Tue Sep 22 2009
Photograph: Tony Hart
Webster Hall; Mon 28, Tue 29
Fever Ray’s self-titled LP makes for an eerie horror-movie soundtrack, even without any visual accompaniment. But this recent solo project from Karin Dreijer Andersson of Swedish duo the Knife—whose self-titled debut album, released in March, is set for a deluxe CD/DVD reissue next month—has propagated itself into one of the year’s most psychologically immersive musical projects through a series of successively creepier videos.
Andersson cites Dead Man, screw music, Phil Collins’s “In the Air Tonight” and Miami Vice as inspirations for Fever Ray’s sonic palette, which jettisons the Knife’s icy techno beats and faux-tropical flourishes in favor of plodding bass and reverb. (If that makes the Miami Vice reference seem confusing, think of Don Johnson stewing through an existential crisis during one of the show’s more melodramatic interludes.) Lacking the vocal counterpoint her brother, Olof Dreijer, occasionally adds to the Knife, Andersson shifts among three personalities: a pleasant, feminine one; a heavily accented shrieking banshee; and a hideous, masculine voice pitched down through electronic processing.
The Knife has visited the States only once, and Andersson seems keen on abandoning the Fever Ray guise after a forthcoming European tour, so this week’s appearances likely represent the only opportunity to hear these songs played live. And with Andreas Nilsson, the Swedish artist behind the Knife’s aesthetic (and Fever Ray’s stunning “If I Had a Heart” video), running the show, the visual presentation should be as memorable as the music.—Jesse Serwer