Not even 6 months since the release of 'Fixion', his 4th studio album, Trentemøller is back with a new single entitled 'Hands Down'. A post-punk and indie electronic gem featuring the killer vocals of jennylee from Los Angeles band Warpaint. As per usual, Trentemøller has included a 'Blissed Out' rework of the track. So then, where to begin? I suppose the original mix is the best place...
Just when you think you've got him figured out, Anders goes and flips all expectations on their head. From the second you press play, you are instantly greeted with a simple drum beat and bass line at an urgent tempo. There is something about the notes being played and the how they mesh with the beat that reminds me of old spy movies. Perhaps it's the key? I'm not sure, but I'm a fan. Then, 8 bars in, the slightly uncomfortable tone of jennylee's voice instills a definitely-post-punk theme to the track and adds some Los Angeles rawness to the otherwise polished tune.
As the track progresses, and you start to settle into what you think to be a darker more driving theme, the breakdown comes and things shift into a much more uplifting direction. This is actually one of the things I really love about Trentemøller's music- it's almost polarizing. Actually, I don't know if that's even the right word, but it sounds cool and dramatic, so let's go with it. What I mean to say, is that his ability to interweave both the dark and the light together flawlessly creates an atmosphere that leaves you unsure if you should cry or smile. How he does this so well, fuck knows, but it's incredibly inspiring. With all that being said, Hands Down ends as abruptly as it starts.
As stated, the release also comes with a rework that Anders has called the 'Blissed Out Mix'. First, can I say that I absolutely love that he does this? As an artist myself, I've made many different versions of my own tracks that most likely will never see the light of day, but the fact that he includes these is great. And not only that, but the alternative version is usually just as good, if not even better than the original mix. So, now that that's out of the way, let's dig in.
If your expectations of Trentemøller are based solely on his last album, this Blissed Out Mix is probably much more along the lines of what you were thinking you'd be hearing before you even listened. At least, that's what I was expecting. Silly me. Upon clicking play, we are greeted by a single guitar, and then a second more subtle guitar part on top to create a nice harmony. The chorus-y, reverbed out riffs create a large, dark dreamlike setting in which jennylee's vocals come in like a haunting reminder of a bad breakup. The track is bare bones, as in no drums, not even a bassline. While I listen to this version, if I close my eyes, I see blacks, blues, and purples swirling in indistinguishable patterns. Is that weird? It's only with about a minute left in the track do we get any sort of percussion or bassline. The drums are big and the bass is subtle, but it just works so well. The ONLY thing I wish this track had, was a longer drum part. But that's not a complaint.
Overall, this is a great release that only solidifies what we know about Anders Trentemøller: He's a fucking legend. His sound is constantly evolving, yet his identity remains fully intact. This, in my opinion, is how things should be. Constantly growing, but never alienating your fans. Oh, and also-typical-Trentemøller-fashion, the music video for Hands Down is absolutely weird as fuck. Where does this guy come up with this stuff? Again, fuck knows, but I love it.
Final score: 10/10
To get your hands on this amazing release, click here.