Since the late '90s, Norwegian singer/songwriter Erlend Øye has been a prolific force of nature, releasing numerous albums, EPs, and singles with his two primary bands, the acoustic duo Kings of Convenience and the more electronic-based the Whitest Boy Alive. Outside of these two projects, he has acted as a collaborator with a wide array of pop and electronic acts, most notably appearing as the vocalist on Röyksopp's 2001 debut album Melody A.M. A native of Bergen, Norway, Øye moved to London in 1998, playing guitar in a band called Peachfuzz. During visits home, he and former high school bandmate Eirik Glambek Bøe would play together, eventually forming Kings of Convenience. Their quiet introspective indie pop drew inspiration from acts like Simon & Garfunkel and Belle & Sebastian, culminating in their 2001 breakthrough debut album Quiet Is the New Loud. After his collaboration with Röyksopp that same year, Øye developed an interest in electronic music and relocated to Berlin, immersing himself in numerous projects and traveling the world from this new home base. In 2003, he released the highly collaborative solo album Unrest, which was recorded in ten different cities with ten different electronic artists; he toured as a DJ, singing along live to the tracks. 2004 saw the return of his partnership with Bøe, as Kings of Convenience released their critically acclaimed follow-up Riot on an Empty Street. Around this same time, Øye formed the Whitest Boy Alive, a project which began as an electronic, dance-oriented act but later became focused on more organic, live playing. This band made its debut on Øye's newly formed Bubbles Records in 2006. In 2009, both Kings of Convenience and the Whitest Boy Alive released new albums. Over the following years, Øye became involved as a producer, making a pair of records with Norwegian indie band Kakkmaddafakka in 2011 and 2013. During this time, he relocated to the Sicilian town of Siracusa and released a new solo single sung entirely in Italian. Officially announcing the end of his Whitest Boy Alive project in 2013, he shifted his focus squarely on his solo work, traveling to Reykjavík to record his long-awaited second solo album with Icelandic reggae band Hjálmar. The resulting album, Legao, was released in October 2014.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo
© Timothy Monger /TiVo
14 albums sorted by Most acclaimed
Narrow my search
Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | Source UK
From the outside looking in, without having heard the music, it seems like Erlend Øye's intent with Unrest was to make an album that defined the antithesis of cohesion. First, there's the title. Second, there's the way this album came together: ten songs from ten cities -- from Berlin to Brooklyn to Barcelona -- with as many producers. And yet, Unrest is as uniform as an album can be, made up of three- to four-minute songs full of somber hooks that can be loosely categorized as very modern synth pop. Everything fits together so ideally that each of the producers (including Prefuse 73, Soviet, Morgan Geist, Schneider TM, and Mr. Velcro Fastener) must have been guided in some form by Øye, who lends his melancholy but confident voice to every song. Most everything is soft focus, slightly downcast, and heavily reliant upon mid-tempo rhythms that are danceable; however, this is definitely a home-listening album, or one that would also work well during a plane or train trip. The amount of time Øye spent traveling from city to city fosters that dimension of the album. He certainly owes a debt his producers, because each one seems to use a similar set of guidelines to come up with tracks that have distinct personalities. The opening "Ghost Trains," produced by Metro Area's Morgan Geist, has a half-Depeche Mode/half-D Train synth hook that stays imbedded in your memory; Mr. Velcro Fastener's turn on "Symptom of Disease" is based on a deep, melodic, adroit rhythm; "The Talk," recorded with Björn Torske, features elements of Chicago house (that lovely piano skip) and Dayton funk (the zapping synth bass), along with the type of vocal turn that wins over those who value a good collision of songcraft and dance-pop. Save for the unfortunate hip-hop slip-up of "Prego Amore," this is an excellent set of mellow electronic pop. © Andy Kellman /TiVo