One of the most important criterion for getting placed on my list of favorite bands/artists is a band’s/artist’s ability to make me feel things. I’ve touched on it before (see my previous recommendation for Beach House’s “Lemon Glow”), but feeling things through a fog of depression and anxiety is a tricky and rare thing, which is why I greatly value those things that can pierce the fog and get right at my heart. Röyksopp always manages this feat, and gets me feeling things every time I listen to them. This is why they’re on my favorites list.
I’ve wanted to recommend something by Röyksopp since about a week after I started working on Memoir Mixtapes, but it’s tough to pick just one song. These dudes have been in the electronic music game for so long (just about 20 years [oh god where does the time go]), and their catalogue is so widely varied, it’s hard to settle on any one track in particular.
I think I’ve managed it, though, with “Running to the Sea.” This track might just be the closest thing, for me, to that single song in their catalogue that really captures the breadth and depth of Röyksopp’s sound. It has a great build, starting off quietly with a lone piano and Susanne Sundfør’s excellent vocals, and it expands as it goes on, adding in more and more and more texture and synths, picking up tempo, ultimately employing a relentless military tattoo that drives it on toward its inevitable end. By the time it’s done you feel like you’ve been smashed up and washed out to sea by the most beautiful waves of sound, and now you’re left adrift in a state of wonder as you glide out into the ocean.
I’m still not sure how this song manages to sound like panicked, urgent flight while being so floaty and peaceful at the same time. It fucks me up, guys. Like, I’m not sure whether this is a happy song or a sad song, but I’m not too concerned about whether it is or isn’t. It lets me experience feeling something, and that’s what matters.
But most importantly, and the reason I’m recommending it to you today: it’s a fucking BANGER. Get it in you, dudes.
(Song recommendation by Kevin D. Woodall)