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Röyksopp and Robyn: Two great sounds that go great together
Scandinavian acts Röyksopp and Robyn pair up nicely at the Hollywood Bowl.
BY PETER LARSEN / STAFF WRITER
Norwegian electronic duo Royksopp and Swedish electro-pop singer Robyn perform Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl.
KELLY A. SWIFT , CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Röyksopp and Robyn
Röyksopp: Intro music / The Drug / Happy Up Here / Remind Me / What Else Is There / Eple / This Must Be It / Senior Living / Running To The Sea / Poor Leno
Robyn: Be Mine / Love Is Free / Set Me Free / Indestructible / Work It Out / Stars Forever / Call Your Girlfriend / Dancing On My Own / With Every Heartbeat
Röyksopp and Robyn : Say It / Every Little Thing / The Girl and the Robot / Monument / Do It Again Encore: None Of Dem
The simple fact of a Röyksopp and Robyn double bill at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday promised to make for a special night of electronic-influenced music. The Norwegian duo Röyksopp work their keys and dials to create songs that run from chilled-out ambient to synth-rock. Swedish singer Robyn is a modern-day dancing queen of electro-pop. If they’d merely arrived as co-headliners, playing their own sets of their own songs, as they did for part of the night, that would have been plenty. But there’s a synergy that can happen when you mix two perfectly lovely elements and discover in the blending something new and even more wonderful.
And that’s exactly what happened at the sold-out Bowl for the final part of this night, when Röyksopp and Robyn, who in May released the collaborative mini-album “Do It Again,” took to the stage together, and like gin in tonic or ice cream on apple pie proved that the whole can indeed be greater than the sum of its parts. In a way, though, you needed the stage-setting of their individual sets to fully appreciate the peaks of the finish, so we’ll back up to the start when, after a brief opening turn by Swedish newcomer Zhala, the Röyksopp gents, Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland, walked out in the fading twilight to start things off with a hypnotic mood-setting instrumental intro.Unlike some electronic acts, Röyksopp came with a full band – two keyboard players, two drummers, guitar and bass – which gave Berge and Brundtland, center stage behind their gear, a full, warm sound on songs such as “Happy Up Here” and “Remind Me,” the latter of which brought Berge to the forefront for his vocals. For numbers such as “What Else Is There” and “Running to the Sea,” singer Susanne Sundfør joined the band, delivering the kind of Nordic vocal that seems to be simultaneously icy and warm, a lovely juxtaposition of emotions in her voice. As the sky above the band shell darkened, the funkier house grooves of mostly instrumental tunes, including “Eple” and “Poor Leno,” which wrapped up Röyksopp’s set, got more and more of the crowd up and dancing, the heavy beats under airy synth melodies at times sounding like Kraftwerk if they were more human than robot.
Without a break between sets Robyn followed Berge and Brundtland to the stage, the drummers and keyboard players remaining to accompany her as she danced and prowled the stage like the boxer her costume was designed to evoke. Where the Norwegians mixed moods between blissed out and dance-floor bangers, Robyn stayed firmly in the club with songs such as “Be Mine” and “Set Me Free.”A slower number like “Indestructible,” with its focus on the perils and pleasures of nightclub romance, felt thematically like a classic disco song in the way it plumbed the peaks of love and the poignancy of loss in its lyrics. Likewise, the glorious and bittersweet pairing of “Call Your Girlfriend” and “Dancing On My Own,” both of which were standouts here, felt like flip sides of the same story: the woman as new man-stealing lover in the first, the girl left behind in the second. If the night had ended there, after 90 minutes between the two acts, it would have been a fine night indeed. But as noted at the start the joint performance that followed elevated the show to something truly special.The final set opened with the murky groove of “Say It,” a love song of sorts between a woman and a mechanical-voiced machine. With Robyn lying on her back, singing while doing something akin to abdominal crunches, and Berge and Brundtland and the rest of the band wearing silver lamé full-head-covering masks, it felt thrilling and ominous all at once.
Slower songs from the “Do It Again” EP such as “Every Little Thing” and “Monument” found the guys back behind their boards and Robyn roaming the stage, while the uptempo number “The Girl and the Robot,” an earlier collaboration between these artists, brought Berge out in a robot mask to duet.Right before an encore of “None of Dem,” another earlier joint project, Röyksopp and Robyn closed the main set with the title track “Do It Again,” sounding every bit like the club anthem it is or surely will be. As I walked out at the finish it was that song that really stuck in mind: You’re so very good together, do this again soon. Please.