Trentemøller: ‘Fixion’

Recreational phantasmagoria for the future

Any James Joyce reader knows that words have wings to fly from its unambiguous letters’ formulation via phonetics and, at the same time, sounds can create new spellings and meanings. Well, let’s play this game. In phonetic transcription ‘Fiction’ is [‘fɪkʃən]. Voluntary or not, we can make a mistake by spelling ‘fiction’ as ‘fixion’, and the resulting sound will be the same, [‘fɪkʃən]. Joyce once said that “mistakes are the portals of discovery”. Let’s keep on this mistaking act, mistake upon mistake. Let’s convert error ‘Fixion’ #1 in error ‘Fix-i-on’ # 2, which goes to change the sound of it into [fɪks-aɪ-ɒn]. This excessive break of unity needs a spelling arrangement, at least to become ‘Fix I on’. Voilà, we’ve got a new framework: ‘Fix eye on’. Joyce took the ambiguous phonetic relationship between personal pronoun ‘I’, [aɪ], and the organ of sight ‘eye’, [aɪ], looking for the most personal view of modern times in “Ulysses”. NYC’ graffiti culture followed it unconsciously as well as Prince did it for the new alphabet fixed on the streets’ walls, and finally everything has been twitted and whassaped. We could go further on this creating exercise to end up into the state of ‘Fixation’, [fɪk’seiʃən], but that would need a ‘t’, [ti:], sorry, more than a cup of tea, [ti:]. Enough. Where am I going to?

All this goes to introduce what Anders Trentemøller explains about his fourth studio-album ‘Fixion‘, released through  In My Room a week ago (2016.09.16): ‘Fixion’ is an “unreal reality”, an imaginary construction. More specifically, a personal approach to what (was) it’s a musical reality, related to the late 70’s and early 80’s: post punk electronic way-out. It’s an obviousness to say that ‘Fixion’ belongs to a Joy Division, Felt, New Order and The Cure’ recreational phantasmagoria, because it’s a sound evidence for the twelve tracks of the album. Not only the mentioned but hints as varied as Suicide, Siouxie & The Banshees, Cocteau Twins, even brief repeating vocal rushes a la Patti Smith, and The Motels’ intro mood are spread through it. ‘Fixion’ is an act of love that deserves nothing more than a recognition; first for his sincere exposure and, secondly, for the bravery of being his own. That should never be used as a simple punch line.

The Danish musician/producer contemplates a universe, a parade of memories, a musical legacy that deserves a rereading in order to create from it. It’s not a matter of preservation. This musical movement has prevailed as one of the major influences for the last four decades, and it doesn’t need his intervention at all. What it is significant on Fixion’ is that contains a directional sense of future. We know what it’s been written, with every corresponding sound to each spell, and what Trentemøller has done is to take this well known framework, that immense rich musical ‘Phoenicia’ (used in historical sense) that was capable to trade guitars for synths, those visceral and raw attitudes into a never ending existentialist loops of industrial no-id’s and no-waves to a resume. In the meantime, using what we recognize in titles like ‘One Eye Open’, ‘Redefine’, ‘My Conviction’ and ‘River In Me’, along with instrumentals tracks like ‘Sinus’, evocative ‘November’ and ‘Circuits’, all inserted on an irrefutable skeleton of electropunk, he punctuates production details that deserve more than a listen, morphing a cohesive and assertive melodic statement of experimentalism, aside of what it’s evident and familiar to anyone. This driven-song effort needs voices in a concise well framed scheme, ethereal voices to be exact, colliding with what it is conceived as a more wide open and expanded sound proposal, compared to previous ‘Lost’ (2013). There are only three vocalists this time. All of them modulating a same kind of register: longtime fellow Dane Marie Fisker, Lisbet Fritze and Jehnny Beth. The latter breaks the vocal’s continuum atmosphere in ‘River In Me’, where she sings as it is demanded, like her leading role on British post-punk quartet Savages.

With “Fixion”, Trentemøller enters into the chapter of what electronics can do for the 21st century’s popular music, and he’s been incepted in a dark, minimal and romantic way, choosing one of the most creative fluxes that it is deeply rooted in our hearts. Expecting his output of ‘Fixion’ on tour, in a full-band conception.

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