MISOPHONE: Where Has It Gone, All The Beautiful Music Of Our Grandparents? It Died With Them, That’s Where It Went (Kning Disk)


Posted on Feb 25th 2008 12:36 am

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Misophone: Where Has It Gone, All The Beautiful Music Of Our Grandparents? It Died With Them, That’s Where It Went

Where Has It Gone, All The Beautiful Music Of Our Grandparents? It Died With Them, That’s Where It Went
Kning Disk 2007
12 Tracks. 40mins43secs

According to their MySpace page, Misophone have recorded thirteen albums in the space of five years, yet, Where Has It Gone… is their first to get a full release, courtesy of Swedish imprint Kning Disk. Listening to this little gem, it is a wonder how they have managed to remain hidden for so long. Formed of classically trained composer and multi-instrumentist S. Herbert, who claims to be able to play of over twenty instruments), and writer and artist M. A. Welsh, who here is in charge of vocal duties, banjo, found sounds and animal noises. Hailing for Bristol, the pair spent the first three and a half years writing and recording music, which M.A then gave away to customers of the off-license he works at in Bristol.

Feeding on a cocktail of folk, lo-fi and pop, Where Has It Gone… is as rich and vibrant as its cover suggests. Part Sufjan Stevens, part Matt Elliott, part Jules Verne, Misophone splash blotches of colour over their often surrealist pop songs, making their universe is as unpredictable as it is delightful. Delicately crafted melodies hang gracefully over beautifully detailed instrumentations, crisscrossed with influences coming from England, the American mid-West and Eastern Europe to produce scintillating human tales cast in catchy little numbers. At times vaguely reminiscent of a less effervescent Band Of Holy Joy or a less ethnic Beirut, Misophone display an incredible finesse for rich orchestral arrangements and superb flair for melodies, overlaid with Welsh’s subtle lyrics. White Waves, Nothing Down There But Trees and Deluded And Obscene capture the imagination in no time and never let go, placing the many angles of the pair’s oblique pop well into focus right from the start. Their cover of Daniel Johnston’s You Can’t Break A Broken Heart proves a fitting tribute to one of their heroes, and later, the wonderful The Sea Has Spoken, with its many twists and turns, or the melancholic and dreamy Tired Of Silly Dreams continue to cast an unusual shadow over this record. In between, the pastoral Turning Hay In The Fields comes dressed in full traditional Hungarian folklore, while Misophone apply generous helpings of folk and modern pop on Petroleum Lampa and turn it into something of an oddity, even in the context of this album.

Where Has It Gone… is an unexpected pleasure trail while constantly tease the senses and leads to a variety of enchanted places. In just forty minutes, Misophone create a musical universe which is unlike pretty much anything else on the current British musical landscape, and deliver a mighty fine record indeed.


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