More Sound Design from Scandinavia
Despite the Googles and Wikis claiming his involvement with music just since 2005, on his surname-only debut Swedish drummer/producer Andreas Kleerup sounds like he’s been in the indie-dance game forever. Come to think of it, from ’05 to now is about halfway to forever in that busy genre.
With that in mind, Kleerup the man and Kleerup the album bring little new to the field. Clearly, though, Kleerup knows what works and drives that fact home relentlessly, emphatically, over crisp electronica that fits into the underground as easily as it fits into what passes for forward-thinking pop (hi, Timberlake) and rap (hi, Kid Cudi).
Granted, there are moments on Kleerup—last year’s Swedish original and this year’s slightly reconfigured worldwide release—where what passes for forward-thinking in Sweden comes across here in the States as majestically cold. Tracks like “Hero” and the Titiyo-sung “Longing for Lullabies,” for example, channel the stilted oompah of Russian nightclubs up and down our East Coast.
Thankfully, Kleerup is based on singles that started appearing in 2007 as well as other newer studio work using vocalists from the blowin’-up (Lykke Li) to the who-dat (Marit Bergman). Tracks like “History” and “Until We Bleed” are smooth, supple, bubbling-under electropop. Robyn also contributes “With Every Heartbeat,” the Kleerup-produced track that helped build her street cred.
If one element of Kleerup overcomes even the most Eurotrashy trappings, it’s the instrumentals. There’s the chugging “Thank You for Nothing,” the new title a dig at the song’s omitted vocalist, Cyndi Lauper. “Tower of Trellick,” the B-side to “Longing for Lullabies,” is a tight house-music spiral. The wide open spaces in “I Just Want to Make That Sad Boy Smile” comprise a surprisingly sad finale toeing the line between the hard edges of 8-bit music and Boards of Canada’s atmospheres.
Kleerup seems to take an IKEA approach to his sounds. They’re versatile, ubiquitous and attractive, almost to the dual points of annoyance and facelessness. Still, you somehow want to fit a whole bunch into your surroundings.