Subconsciously I have the bad habit of assign music I like with a personality. That must be why sometimes you identify yourself with some genre, artist or song in particular. I mention that because I found The Last Resort to be an interesting exercise, not only because it can be difficult to assign a personality to this album, but because you end up discovering that this album has something more than just personality.
It took me a while to figure it out though, because the minimalist genre is almost unknown to me. I came across this album because of Last.fm’s recommendation system, I believe in part because of my predilection for some artists on the electronic genre. It’s no surprise then that this album blends electronic, minimalist and downtempo in a subtle way, so subtle that it makes it hard to label it in a single word.
An intriguing detail I noticed, and maybe this is just me, but from day one, just by looking at the album’s artwork gave me the impression that most of the journey would be done in a cold atmosphere. To this day I can’t listen to this from start to finish without feeling that in some sort of way I’m walking through the cold forest depicted in the artwork. Makes sense to me.
Mental images aside, there are songs here that will appeal to a wide range of listeners from different genres. One minute you are immersed in a dense, fast electronic beat, and the next one you are feeling warm and relaxed with some brilliant downtempo tunes. This in part is what makes this album a winner in my book, because Trentemøller took the risk to deliver a diverse and yet very well-balanced collection of songs. Very risky if you consider that this was Trentemøller’s first solo album back in 2006.
For those like me who enjoy looking for new meanings and finding different ways of experience music, this is one of those albums that can gain a great replay value over time. If you were paying attention, in the introduction I mentioned that this is an interesting exercise, and the reason is that even though this is album is surrounded by a very formal, nearly theatrical finish embedded into every song, there’s consistent evidence of the attempts made by the author to engage you into imaginary scenarios and situations through the music. Quite an experience on its own, let me say.
Due to my well-known predilection for downtempo, my favorite songs from this album are what I consider to be the best tracks overall. Of course, this can only mean that someone with a different appreciation for these genres will have a different opinion. While The Cold Winter Waiting sits right in the middle of the album, and it just irradiate everything with a very calm, warm and serene mood, which I always compare to a moment of peace and intimacy in a shelter, in an otherwise merciless cold place. Nearing the end of it, it leaves you with a sensation that everything is about to fade and you have to leave the comfort of your shelter and face reality again, but you can’t help but to enjoy it until the last second.
And as a way of saving the best for last, Miss You is the last track of this album, and let me put it this way, what a masterpiece it is! A gem, not only for its mysterious, almost benign sensation, but because while it features a minimum amount of instruments it manages to be the most fulfilling track in the entire record. Whether you like minimalist music or not, this track has what it takes to be considered a fine example that you can build perfection without overdoing anything.
Some other songs that might be of interest are Always Something Better and Moan. Always Something Better is a fine example of how an elegant electronic track should sound any day, while Moan has a somewhat strange way of produce a sensation of anxiety. These two are biased towards a more electronic nature, so that might satisfy those who are not particularly interested in downtempo.
And this is probably as far as I can go without spoiling the complete album for future listeners. The rest of the job has to be done individually, as this is just a review based on my personal appreciations. Rest assured that this will grow on you, and the feelings and thoughts this produces will not only be based on your own experiences, but also you will agree with most of what I’ve said even if you discovered or experienced this album in a different way.