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Big Robot - 2009 - "Aquafit"

(60:32, Karisma Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Dyrenes Dronning 2:46
2.  Coca Kohle 3:39
3.  Psychic Joker 2:29
4.  Aquafit 4:06
5.  Dall 8:37
6.  Gow 11:28
7.  Dollgau Zugschl?ss 5:23
8.  Birds 2:20
9.  Wild Mix 9:48
10. Back to the Beast 9:56


Joakim Langeland
Conrad Schnitzler
Ole Christensen
Per Sjoberg

Prolusion. The Norwegian outfit BIG ROBOT describes itself as a musical collective, where members Per Sjoberg and Ole Christensen make up the central core of the collective. "Aquafit" is the debut effort by this project, and adding their input to the proceedings on this occasion are Oslo-based musician Joakim Langeland and legendary German composer and musician Conrad Schnitzler.

Analysis. The overall vision for Big Robot's creative endeavors might be worth taking note of when trying to come to grips with the material its members offer on this initial effort. "The only error possible to commit is living and operating under the misconception that such a thing as the possibility of committing an error exists in the first place. We are guided by NO restricting theories, NO harmonic boundaries, NO compulsive reliance on melodies (in fact, we shun them almost totally) nor any concept of meeting up to the taste or preferences of a market or even an audience. This music was produced for the sake of itself. There is no concept but the CON-cept." It is a rather long quote, but one that is pretty informative as far as this disc’s contents are concerned. Those who have a need for melodies or melodic themes won't find much that caters to their needs here. In fact, any conventional means of conveying musical ideas as such are few and far between on this effort, be it disharmonies, dissonances or any other effects that warrant a melody or melodic theme to play upon to be effective – with one sole exception, the futuristic synth reggae Coca Kohle. The remaining tracks here are sonic constructs and experimental soundscapes more than anything else. Machine-inspired industrial sounds run like a red thread throughput the proceedings in a variety of manners. Rhythmic, thumping noises as made by an industrial machine, futuristic inspired engine-like hums, swirling noises with cosmic qualities that might be said to be a blend of modem sounds and the chirps you can hear from quasars in outer space and more or less fragmented additional sounds and textures that evoke strong associations with robots and computers in general. Static noises are another central element in these sonic constructions, and on a few select occasions fluctuation, melodic synth backdrops are added in as well. As far as similarities go, the most experimental side of Tangerine Dream might be a useful reference for this album, or perhaps a twisted, avant-garde version of Kraftwerk. The contributions from Conrad Schnitzler of Kluster fame should also yield references to those familiar with those names. The end result is an album filled with a type of music that defies any easy descriptions, pushing hard at the boundary that divides music from noise and perhaps crossing it on occasion as well. Big Robot itself uses the term Cosmic Industrial to define its exploits, and while I'd think that those who enjoy music normally categorized as industrial would disagree with that part of the description, the cosmic reference is an apt and undeniable one.

Conclusion. Big Robot has constructed a fascinating creation with "Aquafit", an album filled with highly challenging material exploring an electronic musical universe that defies most well-known and well-used compositional and structural approaches. If you enjoy electronic sound constructions of the kind that most will have a hard time categorizing as music, this band should be pretty high up on the list of artists you need to check out.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: April 5, 2010
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Karisma Records
Big Robot


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