Melody A.M. (Wall of Sound/Astralwerks), the debut album from Norwegian producers Torbjorn Brundtland and Svein Berge--aka Royksopp--was issued in Europe in October 2001. But it wasn't until the album's gorgeous first single, "Eple" ("Apple"), showed up on the great 2 Many DJ's mix CD As Heard on Radio Soulwax, Pt. 2 (where it was memorably segued out from Dolly Parton's "9 to 5") that anyone in the States paid them much attention. The piece's ping-ponging keyboard melody, clip-clopping breakbeat, and pulsating synth strings make a convincing argument for chill-out as an actual genre rather than just a marketing term. Makes sense--who would know more about chilling out than a couple of guys from up near the Arctic Circle? Melody A.M. as a whole evokes the hazy aftermath of a long night out dancing, and it's produced with enough loving attention to detail to overcome its weaknesses. "Sparks" features beat textures as deep as shag carpeting (the drums sound like they were created entirely from subdued record scratches), which redeem the fairly ordinary trip-hop song they frame, and "Royksopp's Night Out" has a swirling, wide-screen feel that justifies what would otherwise be merely cornball orchestral stabs. Royksopp are adept remixers, too: their coolly anthemic house reworking of the electro ballad "Poor Leno" is the highlight of Melody A.M.'s four-song bonus disc, and "Royksopp's Memory Lane Remix" of the Streets's "Weak Become Heroes" transforms the song from a foggy rave-days memory into a here-and-now celebration. Thursday, March 13, 10 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Samuel Kirszenbaum.