Norwegian duo Röyksopp compensate for the cold climes of their native Tromsø by crafting warm, inviting downbeat electronic dance music, exemplified by early tracks like "Eple" and "Poor Leno." They issued their breakthrough debut Melody A.M. in 2001, hitting a mainstream peak in the late 2000s with the guest-packed chart-topper Junior and its introspective accompaniment, Senior. Though they shied away from traditional album-based releases after 2014's farewell full-length The Inevitable End, they continued to issue music in the form of singles and mixes.
The pair -- Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge -- both grew up in Tromsø and began recording in the early '90s. Local-made-good Geir Jenssen (aka Biosphere) provided tutelage and almost convinced the duo to record for R&S sublabel Apollo. After a few years apart, Brundtland and Berge met up again in Bergen and re-formed Röyksopp in 1998. The group released a few singles on Tellé, then signed to the big beat label Wall of Sound. Röyksopp debuted with 2001's "Eple" single; both "Eple" and another track ("Poor Leno") earned slots on over a dozen chillout compilations that year and the next. Their first full-length, Melody A.M., appeared in late 2001. After spending a few years performing live and remixing artists including Beck and Annie, Röyksopp returned with new material in 2005; the single "Only This Moment" heralded the summer release of the duo's second album, The Understanding, which featured more traditionally structured songs than their earlier work.
The live EP Röyksopp's Night Out appeared a year later, and the third album -- Junior, their most upbeat set -- came in March 2009. Featuring guest vocalists Robyn, Karin Dreijer (the Knife, Fever Ray), Lykke Li, and Anneli Drecker (Bel Canto), the set topped the charts in Norway and marked their first appearance on the Billboard 200. It was followed, appropriately, by Senior, a relatively sedate album of all instrumentals released in 2010 that became the duo's fourth consecutive number one album in their homeland. Late in 2013, they resurfaced with the single "Running to the Sea," a collaboration with Susanne Sundfør. The following May, their collaboration with Robyn, "Do It Again," balanced the duo's lush, introspective sound with her commanding vocals.
In September 2014 the duo advertised the forthcoming release of their fifth album, The Inevitable End, which they announced would be their last "in the traditional album format." A darker, more high-energy affair, it was released in November of that year. The effort featured vocals by Sundfør ("Save Me" and "Running to the Sea"), Jamie Irrepressible ("You Know I Have to Go," "I Had This Thing," "Compulsion," and "Here She Comes Again"), and a reworked version of the single "Monument" with Robyn. In 2016, Röyksopp contributed to the Star Wars Headspace compilation with the track "Bounty Hunters" and also issued another Susanne Sundfør collaboration, "Never Ever."
In 2019, Röyksopp kicked off their Lost Tapes series, releasing a rarity from the vault each month of the year. In addition to the first offering, "Rising Urge," they also unveiled another Sundfør track, "In the End," which also featured Man Without Country. ~ John Bush