Norway - Full Moon 184 - 09/12/11
It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 27
Meta Forever: Astroid Antics
(2006 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0027.CDR)
1349 Rykkinn: Brown Ring of Fury
(2003 Jester Records TRICK-027)
Welcome to round 27 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
Astroid Antics is presented in the typical Metronomicon fashion - a CD-R packed in a flexible plastic sleeve with a cardboard folder, but including a
fold out poster.
The 1349 Rykkinn release comes in a jewel case, also including a fold out poster.
Meta Forever are Andi Grace a Dieu and William B. Skyborne, and according to the press releases for this CD
they have been traveling around the globe and galaxy gathering meta-facts since 1903, all building up to
this document of pseudoscientific fiction, in the form of a concept album. Included is a map of the astroids,
compiled and drawn at the Cartographic Division of the Meta Forever Sientific Society (MFSS). This map holds the history
behind all their expeditions, each one correlating to an album track, a magnificient idea and the result is
rich in detail and a joy to look at inspect.
Map in hand, we start our astroid adventure, but I should mention first that our spaceship is an old
sofa in a closet inside the Metronomicon cottage, where all is cosy and comfy. "Old Dub Thai Mazda (ODTM)"
is a soft-sung kind of vague pop tune with interesting arrangements that are more intricate
than the low-key playing first suggests. The guitar playing is great and the accompanying harp and violin adds
a chamber feeling. "Santiago 68 (S68)" continues with more original guitar playing, this time with an eastern
twist. The vocals are more spoken and dramatic while the lyrics seem cut-up, telling a broken mystery,
which probably could be said about other songs here also. The banjo-based "How Was Paris? (CYDTAF)" is
stretching between theatrical cabaret and acoustic rock adding a gliding synth note and even some
whispering black metal voices. Banjos also drive the calmer "77 72 (...)", doing a nice twin lead with another
string instrument, and a nicely done saxophone solo, almost taking us back to Baker Street.
"My Eyes Shiver (MES)" steps up the pace, the vocals hints to John Lydon frantics while
the song's intensity effectively builds up and down, in a schizophrenic mix of spacey synths and violins.
Unfortunately, we also hear the first signs of a distorted production that I guess is not intentional,
mainly affecting the drums.
The instrumental interlude "Encyclopedias And Maths (EM)" is kind of street organ or circus inspired.
The remaining songs all suffer from the same distortion problems, a couple to the point
that it takes the focus away from the songs.
Still, "Coke Cab (CC)" comes through with another great sax solo. The closing "A Horror Horde of Crushing Giants (HGCG)"
seems to mostly escape the distortion, ending the album with another fine mix of sadness and quirkiness.
To sum it up: I have no idea who president William B. Skyborne or vice president Andi Gráce á Dieu of MFSC are,
but numerous people are listed as contributors ("scientists, suppliers and crew"), and I guess most of the Metronomicon
circle are involved, in addition to many others. Together they have in many respects made one of the more interesting albums from Metronomicon
so far. To bad it is marred by the mentioned distortion problems, but Astroid Antics still is a fine achievement,
especially considering the included astroid map, with so many details that it alone makes you love concept albums.
Future generations may look forward to the expanded and remastered double gatefold vinyl version, perhaps seeing the
day of light at the next Meta Forever Space Congress (MFSC), which will be held September 26th 2059.
Rykkinn mostly serves up industrial metal-grinding noise,
forming repeated but random patterns sometimes panning out wide left & right. Listening to the opening tracks
I visualize a world where machines are left unattended, engines are running on red, just waiting to blow.
Mostly this is atonal, but heavily distorted fragments of tonality slips through, like on "Glenn Kristoffersen Is Dead",
and clearer on "K.I", which sounds like a folk tune of some sorts.
"Fields With Flowers In Crazy Colors" surprises you with mellow acoustic guitar strumming in
a sad little interlude where the noise is reduced to the washing sound of sea waves, but we end up flowing
into a hospital room where life-support systems start going into alert mode.
The 25 minute long "Best Boy" is based on machine heartbeats, while fried and bursting synthetic phasing
and echoing sounds flash by. You may easily find your attention degree varying as
the it shifts between slowly introducing new noises and looping them into new patterns.
An exhausting listen, but
as noise goes this one fascinates well above average.
After this "Buenos Aventura" finishes the album with a dialogue seemingly recorded in a public place
where an English bloke talkes about his Christian visions, donations, hookers, drugs, reincarnation,
a strange girlfriend, and plugging the website of Arthur Blessitt,
a man who carried a cross 39,227 miles through 318 countries.
To sum it up: I won't pretend to be a seasoned noise listener, but "Best Boy", the central track on this album,
is one of the more interesting noise experiences I've suffered my way through, partly because there is
a base rhythm and easily noticable repeating patterns, as opposed to more abstract noise constructions
that can be more confusing and stressful, the brain looking for patterns (it always does!) that
perhaps are not even there.
Match result: Metronomicon Audio 4 () - Jester Records 2 ()
Next head-to-head meeting is the Cyranq & Phil Emile Mini-CD EP [sic] from Metronomicon Audio which is up against
the Kåre João CD single Sleepers from Jester Records.
Copyright © 2011 Knut Tore Breivik