John Yonke John.Yonke@uwsp.edu
I can’t get enough of Karin Dreiger’s voice; it’s unique, beautiful and able to conjure and manipulate the shadows in your soul, much like most of The Knife’s music. Shaking the Habitual is the Swedish sibling duo’s latest album, politically charged with enough dark-electro to back it up. Consisting of 13 tracks with song lengths ranging from 30 seconds to 20 minutes, The Knife knows how to keep you engaged through the whole ride. The diversity of the tracks allows you to connect with sounds found in all of their past albums, which makes Shaking the Habitual an excellent album to introduce newcomers to The Knife.
Founded in 1999 these Swedes have produced four albums and an opera since. In 2003 they received two Grammy nominations for their second album Deep Cuts, but the duo did not attend the ceremony. Instead they sent two representatives of the anonymous feminist group Guerrilla Girls(who were dressed as gorillas) in their stead to protest the male dominance of acts within the music industry. This is a good example of The Knife’s ideology and the issues they bring forward through their music.
The premier track, entitled ‘A Tooth for an Eye’, is one of the more relatable songs that utilizes not only melodic asian motifs, but also percussion that could have been plucked out of India or China. This is something new for the band, but they make it their own and make it sound great in the process. Other tracks like ‘Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized’ delve into the sinister, ambient, droning that The Knife masters in their opera Tomorrow, In A Year. My personal favorite (so far) is the song ‘Stay Out Here’, which is reminiscent of their 2006 album Silent Shout.
Come for the message, stay for the raw synths that put The Knife on the cutting edge of experimental and intelligent electronic music.