18 January 2011

A moment out of time

'Pass This On' is an old single by a mysterious Swedish duo of siblings: The Knife (the track later appeared in the 'Deep Cuts' album, 2003). The video of the track, in its fomat, is rather a short film than a music video. Directed by Bo Johan Renck, this is a tiny masterpiece in its own right.
A slow party for a local football club. It appears from the melancholic mood that the team just lost a game. Or is it just a regular hangout for the football guys? The setting appears to be a pre-Ikea Scandinavian cottage that probably acts as a hunters hangout on Wednesdays and as a venue for birthday parties on Fridays. In this particular moment, out of time, the entertainment in the venue is a drag show provided to football players by a lipsynching travestite. The tune is catchy, remeniscent of disco hits, and yet... there is this lingering feeling that something is off... It makes you feel uncomfortable. The performer, seductive and alluring, moves to that very element of the song that is off... The audience feels it, too. You can almost hear their thoughts as the camera zooms on them.
"This feels all wrong, this feels all wrong, but... Do I actually like this...?"
The viewers don't communicate among eachother. The song seems to leave no room for mobs or couplings. Once lured to dance, each spectator dances alone, toward rather than with the performer... the caster of the spell... the pied piper...
What will happen once the tune dissapears?
And why is only the girl bewildered? She seems the only person to have escaped the allure...
The bewildered girl is Karin Dreijer Andersson, the actual singer: the most we were allowed, to date, to see of this duet. The Knife hardly ever appears in public, and then wearing beaks (!) and masked.
The song of whispers, the video of spells and the band of fairies: a fairy tale.


  1. The concept from the video repeated in this 'live' performance in a TV studio, see at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU1JrMS45RQ&feature=fvst
    Note: The Knife never appears in person. They sent 'friends' to collect awards, too.
    In fact, the staring girl at the end of the video is the actual singer of the duet. Otherwise, the duet hardly ever appears in public, and when they do they wear masks.

  2. Do you maybe happen to know, why?

  3. Why they don't perform in public? They were of course asked about that: they responded that they were a studio band, that their music is made in a small room on the computer and not in a garage with instruments. Accordingly, they explained, live show did not feel natural for their music. Also, Olof (he is actually the guy that first begins to dance in the video) seems very introvert and uncomfortable when forced to deal with the camera...

  4. Cool. Do you maybe know how they broke then? Into public eye, I mean.
    Aja, greets! Anja

  5. Apparently, they broke from Sweden into the international market when José González covered their 'Heartbeats'...
    What I don't know is how they made it in the first place, from their home computer to the Swedish public...
    I think that knowing answers to questions like that would probably make me a very sought after music manager ... ;)

  6. Anja, check the Sony commercial (for Bravia) with the 'Heartbeats' cover by José González, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-qJu20do0o
    This is probably what brought them most in the limelight...
    For the original song by The Knife, press here:

  7. Thanks, also for the LA link! I asked cause I had a similar discrepancy with Gorillaz - unsolvable, to my mind, that is. But yeah, on the other hand, if you check how Raised by Swans made it to my comp, par example, the path seems the same in all the cases: media, covers, movie soundtracks. Visuals are the key to it all, I guess, and it looks like we're listening with our eyes. :) Salut aux Pays-Bas!