Larsen MUSM

[Enterruption; 2004]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: post rock, dark ambient, experimental electronic, noise rock
Others: Piano Magic, Lustmord, Fridge, Sonic Youth, Burning Store Core

When Larsen's second album Rever was released, much of the hype was generated from their idiosyncratic behavior during the recording sessions. In fact, there wasn't a review that I read that didn't reference the journey that Swans/Angels Of Light's Michael Gira tolerated to produce this eccentric Italian band. Most reviews failed to indicate whether this particular trip undertaken by Gira was worth his time. Rever certainly was brilliant and showcased the band's most revealing and haunting talent and aptitude. The comparisons to Sonic Youth and Godspeed You! Black Emperor were apt, but Larsen possessed a unique blend of brooding and ominous transference that exemplified their delicate attributes. And only on Larsen's newest limited edition album MUSM do these characteristics become exclusively apparent.

Larsen has been working vigorously lately confirming that two new albums will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, MUSM serves as an adequate retrospect of the band's finest work, introducing many indie rock listeners to their contemporary drone and rhythmic buzz. MUSM contains three remastered tracks from their unavailable debut album No Arms No Legs: Identification Problem, a 5-track, complete soundtrack for Windsor McCay's animated short movies, and Larsen's reinterpretation of Syd Barrett's "Vegetable Man."

MUSM's opening track "Montage From No Arms No Legs" is a hypnotic murmur of enchanted stillness, scorching gradually to a compelling acoustic guitar accompaniment, leading to a chaotic and apocalyptic buzzing, and finally to a full rhythmic instrumental barrage of noise. "Heidi 037" could easily reference Sonic Youth's underrated Made In U.S.A. soundtrack, fabricated on a melancholy bassline and mordant guitar embellishments. "Rebirth" speeds up the pace slightly, although the track contains the exact elements of the previous mentioned song. The addition of sampled crowd noise provides the song a necessary and justifiable tempo. And "How A Mosquito Operates," the standout track of MUSM, is a full-fledge assault of rock noise, consisting of a thumping drum sequence, monotonous accordion noise, metrical and frenzied guitar, and a thrashing, intertwining bassline that creates a fantastic opus to modern day anarchy and mayhem.

Larsen's MUSM is an implausible demonstration of their immense capacity and flair. Michael Gira's decision to work with Larsen certainly wasn't unintentional, recognizing the full potential of the band's gifted and remarkable music. And after listening to Larsen's exemplary compositions, I have to agree as well. Larsen's music is dark, mysterious, and mystifying, but I've distinguished that a bright and dazzling future is ahead for them. As quoted by Graeme Rowland of Brainwashed, "Larsen have two more albums (forthcoming)... if they're even half as fine as MUSM, they'll be utterly essential."

1. Montage from no arms no legs
2. Heidi 037
3. Rebirth
4. Little nemo
5. How a mosquito operates
6. The sinking of the lusitania
7. Gertie on tour
8. The centaurs
9. Vegetable man
10. Rehearsal #1

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