A stalwart of the electronic scene for over 15 years, Denmark’s storied multi-instrumentalist composer and producer Anders Trentemøller proves himself to be adept at multitasking for his sixth album Memoria. Roughly half of the record consists of expansive soundtrack-ready instrumentals, the other half a more poppy selection of tunes with breathy vocals and a lush, dreamy atmosphere. These two styles alternate mostly at random, though since he excels at both this arbitrary sequencing can easily be forgiven.
In The Gloaming makes its mark with a syncopated synth riff, snappy retriggering snares and some poetic lyrics (“you draw me in / you pull me down / a rose behind / all those many thorns”) while Like A Daydream’s downtempo wistfulness is more than a little reminiscent of Hobart Paving by Saint Etienne. Chromatics could well be an influence here too, in a hazy soundworld where washed-out guitars meet LinnDrum beats, but understandably for these song-based structures the music serves more as accompaniment.
On the vocal-less arrangements Trentemøller utilises sound design and pacing to great effect, whether it be Glow’s polyrhythmic layers and occasional gusts of distortion or Swaying Pine Trees’ fake-out ending before a more intense second half. Most memorable of these excursions is The Rise, featuring a hypnotising step-wise melody that gradually rises and falls in accordance with its own inner logic, as the beats break and the bass guitar’s sonorous notes ring out underneath.
Around the album’s mid-section there is an entertaining detour into Krautrock, the wondrous melodic snatches of When The Sun Explodes contrasting nicely with the noisy Dead Or Alive. The latter’s repetitious vocal is lo-fi and feisty, a million miles away from the album’s more moody, gentle songs. Memoria is a substantial listen, and could probably be broken down into two shorter LPs of different styles, but its creative verve provides quality as well as quantity.