|> THE MOOR|
|< Relators / Performer of V|
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,
| 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.
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 -
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'.
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:
"Rush fronted by
Nick Cave", eh?
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....
Shortly before the recording of FLUX
another kind-of-associated (due to 'dislocation') member joined the band.
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...
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.
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.
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...
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'.
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.
- 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
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.
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
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 final piece:
- which, to make it short, features all the qualities of the songs described
above. A splendid ending.
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.
In short: THE
MOOR truly deserve your attention & support
Well, that's it
on the recorded output of The Moor - so far...
But, it is getting better and
they already did their duty for 1997 with their appearance at the recent
German Hawkfest meeting in Hamburg.
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.
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...
...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.
LINKS -- More on THE MOOR