In December, we suddenly learned that after a seven-year break from dropping proper albums, Sweden’s most beloved dark-dance duo the Knife are returning with an LP called Shaking the Habitual. The sibling act have since shared two music videos — the 10-minute gender-bending techno odyssey “Full of Fire” and the gym-rat dance rehearsal “A Tooth for an Eye” — plus the April 9 album’s track list, but have been fairly quiet otherwise.
Now, the group has released a manifesto of sorts artfully explaining the new album’s origins and motivation — more or less. A certain degree of creative interpretation is required to decode the thing, but the general premise seems to be: “For awhile we were caught up in what sort of statement we should make, because the world is messed up, but ultimately we had to stop thinking and start recording — start doing like the animals do.”
The text, which popped up on the website for independent U.K. record shop Rise, appears to be called “SOME FEELING IN THE BELLIES OF THE TANKERS WHO PASS US MAKING SAD MANIC BONGS LIKE DRUMS.” It takes shots at biotech company Monsanto, plus the mining technique known as “fracking,” and also refers to castles that/who are “fake tanning and signing autographs.” Basically: celebrities are bad; wolves are good. Dig in:
SOME FEELING IN THE BELLIES OF THE TANKERS WHO PASS US MAKING SAD MANIC BONGS LIKE DRUMS
Everybody is always desiring already imagined things.
When we travel between thresholds, people say: “you’re hiding.”
Not everything can be so easily explained.
We have a bellyache, a big stink, a major grouse or two with manufactured knowledge.
But how do you build an album about not knowing?
Now your voice is in my throat, floating there…
Often people take pills for these things.
To us the body is no longer psychological.
It’s certainly not a container, we don’t believe in metaphors.
Like dog/wolf—there aren’t many anymore.
Still at twilight something blurs over your shoulder.
Which is it?
Our hair is out.
We have made some decisions.
We want to fail more, act without authority.
Plus there’s something phlegmatic about the world state don’t you think?
There’s a blood system promoting biology as destiny.
A series of patriarchies that’s a problem to the Nth degree.
What about hyper-capitalism, this homicidal class system, the school system that’s kaput?
Then there are castles everywhere—look at them fake tanning and signing autographs!
At least there’s one thing we stand behind.
There’s still an ecosystem right? And here’s this sound system.
We dusted it off. Electronic is just one place in the body. We went temporarily acoustic.
We made our own instruments. We took an old bedspring, a microphone and:
“Stay out here…”
Now we’re bending our voices to sound like Emily R., who recorded the track on her cellphone speaker.
There are other ways to do things.
Still sometimes it all seems so bad.
Don’t worry we won’t commit Harakiri, stomach cutting or anything like it.
The honor system is corrupt, just another privilege.
Like how it’s a privilege to make an album, to move freely.
We just have to go faster we mean breakneck we mean “like crazy.”
How at 5am that warehouse beat is coming up like sour steam.
All over the dance floor we’re asking: can this DNA turn into something else?
It’s not metaphorical. It’s explicit.
There are surgeries and fantasies and holes sweating through the wall.
It’s a question about feelings. It’s a question about who gets to risk.
But things don’t change so easily.
There’s still Monsanto, fracking and “terminator seeds.”
Every morning we wake up wondering: who’s kicking who on the street corner?
Now we have to start. We choose process over everything else.
Letting go of outcomes is another privilege.
Keep it lateral.
We ask our friends to help.
Together we leave the village and walk down the road. The light starts exercising itself. The old sun is out in his winter jumpsuit doing sit-ups and squat thrusts between the nettles and moldy brush.
10 more! We say to him. Get shaking!
Our walk gets longer. It’s a walk in the panpipes of the body. We come to the edge. So much water. The ocean is twice its original size. We take a bunch of surveys. They know everything about us. We don’t buy what they say. We take a heap of estrogen. All around us things are howling and then we stand on the pier end. The light is pink and green and pink and green. It reminds us of home—like we imagine it could be. But when the color pancakes out over the horizon, we don’t know what we’re looking at. That’s ok. This time it’s structural.
Of course we’re growing restless.