Momus


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Circus Maximus (1986), 6.5/10
Poison Boyfriend (1987), 5/10
Tender Pervert (1988), 6/10
Don't Stop The Night (1989), 5/10
Hippopotamomus , 5/10
Voyager , 5/10
Timelord , 6/10
Philosophy , 6/10
20 Vodka Jellies , 5/10
Ping Pong , 6/10
The Little Red Songbook , 6/10
Stars Forever , 4/10
Folktronic , 5/10
Oskar Tennis Champion (2003), 4/10
Otto Spooky (2005), 5/10
Ocky Milk (2006), 5/10
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Momus (Nicholas Currie) wed Wilde's decadent aesthetics, Byron's romantic spirit, Russell's erudite world knowledge and Pet Shop Boys' synth-pop in a controversial series of meditations on sex and death. If the results rarely matched his ambitions, his style progressed from the pseudo-biblical concept album Circus Maximus (1986) to the catchy synth-pop of Tender Pervert (Creation, 1988) to the superbly arranged disco-music of Philosophy (1995).
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Momus (Nicholas Currie, ribattezzatosi in omaggio al dio greco del ridicolo) nacque in Scozia, ma si stabili` a Londra. Per wit, impegno sociale, e auto-ironia, Momus epitomizza la tradizione britannica piu` di ogni altro cantautore della sua generazione. Eppure la patria non gli e` mai stata amica.

Momus e` un incrocio fra un esteta decadente alla Wilde, uno spirito romantico alla Byron e un pensatore erudito alla Russell. Le sue meditazioni sul sesso e sulla morte prendono liberamente a prestito temi che arrivano dal Medioevo e che sono radicati nella cultura popolare. Le musiche non conoscono confini: Momus puo` impersonare tanto l'intellettuale del cabaret quanto il piu` fiabesco hippie, tanto Bowie quanto Donovan.

La sua carriera si apri` con gli Happy Family, un umile complesso scozzese formato con un paio di reduci degli Josef K. La sua carriera solista ebbe invece inizio con l'allucinato concept pseudo-biblico di Circus Maximus (Cherry Red, 1986), ogni canzone del quale e` ispirata a un evento mitico dell'antichita` ebraica. Musicalmente, Momus riusciva a sposare il piglio esistenziale dei chansonnier parigini e gli arrangiamenti decadenti del synth-pop, ma senza eccedere in nessuno dei due generi. La title-track dell'EP Murderers The Hope Of Women (Creation, 1986) dimostra gia` la statura del personaggio, nonostante le pose decadenti e un eccesso di autoparodia.

Poison Boyfriend (Creation, 1987) lo presento` in vesti piu` gaie, accompagnato da un complesso rock alle prese con canzonette boccaccesche come Sex For The Disabled, anche se brani come Closer To You lasciavano intuire ambizioni piu` serie. La conversione al synth-pop decadente di Tender Pervert (Creation, 1988), con A Complete History of Sexual Jealousy e Right Hand Heart, e Don't Stop The Night (1989), un album ancor piu` ossessionato da temi sessuali (compresi incesto e pedofilia), con Lord Of The Dance e Guitar Lesson, fu la logica conseguenza di questa svolta mondana. E arrivo` anche il primo hit: Hairstyle of the Devil (1989). Monsters Of Love (1990) raccoglie i singoli, dimostrando la forte influenza dei Pet Shop Boys.

Gli anni '90 si aprirono con Hippopotamomus (Creation, 1991), un omaggio a Serge Gainsbourg che vanta Ventriloquists and Dolls, e Voyager (Creation, 1992), l'album piu` sfacciatamente ispirato ai Pet Shop Boys (Conquistador, Spacewalk), sempre nei panni dell'incorreggibile peccatore alla ricerca dello scandalo soffice.

Provati un po' tutti gli stili musicali, e fuggito in Giappone dopo aver sposata una ragazzina di 15 anni, Momus trova una temporanea pace spirituale su Timelord (Creation, 1993) e su Philosophy (Cherry Red, 1995). Quest'ultimo contiene The Sadness of Things, che porta alla perfezione i suoi arrangiamenti di disco music, ed e` anche il suo album piu` eclettico.

Momus also collaborates to Jacques' How To Make Love Vol 1 (Setanta, 1997).

The much lighter 20 Vodka Jellies (Le Grand Magistery, 1997) piles up tracks recorded in different occasions and includes amusing ditties like I Am A Kitten, Vogue Bambini, Radiant Night.

Far from aging, Momus pens an album of silly, teenager-grade nonsense like Ping Pong (Le Grand Magistery, 1998). Stories like My Pervert Doppelganger, Space Jews, Lolitapop Dollhouse, Professor Shaftenberg (a disco orgy), Tamagotchi Press Officer (a bossanova), set to catchy refrains, border on kitsch and vaudeville and would appeal to Frank Zappa.

Momus also writes songs for Kahimi Karie.

True to his never being true to himself, Momus changes course with The Little Red Songbook (Le Grand Magistery, 1999), a collection of blaspheme and sordid tales and assorted erotic fantasies, set to thick layers of electronic keyboards (Old Friend New Flame).

Each song on the tour de force Stars Forever (Le Grand Magistery, 1999) was commissioned by a "sponsor" who paid Momus $1,000.

By drawing from De Sade, Nietzsche, Brecht, Brel, the Scottish songwriter has concocted a gallery of bizarre perverts that ranks among the most extraordinary creations of rock music.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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True to the digital civilization he inherited, with Folktronic (Le Grand Magistery, 2001) Momus decided to adapt traditional folk music to electronica. Neil Young did this ages ago, but Momus uses folk instead of folk-rock, real archaic folk, and uses drum-machines instead of machine dissonance. Actually, the most intriguing tracks are the ones that wed Appalachian music to avantgarde music, like Appalachia, Simple Men, Mountain Music and Finnegan The Folk Hero, tunes and dances that look back hundreds of years but creak and squeak as if performed by androids. The grotesque performance takes place under Carrie's ever sardonic wit, as proven by Folk Me Amadeus (that parodies a famous dance hit).

Now living in Tokyo, Momus updates his arrangements to the laptop age with Oskar Tennis Champion (American Patchwork, 2003), but the songwriting is the weakest of his career. Spooky Kabuki and the other futuristic vignettes experiment with sound, not with stories. Momus christened his new style "chanson concrete".

Momus also sang on Summer Isle (Cherry Red, 2004), whose music were composed by Anne Laplantine.

Otto Spooky (American Patchwork, 2005), his most erudite work, roams the soundscape from ethnic music to glitch pop. While catchy refrains occasionally engage/distract the listener (Your Fat Friend, Klaxon, Corkscrew King, Robin Hood), it is the story, the concept and the overall presentation that matter.

The trilogy begun with Oskar Tennis Champion and continued with Otto Spooky was completed with Ocky Milk (2006). It featured simple but intriguing experiments (notably the voice manipulation of Nervous Heartbeat), demonstrating an impressive nonchalance in jumping from the acoustic realm to the electronic realm and viceversa. These three albums, that recycle all sorts of musical styles and techniques, emanate a profound sense of alienation while anchoring the voice to a disorienting magical dimension worthy of a fairy tale. Alas, the quality of the material rarely matches the idea.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Anna LaRocca)

Coerente con la cultura digitale che ha ereditato, con Folktronic (Le Grand Magistery, 2001) Momus ha deciso di adattare la folk music tradizionale all'elettronica. Neil Young lo fece secoli fa, ma Momus utilizza il folk invece del folk-rock, l'autentico folk arcaico. In effetti, i pezzi piu' interessanti sono quelli che sposano la musica appalachiana a quella moderna, come Appalachia, Simple Men, Mountain Music e Finnegan The Folk Hero, melodie e danze che guardano indietro di centinaia di anni ma stridono e cigolano come se fossero eseguite da androidi. La performance grottesca ha luogo secondo l'umorismo sardonico di Carrie, come dimostra Folk Me Amadeus (parodia di un famoso successo dance).

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