Artist: Trentemøller
Title: The Last Resort
Label: Poker Flat Recordings
By: Nick Williams | 10 October 2006
  1. Take Me Into Your Skin
  2. Vamp
  3. Evil Dub
  4. Always Something Better
  5. While The Cold Winter Waiting
  6. Nightwalker
  7. Like Two Strangers
  8. The Very Last Resort
  9. Snowflake
  10. Chameleon
  11. Into The Trees (Serenetti Part 3)
  12. Moan
  13. Miss You

Trentemøller "The Last Resort"Trentemøller "The Last Resort"

Out Now on Poker Flat Recordings

Anders Trentemøller is a name is dance music that keeps gaining recognition with every release. He first sprouted up onto the scene with dub-house inspired tunes for Naked Music, but his real inauguration into the dance music world was with his first releases on Poker Flat and Audiomatique. From there he has turned into the magical man of the moment, receiving remix work for the Pet Shop Boys, Röyksopp, and the Knife. He always has had his way with creating his signature techy grooves that build into breakdowns that beckon you to take notice. So when Anders decided to create an album to show a different side to his music, I was very intrigued. I have heard artist albums in the past which have disappointed me quite heavily, and I was praying that this would be a different story. He creates what he describes as a story told through music, a word-less journey that reflects the life that he leads. It is this introspective approach that will allow for Anders to show his influences, as well as to show the world that he can make more than dance music.

Anders sets the stage for his debut album with a definite analog soundscape in 'Take Me Into Your Skin'. This is a slightly more ethereal, airy texture that is a departure from the expected sounds coming from Anders Trentemøller in the past. A throbbing bassline gradually makes its way in with sharp percussive elements and airy breath-like synths gently build until everything is literally screaming out. This song keeps building and building into a bit of a frenzy to start this cd off… well as much frenzy as 120 bpm can bring! The echoing voices add a human emotional element to the soundscape right before we launch right into a hugely dynamic percussive groove that just exemplifies Ander's tight production skills. Delayed bells and analog drum fills show off more of these skills as a dreamy guitar takes off and instills more and more emotion into the song. Just as you thought this song could build no more, we move into another booming epic percussive display. I feel like he is right there playing drums live. It has such a rich organic analog sound to it. This is really a great view into what the album is, an emotional roller coaster that screams to the electronic youth of today.

As soon as I heard the first few notes of 'Vamp', I could tell that this was going to be a great album. A lazy upright bass and squelchy funky farts bring jazz influences out, accented by a groove different to the typical arrangements that Trentemøller chooses to use. The utilization of noise in his productions always amazes me as well; the contrast between noise and sharp, crisp samples in this track create a unique atmosphere. Chirps and distorted plucks give a rawness and a destructive vibe to the track. When you least expect it, the atmosphere gets very strange and the bassline gets all "jazzy" and walks its way on down into nothingness which creates the mood for the next track.

I have always seen the influences of dub music in Anders' productions, but baring a few of his earlier dub-house productions, he hasn't brought any official dub-tech to the table - until now. 'Evil Dub' brings to mind some of the more unrecognized musicians in electronic music; Holger Flinsch, Rhythm & Sound, Monolake, Jeff Bennett and Kalle-M. These guys make deep dub-tech music their business, focusing on the groove that is created in the relationship of the atmosphere and the percussion. Delayed stabs make the space go on forever and allow you to get lost in the music, allowing your mind to wander and contemplate. Anders creates a solid groove, rivaling some of my favorites in this subgenre. What takes this song to the next level is the utilization of a distorted thick rock guitar lick in the breakdown. It comes out of nowhere and fits amazingly well into the palette of sounds already present.

Our meandering road now takes us to the first single taken off the album, 'Always Something Better'. I enjoy this version a bit better than the vocal version found on the second disc, as it works to allow you to form your own opinion of what it is trying to get across. There is so much longing and desperation in this piece, with intermittent sparkles of hope, then countered with a bit of loathing and maybe a bit of hatred. With the vocal version found on the second disc, it seems a bit more spiritless with the vocalist's loss of hope in his voice. Is there really something better around the corner? The music says yes, but the vocal says no. This song builds you up and breaks you down, much like life, with eerie yet beautiful violins and a harp that floats effortlessly.

'While the Cold Winter Waiting' brings the first taste of what I would call downtempo. Dreamy guitars and vibe-like bells with an organic sounding, yet digitally edited ride cymbal set a stage of peaceful rest - a Trentemøller lullaby. The bell-like melody with tiny tinkerbells and violin sweeps brings a smile to my face, with effected orchestral instruments playing along in the background. This reminds me so much of BT and his latest release, that many times while listening to this track I questioned who actually produced it. A small jazzy breakdown adds some playful edits to the melody and reemphasizes the tranquility Anders is trying to get across. You almost want to make out with this track and fall in love, but right when it has you in euphoria, it fades away.

A desolate delayed guitar and the vocal "Music is a big prayer" introduce 'Nightwalker', another dub-tech piece for you dub-heads out there. This one has a faster tempo compared to 'Evil Dub', as well as the chord stabs so quintessential to this type of music. While following form to most typical dub music, Anders throws one of his insane arpeggiated patterns in to funk it up, and that takes this to the next level. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album for that reason alone. He also utilizes the squelchy, farty sounds that have defined the Trentemøller sound, and they fit so well in this that you almost have to over-listen to the music to catch everything that is placed.

'Like Two Strangers' is by far the most emotional piece on the album, as hollow whispers and aching bent whirls of wind bring an ambiance that makes me wonder what hurt Anders so bad. Strums and light picking of a guitar bring a human element to this one as well. The mood changes around so much that I feel like whomever or whatever Anders wrote this about is connected intricately to him.

'The Very Last Resort' brings us the most twisted piece of the album, with a picked acoustic guitar loop melody and hard deliberate percussion that carries the song forward with a deliberate, almost forced nature due to the intense groove present. Echoes of humans talking reemphasize the haunted dreamy feel of this song, with heavy guitar reverb and fret play that Pink Floyd would be proud of, complete with feedback and flutters. There is a great use of layers in this piece and every sound was placed with intent and precision.

The same atmosphere as the opening track introduces 'Snowflake', telling us that we have come full circle, as the lush, noisy atmosphere brings us out of the twisted grind of the last track. The intensity is brought down as you float among the deep kick and reassuring keyed melody (ala Zero 7). Once the bassline comes in you can really feel what he does to create the groove, as every note and every sound moves you in a different direction. Where would a Trentemøller song be without a crazy arpeggiated pattern? Not finished. This pattern brings us in a darker direction, as everything else filters out introducing a deep dark groove. Edits and reversals of this melody keep the interest up and allow for some funk influences to show through. Just when it starts to get going, we fade right back into the ambiance that sets us up - only to get lost in 'Chameleon'.

Previously released on Poker Flat, 'Chameleon' has creepy written all over it. Very chuggy and brooding, with crazy bips and detuned delayed stabs, you wonder where this is going. Trentemøller decides to bring the funk. That's what I love so much about Trentemøller's releases. You never see it coming, but it fits so well. This instance brings the minimal electro-funk to the forefront and I guarantee you will groove to this even if the detuned stabs and ear-splitting high wind dynamics throw you off.

Following Part One and Two off of Tic Tac Toe Recordings, we take a walk into the wilderness of this deep driving number, 'Into the Trees (Serenetti Part 3)'. Eerie soundscapes create a vision of darkness and the unknown, yet we are full speed into it. A definite Detroit techno feel is created here with the chords and creepy pads that are used. The drums here are sick and definitely worth note. Multiple times we go into full epic drum solo mode creating a frenzy that launches us right back into the groove. Organic rain sounds are also utilized to give us the feeling that we are amongst nature by adding to the color and mood as the entire track mellows out.

'Moan' another single made vocal-less for the first cd, creates an instant feeling of desire and longing with plucking strings, beautiful chord progression, and emotive synth splashes. This is an amazing track that reminds me so much of Sasha's 'Involver'. Charlie May and Simon Wright must be influences of Anders, as the vibe and environment are nearly directly taken from that album. The plucks fill the soundstage with small clicks and pops, while organic bird sounds butter the bread with a light, bright subtlety. Take note of the bassline that comes in, as the quality of his production really shows here. The bass sound is placed so well in the spectrum that you can hear even the slightest nuances of bassline changes.

Anders Trentemøller concludes his album with another lullaby entitled, 'Miss You'. The most interesting thing to note about this track is the utilization of digital artifacts to create a purposeful nature and to place the sound in the space. Exploiting these pops in reverb and chorus allow for the soundstage to be taken over by this melody as it ping-pongs back and forth into nothingness. We float along with the bending chords and delayed digital bells until we build into a wall of sound.

The second cd on the limited edition release includes the vocal and another club version of 'Always Something Better', as well as the stunning vocal version of 'Moan', featuring Copenhagen vocalist Ane Trolle. In addition to that, the entire back catalog of Trentemøller singles from Poker Flat and Audiomatique are included, featuring some of the heftiest of Trentemøller's club bombs. For someone who has never experienced the club sounds of Trentemøller, this is a great starting point to get your feet wet and your fancy tickled. Tracks like 'Physical Fraction', 'Polar Shift', 'Rykketid', and 'Prana' have defined the incredibly quick rise to notoriety and fame for this Scandinavian. I have yet to find someone create a groove that literally forces you to move your body. For those of you that are fully aware of the dancefloor destruction this man is known for, you will now have a collection that you can take along with you that has all of these hits on one cd.

Copenhagen based artist, Anders Trentemøller is one hell of a producer. Having taken almost no time in the limelight of electronic music producers, a veritable slingshot into the elite, Anders consistently gives the public what they want - dancefloor minimal tech-funk bombs. A man that can create frenzy with the turning of a few knobs, Trentemøller has created an artist album that will turn your head, make you question genres, and keep your interest for the full length of the cd and for many listens to come. This really is a stunning cd that you should look into purchasing immediately.

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