erasing clouds

Momus, Otto Spooky

reviewed by dave heaton

Momus titled an album Folktronic a few years ago, and he's still thriving on ways that folk music and electronic pop music can be entwined. Actually, at this point he's progressed way beyond any simple folk + electropop equation. His music is some sort of bizarre amalgamation of so many global folk and pop traditions all at once, while still carrying on his interest in blending the electric and the acoustic into one.

Otto Spooky feels less jumpy and absurdist than his 2003 album Oskar Tennis Champion, but that doesn't make it less weird. This is, after all, an album that touches on everything from a paralyzed Robin Hood to an impotent feudal lord who sexually harrasses his concubines, from video-game pandas to Mel Gibson's idea of Jesus. Each song seems built around an amalgamation of unique ideas birthed from Momus' mind. For each song Momus could probably write a lengthy explanation about it, laying out all the pieces of each puzzle...yet it's better to feel confused and intrigued. This is curious music in that way; it's always keeping your curiosity piqued and getting the machines in your brain turning.

At the same time, this is sensuous music, filled with attractive musical forms fooling around with each other. There's opera, blues, medieval folk, warped electronic between-song interludes (by John Talaga of Super Madrigal Brothers), and most of all many styles of music that have been so hybrid-ized as to pass through my ears without identification.

This is exciting music which transports you across countries, across centuries, across moods and modes of thinking. The final words on Otto Spooky, spoken in a computer voice, are, "Talk in every language / I can help you to learn other languages / the more you become acquainted with me, the better you will like me." I'm sure that computer's not talking about this album, but it could be.

Momus web site:
American Pathwork:

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