The All Is One – reviews

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    Punj Lizard

      Nice little article-cum-review in the Italian edition of Rolling Stone. The article is written by Andrea Scarfone of psych band Julie's Haircut.

      Rolling Stone Italy

      Trasnlated From the Italian into English by Google:

      If you listen to Motorpsycho you immediately become a fan

      On the occasion of the release of the new album 'The All Is One', we asked Andrea Scarfone of Julie's Haircut to talk about the charm of the Norwegian band. There are impeccable concerts, perfectionism, interplay

      By Andrea Scarfone

      Not more than a month ago I discovered an electronic music disc released in a few copies in 1986 in my city, Reggio Emilia, by what would become one of the most famous Italian entrepreneurs, Luigi Maramotti, patron of Max Mara. The disc is titled Knot Music – Music for distracted listening. Well, given the current use of music, perhaps that of Maramotti was a far-sighted provocation that gave me a perfect interpretation not only for the new work of Motorpsycho The All Is One, but more generally for the decades-long production music of the Norwegian band: Motorpsycho have never made music for distracted listening.

      I guiltily admit that my first listen of The All Is One was rather distracted. I did not immediately grasp the caliber of the work, which emerged in all its glory after listening to it with the right attention. The latest part of a trilogy that began in 2017 with The Tower and continued in 2019 with The Crucible, The All Is One is basically divided into two parts. All the songs, head and tail of the disc, were recorded in France, while the monolithic five-part suite, the heart of the work, comes from a session recorded later in Norway. For the first time in many years I have found a band capable of ranging with credibility between genres in a coherent work. The All Is One is a long journey that deserves to be consumed in its entirety without interruption.

      I had high expectations for this release. As a longtime fan I was constantly waiting for a turnaround after the change of direction following the separation from longtime drummer HÃ¥kon Gebhardt. As a musician I know how important and how much weight the drummer's style is in the economy of a band. After HÃ¥kon, who helped to compose some of their fundamental records (Let Them Eat Cake, Trust Us, Timothy's Monster to name a few) the drums chapter became a problem for the Norwegians, which was partially solved with the entry of Kenneth Kapstad, leading the band between 2008 and 2016 in what for many listeners was an excessively prog period, with technically exceptional compositions, but often of lesser emotional appeal.

      In 2017 the arrival of Tomas Järmyr (already behind the drums with our compatriots Zu) shifted the balance again in a direction that I think is more congenial to longtime fans, bringing back to the line-up a stylistically more versatile drumming than on the one hand led them towards new sounds, but on the other hand it inevitably allowed that type of heterogeneous composition that characterized the band in the 90s, capable of ranging from folk to prog / psychedelic rides, for the happiness of those who, like me, of music is omnivorous. The signs that something was happening I had during the last concert I attended at the Locomotiv in Bologna with a band in a state of grace as I have not seen and heard for some time (thanks also to the extraordinary Reine Fiske on guitar, now permanent employee).

      I've been following Motorpsycho since their third album Demon Box in 1993, but I didn't see them live until May 15th 1998 at the Maffia Club, for the tour of what is considered one of their masterpieces, Trust Us. Seeing them live was a shock and I think I have lost very few of them since that concert, in their usual Italian passages, having now about twenty live shows in a 22-year period. In recent years I have been able to collect about 65 vinyls and CDs, almost all of their production, I met them in person (with one of them I also shared the stage) and last year I visited their city. (Trondheim). Motorpsycho are not a particularly well-known band outside a certain circuit of fans, even if in Italy there is a particularly loyal and present fan base of “psychonauts”. As a musician and lover of a certain approach linked to improvisation and free interplay with other musicians during their concerts, I have always wondered how they could be so cohesive and effective during jams, the true focus of performances. I found some answers to my questions by watching their DVD Haircuts which in two discs contains an integral live, captured in the period in my opinion most interesting, as well as a number of documents of daily life that explain how for them playing is a great passion. , but also a job. A job that they love a lot and that pushes them to try for hours, almost daily.

      The geographic location of their city, a splendid place, but where it is very likely not easy to live especially in winter, helps them in this sense. Years ago, during a long chat with Gebhardt, a detail emerged that further confirmed their level of perfectionism. HÃ¥kon told me that they often found themselves arguing after the concerts about details that they did not consider successful about the performance just ended. Details that as a spectator, wanting even more attention to certain subtleties as a musician, never jumped to my ear, always considering them impeccable and capable of taking the public on board their spaceship, often and willingly even for concerts that exceeded three hours.

      For some years now there has been a Dutch roadie at their side, a kind of Gandalf of valves named Tös. He comes from hardcore and currently plays as a musician in the well-known metal drone band Sunn O))). I told him how much I felt the Grateful Dead present in the Motorpsycho attitude and he almost took offense at the comparison, telling me there was nothing similar to those "American freaks". I cannot explain exactly what is in their formula, what is the ingredient capable of transforming their listeners into true followers. Most of their audience is made up of loyalists, a bit like the Deadheads, fans of the Grateful Dead, a group that, with all due respect to Tös, is certainly very close to Motorpsycho in terms of setting. Unlike the Dead, the three Norwegians, however, were able to musically range so much to satisfy all listeners, including the most radical ones like Tös.

      For a novice listener it is not easy to approach the band in 2020, having to extricate themselves from a truly extensive and varied discography. For this reason, I created a playlist on Spotify that collects my favorite songs and draws from all their records, the result of thirty years of career: you can find it here. For those who want to get an idea of ​​their potential live, I recommend this Vimeo channel [Bernie's Basement] which contains some very interesting live shows.


        "The All is One" is 80 minutes of pure madness.

        Review from Mischa Castiglioni in Artnoir Musik Magazin.

        Translation from German to English by deepl:

        Motorpsycho have done it again. And how. They have created an album that is more than just individual songs, it is a work of art in itself. The three Norwegians from Trondheim manage again and again to give a little bit more, to become a little bit more perfect, to be a little bit more bizarre and challenging and above all to become a little bit better than they already are. What Motorpsycho serve up with "The All Is One" is quite complex, but you don't know anything else about them. For the last 30 years they have always challenged the listeners with their stylistic breaks, and "The All Is One" does it the same way. Simply more violent, harder, more intense.

        "The All Is One" is a cosy title track in best motorpsychodelical style. Guitars, a warmly distorted bass, harmonies that remind of the times of the albums "Let Them Eat Cake" or "Phanerothyme". The strings (respectively the mellotron) make the entry a feast for the senses and as it is, the whole thing unobtrusively rises to a symphony so typical for Motorpsycho.

        The Magpie" comes along driving, almost a bit reminiscent of her music from the nineties. Even if it is rather rough, the arrangement is not as raw as it was back then. Everything fits in the right place, including one of those guitar solos you can hardly expect live. "Delusion" is almost to be seen as an intermezzo, or as a preparation for what is yet to come.

        "N.O.X.", an epic in 5 acts. 42 minutes of pure madness. All at once, in one piece. Prog, Space Rock, Jazz and Acid are connected and create spheres. Spheres with which one draws circles around the sun. Guest musicians like Reine Fiske, Lars Horntveth and Ola Kvernberg get in and out of the car on this journey to make "N.O.X." even more insane. "Ouroboros", the tail eater, turns in a hypnotized circle. In order to generate harmonies in the middle of it, i.e. actually simply sounds to pierce marrow and bone. Goosebumps all over the body, post-rock at its best. "Night of Pan" increases over minutes only to prepare for "Circles Around The Sun", which is really hard on the listener. "N.O.X." is basically an album within an album, which becomes especially clear on the LP, where this monster has got two sides of its own. To be able to experience this incredible musical thing (I don't know how to describe it differently) hopefully soon live in one piece must be one of those experiences, like the tour of the psychonauts to the center of the earth with "The Death Defying Unicorn"!

        When you – after a little rest – have managed to turn the record one last time, beautiful blossoms will appear. Yes, you are back where the album started. "A Little Light" gives you time to catch your breath even if it is only two acoustic minutes. "Dreams of Fancy" ties in with "Let Them Eat Cake" again, which doesn't bother me personally in the least. "The Dowser", a comfortably quiet Motorpsycho song and "Like Chrome", a straight, hard rock song complete this masterpiece.

        "The All Is One" is the final chapter of the Gullvåg trilogy (Håkon Gullvåg is responsible for the artwork), which started in 2017 with "The Tower" and continued with "The Crucible" in 2019. "The All is One" is 80 minutes of pure madness.

        You can literally feel that the band took their time and also found time to put everything in the right place. The symphonies are incredibly intense. Even if you think you recognize 1000 instruments playing together: Every instrument, every note, every touch fits perfectly. This album is brilliant, but certainly not music to dabble in. It challenges every brain cell, and even the umpteenth time you hear new details, sounds that you have missed so far. This is exactly how it has to be. So you are already looking forward to the next album or is there maybe even a next trilogy?


          A 7/10 translated from italian by google:


          The All Is One

          by Marco Biasio

          All good at pleasing the undisputed masterpieces of the 90s, the exciting pop phase of the early millennium, even the expanded and psychedelic first fruits gained following the drumming relay between HÃ¥kon Gebhardt and Kenneth Kapstad … Never one who spontaneously affirms, instead, to love – attention, not to appreciate: to love – the adult Motorpsycho of the decade that is dying out, fickle architects of their own destiny: the young boys of Trondheim struggling with superb synthesis between indie rock and seventies prog (the still underestimated today "Behind The Sun ”of 2014), adrift on the crest of touching lysergic explorations (“ Here Be Monsters ”, 2016) or trapped in transitional discs (“ Still Life With Eggplant ”, 2013). Or, again, the musicians caught grappling with the ambitious four-handed rock operettas with StÃ¥le Storløkken (the sparkling "The Death Defying Unicorn" of 2012, the less fortunate "En Konsert For Folk Flest" of 2015), the artisans of the soundtracks live (“Begynnelser”, 2017) and the promoters of unusual transgenerational collaborations (such as the one with Ole Paus, which resulted in the discreet “SÃ¥ Nær, SÃ¥ Nær” at the beginning of the year). The thinking minds, finally, behind the latest important conceptual installation, the self-defined GullvÃ¥g's Trilogy (named after the painter who made all the covers), of which today the (double) twenty-second full length "The All Is One" – successor of the non-despicable albeit discontinuous “The Tower” (2017) and “The Crucible” (2019) – should constitute the final chapter.

          The reasons for the relative critical lukewarmness with which the recent production of Motorpsycho has been received, especially in reference to the golden eight years 1993-2000, are various, multiple and interconnected: from the regression to a more conservative and rock oriented style to realization of works that are too long for the actual amount of ideas put in place, from the conscious choice to transfer the format of live improvisation to the hardships faced within the line up (the inclusion of alternate plates of Reine's second guitar Fiske, the abandonment of Kapstad and the takeover of the surgeon Tomas Järmyr). It is perhaps no coincidence that, in presenting "The All Is One" in great detail (initially scheduled for spring), Bent Sæther seems almost to apologize, for the first time, to his listeners: "It has become one intense listen, an epic and dense piece of music that might be perceived as demanding by some listeners, but that also hopefully rewards those with patience and a longer attention span ". As if to say: it is precisely when a phase seems to have ended that the immediate relaunch awaits around the corner. To be honest, we would have to open a long parenthesis on how effectively the "new" Motorpsycho have deviated from the mission of the "old" or, in other words, if this creative phase of theirs is nothing more than the other side of the coin nineties (the same band seems to think so), but it is a discourse that would take us, perhaps, too far. Certainly far from the punctual concreteness of the eighty-five minutes of the platter in question, recorded between September and November 2019 in three different sites: the Black Box of Noyant-la-Gravoyère (where, in the previous June, "Så Nær, Så Nær" was also recorded ), Giske's Ocean Sound and Kommun ', Trondheim's home studio.

          Straight to the point: although the lyrics do not shine for acumen (rather verbose, for example, the text of the title track, a generic tirade against information at the time of post-truth) and the acoustic recordings are far below expectations at this time – “Delusion (The Reign Of Humbug)” has all the air of being a Yes outtake: “A Little Light” is an elementary folk sketch turned off in a disturbing dark ambient suck; “The Dowser” a superfluous semi-electric ballad that slavishly follows the melodic progressions of “Big Surprise” -, “The All Is One” is the best record of Motorpsycho since the aforementioned “Behind The Sun”. This, mind you, not due to the presence of who knows what innovations: on the contrary, the (non) novelty is that there are no news. What stands out, if anything, is the unexpected quality of a writing which, in its direct inspiration from the best pages of the recent past, produces excellent results on at least three fronts: the more drawn and classically rock songs, the orchestral hybridizations and, not for last, the renewed tribute to its indie roots.

          As for the first side, even apart from the robust proto-hard rock charade of the enthralling single "The Same Old Rock (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)", one cannot fail to mention the title track which, opened by a subtle bluesy pizzicato ( from Leaf Hound's "Freelance Fiend" to Pontiak's "Young", always there we are), immediately swells the sails in the direction of a polyform Crimsonian rhapsody propelled by mellotron winches and epic constructions of acid guitar solo, finally arriving at a delicate final waltz for piano, accordion and electric arpeggios. The second is of course represented by the mammoth suite in five acts "N.O.X." (forty-two minutes in total), inspired by alchemical and astrological themes and evolved from the music for ballet that the band, on commission, performed at the St. Olav Festival last summer together with faithful associates and friends Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist) and Ola Kvernberg. Although the influence of the tonal jazz rock grandeur of some passages of "The Death Defying Unicorn" is undeniable here (take the furious rhythmic attack of "NOX V: Circles Around The Sun, Pt. 2", almost a "The Hollow Lands "squared) and the sin of overabundance always lurking (of the interminable" NOX IV: Night Of Pan "only the last five minutes really like and convince, a tense reinterpretation of the Gong always on the verge of breaking), the elements no shortage of surprise: from the noir projections of Horntveth's brass that redouble Kvernberg's floating violin in the opening of “NOX I: Circles Around The Sun, Pt. 1 "(closing in deadly crescendo, a foaming jazz-prog maelström) to the overwhelming groove of" N.O.X. II: Ouroboros "(almost an improvisation by Bushman's Revenge arranged by the Brimstone), up to the ecstatic instrumental visions of the shorter" N.O.X. III: Ascension (Strange Loop) "(a suspended and unreal American, crystallized in timeless forms of elegy). However, it is the third side that reserves the real world-class hits: already warned by the high tones of Sæther's evergreen singing in "The Magpie" (the Rush passed through the filter of "Timothy's Monster", and it is a compliment), the definitive breakdown comes with “Dreams Of Fancy”, a melancholy indie heart-diving anthem garlanded with sparkling hard-prog rosettes. The closure is semantically coherent: “Like Chrome” is a slacker full of panoramic views and stuffed with Zeppelin licks, something that for mood and construction would stand out in the lineup of a “Black Hole / Blank Canvas”.

          The substantial criticism that could be moved to "The All Is One" is, if anything, of a structural nature: from this tracklist, for distribution of the songs even before mere minutes (rather cumbersome, specifically, the central presence of "NOX" , which actually risks weakening the impact of the pieces that precede and follow), it was possible to obtain at least two distinct discs, avoiding the anthology effect that occasionally comes to the mind of the listener. Or is it perhaps a side effect of the tunnel of memory that each of us retraces, with bittersweet and poignant saudade, every time that riff, that voice, that melody reemerges from the grooves of the vinyl?


            Listening to Motorpsycho: The N.O.X. Suite Part, thoughts and opinion



              sorry for using this topic, it's the only TAIO related I find.

              maybe this has been posted before, I certainly never saw this. NOX in an "embryonic" version:


                @supernaut – Yes, this was the very first performance of this music. Olavsfest 2019.

                I was there – truly mind-bending experience.

                I remember standing for a while by the video magician (Boya Bøckman) to watch as he improvised those amazing visuals to float along with the music.



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