Norway - Full Moon 178 - 03/19/11
It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 21
Koppen: My Fashion Statement Is Scrambled Eggs
(2005 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0021.CDR)
Kåre João: Sideman
(2002 Jester Records TRICK-021)
Welcome to round 21 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 goals
and giving out yellow
and red cards, soccer style -
but first of all reviewing the music. For more introductory information on this label match, see
My Fashion Statement Is Scrambled Eggs is presented in the typical Metronomicon fashion - a CD-R packed in a flexible plastic sleeve with a cardboard folder containing art & information.
The Kåre João release comes in a jewel case and a folded insert with art.
I was not very impressed by Koppen's debut album Truckdriving Songs,
but still open to the possibility that I simply missed the point. For me that album was
synthetic experience, like experimental hip-hop made with toy instruments, playful but not much fun.
Let's see if Koppen ("The Cup") kan do better with My Fashion Statement Is Scrambled Eggs.
Well, the album opens in the similar manner, with "Nani Kore?"'s confusing mash of soundbits and cut-ups.
After this short intro, "Koppen_Niceguy/Booty" goes straight to the videogame hip-hop aestethics and
retro synth blip-blops we recognize from his first outing. "Candy Robot" is a more traditional
type of song, and when the banjo is introduced, it is hard not to compare Koppen's singing here
to his older brother Täppas Strepens. The melody
is also very comparable to Strepens' output. The organ takes the song into 60's territory, but it's rather
forgettable. On "A Long Way Until Tomorrow" is also on the organic side, and here
Sissyfus shares lead vocals with Koppen, creating a fine balance. And it's a fine little song too, quite
relaxed and enjoyable. "Fuzzbucket" is from the other bucket, utilizing a repetetive
selection of samples of blues/gospel singing, making up a call and response
construction that doesn't resonate with me, and then when the helium kicks in, I opt out.
"Eggs" is another videogame cut-up detour, with Japanese guides. "Car? Action!!" sounds like
Täppas Strepens trapped in another videogame. "Teknodrome" just dives further into
that synthetic direction. After the forgettable interlude of "Che Burashka",
"Cringer" slows down a bit, but we're still in this square synthetic place.
Finally, "Slide The Sinewaves Sideways" gives the album a calmer, mellow ending, with few
enough synth blurbs to allow for a little listening reflection.
To sum it up: Koppen should have released the 2-3 more organic songs here as an EP.
The rest is tiresome videogame music that I have a hard time imagining
any target audience for. I'm sorry, but Koppen is clearly not my cup of tea.
Still, the artwork is nice ...
Kåre João's Captain Trips release
was a delightful taster with two tracks from the Sideman album. And opening the album is the
tremolo-guitar infused "Captain Trips", which again makes me want to mention fellow Norwegians Sister Rain.
The album continues in the same vein with "Channel Five", slowing down, monotonous but vibrating,
with a nice slide guitar, letting your thoughts flow, if you want to. The organ-soaked "Sunshine Blues"
is hardly any more intrusive, but feels less interesting, even if it has more of a song structure as
opposed to the loopy "Channel Five".
"Frank Furius" is the other track featured on
the Captain Trips release, and it sounds equally
cool here. I also want to
add a reference to Beach Boys, for the humming choir.
"Mission To Cure My Condition" is an instrumental track with guitars with
and without dripping wah-wah and vibrato effetcs playing around over a repeating bass theme. Soft violins
and a humming chorus join in, but the track itself is a little uneventful.
The vocals of "Love Report" is buried in reverb/echo effects, and the chords and arrangements
may remind you of a slow XTC song, but it feels rather sleepy and drowsy, in a nice way.
"Dark Of Heartness" speeds up a little, and the vocal has some similarities to Perry Farrel,
but the song is too laidback to call up Jane's Addiction. Nevertheless, an excellent lazy ending.
To sum it up:
With Sideman Kåre João (aka Kåre Pedersen from Kåre & The Cavemen, Euroboys, The Kwyet Kings, Gluecifer)
brings a fine addition to the Norwegian psychedelic
60's rock inspired canon, and it stacks up with the best of them. Some fillers, but more than half
of the songs here are memorable and invites revisits. Not surprising, seeing that an array of people with connections
to bands like Astroburger, Euroboys and Smell of Incense also play on this album.
On Captain Trips the cover depicted a person pointing
a gun at the listener, on Sideman the gun is pointed at the person's own head, again
strange cover art for an album of psychedelic feelgood music. (Perhaps a sick twist on
the music "blowing you away" ... but it isn't that trippy!) Though I must confess I haven't
studied the lyrics, as they are not included in print. It may be that they relate to a death theme or something,
but the music nevertheless vibrates with colours and shines of lazy happiness. Still, the artwork is ugly ...
Match result: Metronomicon Audio 1 () - Jester Records 4 ()
Next head-to-head meeting is the Täppas Strepens CD The Great American Brainkiller from Metronomicon Audio which is up against
the self-titled Upland release from Jester Records.
Copyright © 2011 Knut Tore Breivik