Norway - Full Moon 203 - 03/27/13
It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 46
Truls/Trees Vs. Center Of The Universe: Surfing USB
(2010 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0046.USB)
Zweizz & Joey Hopkins: S/T
(2011 Jester Records TRICK-046)
Welcome to round 46 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
Surfing USB is presented as a metal USB-key!
The Zweizz & Joey Hopkins release comes on fine green transparent vinyl!
By this time, Metronomicon Audio had started to show great imagination with the packaging of their releases,
this came as a USB key made of sturdy metal, good to hold in the hand. On it are
6 high quality wav-format sound files, along with an image file and a text file with information.
I guess this could be seen as a collaboration between Truls (from the Trees) and Sissyfus, while
other Metronomicon affiliates contribute and make for the use of the Center Of The Universe name.
So what does the key unlock? It starts out rather synthetic with "Nothing Else Antimatters", bubbling
and wobbling pop minimalism. "Vera Rubin" features Truls' recognizable falsetto vocals, and leans more
into his brand of indie-pop, but with the C.O.U. DIY aesthetics, a rather fine mix.
The same could be said for naked, more electronic and slightly moody "Terella".
"Information Sickness" features Koppen in rap-mode and "floss-credibility", a home-electro-funky thing,
blip-bloppy without going totally overboard. The calmness of "2x The Speed Of Light" makes it
feel like a nice little lullaby. The 10-minute long "Cancellado Imprimar" is a non-intrusive
and mostly mellow electro-infused instrumental, rounding off the album nicely.
To sum it up: A nice little collection of light, mostly introspective and slightly melancholy DIY indie-pop. A low-key, so to speak.
The Jester release I have on vinyl only, but it is available digitally, and perhaps also on CD.
Zweizz is Norwegian Svein Egil Hatlevik, who has more than a handful of releases out on various labels
which I'm not familiar with, but we're talking noise and experimental I think. Joey Hopkins
I know nothing about except what is stated on the liner notes. Sadly he passed away in 2008 (R.I.P.),
and the album is dedicated to his memory. Appearantly, Zweiss and Hopkins had a very fruitful
collaboration going, writing all the songs on this album together, and also laying down the base recordings of them.
The following years bass, guitars and vocals where meticulously added, before the album was finalized in 2011 after years of mixing by Zweizz.
A lot of people have contributed, among them guitars by Filip Roschauw (The Switch), Tremoro Tarantura and Kim Sølve (Delirium Bound, K100, Swarms),
vocals by Kristoffer Rygg (Ulver & Jester Records), Carl-Michael Eide (Virus, Aura Noir), Torgny Knutson Amdam (Amulet) and Ingrid Aarvik Berge (Norma Sass).
Also worth noting is Dag Stiberg on saxophone, known from the great My Midnight Choir, but here creating a direct link to the opposition
through playing in Metronomicon's Now We'we Got Members and Truls and the Trees.
The opening "Eternal Puberty" is a massive beauty of shimmering noise alongside melancholy melodics from synths and vocals stacked upon
a simple bass theme. "Dwill 2 Dpower / Tomorrow" is harsher, more industrial, electronic noise with rapid machine rhythms, but is broken up
by lush keyboards and reverbing vocals. "Black Strobes" is almost funky with its glitchy interwoven electronic blips and noises, developing
into what sounds like a broken balalaika orchestra. "Bimor Bibmoj" is faster, percussion-heavy and relentless, like a carousel gone haywire.
"Smash Politics Gag" and "Porcelain Dolls In The Bath" are both fast and rhythmic, avantgarde, noisy, occasionally feeling like black metal
instrumentals played on distorted electronic toy instruments, rather exhausting. "The Goat" features Rygg on vocals, and is the first
vocals that really come through with recognizable lyrics, a rather black and nightmarish track. "How We Ate The Flesh" again
blends glitch-noise with lush, clean tones, and the arrival of a vocal choir makes it even more schizophrenic.
"No Clue" ends the album with more of the same but more sparse, with more air, the guitar and vocals almost getting to perform a normal song,
perhaps even justifying a comparison with Scott Walker.
To sum it up: A fine collection of avantgarde, experimental noise, mixing electronics with natural instruments and voices, occasionally
adding up to highlights of melancholy, melodic noise drone, the highlight being the opening track, "Eternal Puberty". An album that deserves more attention than I'm able to provide here.
Also plus for the liner notes by Peter Vollset, which shed some light on the collaboration between Zweizz and Joey Hopkins.
Match result: Metronomicon Audio 3 () - Jester Records 5 ()
Next head-to-head meeting is the Center Of The Universe release Levitating Disk from Metronomicon Audio which is up against
the Ulver release Wars Of The Roses from Jester Records.
Copyright © 2013 Knut Tore Breivik