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FAMLENDE FORSØK Døve Munker Ut Av Norsk Industri LP & CD (Hærverk Industrier/SHiT Tapes)
FAMLENDE FORSØK En Skive Med Kalde Joika Kaker LP (Hærverk Industrier/SHiT Tapes)

Two vinyl LPs from these long-running Norwegian experimentalists whose name translates as 'Fumbling Attempt'. The first is a red vinyl reissue, with bonus CD, of an album originally released in 1986 on DIY cassette; the second is their latest album, on yellow vinyl. Both LPs come with booklets containing lyrics and background info.

Døve Munker Ut Av Norsk Industri (i.e. 'Deaf Monks Out Of Norwegian Industry') comprises the material from the 1986 cassette, mostly in its original form, while one track is partially re-recorded, along with two new pieces. The bonus CD features the cassette material along with six live recordings from 2018. This album is centred around metal percussion recorded on location at an aluminium factory, and features recited, and sometimes chanted, lyrics, all these attributes making for a distinctive, inventive musical style. Kutt 23 includes a dramatic, cinematic organ melody accompanied by drones, mechanistic rhythmic buzzing, and the innovative metal percussion that characterises this album. Zen Bop features a Middle Eastern-tinged melody overlaid with frantically ranted recitation, wildly wailing woodwind improvisation, ominous electronic sounds, and busy, intense use of metal percussion, making for a frankly exhilarating listening experience.

Munker Myter Mekanikk sees a medieval-esque melody colliding with the thud of hammers on metal, with evocative lyrics translating into English as "Thor's hammer beats a deathly rhythm ... The deaf monks in their high cloisters hear nothing". Ender Flyr means 'Ducks Fly', and features cacophonous parping sounds evoking a gaggle of quacking ducks, with metallic rattles and clangs adding to the chaos. Døve Munker Ut pre-dates Current 93's reinvention of the trad folk song Oh Coal Black Smith by one year, though the aesthetics of both songs are so similar - a pairing of beauty and harshness with forcefully recited lyrics accompanied by chanted 'la la' backing vocals - that I have to wonder if C93 were familiar with, and gained inspiration from, this recording. The two new tracks fit perfectly with the atmosphere of the original album, incorporating metal percussion left over from the original recording sessions. Kling Klang Dalom's melody calls to mind Grieg and other Romantic composers who drew from traditional folk, while Vredens Nav transports medieval folk into the 20th century factory.

The bonus live material on the CD includes the improv noise chaos of Tempel Intro (imagine Throbbing Gristle teaming up with a free jazz outfit and a performance poet), a great version of Zen Bop featuring whirring analogue electronics alongside the frenetic metal drumming that really taps into the primal human urge to move to rhythm, and the wild collision of folk-classical, industrial, and pulsing electronica that is Kling Klang Dalom.

The title of FF's latest album, En Skive Med Kalde Joika Kaker, has a double meaning that can be read as 'A Slice of Bread with Cold Joika Meatballs' or 'A Vinyl Record with Cold Joika Meatballs'. The colourful cover art includes an impressionistic, semi-abstract painting of the band's performance at a 2018 festival, along with a cartoon drawing of an anthropomorphic Arctic fox wearing Sámi costume. Opening track Industrial Twilight Gloom is by far the most accessible piece here, based around a kind of slightly off-centre pop-rock tinged at times with a woozy, whirring psychedelic touch. The album becomes more overtly experimental as it progresses, with subsequent tracks including Tramadol i Sommersol, in which a Middle Eastern-meets-Spanish melody is combined with pulsing electronica; Billemeter, where abstract, discordant brass is juxtaposed with a hypnotically rhythmic bass line and overlaid with forceful recitation; and Kophr, which throws all sorts into the blender, including spacey electronic sound effects, jazz aspects, and even the James Bond theme, topped off with the spoken vocals that are an integral part of this band's sound.

Døve Munker... is a truly pioneering album and an important part of underground music history, maybe even the first to combine, amongst other things, folk, world and medieval influences with industrial experimentation, while En Skive... continues Famlende Forsøk's inventive approach, adding further facets to their experimental sound. Contact the band at www.facebook.com/famlende. Label info at haerverkindustrier.com


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