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Röyksopp's Night Out

(Astralwerks; US: 21 Mar 2006; UK: 20 Mar 2006)

Röyksopp’s debut single “Eple” was pinched by Belgian turntable train spotters 2 Many DJs (AKA Soulwax) and mixed with Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” on their As Heard on Radio Soulwax - Part 2. The song was then also bought by Apple (a small computer company that also makes some kind of music playing device) and is the first thing that new Mac owners hear when they boot up their purchase for the first time. It is a wonderful, catchy tune that is also great to dance to. Sadly, “Eple” does not feature on this 40-minute live EP.  What we do get is a selection of the cream from their 2002 debut Melody A.M. and last year’s The Understanding and a crowd-pleasing cover version as the penultimate track. If I cut to the chase straight away I have to ask “what is it for?”

In the main this Norwegian duo (Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge) deliver an energy filled performance, handling most of the duties themselves with the exception of a few guest vocalists and the occasional bit of extra guitar and bass. If you like cool sounding analogue keyboards mixed with really obvious sounding drum machines then this album will be your bag. Like Daft Punk and Underworld, Röyksopp are the obvious next stage in the evolution of the musical project begun by the likes of Tangerine Dream and Neu! Say what you like, this is prog rock to a dance beat. It is not the kind of dry, serious Teutonic experiment in wave forms that you might expect from those German originators. Röyksopp entertain with a kind of techno geeky soul that is not without some humour. It is the kind of music that you get off your chair and party to.

There are times where they go off the rails. An example of this is on “Alpha Male”. In places it just sounds like a couple of guys jamming in their bedroom to a Tangerine Dream record. This may be where this teams musical roots lie but I am not certain that people will want to fork out actual cash money to hear it. With the exception of this track the performance is note perfect with most of the guest vocalists from the two albums reprising their roles. However, in between songs there is the obligatory crowd noise that intrudes like the laughter track on “Happy Days” (those are dead people laughing), I understand that this is a live album but turn the crowd down and let me listen to the performance of the band.

It does make you wonder though, as pretty much all of the music on this CD is available elsewhere in better versions (well at least versions without screaming Norwegians on it), who is going to buy it? Röyksopp apparently maintain that this release was primarily aimed at the Japanese fans who in their view are the most enthusiastic. Perhaps in order to appease their other fans there is the inclusion of a cracking version of Queens of the Stone Age’s “Go with the Flow”. In including this tune Röyksopp add some value to the release. It is a vivacious rendition that the band should be really proud of and the audience clearly enjoyed it. However, it is not quite enough to justify the price tag. If you have yet to discover this fine act and you can stand the background noise that accompanies this live outing then it may serve as a primer. However, if you are already a fan but not a completist or you have one of the albums already, then Röyksopp’s Night Out is probably not for you.


Marc A. Price was born in Peterborough, a tiny little backwater in the east of England and is a graduate of American Studies (BA, University of Sussex & University of Texas in Austin) and Contemporary History (MA, University of Sussex). He resisted the urge to get a third degree and moved to the Netherlands where he works for a well known STM publisher. He takes photos a good bit these days and struggles with his Internet addiction on a daily basis. He has been writing for PopMatters on and off since 2006. Marc A. Price would like to point out that he is not "Skippy" from Family Ties.

Tagged as: röyksopp
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