Trackpacking: Kings of Convenience

by Keith Savage · 11 comments

Post image for Trackpacking: Kings of Convenience

Trackpacking is a recurring series highlighting musicians that inspire me to travel.

When I think of Bergen, Norway, I think of gorgeous fjords, fishing boats in the bay, and colorful houses poking through hillside forests. And the soundtrack in my head is always the same – Bergen natives Kings of Convenience. Perhaps this is a romanticized view of the town – I’ve never been to Bergen – but it’s difficult to see it any other way with the clean whisper-folk melodies of the Kings playing in the background. If you enjoy the sounds of Simon & Garfunkel or Belle & Sebastian, you owe it yourself to check out the men of Kings of Convenience, Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe.

The Kings of Convenience sound is stripped down and pure, characterized by melodious, soft voices and harmonious acoustic guitars with the occasional violin, cello, or piano. The rare track is also blessed with the Bjork-like inflections of Feist. For such soft-spoken singers, they are bold in the way they position their clean-cut melodies center stage with little other instrumentation to shroud them. Øye’s voice has a warmth to it that invokes an intimate, cozy mood. Combine these two with anything less than perfect execution and the flaws would ring out conspicuously. And yet all I hear is music made to look easy.

This is relaxing chill-out music, but why does it inspire me to travel? I’ve noticed a similarity in the feeling I get from listening to Kings of Convenience and actually traveling – it’s like a shot of fresh, cold air going straight to the creative centers in my brain. I guess you’d call that inspiring.

Pack These Tracks

The links below use Apture instead of taking you to Youtube as in previous Trackpacking posts. Just hover your mouse over the icon to hear the song.

Create a Moment

  • Early morning in the kitchen making breakfast.
  • Late afternoon with wine and good company.
  • Wee hours of the morning with someone close to you and a blanket.

What music moves you? Please share it in the comments – I’d love to hear it!

Original photo by roboppy via Flickr under Creative Commons

Dustin Main - Skinny BackpackerNo Gravatar July 6, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Not a huge fan of Kings of Convenience myself, though they have a few songs (esp on the remix album) that are up my alley. I’ve really enjoyed Erlend Øye’s solo work, and his mix in the DJ Kicks series though.

I picked up Erlend Øye’s newest project “The Whitest Boy Alive” before I left last year, but haven’t given it a listen yet. Your post inspired me to give it a whirl finally.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 6, 2010 at 1:13 PM

I haven’t checked out Erlend’s solo work but I’ll add it to my list. Thanks for the recommendation!

floretaNo Gravatar June 12, 2010 at 10:11 AM

i’ve heard of them but not much of their music. if i remember correctly, they’re kind of in the same vein as iron + wine? its funny… I think it was my 50+ former coworker that first told me about them 😛 she has some pretty good indie taste haha.

not to be mistaken for kings of leon. . .

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 13, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Definitely not to be mistaken for Kings of Leon. Kings of Convenience has a more consistent sound, that of two guys on acoustic guitars vocally harmonizing, than Iron & Wine. I’d say Iron & Wine is more eclectic and varied. Was my taste in music just compared to a 50+woman?

ToddNo Gravatar June 8, 2010 at 1:10 AM

Great post Keith, and of course a great band. They are always in my Ipod when I travel. I will add perfect for sitting on a porch overlooking water. It’s old but I love the song Failure.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 8, 2010 at 9:08 AM

I love the song Failure – I almost included it in the Pack These Tracks section. Thanks Todd!

JunoNo Gravatar June 6, 2010 at 5:44 PM

I love their music!! Love the atmosphere.. Very mysterious. Music goes well with travel. totally

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 7, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Thanks Juno! The Kings are awesome at creating a mood, it’s true.

adamNo Gravatar June 6, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Love this band!

“Homesick” is a good song to listen to when you’re feeling the title emotion, too!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 7, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Listening to “Homesick” actually makes me feel homesick. I can’t imagine listening to it if I was already feeling that way. I might implode.

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