could be assigned a perfect 10/10. This preformed live would be cause for fur coat wearing, opera glass carrying attendees to throw their arms up in celebration. But within the context of Tomorrow, In a Year it simply proves the ol' survival of the fittest; as most likely it'll be the only track you'll be interested in keeping around. (www.theknife.net)
Author rating: 4/10
Average reader rating: 7/10
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