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Cryo - Retropia (2014) - Song by song

Cryo was started in 2002 by the mastermind, the main composer and vocalist Martin Rudefelt, who still writes and produces all the music by himself in his Cryodome studio. However, he’s not alone. He joined forces with Torny Gottberg, and if you ever see Cryo perform live, you will find Martin behind the microphone and Torny behind drums, keyboards and also hear him sing some of the songs. Electronic music, not intended to become commercial or to follow modern trends in music, with strong bass lines, memorable melodies and an obscure atmosphere is what Cryo’s about. The duet recently released Retropia, an album with such variety and energy; it simply takes your breath away. Martin Rudefelt shared some words about the songs on the album.

With: Martin Rudefelt
Edited by: Ines

Release date: 29.1.2014
Label: Progress Productions

01. In Your Eyes
02. Believer
03. The Portal
04. Common Man
05. I Use You
06. Too Much
07. Shelter
08. Yesterday
09. So Close Pt.1
10. So Close Pt.2
11. So Close Pt.3

1. In Your Eyes:

This is a classic club-type song. A lot of people compare it to the KLF song "What Time Is Love" and it does indeed use a very similar chorus melody. This wasn't intentional however. From the beginning the bass line used those notes and then I doubled it with a melody. After that I finally got tired of the bass line and replaced it with something else, and all of a sudden, it sounded like KLF. I thought:  “Why not, a bit of KLF hasn't hurt anyone.”

2. Believer:

This is the song with lead vocals by my Cryo colleague Torny instead of me. His voice fits this track much better. The early demos featured my vocals but I always wanted to try it with Torny's voice. Maybe the song is too slow for DJs to use it in clubs; I usually prefer a slower tempo when making music. Not a commercial sound choice, I guess. I think I'm after the same type of groove and energy as in 80's hard rock music, which I really enjoy.

3. The Portal:

Definitely the most “popish” track on the album. Easy to listen to and with lyrics that I think many people can relate to – “Use your inner potential, be whoever and whatever you want to be”. I made this song very late in the process, first to use as an additional track on the “In Your Eyes” single, but it turned out so well, that I included it on the album as well. I think that if I had made it earlier, it would have replaced “In Your Eyes” as the title track on the single and album as well. During its creation, it started to sound very similar to Skinny Puppy's “Assimilate”, so I changed it quite a bit. It’s not an easy job to be original, as I also wrote regarding the "KLF song" above.

4. Common Man:

I would maybe call this Cryo's first synth ballad. A very simple song, but often the simplest songs are the ones that last the longest. The lyrics deal with people who don't take responsibility for their actions, who think they can do whatever they want. Unfortunately, I think human beings are very egoistic in nature, and we need to battle that every day. Another interesting "feature" of this song is that it is very hard to perform live, since they key of the song is hard to hear on stage until the first melody (after the first verse). I need to add some support melody to it early on so I don't start in the wrong key (which I did when performing it last weekend, very embarrassing). The sound in the melody was inspired by the soundtrack to an old Swedish movie - "Bröderna Lejonhjärta".

5. I Use You:

The most aggressive track on the album in my opinion. Also, with a very complex production and song structure. The early demo of it was the first demo I did for Retropia and the bass line really stuck in my head, so I had to make a complete song out of it. The lyrics can be interpreted in several ways - you can use people in different ways and for different purposes. I leave it up to the listener to choose whatever fits his or her mind.

6. Too Much:

In this song I use both electric guitar and electric bass. I really want to incorporate more traditional instruments in my music in order to make music less static. The chorus is very different from the verse, more like an indie-pop chorus. This is just how it turned out, that's how it normally works for me - I start with something and it eventually ends with something completely different. The melody in the very end was intended for the main chorus but it didn't fit so I did a weird fade-out thing with it instead. A real nerdy fact is that the melody is played by 26 oscillators in unison, by three analogue synths. Fun fact: I tried to get Yello's Dieter Meier to do some vocal addition in the middle part of the song, but he was unfortunately too busy, as I was told by his assistant.

7. Shelter:

Retropia had almost no aggressive songs from the beginning; I had some real nice slower demos that I intended to use. Then I realised that those songs would be hard for me and Torny to perform live - we usually choose more energetic songs when playing live. Therefore I removed two or three songs from Retropia and replaced them with more traditional Cryo songs. “Shelter” is one of those songs. One of my friends got really mad at me for doing this, since she really loves the original songs. I will try to find another use for the songs I removed later on.

8. Yesterday:

Perhaps the most "arty" song on the album. No verses, no choruses. Also I would say that it could have belonged on an early Front 242 album, like “Geography”. The lyrics are simple but also quite philosophical. While recording the bass line, I constantly twisted lots of dials on my Yamaha CS-30, so the bass is always sounding different from second to second. I actually wanted a lot more Front 242 influence on Retropia, but for some reason I wasn't able to do so. I'm not in full control over my own musical process it seems.

9., 10., 11. So Close (part 1 - 3):
I consider these tracks to be the soul of Retropia. They are the conceptual part of the album and are also a spiritual continuation of the work I did with the Beyond EP. These tracks are quite different from the rest of the  Retropia tracks, almost like a separate musical project perhaps. Anyway, I chose to have a wide variety of songs on the album. Hopefully, the listeners aren't too confused due to that choice. Here I sing, as an observer, about present, past and the future - where technology has led us and where we have chosen technology to lead us, what we have gained and what we have had to give up. I see today’s world as cold, a lot of shiny surfaces but with a dark and frozen core, and turning into a dystopian future. Nerdy fact: The vocoder vocals were so complicated and demanding on my (quite beefy) computer that they had to be created separately from everything else, and then merged into the songs later on.

Cryo links: Official website, Facebook



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