Motorpsycho


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Lobotomizer , 5/10
Soothing Songs for Ruth , 6/10
Demon Box , 7/10
Timothy's Monster , 6.5/10
Blissard , 5/10
Angels & Daemons At Play , 5/10
Trust Us , 5/10
Let Them Eat Cake , 5/10
Phanerothyme , 4/10
It's A Love Cult , 4/10
In The Fishtank (2003), 5/10
Black Hole Blank Canvas (2006), 5/10
Little Lucid Moments (2008), 6.5/10
Heavy Metal Fruit (2010), 5/10
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Norway's Motorpsycho offered perhaps the most eclectic take on the cliches of psychedelic hard-rock on monumental albums such as Demon Box (1993), bordering on progressive-rock.
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I norvegesi Motorpsycho esordiscono all'insegna di un hard-rock psichedelico che riparte dalle storiche scorribande di Blue Cheer e Hawkwind. Uno stile prolisso e logorroico affonda l'album Lobotomizer (Voices Of Wonder, 1991), ma il mini-album Soothe (Voices of Wonder, 1992), poi allungato con l'aggiunta di Have Fun e Loaded per diventare l'album Soothing Songs for Ruth (Voices of Wonder, 1992), lascia presagire sviluppi tanto megalomani quanto originali. Bent Saether e Snah Ryan, nonostante enormi carenze tecniche, hanno la mano facile con gli strumenti e possono metabolizzare qualsiasi cosa in una composizione complessa. Il metodo trionfa forse nel brano piu` romantico, Sister Confusion, anche se e` la lunga Lighthouse Girl a far intuire cosa diventeranno da grandi.
The double-LP Demon Box (Voices of Wonder, 1993), featuring keyboardist Helge "Deathprod" Sten, boasts the band's classic style, a style both bold and florid, however derivative of hard rock of the 1970s. The loud distortion and the trivial melody of Nothing To Say is typical of the method. The sinister limping screamed grunge of Feedtime and the pounding punk-rock slam-dance of Babylon represent its extreme manifestations. The seven-minute Plan #1 adds enough instrumental chaos to increase the dramatic content.
The 17-minute Demon Box is structured in three parts: a six-minute deluge of truculent panzer guitar riffs, five minutes of chaotic musique concrete, and then a reprise of the main theme via a tidal wave of epic guitar riffs.
However, variety is the principle presiding over the medieval dance of Waiting For The One the poppy frenzy of Sunchild, the dreamy, stoned acoustic folk lament of Tuesday Morning, the cover of Moondog's street chant All Is Loneliness, the devilish moans and noises of Step Inside Again.

The five-song EP Mountain (1993) added Mountain to the major canon.

Il doppio Demon Box (Voices of Wonder, 1993), con il tastierista Helge "Deathprod" Sten, sfoggia lo stile classico del gruppo, spavaldo e rigoglioso, ma terribilmente epigonico nei confronti dell'hard-rock degli anni '70. Mountain riesce a superare gli stereotipi del genere, ma gran parte del disco ci precipita dentro a testa bassa. A salvarsi sono soprattutto i brani meno legati a quella tradizione, dalla ballata solare di Waiting For The One al grunge scuro di Feedtime.
The double album Timothy's Monster (Harvest, 1994) introduced a calmer, more sophisticated group of musicians. The pastoral overture of Feel, the simple country-pop of Now It's Time To Skate, the slow, restrained On My Pillow, the brooding, seven-minute psychedelic pastiche Kill Some Day, the singalong Beatiful Sister display musical ambitions that are perhaps beyond the group's skills. A more solid sound propels the hypnotic and anthemic Leave It Like That, with echoes of Modern Lovers and Stooges, the conventional garage-pop of Trapdoor, the Breeders-like nervous, fractured pop of A Shrugh & a Fistfull. The 10-minute Giftland straddles the line between the two personalities, rich in guitar riffs but also in quasi-symphonic magniloquence. Watersound also fuses the two tones, turning a melancholy shuffle into a demented boogie in what is, perhaps, the best trick on the album.
The second disc of Timothy's Monster contains only four lengthy tracks. The longest and best one, The Wheel (17 minutes), builds up slowly to a grunge-y furor, then slides down into acid distortions, Blue Cheer-grade grooves and martial tempos. GrindStone (seven minutes) is a maelstrom of Black Sabbath-ian riffs accelerated to frantic speed and of psychotic screams. The Golden Core (13 minutes) is, instead, another quiet track, a lengthy coda to a song that doesn't exist (Bel Canto's Anneli Drecker on backing vocals).
Overall, this is a weak double-album that would have been a great mini-album.

The EP containing The Nerve Tattoo and Mad Sun transformed wild impetus into aesthetic self-indulgence, whereas Blissard (Columbia, 1996), featuring Sinful and Manmower, offers confused and awkward progressive-rock that relishes both psychedelic jams and folk ballads.

Another double album, Angels & Daemons At Play (Columbia, 1997), that collects three previous EP, boasts only one truly good piece, Starmelt-Lovelight.

The double Trust Us (Columbia, 1998) unleashes Ozone and Hey Jane, but the inspiration is even weaker.

A presumption of eclectism ends up undermining these monumental works.

Tussler (Stickman, 1993) is a soundtrack for a western movie.

Il singolo Another Ugly Tune e il doppio album Timothy's Monster (Harvest, 1994) consacrano la stagione d'oro, caratterizzata ora da una ricerca timbrica e armonica piu` adulta, che sboccia in brani meno sensazionali e piu` intellettuali come Kill Some Day, Leave It Like That e Wearing Yr Smell. Le lunghe suite di The Wheel, Grindstone e The Golden Core che dominano il disco si ispirano in egual misura al progressive-rock e all'hard-rock melodico dei tardi Led Zeppelin.

L'EP di The Nerve Tattoo e Mad Sun ha trasformato il selvaggio in narcissismo. ma Blissard (Columbia, 1996), con Sinful e Manmower, propone un progressive-rock confuso e approssimativo, che si crogiola tanto nelle jam psichedeliche quanto nelle ballate folk.

Un altro doppio album, Angels & Daemons At Play (Columbia, 1997), che raccoglie in realta` tre precedenti EP svedesi, annovera soltanto una buona canzone, Starmelt-Lovelight.

Il doppio Trust Us (Columbia, 1998) sfodera ancora Ozone e Hey Jane, ma l'ispirazione e` sempre piu` fievole.

L'eccesso di eclettismo finisce per disintegrare questi lavori monumentali.

Roadwork Vol 1 (Roadwork, 1999) is a live album that contains extended versions of their tracks.

Then, suddenly, with Let Them Eat Cake (Stickman, 2000) the Motorpsycho abandoned psychedelic rock and turned to art-pop, like many of their idols did in the late 1960s. Songs like The Other Fool are so baroquely orchestrated to recall Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev.
Tracks: The Other Fool, Upstairs-Downstairs, Big Surprise, Walkin' With J., Never Let You Out, Whip That Ghost, Stained Glass, My Best Friend, 30/30.

The mini-album BArracuda (Stickman, 2001) basically collects the leftovers of those sessions.

Continuing their descent into art-pop, Motorpsycho's Phanerothyme (Stickman, 2001) focuses on arrangements and casually samples the history of rock music for melodic ideas. The result, from the orchestral country lullaby Bedroom Eyes to the baroque fugue When You're Dead (banjo, harpsichord, flugelhorn), is certainly eclectic, but "pop" requires, first and foremost, good melodies, and only the Byrds-ian psychedelic folk-rock of Go To California and the Beach Boys-ian pop of Blindfolded get close to being hummable and not only pretentious.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Claudio Lancia)

Roadwork Vol 1 (Roadwork, 1999) è un album dal vivo che contiene alcune versioni estese di loro composizioni.

Con Let Them Eat Cake (Stickman, 2000) i Motorpsycho abbandonano il rock psichedelico ed il contrasto art-pop, come fecero molti loro idoli nei tardi anni ’60. Canzoni come The Other Fool sono orchestrate in maniera così barocca da richiamare alla mente i Flaming Lips ed i Mercury Rev.

Il mini-album Barracuda (Stickman, 2001) contiene altre registrazioni di quelle sessioni.

Continuando la propria incursione nell’art-pop, con Phanerothyme (Stickman, 2001) i Motorpsycho si focalizzano su arrangiamenti e ripescaggi dalla storia del rock per idee melodiche. Il risultato, dalla ninna nanna country-orchestrale di Bedroom Eyes alla fuga barocca di When You're Dead , è certamente eclettico, ma il "pop" richiede innanzitutto belle melodie, e solamente il folk-rock psichedelico-Byrdsiano di Go To California ed il pop alla Beach Boys di Blindfolded si avvicinano ad essere canticchiabili e non solo pretenziosi.

It's A Love Cult (Stickman, 2002) is even more devoid of contents.

In The Fishtank (Konkurrent, 2003) is an improvised collaboration with Norwegian horns-based combo Jaga Jazzist. Theme De Yo Yo is an interesting cross between Deep Purple and the MG's. The 20-minute jam Tristano delivers an intriguing sequence of free-form cacophony, tribal/cerimonial rhythms, and gargantuan, propulsive group improvisation.

In The Fishtank 10 (Konkurrent, 2003) is an improvised collaboration with the Jaga Jazzist Horns.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Luca Cantoreggi)

It's A Love Cult (Stickman, 2002) è ancor più privo di contenuti.

In The Fishtank (Konkurrent, 2003) è una collaborazione improvvisata con il combo norvegese Jaga Jazzist Horns. Theme De Yo Yo è un incrocio interessante fra i Deep Purple e gli MG’s.

La jam di 20 minuti Tristano consegna un’intrigante sequenza di cacofonia free-form, ritmi tribali/cerimoniali e gigantesche e propulsive improvvisazioni di gruppo.

Helge "Deathprod" Sten ha registrato anche con gli improvvisatori Supersilent.

Helge "Deathprod" Sten has also recorded with improvisors Supersilent.

With Black Hole Blank Canvas (2006) Bent Saether and Snah Ryan returned to a more vibrant garage sound (17 songs, none longer than nine minutes).

Motorpsycho's Little Lucid Moments (Rune Grammofon, 2008), instead, contained four colossal suites that represent the best they had to offer after so many years of refining the format of California's melodic acid-rock. The 21-minute monolith Little Lucid Moments opens with four minutes of a languid psychedelic lullaby, but it soon delves into a frenzied screamed chunk of prog-rock. After ten minutes it has become a country-inflected shuffle with multi-part vocals a` la Yes, followed by a section of pure galactic bliss with a strong rhythmic underpinning, like a punk version of the Allman Brothers. Year Zero (the shortest piece here at "only" eleven minutes) reverses the structure, using a brief jam to introduce its simple melodic leitmotiv and then using a longer jam to destroy it. The Alchemyst couples a rootsy, Little Feat-ian riff and a grunge-y seesawing riff before the two collide and explode. The music eventually collapses into a mellow delirious minimalist pattern that simply fades away. The 14-minute She Left On The Sun Ship takes four minutes to coalesce the sparse sounds of the beginning into a charging rhythm and a catchy melody. song. From the seventh minute on the music overflows in all directions, dwarfing the multi-part vocal harmonies but maintaining a cohesive structure. The album is virtually a recapitulation of jam-oriented rock music from the Grateful Dead to Pink Floyd to the Jefferson Airplane to Traffic to Wishbone Ash to Quicksilver to... There are great moments but also some trivial elements (notably the melodies). What is missing is a sense of mission, of purpose, of originality.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Tobia D’Onofrio)

Con Black Hole Blank Canvas (2006) Bent Saether e Snah Ryan ritornano ad un sound garage più vibrante (17 canzoni, nessuna più lunga di nove minuti).

Little Lucid Moments (Rune Grammofon, 2008), invece, contiene quattro suite colossali che rappresentano quanto di meglio i Motorpsycho abbiano da offrire, dopo tanti anni passati a rifinire il format dell’acid-rock californiano. Il blocco monolitico di ventuno minuti Little Lucid Moments si apre con quattro minuti di languida ninna nanna psichedelica, ma sprofonda presto in un urlato e frenetico macigno di prog-rock. Dopo dieci minuti è diventato un miscuglio tendente verso il country con cantato a più parti alla Yes, seguito da una sezione di pura meraviglia galattica con un forte sostegno ritmico, come una versione punk degli Allman Brothers. Year Zero (il pezzo più breve con "soli" undici minuti) inverte la struttura utilizzando una breve jam per introdurre il suo semplice leitmotiv melodico e poi distruggendolo con una nuova jam più lunga. The Alchemyst unisce un riff roots alla Little Feat ed un altro altalenante riff grunge, prima che i due collidano ed esplodano. Alla fine la musica collassa in un posato e delirante pattern minimalista che semplicemente si dissolve nel nulla. She Left On The Sun Ship (14 minuti) impiega quattro minuti per fondere i radi suoni iniziali in ritmo galoppante e melodia orecchiabile. Dal settimo minuto in poi la musica straripa da tutte le parti, diminuendo le multiple armonie vocali ma mantenendo una struttura compatta. L’album è virtualmente un riassunto della musica rock orientata verso l’improvvisazione, dai Grateful Dead ai Pink Floyd dai Jefferson Airplane ai Traffic dai Wishbone Ash ai Quicksilver ecc… Ci sono momenti grandiosi ma anche altri banali (soprattutto le melodie). Quello che manca è la sensazione di una missione, di uno scopo e di originalità.

The mini-album Child of the Future (2009) was one of their humblest recordings.

Heavy Metal Fruit (Rune Grammofon, 2010), on the other hand, employed their entire arsenal of tricks in majestic compositions such as the 13-minute Starhammer (rude Hendrix-ian riffs next to granitic keyboard riffs but weakened by a rather aimless coda) and the 20-minute four-movement suite Gullible's Travails (one of their mellow melodic moments, with a dreamy section reminiscent of early Genesis followed by a virulent instrumental boogie section that brings back the melodic theme with soaring keyboards and all the bells and whistles of pop music). Their garage-rock roots surface in the Steppenwolf-ian romp X-3 (although burdened again with an anemic coda). The frenzied beginning of WBAT is an excellent example of jazz-blues-rock fusion, but its descent into rough southern boogie and poppy power-ballad is misguided, a recurring problem in their albums. Anyway, there was little "metal" left in their magic potion.

Motorpsycho's Still Life With Eggplant (2013)

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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