Norway - Full Moon 192 - 05/06/12
It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 35
Lower Than Lo-Fi, But Higher: No Need For Ladders
(2007 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0035.CDR)
Bogus Blimp: Rdtr
(2004 Jester Records TRICK-035)
Welcome to round 35 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
No Need For Ladders is presented in the typical Metronomicon fashion - a CD-R packed in a flexible plastic
sleeve with a cardboard folder and folded insert containing art and some lyrics.
The Bogus Blimp release comes in a CD jewel case with a booklet with art & info.
Lower Than Lo-Fi, But Higher is Kristian Stouff Ludvigsen, who has been involved in a handful of other Metronomicon Audio releases (as Christian etc.)
for instance playing bass on the magnificient Then Is Just Another Kind Of Now album by Now We've Got Members.
The opening song on No Need For Ladders, "Sand", was also present on the earlier 2.0 compilation, there
under the artist name Lower Than Lo-Fi. Adding "But Higher" Ludvigsen now presents his debut album as a singer/songwriter,
playing the acoustic guitar and singing this collection of his own songs, sparsely accompanied by other Metronomicans:
Handirk Kamphus Nilsen (drums), Armageddon (drumwhirl), Eva Tumidajevicz (violin), Magnus Nielsen (violin), Dag Stiberg (saxophone) and Sissyfus (clarinet & bassoon) who
also did the mixing.
As the title suggests, this album came to life through a simple recording process, and at the heart this is music at its most basic,
centered around a voice and an acoustic guitar, both very dryly recorded, making this a
rather revealing performance. Ludvigsen comes out of this in a good way for the most part, presenting a small collection
of songs of which some work very well. Technically, Ludvigsen is a better guitar player than a singer, but after
a row of more forgettable songs, he shifts into a more low-key gear with a bit more plucking as opposed to strumming of the guitar,
which makes for a more lyrical mood that I find more attractive. The longest track on the album, the five and half minute long "Autumn", flows into
a nice ambience and the mellow and blue "The Redeemers Log" is shifting in intensity, featuring both great guitar strumming, nice violins and expressive vocals.
This also goes for the ending "Do I Feel Free?".
To sum it up: Ludvigsen presents a collection of songs that are nakedly arranged, revealing the songs' core for the listener, without
falling through. Not all songs are equally memorable, but the slower and mellower half of them are definitely worth revisiting.
After some years of silence, Bogus Blimp is back with Rdtr, their 3rd album as far as I know. Compared to Men-Mic (1999)
and cords. wires (2000), Rdtr continues much in the same vein, but it's even more experimental,
the spookyness has faded into darkness and any perceived humour has evaporated.
Gone are also most traces of a band playing, there is still some rhythm and the occasional instrumental melody, but we are otherwise left with electronic paintings of a post-most-things existence,
where bleakness rules and the only traces of colour you see is reverberating as fading memories from a world gone by, while spoken words seems like
philosophical end comments on a human society that Bogus Blimp is floating away from. This album clearly should be taken in as a whole, and it requires
repeated listenings to get hold of, more so than its predecessors, as it is on the whole more subdued and more subtle.
From my description this may seem like a heavy session, but it's also a very varied album, taking the listener into different rooms, with different views into
the broken down and desolated (or "the shipwreck of civilisation" as Bogus Blimp harshly puts it).
Visiting them all leaves me with a certain degree of glumness, but I still would like to revisit.
To sum it up: After three albums Bogus Blimp have reached their logical conclusion, as stated by themselves: "Disappearing into the void; making room for God."
Match result: Metronomicon Audio 3 () - Jester Records 4 ()
Next head-to-head meeting is the Center Of The Universe album Simulacra from Metronomicon Audio which is up against
the When release Whenever from Jester Records.
Copyright © 2012 Knut Tore Breivik