Camp Motorpsycho » General

Kingdom of Oblivion

(225 posts)
  • Started 5 months ago by Ozzak
  • Latest reply from Punj Lizard

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  1. Johnny_Heartfield
    Member

    @ Punj Lizard: There's one dominant cause for the lack of dynamics you & others experienced. It's called "compression" and has been lamented here before. Not only kills the organic sound of the album, but also reduces some of Snah's divine solos to (almost) trash - soundwise. Reminds me of the latter day Motörhead albums - couldn't stand the guitar sound - obviously digital recording compressed to death. Shouldn't happen on a heavy rock band's album! But these are the times - I can hardly listen to most of the stuff published today, however interesting musically - soundwise it's Armageddon!

    I'm not totally opposed to a little compression here & there, especially on bass, but it shouldn't kill all the living essence of a good guitar sound - let alone excellent music in general!

    Posted 3 months ago #
  2. supernaut
    Member

    I can't really relate to that. I don't hear more compression than on other MP records, especially not in guitar solos. Compared it in my sound production software and switch-listened between this one and some of their albums from LLM onwards. I hear it's louder and more bitey midrangey. Which I guess is the mastering, where of course compression/limiting is applied. And Helge Sten did the mastering, not Andrew Scheps, who was called the culprit by somebody earlier. Louder overall doesn't mean the individual tracks are more compressed. There seems to a push around 3khz, though, (hence bitey midrangey) in addition to be mastered quite loud. But defintely not brickwall mastered. It's supposed to be a hard rocking record. And we know the band always goes all in whatever they choose to do. Maybe we're used to their older albums being lower in volume and less harsh in the frequeny range compared to their peers' albums. There always has to be something to complain about. Too loud, too jammy, too prog, too pop, too short, too long, not enough saxofones and vinyl only...

    I just put At Empire's End in said software for a radio show along with other new releases and compared to those this one has huge dynamics!

    Posted 3 months ago #
  3. shakti
    Member

    Whatever it is, the sound of this record really puts me off. Whether it’s Scheps, Sten or Sæther’s fault I really dislike it and it’s part of the reason I don’t get any emotional connection with it. The vocal mixing and effects particularly makes it sound very out of the Motorpsycho spirit as I think of it.

    The Cosmoctopus thingy rocks pretty hard though, that’s probably my favourite track on an otherwise rather unmemorable album. The main riffs for Kingdom of Oblivion and The United Debased are also decent enough, but not interesting enough to rely so heavily on their grooves. Lady May is also quite nice, but the album just never lifts off and also doesn’t feel cohesive at all so for me this is a pretty big miss, albeit with some quality parts here and there.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  4. shakti
    Member

    Oh, and I don’t hear The Lurker as prog-metal at all. The angular but elliptical patterns with whole tone transposition is straight out of the Robert Fripp school in my opinion. Also a very nice nod to Get Up With It era Miles Davis in the psyched-out mellow section towards the end.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  5. the conscience
    Member

    I hava a question. I only have the vinyl version and like the sound very much on a proper Stereo and very good headphones.Is the Dynamics problem maybe only a digital Problem? I consider KoO as their best Dance Album. Its funktional and emotional music at the same Time and the solos are just colors to Freak out totally 😁

    Posted 3 months ago #
  6. the conscience
    Member

    Forgotten to say. I am no Professional. Maybe my ears cannot hear what the Dynamics Problem should be.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  7. Johnny_Heartfield
    Member

    @ supernaut: How do you then explain the sterility of sound quite a few people have complained of? Maybe your programs tell you there is not too much compression - I rather trust my ears and feelings. But then I'm an analog freak and used to record my band's stuff on 12 channel tape. I remember we had the sterility problem even then - it depended, who did the mix. So it is probably not (just) compression. I have experienced a lot of people mixing according to theory (fixed frequency values etc.) and forgetting about the warmness of the instrumental sound. Probably this is an ideological debate - but still I find Snah's guitar sound on this album quite unsatisfactory. Probably already too compressed during recording the tracks - or whatever. Probably microphones too close to the amp/speaker. The distortion sounds quite flat to my ears. Place your (Marshall) amp at one end of the room and the mics at the other and turn up the volume! This procedure of course depends on the studio room available with all its sound properties.
    I think you could debate endlessly - in the end it is the result that counts.

    @ the conscience: It is not the music itself - I consider that really great. Just some special sound properties that put me off a little. Probably I just have too turn up the stereo to full volume

    Posted 3 months ago #
  8. the conscience
    Member

    @ Johnny. Of cause full volume. What else? 😁

    Posted 3 months ago #
  9. Kid A
    Member

    Made loud to be played loud

    Posted 3 months ago #
  10. Paolize
    Member

    As for myself, I have no perplexity about the quality and the sound of the new album: I find it amazing. Powerful and "doomy" (Kingdom of Oblivion), ironic (The United Debased), soft and intense (At Empire’s End), folkish (The Hunt)… incredibly varied and full of nuances (as usual). So I can't find a reason to complain or to be disappointed. Maybe I’m too “naïve”, but I find everything extremely enjoyable. Best album since The Tower. That’s only my opinion, I just write it for a statistical contribution

    Posted 3 months ago #
  11. Ok, for the statistical contribution: I have no complaints at all

    Posted 3 months ago #
  12. Johnny_Heartfield
    Member

    Motorpsycho's first AOR album. And still a motorpsychedelic album - squaring the circle, I'd say. Clearly a headphone album. I like it the way I liked the Dead's last official studio album "Built to last" - very headphoney

    Posted 3 months ago #
  13. David
    Member

    The more I listen to it, the more I think it could have been a 3 EP album, like the Daemon's / Trust Us / LTEC era.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  14. Petri Pasanen
    Member

    KoO entered on #19 in the German Album Charts. Highest position ever for a Motorpsycho Album in Germany?

    Posted 3 months ago #
  15. Johnny_Heartfield
    Member

    Obviously: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorpsycho#Albums

    Doesn't mean too much these days - they probably had to sell more albums to reach #80 with Phanerothyme back in 2001.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. Kid A
    Member

    Especially for a band like this, with fans who actually buy their physical albums. They will probably get higher and higher on the charts over the years, independently how strong the sales really are…

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. the conscience
    Member

    @Kid A. Good poiint. I think you are right.
    Plus: MP is an ALBUM band in these short attention times.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. grindove
    Member

    GREAT album! And so far - after multiple spins - no track I want to skip. Wohoo!

    My habit faithful, I refused to listen to the "single"/"teaser", or whatever it's called nowadays, to have the whole album with no familiar track overshadowing anything else when I received it.

    "The waning" has some interesting/surprising chord progressions during the verses that are cool, but as a whole, it might actually be the least exciting track on the album. Weird for an opener? Well, this has happened before on MP albums.

    I was a bit disappointed when I read here that it contains a cover, especially when it's of a song that I'm familiar with and fond of. But it turned out to be OK - it's so low in volume compared to the previous track that I hardly notice it

    The Black Sabbathism (which some of you have mentioned) I hear is mostly towards the end of "The united debased" (instrumental parts after first vocal line in the final uptempo section), which makes me think of something from "The eternal idol" - an album I didn't like upon its release in 1987, but love now - but I bet it wasn't intentional. Also: it's brilliant!

    "The transmutation of cosmoctopus lurker" is the highlight for me. Really one of my new favorite MP tracks. Fantastic! Top 50! Maybe even top 20! Complaint: too short! If this guitarism is compared to Dream Theater I have to stop hating that band. New exciting territory. I worship! And the effects on the vocals suits the song just perfect, adding some extra texture to the mood. Total geni! "Cormorant" rounding off the adventure in a nice way.

    I love it when albums start good and end fantastic! There are few examples, and I'll add "KoO" to this little list.

    Respect to audionauts, but sorry, complaints such as "compression" this, "mixing" that, "mastering" thus... I really can't relate when the album is this awesome

    Hey, I even like the folky songs!

    I repeat from my last post: I feel spoiled being a Motorpsycho fan.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. Punj Lizard
    Member

    I've been checking out how Kingdom of Oblivion is faring over on ProgArchives. This website has an obvious focus (it's in the name!) but includes many bands/artists that wouldn't necessarily be labelled 'prog'. In general, when any album is released it tends to gain a highish rating as fans of the band flock to give it four or five stars, but over time the rating drops, sometimes quite rapidly, depending on the number of people who acquire it and rate it. This is true for Motorpsycho as for any band. For example, 7 months ago, following the release of The All Is One, that album had an average rating of 4.13, which has now fallen to 4.05. Kingdom Of Oblivion has maintained a high rating so far, though I do expect it to continue dropping. Here are the average ratings (and the number of ratings) for the top-rated Motorpsycho albums, as of today:

    Title - Average rating (number of ratings posted)
    Kingdom of Oblivion - 4.23 (56)
    The Death Defying Unicorn - 4.18 (488)
    In the Fishtank - 4.11 (100)
    Trust Us - 4.09 (101)
    The All Is One - 4.05 (145)
    Phanerothyme - 4.05 (122)
    Behind the Sun - 4.00 (335)
    The Tower - 4.00 (239)

    NB: The number of ratings is a fair indication of how popular an album has become among prog fans - as we can see, The Tower was rated by 239 people, compared with In The Fishtank, which was rated by only 100 people. This suggests The Tower was a more popular album among prog fans, but that In The Fishtank was rated higher by the smaller number of people that heard it.

    Ultimately, of course this is all pretty insignificant, but I find it interesting to see how MP fare among the wider prog community even though they only make up a fraction of MPs fans.

    Here's a link to Motorpsycho's page on ProgArchives:

    Motorpsycho at ProgArchives

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. Johnny_Heartfield
    Member

    Which only shows the "Progarchives" crowd took its time to recognize Motorpsycho's qualities (or is rather slow on the intake). Once you are convinced even the weaker albums are rated higher than the brilliant ones - or to put it another way: it takes a real monster of an album to convince you, the rest then is an easy ride for the Trondheimers

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. Ercarnar
    Member

    There always has to be something to complain about. Too loud, too jammy, too prog, too pop, too short, too long, not enough saxofones and vinyl only...

    So true. I find this record brilliant in each of his aspects

    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. suntripper
    Member

    More bird songs, please!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. supernaut
    Member

    @Johnny_Heartfield

    I can't explain why others hear and feel what. I can only say that there is not an appalling compression to my ears. Or more present than on recent albums. Yes it doesn't sound like Timothy's Monster or AADAP. But it's not like all the MP albums sound exactly one way and only KoO is the odd one out.

    The cold digital versus warm analogue debate is way too metaphysical for me, and also somewhat of a boring trench warfare of beliefs. I have too many musician friends who don't stop feeding that myth. Probably because they're not really professionals (me too for that matter) and don't really spend too much time with lots of different equipment and fall for all the half-truths out there (which I don't I'm cheeky enough to say or at least I rather verify them firsthand before passing on). As if we always could tell for dead sure in any "blind test" listening experiment. Btw I just heard that Nirvana's Bleach and Melvins' Houdini guitars were played on transistor amps and not on holy tube amps. Who'd have thunk? So "tube amps are the best, period" is another one of those stubborn myths (but ssssshhhh don't tell this to my beloved Burman-502, though, haha).

    I'm aware of analogue recording and tape saturation but digital technology has come a long way. And I'm not talking about guitar amp/speaker sims. I have that and yep, it doesn't sound at all as pleasant like a properly recorded guitar. But I find it quite useable if I want a far out guitar sound on purpose. But that's another matter, and I don't think that's what we hear on KoO.

    If you say put the mic 30 feet away from the speaker is the way to go, I wonder on which MP album they did just that. Well maybe on the alternative version of The Golden Core, which does sounds amazing! But I go out on a limb here and state they put their mics right in front of the speaker like anybody else.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. suntripper
    Member

    After Mockingbird, The Cuckoo, The Magpie and now Cormorant, I just think they should do more bird songs. I believe Albatross is taken, but they could still have the Sangihe Shrike-thrush, Stresemann's Bristlefront or the Noisy Scrub-bird.

    I won't suggest the Bearded Tit in case it's taken the wrong way...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  25. JERO
    Member

    @suntripper; hihihi. and for a coversong: Una Paloma Blanca

    Posted 2 months ago #
  26. marc
    Member

    So, after a while I need to change my verdict on the album quite a bit - and for the better!! I did'nt really listen to it too often, but when i did i really enjoyed it as a whole. I would even regard it as a successful fan-pleaser as you can find traces from pretty much all the different stages of the band. I was underwhelmed by the sabbathy riffs and the folk songs, but it all falls nicely into place.

    One thought on Snah's solos: I think the reason why they appear a bit generic recently is that the solos lie on top of mostly pentatonic or one-chord riffs...so, there isn't much to venture out from. God needs some harmonics and chord progressions to play with and lift off from

    One question: Does anybody know why there is absolutely no activity on the motorpsycho.no-site?

    Cheers

    Posted 2 months ago #
  27. GBD
    Member

    Considering that the band didn't even have a website until 25 years into their career, i would assume that it could be beacause they simply don't find it important enough to care that much about

    Posted 2 months ago #
  28. Johnny_Heartfield
    Member

    @ supernaut: The least thing I want is to open a merely technical/theoretical debate. I'm sorry if you got that impression. I merely try to explain why some albums - the latest MP opus among them - sound rather unsatisfying to me compared to other albums. In the end I can only repeat what I have read, learned and (partly) experienced myself, without any absolutist stance.
    As a matter of fact I rate the sound feeling highly, thus sometimes excellent composition and playing craft is overshadowed for me by unsatisfying sound. I like a warm, organic sound (for instance on HBM) much better than a more cold, to me rather sterile sound, a feeling I have when I listen to KoO. This is at first hand a purely personal feeling that I try to understand in a way by considering recording and mixing techniques. In the end what counts is the direct experience, and I can only relate to that. As a matter of fact I have often experienced the sound of more technical oriented bands (virtuoso playing over overall expression) to be rather thin or sterile. Whether there is really a relation between these phenomena is open to debate.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  29. GBD
    Member

    Interesting that you would choose HBM as your pick for the organic sound, as it's on of their worst sounding albums in my ears (particularly Big Black Dog).

    Posted 2 months ago #
  30. Johnny_Heartfield
    Member

    Obviously we have quite different ideas of sound. I like the warm instrumental sound in the mix on HBM, especially Side 1. Big Black Dog propably suffered in the mix from volume/intensity overkill...
    Clarity for my is not a value in itself - it can sometimes also lead to sterility, while the most murky sound mix can nonetheless sound warm and comforting.
    The philosophy of sound can certainly lead to endless debates, some of them quite futile.

    Posted 2 months ago #

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