Review Summary: Elysian Fields
Let’s get straight to the point. Trentemoller is perhaps the greatest artist you’ve never heard of. The Last Resort
, his critically acclaimed debut, is perhaps the greatest minimal techno album you’ve never heard. If you have, congratulations, you can stop reading.
For the uninitiated; minimal is a subgenre of techno characterised by stripped down, restrained instrumentation overlaying spartan yet insistent beats. This is music that suits headphones just as well as the loudest nightclub sound systems; its subtlety is as important as its ability to make you move. The prevalent ethic is that a bassline, drums, and a few scattered synths are all the tools you need.
Yet having taken the less is more ideology as his blueprint, Trentemoller proceeds to douse his music with the fragrance of countless other styles; his genius lies in his skill at combining countless diverse scents into one irresistibly enticing musical perfume.
It’s almost paradoxical; The Last Resort
is unquestionably minimal, but at the same time it’s virtually everything else; like a crystal ball, it encloses a myriad other worlds. It’s an aural mirage; gorgeously dichotomous fragments of music shimmer briefly before dissipating, with the only constant being the crumbling beats that serve as a enticing trail leading to the next oasis of sound. Trentemoller has created a sanctuary in the desert; a verdant, life giving jungle where dew drops, caressed gently by the softest breeze, plummet from soft leaves and patter onto lush meadows. Every musical moment is drenched in the most sublime warmth, and the organic sound is quite deliberate; acoustic instruments feature as prominently as twisted circuits, instilling each song with the most joyful and human of souls.
Like fellow Danes Efterklang, Trentemoller has the uncanny ability to take comatose, lifeless electrons and fill them with animal magic; effortlessly imbuing them with the mysterious spark of life that burns at the core of every living being. The sounds here are those of the primordial fusion of substance; a joyful and breathtaking explosion of creation rather than annihilation. Album opener Take me into Your Skin
is the best example; a dizzy sundrenched mix of slowly burning synths and delicate beats that eventually detonates agonizingly in a supernova of sound, bursting apart and hurling gamma ray like synths into the empty reaches of space.
There are some albums that, like restless birds, tear free from their roosts and soar effortlessly into the great beyond, ragged arms fluttering languidly in the iridescent air. The Last Resort
is one such brightly feathered creature; blithe, restless and utterly unstoppable. It’s heading south for the winter, and you better follow.