Comprising eight reworked tracks from the set-list of their recently completed tour, ‘Shaken-Up Versions’ marks the final phase to The Knife’s conclusion as one of the most influential experimental acts of the past two decades.
Across a track list spanning their four-(main)-album discography (one from their self-titled debut, two apiece from ‘Deep Cuts’ and ‘Silent Shout’, three from ‘Shaking The Habitual’) the Swedish siblings imbue ‘Shaken-Up Versions’ with a cohesiveness of craft and purpose that invigorates past tracks, provides a less obtrusive path for new listeners and makes for a suitably rowdy farewell.
Where ‘Shaking The Habitual’ (review) thrilled with a catharsis hard-won, ‘Shaken-Up Versions’ cuts straight to the pay-off. Sparse human hand claps open a quickly agitated ‘We Share Our Mothers’ Health’ bent in no small part to the dancefloor as it bleeds into the new-found hedonism of a jackin’ 4x4 ‘Got 2 Let U’.
The clattering electro-tribalism races ahead. ‘Ready To Lose’ is the sole rest in tempo and texture, smoothed and stretched to a reverential march that elevates Karin’s burning affirmation into a fittingly resolute centrepiece: “Ready to lose a privilege, dysfunctional culture spin me away.”
Shifting their past into their present, this intensifies retrospective beats with the primitive passion that’s always been at their core. For all the avant-garde shadows and nightmarish drones gone by, it’s clear The Knife really did want us to let go, stand up and join in.
Words: Kim Hillyard
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