The All Is One

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    Punj Lizard

      Ok, thanks, Supernaut. I guess reviewers are just making (educated) guesses based on what they hear. Fair enough.


        With all the raving reviews in that other thread I wonder what I'm doing wrong in still not getting closer to "The All Is One". Are MP just now reaping the harvest for years of excellent albums with that one?

        It often happens this way: a band in a certain phase of their career, be it start or re-start, has to build up public acknowledgement over several releases, often never getting the applause they deserve, until suddenly reaching windfall with a last effort that carries all the momentum (not necessarily living up to the quality of what came before).

        For Me "TAIO" is probably the fourth or fifth best album MP has released since 2014. After N.O.X. could not convince me entirely I tried a compilation of the more structured, simpler stuff for a lenghty train journey, but still those numbers didn't match those other songs I compiled from several rather recent "side" outings such as the Motorpnakotic Manifests, the Supersonic Scientists bonus tracks or The Light Fantastic and of course the California EP. Probably the latter stuff is more headphone-friendly…

        While thus having learned to regard all those hyperenthusastic reviews of TAIO with a little scepticism (probably with all the bandwith and variety of the web these days bands create their own (very specialized & enthusiastic) reviewers instead of the other way round, like it used to be in the olden days, when critics literally made – or destroyed – the bands ) there's still the chance that I'm just being slow on the intake. Admittedly Here Be Monsters, The Tower and The Crucible got me at once, but BHBC is just now releasing its more distinguished flavours for me after all these years. So probably I'll champion TAIO in 20 years, but until then please forgive me for still being a little sceptic…


          It’s all good, and I, for one, completely understand what you are saying. I had the same reaction with Heavy Metal Fruit. When that came out, it seemed like the whole universe went bananas and there was yatzy all the way around, whereas my reaction was…»meh…nice as always, but more form than content».

          I do really like The All Is One, but I can’t quite agree with the reviews which say that «this time everything gels» and the title track being the best thing in years and whatnot (it’s not, it’s probably even the weakest track on the album). I’ve learned to just shrug at all the opinions – I know what I like and the world will eventually follow. ;)

          Punj Lizard

            I think that to a fair degree TAIO is an immediately more accessible album, making it easier for reviewers and even more casual listeners to get something out of in the first couple of spins, even while recognising that there's more to be gained from repeated listens. The last review Wulf posted, though, is perhaps the one that beautifully juxtaposes the album against the band's historical output and as a consequence is less glowing, more critical, and ultimately more balanced – although I do think the reviewer might have one foot too firmly planted in the past.

            Personally I absolutely fucking love the album. The Black Box tracks are a wonderful display of breezy but tight and yet not simple rock – somewhere between The Tower and Phanerothyme (IMHO), while the Kommun' tracks provide a sweet yet somehow also sour taste of melancholic folk à la Feel or Sungravy. And then NOX just sends me off on the most glorious trip of spacey psychedelic jazz heaviness. My opinion may change in years to come, when I can look back with some distance from the moment, but right now it stands as my favourite track of the band's entire output. TAIO is not my favourite album though – it has its weaknesses which, to my mind, rest entirely with sides A and D. But hey, it all comes down to personal teaste so who cares on that front. I am happy to see the band getting good reviews and maybe pulling in a few more listeners – although they may be losing a few too. I imagine it has ever been thus.


              I gave N.O.X. (TAIO side 2) another try this morning and began to understand my lukewarm reactions to this piece. What I miss is the raw power and energy that made the Crucible title track such a blissful experience. I think N.O.X. suffers greatly from the mix, with drums and bass too subdued in the background, while violin and keyboards dominate. That eats up much of the motor and some of the psychedelic engergy. I personally have always loved most the tracks where Bent's bass is loud and raw in the foreground, on a par with the guitar and the drums. This powerhouse is here being swamped by lots of polished keyboards without delivering a convincing composition or satisfying tune. Too much mediocre prog in my not so humble opinion.

              Therefore I do prefer Sides 1 & 4, much to my own surprise. "Same Old Rock" has become my favourite by now, and I also like "Delusion" and "Like Chrome". Still that's not enough for me to make TIAO a completely satisfying aural experience. Probably my expectations were too high, pushed by the quality of the previous releases and the fantastic cover.

              But let's not complain – there will certainly be another album in a few month's time – and, knowing Motorpsycho, it might by something completely different. And maybe all the polish on TAIO vanishes when the stuff's being played live. Who knows…


                Well a record moves one or it doesn't. How to explain why and why not? Although I could name a personal top 5 MP albums list, I'm also always happy to listen to any record outside of those 5. Except for Here Be Monsters. I never really got into this one (except for IMS, what a ride!), but it surely is a favourite for many. Ok Big Black Dog is great, too.

                Me too I love when Bent fires up the traktorbass, but would I still do so if it was a constant feature? TAIO's polished production… hmmm…. is it really so? Does it sound more polished and less raw than previous records? I find the only connection (besides the cover art) to TH and TT is the production. Not the music. Sonically I'd say it's my favourite of the three. Though the kick drum on The Tower is sooooo good when in a car. There's a sub ooomph in this close quartered listening environment that I don't hear at home. I think it's not as strong on TC and TAIO but I might be wrong.

                Those hypnotic Bent/Tomas grooves shine oh so brightly in NOX II and IV. When it comes to rawness, yes it's held under control – instead of bashing away – for the sake of the listening experience, as in "the path is the goal" (does that work in english? it's a german saying) or in a "less is more" manner. It's like a story arc and patience is the key. Dynamics, layers, subtleness, the strong points of this band being played out in a surgeon's manner.

                The very untypical (polished? cheesy? sugary?) keyboard sound at the end of Ouroboros is sooo beautiful. It comes from somewhere way out of the psychoverse but it fits in so amazingly well. Things and tricks like these help them deviate from any signature (as in "stale") motorpsound. Too many bands rely too much on one sound, being afraid of losing some sort of uniqueness.

                And one more note about the drums. How brilliant is Tomas' playing during the violin solo in Circles pt I? Maybe it's the not-so-raw production that made me focus on the upfront violin till recently. I really only just noticed them drums in detail lately. But that's the beauty of it. Peeling away layer by layer. Not because of a muffled mix, but because so much is happening at the same time, something upfront, something underneath, all deserving but not fighting for attention, due to being cleverly arranged and mixed. When my brain finally digested this amazing adventurous elaborated violin part, it finally could shift to the drums.

                BUT all in all, dunno really about this one. If it wasn't for NOX, if sides 1 & 4 would've been all the album…. can't really say. But blah, who cares about hypotheticals. I enjoy it very much. I have to admit though, I still haven't listened to it as it was intended. It's always either the NOX half or the not-NOX half. Back to back, yes, but not in the proper sequence. Maybe I should do that…


                  @ supernaut: O.k. – a voice from the opposite end of the Psychonaut spectrum. Fine with me – we're as diverse as it gets. You're welcome!

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                …hanging on to the trip you're on since 1994