Trentemøller develops a sonorous ode to rhetoric in ‘Memoria’: Album Review
Danish musician, composer, producer, performer, and dreamer Trentemøller releases his sixth studio album. ‘Memoria‘ is at the same time a collection of refreshing melodic concepts and references to some remarkable themes. The 14-track body of work is now out via Trentemøller’s own label In My Room.
Highs and lows, light and dark, fast and slow, back and forth. Trentemøller again delivers music that defies the senses and the canons. Tasting like nostalgia, notes of the 80s and 90s, and references to The Cure or My Bloody Valentine are notorious, while some dark rumbling beats make it modern. Timeless. ‘Memoria’ is an eclectic mix of rock-driven, techno-infused, indie-pop music that doesn’t seem to fit any kind of caption while seeming to fit it all.
Memoria means memory, and is one of the five canons of rhetoric, along with discovery, arrangement, eloquence, and recitation. It is in memory that experiences are stored, that identity is created and reproduced. Together with creativity, memory tells stories and becomes a language of its own, as in this album.
Veil Of White
Extremely ambient, this track illustrates waking up on a Sunday morning. Light as a white veil, it lets the vocal be heard almost from afar, making reality faint and leaving the doubt if you’re dreaming or awake. Full of texture and crispy noise, it sounds like an old vinyl or vintage acoustic capture. Delicious.
No More Kissing In The Rain
More alive, more pop, this track lets the percussion take the limelight without taking away from the whispering voice. The guitar gives it a mystical uplifting flavour and a penetrating glow that contrasts beautifully with the weeping drums. It is to be listened to with an open-top, on a carefree drive.
The name is not misleading. Drifting through the meanders of melancholy, this purely instrumental track is the perfect soundtrack for a grey day, early morning, or a long night. It’s an invitation to reflect, to recover memories that gain colour to the sound of this delicate track with crunchy drums.
This is another instrumental-only extract. Detaching from the formality of the compositions, ‘Glow‘ feels like a bustling conversation between the various layers. The vibration of the strings argues with the frenetic drumming, in a conversation that changes in tone and intensity. Not to be forgotten are the effects that give a dramatic character to the melody.
In The Gloaming
This post-rock gem is already known to Trentemøller fans, having been released previously. Vocal-lead, the single is soothing and comforting. The beat gives it the rhythm, which oscillates between calmness and excitement, while the synths add sparkle and some expansion to the melody, which remains ethereal and delicate.
This instrumental track is dynamic and surprising. If the first half only exposes an elegant layering that gains complexity and a wave of certain anger, the climax is reached right in the middle, when the elements emanate a damned and explosive fury.
When The Sun Explodes
Raising the pace, this is the personification of eruptive sonic solar flares. Dense and penetrating, it is highly cinematic, with a character that oscillates between the divine and the haunted. The drums are limpid, managing to breathe the surface even when the synths seem to swallow the melody.
Dead Or Alive
The fast-moving guitars let you know that it won’t be as ambient a track as most of the others on this album. As if straight out of a horror movie, it has a haunting and frightening vocal, packed with a heavy and super fast rhythm, like a villain chasing you at sonic speed. Definitely a strong member of the team of the darkest tracks on this collection.
All Too Soon
Pure rock. Delicate, elegant, and full of charisma, it features a classic narrative of drums versus soft vocals. Following on from the previous track, it serves as an incredible palate cleanser that restores you to joy and hope.
A Summer’s Empty Room
More industrial and less organic, this track relies on more effects and artifice. Melancholic and lonely like an empty room, this is a strongly ambient track that emanates calmness. Minimalist in layers and almost absent in rhythm, it’s another magnificent opportunity for the mind to travel.
Swaying Pine Tree
With an 80s flavour, this instrumental track displays bright and expansive synths that hark back to the cosmos. This feeling of almost dreaming of space travel is interrupted by organic elements like the almost tribal beat. It is an audible dichotomy between nature and man.
Another beautiful tribute to post-rock. Sublime and elegant, it delivers another delicate waltz between ethereal synths, flowing guitars, and pop drums. It’s smooth enough to accompany you at any time of the day, with only the risk of capturing you for a lengthy daydream.
Like a Daydream
The name is the literal translation of this single. The magical, fluttering keys take you into the realm of dreamy vocals. Uplifting and inspiring, ‘Like A Daydream‘ will touch all listeners in different ways, as the lyrics will easily remind you of one hidden memory.
The end of the album draws in with washed-out guitars and a cold echoing feeling. This purely ambient track is the perfect balance of the previous 13 tracks, like a gentle digestive that helps you reflect on the sonic journey you’ve just taken. It’s dreamy, encapsulating the whole concept of this incredible ‘Memoria’.
Trentemøller delivers here an expansive and immersive work. ‘Memoria’ is a melancholic album steeped in ambient electronic arrangements and kaleidoscopic synths that is worth enjoying, track by track.
Image credit: Trentemøller (via Facebook)