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> THE MOOR is .... well, that's where the problem begins - as labeling and comparing to other bands is the usual way to describe an unknown / unusual band and sound.

Well, I know them by now - and after doing a strange kind of gig with them lately in downtown Hamburg-Harburg, the following is of course totally subjective - but all the more true...

To start with, the musical style of the band is ruled out by an (almost seriously) self-confessing dictator, a Mr. Kenneth Magnusson.
Not a man of too many words - almost everything seems to go straight into the music: energy, frustration, excitement, anger, beauty, irony, you name it.

The influences are manifold - and the band is always keen to experiment, to try out the unusual - which to me is the most interesting aspect of their work. But all the different elements and influences you might track down - from pounding industrial rhythms over jazzy sections to King Crimson-ish mellotron soundscapes - never turn into an unrecognizable postmodern mash. The band always manages to put it's mark upon it - as they develop this into sounds and structures of their own - with a distinctive driving - and mostly somewhat dark energy.

Kenneth M. K. Magnusson: "The Moor is mainly a vehicle of distressful, evil music. I do believe in the force of the dissonant. I have never liked soft music..."

....this might sound a bit worrying to the more soflty-sensible listener and is also something one could argue about -
I mean, what exactly is 'evil' music?
Something between Diamanda Galas and Pat Boone?
But then, the whole band is blessed with a certain kind of
(I believe 'Scandinavian'- suspect 'Swedish') humour...so, don't take anything too-bloody-serious on this page...

But then, "distressful" sounds rather accurate....strangely enough, the music that Mr. Magnusson and his fellows have produced over the years has always been 'blessed' with the label 'progressive'.
And this strange label "Progressive" has become a rather ambiguous label.
In case you understand it in the literal sense (like The Moor does) it's a blessing - if, however, you use it in the common way, describing some sort of pathetic-nostalgic mid-70's pompous attitude, it's quite an insult....

K. M: "We call our music Progressive Space Rock, but Progressive does in these days mean Regressive. You'll have to sound like a seventies band to be called Progressive and I don't think that that is very Progressive at all. (...) so maybe we should call our music non-Progressive non-Space non-Rock."

See, the bloody labeling problem...

Well, lets have some fun and take a look at the problems other "reviewers" had with this - and their quite amusing solutions:
"Uh ... semi-symphonic psych-grunge jazz-rock? Well, that's as good a place as any to begin defining this fascinating project from Sweden's The Moor.... - conclusion: "An eminently intriguing progressive album."- see...
or how about:
...some of it sounds like Rush fronted by Nick Cave; the rest sounds like a fully-stocked musical instrument shop being demolished."

"Rush fronted by Nick Cave", eh?
Ah, the heck with this comparisons - it is a fascinating direction this band is exploring - makes you wish that all those bands who call themselves "Progressive" would be TRULY progressive / daring / provoking / happily crashing the style and sound barriers like these fellows do.

The Moor exists for quite some time now - I believe since the mid/late 80's - though their recorded output is rather small.
1988 saw the release of two vinyl singles (if I remember correctly, they are not too happy about them these days).
A long break ... up to 1993 when, finally, the first album Every Pixie Sells A Story was released. Consider Death and Neo-Futurist Fantasy are the opening tracks / titles.
So, you are evidently not in for a cozy evening, sipping some nostalgic music.

The overall dark-ish atmosphere is accordingly pushed by Hans Möll's vocals - detached and at times on the edge to spoken words performances, he could also fit into a kind of Joy Division-ish band. His lyrics are equally 'coloured': existentially-edged, mocking-socio-critical, gloomy-cynical comments on scientific endeavours like genetic engineering....
Surprisingly (for me, at least), the album also features a cover version of a Hawkwind song: Angels of Death.
Though the album is not as hard-hitting as the one to follow, Every Pixie... aleady features the wide variety of moods and structures the band is exploring: from the gloomy pounding rhythm of Consider Death to the sheer beauty of the almost children's-music like Mines of Moria.

Three years had to clock away before the next Moor album saw the light of night: FLUX

By now the final 5-member line-up had gathered - much to the benefit of the sound - its complexity and variety of structures.

Simon King, Stacia, N. Turner, ca. 1972 Shortly before the recording of FLUX another kind-of-associated (due to 'dislocation') member joined the band.
This was no other than one of THE seminal figures of psychedelic sounds & space-rock; co-founder of the still space-rocking legend Hawkwind:   Monsieur Nik Turner.

He met Kenneth Magnusson at a gig he did with darXtar - another band from Sweden he is collaborating with. darXtar invited Kenneth to come along for a jam...
...later on, when he met Nik Turner and the man had listened to some of The Moor's music, his immediate conclusion was:

"I want to join the band."

Sounds simple - but geography, in this case, is an obstacle. It's quite a walk from Falköping, Sweden, The Moor's base-camp, to the wooley-wilderness of the Welsh mountains where Nik Turner is residing.
Nonetheless, both sides were thrilled by the prospect, so, for the following recording lots of tapes were exchanged - and what Mr. Turner played on the tapes he received from Falköping, was mixed into the final version of FLUX. And it has to be said, that especially the brass-sections, played by Nik Turner and some other guest musicians, add a lot to the special 'flavour' of this record.

Ok, after making some fun on the backs of other poor reviewer's - here's their place to take revenge upon me - here's my (extended) review of FLUX...

When I received a copy of FLUX I've only heard about the band in a sort of Hawkwind-ish connection - being a bit skecptical...yet another copy of the ole wole band...just what I need.
Mind you, they needed exactly 20 seconds to grab my curiousity by the neck - right after the synth-intro of the outstanding opening track SUCK, when a violent, thrashing rhythm crushes out of the speakers - over a sound that must probably be the first industrial-like use of a mellotron. Ca. 1.30 min. later this changes into some quite cool jazzy-sort-of-sequence - to be taken away by a cascade of pounding synth-waves, constantly fired up by frantic cymbal beatings....by no means are these the epigones of some undefined Space-Rock-ritual...

Clas E. Everytime you think you have defined a direction / style this song is heading for, there comes the unsuspected break, some surprising change of direction, some unnerving noise collage - like the brilliant shrieking guitar solo of Clas Edmundson - which really sounds like the instrument gets a delicious high-pitched chainsaw treatment. This beast could even induce a headache to Robert Fripp...
For me, SUCK alone would justify to buy the album.

What's next on the plate...you guess, yes, a surprise. BABY starts with an acoustic guitar intro - and this is the song which comes closest to any kind of indie-pop music The Moor has ever recorded - interrupted (of course) by an eerie and somewhat irritating synth-break. Strange....and in accordance with the lyrics quite an uncomfortable 'love song'.

Ulf N. BODY is next - hey, the drummer was accused of employing a 'homophobic' rhythm on this one. Well, I can't see anything bad in this anyway. It's simply a superb driving force - as Ulf Nylén's drumwork is in fact throughout the entire album. Ok, the basic beat is disco-ish - but hammered with such a harsh edge to it, that it has more of a slaughterhouse drum'n disco flavour.
The keyboards are hovering ghostly upon the rhythms - in the breaks you hear some un-identifiable noise - like a crossing between a sax and a sick synthsizer, spewing out its last breath. If anything is wrong with this song, than it must be it's length.
Could be a bit longer.

Hans M. STAY - another heavy rhythm pattern - a distorted guitar that goes straight at your guts - as always perfectly matched by Hans Möll's detached but - strangely enough - still intensely sounding vocals.
Hans Möll on singing:

"It hurts, but I've got to do it on a regular basis - otherwise my heart starts aching."
The synths which (on a rare occasion) step forward are sounding like really farting 70's mutated-Moog monsters - counterparted by crystal-clearly generated synth-bells. And another great screech-guitar-track by Clas that blends into a wonderful soundscape with Mr. Magnusson's keyboard wizardry. (Hans, sadly, has meanwhile left the band)

BELL - some warbling, gurgling synth-intro ... fear is creeping in ... are we heading into a re-progressive 70's soundwarp..?- the redemption comes in the aural form of a pounding megalomanic synth-bell-sound. These sounds are weighing the well-known 16 tons, at least - strangely enough, they are still able to fly. The mood is, as always, on the edge of despair with a driving, agressive force behind it. And passionate - the vocals in particular; underlined by the brilliant - keyboard-streams. And yet again, there are some surprising brass / trumpet pieces attached to it. I know, this must sound / read strange. But it works brilliantly.

Stefan Renström SOON comes almost without warning. Some snyth-notes and then comes this crazy-heavy guitar again. Well, I haven't mentioned The Moor's outstanding bass-player Stefan Renström yet - but this is THE song to do it. He's credited to play "space walking bass" on this one - and this describes it quite perfectly. My favourite track besides SUCK.
The bass-line is, well, hard to describe - overwhelming - moves indeed with the fluid force of a spaceship - and with a funky groove at the same time. Certainly one of the best bass-lines ever.
And yes, this one features another outstanding brass-piece. This time it's a Flügelhorn!
And more unexpected breaks - one goes into the closing "talk" sequence -
with Mr. Möll becoming almost the inquisitor of the meaning of "civilization".

The final piece: TALK - which, to make it short, features all the qualities of the songs described above. A splendid ending.
(You can listen to -and buy/download- all of these songs -and many more- at The Moor's page at MP3.com.)

By now it should be clear that The Moor's outstanding quality is their daring to try out the unusual - to let the symphonic sounds crash head-on with their industrial noise components. And out of these explosions they derive their very own soundsculptures.
So, for me FLUX is one of the most interesting albums that has been released lately.
A definite recommendation for everyone who's musical taste hasn't stopped in the days of the Space Ritual and who has a taste for strong somewhat-psych-patterns and persistent industrial-like rhythms - always ready to step on some jazzy-sidetracks.
Powerful, inventive, strange, dark and daring - with lots of grooving, tense rhythms.

In short: THE MOOR truly deserve your attention & support
(i.e. money, let's face it), definitely.

Well, that's it on the recorded output of The Moor - so far...
If you think that this is somewhat sparse you just don't know (yet) about their 'regular' live appearences. So far they managed to do a total of 8 (!) gigs - which must be an average of ca. 0.7 gigs a year.
Definitely a secretive strategy...

Nik Turner - Hawkfest 1997 But, it is getting better and they already did their duty for 1997 with their appearance at the recent German Hawkfest meeting in Hamburg.
In regard to the rarity of the event, every Moor gig is of course quite an event - but this was certainly a special one. On June 14th a whole strange and interesting package of artists entered the stage, as The Moor was accompanied by their associated celebrity Nik Turner - and your actual webhost Knut Gerwers.

Accordingly, the whole set (as far as it went...) consisted of an interesting mixture of quite different elements. Firstly, of course, several songs of The Moor - the main bulk of the set, however, consisted of a couple of songs from Nik Turner's first solo-album Sphynx / Xitintoday - in their original, mysteriously oriental-ish versions.

Your webhost opened the gig with a strange opening speech and enriched / interrupted the set reciting some poems by Robert Calvert.

The audience - at least in the beginning - reacted as irritated as I expected on this somewhat unusual mixture - but soon it seemed they were rather enjoying it - as much as we certainly did. In fact, they enjoyed themselves so much, that the pieces got a weeeee bit too long. The set was just well underway, when the whole merry gang was sweeped of the stage to make way for the next band....sigh...

1997/1998 The Moor on tour w. Nik Turner & Knut Gerwers... up to now

...but yes, this was only the beginning of an ongoing cooperation. After the one-off gig at the German Hawkfest `97, plans came up for a German tour.... and by now even 2 tours through Germany and Belgium have been made, the latest -in 1998 - feat. Knut Gerwers on lead-vocals, since Hans Möll has left the band. Both tours also featured Nik Turner and included a number of his songs. A good part of the setlist of the `98 tour consisted of tracks from Nik's first solo record X-itintoday.

On that first tour I (KG) mostly performed poetry by Robert Calvert plus one or two of my own poems and did of few minor vocal-bits.
During the second tour in '99 I performed mostly my own poetry, besides singing most of the Moor-tracks.
Along the way of this tour we also created 2-3 new songs - one real rocket of a song called "Science Fiction White Punk Trash Heaven" and 2 atmospheric improvisations: "The New Desert" and "Dark Theatre" - those two are based on two of my poems - ("Dark Theatre" has meanwhile also been recorded for Don Falcone's all-collaborators project SPIRITS BURNING.)
All gigs of this tour have been properly recorded and some of that material might show up on the next official release by
The Moor ...whenever that will be.

...the newest news... - years have gone by...but, alas, no new Moor record has seen the light of day, so far... - you can, however, find a couple of unreleased tracks on The Moor's page at MP3.com - but no "real" new album... - however, lately Kenneth Magnusson got back in touch with me, announcing that he's working on some new tracks - to which I might contribute the lyrics. I have heard some very early demo-instrumental-tracks - and believe me, they are VERY promising. Apart from this, the next release will probably be found on a tribute album to CHROME. The Moor are currently recording their very own version of 'Armageddon'. -- Well, things and sound are developing. So, please watch this - and the spaces listed below...

More news on this will follow - HOPEFULLY - soon...

-- More on THE MOOR

  • the homepage of The Moor - hosted by Mr. Hans Möll
    You'll also find a link there to their label Bishop Garden Records - from which you can (and SHOULD) order your very own MOOR music - and the records of a band named Simon Says, of which The Moor's bass-player Stefan Renström is a member. I haven't heard them yet myself - but they too are labeled as being "Progressive" - and they HATE to be compared with Genesis - which is, of course, the worst band-despription I ever wrote....(sorry, Stefan).

  • The Moor at MP3.com - here you'll find almost ALL SONGS of The Moor - incl. a range of so far unreleased material. You can listen to excerpts and - in exchange of some bucks, of course, download the complete albums! A must go site....