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MoHa: Norwegianism

Reviewed By: Adrian Huggins
Label: Rune Grammofon
Format: CD

This is one of the craziest sounding albums I have ever heard. If you’ve ever listened to Mr Bungle or other musical oddities which for the most part defy convention, but have their feet firmly rooted in the jazz meets rock combination, you’ll have some idea of what this is like. To get a really good idea of it, imagine that same CD if it started skipping. It’s brilliant. It is packed full of completely off kilter rhythms and, packed with electronic sound and sound bites, sounds very experimental.

Norwegian duo Morten J. Olsen and Anders Hana are responsible for this noise and they clearly are not vying for a spot as Norway’s next Eurovision entry. This at times sounds literally like metal, jazz, Bjork, science fiction film special effects all put in a blender, then microwaved with the fork left in by mistake. This is good.

Moha! are clearly not aiming to be number one on the Radio One countdown while simultaneously climbing the billboard charts and MTV playlists. They are a band that throws convention, boundaries and possibly sanity out of the window as soon as they pick up their instruments. This is an acquired taste but many people would appreciate this. If you are a true music lover, I would bet my boots that at least one band that you love sounded awful, or un-listenable the first time you heard them. I for one thought that about Mr Bungle and Dillinger Escape Plan. But sometimes music just clicks with you and you see it in a totally different light and for whatever reason you hear it through new ears and are intrigued.

Moha! encapsulate this sound. With songs such as ‘Daily Four’, Jolly Six’, ‘Ibiza One’ and ‘Entry One’ (no numerical order there by the way), it is hard to know how to take this band. Are they crazy, pretentious, hilarious, or out-right taking the piss? The fact is it doesn’t really matter. This is very unlike most things you will hear, but the truth is I have wanted to go back and listen to it again and again. I never once thought, ‘God this is terrible, Turn it off’. Intrigue and a will to hear and maybe figure out what is going on makes Moha! A great listen.

The fifth track, 'Gay Two',is reminiscent of the conversation your mate has at you on the weekend in a club when he’s had too much to drink and is telling you how great everything is at 100mph. Only instead of your mate it is actually R2D2, which leads you to believe maybe that someone did put something in your drink.

Other than that it is hard to pick out particular songs to write about. This is a body of work rather than a bunch of songs put together on an album. I applaud these young Norwegians and am utterly mystified and in awe of them but at the same time my head is still spinning trying to work it all out. This is one for those of you who like a challenge, and love the sound of boundaries being shoved out of the way.


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