Larsen - Musm [larsen.to.it - 2004]Iíve already said all the good things I thought about Larsenís Rever and Play albums. In between the two CDís, the band released a collection of tracks called Musm, that they compiled for their 2003 US tour.
The first three tracks are taken off Larsenís first album (from 1996) and presented here in revisited, remastered versions. The Italian bandís sound is easily recognizable but the compositions are, I donít knowÖ more minimal? This is to say their scope is not as wide, the music is more intimate. Heidi is particularly good, very melancholic track. Up next are six tracks that Larsen wrote as music to a serie of Winsor McCayís short movies. McCay is the father of the legendary Little Nemo, and the music was commissioned by the University of Torino and won the first prize at Rimusicazoni. Little Nemo starts like some ambient work by Coil before morphing into a more typical Larsen track, with the accordion, the tinkles, and the sweet, sweet nostalgic guitar melody. How a mosquito operates picks up things how the previous track ended, and makes of the melody a sort of mantra. Fascinating stuff that prefigures some of the pieces off Play. The sinking of the Lusitania is, I think, the closest Larsen have ever come to writing a ďproperĒ song. The melody is more direct, it only lacks vocals to become almost ďnormalĒ. Actually, the same could be said of The Centaurus, a very catchy track.
After the soundtrack pieces comes a cover of rare Syd Barrettís composition, Vegetable Man. Itís very droney and melodic, with the great sounds of a xylophone and an accordion. It has a celestial quality that Iím sure would speak to Barrettís now wherever is mind is wandering when he takes care of his vegetables. The last track is a brand new one, recorded during a rehearsal. At first, it seems like each of the musicians are noodling on their own corner of the room, but slowly the song takes shape, albeit in an unexpected way: you expect them to all get together, but itís more like everyone stops and listens to the guitar. Great stuff.
Also included is a video clip from their concert at St. Johnís Cathedral in Gdansk, Poland.
Both Rever and Play are greater works than Musm, but those two releases were recorded with the idea of making full-lengths out of them. The pieces compiled here are very different from each other since they come from very different context. However, this is good enough to bring further evidence that Larsen is a great band indeed.
Musm will be reissued on vinyl this spring on Enterruption.FranÁois Monti