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Posted on October 20th, 2013 (8:30 am) by Zachary Stavriotis

One beautiful thing about music, and specifically contemporary music, is that it does not exist as a singular text or in just one dimension. Best of all, the plurality of meaning is at the command of the listener. All meaning is derived from inference rather than implication and congruently it’s up to the audience to decide a songs purpose. The catch is that this process is completely temporal. Cue: Late Night Tales, a series of compilation albums where artists are asked to assemble what they consider the ideal late night mix. We often ask artists to share their influences with us; we recognize how important musical genealogies are. Late Night Tales takes that a step further and contextualizes it for us.

Royksopp’s selection of tracks are both surprising and not. The soft disco that makes up most of the album initially seems a few steps off of Royksopp’s brand of broken beat European electro-pop. The artists that were chosen to contribute songs for this project don’t show up elsewhere when members Berge and Bundtland are asked to list a few influences. On the other hand, disco is where electro-pop came from (though perhaps not Royksopp’s specific brand of broken beat). And it shouldn’t be a complete surprise that when adding the "late-night" stipulation, the parameters would inevitably shift.

If not for getting a peek inside the musical backgrounds of some influential bands, you need to be able to rely on the Late Night series to just put a few cool new songs in your hands. “I like Royksopp, Royksopp likes to listen to these songs late at night, so perhaps I’ll like listening to some of these songs late at night.” See, not an unreasonable conclusion draw. And, while Royksopp fans may or may not usually be fans of Rare Bird or Little River Band (you may know them from such '70s hits as “Reminiscing” or “Lonesome Loser”), the duo is able to pull some really cool tracks from them anyway.

When only two tracks off an album are your own, sequencing becomes very important. It’s one of the few things that Royksopp can say they did to make the album, along with selection and, as I said, those two tracks. The aforementioned disco hits are wisely placed up front with a stretch of four lullabies towards the end, all capped off with a spoken word bedtime story at the end (Part 2 of 4 in the story “Flat of Angels”—all the Late Night Tales albums include a spoken word track).

While I found it to be a better walking mix than a late night mix, I also found it to be a great Late Night Tales album. If you’re a fan of the series it’s a must. If you’re a fan of Royksopp it’s a should. If you’re not a fan of either, how did you come to be reading this review?

Track List:
1. Röyksopp – Daddy’s Groove
2. Rare Bird – Passing Through
3. Little River Band – Light Of Day
4. Tuxedomoon - In A Manner Of Speaking
5. Vangelis - Blade Runner Blues
6. Röyksopp – Ice Machine (Depeche Mode Cover)
7. Johann Johannsson – Odi Et Amo
8. F.R.David – Music
9. Prelude – After The Goldrush
10. Richard Schneider Jr – Hello Beach Girls
11. Acker Bilk – Stranger On The Shore
12. Thomas Dolby – Budapest By Blimp
13. Byrne & Barnes - Love You Out Of Your Mind
14. Andreas Vollenweider - Hands And Clouds
15. John Martyn – Small Hours
16. XTC – The Somnabulist
17. This Mortal Coil - 'Til I Gain Control
18. Popol Vuh – Aguirre I Lacrime di Rei
19. Benedict Cumberbatch – Flat Of Angles - Part 2

Royksopp, Late Night Tales, break beat, electro-pop, Euro-pop, Norway
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

69 / 100
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