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Our introduction to the Knife’s ambitious Tomorrow, In A Year was the 11-minute “Colouring The Pigeon.” Now that I’ve listened to the entire collection, it’s safe to say they take their time from start (the minimalist slow-burn “Intro”) to finish (the more Knife-like “The Height Of Summer”). If you recall, the piece was commissioned by Hotel Pro Forma, to accompany the group’s On The Origin Of The Species opera. Karin and Olof worked on it in collaboration with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock. As with all the Knife’s releases, it makes for fascinating listening, though as you might suspect from a piece commissioned for a specific occasion, it goes into a different space than what’s come before it. Because it’s an opera. Olof’s statement about the project bears repeating now that you can hear the work in full:

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 the easy way it brings forward a narrative. We’ve approached this before in The Knife but never in such a clear way.

Tomorrow, In A Year is out digitally 2/2 (physically 3/9) via Mute. Later today you’ll find it streaming at theknife.net, where you can also order a copy. As we mentioned last time, the opera was performed in Copenhagen last September and then again in Athens in early January. There are more scheduled performances: Stockholm (January 29-February 1), and Munster (June 5th), with others TBA. If you want to prep yourself, there’s a round table discussion with The Knife, Mt. Sims, and Planningtorock here.

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Comments (10)
  1. jbean  |   Posted on Jan 28th, 2010 0

    the 10 mins of human made bird and monkey noises made my brain seek shelter in a black out

  2. anon  |   Posted on Jan 28th, 2010 0

    Apart from two or three tracks (“The Height of Summer” being the ultimate exception), this takes inaccessible to an entirely new level.

  3. The album has two parts, the experiment and ambient beginning, and the more song structured ending. No one should expect a Silent Shout follow up here.

  4. I’ve only heard Colouring of Pigeons, which was tremendous. NPR.org is running a full stream right now.
    I guess this is something that has to be seen live to fully appreciate what The Knife as accomplished. Almost all their fans do not fall within the Opera crowd. It is different and adventurous. That what make The Knife great. They do not make what exactly what their fans want.

  5. chris  |   Posted on Jan 29th, 2010 0

    it’s a very challenging listen (at some points)
    but lots of these songs will reward the listener in the end
    it’s not background music and it’s not dance music but it creates a whole new world of sounds and that is the most interesting aspect of this collection
    bonus: there’s still a lot of karin’s melodies and olof’s extraordinary programming in there (just listen to the Oni Ayhun tracks he did and you’ll know what i mean)
    The Knife never cease to come up with the most original stuff and surprise and challenge us all with it!

  6. I might check this out live if I have the time just for kicks, but most of the music is just…incredibly hard to listen to. “The Height of Summer” on the other hand is pretty great.

  7. sasha  |   Posted on Jan 29th, 2010 0

    anyone know where I can find the libretto?
    …anyone wanna transcribe it?

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