"Whatever type of music I sing, I bring my
optimistic sadness, I put my yellow filter on life and welcome everyone
into my hazy world. I put some Erlend Øye porridge into the mix."
As half of quiet-pop duo Kings of Convenience, Erlend Øye's talent and versatility
epitomizes the emerging music scene in Norway. A product of musical
hotbed Bergen (Sondre Lerche, and the members of Röyksopp also
hail from there), Øye made his major label recording debut with Quiet
is the New Loud in March 2001. A longtime listener of The Smiths
and The Red House Painters, Øye's collaboration with fellow King of
Convenience Eirik Glambek Bøe, would be a major turning point in pop
music. Subtle, graceful, tuneful, and introspective, the success of
Quiet is the New Loud went on to prove the veracity of the Kings'
Their second offering, Versus, also released in 2001, made the Kings
acessible to the dance pop scene. The album features twelve tracks off
the first album remixed by artists such as Röyksopp, Ladytron,
Four Tet, and Evil Tordivel. Some critics hailed this album as even
better than the first, since it was their opinion that the original
recordings all tended to sound very similar after a while.
The Röyksopp collaboration resulted not only in a superb remix of I
Don't Know What I Can Save You From, but also eventually inspired Øye
to delve into the world of dance pop. While Eirik Glambek Bøe went back
to school to complete his degree in psychology, Øye cut his teeth doing
the vocals for two Röyksopp tracks, Poor Leno and Remind Me, that
appeared on Röyksopp's ethereal debut, Melody AM. The epiphany was
complete after a visit to the Koneisto electronic festival in Turku,
Finland. As Øye describes it, following the festival he was struck by
"...a desire to write and record in a much quicker way, with Kings Of
Convenience, there was so much perfection involved. I wanted to write
songs that were more now, that reflected my present state of mind."
This desire conceived Unrest, the 2003 album consisting of ten tracks
resulting from collaborations with ten different artists in ten
different cities. Working with artists ranging from Prefuse 73,
Minizza, Morgan Geist, Soviet, and Björn Torske, Øye travelled from
Barcelona, Rome, Rennes, New York, Sweden, Finland, to Berlin, where he
currently resides. An album that perfectly captures Øye's personality,
especially his inability to remain in the same place for very long,
Unrest is an innovative and explorative classic of modern synth pop.
Unrest took Øye from varied locations such as music festivals, clubs,
massive audiences, and even one man's East London home, as Øye became
known for sometimes singing along to his own tracks and dancing with
the audience rather than remaining in the DJ booth.
His 2004 release,
an entry into the DJ Kicks series, was heavily influenced by the
German microhouse trend, with several distinct Øye twists. As a
"singing DJ", Øye infuses DJ Kicks with his unique tunefulness by
singing over at least half of the 18 tracks on the album. His most
recent releases include two electronica singles, A Sudden Rush in
February 2004, and Black Keys Work the following April.
With the Kings of Convenience:
The Kings of Convenience, 2000 (Kindercore)
Quiet is the New Loud, 2001 (Astralwerks)
Versus, 2001 (Astralwerks)
Riot on an Empty Street, 2004 (Astralwerks)
Unrest, 2003 (Astralwerks/Virgin)
DJ Kicks, 2004 (K7)