Trance inducing dream pop with ambient mixes
Danish electronic artist Trentemøller’s sixth studio album, Memoria, follows his 2022 EP No More Kissing In The Rain. This EP demonstrated potential for Trentemøller, as it infused ghostly vocals with his already established ambient sounds. These tracks sparked curiosity for listeners, as featured vocalist Lisbet Fritze’s vocals complemented the electronic sounds, creating a fantastical mix of dream pop electronic music. This latest fourteen-track album features all songs from No More Kissing In The Rain and sticks closely to Trentemøller’s already established atmospheric sounds.
Memoria doesn’t stray from the minimalist techno and atmospheric sound throughout its hour run time. This minimalist sound can both hinder and work for the album at large. Some tracks feel too simple and fragmented from others to feel special. The lack of change from track to track begins to show in the latter portion of the album. The track “Darklands” uses a stagnant electronic snare beat as its backbone, feeling too scared to do something else. The run time on this track leaves the ear wanting more, and the muted sounds paired with layered piano don’t engage enough, nor does it inspire any real feeling.
“Drifting Star” sparks some interesting space-influenced inspiration but lacks diversity. Similarly, “Veil Of White” suffers from the same consistency, and while the ghostly vocals attempt to transport the listener to a euphoria dream state, it doesn’t reach the level of eeriness that is needed. Vocals throughout Memoria can layer on top of the electronic backdrop perfectly or feel too simplistic in both lyricism and subject. “All Too Soon” suffers from this simplicity, as it falls in a forgettable dream-pop sound that mellows for too long to leave an impression.
Tracks like, “When The Sun Explodes” feel too tame for their bold title and too restricted to surprise listeners. The bass at the start of the track, followed by some interesting sound samples, begs for an explosion of chaotic electronic fusion. When the sun finally does explode, it’s too hollow and too late within the track to feel a sense of satisfaction. The beat change within the song doesn’t vary itself enough, leading to an underwhelming showcase for Trentemøller’s mixing capabilities. Rather than being a showcase for creativity and experimentation, “When The Sun Explodes” becomes a rather dull continuation of sounds found previously in Memoria.
Memoria truly shines when it embraces a complete atmospheric tone and showcases an energetic electronic sound. Musically, tracks like “No More Kissing In The Rain”, and “Dead Or Alive”, embrace a dance-inspired sound that is filled with fast, hard-hitting electronic styles guaranteed to excite. “Dead Or Alive” has an infectious hook featured throughout that is mixed to perfection. Distorted lyrics, a great bassline and dance elements in the background bring life to an otherwise slow-moving album. “No More Kissing In The Rain” is a fantastic dream-pop stand-out that infuses Fritze’s vocals in a romancing wisp. A burst of chimes and low bass build 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.” The first especially feels unique within the tracklist, as the song constructs a unique blend of foreign sound and space-like influences. This is the longest track on the record, yet never lingers too long and feels to shape over the six-minute listen. There is a layer under each sound that meld to make a dreamy experience within it. “A Summer’s Empty Room” is a simplistic, relaxing lounge track that uses choral, space-like noises to develop a glowing sound. The track never breaks its boundaries, but it exceeds what it is set out to do.
As a whole, Memoria is an album that fails to excite when it should, but surprises when it shouldn’t. The vocals within the album seem a better fit within the EP released earlier this year. While they have their standout moments within Memoria, they can get a bit lost. There is some serious potential for a pop-inspired album, however, Memoria isn’t brave enough to decide what it wants. Stand-out tracks push the album forward while some of the ambient sounds stunt its growth. Trentemøller’s newest project ultimately needed variety and to let loose on its boxed-in sounds. Its success is demonstrated when it can build on the basic electronic elements.