Camp Motorpsycho » General

A newbie's MP journey (response to Bartok)

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  • Started 6 months ago by Punj Lizard
  • Latest reply from marc

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  1. Punj Lizard
    Member

    Over in the The Crucible thread, Bartok asked me how, as a 'newbie' I navigated through the MP back catalogue. The question was actually more than this, so I repeat it here. I also decided it would be better to create a new thread as I doubt most people who go looking for comments on The Crucible will want to be waylaid by what are likely to be lengthy meanderings, as I do find it difficult to be brief. Here's Bartok's original post:

    Slightly off topic, but, Punj, I *really* appreciate your devotion, and I have a question I’ve been wondering a lot: How do someone who discovers MP in 2017/19 navigate in their massive backlog of albums? This level of quality is almost unprecedented IMO. Where do you start? I think I’ve asked this as an open question before without any answers(?) so I’m asking you specifically since you’re the only new guy on this forum as far as I know, and as you’re so eloquent about everything. I think I would just about give up by reading their Wikipedia. Or feel intimidated. As you say, 57 min pr record, that’s about more than a whole day of songs(?)! Where did you start? When did you go back to the 90s? I remember you writing about finding it hard to make Blissard open itself. What about TM? Or TU? Or DB? The records we oldtimers consider their canon. Or their “pop-period” LTEC–IALC? I guess the Kenneth albums must have hooked you. What do you consider their “best period”? Which ones stand out? I’m asking cause I so often find myself disappointed about the direction of their records since 2008, and I get so tired of myself comparing them to the 90s. Maybe I’m fading out as a fan. But that’s OK, and natural. But yes, as a “newbie” how do you relate to this whole thing? How do you read the latest MP decade compared to the two previous? Just post a link if you’ve answered this before✌️

    It may be a while before I respond ...

    Posted 6 months ago #
  2. Punj Lizard
    Member

    I was introduced to Motorpsycho by two friends who I got to know through, and mostly only ever meet at, concerts. They had mentioned MP several times and for a couple of years had on occasion urged me to listen to them, but somehow I just didn’t get around to it. Then they said MP were coming to town (London, Oct 2017) and that I really shouldn’t miss it. So I said, OK, tell me where to start. One of them suggested Phanerothyme and Behind the Sun. He didn’t want to overload me and he thought they would be (a) accessible and (b) varied enough to pique my interest. I listened to Phano first, realising that somehow I’d heard Go To California before, at that friend’s house. It was all pleasant enough and GTC has a great hook and is a fantastic distillation of late-60s West Coast sounds (Doors, Mamas and Papas, Beach Boys, CSNY, Jefferson Airplane), but it didn’t get its hooks in me. Behind the Sun also sounded good, but again it didn’t really do it. But I bought a ticket for the gig anyway and consequently decided I had to give them a proper shot. So I listened to both those albums twice more. On the third run through of Phano, For Free suddenly hit me; and on the third run through of BHS, it was the guitar solo in Hell, Part 4–6. I then sat up and took notice!

    Like most people I listen to music under varied circumstances, but am especially lucky that working from home, I can play music when I’m doing some of the more laborious and less mental tasks. That allows me to hear/listen to a lot of music, but sometimes it takes a while or a special moment before something really hits me. But when it does I start to pay more attention of course.

    Listening to Phano and BHS I had at first been surprised, obviously, that these two albums were by the same band. I had also looked briefly at their back catalogue as listed on ProgArchives – a pretty good source for getting an idea of what a band has released as well as a rating system based on members’ individual ratings. Of course I quickly realised that MP were fairly prolific, but I’ve been around long enough to be into or familiar with plenty of bands/artists that have released lots of albums (Zappa, Neil Young, Bill Laswell, Ravi Shankar for example). The question though was where to continue after Phano and BHS. Well The Tower was on its way and as I had a ticket to see them I figured it would pay to get familiar with that – I figured they’d play at least a couple of songs from that album (most ‘old’ bands seem to be tied by promoters’ wishes that they play the music that made them popular [i.e. the old stuff] so I didn’t expect more than a couple of tracks to be aired at the gig – how wrong I was). But I also followed my usual approach and picked out the higher rated albums (4 stars +) on ProgArchives, which are (in date order): Trust Us (4.08), Phano (4.14), Fishtank (4.17), DDU (4.16), BHS (4.02). (FYI The Tower is now 4.02, and The Crucible 4.03.) So I listened to Trust Us, which just fucking blew my mind. I knew the earlier material was going to be more grungy, but I was not prepared for just how much I’d like this album! Next up Fishtank, which also fucking blew my mind because it’s primarily a jazz/rock fusion album. Wait, what? And Tristano was just mesmerising. And then DDU, which after one or two spins I couldn’t listen to for quite a long while because it was just too rich. I still find it overwhelming – there’s so much to digest. For me it stands equal to the very best double concept albums I’ve been listening to for donkeys years: Yes –Tales from Topographic Oceans; Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway; The Who – Quadrophenia. (I’m tempted to add Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life to that list, but is it really a concept album?) And it makes Pink Floyd’s The Wall look somewhat childishly pathetic.

    So there I was, six completely different albums by one band. I now had an urge to know what they sounded like live as a look at the track listings on the RW albums made it clear they were extending their songs somewhat. Friends recommended RW4, so I bought that too. But the only song on that that I knew to date was Landslide (Phano). But then I also somehow stumbled upon the video of 577 live from RW3 and that was a fucking revelation in itself! Watching that video I was transported back to Led Zeppelin’s performance of ‘No Quarter’ in the film The Song Remains the Same, my favourite track from that film and one of my favourite Page solos. It’s an entirely difference style, but that watching HMR create a solo out of mostly chords and carrying it higher and higher, well I think that was when I started to understand snahisgod and he started to become what I can now easily say: one of my three all-time favourite guitarists (the other two being Steve Howe from Yes and Andy Glass from UK folk-prog band Solstice).

    More importantly, this is when I began to realise that Motorpsycho are not actually a band, they’re a phenomenon. OK, ok, we can say all great musicians, bands are phenomena, sure. The Dead, Zeppelin, Bowie, Shankar, Zappa, Young, Mitchell, Hendrix, the Beatles, the Pistols and so on. But in MP’s case, there was something different, something I couldn’t yet grasp. So I started to listen to more albums. Yes, primarily the Kenneth era ones, but slowly and surely pushing further and further back. I was wary of Lobotomizer, 8 Soothing Songs and Demon Box. I don’t particularly like metal in the form of thrash, death, black metal, with screaming vocals, and that was what I had told myself I would find in those albums. But I had loved Trust Us and also really liked a lot of AADAP, which I bought as the box set so as to ensure I had the full three EPs. Yes, Blissard took a while for me to get into, but as is often the case, the headphones took care of that. Like most people, with headphones I can immerse myself in the sound and texture, and that’s what was needed. I also had to get past the whole lo-fi thing. In the 90s I wasn’t listening to new 90s bands – sure, a bit of Nirvana and Soundgarden that crossed my path, odds and ends here and there, but I was living in Canada and India during that time, running a small business and meditating. The music I listened to was either Sanskrit or Hindi chanting, Hindu devotional music, Bhangra, or Jah Wobble, Bill Laswell, Transglobal Underground, some reggae, some dub, Ozric Tentacles, some folk. So the current rock scene and the bands that were, I guess, marked as grunge, indie or alternative mostly passed me by. So lo-fi was a bit odd to me. That made listening to both TM and Blissard a bit difficult. But tracks like The Wheel, Giftland, The Golden Core, and Manmower and STG had a more positive immediate effect. After that it was just listening to those albums enough times and in the right environment for them to get their hooks in me.

    The pop period was rather more accessible, and it’s those three albums, and BH/BC that really revealed to me what a fucking great songwriter Bent is. That also helped me access and appreciate some of the songs on TM and Blissard that I had found less immediately accessible.

    As for DB and earlier, that was a bit of hard work, but again, what was I going to do? The band had proven to me that they make great music in all genres they touch. I’m not overly fond of Lob, 8, DB, but here is a phenomenon finding its place. I love a couple of the songs on Lob and 8, for example Step Inside, but the genre style doesn’t work so well for me. Same with the Tussler albums – there’s some great songs, but the style doesn’t get me excited.

    DB is something different though. This was clearly their moment and listening to it I realised why. I don’t warm to all the songs on it, but as a complete album, there’s no questioning its brilliance, its audacity, and its statement. This was a band to reckon with. Join in or get out of the way because we’re here, we’re moving forwards, and we’re not stopping for any muthafucka. But I still can’t understand how Mountain was removed from that album. I had never heard it when they played it at my second MP gig in Köln in Nov 2017, which was odd because prior to the London gig I had been following the playlists of the tour, which also fucked with my head (especially when the Bremen setlist was posted), and I’d been picking out the songs they were playing and listening to them if I hadn’t yet heard them. In Köln (one of the greatest live experiences of my life), it was one great jam after another. Mountain was for me perhaps the highlight after the 42 minutes of K9, though it’s hard to say, it was such a mind-blowingly magnificent gig.

    By now (I mean in Köln) I had started to develop in my brain a theory about what made the band so special, unique as far as I’m concerned. I tried desperately to explain to Tomcat who I met for the first time that evening. How do you explain to someone who’s seen the band nearly a hundred times and been following them since lord knows when, your theory about what makes that band special when you’ve only been into them for a few months? Not only that, I had convinced myself that there was a German word, used in philosophy or some other branch of the arts and social sciences, that pretty much encapsulated my thoughts. English people are famously useless at non-English languages and here I was, talking to a German whose English is pretty much perfect. D’oh!

    Anyway, I think one of the terms I was grasping for was gessamelte Werke, which means roughly ‘collected works’. The other is Weltanshauung, which means, roughly, world view, or a comprehensive philosophy or conception of the universe. My point is that MP is not a band that puts out albums. MP is a phenomenon that can only be appreciated, or rather is best appreciated as a whole, as a collection of works and actions and approaches and intentions that all feed into that whole. A whole that is propelled by the band’s world view, which appears to be to live for music and to never let one part be separate from the whole.

    Write music. Make music. Play music. Record music. Rehearse the music. Play with it. See what happens when you strap on a guitar. Go with it. Develop it. Never let that music which has already been written, recorded and played get old. Never let the new music be treated as anything less than the old music – play it, play with it. They seem always to want to be getting on with it. Never taking it easy, never resting on laurels, never thinking a particular song has had its time. Keeping their art alive and kicking; keeping it immediate; keeping it in the now. And like I said about Demon Box: we’re here, we’re moving forwards, and we’re not stopping for any muthafucka. That apparent statement seems as true today as then. And the beauty of it all, of this gessamelte Werke, this Weltanschauung, is that it creates a feedback loop. Everything they do and have done seems to infinitely feedback into what they’re doing now, and now, and now and they work to keep that alive. In the studio, in the rehearsal space, on stage. (And even in their relationship to the music they listen to, whether new or old, punk or classical.) It’s a fucking glorious thing to witness. Of course they may not be the only band to work like this, but I don’t know (a) any others that kept it up for so long (b) any others that actually appear to make it their raison d’être (c) any others whose almost entire catalogue I also actually happen to love. So when I listen to DB, I may not like all I hear, but I fucking absolutely appreciate what is going on and what happened at that moment. And the same feeling feeds into all the albums I listen to.

    Finally. You ask what do I consider their ‘best’ period? The one that stretches from about 1989 to 2019. I have my favourite albums: Trust Us, Phanerothyme, Fishtank, HMF, DDU, BHS, Folk Flest, HBM/HBM2, The Tower (I will probably add The Crucible to that list). So I guess the Kenneth era contains more albums that do it for me – but that is just my taste and by no means meant as a critical statement – and so far, not a single bummer in the Tomas era. And before The Crucible came out, my three go-to albums were Child of the Future, The Motorpnakotic Fragments, and Barracuda, three ‘albums’ that I had earlier considered as pretty ordinary. But I don’t consider any period ‘better’, they just have different qualities that seem to shine as the band progresses, evolves, refuses to be tied down, refuses to stand still.

    Does this answer your question(s)?

    EDIT: Having just read through this, I should add that for those who think all the philosophical meanderings about worldview etc. is all just ridiculously self-important, high-minded guff, I can't disagree. It's easy to lose perspective when you're obsessed by something.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  3. mefisto
    Member

    What a magnificent answer, Punj Lizard
    We are indeed lucky to have found this band, either recently or back then.
    Keep up the good work!

    Posted 6 months ago #
  4. Punj Lizard
    Member

    @ mefisto - Seriously? You read all that? Haven't you got better things to do?

    Posted 6 months ago #
  5. mefisto
    Member

    What is better than a good old MP discussion?

    Posted 6 months ago #
  6. Punj Lizard
    Member

    erm, erm, ... I've got nothing.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  7. Kid A
    Member

    Really, punj, if music journalism had a bit of your passion, all the magazines wouldn’t get broke. Sail on!

    Posted 6 months ago #
  8. Punj Lizard
    Member

    @Kid A - I know what you mean, but that passion can easily undermine level-headedness and unbiased critique. That's why we see so many 'reviewers' writing such rubbish these days. A fan is not necessarily going to be a good critic, or a fair one. And at the other end of the spectrum, we also get profitable mags like Rolling Stone thinking they are the arbiters of good taste in rock music, and therefore the ones who not only come up with the ridiculous notion of a Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, but think themselves the ones best suited to decide who should be considered to go into it (what a fucking daft and ridiculous thing that is - I hoped Yes would never be inducted, but they were).

    But thanks - I really do appreciate your point.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  9. Punj Lizard
    Member

    And while we're about it. I'd love to hear about other people's journies and how their love of the band has turned them into mad Motorpsychotics. Come on Bartok. What's your story?

    Posted 6 months ago #
  10. punknotyet
    Member

    Wow again! Motorpsycho should ask Punj to write a part of liner notes for (hopefully coming) "Trust Us" boxset :).

    Posted 6 months ago #
  11. Punj Lizard
    Member

    @punknotyet - That's too funny.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  12. Bartok
    Member

    Wow, man, thanks, that was MORE than I asked for!

    Its so impressive you were able to take all this in, their entire discography, in such a short time! You deserve a medal! And you’re so spot on regarding their process, and their “verdensanskuelse” I guess we would call it in Norwegian, this World View, Weltanschauung. And how this translates into those moments of true MP–BLISS! Which I’ve had my share off over the years. Since I’m a Trondheim native (though long since emigrated) I literally grew up with these guys in my neighbourhood, and saw them many times at Samfunnet and Veita and Svartlamon, and even Tussler at various small and even smaller locations. I think those years were somewhat magical, also because MP were really a part of the zeitgeist, they were relevant, they were ever-evolving, they were so inspired, focused, ambitious and possessed, and again: They were a *part* of culture, they were young but at the same time so old, there was some alchemy there that is hard to describe. With Deathprod, with those ever changing songs, like Plan#1, that feels as natural as the tide, it builds and falls apart, builds and falls apart, I used to think that this was the real essence of Motorpsycho, the way they could manipulate noise, master it, make it ebb and flow, and within this structure, within this chaos, be able to let theses beautiful melodies thrive and breathe. That they sung about feelings, and ice-skating, and girls, and dogs in space. No irony, no nostalgia, just pure nowness, freshness. I still think many of those songs sound so fresh, as if they were channeled to the band, and not over-elaborated. Again, possessed. My memories of walking around the parks listening to Trust Us the summer of 98 is one of my fondest memories. Even back then people were afraid: How can they TOP Angels & Daemons? How can they top Un Chien, Starmelt, PP&PP? Then came the first single, Ozone, and Bent said something in an interview about this being their new sound, and fuck, we were so worried. Then came the record, and of course it was great. I think their trajectory is really intertwined with my own, as they made the biggest impact when they were most desperate and everything was at stake, as they were throughout the 90s. And thats how it feels being a youth, so for me it all gelled so perfectly well. And theres something about albums when you’re young, they become markers of time, and important, and I guess thats also a contributing factor to why I’ve felt that the later stuff just comes out almost too frequent, with too much of the same. Not that thats a bad thing: Its a good thing, but sometimes a frustratingly good thing.

    Anyway.

    I couldn’t at all understand why they wanted to do pop albums, as we all knew that within all their songs were the sweetest pop-songs. Of course, the records that came out were also great, but also sad, because it sort of ended this magical unforced period of what must have felt like pure FLOW. Then came all the winks and nods and references to the 70s, which I think started in LTEC. A lot of it is great, but sometimes too many references (to the wrong stuff) IMO. Too nostalgic. I don’t know. (The irony being, I guess, that *I’m* so nostalgic myself, when it comes to MP, hehe.) BUT – and this I must be clear about: I really don’t wanna come across as negative in any way shape or form, so (mis-)understand me right: MP knows best themselves whats right, they’ve been self-described sonic scientists since the early 90s, and they’re still out there, exploring, which is GREAT.

    Anyway, I think I moved on after early 2000s, as in: I moved on from MP being so dominant in my own soundtrack, but I’m still so curious about what there’re doing, about how they’ll change, develop, expand, etc etc. Its a pleasure to be a part of this *thing*! I still spin every new album a lot, and try to catch them whenever they’re in town. Live they’re just amazing. And as I’ve said countless times before, these days I think I appreciate their “unofficial” output the most, like TDDU (which I LOVE), Konsert for folk flest (which I like), and Begynnelser (which I adore). Looking forward to this summer! As for their “official” output, I find a lot of the music very impressive, though often a bit too intellectual/ technical, and that a lot of nerve gets lost on the way, with the polyphonic vocals and whatnot. But, from reading all you guys, I really understand that this whole genre, PROG, which I’ve really never had the stomach for, is what they’re about these days, or this last, eh, decade, so no wonder I’m struggling with a lot of this stuff. And the west coast pop-stuff, hm. But the great thing is that theres something for everyone, and MP are cooking up this new brew, which never fails to make me dizzy, in one way or the other.

    And again, Punj, great to read your post!! Thanks for taking the time! Sail on!

    Posted 6 months ago #
  13. Punj Lizard
    Member

    @Bartok - Growing up in the suburbs of London I cannot imagine what it must have been like growing up in the same neighbourhood as a band like Motorpsycho. In London, everybody knows someone or knows someone who knows someone famous, and you can bump into well-known musicians all the time if you go to enough gigs or just walk down the right roads. For example, last year I walked past Carl Palmer who was out doing some shopping with his wife (I was wearing a Motorpsycho T-shirt). But there's no personal attachment to those things - a slight thrill, a boast, or name-dropping.

    I hope this doesn't sound patronising, but it must be completly different in somewhere like Trondheim because of the personal feeling of being so physically and culturally close to those people and because in a way Motorpsycho, by what I understand, were one of, if not the, most important new rock band in Norway back then, putting Trondheim on the map. I imagine you and a whole bunch more young kids were very proud of that. This was a serious band, making amazing music and they were from your neighbourhood. So the relationship would have been completely different. I guess that would create a serious attachment to the music of that specific time. And yes,I agree, the music we listen to as teenagers or young adults really affects us in a special way. And for me, progresive rock was the thing. Yes was the band I fell in love with and after 1978 everything seemed to go downhill. Having said that, most people would agree, though there are those that still think the band are wonderful. I had years and years without listening to them, then about ten years ago picked up again, listened to what I had missed and started seeing them live again. They're nothing like what they used to be but the old music is still some of the very best I've ever heard and bits and pieces of what they've done in the intervening years has also been very good. But unlike Motorpsycho, they lost the magic. They slowed down, members came and went, they got rich and rested on their laurels. They lost the urgency.

    I think I hear a bit of that in your comments, the idea that maybe MP lost the urgency that was so important to what they were in the 90s. I think the difference though is maybe that they found a way to keep their approach immediate and personal. I gather they turned down moving to Oslo, and getting involved with bigger labels or promoters. They appear mostly to have stayed tight with their roots and the people from that period. And they appear still to be very much a part of the Trondheimian cultural tapestry. I like that.

    Have you read Geb's chapter in Supersonic Scientists? I love the fact that he's so down to earth about his departure from the band and all the things he says about why he really didn't want to write the chapter and to have to go back and listen to BH/BC. It's a great view from the inside/outside about where he thought the band was going, what it had become.

    It's funny that you say the winks and nods probably started with LTEC because the first one I noticed was PPP (Ms Mitchell in the bathroom) on AADAP. And I have wondered if on DB Tuesday Morning was a wink to the Velvet Underground's Sunday Morning (though musically it's Coventry Boy that's the distillation of Sunday Morning, Femme Fatale and I'll Be Your Mirror), Babylon a nod to the Ruts' Babylon's Burning, and Sheer Profundity a reference to David Crosby's ironic exclamation on CSNY's 4 Way Street just before he begins the song Triad (I think anyone who knew that album would make the link, whether MP intended it or not). All that stuff just seems to be a part of their DNA to me, but then again, I wasn't there at the beginning and I've never had the luck to read or hear anything direct from the horse's mouth on the matter. So most of those thoughts on DB are just my own speculation.

    I find it intersting that it's their "unofficial" collaborative material that you appreciate more. Especially DDU and Konsert, both of which, one of my friends who introduced me to the band doesn't like so much because they're "too prog" for him!!

    It's fantastic to hear where you're coming from, your personal experience over the years and that you still see in them the things that made them great during those early days even if the music doesn't have the same effect or appears to be somewhat distant from then.

    Thanks.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  14. Kid A
    Member

    I can relate to a lot of what Bartok is saying. Being grown up in a German smalltown, Motorpsycho was not as near as to a Trondheimian, but closer than all the US bands dominating the scene.
    Interestingly, I still can remember the very first time I ever stumbled upon their name: it was a review of Demon Box in a German metal magazine called RockHard. The review was quite good and I still know, that I was fascinated by the strange cover in combination with the album title. But... I wouldn´t hear the record for the next couple of years. It took till the release of Timothy´s Monster till they reappeared. It was a summer full of acid and adolescent dreams. The world flew by like Watersound and it will forever be connected to the sound of Timothy, Sgt. Pepper and early Pink Floyd stuff.
    The 90´s were full of creative sound exploration, so Motorpsycho were at that moment just one among many for me. They were records like Blur´s magnificent 13, Radiohead´s genre expanding OK Computer and if you were more into rock stuff, bands like Monster Magnet or Dinosaur Jr.
    I went back to Blissard and Demon Box, the first becoming one of my all-time favourites, but DB was too metal for my taste. It was a bit like what Punj said about this one, it took till the re-release of the full vinyl version, to really understand this one.
    AADAP went into heavy-rotation and this was also the year I first saw them live, 5th November 1997 Odeon, Münster, support by Loose. From this day on I was blown away and for a long time, they went no year without seeing them live for at least one time.
    Thew release of LTEC was the first time I was irritated, like many others , but I came to like the record, same as Barracuda and Phano.
    But studio-wise the magic was gone. Interestingly, this was the time with some of the best live gigs, cause they mixed the psycho-pop atmosphere of the recent releases with the sheer power of Traktor Bass.
    Then came IALC and then it really went downways. Maybe it´s difficult to understand for someone who discovered the band in later years. Forget for one moment the back catalogue of the last 15 years and watch the band, whre they stood at the time of IALC. The incredible 90s releases behind, getting weaker from album to album (and IALC is the weakest by far in their whole catalogue IMO), having reached the age, when most bands start to fall apart... and then Geb left.
    Geb was at this time as important for the whole project as Bent and Snah are still today. The impact was as catastrophal as if today, Snah would leave. The band couldn´t exist anymore.
    A different drummer was just unthinkable.
    I talked to Geb just some weeks later at a HGH gig and I´m sure he knew that.
    This band definitly went Neverland.
    From this time on I lost interest. I saw them live again with this interim drummer, whose name I forgot - it didn´t work. I bought the new albums, and I liked LLM, but stopped going to concerts. I went to Köln on the HMF gig and was underhelmed.
    Then I even skipped an album for the first time, Still Life.
    The first time I saw the boys again was the DDU tour at Schlachthof, Bremen.
    The concept idea behind this seemed interesting, so I went and it was fantastic.
    So, there was hope maybe? BTS and HBM were okay as albums, but no live gigs still.
    And then, came The Tower. And there it was, the magic, the excitement. Not as wild and windborne as in the 90s, but with a grown up love for a very ripe and rich wine.
    The Schlachthof gig with a wall of sound I haven´t felt for 15 years.
    So, here we are today, back to source, I´m even reading the forum again (I originally joined sometime at the beginning of the 00´s) and I´m excited as a child for the Schlachthof gig in September.
    Let the good times roll!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  15. JERO
    Member

    Guys, as recognisable (and extended) your accounts are, I don't read a lot about what the music
    does for you on the emotional level. I hold MP so dear not just for their amazing history and catalogue and their working ethics, it's the huge part of my life they "soundtracked". It's the mystery of songs like Manmower or Sungravy still bringing the tears to my eyes, they helped me shout out with anger, joy, helped me grief, as well as made me think and explore which belongs to the brain-stuff. I think putting feeling/emotion into words (words belong to the brainy section of being, and as Wittgenstein explains cannot at all be trusted) is a very difficult thing, but I believe the reasons most of us are so attached to this Trondheim group is just that emotional bonding, where the language of their music speaks to your heart. How about trying to share what goes through you when you play Grindstone very very loud, what did you almost smash up in the room, how young and vulnerable do you feel when you listen, REALLY listen to something like the Ballad of Patrick and Putrick, etc? Just summing up when and where you found which album is to mea lot like the boring proggies talk in the schoolyard back in the day...

    Posted 5 months ago #
  16. Punj Lizard
    Member

    @JERO – Good question, but I have to laugh. You really do seem to have a hard-on for knocking the ‘proggies’ from ‘back in the day’. It seems hardly three or four of your posts go by without taking a swipe at them :D

    Most of the types of musically emotional moments that you speak of happened to me years ago listening to other bands/artists – Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, CSN/CSNY, The Who, the Sex Pistols, Stevie Wonder, REM, PiL, the Waterboys, belting out the songs of other artists (and a few of my own) while hammering at my six-string acoustic, a very angry and cathartic period in 2002/3 listening to a lot of Eminem, and then a whole bunch of songs here and there from artists like Ani di Franco, Lauryn Hill, Tracey Thorn, Jane Siberry ...

    Probably the biggest emotional responses I’ve had to music though have come in the form of ecstatic highs from bands like Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Magma, Anekdoten, Solstice, and loads more – highs that come from riding the wave of the musical movement, letting my thinking and emotional self transcend into the music. I’ve had, of course, the same response to the other bands/artists listed above (Mitchell, Young, the Who, the Waterboys etc.), and from music that’s prompted me to dance – be it reggae, Bhangra, fusion, soul ... From most music, in fact.

    Motorpsycho, for me, in the 18 months that I’ve been listening to them, have in the vast majority evoked the latter response – ecstatic transcendence. If I were to pick out one song though, from which I could really pinpoint an emotional reaction, it’d have to be Upstairs/Downstairs. I don’t have any kids of my own, but my step-daughter had a son four years ago, and Snah’s delivery of the somewhat saccharine but still heart-tugging lyrics always prompt a little water in the eyes. Indeed, Snah’s fragile vocal delivery on its own is sometimes enough to move me that way.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  17. JERO
    Member

    @Punj Lizard; yeah, I get that (upstairs?downstairs), nice. As for me having a hard-on for knocking the proggies: I used to listen a lot to Yes, KC (still do), Tull, even to cassette-tapes of Camel, Asia and whatnot, shared with some classmates, end 70's beginning 80's. For a lot of it I've lost interest but that's not what gives me "softy"! What I've come to dislike is the endless blabbering of proggy-friends of the past not about the music-experience, but about bandmembers, gear, statistics etc, as a cult in itself. Listening to impressive music, and then guys shouting out above the music things like: "you know, he's using these so and so strings here"... I just can't stand that. So therefore it may seem like I condemn all things prog (which I don't).
    And; I'd just like us as forum members to not only sum up, but to express as well.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  18. Punj Lizard
    Member

    @JERO I hope to do some expressing with you in Groningen in May

    Posted 5 months ago #
  19. JERO
    Member

    @Punj Lizard Looking forward to that, Punj, not only can we wig out to MP side by side, but hopefully discuss Snah's strings and equipment as well a lot!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  20. Punj Lizard
    Member

    @JERO Noooooo. I'm actually not that type of prog fan. I did used to take in a lot of information off album covers but I was never that kind of what we call an anorak or trainspotter. And the information only ever served to help me connect musicians and producers etc. It was always what went in my ears that interested me first. The rest was just helpful in taking me to the next musical high. This was more so the case once I fell under the spell of the dreaded weed [shock, horror]

    Posted 5 months ago #
  21. Bartok
    Member

    @Kid A

    Haven’t caught up w this thread before now, but, man, you’re telling my own story with MP much more eloquent then I could myself. Spot on. I’m with you on just about everything. And yes, that moment after IALC, after the “pop” records – GEB leaving – the heart of MP in many ways (sorry Bent!) – and after the last record, yes, it really was a crush. It’s good they soldiered on. And I think, as you point out, it’s important to read this in the context of the time, of our commitment to this band, the three piece, the triangle, of the expectations of each record, and of their releases up to that point, and their significance. After that I really feel it was a different time. And, yes (my username being a testament) I also returned to this forum after the Tower. My old account I left in, hm, 2009. The Tower is really an echo of everything I loved, with a new patina.

    And even though I’m somewhat on the fence about the Crucible, I’m sure we’re in for some great new things.

    Let the good times roll indeed!

    And – yes – those heavy psych-pop shows from the early 00s, with an at that time mature MP, I guess captured on various YouTube videos: just amazing, and a somewhat nice final sortie for what had been.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  22. Bartok
    Member

    And Punj, thanks for the reply, I’m abs *not* aware of all their references (and yes they abs referenced stuff before LTEC) – they’ve always been standing on the shoulders of giants and contemporaries. And they’ve always made it their own. Since the very start. I guess I’m just not a fan of a lot of what they’ve been referencing and exploring the last decade(!) but I still feel it, feel them, feel Bent! and Snah! and now Thomas!, feel an urgency, feel their exploration, even if it’s changed. This is what makes them unique (unlike Yes as you explain them): there’s no laurels in sight! Only exploration, and I guess we all drop in and out, according to our inclinations, but there’s always *something* there.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  23. TraktorBass
    Member

    Punj, You make me wish I could travel that road again..

    Posted 5 months ago #
  24. bionaut
    Member

    @ Punj - Thank you for starting this thread, and thank you for digging deep into the MP oeuvre and telling us about your journey! You have inspired me to attempt to do the same. I had knee surgery today, and I'm medicated. Seems like a good time.

    You could call me a newbie. I am American and have lived all of my 57 years in America. I was not aware of MP early enough to catch one of their few US gigs. I have never seen them live. I have also never heard one of their studio albums. A quick word on that later.

    My discovery of Colour Haze around 2010 led to my discovery of MP. I was downloading CH shows from DIME, and I noticed Spacebandit's comments about CH being his second favorite band after MP, I started downloading MP shows. At first, I could not quite get into the music, but I sensed there would be a reward in time. It was the variety in the setlists that captured my imagination. I was especially enamored of the idea of a band who could cover the Grateful Dead and Motorhead on the same night and played 'Light in the Black' as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio.

    Audience recordings are probably not the best way to get into a band, but I kept at it. I grabbed every MP show on DIME and all the new ones that showed up as time went on. One day, in 2012 or 2013 while making a six-hour drive, I heard 'All Is Loneliness' for the first time. I don't remember which show I was listening to. That did it. I was hooked. I could see the band on stage, and I could feel the magic in their music. I heard a room full of people chanting after the band had let their music fade away, and I understood that there was a whole community of people who felt it too.

    @JERO - You should be able to deduce that this was an emotional connection for me. 'All Is Loneliness' is not a song to think about. It is a song to feel, and I felt it. I felt it speak to me on a soul level.

    I do not think about music. I either feel it, or I don't. I feel music that is 'heavy'. I cannot articulate what heavy is, but I know it when I hear it. Heavy has many hues, and MP is the only band I know with the ability to create such a wide range of songs with heaviness in them. I hear it in songs as diverse as 'Un Chien', 'Starhammer', and 'Vortex Surfer'.

    Let it be said, though, that man cannot live on heavy alone. There must be soul. Someone once said, "You don't have a soul. You ARE a soul, you have a body." If I could explain how that concept relates to MP music, I would consider my exploration of this music complete.

    So, why have I not listened to any studio albums? I could say that I am waiting to possess enough disposable income to purchase it all, which is true. I could make an excuse about why I don't just listen on Spotify or similar. The truth is, I don't want to hear the studio recordings, yet. I might even be a little afraid of losing something special. As it is now, my relationship to each song is not bound by a 'definitive' version. Hey, it's the trip I'm on, and I'm gonna hang onto it! At least a little longer...

    Finally, my favorite era of MP is happening right now. In fact, I think I will even purchase 'The Crucible' on vinyl. Why not do it right now?

    Posted 5 months ago #
  25. Punj Lizard
    Member

    @bionaut - Your story seems unique to me. I can't imagine there are many people who get to know a band through only their audience recordings, without at some point (or first) getting into their studio albums. I assume you don't have any of their live albums either. However, I have an old school friend who has always prioritised seeing bands live over buying their records. The first gig I ever attended was with him - we were 13 years old at the time and his mum had managed to get us front row tickets to see 10cc at the Hammersmith Odeon. This was in 1975, so it seems you and I are the same age (57). This friend always saved his pocket money to go to gigs instead of buying albums. And continued the practice when he started work. By then he could afford both, but still prioritised gigs. If someone would ask him if he'd heard a band, or if he'd be interested in a new band, his first question was "when are they playing?" not "which albums should I listen to?"

    I hope that, if you do start to listen to the albums, you continue to find in them the soul you feel in the live recordings. And I hope that one day you get the chance to see them live, whether in the States or by somehow making it to Europe. I'm sure you'll have plenty of psychonauts welcoming you with open arms.

    Funny you should mention Colour Haze as about an hour before I read your post I bought the albums In Her Garden and Live Vol 1 Europa Tournee 2015 (and am listening to the first of those as I write this). I saw them a couple of years ago when they were supported by My Sleeping Karma, who were the band I wanted to see that night (I'd never heard of Colour Haze before then). CH were amazing, but I was not tempted to buy any albums. Then a couple of days ago I read a 5-star review for In Her Garden and after listening on Spotify yesterday, decided to buy it. But I wanted that live vibe too, so bought the Europa Tournee 2015 album too. And to top it off I decided to get a ticket to the Sunday of Desertfest (London), where both Colour Haze and Earthless (among others that I need to check out) will be playing. That's in May, a couple of weeks before I head to mainland Europe for couple of MP shows.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  26. bionaut
    Member

    @Punj - The internet and DIME (and Motortrades) have enabled my unusual education about MP. More importantly, I owe great thanks to the tapers! Perhaps, I am a little bit like a guy living in Europe discovering the Grateful Dead after 1972.

    It is true that I must see a band live before I am fully connected. Perhaps that is why I am so focused on listening to live MP shows. I will eventually start purchasing the music on vinyl. I will probably go with Stickman releases, because I think they offer vinyl and download code together. That package interests me the most. I don't think it matters where I start, because I will end up owning it all.

    I am envious of all the shows I am missing, MP and so many other acts that don't play in America. I would move across the Atlantic tomorrow if my wife would get on board! My boys are too young (three and two) for me to organize even a short trip to catch any shows for now. I am sure my chance will come one day.

    Tournee 2015 covers a lot of Colour Haze bases, but you might explore more CH music. I would listen to 'Colour Haze' and 'Tempel' for sure. My favorite aspect of CH is probably the lyrics. I especially connect with the song 'Love'. I would not be surprised to learn that there is an anthroposophical background.

    It is interesting that you and I have grown up in the world 'together', and here we are connecting through MP. They are like a beacon!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  27. jtr
    Member

    Amazing to read you guys share your MP stories and music stories in general

    I dont talk or write about music much anymore, I simply listen to what I like. But it is really nice to read stories that are similar or match my experiences, with Motorpsycho or any music that really sticks with you and touches you for a long time to come.

    For me, I've known MP since around the Phanerothyme release and followed their output ever since. I've seen Motorpsycho live only a handful of times over the years but each time was special.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  28. Punj Lizard
    Member

    @bionaut - Thanks for the CH recommendations. Funnily enough, the two albums you mentioned were the next two on my list anyway! Freaky. It must be a sign!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  29. pfnuesel
    Member

    Wow, this thread is amazing. Thanks to everyone, sharing their feelings, especially the newbies and the ones that were discontent at times. It's good to hear your voices, too!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  30. bionaut
    Member

    @ Punj - This is what hooked me on Colour Haze...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmK-ukwTfUA

    Also, since this is a MP forum, don't miss this...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK9n6n8qfus

    Posted 5 months ago #

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