imr14cd_1200Anyone who has ever listened to Trentemøller’s music knows that the Copenhagen-based producer’s sound is not easily classified. His new album Lost is no exception. Is it something to pump in the club or to play on a rainy Sunday afternoon? Is it possible that it’s both? Perhaps it doesn’t quite matter what we should call it and when we should play it. The important thing is that this album is worth a listen.

Lost maintains Trentemøller’s signature sound heard on his earlier releases The Last Resort (2006) and Into the Great Wide Yonder (2010) but features a more song-oriented program. His sound could be described as cinematic, and Lost certainly fits that billing, but here each song works on its own as a distinct piece of music. Every cut has clear structures and complex harmonies. The enhanced songwriting prowess is no doubt aided by the plethora of guests who join the album. These include Jonny Pierce of The Drums, Low, Sune Wagner of The Raveonettes, Jana Hunter of Lower Dens, Marie Fisker, Ghost Society, and Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead.

Even with the number of vocal guests, the few instrumental tracks lose none of the intrigue and heart of those with lyrics. Every track has something to say, whether it has words or not. Trentemøller’s sound is an enticing mixture of differing elements. The album sounds wholly organic despite the coexistence of digital and analog parts. He also fuses electronic sound sources and real instruments with seamless ease.

Trentemøller’s demolition of listeners’ expectations should not come as a surprise. We know it will happen and yet the opening track of Lost entitled ‘The Dream’ is still astonishingly unforeseen. The slow, somber track features warm vocals from Low whose heartfelt harmonies and minimalist arrangement lend themselves easily, if unexpectedly, to the Trentemøller aesthetic.


The rest of the album follows a somewhat more traditional (by Trentemøller’s standards) electronic vibe. He masterfully summons various melancholic moods with and without lyrics. ‘Trails’ is a guitar-driven slow jam that builds in intensity before dropping off, making way for a fluttering synth orgy to close out the track. It is the kind of song that could be used as a soundtrack to someone’s life in an action-packed moment.

‘Morphine’ has a haunting, minimal swing groove that evokes mysteriousness and wonder. The acoustic bass makes the song feel like an eerie, jazzed-out dream sequence, in the best way possible.

The longest and perhaps one of the most captivating tracks on the album is the closer ‘Hazed,’ which goes through many evolutions before finishing with a poignant, almost Chopin-like piano solo. Before that, though, we are guided with a pulsing bass through an atmospheric journey of ambient sounds. One could imagine that we are being taken into the recesses of Trentemøller’s psyche. The chords are striking and almost uplifting. That is, until the staggering tritone progression that could send a shiver down one’s spine.

The lyrics on the album, although varied in their content and delivery, all contribute to the work’s overarching sense of introspection. In ‘Gravity,’ Jana Hunter sings, “Let nothing stop you from being alone.” The first single off the album and one of its highlights is ‘Never Stop Running’ which features Jonny Pierce in a Sting-like performance. The song is perhaps also one of the most meditative on the album, with Pierce lamenting, “I don’t know where I’m going and if I don’t feel it in the air then I don’t know who I am.”


Lost coaxes the listener to look inside and search for the true essence of her or his life. It can also make the listener’s every day experiences feel altogether more cinematic and significant. Through his craft, Trentemøller sonically negotiates the dichotomy between life’s importance and its irrelevance. After such an accomplishment, who cares how we label his music?

Trentemøller’s Lost is available on iTunes and on the artist’s website.

Having been well traveled over the last year, I feel it necessary to compare two of the main cities I’ve visited, Copenhagen, Denmark and Manhattan, New York.   If you were to visit both for even a brief period as I have, you would in all likelihood find the differences to be that of night and day.

The city of Copenhagen and the borough of Manhattan are similar in population: about 1.6 to 1.9 million people live in each.   Manhattan obviously has a much higher population density as metropolitan Copenhagen is much larger in size.   That’s where I found the similarities ended, however.


The first thing I remember noticing when I arrived in Copenhagen was how expensive everything was.   The cost of living was a shock to the system as a simple bus fare cost about eight dollars American.   The cost of food & housing were high as well, as were the taxes and I couldn’t help wondering why anyone would want to live here.

Energy windmills in Copenhagen

In the cab on the way to the hotel I couldn’t help but realize the lack of traffic on the highway, even during rush hour.   There just weren’t any cars.   The cab driver told me that car owners had to pay as much as a 180% tax on their automobile purchases so most residents decided to ride bicycles.   He wasn’t kidding.   When I arrived downtown there were a vast amount of parking lots for bikes, not cars and of course parking the bikes was free.

Another thing I noticed was the lack of recycling bins which was curious to me as I had always thought that Copenhagen was at the head of the pack when it came to recycling and renewable energy.   As it turns out, most of the waste that is collected is sorted and recycled and the garbage that cannot be reused is incinerated and used to heat people’s homes.   In the end, only 3% of the waste is put into a landfill.

The last major observance I made was the food.   The first meal I had in Copenhagen consisted of three small pieces of unusual cheese and some crackers that set me back about twenty dollars.   The prices didn’t shock me as much as the portions did; everyone received quite little at least by western standards.   At least I never had to wonder why there weren’t that many heavy set people in Denmark

The bikes of Copenhagen and cars of Manhattan


Upon arriving in the great borough of Manhattan at the center of New York and many would say the world, one thing I spotted almost instantly (aside from the traffic) were the parking lots.   Cars stacked on top of each other in rows, sometimes three or four cars high.   I didn’t even think people drove much in New York with all the taxis.

Waste in Manhattan. How much of this is recyclable?

As I made my way down Broadway, I realized that Manhattan, like Copenhagen, also had no public recycling bins.   I even noticed that the sidewalks in the fronts of businesses were littered with recyclable garbage. According to a recent article in the Gotham Gazette, most NYC waste is driven out of the city and into landfills in other states and only 15% of residential waste is recycled and less than a quarter is recycled citywide.   A far cry from Copenhagen.

Seeing all that garbage naturally made me hungry, but I was actually hard pressed to find a restaurant of quality, at least near time square.   I finally found some nourishment at an Olive Garden restaurant and ate a big plate of spaghetti with garlic bread.   All for a fairly moderate price, unlike the cheap fast food everywhere else I was all but forced to eat most of the time.   At any rate, I didn’t have to think too hard about why there were so many obese heavyweights walking the streets.

During the ride home I pondered for quite a while about what I had seen in both towns.   It made me mad that us as westerners, whether we’re rich or poor, old or young still value money and comfort above the actual city and world we live in.   In fact we even seem to cherish money and comfort above ourselves.   Something has got to give.

I would happily trade in cars, garbage and cheap junk food for a cleaner, healthier city regardless of how much higher my taxes are.   Can you imagine how much better Manhattan would be if bikes and bixies replaced cars and cabs?   Now that would be a sight to see…

Well, this is going to be one bucket of sunshine, so strap yourself in and hear all the good we’ve been doing for the planet during the last year of the decade.

Having had my head buried in schoolwork for the past year, I have to admit that the topics I have chosen to write about since becoming a regular contributor on Forget the Box may not be the hot, burning environmental issues covered by regular media.   Maybe some of the problem is that the media doesn’t cover the hot, burning environmental issues that we should be hearing about.   The good thing is that many subjects regarding positive environmental action, no matter how big or small, is that it rarely has anything to do with “au courant” topics.

Elizabeth Penashue
Elizabeth Penashue and her husband Francis

I try to write about environmental, or socially-related environmental topics that I find important.   One of the most significant experiences I had over the year was canoeing with Elizabeth Penashue, an Innu elder who is fighting tooth and nail to protect her land Continue reading “Year end Green Bean review”

I am rather disappointed in having to cram for final exams.   It is preventing me from really exploring the important goings-on of the climate “negotiations” in Copenhagen, Denmark, which also puts a wet-blanket on what I am able to write for you.   Thankfully, I do have some friends and colleagues who are knee-deep in the melted ice-waters of this (can I also say, they are “current” with it… get it?).

As a special exam-cramming edition of Green Bean Tuesday, I will be presenting you with some links to articles that I hope will stir your imagination.   To learn more about what I think you might want to know about Copenhagen, please click on the stories that interest you.   They will lead you to a link on that subject.

Harper and the Conservatives haven’t   been that impressive at the conference as of yet (I hope you were sitting down for that one).   This has lead to many non-violent actions to call him to task.   Here is an important one regarding the tar sands.

There have been several hoaxes (and here) going around concerning some too-good-to-be-true legislation from Canada (to help the continent of Africa), which has left many Canadians angry.

There has been a messy situation where developing nations have been walking out of climate talks.

Oh boy.   And now I present you with my climate plea.

So much of the controversy over the climate change issue has to do with how it is presented in the media.   About 6 years ago, there was a gathering of over 1,000 renowned, accomplished scientists who released an official statement that we are in SERIOUS, serious trouble if nothing is done to reverse the climate change trend.

Hardly a peep was uttered throughout the world.   It’s simply amazing enough in itself that that such a gathering could produce something to agree on at all!

The role of the media is to present both sides of a story.   A major problem is in the representation that both sides receive and how the argument is framed.

If there are hordes of qualified professionals presenting one side, they get equal presentation of a small group of skeptics who may not be so well informed.   The public then takes this message and sees both sides as equal.   This cuts down all of the work done at the professional level at the knees.

We can see this so clearly with the climate issue.   I even have University-level educated friends and acquaintances who still deny that climate change is anthropogenically caused.   I personally find this maddening, especially after the irrefutable evidence, data and personal experiences of climate change that have happened in my lifetime alone.

It is my deepest wish that SOMETHING positive come out of these climate negotiations, at any scale.   The good news is that there are many empowered people across the globe who are working for change.

The bad news is that the effects of climate change are already in full force.   It may be too late to reverse this monster and it’s our own selfish, stupid, stubborn humanistic behavior that has landed us here.

The world will change, as it would change regardless of our presence.   It is the RATE at which these changes are happening is what’s scary.   The world and its plants and animals just can’t speed up evolution quickly enough to catch up to these changes and the result is a massive, enormous extinction.

This is happening in the forests.   Northern forest ecosystems live in the cold.   The ground is permanently frozen (called “permafrost”). The trees there are now slumping because of ground thaw.   Polar bears are too skinny to survive the long arctic winters, the ice is too thin and spread out for them to hunt seals.   Seal populations are hence left unchecked, which causes a decline in fisheries.

The ocean is changing, acidity is rising, which will weaken and kill calciferous animals, such as plankton, which feeds 80% of marine life.   Many rural farmers in developing countries (such as Ghana, where I had the privilege of living for four months) are experiencing shorter growing seasons and extended droughts.   They have heard of climate change, but say that this change is simply the will of God.

This is my planet just as much as yours, just as much as Wal-Mart and the rice farmers of Indonesia, just as much as the ants and wheat fields that feed you and the children who made your clothes.   What will it take to get things to change?   We’ve spoken about this so much that our voices risk becoming horse. The time for talk is so old and stale.   Will the next revolution please stand up?