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Trentemoller Toronto Went Through A Whole Spectrum

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2011 was the year I fell in love with Danish culture. It was the year I travelled to Denmark on an exchange, lived with the Høeghs, and got introduced to a strange new world of electronic music by a producer in the family. From having one of the world’s best functioning democracies, to making delicious dark bread, there were many things about their culture that I admired. The one thing I was able to bring back home was my discovery of some of their most innovative artists: Trentemøller.

Photos: Jay Hodgins

Photos: Jay Hodgins

Who: Trentemøller
Where: MOD Club, Toronto ON
When: Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Having played in international music fests, clubs, and classical concert halls, Anders’ work refuses to ever stop exploring and reinventing. After the release of his third full-length album Lost, I learned one thing: electronic music could break boundaries of any genre with a wide range of instrumentation. Not just using samples and distortions, but additional band members. Five of them on tour. And more guests in studio recordings. He collabs with artists who he idolizes in this record, including the duo Low, Jonny Pierce from The Drums, Marie Fisker, Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead, Jana Hunter of Lower Dens, Ghost Society and Sune Wagner of The Raveonettes. This record is his most melodic yet, and probably not one you could listen to in one setting and come out feeling satisfied. It feels more like a compilation of what he has picked up over the years of live touring. Because of this progression, it is far from the quantized, minimalistic electronic he is known for from his earlier work.

“People wanted something similar to the last album, but if you’re getting to the point of listening to people and what they think of your sound… Well, that’s not for me.” Says Trentemøller.

I wasn’t there to see the team write and record in studio, but from seeing them live, I could tell that Trentemøller really lets the music move him. His bandmates influence him and construct as much as the song as he does. While they tune into each other and pay attention to the details, their sound is impressionable as a whole, and present. It doesn’t sound improvised nor rehearsed, it just sounds like they are on the same wavelength playing off each others’ energy.

“If you listen to these 12 tracks in an album you’ll hear 12 different genres.”  Indie electronic producer Justin Chevrier says.

Let’s name 12 genres that Trentemøller incorporates: krautrock, post rock, trip hop, techno, synth pop, shoegaze, slowcore, punk, industrial, new wave, gothic rock, jazz. Anyone who has been listening to the whole spectrum of Trentemøller probably just hated the fact that I named 12 genres, because he’s not about any of them. Nor are his bandmates.

Tom and his computer 3
The opener, T.O.M. and His Computer, spun a hypnotic, deep set. There was never a dead beat, the vibes unpredictable, and dynamic. Most of the audience hadn’t arrived at that time, but several heads in the room nodded and admired this astonishing producer. I knew what had to come next was going to be nothing like what I’d expect. The stage was scattered with all sorts of gear and instruments, a lot of it being analog and vintage.

Trentemoller 3

To a full house, the Scandinavians who need no introduction came on stage and fired off the momentum with Still On Fire, from recent album Lost. The lighting was on point – matching the ambience and dynamics of the music. Bold and sleezy, the whole crew stormed in and without any warm-up, had everybody lose their minds. Hooking us with a melancholic bass-driven vibe, guitar and electronic elements layered on, and sparked the floor with shuffling feet and swaying bodies. Being next to the fanboy-champion in the front, I couldn’t help but succumb to the dark celebration. The music took over, as if it said “Hah didn’t see that coming did ya” to everything we thought we knew about Trentemøller.

Trentemoller 5

When Trentemøller is present, there is nothing you can possibly do with yourself but immerse yourself 100% into the vibe. It was the first time for many in the audience seeing them live. I could hear a range of influences like Depeche Mode, The Cure, Velvet Underground, and Portishead. So it was really interesting to find out Trentemøller supported Depeche Mode on their Delta Machine world tour last summer, and that he begun producing electronic dance music when he discovered Portishead and Massive Attack in the 90s.

Every member on stage had their groove on, and eventually each of them came up to the front of the stage to have their moment of fame. Anders himself would sporadically chant and hype the crowd. On the brim of excitement he’d high five fans and jump up and down. I mean, you normally don’t see these quiet introverted producers doing that. So the hype felt like it came out of an extraordinary level of passion from both the band and the fans.

Through this non-stop course of dancey beats, not the entire crowd was dancing, and I understood those fans as well. There was a story being told in the track, enough to keep the mind occupied. With every electronic fragment, guitar tone, and percussion beat, they layered onto each other progressively. An ambience would be set, but then conflict would be created, pockets of space opened, new characters added, resolution offered at times, then the song would often end without a solid answer, welcoming in the next one. The set list included songs from 2007 – 2014: The Last Resort, Into The Great Wide Yonder, Lost, Lost Reworks.

Trentemoller 10

When Marie Fisker put down her guitar and stepped to the front to sing Come Undone, the night escalated. Despite the cheering and the fans practically melting in front of her, she was focused and performed a rather introspective, fragile piece. It felt a lot more personal to her live than in the record. The best part was, she maintained that for the rest of the songs she sung, which made Miss You a mesmerizing, still period of the night, as everybody gazed at her in the spotlight.

They finished off with Moan from their first album, and walked off stage. Nobody left and some of the crowd started chanting “We want more!” After almost giving up, the band came on stage slowly and hit it off with what became the crowd karaoke, Even Though You’re With Another Girl. Then, what really blew my mind was on the third song of the encore Silver Surfer, Ghostrider Go!!! the night transitioned to this sort of hardcore surf rock techno fusion, with thicker distortions and speeding up faster than ever, suddenly becoming a headbanging, body slamming jam that finished off the night clean.

The group lingered on stage as they thanked the screaming crowd. According to Facebook they will not be back in North America in a very long time. ’twas a night to be cherished.

Setlist

Still On Fire
Shades of Marble
Past the Beginning of The End
Come Undone
Candy Tongue
River of Life
Vamp
Miss You
Take Me Into Your Skin
Trails
Never Stop Running
Moan

Encore

Even Though You’re With Another Girl
Gravity
Silversurfer, Ghostrider Go!!!

Dagmar Yu
THE SCENE


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