With the anticipation of 2017 releases still mounting, this is a good time to highlight artists that for one reason or another have operated under the radar for most of their career. Erlend Øye, he of Kings of Convenience, The Whitest Boy Alive and a pair of great solo records (and other collaborations), has worn many hats over the course of the last decade. Let’s take a look at some of his most impressive work:
“Remind Me” by Röyksopp (feat. Erlend Øye)
Chances are the first exposure to the smooth, conversational vocals of Erlend Øye occurred on this single from Röyksopp’s stellar debut Melody AM. Even though it isn’t strictly Øye’s track, this is still a perfect entry point.
“Misread” by Kings of Convenience
It’s tempting (and not entirely inaccurate) to think of Kings of Convenience as a modern, indie Simon & Garfunkel. The duo of Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe are often brilliant and haunting, with even some levity as seen on their single “I’d Rather Dance With You.”
“Sudden Rush” by Erlend Øye
Showing his versatility as a solo artist, Øye’s debut album is a stark contrast to his mostly acoustic affair as a member of Kings of Convenience. Driven by electronic beats and synthesizers, he’s still as approachable as ever, as the understated hook on this song shows.
“Burning” by The Whitest Boy Alive
Øye’s next band may have a funny name but largely continues the journey his debut started. This time, the songwriting and production are sharper and tighter, with “Burning” being one of the better singles he has written, and he even dabbles in a Daft Punk/Edwin Birdsong-influenced “1517” to a large degree of success on The Whitest Boy Alive’s sophomore album.
“Peng Pong” by Erlend Øye
Recorded with Icelandic reggae band (yes, you read that correctly) Hjálmar, Øye’s Legao is a takes a lounge music spin on his earlier sound but never comes off as forced. Whether it’s the sweet “Peng Pong” featured here or the lead single “Garota,” there is a lot to like.