I forgot all about Royksopp. I loved their debut, Melody A.M. – I was working in a music store at the time and new music was arriving, daily. (Obviously). It was a good time to be working in music retail – for a start there were still customers. And though, very swiftly, the various taglines for a downbeat/chillout/cafe-culture/esoterica-styled sub-genre of dance/electronica was somewhat annoying – and then all too quickly it became absurd actually – there was still, for a time, some wonderful new music. It was easy to get turned on to a lot of things. You were making recommendations; in turn you were receiving some from loyal – informed – customers. And fellow passionate staff members.
And in my case I was just starting to seriously get into the reviewing game. I’d done my days with the student rag and the Capital Times too but I was – at the time – moving onward, upward, getting my first reviews in the newspaper and even (for a short time) the Air NZ in-flight magazine.
One of the albums I reviewed for the Air NZ magazine was Melody A.M.
All I really knew was that I liked it – instantly. And that was enough. The band (a duo) was from Norway. The album sounded great and made you feel good.
Eple was a trip, it seemed to slide all over the place, a hip-hop beat to anchor.
Sparks had a lush, late-night R’n’B-meets-dance (and, er, yes, chillout) feel to it. In Space reminded me, just a tad, of one of my favourites from the time, Aphex Twin. And then Poor Leno, with its carnival-like percussion and the vocals of Erlend Oye (his group Kings of Convenience was another music-store find for me; another act popular with the punters and there was a link there too; the Kings being another Norwegian group).
We were reminiscing about this album the other day, you see it was one of the great late-night driving albums. We’d play it regularly on Friday night trips up the coast – or Thursday if we were able to sneak a long weekend. Sometimes on a late crawl back, hungover of a Sunday eve, Melody A.M. was the balm.
But I never really cared for the other albums by Royksopp. A token listen, cursory glance. I just never felt they offered anything new or different. And that’s what Melody A.M. was – when I first heard it anyway. It presented itself, announced itself, as something new and different. The music was accessible, hypnotic; it was an album that was easy to get lost in.
This entry not only reminded me of Royksopp (featuring, as it does, two new songs from the band) it also re-introduced me to that great series of “Late Night” mix albums.
The idea seems to be to make a mix album for a late-night nightcap. But I’ve enjoyed this album in the car – far from the bar, away from any nightcaps, comedowns and wired post-party shenanigans.
Purveyors of fine taste and super-cool kitsch moments, Royksopp even found a use for Little River Band.
Now that Royksopp mix album is also one of my favourite Late Night Driving albums.
There are others – sure. But it’s not to have reconnected with Melody A.M. Funny how I seem to enjoy it the most later in the P.M.
What’s your great late-night driving album?