The Trentemoller Chronicles is pitched as a distinctly two-sided affair: one disc is a mix of Anders’ own singles, B-sides, new and unreleased work; the other, an unmixed selection of his remixes. At first glance, these disparate track selections pit dancefloor detonators against bedroom listening, the sound of the big room versus that of the small, dark room. Contrast can even be found in the (naturally) black and white artwork. It evokes Rorschach inkblots, depicting a starry sky peeking through treetops, or perhaps cracks in the ice under your feet - different things to different people. Trentemoller must be one conflicted producer if his CD covers can be used for psychological profiling… right?
A quick skip through Chronicles certainly suggests an artist with a split personality. The first half of CD1 is the epitome of Nordic chill(out), a mood piece rather than an album proper. It follows the same arc as The Last Resort and is likewise cinematic in scope, but pieced together from storyboard sketches rather than fully fleshed-out scenes. Only a recent remix of ‘McKlaren’ by fellow Danes Klovn has the same depth, warmth and bubbling-under menace as Anders’ best work. Conversely, the overblown remixes on CD2 are bursting at the seams. The best, ‘What Else Is There?’ and The Knife’s ‘We Share Our Mother’s Health’, are fizzing with details, depth charged with sub bass, and blown wide open by epic breakdowns. The formula doesn’t always work (Flur’s ‘You And I’ is too deep for the syrupy vocals to stick to, and ‘Go’ takes the Moby anthem way over the top) but as a remixer, Trentemoller is never knowingly outdone.
However, it isn’t all bangs and whimpers. Unlike other compilations, the middle ground of Chronicles is the most exciting terrain. Trentemoller is at his most captivating when edging his own tracks towards the dancefloor, or remixing tracks that don’t lend themselves to the uber-club treatment. On CD1, the vocal remix of Last Resort single ‘Moan’ proves the perfect bridge between shoegazing and barnstorming, when a wailing synth line cuts through Ane Trolle’s sweet voice and turns serene smiles to grimaces. While the following run includes tracks like ‘Rykketid’ and ‘Physical Fraction’, as a “lets get down to business” moment, ‘Moan’ remains unbeaten. On the other disc, the best remix is a real oddity: Robyn’s 'Konichiwa Bitches' becomes a bastard pop freak-out, as her rapid-fire rhymes skip across surf guitar, jingle jungle and industrial walls of noise, like stones across a lake of amyl nitrate.
Because nearly all of the tracks are already available (and in many cases, played to death) it would have taken some special programming to elevate Chronicles to essential status. Unfortunately, Anders adopts a laissez-faire attitude to mixing on the first CD, allowing tracks to overlap rather than blend - which gives his downtempo work room to breathe, but means the club cuts don’t flow like they should. Although DJs out there would have probably preferred two unmixed CDs, this flaw doesn’t detract from the quality (and variety) on offer. It won’t replace The Last Resort as the introduction to Trentemoller, but Chronicles is a fascinating diversion.