It’s the first time Anders Trentemøller has spoken about his newest album, titled Fixion and out Sep. 16, to anyone outside of what seems to be an inner circle with a very small diameter. The Danish artist, now 42 and known since his 2006 debut The Last Resort for grand but disciplined, pained but sky-gazing electronic compositions, seems happy to get the work out of his head, saying he shows it to no one until its complete. Fixion is his most minimal, elemental and brutalist output, arriving on the heels of a decade of slow whittling and refinement — and sharp turns.
“It has been a long, natural development… not something that I really have planned,” Trentemøller says, wide-eyed and kind and easy to smile, sat in the sun somewhere in Brooklyn. “When you’re doing music on your own now, you have so many possibilities… I really tried to cut it to the bone.”
That excision is clear on Fixion‘s debut single — the video of which we’re very pleased to be premiering, just above this sentence — “River In Me.” It’s a relatively joyous piece of jump, bass-propulsed and featuring vocals from Jehnny Beth, singer of Savages (whose most recent record, Adore Life, Trentemøller mixed). Despite his newfound simplicity, “one of the most simple tracks on the album” — really, it sounds like the work of a band — the contours should be familiar to his fans.
“Normally it takes me quite a long time to find the final sound and final shape of each song,” he says of “River In Me,” which he and Beth, who penned its lyrics and came having done her homework, recorded at his home in Copenhagen. “So… this only took 20 minutes. It was one of the quickest songs I’ve ever written,” he says, going on to suggest that the physical proximity of the pair — he usually collaborates with his (mostly female) vocalists digitally — was also responsible. “Most of it was actually doing it on the spot — that was a very new way for me to work.”
Trentemøller’s past work — nearly all of it — has been fundamentally mutated and kaleidoscoped through remixes, sometimes multiple times for a single song, both by himself and others. Look at that discography: Lost Reworks, Reworked/Remixed, The Trentemøller Chronicles. It gives the library a sense of life, like a shifting fog, a snaking vein of mineral. His work on others’ music has been equally transformative, and often elevates the music well above its original scope and beauty — Kira Skov’s “Celebrate My Life” is a striking example.
With Fixion, that legacy of fluidity is going to take place on the stage, which he will be taking to in an extended tour next year after a small run this fall. “I kind of incorporate the band feel in the way that I write music now,” he says. But regardless of what’s on wax, “whatever works best live, that idea wins. Of course I still have a really clear vision of how I want it to sound.”
“If I sounded the same as I did fifteen years ago, it’d be boring. I don’t really care that much about the styles and everything… as long as I feel like it’s the right thing for me to do.”