What do Charles Darwin, a Swedish synth-pop duo, a Danish performance group and an opera singer have to do with each other? You can find out right now by streaming the entirety of The Knife's 92-minute electro-opera, Tomorrow, In a Year, as part of NPR Music's First Listen series.
Now, hardly anything conventional has come out of the Knife camp: The duo's records are for dancing, but in a room full of masked ne'er-do-wells; the live concerts are visual stunners with costumery and laser shows, but no one knows what the brother and sister look like; sister-half Fever Ray accepted an award recently, but with a melted face. But topping it all (for now) is Tomorrow, In a Year, a sometimes confounding -- in the best possible way, of course -- piece of work.
If you're still scratching your head after listening to the opera, you can hear an interview roundtable featuring The Knife and its collaborators Mt. Sims and Planningtorock below. With pitch-shifted voices (why not, right?), the four musicians explain the opera's origins, how Olaf Dreijer and Planningtorock mimicked animal sounds with synthesizers, and "non-representational represention" (your guess is as good as mine, smartypants).
Stream The Roundtable Interview With The Knife, Planningtorock And Mt. Sims.
The Knife On Its Darwin Electro-Opera
Hear The Knife's Tomorrow, In A Year In Its Entirety