Norway - Full Moon 194 - 07/03/12
It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 37
(2008 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0037.CDR)
(2004 Jester Records TRICK-037)
Welcome to round 37 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
Sceneity is presented in a double fold-out digipack with a folded poster.
The Upland release comes in a CD jewel case with a booklet with art & info.
I'm still not quite sure who the members of the band Hanny are, but Marie Therese Kvamme seems to be their lead singer.
Also participating on Sceneity are Simon Yri Cools (trommer), Sara Cools Yri (piano, trekkspill), Ida Jannike Graf (violin),
Viviana Vega (bass), Ida Hvidsten (cello), Barry Kavanagh (piano), Henrik Kamphus Nilsen (tambourine), Øyvin Yri (clarinet), Linn Annett Ernø (flute).
And of course Mr. Metronomicon himself, Jørgen Sissyfus Skjulstad (guitar, organ, bouzouki, banjo, mandolin, and more).
Hanny's debut album Moderning from 2005 was a collection of melancholy and mellow folk-pop songs,
nice enough, but perhaps a little unextraordinary and forgettable.
Nevertheless, there was some potential in Kvamme's nice and fragile voice. Even more so on Sceneity,
not always pitch perfect, but along with improved songwriting and more interesting arrangements,
this is a huge step forward compared to their debut. The band sounds like a well rehearsed acoustic chamber group,
the soundstage is intimate, suiting the small songs well, and the melodies takes small twists and turns, stacking
those minor and major chords in unexpected ways. Inbetween the traditional songs we find small light cello and piano
instrumentals creating some breathing space, while "ordinateur" Sissyfus gets the final say with the closing instrumental titletrack.
To sum it up: Sceneity is a fine little indie-folk-pop album with a nice acoustic and friendly vibe.
No particular song stand out, but together they make a very sympathetic encounter. If you'd like to go deeper into
the philosophy of the album, visit Barry Kavanagh's North blog post on it.
Upland's self-titled debut album from 2002 consisted mainly of rapid rhythmic/arhythmic electronic glitch/noise
combined with some vague synth melodies and occasional funky/hip-hop drum machine rhythms.
It left me rather unimpressed, and Obliterated is more of the same, so I suggest you read my review of the debut album
for my general views on this music, as I won't repeat myself here. The tracks that stand out for these ears are
"Chi" and "Heatrate", which escape some of the overshadowing rhythmics and display some eerieness.
Otherwise this is rhythmically too hyperactive for me to get something meaningful or enjoyable out of.
Both Upland albums may be viewed as art statements using its manic easthetics to portray a faltering reality,
and others may of course find these albums interesting also on a musical level.
Match result: Metronomicon Audio 3 () - Jester Records 1 ()
Next head-to-head meeting is the Magnus Moriarty™ album Perhaps Interior Heart Politeness from Metronomicon Audio which is up against
the Anthony Curtis release Book Of The Key from Jester Records.
Copyright © 2012 Knut Tore Breivik