Thursday, September 29, 2005

Norway-tronica Night

Last week Christi and I took in Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp at Webster Hall, which included their compatriot, bubble-gum songstress Annie, as the warm-up act. Planetarium-quality laser lights, filtered through disco, shimmered and flickered through the club as the young, mad symphonic geniuses that are Röyksopp frantically pushed buttons, turned knobs, and played some mean drums. Annie's songs were cute, bubbly electro-pop, but her voice was somehow drowned out by the band and sounds sytem. Pity, as her lyrics are often arch, such as 'You think you're chocolate, but you're chewing gum.'

Röyksopp (Torbjørn Bruntlandt and Sven Berge) had a worlwide, million-selling hit (except in the US) with their debut album, "Melody A.M," on the strength of the singles "Eple" and "Poor Leno." Their second album, "The Understanding", was released in US on July 12 and has received outstanding reviews. Annie (born Anne Lilia Berge-Strand) is as pop as early Madonna or late Kylie Minogue, but with hipster credibility. She first made an impression in 1999 with a juicy Madonna-sampling single called "The Greatest Hit." Her success foundered on tragedy when her boyfriend, DJ Tore Andreas Kroknes, died of heart defect in 2001. Annie eventually picked herself up and became more involved in Bergen, Norway's club scene than ever. Her debut album, Anniemal, is very consistent and was released here in June with the singles "Heartbeat" and, yes, "Chewing Gum."

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