System are Denmark’s longest surviving electronic “super group”. With a membership consisting of Thomas Knak (aka Opiate) Anders Remmer (aka Dub Tractor) and Jesper Skaaning (aka Acustic), their collective presence in Scandinavian electronica is all but impossible to ignore.
Formed in 1994 under the name Future 3 the group found instant recognition, not only in Denmark but also among international DJs such as Kruder & Dorfmeister, who listed Future 3's debut album among their top five albums of all time.
In 2002, after three Future 3 albums, the trio changed their name and signed to ultra-hip German label Scape, allowing the label’s then very clear minimalist profile to spill over into their sound.
Now, with their latest album, "B", the group have returned to the practices of their Future 3 days – when they were a major driving force behind the benchmark Copenhagen label, April Records – by working entirely alone in their choice of tracks.
On the record you can sense that their pioneering spirit has returned. Dark ambient moods mix with sublime melodies, dubstep rhythms and a timeless production that refers to both Phil Spector's "wall of sound" and King Tubby's dub experiments along with Brian Eno's soundscapes.
But in spite of these references "B" still comes across as a sound distinctly their own, borne out of a mature melancholy and a knack for getting electronic beats to swing organically.
System, being an electronic trio, are something rare and according to the group there is something very special about the interplay between three members which is lost if one is left out. "We complement each other in a good way. Duos are often very intense and intimate, where a third member provides some extra space. This gives a more relaxed atmosphere, while it is still clear, who's doing what” they tell.
While the roles on ”B” are as they always have been – with Skaaning on synths and keyboards, Remmer at the computer, and Knak as the aesthetician: listening, conducting and directing – there are innovations to be found too, with the album displaying a far more robust sound universe and a darker keynote.
There’s also a nod toward England, with the two-step and dubstep influences that were first displayed on System’s 2007 Tempo EP finding their place again in ”B” (the tracks Well Blank and Alpha, have been playlisted by dubstep-producers 2562 and Geiom). These harder elements often live together with a melodic side that hasn’t been heard in the trio since the Future 3 days. This is particularly evident on tracks like All, Drk, Would and Meadow And Stuff, which draw threads back to the '90s ambient music that Future 3 were at the forefront of in Denmark.
The three members of System have numerous solo albums behind them. Many of Anders Remmer's Dub Tractor releases (on City Centre Offices), Skaaning's Acustic output (most recently on Rump in 2005 with "Welcome") and Thomas Knak's Opiate releases (on April, Morr Music and Raster Noton [with Alva Noto as Opto]) have achieved classic status within the Scandinavian electronic music scene. Thomas Knak has also produced for Björk, Oh Land, and remixed for Efterklang, Ryuichi Sakamoto among others.
Over the last few years, the three System members and Ghost Society-singer Sara Savery have released music as People Press Play (their debut album was released on Morr Music in 2008), leaning towards the poppier end of the electronic spectrum. These traces can also be heard on ”B”, with the melodies given much more space than before in this context.
"...the trio present here an extremely refined and consistent sound which, despite its many forms, infiltrate every inch of the record. The soundscapes are extremely detailed and seem to spread out continuously, echoing from one track into another further down the line." - The Milk Factory (UK)
"The whole result sounds like a two step record in slow motion which gives the right idea of the warm Jamaican weather transposed to Denmark..." - Chain DLK/Maurizio Pustianaz (IT)
"The three members of System may have been working together, on and off, for well over a decade, yet their sound continues to develop in unexpected directions. B may share with its predecessor a particular vision and stylistic approach, yet it is a very different record, propelled by much richer and textured soundscapes and melodies. Whereas System’s debut was arid and minimal, this second effort is a very convincing colourful and cinematic soundtrack which sets the trio on a entirely different path." - The Milk Factory (UK)
"In jedem Fall ist es vor allem als Gesamtwerk zu loben, ein Spaziergang voll Abenteuer im Kopf." - Skug (Austria)
"Kombinationen af det fnuglette, afgrundsdybe og knasende sprøde minder om en musikalsk fem retters menu på en Michelin-restaurant. Det er ganske enkelt klasse af den gode gamle slags." 5/6 - Soundvenue (DK)
"I sidste ende er det, der gør B til noget særligt, den unikke Systemske kvalitet, som gennemsyrer rytmik, melodiføring såvel som produktionen, og det er det, der skaber en musikoplevelse i klasse A." 6/6
- GAFFA (DK)
"How interesting that System is releasing its latest album on what would appear to be its most natural home, the Denmark-based Rump Recordings, when B sounds like the best ~scape release the label never issued. The new recording (in fact, System's first full album since its debut appeared on ~scape in 2002) presents a seamless fusion of dub, techno, and dubstep of the kind that encapsulates the ~scape aesthetic in a single package. But enough of that: all praise to Rump for bringing the latest music from Denmark trio Thomas Knak (Opiate) Anders Remmer (Dub Tractor), and Jesper Skaaning (Acustic) to the masses."
- Textura (Can)
"Ett vackert och oerhört professionellt sammansatt ljudlandskap, där du kan gå omkring och fritt utforska alla de olika beståndsdelarna." - Ikon (SE)
"B" ist schlicht und ergreifend sensationell und schon jetz einer meiner persönlichen favoriten für den Longplayer of the year" 6/6
- Raveline (DE)
"Der er med andre ord ingen tegn på metaltræthed i systemet, der som få andre formår at forene det elegante og det legesyge. Roligt pulserende beats og myriader af besnærende klange vikles sammen til en hypnotiserende helhed præget af et sjældent overblik og en grundfæstet stilsikkerhed." - Ekstra Bladet (DK)
"90'er-trio forfører med smukke lydlandskaber. Det andet album fra trioen System er minimalisme med stor dybde. (..) De skaber melodisk skønhed ved hjælp af klanglig stoflighed og lydsensibilitet. (..) Men det er med forbløffende variation, at System skaber smukke lydlandskaber, der kræver, at man pakker ørerne ind i høretelefoner og ikke stopper op ved den første antagelse." 4/6 - Politiken (DK)
"Glistening new album from one of Denmark's most revered electronic groups, System. (..) Imagine a sound between Clouds and Pole and you're in the right head space here. (..) For fans of pure, classic glitch and 'tronica, this is a winner." - Boomkat (UK)
"Whatever the sound System play with, dub is always the major thread, it envelopes every sound, but System know their dub, restraint being their key. Nothing is ever overstated, these three minds seem to collaborate as one." - Cyclic Defrost (AUS)
"Not to damn this album with faint praise, but B is fresh in the sense that the sounds could only have come out of the here and now, but would still mix well with European-made dub, from the Orb onwards. What System could do, hopefully, is find an audience amongst those looking for more L.A.-style, Low End Theory-type bass. Though any hip-hop sensibilities are absent, it pushes and pulls your insides in a similar fashion. This is a classy release." - Exclaim (CA)
"Et suverænt system. Det knitrer, det suser, og det ekkoer inde mellem inspirationerne fra dub, dubstep og ambient, og »B« er som skabt til høretelefoner, hvor værkets diskrete elegance og såvel meditative som melodiske kvaliteter vil åbenbare sig. Smukt, smukt, smukt." 5/6
- Berlingske (DK)
"Det er ganske enkelt et topalbum i den bløde og tempererede ende af electronicaen." - Weekendavisen (DK)
"B is an epic, sprawling album of soundscapes from a trio of Denmarks' finest (..) Opaque canvas' of sound and texture are quite possibly the style du jour, but it is System's attention to detail and their ability to spread their sound to every corner of the record that makes B stand out - grit and atmosphere are counterbalanced with musical motifs that tug at your heart and nag your mind. Fans of Pole, Burial or any of dub's more experimental creators will be richly rewarded for checking this out." 4/5 - Electronic Beats (DE)
"Die vollumfänglich homogene Mischung aus melancholisch-düsteren Ambient-Aliens, polyrhythmischen Dubstep-Schauklern und im Sog des Nirvana sich auflösenden Strukturen geht tief. Ach was, seien wir ehrlich: besser kann man das nicht machen. Also: tiefer als tief und breiter als breit. Word!" - Partysan (DE)
"The wraparound, reverberating sonics of ´B´evoke late-night drives through neon-lit cities, blending traditional dub elements with more menacing sub frequencies to create something wholly immersive and thoroughly suited to the impending austerity of winter. It's a real shame there are only nine tracks, clocking in at just 40 minutes, because music this deep you could happily lose yourself in for hours." 9/10 - iDJ (UK)
"Lydbilledet synes, ved de første gennemlytninger, at pege tilbage mod Future 3, men jo mere man lytter, jo mere fornemmer man også detaljerne og det arbejde, der er lagt i netop de enkelte lyde. (..) Hvor System tidligere har flirtet med en udpræget minimal-inspireret lyd, så er B en langt mere nuanceret og i mine ører mere interessant oplevelse. Bevares, hvis man har været med siden Future 3, så føler man bestemt, at man her er på hjemmebane, og så er det måske småt med de helt store overraskelser. Til gengæld fornemmer man også, at de tre musikere her arbejder med noget, de virkelig kan, som de virkelig gør godt. Og hvis man er til de gamle Future 3-udgivelser eller i det hele taget husker tiden omkring April-selskabet og begyndelsen på den danske ambient- og electronicascene, så bør man helt sikkert lytte til Systems B!" - Geiger (DK)
"In the past, their sound has often combined challenging elements of IDM with melodies and hints of rhythm, and B continues on this trajectory, with some tracks like "All" evoking the glitch of Raster Noton and others, like "Stars," calling to mind Rhythm & Sound." - Resident Advisor
released October 4, 2010
Artwork By [Design], Other [Concept] – Torsten Lindsø Andersen
Artwork By [Front Cover] – Søren Andreasen
Mastered By – Loop-o
Producer, Written-By – Anders Remmer, Jesper Skaaning, Thomas Knak
Rump Recordings was founded by Jens Berents Christiansen in Copenhagen in 2003 with an aim to release uncompromising
electronic and electro-acoustic music. The label does not attempt to focus solely on one genre but prefers to zoom in on the un-categorizable fields that emerge when artists start to experiment and push the existing boundaries of music....more