Norway - Full Moon 190 - 03/08/12
It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 33
Now We've Got Members: Then Is Just Another Kind Of Now
(2007 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0033.CD)
Ulver: Blood Inside
(2005 Jester Records TRICK-033)
Welcome to round 33 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
Then Is Just Another Kind Of Now comes as a nice three-fold cardboard case with gold lettering and CD insert.
The artwork includes two fascinating pictures from an art project by Aslak Gurholt Rønsen.
The Ulver release comes in a beautiful red velvet box with a CD and a booklet with art & info.
When writing this labelmatch series I have a rule of not listening to any of the Metronomicon or
Jester releases until the match is due, but Then Is Just Another Kind Of Now will
have to be an exception, this being the album that initially introduced me to the Metronomicon Audio label.
The album arrived as a double vinyl album with a nice gatefold cover, and I found the music
instantly enjoyable. The two previous releases from Now We've Got Members were also fine releases,
but this album is several notches up in every regard. The production is perhaps the best from
the label this far, the sound quality is quite excellent, somewhat dry, but dynamic
The members are the same as on Tiny Disasters On/Off (none mentioned none forgotten),
now grown into an ever tighter unit. This Metronomicon big band playing their adventurous balkan-funky progressive music
with bravura but also with a childlike joy of riding the waves of their expertly arranged melodic and rhythmic movements.
At times this can be an exhausting listen, but before that thought sets in, the music has usually shifted into another theme.
To sum it up: It is hard to see how Now We've Got Members could document their musical visions any better than this. It's a gem, it's a masterpiece.
Ulver's Blood Inside album was released in several different editions, the limited vinyl releases in various colours are of course collectables today,
but that also goes for the special CD release limited and numbered to 2000 copies, packed in a red velvet box. In 2010 Jester Records released
a red transparent vinyl repress limited to 500 copies out of the blue that also sold out quickly.
Musically Blood Inside draws inspiration from Ulver's more atmospheric and ambient efforts of their later releases, but
we really have to go back to the industrial-experimental rock/metal of Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
for a real comparison, as this is their first album-length release with a collection of songs with lyrics since then.
Blood Inside is a more challenging listen than the Blake album. It is more experimental, and to a lesser degree closes
in on normal song structures, but instead diverts into chaotic and schizophrenic collages of samples/recordings, some orchestral and symphonic, other
industrial and noisy, all rather bleak stuff of course. Unexpectedly they include a Rick Wakeman type synthesizer solo in "It Is Not Sound", but
that's about as humourous as it gets. There are several noteworthy guest appearances, including for instance Mike Keneally playing guitar on a couple of tracks.
Unfortunately, the production lacks the clarity of
the Blake album, making it sound heavily digitally processed in parts, diminishing the higher frequencies,
making the drum sounds feel veiled, and the sound gets saturated when the arrangements get complex, which
is a lot of the time. Because of this, large parts of the album grow tiring to listen to, and I resort to
liking the mellower parts of the album better, like "Blinded By Blood".
To sum it up: This is definitely Ulver's most interesting album for years, too bad it is to some extent lost in digital translation. The lyrics and the music portrait visions from
a post-apocalyptic and partly nightmarish reality, at least spiritual speaking, but there's Ulver for you.
Match result: Metronomicon Audio 6 ()
- Jester Records 3 ()
Next head-to-head meeting is the Truls And The Trees album Ailanthus from Metronomicon Audio which is up against
the Kåre João release 2 from Jester Records.
Copyright © 2012 Knut Tore Breivik