New Knife – “Colouring Of Pigeons”

By Amrit Singh / January 6, 2010

Over eleven minutes, the Knife introduce their most recent costume with “Colouring The Pigeon,” the first sounds from their operatic composition Tomorrow, In A Year, composed in collaboration with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock. The piece was commissioned by Hotel Pro Forma, to accompany the Danish performance art group’s opera based on Charles Darwin’s On The Origin Of The Species. Which works out, because Karin and Olof were already all about birds anyway. “Pigeons” is a master blast — it’s less obviously electronic than the Knife of the naughts, freely incorporating operatic elements as per the assignment — strings, bel canto vocalisms — but as soon as Karin jumps in after the hockety, harmonized vocal intro, and the various, sublimely eerie instrumental arpeggios color the remains, the Dreijer signature is bold on this one, even if it’s on a mask geared for a different sort of theater. This is a big one, must-download:

The Knife – “Colouring Of Pigeons” (MP3)

The Tomorrow, In A Year album is out digitally 2/2 (physically 3/9) via Mute. Some tracklist info:

TRACKLIST
CD 1
01 “Intro”
02 “Epochs”
03 “Geology”
04 “Upheaved”
05 “Minerals”
06 “Ebb Tide Explorer”
07 “Variation Of Birds”
08 “Letter To Henslow”
09 “Schoal Swarm Orchestra”

CD 2
01 “Annie’s Box”
02 “Tumult”
03 “Colouring Of Pigeons”
04 “Seeds”
05 “Tomorrow In A Year”
06 “The Height Of Summer”

Bonus track
07 “Annie’s Box” (alt. vocal)

The opera’s been performed once in Copenhagen last September, with performances scheduled for Athens (January 8-9), Stockholm (January 29-February 1), and Munster (June 5th), with others TBA. Here’s a statement Olof gave on the project:

At first it was very difficult as we really didn’t know anything about opera.  We’d never been to one. I didn’t even know what the word libretto meant. But after some studying, and just getting used to opera’s essence of pretentious and dramatic gestures, I found that there is a lot to learn and play with. In fact, our ignorance gave us a positive respectless approach to making opera. It took me about a year to become emotionally moved by an opera singer and now I really do. I really like the basic theatrical values of opera and theeasy way it brings forward a narrative. We’ve approached this before in The Knife but never in such a clear way.

Join the Knife’s mailing list to keep up. More info on the project here.