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Motorpsycho Blissard album cover
3.40 | 65 ratings | 7 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

0. untitled hidden track (Jazz på trøndska) (8:34) *
1. Sinful, Wind-Borne (5:21)
2. "Drug Thing" (4:37)
3. Greener (6:13)
4. 's Numbness (3:57)
5. The Nerve Tattoo (4:02)
6. True Middle (4:51)
7. S.T.G. (9:45)
8. Manmower (4:16)
9. Fools Gold (3:57)
10. Nathan Daniel's Tune from Hawaii (6:11)

Total Time: 61:44

* Only on 1996 Columbia CD

Line-up / Musicians

- Bent Sæther / lead vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, piano (0), co-producer
- Hans Magnus "Snah" Ryan / lead guitar, vocals, Fender Rhodes (0)
- Håkon Gebhardt / drums

- Morten Fagervik / rhythm guitar, Mellotron, clavinet, Viscount organ, piano, vibraphone, vocals
- Helge "Deathprod" Sten / samples, Theremin, electronics, co-producer
- Ole Henrik Moe / violin (5)
- Bitten Forsudd / backing vocals (4,5)
- Rolf Yngve Uggen / backing vocals (4)
- Matt Burt / narration (6)
- M. Banto / pandeiro (7)

Note : The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: Kim Hiorthøy

CD Columbia COL 483786 2 (1995 Norway) With a pre-gap hidden track
2LP Stickman Records, Offworld PSYCHOBABBLE 003, Psy.Bab. 003, OW002 DLP (1995 Europe)
CD Birdnest Records BIRD102CD (1995 Sweden)
CD Survival SUR 533 CD (1995 Europe)
2LP Stickman Records PSYCHOBABBLE 003 (1996 Germany)
2LP Columbia 483786-9 (1996 Norway)
CD Stickman Records PSYCHOBABBLE 003 (1996 Germany)
CD Offworld OW 002 CD (1996 Italy)
2LP Stickman Records PSYCHOBABBLE 003, Psy.Bab. 003 (2013 Germany)

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MOTORPSYCHO Blissard ratings distribution

(65 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MOTORPSYCHO Blissard reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars One of the ugliest artworks ever (a blurry teddy bear's head) and a meaningless (IMHO) multi- page booklet , Into The Void We Have To Travel (AKA Blissard) is the four or fifth album of the by- now quartet, although there is this Deathprod character listed as member, playing Theremin and other electronic gizmos. This album is definitely a product of its time (second half of the 90's) and tries to hide its influences in a sea of blurry mist of mystery with enigmatic clues or vague hints to help understand their music.

Maybe the fact that the group became a quartet of playing musicians provoked the sound to soften up a bit, with the addition of Ragervik on keys and vibes, but rhythm guitar as well, but the group's captain is still definitely bassist & singer Saether and the lieutenant guitarist Ryan, still responsible for general sound of the group. On the other hand the sound palette is infinitely richer than on early albums such as Lobotomizer, but also less metallic as well, even if the album has still the right kind of energy? In some ways, with some of these tracks, we're not far from alternative/indie rock ala Radiohead and REM (Nerve Tattoo), sometimes with a post rock atmosphere (True Middle). Obviously the album's centrepiece is the almost 10-mis Sonic Teenage Guinevere (STG for short in the track list) where the group unleashes their respective fingers on the no-less respective instruments with a really quiet middle section/break, definitely the album's proggier moment too. With Blissard, you're holding one of MP's more enigmatic release, but also one of the more frustrating, because iot sounds forced at times, as if they were trying to do something different, but it wasn't coming easy to them, so they looked around for inspirations.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Blissard marks a move towards more mainstream indie material (whatever mainstream indie means). Half of the songs are very upbeat, happy almost, almost like the poppy side of The Cure in a crunchy mood. The other half veer towards more experimental post-rock, but not as far-reaching as the previous album.

The change of approach doesn't charm me much but I believe it was an important experience for the band, one that sharpened their songwriting and arrangement skills, which came in handy on their upcoming albums. There are still lots of influences from Sonic Youth that give the album a wild flair at times, but generally this is too 13-a-dozen indie for me. As standout tracks I would list Sinful, Wind-Borne, True Middle, STG and Moonmower, most of which showing a post-rock flair as well.

Blissard is an album that marks a step in the development of the band but it's no match for the 4 albums around it. Not bad for fans but not a recommended album to start exploring Motorpsycho. 2.5 stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Blissard" is the 4th full-length studio album by Norwegian hard rock/psychadelic rock act Motorpsycho. The album was released through Stickman Records in February 1996. To bridge the gap between "Timothy's Monster (1994)" and "Blissard", the members of Motorpsycho enganged in the Motorpsycho & Friends project (sometimes refered to as The International Tussler Society) titled "The Tussler ? Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1994)". Itīs a country rock styled soundtrack to a fictional Spaghetti Western originally released on CD in a very limited amount of copies.

With "Blissard" the band return to more familiar hard rock/psychadelic rock ground though. However it seems the "Tussler" experience has provided Motorpsycho with some fresh ideas and a new approach to writing music, because to my ears there is a big difference in compositional quality if you compare "Timothy's Monster (1994)" and "Blissard". Stylistically the music continues down the same alternative rock path with nods toward psychadelic rock (mostly in the middle section of "Sonic Teenage Guinevere") and hard rock as on "Timothy's Monster (1994)", but the tracks are generally more memorable and intriguing than the case was on the more mediocre predecessor. There is good dynamics on the album and there are both hard rocking tracks and more mellow songs on the tracklist. The music is guitar, bass, drums and vocal driven, but there are occasional use of various keyboards/organs on the album too. Bent Saetherīs voice is a bit thin/fragile and he sounds strained at times, but somehow he pulls it off anyway. The vocals are a slight issue though and thankfully something that would get better with each subsequent release.

"Blissard" features the most well sounding production on any Motorpsycho release up until then. The fact that theyīve opted for a slightly more organic sound on this album is definitely one of the main reasons. Itīs nice to hear that Motorpsycho already this early on in their career start to embrace a more warm and organic 70s influenced sound and slowly begin to move away from the more abrassive alternative rock sound of their formative years. That transition has been obvious in glimpses on the previous releases, but itīs here on "Blissard" that itīs become an integrated part of the sound.

So all in all "Blissard" is a step up from previous releases by the band, and itīs a pretty enjoyable listen in itīs own right too. Itīs not a perfect album by any means and there are still some issues with for instance the quality of the vocal performance, but itīs still obvious that "Blissard" is a quality release featuring many intriguing ideas, tight playing, and a powerful and suiting sound production. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars 'Blissard' is the fifth full studio album from Motorpsycho, and it has a more structured feel than the previous albums. The band decided to try bringing finished songs into the studio, for the most part, instead of bringing half finished songs and experimenting and messing around with them until they get the sound they want, as they did on precious albums. At first glance, the art work doesn't look like anything except a blured picture of a teddy bear, but looking closer, you will see that it is actually Mickey Mouse.

This one starts out with 'Sinful, Wind-Bourne', which starts out sounding psychedelic and then suddenly exploding into a jangly riff of twin guitars and a sort of funky feel with quickly strummed guitars. The song has a carefree feel, sort of a California style rock with a slight stoner edge. Not completely straightforward, you hear the band experiment with progressive traits towards the middle, but it stays in a more alternative rock vein with some dissonance thrown in for good measure.

'Drug Thing' is a bit darker with a tricky riff and gruffer vocals. The carefree feeling is still there, but you can tell the songs follow a more definite structure. For first time listeners, this might be hard to imagine, but those familiar will note the difference. As is typical of Motorpsycho, even though the tracks are upbeat, they are not in a hurry to get through instrumental sections as they let their songs develop. This one features some great guitar sections.

'Greener' has a more chugging feel with a heavy, mid-tempo beat and throbbing stoner guitars which drop off for the verses, which have a subdued, mysterious feel. As it nears the chorus, things intensify. The pattern repeats for the 2nd verse. The instrumental break continues the intensity generated by the chorus, then drops off to a softer sound which builds on itself again before blasting into heavenly solid guitars.

' 'S Numbness' comes next, and almost immediately explodes into a punk sounding riff which as it progresses becomes more rock centered but with some cool vocal textures added in and a synth melody added later.

'The Nerve Tattoo' starts with a more alternative/heavy sound but has a cool synth riff in the chorus, almost sounding like a rocked-out 'Super Furry Animals' sound. Great addition of violin in the 2nd verse which continues to create a nice effect in the instrumental break.

'True Middle' calms things down a bit with a bass, plucked strings, atmospheric effects and a processed vocal which is more spoken than sung. This song takes you into the more experimental part of the album. After a while, a dark riff comes in, and then calms to the mysterious psychedelic feel again. The pattern repeats, but this time builds on the riff to a chaotic crescendo before releasing the tension.

'S.T.G.' continues with the experimental feel with an almost 10 minute track. It starts with soft guitars, still in a dark mood. There is a build after a while, then a churning guitar riff comes in with vocals to follow. There are a few verses, the music builds in intensity, then goes absolutely crazy with dissonance and noise, then it drops off at the 6:30 mark to where we began with a softer guitar section with psychedelic leanings and nice effects which finishes off the track.

'Manmower' begins with an alternative flair with a mid-tempo rhythm and slightly subdued vocals with odd harmonies later giving an almost shoegaze feel, but not quite. Some great mellotron added in the last half turns everything to a psychedelic feel.

'Fools Gold' is more acoustic with processed vocals giving it the psychedelic feel. The sound uses unique chord changes to keep it from sounding like your typical unplugged sound. What almost sounds like a banjo being plucked is added later.

The last track is 'Nathan Daniel's Tune From Hawaii'. This one starts out quite ambient with some interesting sounds and textures.

Even though the music follows more of a structured songwriting process, it still has that rough edge to it that makes you think that it is improvised, which is one of the band's strengths. Many considered this album to be more accessible, and it might be on the first half of the album, but the 2nd half is much more experimental and psychedelic. It has good variety among the tracks, and even features some progressive elements, but is still a ways away from the progressive masterpieces that would be released some years later. But, since Motorpsycho is considered Eclectic Prog, it only makes sense that they have tried many different styles, sometimes hitting the target dead on and other times almost missing it completely. At least they are daring and always try new things, so their sound never gets tiring. As for this album, it's not perfect, but it is still excellent, better than some, but not as good as some of their best.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
4 stars Previous albums in the Motorpsycho lineage were experimental in direction, with songs being very jammy and less compositionally structured in a lot of ways. This fact gave the band a more D.I.Y feel to their music which I liked. However after moving to a different label after the release of The Tussler, Motorpsycho decided to create an album that experimented less of brainstorming and jamming with a focus of songwriting, composing, and working more on their newly founded Psychedelic Indie Rock sound they discovered in Timothy's Monster. As a result, we would get Blissard in 1996.

There are a lot of things I like about this album, but there are also some things I am too fond of. I will say, for starters on the things I like about this album, that album cover really does help the album a lot in my opinion. I think besides the modern trio of The Tower, The Crucible, and The All Is One (which I'll review soon), this is probably my favorite Motorpsycho album cover. The blurry image of a Mickey Mouse doll in a weirdly cropped black square with a scribble (probably a signature) on top is so jarring that the more I look at it the more I begin to love it. It gives off the perfect sense for this album, being this blurry idea that I do not even think the band would know how it'd turn out, similar to how, say, Walt Disney had the idea for Mickey Mouse in the 1920s.

The result of the more compositional effort on this album is a more structured, slightly pop sounding idea for the band to tackle, though some songs like True Middle and S.T.G are slightly out of favor with this sort of pop mythos the album creates. What I like about this is that, because of this, it is a very easy album to get into. There are a lot of hooks in each song that makes it so this record can catch your attention, whether it is with the hard pounding Sinful, Wind-Born or the expertly crafted Greener. Each song as a whole gives this accessible, but still experimental energy.

As a whole piece, I think this is the most structured, and consistent Motorpsycho album to date, with even tracks like True Middle carrying the same weight as the last song, and the song afterwards doing the same. It veers slightly away from this consistency in certain moments, but overall I think this is the most consistently crafted album Motorpsycho has ever produced.

However I think some of the charm that previous Motorpsycho albums had are lost in the consistent and compositional direction. I liked the more brainstorming work that Demon Box and Timothy's Monster provided, and such having it be lost in this record, while just for a moment, is pretty sad in my opinion. My favorite thing about Motorpsycho jamming works is that even though the band is merely improv, their sense of structure helps those songs to feel more worthwhile. Here, that sense is lost and while I think every song here (minus the last track) are very good, they do not have that Motorpsycho charm to them.

Though, I think the album has a lot more improvements than faults from their original sound. The more effective song writing, lyricism, and composition does help the band to create more profound and powerful music that they'll implement more in later releases. This album is the band's maturity album, growing more highly tuned with their newly founded sounds and styles and as a result a turning point for the band's expertly crafted career.

While I think as a try and true Motorpsycho album this is pretty weak, but as a compositional and structured effort this album is very good in what the group wanted to do. While I cannot say this is an absolute must listen for any Motorpsycho fan, it is a definitive turning point for the band that shouldn't be overlooked. Like Mickey Mouse, sometimes an experiment can be a gemstone in a rough time.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Deeper into alternative rock psyche of Motorpsycho we go... (I started out with their later, retro-rock albums). Despite the early Motorpsycho's reputation for noisy drone and love of Sonic Youth, Soundgarden and Dinosaur Jr., this approach is not dominant and standing in the way of melody. This ... (read more)

Report this review (#1399439) | Posted by Progrussia | Thursday, April 16, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After the double extravaganza Timothy's Monster, Motorpsycho switched label from Harvest/EMI (ring any bells?) to Sony/Columbia where they would stay the next 10 years. The first release on Sony was Blissard, which was a more "written" and arranged record than they'd ever done before. Sonic Yo ... (read more)

Report this review (#278712) | Posted by tired_feet | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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