Title: …Spells Trouble
Artist: Ergo Phizmiz
Release Date: 2014 July 01
Genre:Experimental Pop / Soundtrack
License: CC BY-NC-SA
With this release might have the most accurate title ever: Ergo Phizmiz Spells Trouble. Ergo has this habit of making some of the most challenging music around, and that can be trouble for many listeners. On the other hand, most his works contain more than tiny doses of humor, which can make them extremely enjoyable to listen to. Which way does this release go?
Ergo Phizimiz Spells Trouble – Again
While the last release I reviewed from Ergo was ‘All Our Clocks Are Dying’, a series of prepared piano pieces that Ergo recorded in 24hrs. In honor of that achievement, I wrote a review of the work within 24 hours of my downloading it. Not so with this release. But, even a month after it’s release it’s still worth taking a bit of time to talk about.
This release only has three tracks on it. The first is ‘Luzhin’. The piece opens with an ominous, evil feeling harpsichord line, before begin taken over by a rapid break-beat rhythm with heavy bass drum. The piece is a combination of frenzied jerky evilness that feels like a good characterization of Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin from Crime and Punishment. He’s character that is presented as bad / evil, and doesn’t have a redeeming quality to him at all. This piece, however does have a redeeming quality in that there is almost a sense of comedic relief of it.
Next up is ‘Loco Definitive’. This piece starts off with a rhythm that could be an impression of a train running down the tracks at full speed. It’s a mechanical beating rhythm with subtle variations. The breaks are formed by some really sped up drum samples mixed with bouncing marble sounds, which sound like no train I’ve ever heard. In this sense, I think that there is a play on words here, as loco can also be the Spanish word for crazy. And the breaks in these beats certainly are crazy (in a good way). Finally there is the addition of an organ line that brings back the evil sound of ‘Luzhin’ as if they tracks are linked (which they may well be).
The third track, ‘The Coronation Of Whoever’ opens with what might be considered an organ drone sound. However, in this case, the sound is very reminiscent of the tonality used to portray Egyptian scenes in movies from the 1950’s. I honestly started wondering where this was going when I started listening to it, but then in typical Ergo style he does something nearly unthinkable: the piece breaks into an almost funk beat for a few bars, before the Egyptian organ track comes back, only to find the two layered on top of each other in a sort of Egyptian funk processional.
What can one say about this release in summary? Basically it’s brilliance from the mind of Ergo Phizmiz, yet again. His ability to take an idea and look at it slightly askew and find something that many listeners would never think of is astounding. The fact that these ideas work extremely well is something that I have come to expect from Ergo Phizmiz releases, but I find myself appreciating his work in new and different ways with each new release I listen to.