You’ll never hear layered synths quite as lush as Fever Ray
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11.06.2024

You’ll never hear layered synths quite as lush as Fever Ray

Credit: Remi Chauvin

Karin Dreijer, a pioneer as both Fever Ray and The Knife, is a once-in-a-generation electronic musician.

Watching Fever Ray live, as they were at Hamer Hall across two nights for RISING, is a near-transcendent experience. Talk about a rich tapestry! It’s hard to think of another artist who can produce experimental music and make it as accessible and fun as Fever Ray does.

Then you factor in the dark ambience, haunting atmospheres, analogue, harshly pitched soundscapes and ethereal melodies and you wonder how it’s all possible. There is certainly an emphasis on enticing melodies throughout their work, which are used just often enough to keep you grooving and just sparingly enough to keep you guessing.

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

There’s also an undeniable rhythmic quality to Fever Ray’s live show, which reminded us a little of Talking Heads. The lamp from Stop Making Sense was there, as was the oversized suit and the knack for simple yet effective choreography.

Of course, the real standout was the pitch-shifting vocal work. At this stage we also have to reserve special mention for Fever Ray’s support in Mo’Ju, who possesses one of the greatest voices in Australian music (and pretty bloody decent production as well).

Dreijer has a vocoder with a knob titled ‘gender’, which they can switch at will. There’s a lot of androgynous experimentation happening within standout tracks like If I Had a Heart, but really, the ultimate effect is totally alien and absolutely wonderful.

This shadowy landscape is ignited by striking visual aesthetics. The excellent lighting rig at Hamer Hall was put to full effect, especially in the strobing and spinning stars that emanated from behind them.

The star attraction was of course Dreijer themselves, but their menacing smile and quiet nature were belied by the warm and embracing performances of their two backing vocalists and dancers, one of which was also a whiz on the keytar.

The most impressive aspect was the music itself though, the meticulous and innovative production that’s an inspiration to electronic artists everywhere.

Kudos to RISING for bringing them to Melbourne, check out the full festival program here.