I was turned onto Trentemøller through my interest in house music, having it described to me as a cutting edge electro-house cd. Really, "The Last Resort" is a far more minimal, downtempo electronic affair, with greater emphasis on ambience and atmospherics rather than thumping house beats. Most of the songs showcase a sophisticated writing approach that goes beyond basic build-up play. Instead, the songs have an overt progressive structuring to them, shown especially with the sublime opener "Take Me Into Your Skin". The song starts with lifting ambient sounds, with textures gradually building to what I imagined to be a huge beat drop, but instead the ground gives way to a surprising anti-drop, a minimal beat driven by a heavy base, sounding as if you've just been plunged underwater. The song twists and turns as it re-builds steam, showcasing a deft touch for textures and layering, and a use of very organic sounds that forges a quite natural, dream-like atmosphere (this is a recurrent effect throughout the album). Gradually this builds to the final climax of a thunderous half-time full-on electro assault. The rest of the album tends to follow suit with this progressive styling, with most songs fashioning varying dynamics and sequences.
One aspect of the album I particularly enjoyed was the use of acoustic instruments. Being a guitarist and drummer myself, I always enjoy good use of acoustic sounds in electronic music. Two songs predominantly stick out for this, the first being the wondrous title track. The song evolves around a fast, swirling finger-plucked classical guitar part that is paired with a down tempo trip-hop beat, making for a trippy, trance-like groove. "Into The Trees (Serenetti Part 3)" builds its way through baselines and textural themes until it breaks down into acoustic drumming. A drum roll/march steadily builds as layers are added behind the mix, lifting the volume until a blistering drop is unleashed. This is one of the few moments on the album that showcases more traditional electro-house styling, and it works magnificently. The drumming is carried on throughout as the volume levels begin to drop and the song returns to the minimal electro groove.
Trentemøller has created a fresh sounding, exciting sound with "The Last Resort". This has become one of my favourite electronica releases in recent years. Highly recommended.