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Motorpsycho - Begynnelser CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.74 | 12 ratings

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4 stars Motorpsycho has definitely tried their hands at several different genres throughout their time as a band, and each time, especially with their later discography, you are not sure what to expect. This album, however, is probably the furthest from their original sound that they have ever traveled. The music on this album is all based on music from a play, which Motorpsycho played live on every showing. The play itself is based on the life of the main character, except it is all done backwards, from death to life, pretty much all viewed through memories of the character. The album title, 'Begynneleser' means 'Beginnings' in English. The music on the album is only based on the music from the play since the actual music can vary quite a bit from what you hear on the album, but it is similar. The music is also all instrumental. Most of the tracks are short, but a few of them venture beyond the 6 minute mark.

It starts off with a nice acoustic lead guitar, but soon changes to a raspy, dissonant guitar on top of it and alternates between laid back and contrasts with that strange raspiness. This track is followed up with 'Terje's Sang' a flute or some other kind of reed instrument played over a nice picked/strummed acoustic guitar. There are parts where the reeds are layered for a nice harmonic effect. 'Jaques Tati' has more of a folkish Jewish vibe with both traditional and strange sounds. This has a nice rhythm to it, but the rhythm is not being carried by percussive instruments, but some kind of plucked bass and guitar. 'Trylleball' uses vibraphone and what sounds like another reed instrument, oboe or clarinet maybe with some psychedelic flavor added in the vibes which have taken on a reverb effect.

Ever ones to surprise, Motorpsycho ventures next into a reggae vibe with mellotron and other processed instrument sounds. Sounds get bent giving this a strange atmosphere that grows a little dissonant and unsettling. 'Taterhjulets Gnaur' utilizes the low reeds again against an electronically reproduced and repetitive riff while bent sounds from the mellotron play along. This one is mostly repetitive with improvised instruments on top of it, and even if it's only three and a half minutes, it gets old fast. 'Englevinger' sounds like an old orchestrated soundtrack from an 1950s movie that eventually gets put through an echo chamber changing it to a scary movie. It's short at just over a minute.

The next 2 tracks break the 4 minute mark at last. Up to this point, the album is nice, but somewhat disjointed which could have been helped with better development. 'Sirkelpust' has a simple motif that sounds like passing time with a strange operatic tenor voice above it all, but I believe this is an electronically produced voice from the choppy sound of it. It's kind of strange, not in a good way. After a while, loud synthesizer chords start playing. As it gets more intense, it gets better. This is one of those tracks that's hard to know what to think about it without seeing the visuals that would go along with the enactment of the play. Next is 'Satan'. I don't know if it's the Satan of religious folklore, or an untranslated word meaning something else, but it sounds like it could mean the former Satan, as the music is discordant and spooky with processed organ and other weird sounds. This is good for Halloween music, but is interesting enough to be something other than just a novelty track.

Finally, a track over 7 minutes. 'Over Nyhavna' is an atmospheric track with crashing cymbals and other repeating percussive noises. Soon, a drone fades in and out alternatively. A maladjusted melloton plays just at the edge of hearing from out of the drone and increases in volume. Suddenly, we have trekked into avant-garde style music with this one. As it increases in volume over time, it gets more unsettling. Personally, I like this one and must say that things are more interesting when the tracks have more room to breathe. This sounds like some of 'Ulver's' more avant-garde music.

Next we get some atmospheric mellotron with a nice warbling electronic effect. Again, there is the feeling of suspense, but in a more mysterious and ambient style than the last track. You again get that 'Ulver' soundtrack vibe. This is followed by a longer track 'Gutan I Skogen'. This one starts out ambient with some keyboard chords that sound far off in the distance, and other electronically produced sounds surround that. You get a sort of Avant-folk feel with this as it gives you a Celtic or Icelandic vibe. Other layered instruments and sound come in, and things build in volume slowly. Very nice atmosphere and imagery with this one. This all wraps up with a very quick reprise of 'Terje's Sang'

This is definitely not the 'Motorpsycho' that you would expect in any way, shape or form. The album starts out interestingly enough, but with several short tracks in a row, it tends to sag in the middle. You will notice, however, that things get stranger as the tracks continue. When you finally reach 'Sirkelpust', and the tracks start to go over the 4 minute mark, things really get more interesting, and the tracks venture from straightforward music to more avant-prog territory. Do not expect to hear any Stoner music on this album, and there is not traditional percussion to be found on this album either. It is all instrumental. I would imagine that the music is even more interesting with the play going on in front of you and it probably makes more sense too. But I can say for sure, that the 2nd half of the album shines and is quite impressive as it reaches the more adventurous and experimental tracks of the 2nd half. Regardless of the weakness of the first half after the first few tracks, this is still overall a great album, and I have no problem giving it a 4 star rating. But remember to keep your mind open because this is not what you would expect even after the band did start venturing into more Progressive music.

TCat | 4/5 |


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