When I ask someone: “Do you know Eric Prydz?” the first thing they say is: “Oh that guy who made that song ‘Call On Me?’”
Well you’d be partially correct, but since his 2004 hit “Call On Me” and well before Eric Prydz, popularly known as Pryda and Ciriez D, has been on the forefront of the electronic music scene. From his EPIC tours, to his countless remixes and originals, to the “Pryda Snare” that inspired and equipped an entire musical genre; Eric Prydz has been one of the crucial spokes in the wheel of electronic dance music.
On February 2, 2016 after over a decade of anticipation, Eric Prydz released his masterpiece, Opus. For over a week didn’t listen to it. Instead I let everyone and their respected grandmothers listen to it, critique it, put it through a blender and pick out the pieces that they didn’t like. What was reported to me varied across the spectrum but certain adages remained true:
1. Most people who didn’t like it said it was because it was “too repetitive”
2. Many of those that said it was “too repetitive” would repeatedly say how they liked certain tracks or parts, but not everything.
3. Those that said they loved it were at a loss for words to describe why they liked it so much.
So, the scientist/musician that I am, I have been listening to Opus for days in an attempt to answer these questions; are these adages true? Is this just another “square of the aggressive inanity of EDM with the passive inanity of Progressive House?” Or is there some kind of encrypted message? One that you can’t decipher unless you’re in the “I loved Opus chapter” of some ultra secret society? Am I missing something?
In the wee hours of the morning I put my earbuds in as I began my commute to work and began Opus. On my first listen I was confused. My first impression of Opus was that it seemed too simple, over produced, dull. Why was everyone so excited for this? It reminded me so much of the generic drivel that has saturating so much of popular EDM. Yet, each track sent a familiar warm tingle down my spine. Again, I asked myself; “Am I missing something?”
I started my second listen through after lunch. This time as soon as the opening track “Liam” began I felt that little warm tingle again. As I worked and listened further, I started to attain an inkling as to why it is so difficult for someone who loves this album to explain why. After my third and fourth listen-through I was finally able to articulate my thoughts. This album isn’t just a vessel to carry hit singles, this is the culmination of over a decade of tireless, unparalleled creative work. The illusion of repetition that plagued me on my first listen was dispelled and replaced with awe for the complexity of interwoven melodies and harmonies. Those hit singles everyone love like “Every Day” “Generate” and title track “Opus” became pivot points for the musical themes and motifs that permeate the story this concept album tells. A story of yearning, of hard work, of overcoming adversity and becoming better for it. An uplifting story of growth and maturation over a decade of change.
Opus is not a “square of the aggressive inanity of EDM with the passive inanity of Progressive House.” For those with ears to hear it and a mind to process it Eric Prydz’s Opus is a symphony of electronic sounds. A perfect reflection of the human spirit and condition, one second it will feel like you’re dancing in the sunlight the next you’re slinking through the dark. Of course it sounds so much like popular EDM, because so much of popular EDM wants to be Eric Prydz.