Album Review: Trentemøller – Memoria – mxdwn Music
Sixth studio album by Danish electronic artist Trentemøller, Memory, follows his 2022 EP titled “No More Kissing In The Rain”. Trentemøller’s EP “No More Kissing In The Rain”, demonstrated Trentemøller’s potential to infuse ghostly vocals with his already established ambient sounds. The tracks featured on “No More Kissing In The Rain” sparked listeners’ curiosity, as Lisbet Fritze’s voice complemented the electronic sounds, creating a fantastic mix of electronic dream pop music. While Trentemøller’s latest fourteen-track album features all the songs from “No More Kissing In The Rain”, it sticks closely to Trentemøller’s atmospheric sounds.
Memory does not deviate from minimalist techno and atmospheric sound throughout its hour of performance. This minimalist sound can both hinder and work for the album as a whole. Some tracks seem too simple and fragmented compared to others to feel special. The lack of change from track to track begins to show in the latter part of the album. The track “Darklands” uses a stagnant electronic snare rhythm as a backbone that’s too scared to do anything else. The running time of “Darklands” makes me want more and the muted sounds associated with the layered piano don’t engage me enough or inspire any real feeling. “Drifting Star” elicits interesting space-influenced inspiration but lacks diversity. “Veil Of White” suffers from the same consistency, and although the ghostly vocals attempt to transport the listener into a euphoric dreamlike state, it falls short of the necessary level of weirdness. Voices throughout Memory can layer perfectly against the electronic backdrop or seem overly simplistic in both lyricism and subject matter. “All Too Soon” suffers from its simplicity, as it falls into a forgettable dreamy pop sound that mellows too long to leave an impression.
Tracks like “When The Sun Explodes” seem too tame for its bold title and too limited to surprise listeners. The bass at the beginning of the track followed by some interesting sound samples invite an explosion of chaotic electronic fusion. When the sun finally explodes, it’s too hollow and too late in the trail to feel a sense of satisfaction. The rhythm change within the song does not vary enough, leading to a disappointing showcase for Trentemøller’s mixing abilities. Rather than being a showcase for creativity and experimentation, “When The Sun Explodes” becomes a rather boring continuation of sounds previously found in Memory.
Memory really shines when it embraces a full atmospheric tone or presents an energetic electronic sound. Musically, tracks like “No More Kissing In The Rain” and “Dead Or Alive” embrace a dance-inspired sound that’s filled with fast, punchy electronic styles guaranteed to excite. “Dead Or Alive” has an infectious hook that’s blended to perfection. Distorted lyrics, a great bassline and background dance elements bring an otherwise slow album to life. “No More Kissing In The Rain” is a fantastic dream pop that imbues Lisbet Fritze’s voice with a romantic touch. A burst of chimes and low bass builds on a rhythmic drum beat that seems to evolve over the four-minute track.
Trentemøller’s atmospheric expertise is demonstrated in tracks like “Glow” and “A Summer’s Empty Room”. “Glow” feels particularly unique in the track listing, as the song builds a unique blend of alien sounds and space influences. “Glow” being the longest track on the disc, it never lingers too long and forms over the six minutes of listening. There’s a layer beneath every sound that merges together to create a dreamy experience in “Glow.” “A Summer’s Empty Room” is a simplistic relaxing lounge track that uses choral and spatial noises to develop a bright sound. The track never exceeds its limits, but it exceeds what it is supposed to do.
In its entirety, Memory is an album that doesn’t excite when it should and surprise when it shouldn’t. The vocals on the album seem to match better with the EP released earlier this year. As they have their defining moments inside Memory, they can get a little lost. There’s serious potential for a pop-inspired album, though. Memory isn’t brave enough to decide what he really wants. The tracks that stand out drive the album forward while some of the ambient sounds slow its growth. Trentemøller’s latest project ultimately needs variety and to indulge in its canned sounds, its success is demonstrated when it can build on the basic electronic elements.