2018 has been a year full of surprises. Even with all its twists and turns, I’m not sure anyone could have predicted that the first official release from Anders Trentemøller would be a re-imagining of a largely ignored Neil Young cut off his 1982 album, Trans, in the form of “Transformer Man”. The Danish musician has continually straddled the line between indie and electronica over the years, producing wholly emotional and memorable soundscapes with an uncanny ability to breathe life into his compositions, turning each track to a living entity.
In the case of “Transformer Man”, Trentemøller enlists one of his frequent collaborators, Marie Fisker, to replace the cheesy disco-adjacent, vocoder portion with her somber vocals. This rendition finds entirely new ground and moves beyond the realm of a remix or a cover song. The only aspect of the track that remains constant from 1982 to 2018’s version is the sense of otherness and frankly, strangeness. This is not a dig on either artist, but instead a commendation on the ability to make an alien sounding tune feel both emotional and relevant. Trentemøller’s release finds him producing a stark instrumental that expertly blends space and intimacy, most notably via Fisker’s detached, yet affecting performance. This coupled with more melodic synth work provide a much more enjoyable experience than Young’s original and largely failed attempt at something resembling disco-pop ever did. The lyrical content especially lends itself to being more relevant with this new version of the song. “Transformer Man” is another in a long line of releases that cements Trentemøller as a wholly original artist and its no wonder how he has garnered both critical acclaim and a worldwide fan-base over the years.
“Transformer Man” is a part of the newly released Harbour Boat Trips Vol. 02 Copenhagen by Trentemøller and can be purchased via the artist’s BandCamp page. Listen to the track via Spotify below.