Norwegian duo Röyksopp compensated for the cold climes of their native Tromsø by making some of the warmest, most inviting downbeat electronica of the 21st century, exemplified by early tracks like "Eple" and "Poor Leno." The pair, Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge, both grew up in Tromsø and began recording in the early '90s. Local-made-good Geir Jenssen (aka Biosphere) provided tutelage and almost convinced the duo to record for R&S sublabel Apollo. After a few years apart, Brundtland and Berge met up again in Bergen and re-formed Röyksopp in 1998.
The group released a few singles on Tellé, then signed up to the big beat label Wall of Sound. The Röyksopp debut was 2001's Eple single; both "Eple" and another track ("Poor Leno") earned slots on over a dozen chillout compilations that year or the next. Their first full-length, Melody A.M., appeared in late 2001. After spending a few years performing live and remixing artists including Beck and Annie, Röyksopp returned with new material in 2005; the single Only This Moment heralded the summer release of the duo's second album, The Understanding, which featured more traditionally structured songs than their earlier work.
The live EP Röyksopp's Night Out appeared a year later, and the third album -- Junior, their most upbeat set -- came in March 2009. It was followed, appropriately, by Senior, a relatively sedate album of all instrumentals released in 2010 that became the duo's fourth consecutive number one album in their homeland. Late in 2013, they resurfaced with the single Running to the Sea, a collaboration with Susanne Sundfør. The following May, their collaboration with Robyn, Do It Again, balanced the duo's lush, introspective sound with her commanding vocals.
In September 2014 the duo advertised the forthcoming release of their fifth album, The Inevitable End, which they announced would be their last release "in the traditional album format." A darker, more high-energy affair than before, it was released in November of that year. The effort featured vocals by Sundfør ("Save Me" and "Running to the Sea"), Jamie Irrepressible ("You Know I Have to Go," "I Had This Thing," "Compulsion," and "Here She Comes Again"), and a reworked version of the Do It Again single "Monument" with Robyn. In 2016, Röyksopp contributed to the Star Wars Headspace compilation with the track "Bounty Hunters" and also issued another Susanne Sundfør collaboration, Never Ever. ~ John Bush
- Bergen, Norway