Norway - Full Moon 180 - 05/17/11
It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 23
Magnus Moriarty™: Sky-Fi Beatitude
(2005 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0023.CDR)
When: Sunshine Superhead
(2002 Jester Records TRICK-023)
Welcome to round 23 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
Sky-Fi Beatitude is presented in the typical Metronomicon fashion - a CD-R packed in a flexible plastic sleeve with a cardboard folder and a booklet containing art, lyrics & information.
The When release comes in a cardboard cover.
"Sky-fi Altitude" jumps into mood with samples from a radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds set to
a sad piano & slide guitar, recorded and played back through old and weary devices.
"Making the Train Land" is Moriarty™ in good form, and the snappy guitarplaying makes this a good example of his songwriting,
although in that regard it is also very similar to other songs from his earlier releases.
"Bring on the Captain" takes a step towards a purer folk melody, but combining it with Moriarty™'s trademark melodic twists.
The short "No, the Telly Cinderelly!" is sampling the British 80's comedy series The Young Ones, set to a subdued English sounding folk instrumental theme
that really should have been developed further.
"Narcissistic Necktie Party" is more on the bright side. Sunny pop but the sky is not enterily cloudless. Nice, but a little lackluster.
With "Pipe in Hand" the melodic fatique begins to set in, it sounds like too many other Moriarty™ tunes, with only the arrangement making a slight difference.
We get more samples from The Young Ones in "The Jelly Cinderelly?", serving up a melancholy but up-tempo medieval folk tune
that strays only sparsely away from melodic tradition, even adding a matching flute. Over in just 2 minutes, this little favourite should have been longer.
The even shorter "Don't Loose Yr Kru" samples more from the dialog of The War of the Worlds, set to a rather forgettable simple violin dominated instrumental.
"Lean Rafter in the Early Morning" and "Hank, the Batmobile Joyrider" are both suffering from the mentioned melodic repetitiveness, and
the arrangements are not exciting enough to prevent the listener from becoming aware of this.
The first half of "Exit Emergency Airport" is better, more sparsely instrumented, but it shifts into an uncomfortable high speed organ rhythm box theme towards the end.
Setting the background for some final dramatic The War of the Worlds samples is the synth instrumental of "Happy Plant Reactor", sounding like a scrapped Kraftwerk sketch,
which of course is not the worst of things.
To sum it up: Sky-fi Beatitude is arguably Magnus Moriarty™'s finest outing so far, and the cartoon-sci-fi
concept works well, with both the graphics artwork and the voice samples binding the songs together. Moriarty™ and Marius Ergo
utilize a lot of instruments, perhaps too many, and I like the simpler arrangements here better. Throwing in a lot of instruments
into the mix can neither hide the fact that several of Moriarty™'s melodies are very alike, too much so. But this repetiveness only
goes for half of the songs on Sky-fi Beatitude, making this is an adventurous album worth revisiting anyway. (Which Metronomicon
Audio did in 2009, when they reissued the album, this time with remastered sound and a triple foldout Digipak case.)
The CD single release from When features the "Sunshine Superhead" track from the 2001 album The Lobster Boys,
along with a new track "Sad Sunny Day". The first is a fine example of When's retro feelgood 60's psychpop, making the sun shine even on a rainy day,
and the new one fitting nicely beside it. Also included is a video clip for "Sunshine Superhead", adding some low production but trippy
moving imagery to the music, which couldn't possibly go wrong.
But the release is hardly worth having unless you're a When completist ...
Match result: Metronomicon Audio 3 () - Jester Records 1 ()
Next head-to-head meeting is the Cyrano CD I Cannot Smell It from Metronomicon Audio which is up against
the Ulver Lyckantropen Themes release from Jester Records.
Copyright © 2011 Knut Tore Breivik