The Knife - Shaking The Habitual

Awww shit, it’s finally here. Seven years after releasing the stone-classic Silent Shout, the Knife are about to drop their rabidly anticipated follow-up album Shaking The Habitual on the world. After letting us hear “Full Of Fire” and “A Tooth For An Eye” (and read their manifesto), the Knife are now streaming the entire intimidating slab of an album, along with eye-bleeding pink blinky graphics, at Pitchfork or below. So: What do you guys think? Does it hold up to expectations? Could it possibly ever hold up to expectations? Has your entire view of the universe been rearranged since you hit play? Take it up in the comments section.

Shaking The Habitual is out 4/9 on Mute.

Comments (90)
  1. If only Pitchfork Advance wasn’t the slowest thing ever. Every album I tried streaming through it takes ages to load and when it does it stutters through a play through :(

    • Must be your internet, Pitchfork Advance always works, and is working, perfectly for me.

      • I’ve always had trouble with it, in different places with different connections.

        • Aw man that sucks. Smooth for me.

          • I would imagine it would vary depending on your computer… Pitchfork Advance strikes me as the sort of thing that takes up a lot of memory (I’m thinking the graphics are a big part, those seem to take longer to load for me), so I would imagine that would be why Tiago is seeing all the stuttering. Making a cutting edge site is nice, but it sucks sometimes when people in the tech industry just assume everyone has a really fast connection and a newer computer with plenty of RAM to spare…

    • I’m with you, it takes ten minutes to load a song to play.

      • May have something to do with the 750,000 simultaneous mouse clicks that happened when news broke that you could stream it.

      • This may be tedious, but when a song finishes, if the next song doesn’t start I:
        1. reload the page
        2. click play
        3. fast forward to the next song you want to hear.

  2. Its probably the first time I’ve not been bothered by a running time of over an hour and a half. Without You My Life Would Be Boring is brilliant.

  3. Best lists unwritten by Stereogum:

    1.This list
    2. Top 10 pictures of Radiohead fanboys
    3. Top 10 Dangermouse collabs
    4. Top 10 of Prince’s boogers
    5. Where are they now chill-wave acts from 2009?
    6. Top 10 reasons why all bands from Olympia, WA are the same
    7. Top 10 shortest music videos
    8. Top 10 bleeps/bloops
    9. Cats wearing sunglasses and listening to Best Coast
    10. Top 10 Pitchfork’s overwrought reviews

  4. the comments section, where superfluopinions are the order of the day while the illuminated read the detritus of those who have nothing worthwhile to say anyways.

    eye hoipe the internet dies so we can start speaking without language…EMP <3

  5. This article is telling me to listen to the Knife, but corporate sponsors are telling me to listen to Deadmau5. While the latter is terrible, given the shiny colors and such I just can’t help but feel like I should totally get on that right now, despite everything the Knife’s album will probably tell me about capitalism. WHY MUST YOU TEMPT ME WITH YOUR DUBSTEPS CAPITALISM

  6. Oh man, I’m gonna fail my exam tomorrow.

  7. This album is amazing!!!! Just finished Old Dreams, what a song!!!

    • Seriously? I’d rather listen to whales than that “song.” It’s 20 minutes of literally….nothing. And I’m not kidding. Its dead sound for well over half of it.

      Now, Raging Lung on the other hand….

      • Raging Lung is HUGE….. this track is sexy!

      • Why do people keep saying “it’s 20 minutes of nothing?” I thought it was suppose to be ambient?…which is technically music you can ignore or listen to completely. Sounds perfect to me. Though I think the reason they placed it in the middle is because they want it to transfix you.

        • Think labeling it as ambient is a stretch, maybe drone. I’m all for any transitional angle on an album but with all the fascinating songs on this particular one, track 7 would not be one of them I’d pick as a favorite!

          As a conceptual piece to the sum of its parts, its great though.

  8. Called off work to listen to this

  9. the mcdonalds hamburger is more eye-bleeding than the pink graphics. the album is awesome as expected.

  10. Great album so far. Love it.

  11. Stay Out Here is fantastic

  12. so refreshing to hear fever rays voice again

  13. Networking is amazing.

  14. Pretty sure this is their best album. Those live drums are so powerful.

  15. Is that Ms. Light Asylum on Stay out of Here? Holy sh*t is this a crazy great song.

  16. A Cherry on Top is pure David Lynch in title and composition. Chilling…

  17. No Habits! Thank You!

  18. Raging Lung is sending my BPM to 200

    or 300

    378 frgfdsg

  19. my heart’s bpm that is

  20. funniest album of the year….hahaha

  21. Guess I must’ve missed the Kurt Vile comment party. Cuz that album is like, vastly superior to this.

  22. Four semi-decent Knife tunes surrounded by a whole lot of irritating noise and aimless noodling. Weren’t these experiments painful enough to sit through on Tomorrow in a Year? Not going to sugar coat it- I’m kind of hating this album.

  23. Just finished my first listen and i’m stunned. This is really remarkable music. The instrumentation is out of left field and all the better for it.

    A Cherry On Top caused such an emotional outpouring for me that I had to step out of the office and take a walk to clear my head.

  24. Such a great album

  25. I want Shannon Funchess to peg me from behind to Stay Out Here

    that’s all

  26. Powerful album

  27. Some incredible tracks…I love the traditional instruments with some modern technological touches and of course Karen’s bendy, chaotic vocals.
    Gotta say though, I detest Old Dreams. It’s fluff. Nineteen minutes of almost literally nothing at all. And then the awesome kicks right back in with Raging Lung. They should have omitted it completely. But I guess even diamonds have at least one flaw…

  28. This is super weird and I like that. It’s making it difficult for me to work right now listening to it because I’m transfixed.

  29. YES.
    I’m excited to sink into this one, especially once it starts raining again.

  30. So which “eye-bleeding pink blinky graphic” is everyone choosing for the visual aspect of the experience? I’m going with the picture of the dollar-sign glasses guy spinning out into the pink void. The flashing “Thank You” word bubble looks too seizure-inducing for my taste.


  32. There are glaring similarities between this and the new Flaming Lips album. Both are challenging, but sure to reward with repeat listens. Also, both have a couple bangers to please the pop fan in all of us. But neither are pop albums. Far from it. These are bands still interested in creating. Love them more for it.

    • I absolutely agree. I thought it was gonna go downhill for the Flaming Lips after At War with the Mystics, which just makes me love them so much more for going this direction.

    • I was just thinking the same thing. Both albums use a lot of drones and noise experiments, and because of that a lot of the indie popper fan base for both of those bands is really thrown off by these albums. But that’s totally okay because both bands are exposing their true skills as artists, and as a listener, this is incredibly rewarding.

  33. Sounds like kids beating on an old Casio keyboard. I just don’t see the appeal. I tried at least. Maybe I’ll give another listen in a few days.

  34. Utter disappointment. I was SERIOUSLY hyped about this – I still frequent Silent Shout. But this records is a little to avant garde for me. I think what disappoints me most is the lack of any discernible melody. In over 90 minutes, there isn’t ONE hook. Throw me a bone, Dreijers!

    When “Full of Fire” was released, I though, “Wow, this is really aggressive, but I can dig it.” Then “A Tooth for An Eye” was released, and I started to really get excited – that was more like The Knife that I knew, but it was still different. But that’s about it – this record is front-loaded and severely peters out after that. And sticking a 20-minute ambient piece in the middle? ANY momentum the record had up to that point was lost in that muddle.

  35. It rained all day yesterday. Still raining today, but last night was when I heard “Shaking The Habitual” for the first time.

    This past weekend I was wearing shorts and flip-flops. Even turned the A/C on because temperatures reached the 80s. That was Saturday. Yesterday dipped into the 40s and I had to turn the heater back on.

    I make note of this because there was a distinct chill in my place last night. I’ve always felt “Silent Shout” was best heard in the winter, so it felt extremely proper that on what may be the final cold day of winter before summer overtakes us, there was a chill in the room surrounding my first listen to The Knife’s new album.

    Mac & I hunkered down and fired it up. First two tracks were sort of a warm up since we’d heard them already. Thirty seconds into “A Cherry On Top” we paused it and quickly loaded/smoked a bowl. This was a good idea.

    As “A Cherry On Top” began and evolved into this beautiful ambiance, the title of the song hit me. The first two songs are definitely some of the best, so this song was a nice bow on the present for what could be considered the introduction to this album. We were both shocked to hear lyrics drop into the later half of the song, and declared that The Knife “do not give a fuck.” A theme that would be revisited often. Mac compared Cherry to “The Captain” as far as a Track 3 sort of seperating more accessible tracks…

    Because speaking of accessible: “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” may be the best song on this album. May. At the time we heard it only four songs in, I fell in love instantly. I guess it’s the closest thing to a title track since Karin drops “shaking the habitual” into the chorus a few times. That’s right, the chorus. This song is catchy and has a hook and is so fucking great. A beautiful love song for all of us. It was also the early moment in the album that I figured out the album would be closer in style to “A Tooth For An Eye” rather than “Full of Fire”.

    The next two songs, in hindsight, feel like a natural transition into the outro for the first half of this double album. “Crake” is crazy noisiness only to give way to the song everyone is talking about: “Old Dreams Waiting To Be Realized”

    Now, I’ll be the first to admit dropping 20 minutes of ambiance in the middle of your album is a little strange. Given it’s a double album it does make for a nice centerpiece seperating the two halves. As far as its musical importance, I’d say it’s incredibly significant. Whether you wanted it or not is besides the point, you’re in The Knife’s world now, and they’ll do with you as they please. That being said, what’s not to love? I remember saying to Mac, “Somewhere Brian Eno is smiling,” to which he replied, “Somewhere, Brian Eno is dancing.”

    That’s all that is going on here. Beautiful, space ambiance. Instantly as this song began I imagined a spaceship leaving Earth and shooting its way through space. I wondered if it would synch up with “2001: A Space Odyssey” (will have to try that soon) and what its importance to the context of the album could be. At this point I still didn’t know what the rest of the album would hold, but now that I’ve heard it, they have so many great songs on this album that 20 minutes of space ambiance is completely merited.

    “Raging Lung” — I can see how some would rather scratch the ambiance and go straight to this track, but hearing those tribal drums come back in after “Old Dreams…” is a one of a kind feeling that, I’m calling it, WON’T be repeated this year. What a moment, only topped by the extended psych outro where Olof sees how many different sounds he can make over that beautiful beat.

    I LOVE “Networking” SO MUCH! What a great track! Mac made a comment about “The Knife’s version of krautrock” that I sort of dismissed because there is so damn much going on in between the notes. Now Richard D. James is smiling/dancing. “Oryx” comes and goes but is a necessary buffer for:

    The best music video of the year that hasn’t been made yet: “Stay Out Here” (seriously, they need to get all those girls in on some next level music video for this song ASAP). What can I say? This song is too good. Shannon Funchess kills it but so does Emily Roysdon.

    If I’m being totally honest, I think I passed out during “Fracking Fluid Injection” and woke up after “Ready To Lose”. Never fear though! I told Mac to bring it back and we listened to “Ready To Lose” a second time. That song. THAT song!! Holy hell WHAT AN ALBUM CLOSER!! Just when you thought you’d heard every good song on this album, they save the best for last.

    After the second listen we got up and went to bed. Nothing left to see here! No need for a repeat listen just yet. What an experience though! A fantastic journey if there ever was one. Dynamic. Technically impressive. Awesome. So good! SO GREAT!

    This is only the beginning. I feel that my experience with this album will be similar to Fever Ray in that we’ve just begun with the music videos. There will be more music videos for this album, there are too many great tracks to not make videos. So that will keep this album high in our conscience.

    Did you all go to The Knife’s Web site and read that cartoon on eliminating extreme wealth? Holy Hell are these two for real?! They’re really peeling back the curtain for this one. I can’t wait to get the vinyl, which was unfortunately delayed due to high quantity of orders… yet I thought the whole point of a pre-order was to let the manufacturer know how many to make in advance. Oh well. Mac & I have two copies coming to our residence so we can mix all six sides of the records together without having to flip records. We’re The Knife nerds. This is one of our favorite bands. This is now my favorite record of 2013. Sorry My Bloody Valentine, but this album is from another planet. I love it.

    tl;dr Shaken yet?

  36. My biggest problem with this album is that it is not fun to listen to.

  37. Really starts to lag in the latter half, but still a remarkable collection of around 6 songs on there.

  38. Fucking brilliant. One of the most solid, well produced, interesting albums I’ve listened to in years. Unfortunately, outside of their existing fans, the fringe music press and music geeks at large it will be mostly ignored.

    • As much as I love the Knife, I don’t really think they’ve got a missing segment of music fans that would get into this music but haven’t because of lack of publicity or whatever. This album especially isn’t what I would call accessible for most people. There are other artists where I feel that argument is more valid, unless everyone on earth magically started liking weirder music.

      • I don’t think it’s “missing”, and I don’t think “everyone” should start liking “weirder” music, but I definitely wish more people would broaden their horizons a bit. I don’t find this album to be that far off from a lot of the electronic and industrial music I’ve been listening to for decades. And in a lot of cases, quality wise, I think it’s actually better. Even some of my friends who listen to metal would probably get into if they’d give it a chance. The fact that it’s not easily “accessible” to a lot of ears is exactly why more ears should give it a chance. Being challenged by art is a good thing, imo. Particularly when it’s good art.

        • Crap. I was actually coming back to this to add a bit when I overshot my mouse mark and hit submit. I wanted to add…

          This album could EASILY have been released on Warp Records or half a dozen other like-minded electronic labels. I don’t even find it particularly challenging, to be honest. But again, that’s probably because of the music I’ve been listening to for so many years. Regardless, it’s a great album, and great albums deserve to be heard. Unfortunately, I don’t believe enough people will hear this one.

          Lastly, the amount of time since their last album is a big a problem as anything. In the current state of the music business, for most people, this album will appear as if it’s coming from a new band. Hopefully it will grab a few new people who will take the time to go back and listen to their earlier/other stuff.

          • Mute is a pretty successful label itself, it has a few pretty popular artists on there. I just think that the Knife right now has a pretty large audience amongst music geeks, etc. and I don’t see it getting into the mainstream or anything because that’s not something that they’re aiming for nor is their music the type of stuff that would capture a pop audience at this point.

          • “…this album will appear as if it’s coming from a new band.”

            In their Pitchfork interview they discussed releasing it under a different band:

            “…’Should we change our name? Maybe we shouldn’t be the Knife anymore because we are doing something very different.’ But I think it’s really more important to keep the name and do something completely different.”

            “keep” was italicized.

            I agree with this and have with other bands I love. Most notable would be Liars, since they’re on Mute records as well. It seems there will always be the discussion over whether bands should continue sounding like themselves or branch out and mix up the formula. I think one of the greatest side effects of “shaking” it up from album to album is that it makes the bands previous albums even better. This is especially true with Liars. “Drum’s Not Dead” only got better because they didn’t attempt to do anything like it on their following albums.

            But specifically with the Knife, I feel that “Shaking the Habitual” only makes “Silent Shout” stand out even more. It’s hard to compare the two because they both shot to achieve different goals.

            Regardless, the title of this album says it all. If it rubs people the wrong way, then it’s probably doing its job. But I love it!

        • I wish there were more music geeks for sure, I’d love to just be able to talk with strangers about The Knife or my recent Dungeon Family obsession. It’s definitely easier to become one than ever before, with the increasing availability of music and all these different sites and blogs to choose from. But it’s still something that consumes a lot of time. (And hard drive space!). I just think this album especially is one that is more designed for those who are already music nerds, rather than one that can serve as a “gateway drug”. Being challenged is good, but I feel like usually there’s a certain way to sort of ease into the style of music so you “get it” and don’t just feel disoriented and confused.

  39. Just got my FLAC version this morning. Goodbye world.

  40. Alot to digest on your first listen. I have to take breaks every couple of songs. I swear thats sounds like a sample of the Nine Inch Nails songs used in the opening credits to the film Seven on track 2 Full of Fire.

  41. Why wont this play on my phone?


  43. is anyone surprised that this only got a 8.4 on pitchfork?!

    • I’m surprised that anything gets more than a 6 at pitchfork. Their reviews are insanely harsh for a bunch of people who are actually supposed to like music.

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