The Knife's opera about Darwin. Really?

The Knife, that freaky electro-duo from Sweden consisting of brother and sister Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer, has just released the soundtrack to their opera written about Darwin Tomorrow, in a Year. A Swedish electronic opera about evolution may seem strange to some, but for these guys it seems pretty natural. Their music has always embraced weirdness and oddities. This just seems a natural, um, evolution.

The concept of the opera is pretty unique. The composers, choreographer, costume designer and set designers all worked independently from one another. It was not until three months before the first performance did they begin actual collaborations. The results of this anti-collaboration are a mixed bag. But it works. The opera first appeared in September 2009 to great acclaim.

Now the music is available. The album itself is moody and changing. Karin Dreijer Andersson said of writing the opera about Charles Darwin: “Using his words in a new context, making up a new tempo with elements written years ago. I read mostly his travel notes and letters, both his own and his wife’s. The warmth when writing about his family and the notebooks where he studied his children gives you a lot to think about – the father role and how little things have changed in the construction of family”.

Some may question the opera’s value. Some may find it ridiculous. But like its subject matter, it’s hard to deny. It’s freaky beauty is worth uncovering.