Norway - Full Moon 181 - 06/15/11
It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 24
Cyrano: I Cannot Smell It
(2005 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0024.CDR)
Ulver: Lyckantropen Themes
(2002 Jester Records TRICK-024)
Welcome to round 24 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
I Cannot Smell It is presented in the typical Metronomicon fashion - a CD-R packed in a flexible plastic sleeve with a cardboard folder and a booklet containing art, lyrics & information.
The Ulver release comes in a jewel case and includes a booklet with art. The album was recently reissued on vinyl by Jester/Neuropa with an identical catalogue number (TRICK 024).
Get ready for another output from Cyrano, arguably the most diversified (or directionless) artist
under the Metronomicon umbrella. Just as on You Sensualize My Soul
he is helped out by (among others) Sissyfus and Magnus Moriarty™. The album opener
"I Was Wrong Bu Hu Bu Hu Hu Hu Huh" sounds like Cyrano is trying to do a Datarock disco retro thing
with Princey vocals, and it's about as catchy as it is cheesy. This flows on into "!It's On Time!",
cheesy-synthing it up even further. The 80's video-game aestethics are dangerously close, but
these two songs together are no doubt the disco highlight of Metronomicon, unpretentious and
playful. "Wall King" is (no surprise) something else entirely, fast homemade indie-pop for just about a minute,
with quite nice (and clean) twin guitars! "Let My People Go" is one of the longest track on the album, but
its 6 minutes is no problem, as this gospel train accelerates and goes off the rails and into a lake.
"This Isn't Verified" is also kind of revved up, fuzzy and monotonous, but feels more like an interlude,
while both "Cyrano" and "Trancedance" test my blip-blop tolerance level. "Macarena" flows easier by,
while "I Din't Say It" is semi-catchy, but it feels somewhat unneccesary
to revisit the opening disco themes. On "He's Been Waiting For Himself" the keyboards are closer to
60's garage organ sound, but the song goes in circles without a destination. Some welcome calm arrives with
"Nye Epler", which in this collection almost feel contemplative with its minimalistic experimentations.
The same can also be said for "Rolikaar", at least initially, before the electronic rhythms appears.
A fine bit of synthetic melancholia. The two first minutes of "Wind It Blows" continues this mellow sadness,
before the rhythm box gets to overwhelming, making its 7 minutes seem long.
We've heard Cyrano do growling metal vocals before, but creatively speaking, "Hugoh" is dangerously close to 43 seconds
of Casio farts. "The First Or The Last Day" is equally close to pinball-game music, which for me is just annoying.
The closing "When U Go" is a calmer lullaby, a little on the eh ... lull side.
To sum it up: A Cyrano album that makes for a fun game with some goals and a lot of card action! Again a very eclectic collection of songs from Cyrano, with some strong highlights and some equally weak low points.
If you like synthetic and cheesy sounds, you might disagree on the latter, but for the casual listener, I suggest having the
finger ready on the skip button.
Lyckantropen Themes by Ulver is subtitled Original soundtrack for the short film by Steve Ericsson, and
the 10 tracks are titled "Theme 1" to "Theme 10", adding up to about 35 minutes of music, of which most is subdued and evocative.
The music is electronic and ambiently glitchy, though I guess also some of the sounds also have more organic origins.
Emotionally the music projects darkness, depicting a calm maelstroem of psychic unrest, with slow currents of melancholy and occasional spirals of depression.
The cover art also suggests a sweaty, nightmarish movie theme.
Being a soundtrack, the music makes for a rather non-intrusive listening session,
where the mind and thoughts easily flow, and you may loose attention through the more ambient parts.
It grows more fragmented, distorted and psychotic towards the end, so perhaps the movie ends with some sort of
breakdown or breakthrough.
[later...] After watching the movie, it is fair to say that the soundtrack is an essential part of it,
setting the aforementioned moods. The story is about a relationship where at least the male part seems
rather dysfunctional and perhaps even schizophrenic. Parts of the story is experienced through their daughter,
but the nightmarish thoughts are not only in the child's mind. It's a dark and experimental short film,
I'm not sure I quite got the ending, but anyway recommended viewing for fans of Ulver.
To sum it up: Not the most essential Ulver release, but the music can absolutely be enjoyed without the movie.
In fact, I'd rather listen to the soundtrack again than watch the movie once more.
Interestingly, not every minute of music present on the album is used in the movie, there's simply not enough time.
Also worth noting is the fact that the movie ends with the Nowhere/Catastrophe track from Ulver's Perdition City album,
a track not present here.
Match result: Metronomicon Audio 3 () - Jester Records 2 ()
Next head-to-head meeting is the Hanny CD Moderning from Metronomicon Audio which is up against
the Ulver compilation 1993-2003: 1st Decade In The Machines from Jester Records.
Copyright © 2011 Knut Tore Breivik