I forgot all about Royksopp. I loved their debut, Melody A.M. - I was working in a music store at the time and new music was arriving, daily. (Obviously.) It was a good time to be working in music retail - for a start there were still customers. And though, very swiftly, the various taglines for a downbeat/chillout/cafe-culture/esoterica-styled subgenre of dance/electronica was somewhat annoying - and then all too quickly it became absurd actually - there was still, for a time, some wonderful new music. It was easy to get turned on to a lot of things. You were making recommendations; in turn you were receiving some from loyal - informed - customers. And fellow passionate staff members.
And in my case I was just starting to seriously get into the reviewing game. I'd done my days with the student rag and the Capital Times too but I was - at the time - moving onward, upward, getting my first reviews in the newspaper and even (for a short time) the Air NZ in-flight magazine.
One of the albums I reviewed for the Air NZ magazine was Melody A.M.
All I really knew was that I liked it - instantly. And that was enough. The band (a duo) was from Norway. The album sounded great and made you feel good.
Eple was a trip, it seemed to slide all over the place, a hip-hop beat to anchor.
Sparks had a lush, late-night R'n'B-meets-dance (and, er, yes, chillout) feel to it. In Space reminded me, just a tad, of one of my favourites from the time, Aphex Twin. And then Poor Leno, with its carnival-like percussion and the vocals of Erlend Oye (his group Kings of Convenience was another music-store find for me; another act popular with the punters and there was a link there too; the Kings being another Norwegian group).
We were reminiscing about this album last week - you see, it was one of the great late-night driving albums. We'd play it regularly on Friday night trips up the coast - or Thursday if we were able to sneak a long weekend. Sometimes on a late crawl back, hung over of a Sunday eve, Melody A.M. was the balm.
But I never really cared for the other albums by Royksopp. A token listen, cursory glance. I just never felt they offered anything new or different. And that's what Melody A.M. was - when I first heard it anyway. It presented itself, announced itself, as something new and different. The music was accessible, hypnotic; it was an album that was easy to get lost in.
Well, Royksopp has now released an entry into the Late Night Tales compilation series.
This entry not only reminded me of Royksopp (featuring, as it does, two new songs from the band), it also reintroduced me to this great series.
The idea seems to be to make a mix album for a late-night nightcap. But I've enjoyed this album in the car - far from the bar, away from any nightcaps, comedowns and wired post-party shenanigans.
Purveyors of fine taste and super-cool kitsch moments, Royksopp even found a use for Little River Band.
It's been my go-to travel-album of late. And the other week it provided a suitable late-night driving soundtrack.
Cue our conversation, our reminiscing around Melody A.M. and all the times that album guided us home.
Forgive me if I've touched on this topic before - between here and the frequent Facebook posts I can't quite remember what's been covered where sometimes - but at any rate, following yet another gush over Daft Punk's Random Access Memories and how it's a "great late-night driving album", I was asked to offer up a post proffering that exact question: what's your favourite late-night driving album?
We're not talking key tracks - like Dreaming While You Sleep by Genesis, say or Spiders (Kidsmoke) by Wilco - but actual albums. What do you like to load up and drive over the Rimutakas to? Have you done a late-night Desert Road drive with one album in particular that keeps you awake, keeps you focused and makes that long, lonely time feel oh so good?
But for now it's up to you to use the space below to share your late-night driving album favourites below. And I'd recommend Royksopp's Late Night Tales mix. Meanwhile, I'm off to give Melody A.M. another whirl. You know me, just for old time's sake...
What's your great late-night driving album?
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts.