Dark Star

The adage that there’s nothing new under the sun has proven particularly apt for the self-recycling world of pop music. But in a universe increasingly ruled by fashion and nostalgia, Karin Dreijer Andersson is one of the loudest, rarest birds to come along since Björk. As one half of cult band The Knife (along with her brother, Olof), -Andersson has helped cement Sweden’s status as the world’s leading exporter of freaky, art-damaged electropop. But when The Knife went on hiatus in 2007, Andersson set out on a different musical odyssey as Fever Ray-a solo endeavor every bit as otherworldly and frightening as her previous work. Not only was Fever Ray’s self-titled debut one of 2009’s most critically lauded releases, the -subsequent live shows–featuring a ghostly Andersson hidden under face paint, draped in a variety of elaborate paganesque outfits, and shrouded by a -planetarium–worthy laser show-proved to be one of the year’s hottest (and -weirdest) tickets. So how does one follow that? If you are Andersson, you score a 90–minute opera based on Darwin’s The Origin of Species, which introduced the theory of evolution through natural selection. Tomorrow, in a Year, a collaboration between The Knife, musical acts Planningtorock and Mt. Sims, and Danish theater company Hotel Pro Forma, premiered in Denmark last September, but will be released as a stand-alone double album this spring. For another artist, Darwin might seem like a curious subject, but in the case of Andersson, “curious” is a very relative term. “We want to try things that we haven’t done before,” says Andersson, who is back in her native Gothenburg, where she’s hard at work with Olof on new Knife material. “You find yourself asking the same questions over and over and maybe not ever getting answers, so doing something like this is just a way to explore those same questions in a different way.” She’s also busy raising her two children. “They’re not easily impressed,” she admits. “I’m the only mother they’ve ever known, so the costumes and the performances seem very normal to them.”