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It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 2
coverpic coverpic Center of the Universe (C.O.U.): Sellout EP
  (2000 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0002.CDR - EP)
vs.
Esperanza: Esperanza
  (1998 Jester Records TRICK-002 - CD)

Welcome to round 2 in the label showdown series between Metronomicon Audio and Jester Records! Since we've more or less totally missed out on reviewing the output of these two great labels, we are going through their entire catalogues, matching the releases from each label consecutively against each other. Humorously counting goalsIt's a GOAL! and giving out yellowOooops, a yellow card! and redOooops, a red card! cards, soccer style - but first of all reviewing the music. For more introductory information on this label match, see round 1.

Match preview
We believe that C.O.U.'s second release Sellout EP is presented in the typical Metronomicon fashion - a CD-R packed in a flexible plastic sleeve with inserts, and a booklet containing art and the lyrics. We have never seen it though. Thanks to Jørgen Skjulstad (Mr. Metronomicon and C.O.U.'s main man) for providing the MP3 files of the Sellout EP for this review!

The Esperanza release comes in a jewel case and includes a triple-folded booklet with art and some sparse information.
coverpic coverpic coverpic

The match
C.O.U. starts out with "No Evil Eye 4 U", an almost funky, keyboard-driven laidback disco-beat, but tonally skewed. I get a happy summer feeling It's a GOAL! from this. "Happenstance" is another summer song, the refrain is light and hummable, in fact it's almost a summer hit It's a GOAL!! With "If I Had a Pedalplane" we're back to the quirky blip-blops & fast breakbeats Oooops, a yellow card! that we recognize from C.O.U.'s first release. Another slightly eccentrical melody, hanging in limbo this one, going nowhere for me. "The Same Thoughts" develops rather elegantly from a staccato keyboard instrumental into a mellow song with a quirky melody, before sliding off into breakbeats once again - typical C.O.U. as we know them by now, but it doesn't stand out. "You Know You've Got a Problem, If You Think About It" moves in a slightly more traditional slow funk terrain, low-key, somewhere between soothing relaxation and mild depression. I'm still distracted by the singing, which is out of tune here and there. Sure, this may be an acquired taste, but I wouldn't be surprised if some would describe parts of the singing here as simply unskilled. At some level, this may be deliberate, but this is perhaps the hardest part of this release for some to swallow Oooops, a yellow card!.

Esperanza appears to be a one-man project by Rune Michaelsen, all instrumental, with atmospheric synths, very straight-forward and monotonous drum patterns (analogue though, not synthetic), and all to unimaginative melodies Oooops, a yellow card!. It's all very calm, but more sedated Oooops, a yellow card! than dreamy. It's way too calm for spacerockers, too rhythmic for fans of ambient and too unexciting for the experimentally inclined, though a couple of the more ambient tracks may appeal to some It's a GOAL!. I cannot imagine a listener getting overly exited about this release. For the casual listener, it will probably just slide along rather unnoticed Oooops, a yellow card!, except for a few surprise bursts of volume - like if the person mixing this nodded off and accidentally maxed the volume button for a few seconds. Also out of place seems the short Twin-Peaks-dwarf-backwards scream 11 minutes and 30 second into track number six, destined to cause interruption when listening to this album in a more meditative setting. All in all I'm a little lost here regarding the target audience for this release. The phasing synths of "Cyber Jungle 2" reminds me of the intro of an Ozric Tentacles track, but it goes nowhere. If I were to sum this up, I would say this is a rather bland mix of rhythmic new-age Oooops, a red card! atmospheres with a dash of light experimental industrial thrown in - somewhat alienated, but not very dark.

Match result: Metronomicon Audio 2 (It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!) - Jester Records 1 (Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!)

THE LABEL TABLE
# Metronomicon Audio (MA) Jester Records (JR) MA JR
01 C.O.U.: Darklow Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Themes From William Blake's ... Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 1 4
02 C.O.U.: Sellout EP It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! Esperanza: Esperanza Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! 2 1
Total 3 5

Next match
Next head-to-head meeting is another C.O.U. release from Metronomicon Audio (Bestboy Electric) which is up against the Arcturus release Disguised Masters from Jester Records.

Copyright © 2009 Knut Tore Breivik e-mail address

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