- My favorite synth of 2009 is Karin Dreijer Andersson's voice. By turns, it's harsh, gorgeous, threatening and intoxicating. And that's before any post-production. Andersson (The Knife, Fever Ray) is no stranger to collabs with Röyksopp—they enjoyed a breakout hit in 2005's "What Else Is There?" The two are reunited again to answer the question.
"This Must Be It" has responded to the sumptuous orchestral slabs and spiraling arpeggios of the first with a four-on-the-floor dancing machine that plays like a Kavinsky track with vocals. Andersson is stellar as usual, and it's nice to hear what she actually sounds like once in a while instead of going through an endless gender- and pitch-shifting cycle as she does on Knife and Fever Ray tracks. "And they talk," she moans, "and they dance." And indeed, there's some quality conversation here and some infectious rhythm, with very little fat to the album version. While I could have done with a bit more bass Rolfing and a little less keyboard tickling, this is the brand of souring, sparkling, unselfconscious technopop that put The Understanding firmly on loop in Starbuckses and Borderses four years ago.
As for the nine remixes, Rex the Dog answers my bass wish and drops in some NES steel drums and cranks the low end into Vitalic DUI territory, two moves that win my heart by default. The other remixes are a lively, but uneven bunch. Apparat adds an eccentric drum stumble to the mix and slows Karin down to a molasses crawl—it's interesting, but arrhythmia makes it a frustrating listen. Florian Meindl injects a hard Berlin staccato into his version, deflating the drums to a puffing hiss and pounding the same harpsi note into K-hole territory. Again, novel but diminished overall.
Danton Eeprom shoves the track in a cavern and calls it a night. Maxime Dangles and Moguai both hand in serviceable, brassy, dirty, disco-heavy redos, but neither stand out as more than footnotes. Röyksopp is a thesis in cleanliness and scuzzing up the surfaces just makes the simplicity of the melodies boringly obvious. Pete Herbert gets stupid with Casio demo song bass, turning the ecstatic original into a disco clunker: Guys, remember to keep the good part in.
The main event, Madonna hitmaker Thin White Duke (Stuart Price)'s mix, takes the obvious path to success: he moves Karin to the front, keeps the gonzo progression and thickens the load-bearing melodies until they distort. You can tell this guy makes pop for a living, because he knows how to treat a lady (writing bass under her, not over her), dropping good part after good part. Excepting the odd "El Condor Pasa"-ish flute interlude, this tasteful outing is the most floor-appropriate cut of the bunch.
After that, it's especially ironic (given the Duke's Material Girl bona fides) that it's the Bloody Sisters version that half-nicks the chirpy hook from "Celebrate" to solder onto "This Must Be It"—the result is likeable, but plays like a bloghouse mash-up rather than a sanctioned release.
01. This Must Be It (Radio Edit)
02. This Must Be It (Thin White Duke Remix)
03. This Must Be It (Rex The Dog Remix)
04. This Must Be It (Apparat Remix)
05. This Must Be It (Danton Eeprom Remix)
06. This Must Be It (Maxime Dangles Remix)
07. This Must Be It (Pete Herbert Remix)
08. This Must Be It (Moguai Remix)
09. This Must Be It (The Bloody Sisters Remix)
10. This Must Be It (Florian Meindl Remix)