Norway - Full Moon 199 - 11/28/12
It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 42
Center of the Universe: Remixes/Remixed - Ether Force Unit Seven
(2009 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0042.CDR)
When: You Are Silent
(2007 Jester Records TRICK-042)
Welcome to round 42 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
Remixes/Remixed - Ether Force Unit Seven is presented in a double fold-out digipack with a booklet with lyrics and art.
The When release comes in a CD jewel case with a folded insert with art & info.
The first eleven tracks on this release are Center of the Universe tracks being
remixed by others, a couple of people from within the Metronomicon circle, most from the outside.
The last four are CoU tracks remixed by CoU, aka Sissyfus, himself.
Given the extensive back catalogue of CoU releases, counting at least eight, with the first dating back to 2000,
a remix project like this seems like a good idea. I have to admit that beside
Metronomicers Ergo and Koppen, most remixers are unknown names to me.
Starting off is Vicelords' swell wobbling dub-funk remix of "This Love Will Last 4 Ever" from
2005's Bellydance Nation, with a nice eastern mystique.
The Boutros Boutrous Boutros remix of "Drawn Inwards" taken from the
2007 album Simulacra also has this eastern feel to it, although
it is not as excitingly executed.
The trouble starts with the Ost remix of "Darklow",
the title track from CoU's first release from 2000.
Vocals sounding like Smurfs in puberty, over synthetic hip-hop beats
quickly reaches annoyance level orange. Enter Koppen, and the level rises to red
with his blip-blop Casio-rap cut-up "Pasukon Bonus Level" remix of "Bonus Track", which I believe is from 2003's Promotional Copy.
Next up is another just as frantic track from Bellydance Nation, "Doppelgänger", which Captain Credible
can't save from becoming another attack on the brain neutrons.
Andrè Borgen's remix of the title track from the 2007 release Simulacra
slows things down, perhaps too much, as not much is happening.
"The Seed" is the third track from Bellydance Nation getting a rehash, here by Mogens Operandi,
keeping the original's mellowness, while looping and flanging it.
A second track from Simulacra, "Ah! You're Safer With Me Here" is remixed by Orangebox,
but its arrangement is still cemented in Casioland.
"Sim Simulacrum", also off Simulacra perhaps, but in that case renamed here, is a Tr-Ond And The Suburban Savages product.
A rather organic mix, almost sounding like a band playing, closing in on repetetive krautrock and even spacerock, certainly
one of the better tracks in this collection.
The synthetic "Wannabe Soul" from 2003's Staying Up All Night With The C.O.U. is marginally more
interesting in the Brugata Blostyle Crew mix, while Ergo's remix of
"The Object Is Lost" from the same album, is tranquil and spacey, quite nice, but has little resemblance with the original, as far as I can tell.
Ending the album is four tracks remixed by Sissyfus, his take on "Doppelgänger" being the only CoU track,
Of the others, I find the Salvatore tune most interesting, "E Is For Egyptian Field Reversal", Salvatore are (were?) a fantastic kraut/post-rock band,
and Sissyfus joined in on their 2004 album Luxus. Although this is probably a left-over track, it's a high point on this album,
if not in the Salvatore catalogue.
Serafina Steer's "Motion Pictures" and André Borgen's "Next Universe" are both fine and mellow, but seem rather synthetic
and spacially closed-in. Especially "Next Universe" would have scored here were it not for the relentless and dominating synthetic drums.
To sum it up: This collection of remixes is not at all representative of the previous CoU output, but at least half of the tracks
are interesting enough. Except for a couple of obnoxious inclusions on the frantic-synthetic side, which also is kind of representative of CoU,
this is not a bad introdution to CoU.
Seeing that You Are Silent is produced by Lars Pedersen along with Tore Ylvisaker from Ulver,
and judging from the black and white cover art depicting people in various degrees of sickness,
leaves you in no doubt that we are in for a dark-When treatment, as opposed to a happy pop-psych experience.
The song-titles are dark as hell too. The opening "Lost Cure" has similarities with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds'
magnificent "The Carny", although it's a slow marching and not a slow waltzing parade. Still, it has the same eerie gloomyness.
"The Virus" features a sacral choir, eventually mixed with a light kind of melodic progrock,
slowing down, grinding into a halt. The shorter "Stirred" has bleak lyrics croaked to us by a freezing soul,
accompanied by spooky clock bells, perhaps a little overstated in effect. This glides into the mellow psych-pop of "Strange Rituals",
featuring straight vocals, sparsely instrumented at first, but drums, bass, etc. joins halfway in.
Ending the album is the twenty minute long opus of "False Alarm", starting off perhaps a little Pink Floyd inspired,
with a ticking clock, bells & beeps, voice cut-ups, enter deep, slow, metallic hammering, animal screams, shots, sawing,
clock ticking, alarm going off, and ... churning, industrial and metallic rock with distorted vocals. Well, I didn't expect this.
I'm not sure this is a territory where When has the best chances of impressing, but ... objectively, it's repetetive, noisy and
relentless enough to make it difficult to fault it on its own, but it's not very original, which also could
be said about the album as a whole.
Well, things calm down again before the last bleak message is delivered and it all fades away:
I see from the hall window
today as every year
my long delayed last day
at last arriving here.
And clearing a way,
downhill through horrible
decaying yellow leaves
winter stares at my skull.
To sum it up: Hmm. As much as I'd like to give thumbs up for a Lars Pedersen release, I've come to realize that
the volume of his output means that he's also letting some less interesting stuff get out there, and this is one you
could easily skip. Besides lacking in originality, it also funnily enough feels more outdated than any of When's retro pop-psych releases,
and certainly pales next to for instance When's thematically related The Black Death from 1992.
Match result: Metronomicon Audio 4 () - Jester Records 3 ()
Next head-to-head meeting is the Koppen release Strømmen Gamelan City from Metronomicon Audio which is up against
the Upland release Monochrome Adventures from Jester Records.
Copyright © 2012 Knut Tore Breivik