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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Hanne Hukkelberg
Rykestrasse 68

Rating: 9.2/10 ?

March 7, 2008
Norway has been the source of a lot of fine music in recent years, most of which has been of a more electronic nature, and it's been easy to reach for terms like "The Norwegian Electronic Sound" when trying to convey to friends and family what exactly the Norwegian scene has been all about ever since Royksopp exploded. But its been several years since Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge defined the Norge sound, and 2008 brings a new northlander to rewrite the dictionary on terms used to describe Norwegian music. Her name is Hanne Hukkelberg, and fans of Jens Lekman and Múm would do well to start memorizing words and terms like "jazzy", "eccentric", and "so fucking great," as a plethora of flattering adjectives will be needed when talking about her music.

Rykestrasse 68 is the title of Hukkelberg's sophomore album, a work inspired by her time living in Berlin. The album's is very mature, yet incredibly playful; Hukkelberg manages to find melodies that are both timeless (as in opening track "Berlin") and possessing of an incredible depth ("Break My Body"). To stave off boredom, she floods the listening experience with samplings of everyday objects, from typewriters to kitchen utensils, and at times goes so far as to build entire rhythm tracks around these sounds.

The music of Rykestrasse 68 is infused with curiosity and a lust for experimentation, and where most artists fall flat, Hukkelberg manages to make her music both avant-garde and accessible at the same time. I can see the jazzy chanteuse's music being enjoyed and analyzed by 14 year old high school kids looking for something new to rock out to, as well as art school students spending hours curled up on a sofa dreaming up their next big project, with a big cup of tea in front of them, petting their cat whilst smoking slim French cigarettes. That's how multitalented and broadly appealing Hukkelberg's work is, and in a desperate attempt to liken her - although not necessarily her music - to a similar artist, I have to mention Björk.

Like the eccentric Icelandic art-pop diva, Hukkelberg possesses a mystic quality of untouchability that allows her to do her own thing, without compromising her sound or artistic vision. And like Björk, Hukkelberg can go her own way and at the same time make music that is appealing to a wide range of people. Hukkelberg is like the female, Norweigan, post- millennial translation of David Bowie, and that, my friends, is true talent.

So, do yourself a favor, and learn some new words and phrases before attempting to convey Hukkelberg's place above and beyond the new standard of cute girls from cold climates with acoustic guitars and drum machines. If you have trouble settling on an apt set of descriptors, I suggest starting off with intimate, warm, sweet, or mellow, and working your way up to breathtaking, astonishing, cerebral, and multifaceted. Any way you slice it, you'll need to expand your vocabulary in the wake of Rykestrasse 68.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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