Track Marks: How The Knife Became This Week’s Biggest Band In The World

Nov 6th, 2006 // 22 Comments

Welcome to another edition of Track Marks, where your Idolators perform an autopsy on the latest MP3-blog sensation. Today, we look at the Swedish electro duo The Knife, whose Google Blogsearch results have been off the charts in the wake of their American live debut.

Artist: The Knife
Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
Album: Silent Shout, 2006
First online mention: Back in 2003, Matthew Perpetua at Fluxblog talked about how he “couldn’t get enough” of the band’s breakthrough single “Heartbeats.”
The Build-Up: Silent Shout was originally released in April, and it appeared on a handful of half-year best-ofs in the summer. Since then, they’ve been a pretty steady presence on both the Hype Machine and elbo.ws.
The Dam-Break: The Knife played four U.S. shows this week, and the write-ups were pretty much rhapsodic across the board; Fluxblog, Stereogum, The Merry Swankster, and a bunch of other people who were in town for CMJ attended the pair of NYC shows, while marathonpacks hit the band’s LA appearance.
Odds of Backlash: 9-1, although the Sheila E. comparison floated on Rob Harvilla’s Village Voice blog entry could be a harbinger of the dismissals they’ll see in the coming months.
Are They Worthy?: For the first time in the history of Track Marks, we can pretty much answer this question with an unequivocal “yes.” The chilly, arresting Silent Shout is one of our favorite records of the year, and the Knife’s NYC show was, in fact, that good; their projection-filled staging and masking, both physical and aural, of themselves to the audience turned the concept of “live performance” on its head in a breathtaking way.

The Knife – Like A Pen [MP3, link expired]
The Knife – One Hit [MP3, link expired]
The Knife [Official site]

idolator

  1. AcilletaM

    They need to be careful or they too will draw the ire of Steve Felton.

  2. shallowrewards

    And Fenton. Pass.

  3. Cheap Shot

    I saw them for CMJ. Laurie Anderson meets Blue Man Group. I do not lie.

  4. GeddyLee

    Twenty years from now, we’ll all look back at Silent Shout and realize that the Knife were all scamming us by making music so shitty-sounding, everyone had no choice but to think it was brilliance.

    How this record is so critically acclaimed is like, the eighth wonder of the world. It sounds like retarded robots farting lasers.

    Oh, like you don’t know what THAT sounds like…

  5. GeddyLee

    Ten years from now, we’ll all look back at Silent Shout and realize that the Knife were all scamming us by making music so shitty-sounding, everyone had no choice but to think it was brilliance.

    How this record is so critically acclaimed is like, the nine-fourteenth wonder of the world.
    It sounds like retarded robots farting lasers.

    Oh, like you don’t know what that sounds like.

  6. GeddyLee

    * Retarded like your delayed post-a-comments.

  7. shallowrewards

    Somebody needs to optimize some tables around here.

  8. The Mozfather

    In the future, we will only listen to retarded robot farts, and we will love it.

    After all, retarded robot farts are so much better than, say, Fergie’s farts, whose retardedness would be wholly improved if they were robotic.

  9. Mr. Kim Gordons Panties

    Photo caption:

    “If we can’t satisfy you with our dark, brooding Casio music, we can at least satisfy you with these giant nosecocks.”

    That was some mad suckage.

  10. AcilletaM

    “Hurry Robin, to the Batmobile.”

    “I’m not Robin.”

    “Right chum. No matter, for I’m not really Batman.”

    “Oh my.”

    “Oh my indeed.”

  11. mreasy

    What exactly did everyone expect? I was thinking “weird electronic music piped in over two people at a laserium,” and that’s exactly what I got. Totally satisfying. So what if they don’t really play live? They’re still 100 times better than watching a bunch of guys be awkward with guitars (I’m looking at you, Tapes ‘N’ Tapes).

  12. Kevin7

    Silent Shout is one of the best albums of late. The SF show was amazing. Channeling true old “industrial” [akin to the essence TG, Chris & Cosey], mixing with techy/electro beats of late, adding chilling vocals – certainly no “wonder” many are enthralled. Young hipsters who have as much music depth as the Strokes are left confused; no “wonder” there either.

  13. MJ

    Um, I kind of like it… (where are the “small” HTML tags of humility?)

    It’s the Bjorkesque lyrics/vocals that bother me the most, really, the music is fine by me.

  14. janine

    S’all right. Though it just makes me want to listen to SP’s Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse.

  15. Ozzy

    or is it Blue Man Group meets Eyes Wide Shut?

  16. Nicolars

    The big up by Perpetua makes me very suspicious, but I will have to check this out.

  17. The Lord God

    Mr. & Mrs. Knife, why did you look so stupid but sound so good? I say to you, please get out of the way so I can watch the show, or make yourselves lasers. Ok, thanks.

  18. turtel

    Whatever the Knife are like on their own, they have given the world Jose Gonzalez‘s cover of Heartbeats, which is super awesome despite being introduced to the world via a sony bravia ad, which (mock all you want) is awesome because it features 250,000 superballs bouncing through the streets of San Francisco (for real).

  19. Clare

    I met a guy on Halloween who went as half of The Knife: He’d made himself one of their nosecock masks. He said I was the only person who “got it.” Now, does that say more about me or the guy?

    I do like the Planningtorock remix of “Heartbeats.”

    twofivefour, you know Hand on Your Heart is a Kylie Minogue song, right?

  20. twofivefour

    I’d love to see Jose Gonzalez attempt the rest of The Knife’s recordings. Who wouldn’t want to hear We Share Our Mother’s Health set to acoustic guitar?

    Come on, this is the guy who recently released a cover of Hand On Your Heart! Complete with an ukiyo-e video!

  21. twofivefour

    Of course I know it. Which is why the cover amused me so much. And why I believe that we should just get Jose to cover every musical release. Ever. He doesn’t have to write an original song ever again, as long as he reinterprets everything else released.
    He doesn’t have to do any Millencollin, thoug. We’ll let Nikola Sarcevic redo his own.

  22. The Mozfather

    Uhm, yeah. The Knife’s original version of “Heartbeats” is far superior to Jose Gonzalez’s. Is everyone still so knee-jerky in their responses to electronic music that they need a toneless acoustic version to accept the song as good?

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