Fifteen years ago, an electronic album was released that not only redefined what was possible in the scope of the genre, but was far reaching in its logic of what could be a thinking man’s EDM record. Many artists are similarly ahead of their time, but rarely these days does an album surface that is and has remained as far ahead of the curve now as it was then. Come with us as we explore the cold energy of the magnum opus from Swedish siblings, “Silent Shout” by the Knife.
It was a rainy night in Louisiana, and my friends and I were on our way from New Orleans back two hours west, to Lafayette, Louisiana after seeing a show. My ride, Jules, had asked earlier if I had ever listened to the Knife before.I hadn’t really gotten into the band but upon being shown their lavish yet at times sparse beats i was hooked.
Almost from the opening beats of the scintillating title track, you can tell it’s very different from most of the electronic music around. The beats are slow, cold and atmospheric, from a distant planet, and it perfectly sets the mood for any late night adventure where you have no idea when or where the road will end. Following the opening track, we’re invited to a world where everything exists as a possibility and this type of music is the only thing you need to get by.
“Silent Shout” sends you to a cold, futuristic world, with the rare exception of the more upbeat second track “Neverland.” Not many albums, especially electronic ones can make you feel alone, and minimal, but “Shout” triumphantly makes the distant world bearable in a way most other albums simply can not. The beats emanating from the speakers as “The Captain” slowly bleeds into your system like a trickling, slow growing excitement are perfect. Karin Dreijer Andersson and her brother Olof manage to construct not only a thought provoking record that can be many things all at once, but also can bring you new sounds and worlds we hadn’t seen in this type of music.
One of my favorite songs on the album is “We Share our Mother's Health.” The beat is rocking in a way most of the other tracks just aren’t. Karin’s voice is deliberate and weaves in and out like a worm. In a good way though. My former wife and I liked the band so much we even dressed up as the Knife for Halloween one year. It was pretty great, but barely anyone knew who we were. Obviously
The next highlight on “Silent Shout” comes in the form of a beautifully down tempo gem known as “Marble House.” Much like the lyrics in the song, it’s a journey of epic proportions, and the author of the song is yearning for a new start, or perhaps it’s all happening in a parallel universe. With this band, things are rarely cut and dry, but this song has such a stronger story to it that I can’t help but be attracted to it. “Marble House'' is where the band really shines, and I would gladly go on listening to this amazing track over and over again, but the album has so many tricks up its sleeve it would be silly to dedicate your life to just one track.
“Like a Pen”, the next track begins with what I’ve always thought of as the sound of a bubble popping and it’s one of the few songs found here that resembles anything else happening in the edm scene. That’s not to say the song is bad by any means, but if the Knife were to decide to make lame electronic music they could easily do it. They have the ability to appeal to large masses, but I get the impression they take music extremely seriously, and could easily still be doing what they do without any notice from the outside world.
The Knife’s “Silent Shout” not only remains one of the best albums of the aughts, but also demonstrates how interesting and thought provoking electronic music can actually be. It’s a marvel of modern music, and nearly a decade after it arrived in our atmosphere, it’s still light years ahead of most other music. I’m so glad my friend gave me a glimpse into the world they created, and it will likely remain an album I go back to over the years and find new things to love about it.
Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
Are you looking for the old Wordpress blog posts?