Norway - Full Moon 193 - 06/04/12
It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 36
Center of the Universe: Simulacra
(2007 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0036.CDR)
(2004 Jester Records TRICK-036)
Welcome to round 36 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
Simulacra 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 When release comes in a CD jewel case with a booklet with art & info.
According to the booklet, this is the second installment in a trilogy from Center of the Universe (the last being the by then unreleased Apokryfa album).
On Simulacra Sissyfus is doing almost everything himself, with only Sara Lena Yri Cools helping with accordion and backing vocals on one track.
The opening "Jinx" is nakedly arranged Arabic Casio-folk-funk with Sissyfus really stretching his vocals, while
"Making Tapes" starts out Casio-darkwave before gliding over into the blippy-bloppy videogame territory that
Sissyfus loves but I can't stand. "Drawn Inwards" is faster and funky, while "Unconventional Fear" is more experimental, with a slight Casio-industrial feel.
"Ah! You're Safer With Me Here" sounds like it could have been included on the soundtrack to a Monkey Island game,
if you look away from the vocals. "Anagram" heads again for the Casio-funk, with some rapping to top if off.
The snappy instrumental "Hercolubus Is Approaching" has Sissyfus doodling around with the buttons in the studio
without really touching on to something very interesting.
The short "Planck-Energy" is an ambient/noise interlude before the ending title track, the longest one on the album,
an almost 10 minutes instrumental detour changing between deep Casiosynth-space and near-Casio encounters, interrupted by short bursts of Casio-metal.
Arguably the most interesting track.
To sum it up: The opening and ending tracks are the best, the rest are rather un-noteworthy additions to the C.O.U. songbook.
When's last album, Pearl-Harvest, was eastern influenced throughout, a territory that Lars Pedersen
hasn't left on Whenever.
"Stripped Of Its Coverings" are sound collages with some monotonous string plucking and minimal drumming,
working as an intro to "Modern Research Into Mummies", which fires up a seven minute long Arabic rhythm fest, with repetetive
patterns growing in intensity, perhaps too much so.
"Ice Is Fire And Fire Is Water" is the shortest track here, with only one and a half minute of shimmering light guitar strumming
below harmonious singing, like it's all floating in sunbathed water.
Quite a shift then, into the orchestral dramatics of "In Allmansland".
"E=MC2" is very rhythmic with a lot of xylophones, a bit of Talking Heads funk and a lot of sunny singing.
"Bushman" is a funky cacophony of samples that almost contains to much for the ears to take in simultaneously.
Lasting more than 14 minutes, "Some Apocalypses" is a central track on the album, starting out darkly,
with the mumbling of murky swamp creatures, mysterious footsteps and spooky door slams ...
singing voices trapped in old loopy radio transmissions ... bursts of raw experimental metal interrupted
by the desolate chiming of winds ... spooky industrial noises and wobbly synths ... finally, the crackling distortion of
machines in overload.
"Clay Is Light And Light Is Matter" ends the album with more uplifting tones, but its groove becomes rather to monotonous
after a while. All lyrics used on the album are written by Chris Cutler, underlining the album's rather experimental nature.
To sum it up: Well, as much as I want to, I can't say that Whenever is either an essential part of
the When discography or a particularly interesting album. It feels rather directionless, or perhaps I fail to see how
the eastern music and glimpses of pop harmonies are connected to the experimental parts.
Match result: Metronomicon Audio 1 (
) - Jester Records 1 ()
Next head-to-head meeting is the Hanny album Sceneity from Metronomicon Audio which is up against
the Upland release Obliterated from Jester Records.
Copyright © 2012 Knut Tore Breivik