Trentemøller at Ultra Music Festival 2011 Day One, March 25, 2011

​Putting Trentemøller on the penultimate slot of Ultra's Live Stage last night was a ballsy move. As a producer, the smart Anders Trentemøller makes sweeping, beautiful soundscapes that are truly cinematic. But they take patience and concentration to digest.

So, in a live performance, how would he translate this with a full band? That was especially the question on fans' minds after Röyksopp's rousing performance, which offered the easiest point of comparison on the lineup.

Well, Trentemøller preferred subtlety over Röyksopp's going for broke. This meant that about half of the previously elbow-to-elbow crowd wandered away -- Pendulum, an Australian drum'n'bass/rock band whose increased popularity truly stuns, was playing at the same time.

That's fine, though, because it gave a little more space, physically and mentally, to take in Trentemøller's slowly crescendoing set. While Anders himself bounced around synth and percussion duties, the sound was fleshed out by a full band: two female guitarists/multi-instrumentalists (yay), a bassist, and a drummer.

Together, they added new textures to his usually icy techno, with western guitar riffs and mournful vocals making some of the songs sound like Nick Cave outtakes. Then, they would break, suddenly, into deep, dubby four-four beats, and hit a groove that seemed to stretch for miles.

Other times, Anders himself took the helm, completely unafraid of going ambient for minutes at a stretch. It was clearly part of an overall creative vision, and you've got to respect an act that sticks to that instead of taking the easy, fist-pumping way out.

Anyways, this guy dressed as a banana loved it. You can't go wrong with dancing fruit.

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Arielle Castillo
Contact: Arielle Castillo