Album Review: Royksopp return supreme with long-awaited new album ‘Profound Mysteries’

As mysterious as it is engaging, the multimedia universe Royksopp have created firmly entrenches what they are known for, which is producing ardent, visceral electronic music.

image: stian andersen

The Breakdown


It’s been a long time coming (eight years to be exact) for Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp, as they release their latest album, the transcendent and darkly captivating Profound Mysteries. The work features guest appearances from Alison Goldfrapp, Beki Mari, Pixx and Susanne Sundfør. As mysterious as it is engaging, the multimedia universe Royksopp have created firmly entrenches what they are known for, which is producing ardent, visceral electronic music.

‘Profound Mysteries’ is an impressively vast project, comprising not just this release but also an accompanying suite of short films, working in tandem as imaginative, visual interpretations of the music. Royksopp themselves say: “As human beings, what we don’t know vastly overshadows what we do know. As teenagers, we would discuss our own fascination and preoccupation with the infinite and the impossible – the most profound mysteries of life.”

As intrigue began building earlier this year, conceptual project ‘Profound Mysteries’ was intended as an expansive creative universe. This was accompanied by the release of Impossible, the sensually kinetic third album track featuring Alison Goldfrapp. This is the first time a human voice is heard on the album. Of the collaboration, which followed the premiere of The Downfall by Marc Reisbig, Goldfrapp said: “It’s been great working with the wonderful Svein & Torbjørn from Röyksopp. I’ve been a fan of their music for years and it was a fascinating joy creating ‘Impossible’ together.”

Röyksopp had also launched the film (Nothing But) Ashes… with fans encouraged to Press «R». This is the album’s first track, setting a somewhat warped opening scene with its fluid piano and sparky synths. Alongside the Kasper Häggström-directed short film BJA, a second piece of music, dreamy and delicate track The Ladder, was released. A new artefact and visualiser, created by Australian contemporary artist Jonathan Zawada, gave further life to the music. On 22nd February yet another short film was released – The Conversation – from award winning Danish director Martin De Thurah (a previous Röyksopp collaborator on ‘Do It Again’ and ‘What Else Is There’). What followed was the wildly galloping techno track This Time, This Place, featuring the beautifully ethereal vocals of creative conceptualist, film director and former Nouvelle Vague singer, Beki Mari.

Röyksopp’s most recent collab is with Norwegian singer/songwriter Astrid S on the pulsating and exultant house track, Breathe. The accompanying short film for this one, I Hate My Shelf, was directed by award winning and internationally acclaimed Swedish filmmaker Andreas Nilsson (Kanye West, 2 Chainz, MGMT). A long-time Royksopp collaborator, Nilsson is known for his visually dynamic sense of humour. A bespoke immersive Breathe AR Filter based around the Profound Mysteries trefoil logo has been developed by Somewhere Systems, the immersive web agency responsible for the ‘Press R’ landing page. All elements continue to be accessible via the Profound Mysteries portal.

This whole concept is of course unnecessary for our enduring kings of electronica, yet it is one that remains inventive, slow-burning and successful- from generating the initial hype, through to its bewitching culmination. That each of the ten unique tracks has its own unique artefact and short film makes it that much more special. Profound Mysteries will be on high rotation round here for a while.  

‘Profound Mysteries’ is out NOW


01. (Nothing But) Ashes…

02. The Ladder

03. Impossible feat. Alison Goldfrapp

04. This Time, This Place… feat. Beki Mari

05. How The Flowers Grow  feat. Pixx

06. If You Want Me feat. Susanne Sundfør

07. There, Beyond The Trees

08. Breathe feat. Astrid S

09. The Mourning Sun feat. Susanne Sundfør

10. Press «R»

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