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CD: Various Artists 'Money Will Ruin Everything' (Rune Grammofon), The Wire, Telegraph, ...

The Wire, Daily Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday, Milk Factory, The Guardian, The Observer, Wallpaper, Q, Mojo, Uncut, Igloo, DJ, Rock Sound 2004.

27/04/2004 ::  

A dazzling showcase of Kim Hiorthøy´s cool prismatic graphic designs, 30 artists on two CDs, essays and an interview with Rune Grammofon label boss Rune Kristoffersen: this book celebrating the Norwegian label´s first 30 releases is no run of the mill compilation but a vibrant vision, breaking out of the ice and cresting into the global aural market.   The Wire (UK)

The spare beauty of Scandinavian design is not just about neat and tidy furniture for yuppies. There is also an incredible amount of truly beautiful music and art coming out of those sparsely populated wintry countries - as exemplified by this collection of sounds, pictures and writing from Norway.  Given that the country has a population smaller than London’s, the quality, quantity and variety of work here is astonishing. A hardback book, which accompanies the cds, is full of ultra-modern (but never facile) artworks and some interesting musings on how artists can remain independent in a dumbed-down, globalised market. This is a stunning combination of sounds, images and words, and could turn even the tattiest home into a super-stylish abode.   Daily Telegraph (UK)

This is a bit of a package. It looks like a book because it is one. Or rather, the cover of this two-disc set is in the form of a small coffee-table tome, conceived to emphasise the continuity betwixt Rune Grammofon´s music and the label´s distinctive design aesthetic. While people like me tend to prefer the almost-diatonic noodling of such marvels as Alog and the great Arve Henriksen, you, like Björk, may prefer the hours of laptop drizzle.
It´s Norwegian, by the way. 4/5.   The Independent On Sunday (UK)

In just five years, Norwegian label Rune Grammofon has established itself as one of Europe’s most challenging, consistent and eclectic labels around. Despite the eclecticism of its catalogue, Rune Grammofon has remained extremely focused on releasing quality music, always beautifully packaged. ”Money Will Ruin Everything” is an extremely powerful and enlightening testament of the label’s first five years. Deliberately mixing genres with no clear thread or apparent order, this album constantly shifts focus and throws expectations, creating a true reflection of the work of these artists. So finely tuned is this selection that it is utterly impossible to find any remotely dull moment. The listener is constantly challenged, their perceptions altered, their senses teased. Proof that there are still people willing to explore and share their findings, ”Money Will Ruin Everything” defies all classifications to unleash some of the most interesting music around. Five years after its arrival on the music scene, Rune Grammofon shows no sign of compromise, and clearly vows to continue uncovering more new sonic areas and musical territories.   Milk Factory (UK)

Hiorthøy has designed all 30 of RG's releases, and the hardback book binges on his distinctive, hugely confident artwork: gorgeous colours, minimalist typography and quirky shapes: what design writer Adrian Shaughnessy describes in the book as "Rorschach tests for the visually astute". The music, on two 15-track CDs slipped inside the covers, ranges from the simple to the baffling, via the beautiful, complex and downright unlistenable. Who are all these mysterious soundsmiths? We get instrumental gems (Arve Henriksen, Arne Nordheim, Food), songs from Tove Nilsen, Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, electronica (Phonophani, Biosphere) and downright weirdness (SPUNK, Hiorthoy himself). Yet RG's visual identity gives everything an inscrutable, tactile dignity.
The Guardian (UK)

Rune Grammofon continue the very familiar tradition of idiosyncratic boutique labels driven by a strong aesthetic (think 4AD, Factory, Warp) and thus deserve the respect of all who value creativity above commerce. Overall, it´s a fresh and frequently lovely meander along music´s more enigmatic limits.  The Observer (UK)

The Rune Grammofon label has been at the forefront of Norwegian jazz/electronica for five years, and this compilation, illustrated by in-house artist/musician Kim Hiorthøy, looks as good as it sounds.  Wallpaper (UK)

Over five years and 30 albums, Rune Grammofon has persevered with the abstract austerity that defines Norwegian electronica, It´s by no means all edgy blips, sandpaper rustling and gentle whirrs, however.Arve Henriksen´s astonishing trumpet/whale noise combination, SPUNK´s folk-weirdly thrum and Nils Økland´s dissonant violins each successfully expand the label´s ambient-jazz tack. Over two cds, the introspection is almost suffocating, but what a beautiful way to go. 4/5.   Q (UK)

Housed in a snappy hardback book with artwork by in-house artist/musician Kim Hiorthøy plus essays and interviews, it’s a faultless label taster, with 30 tracks of electronica-meets-jazz-meets-avant-whatever-you-want from Jaga Jazzist, SPUNK, Supersilent and many more.   Mojo (UK)

Much of the music shares Hiorthøy´s bright, aesthetic as it flits between left-field electronica, jazz, post-rock and contemporary classical. Star names include big band Jaga Jazzist, ambient veteran Biosphere and improvisers Supersilent, but watch out also for the disquieting speaking-in-tongues of Maja Ratkje. Worth investigating when you´ve exhausted the Warp and Thrill Jockey catalogues.   Uncut (UK)

”Money Will Ruin Everything” is an adventurous and wide-ranging collection of varied musical styles that on the whole complement each other surprisingly well. Each artist is given the chance to present a track in their own style on what is a comprehensive showcase of Norwegian talent that will particularly appeal to those with an appreciation of experimental electronic music in its many guises.   Igloo (UK)

Marking five years and 30 albums of existence, Norwegian label Rune Grammofon release this collection of 30 tracks. It contains both landmark recordings from their history and exclusive contributions from many of Norway's brightest stars. The fact the label owner Rune Kristoffersen runs the label part time, and still refers to it as his ”hobby” seems to have allowed an unfettered creativity, loosely basing itself on electronica, but often simply inviting the term ”free music”, transcending the oft negative connotations of that description. 4/5. DJ (UK)

Embraces a wide spectrum of styles from effete jazz to glacialsoundscapes and has created a loyal label identity that´s as strong as it is varied. Accompanied by a lavishly-packaged book including interviews and essays. Bold and striking, it´s a style that defines Rune Grammofon as strongly as Vaughan Oliver once did for 4AD. 8/10.   Rock Sound (UK)

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