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It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 41
coverpic coverpic Center of the Universe: Apokryfa
  (2009 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0041.CDR)
vs.
Ulver: Shadows Of The Sun
  (2007 Jester Records TRICK-041)

Welcome to round 41 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 goalsIt's a GOAL! and giving out yellowOooops, a yellow card! and redOooops, a red card! cards, soccer style - but first of all reviewing the music. For more introductory information on this label match, see round 1.

Match preview
Apokryfa is presented in a double fold-out digipack with a booklet with lyrics and art.
coverpic coverpic coverpic

The Ulver release comes in a CD jewel case with a folded insert with art & info.
coverpic coverpic

The match

The liner notes states: "The songs on this album are based on excerpts of written music and traditionals, found on travel to Serbia, United Kingdom, Syldavia, Bosnia Hercegovina, Belgium, Spain, Sweden and Norway, year 3170-3172 YOLD.", the dates referring to the Discordian Calendar, which translates to years 2004-2006 in the Gregorian calendar, I think. As usual, Sissyfus plays most of the instruments himself, but is helped throughout by Sara Lena Yri Cools, on vocals, accordion and synth. The album starts a row of somewhat sketchily arranged tunes, the upbeat, mid-tempo and banjo-driven "A Period of Time" is followed by the slower "A Tune!" that almost comes to a halt midways, but picks up as percussion and bass is added. "Sing It Again" works well with its light balkan-twangy theme, while the more uptempo "The Way Things Work" has a great positive vibe. The Arabic mellow-mystical "Indecicion" featuring Øyvin Yri on clarinet is greatIt's a GOAL!. "Wherever You Are" stands out in this collection being the only song based on more traditional pop chords, although with an indie-folk feel, beautifulIt's a GOAL!. The title track shakes off some dust with its faster klezmer-like riffs, but is a rather forgettable instrumental among the other and stronger tracks surrounding it. "Time-Space Continuum" has a rather intriguing and skewed rhythmic pattern which is repeated to a trancelike effect, increased by nice echoing vocal effectsIt's a GOAL!. "Drawn Outwords" is in fact rather inwards looking and reflective, a slow and somewhat sad ending song, with nice oboe playing by Emily Wasp, adding to the bluenessIt's a GOAL!.

To sum it up: Apokryfa is without doubt the best Center of the Universe album so far. This time Sissyfus has gone for less-is-more and rather restrained arrangements, almost making them feel sketchy, but the collection of lighthearted songs shines better this way, especially the second half of the album is very strong.

The ever-changing face of Ulver shows a new side with Shadows Of The Sun, diving into the reflective and melancholyIt's a GOAL!. The music is floating below the surface of a cold arctic sea where only glimpses of sunlight reach down. It's deep and rumbling, almost ambient at times. The lyrics are centered around light and darkness, life and death, often understated and short on words, and sung with a monk-like slowness, almost imploding of solitudeIt's a GOAL!. One song glides into another, even the cover of Black Sabbath's SolitudeIt's a GOAL! melts into the overall mellow sounding production. Creaking and distorted sounds blend in from time to time, like remnants of machinery slowly moving in the deep. It sure is an ambitious album, some would say pretentiousOooops, a red card!, I guess, but at the same time the lyrics may stir up some thoughts, if you let them. Going through this album is somewhat like watching a funeral. Although there may be light and hope, there certainly also is bleakness, which I feel dominates the album to an almost uncomfortable level.

Match result: Metronomicon Audio 4 (It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!) - Jester Records 3 (It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!)

THE LABEL TABLE
# Metronomicon Audio (MA) Jester Records (JR) MA JR
01 C.O.U.: Darklow Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Themes From William ... Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 1 4
02 C.O.U.: Sellout EP It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! Esperanza: Esperanza Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! 2 1
03 C.O.U.: Bestboy Electric Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Arcturus: Disguised Masters It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
04 Cyrano & C.O.U.: s/t It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! When: Psychedelic Wunderbaum Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 2 1
05 Täppas Strepens: Beans, Bacon ... Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Bogus Blimp: Men-Mic It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 2 4
06 Center of the Universe: Curious .. It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! Ulver: Metamorphosis It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 2 1
07 C.O.U.: Taking a Nap With It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Perdition City It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 2 4
08 Täppas Strepens: The Future ... Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Bogus Blimp: cords. wires Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 3
09 Magnus Moriarty™: Drive Fast ... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! When: WriterCakeBox It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 5
10 Various Artists: 1.0 It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL! Star of Ash: iter.viator. It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! 3 1
11 Now We've Got Members: Le Jardin It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Virus: Carheart It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 3
12 C.O.U.: Promotional Copy Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Silences Teaches You ... It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 1
13 Magnus Moriarty™: ...And The Hippos... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! Origami Galaktika: Stjernevandring It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 3 4
14 Cyrano: You Sensualize My Soul Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! When: The Lobster Boys It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 3
15 Koppen: Truckdriving Songs Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! Rotoscope: Great Curves Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
16 Täppas Strepens: Dance, Dance ... It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! Ulver: Silencing the Singing It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 1
17 C.O.U.: Staying Up All Night ... Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card! Kåre João: Captain Trips It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
18 Magnus Moriarty™: U R On A Radar It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Head Control System: Murder Nature It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 2 2
19 Now We've Got Members: Tiny ... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Single Unit: Family of Forces It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 5 3
20 Various Artists: 2.0 Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! [unreleased] 1 0
21 Koppen: My Fashion Statement ... Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card! Kåre João: Sideman It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 4
22 Täppas Strepens: The Great American ... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL! Upland: Upland It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 4 1
23 Magnus Moriarty™: Sky-Fi Beatitude It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! When: Sunshine Superhead It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 1
24 Cyrano: I Cannot Smell It It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card! Ulver: Lyckantropen Theme It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 3 2
25 Hanny: Moderning Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: 1993-2003: 1st Decade ... Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 1 1
26 C.O.U.: Bellydance Nation It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! Ulver: A Quick Fix Of Melancholy EP Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 2 2
27 Meta Forever: Astroid Antics It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! 1349 Rykkinn: Brown Ring of Fury It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 4 2
28 Cyranq & Phil Emile: [sic] It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! Kåre João: Sleepers It's a GOAL! 2 1
29 Ergo: Reclaim The Mall! It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Teachings In Silence It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 2 2
30 Various Artists: 3.0 Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card! Ulver: Svidd Neger Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 1 2
31 C.O.U./Magnus Moriarty™: Did U ... Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card! Origami Galaktika: Horisont It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
32 Koppen: Let's Eat Crazyroom ... It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! When: Pearl-Harvest It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 1 3
33 Now We've Got Members: Then Is ... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Blood Inside It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 6 3
34 Truls & The Trees: AilanthusOooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card! Kåre João: 2 It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 3 3
35 Lower Than Lo-Fi: No Need For Ladders Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Bogus Blimp: RdtrIt's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 3 4
36 C.O.U.: SimulacraIt's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! When: WheneverOooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
37 Hanny: SceneityIt's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Upland: ObliteratedOooops, a red card!It's a GOAL! 3 1
38 Magnus Moriarty™: Perhaps Interior ...It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! Anthony Curtis: Book Of The KeyOooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 2 2
39 Ergo: MountaineeringIt's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Espen Jørgensen: On the Great ...It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 3 5
40 Various Artists: 4.0It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! When: Trippy HappyIt's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 3 3
41 Center of the Universe: ApokryfaIt's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Shadows Of The SunIt's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 4 3
Total 99 91

Next match
Next head-to-head meeting is the Center Of The Universe release Remixes/Remixed Ether Force Unit Seven from Metronomicon Audio which is up against the When release You Are Silent from Jester Records.

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