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coverpic flag Norway - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 14 - 12/14/97

Fnös Hose
Halvparten Av Ingenting

The members of Fnös Hose invited friends and friends' friends to a party to launch their first CD album the day after the full moon of November. Now our mate Pingo of the Oslo branch of Luna Kafé is the bass player of the band. This review is not intended as an attempt to improve the balance of his bank account, as you'll soon understand.

The party was the bring-your-own-booze-and-we'll-take-care-of-the-entertainment kind and took place in a combined shop and apartment. The small living-room had been decorated with balloons and the band entered the stage when all members eventually had found their way to the premises. The drummer had to sit underneath the staircase to make some space for admirers and listeners who sat all over the floor in front of the shoes and microphone stands of the band. We got a nice introduction to some of the songs on the album while balloons flew through the air and eventually were popped. People were drinking, there was a jam session, more drinking and the party ended as all decent parties in Norway ought to end. Which means that none of the involved did feel too well the day after. A splendid time were had by all. I'm looking forward to their next release party.

Halvparten Av Ingenting (Norwegian for Half Of Nothing) is indeed something: a home recording, 100% low fidelity the cover claims and there's only 35 copies issued! The sound, especially of the drums, would surely not be approved by a hi-fi freak. But who cares? The kind of pop music I enjoy the most never belongs to the category of perfect slick studio production. Fnös Hose delivers what we in Norwegian call pop-rock. Most songs seem to have been written in the singer-songwriter tradition with an acoustic guitar, others seem to be more rock-oriented band compositions with the classic guitar, bass, drums and vocals line-up. 20 songs in 48 minutes mean quite a few short ones, some last too short, a few might better have been left off the album or developed further before a release. Anyway, I'm particularly fond of the dynamic Mellomlivet, by far the longest track of the album (4 minutes!) which also stands out because of some unusual guitar-work and -sounds. The guitars and vocals sound homogenous throughout most of the album. The use of keyboards now and again makes sure Fnös Hose avoid monotony, particularly successful on I Tåke På Havet with some looming keyboard bass at the beginning and church organ at the end which reminds of Pink Floyd's A Saucerful Of Secrets (the last part of the title track). The vocal harmonies of Aldri Henne Heller in combination with melancholy guitars and reverbed lead vocals give the song a haunting feel. As you might understand, all the lyrics are in Norwegian, which ought to make the album more exotic to the none Norwegian speaking. Some lyrics are humorous, some half surreal, others longing; almost all titles have a funny weird twist.

It's of no importance what songs I might like or dislike. The main issue is that Fnös Hose has made a CD completely by themselves without getting ruined. In the 1980s when the big record companies ran a campaign with the slogan "home taping is killing the record industry", we used to add "and it's about time" and innocently believed home taping and independent cassette releases might change (a small part of) the world. Now Fnös Hose has proved it's possible to take the independent releases to a higher digital level by issuing the CDs all by themselves, which really is something! And don't mind my words about low fidelity too much; the sound quality is of course substantially better than most independent cassette releases 10-15 years ago. The music biz will not be threatened this time either, but let's hope others pick up the idea and spread their recordings via home-produced CDs or via the Net.

I guess the first edition of Halvparten Av Ingenting is sold out by now, but if plead I'm sure pingo is willing to copy a few more CDs.

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