I try to explain my preference for electronica by association of repeating patterns and "classical" models at times. Through ny preferences for so-called minimalist music one could see similiarities, perhaps, to the likes of music by, say deadmau5. Melody A.M. and The Understanding by Röyksopp has the dance feel of other electronica, but it's less minimalist, for sure. As far as music, it's got a lot going for it. Texture, variety of tone colors, vocals, not to mention some interesting progressions of harmony. I realize it's a huge departure from my usual fair of music that requires basso continuo, but, let's try.
This is not a new release, by any means. It's a "live" presentation of Röyksopp performing some of their hits from the aforementioned albums. For me, it opens strong, and the real value is in knowing the "studio" versions of the pieces and seeing how they put things together as remixes. The live audience and cheering appears at the beginnings and ending of pieces to remind us that there is an audience, but the sound quality suggests that the audio was captured at the source. It has a good presentation (soundstage), however it was produced.
Like their studio albums, nothing is ever over-done in terms of extending the pieces too long for what material exists… they could probably even stretch some of the material even further. Tracks range from 3-something minutes to one at just over 8. My favorite track is Sparks, number 4. Its opening is some soft pads with solo piano; then the vocal line comes on, but it seems set against a different emphasis of beat, which is interesting. The use of vocalisations and cheering from the audience adds ambiance; but after just over a minute introduction of the main vocal material, we transition up-tempo, and here the use of the synthesizers takes over to keep things ever-interesting. By the end some seriously extrovert lines emerge, the dig deep into the bass register, then cut out, over top. There's such potential in these synth sounds and playing that could be further exploited. The tastes we get are delicious. I find this music great driving fare for my commute. Like other fast and interesting music in the techno genre, it's less about the repetition here, but it does inspire thinking for me. In tracks like Sparks and Poor Leno is also is warning enough to watch your speedometer.
Go with the Flow is a tad too intense for me; the beating repetition and vocal style shows the duo's versatility, but as far as listening music, it feels more appropriate if the lights are dim, and you're on your feet, moving about. The final track, Teppefall, is a minute-long fade out which helps relax the years, like a intermediate course of sorbet in a multi-course meal. What's next, however, is up to you. I wouldn't recommend this album to anyone who hadn't already discovered this group. I've found their older albums are just as relevant today. This album then becomes a nice foil, like your third or fourth copy of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. The variety in the end is nice, and you may be surprised from the amount of good music contained within.