VARIOUS ARTISTS: Money Will Ruin Everything: Second Edition (Rune Grammofon)


Posted on Apr 16th 2009 12:25 am

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Various Artists: Money Will Ruin Everything: The Second Edition

Money Will Ruin Everything: The Second Edition
Rune Grammofon 2009
25 Tracks. 152mins42secs

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‘It’s hard work to sell Rune CD outside of a small group of freaks’. To celebrate its first five years of activity, Norwegian label Rune Grammofon issued Money Will Ruin Everything, a beautiful limited collection documenting the label’s first few years spent charting the outer reaches of the music industry, spread over two CDs and presented with a book designed by Kim Hiorthøy. Fast forward five years and a few months, and it is time for label owner Rune Kristoffersen to look back once again and take stock of one of the most eclectic and forward-thinking catalogue around. And once again, Kim Hiorthøy, who is still single-handedly responsible for the visual identity of the label, including its occasional advertising, has designed a beautiful artefact, which collects not only the two CDs of this second edition of Money Will Ruin Everything, introduced by Geoff Travis and Robert Fricke, but also essays by Wire collaborator Rob Young and design consultant Adrian Shaughnessy, photographs and artwork reproductions.

The statement opening this review, sent via email to label owner and creative lead Rune Kristoffersen by a distributor, is an increasingly pressing concern for him, as he reflects on the plummeting CD sales the label has been the victim of in the last couple of years. In an interview with Hiorthøy published as part of this release, he deplores the fact that CDs, a format that has served his label well, are progressively disappearing to make way for MP3 files of inferior sound quality. This makes this release even more unique and brave. Bravery is however nothing new when it comes to Rune Grammofon. The label’s first release was, after all, a triple album by an outfit then largely unknown, Supersilent. The gamble paid off though, cementing both Supersilent as one of the most important experimental jazz acts to have come out of Norway, and Rune Grammofon as an uncompromising label.

This second edition of Money Will Ruin Everything, subtitled But The Music Goes On Forever, document the releases of the label since 2003. Featuring tracks ranging from visionary improvised jazz (Supersilent, Arve Henriksen, Scorch Trio, Eivind Opsvik Overseas, Box) and all-out experimentation (Ultralyd & N-Ensemble, Maja Ratkje,  Alog & Spunk) to beautifully crafter electronica (Phonophani, Skyphone, Deathprod, Svalastog) and surprisingly smooth and gentle pop music (Susanna, with and without her Magical Orchestra, Jessica), this line-up is an undeniable testament to the sprawling reach of the label. Deliberately juxtaposed, with very little apparent regard for progression or chronology, the tracks collected here, some dating a few years, some so new they haven’t yet been released, draw an extremely detailed map of the label’s outputs. In the first half hour alone, the contrast between the elegant electronic formations of Skyphone’s Cloudpanic, the heavy-handed Scorch Trio entry, Hys, the more nuanced Huntsville offering, Will Goes Hunting, or Conditions For A Piece Of Music II, the dense electro-acoustic journey carved by Ultralyd and N-Ensemble, couldn’t be greater. Yet, the aesthetic that has been at the core of the label for the last ten years binds all these together. So much so that it is actually hard to isolate any particular highlights here. Very much like on MWRE 1, the scope of this collection satisfies any particular mood, and highlights can change from one listen to the next. At times, it is the breezy elegance of Opsvik & Jennings’s Leaves And Smoke, the delicate traditional Norwegian folk swathes of Nils Økland’s Passacaglia or the ethereal brushes of Arve Henriksen’s No Horizon that captivates, while at others, the mind is caught by the prog energy of Shining’s 21st Century Schizoid Man, the sheer brutality of BOX’s Untitled 6 or the otherworldly escapades of Supersilent’s 6.1.

Even more so than with MWRE 1, one is pushed into the darkest, most inaccessible corners of Rune Grammofon here, and every time, it turns out to be a totally unique and fascinating enchanted world. That after a monumental piece of heavy noisy rock can rise a wonderfully delicate and fragile slice of futuristic jazz, or that a complex exposé in contemporary classical can give way to a carefully crafted piece of electronic music or a disconcertingly ice-cold pop song featuring only piano, voice and discreet electronics is what Rune Grammofon is all about. May it take an army of freaks to ensure that there are plenty more editions of Money Will Ruin Everything.


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2 Responses to “VARIOUS ARTISTS: Money Will Ruin Everything: Second Edition (Rune Grammofon)”

  1. […] the two Money Will Ruin Everything retrospectives or Until Human Voices Wake Us And We Drown, the collection published to celebrate […]

  2. […] concrète incursions, which had them team up with N-Ensemble for a masterful epic collaboration on Money Will Ruin Everything 2, to achieve much greater focus. The result is a record fueled with energy and angular moments where […]