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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 247 - 10/16/16

Famlende Forsøk
The Tao Tapes, Vol. II
SHiT Tapes / Sub Culture Records

The first in a series of new limited edition cassettes by the prime cassette pioneers in Norway of old, i.e. the 1980s, if ever there was one, Lost In Laos, Vol. 1, was released in June. By then it was planned a second similar album set for release in the early autumn. And by Jove, they managed! If you want to find out more about how it was recorded, you might go back to our review of Lost In Laos in our full moon in June menu. The short story is that they are both based on live performances, this time from December last year, then being kneaded and churned in the studio, mainly by most recent member of the band, guitar, keyboards, electronics handler and studio whizz-kid, K2. So the new recordings sound different from the original studio only recordings of these tracks. Often the lyrics have been partly revised as well.

The sleeve says we're in for five tracks with more or less massive, noisy and mainly non-melodic soundscapes blended with the spoken words of stunt-punk-hippie poet Brt. In fact there is a short "Døve Munker Ut" intro here as well, also performed on Lost In Laos, originally from the Døve Munker Ut Av Norsk Industri album from 1985 or thereabouts. But not identical, of course. Last time it had lyrics, missed the metallic clanging and the comments by Brt are different. Here's also a new version of "Genser'n Te'n Johansen" (The Sweater Of Johansen) that was premiered on Lost In Laosthough not included on the cassette, only the expanded streaming version of the album. The backing track has been substantially revised and improved and it starts and ends more like a real sea shanty this time, with accordion in 3/4 rhythm and sung by a tipsy or seasick (or both; pick your choice) male sailormen choir. In between we get the story of the old-school Norwegian sailor Johansen's whereabouts, more ashore than on board, including plentiful doses of alcohol and other intoxicating substances, whores, exotic sauces, whoresons etc. all over his worn-out sailor sweater in the tragically-humoristic way only Brt is capable of.

These are the lightweight parts of the album. The remaining four tracks are closer to or pure hard-core Famlende Forsøk. "Gruppereisen Til Etnia" (Package Tour To Ethnia) has a pretty straight cyclical rhythm as the basis with almost funky tendencies, though, and electronics and brass on top. Brt informs us it was originally recorded for a sort of rock against racism-compilation CD, but rejected. 'It was the package tour to Ethnia that year. Many travelled. No one reached the destination.' A pretty up to date hot issue ... "Washing China", from the album of the same name, is the most overt political statement, though in a pretty surreal way. Brt mentions there are some Chinese leaders that ought to wash their hands thoroughly after their deeds in Tibet and elsewhere. Then he sighs that they probably won't listen to Famlende Forsøk anyway. The recording incorporates guest appearances by Johann Mazé and Jean-Hervé Péron on trumpets, the latter of Faust fame, and the sampled voice of the late Sun Ra coupled with an appropriate free-jazz sequence. The harshest and most demanding soundscapes can be found in "Etter Nansen" (After Nansen) and "The Festival". Nansen was a famous Norwegian polar explorer and if you're clever, you might discern some eskimoes hidden in the sounds beneath the guitars, percussion and electronics. It's not noise, but not melodic either. "The Festival" stems from the album dealing with the authorship of H.P. Lovecraft, One Night I Had A Frightful Dream. While the album has lyrics in English taken from the written words by H.P., they're translated to Norwegian by Brt in the main part here. And the translator admits the album might have worked better in Norwegian than in English. Rather scary stuff anyway, both words, tribal drums and electronic sounds.

So, another welcomed 2016 release from the Famlende Forsøk cannon. The main bulk of the album differs from the contents of the first volume in this series. The third will probably be based on a live event last April without Brt, but where the other boys in the band teamed up with ambient noisemaker Sindre Bjerga. Expect something quite different from the first two volumes. The Tao Tapes was launched at the small venue Mir in Oslo on 1. October where the quartet performed two sets of reworked and reinvented versions from their back catalogue, different ones from the tracks on the two recent releases, apart from three of the harshest from The Tao Tapes A good time were had by all and we might hope the recording of this gig will represent the basis of the fourth release in this ongoing series...? The guys say that they're fed up with the old tracks by now and will concentrate their live work on more improvised soundscapes from now on. Anyways, The Tao Tapes is available both as a limited edition cassette and CD-R, 40 copies each from SHiT Tapes. So you need to hurry... It will probably be available for streaming, too, but at the time of writing it's not up and running on Spotify.

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You may also want to check out our Famlende Forsøk articles/reviews: Døve Munker Ut Av Norsk Industri, Lost In Laos, Vol. 1, One Night I Had A Frightful Dream, A Tribute To H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), Return Of Monster Attack, Still trying - An interview with Famlende Forsøk, Washing China.

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