Long-loved Swedish sibling duo, The Knife ditched steel drums and synth-pop for an opera studio album, last we heard. Turning a blind eye to the charts and focusing on a less conventional work of music, Olof Dreijer and Karin Dreijer Andersson (aka Fever Ray) partnered with the Danish performance group Hotel Pro Froma in 2010. In a work based on Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species, and a huge leap of faith, the pair introduced the world to an integration of classical opera and electronic music.
This was not the first time they made efforts to avoid the mainstream spotlight–not until 2006 did the band even perform live, and the rare public appearances they make are done in bird masks. It is just one more reason to celebrate The Knife: To celebrate them is to celebrate pushing boundaries and a bravery for the sake of imagination.
“Heartbeats,” the seminal hit off their 2003 album, Deep Cuts, remains a durable dance track to this day and a paradigm for others to follow. It was also included in Rolling Stones’ ‘100 Best Songs of the 2000’s.’ But, where many other synth-pop ventures fail, The Knife have managed to make themselves a mentor in contemporary electronic music by setting themselves apart as a truly alternative outlet for creation. They boast a sound style that others now emulate, but if you know The Knife, you know who started the trends of a haunted, yet tropical landscape within electronic music. Thank The Knife for influencing the likes of Jamie xx, The XX, Crystal Castles, Hot Chip, Lykke Li and many more, allowing them to piggyback on their experimental dark tones, shimmering synths, and steel drums.
With an album due out in 2012, The Knife return from a hiatus of almost 5 years since Silent Shout was released–except for their recent opera collaboration. The brother and sister will have a lofty challenge in maintaining their reputation for innovation and the cutting edge sound that sparked a new sub-genre within electronic music. Here’s to continuing a family tradition.