Shaking The Habitual Album by The Knife

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The Knife‘s first album in seven years is the Swedish duo‘s most political, ambitious, accomplished album, but in a strange way it also feels like its most personal, a musical manifesto advocating for a better, fairer, weirder world.

Boundary-busting in content and in form, the 2xCD Shaking the Habitual challenges plenty of perceived notions– about extreme wealth, the patriarchy, the monarchy, environmental degradation, decreasing attention spans (“It’s nice to play with people’s time these days,” Andersson says in explanation of the record’s marathon length), and not the least of which the Knife’s own identity as a band. The winding, unbridled song structures and industrial-tinged, organic sounds are such a departure from the rest of their output that they’ve said they initially considered releasing it under a different name. Shaking certainly pulls from a wider aesthetic palette than any of their previous records: found sound drones (they crafted the 19-minute “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized” from editing hours of electronic feedback they’d recorded in a boiler room), zithers, an instrument they apparently made out of “an old bedspring” and “a microphone”– all employed in the name of breaking their own habits. “We went temporarily acoustic,” they declared in the madcap manifesto that served as Shaking’s press bio. “Electronic is just one place in the body.”

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