Fever Ray (03.09, Rabid)
Byline: Cold, infectious electronic-pop from Sweden's crowned queen of pitch-shifted creepiness.
For: The Knife... obviously, Lali Puna, Antarctica
Karin Dreijer Andersson... what can you say? The sister and half of the celebrated Swedish electronic duo The Knife, a mother, a former Swedish pop icon... Now, left to her own devices to create a creepy, sparse album that is centered around her heavily affected, pitch-shifted voice. The effect is a stunningly creepy album that is as cold as the rolling Swedish tundra (Northern Sweden, during the winter). Fever Ray follows a similar vein of Silent Shout but on Codene after watching "Stalker" by Andrei Tarkovsky. Karin's voice mostly steals the show here, but Karin is a genius behind the boards. I have always found the Knife's percussion fascinating, I mean what self respecting group (besides the Blue Man group of course) uses steel drums? WTF moments are littered throughout the album, like "is that a super heavily processed cowbell and glockenspiel"? Every synth hit is in the lowest register, a Knife trademark, but Karin's solo output takes these deep bass hits let each track meander a bit allowing the listener to sink into the sound while never fully becoming at ease. Each beat seems like a forced breath that is rattling through hospital machinery, the rhythmic pulse of an uncertain life. Yikes. Needless to say there is a certain creepy quality that I can't put my finger on, from the album art work to the opening track,to the super scary music video, Karin's voice and sinister atmospherics even turn familiar landmarks into something unknown. This is not an album that you want to walk your dog to late at night, trust me. But highly recommended.