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Posted Jan 31st, 2013 (12:30 pm) by John Schoonover
The Knife- "Full of Fire"

Our Rating

9/10
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Seven years on from their last proper full-length, Swedish electronic duo The Knife are back with a new track, “Full of Fire,” and a forthcoming album, Shaking the Habitual.

Sure, they’ve kept busy since 2006’s Silent Shout, with Karin Dreijer Andersson releasing a solo album, 2009’s Fever Ray, to great critical acclaim, and the duo writing and recording an opera with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock, 2010’s Tomorrow, in a Year, but the duo that gave us ”Heartbeats” hasn’t been much of a unit as of late.

Ten seconds into “Full of Fire,” though, and it’s clear that the Knife are back, intense as ever. As the track’s driving beat thuds relentlessly, background elements morph and invert, hypnotically circling as Karin raps out verses, her raspy speak-sing floating above the pounding drum machine. The sounds that are added and subtracted from the beat range from sweeping oscillator noises to keyboard and vocal samples, all falling in out of sync with the beat and each other. The song’s long-form nature allows the pair to change their approach again and again, as when the vocals are filtered to the point of sounding robotic, or, in an excellent moment at 5:30, two swirling, slightly-out-of-sync oscillators fall in step with the beat, giving the impression that the whole song has just been inverted.

And it’s not as if the Knife are just flexing muscle, either: everything is placed very purposefully, the sparse and the dense balancing each other out. For example, just as the song reaches its strangest point, with reversed vocals, samples that sound like singing saws, and little bass drum in the mix, Karin’s natural voice fights its way back above its effects to deliver the closest thing to the song’s “chorus”: “When you’re full of fire, what’s the object of your desire?” As the song plays out, the changes in beat seem to mirror those at the beginning of the song, and then it ends abruptly, nine minutes having flown by. The rest of Shaking the Habitual will be released in April through the group’s own Rabid Records. It will be 95 minutes long, and we hope it all sounds like this.

You can also watch Marit Östberg's video for "Full of Fire" here.

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