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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 90 - 02/06/04

Alpine Those Myriads
Yr Royal Jetlag Gospel
Osito Records

It's no secret that since I got hold of this CD it hasn't left my discman almost at all. And this intriguing and otherworldly record gives me a hard time. The more I listen to it the more perplexed I am, it gets harder to write something sensible about it for each listen. What is this? Not two songs are vaguely in the same vein, even the songs themselves constantly mutates in new and unexpected ways. It seems the two guys Gyphus and Elijah get their divine madness from such diverse sources as cabaret, opera, weird folk, Will Oldham, Daniel Johnston (who pops up on the track "Love is a fascist invention" ), Nick Drake, Meret Becker, Tigerlillys, Residents, NWW and a host of contemporary composers and experimental artists. What really strikes me are the way they make the constant use of all sorts of effects and weird sounds work within the frame of a song, even the smallest details heightens the mood or the melody. For melodies there are, some hidden under layers of eccentric behaviour with diverse instruments, others plainly laid bare with only an acoustic guitar and a haunting voice.

As for the lyrics, they range from the complete dadaistic undecipherable to the funny and the morbid, as in "John (' round goes the merry)":
And when I killed the dog
ohh, I really dug it
I think I've found myself
a new sweet hobby

Maybe not the deep and profound statements, but who knows what lies hidden behind the obvious meanings? If we are to take the music as a cue, the lyrics will grow on you with each listen.

Alpine Those Myriads are a welcome addition to the small, but significant number of Norwegian groups who combines a taste for theatrics with genuine musicanship and a willingness to explore the outer regions of contemporary music. Among the others we can name The Four from Trondheim, Bogus Blimp from Sandefjord and the various Origami fractions. Be sure to catch them if you ever get the chance, their flair for the darker side of the carneval really comes out live. Even the elaborate packaging of this CD gives a small hint of what to expect. Kurt Zwitters would surely have been proud of his apprentices.

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