A dazzling showcase of Kim Hiorthøy´s cool prismatic graphic designs, 30 artists on two CDs, essays and an interview with Rune Grammofon label boss Rune Kristoffersen: this book celebrating the Norwegian label´s first 30 releases is no run of the mill compilation but a vibrant vision, breaking out of the ice and cresting into the global aural market.
The spare beauty of Scandinavian design is not just about neat and tidy furniture for yuppies. There is also an incredible amount of truly beautiful music and art coming out of those sparsely populated wintry countries - as exemplified by this collection of sounds, pictures and writing from Norway. Given that the country has a population smaller than London’s, the quality, quantity and variety of work here is astonishing. A hardback book, which accompanies the cds, is full of ultra-modern (but never facile) artworks and some interesting musings on how artists can remain independent in a dumbed-down, globalised market. This is a stunning combination of sounds, images and words, and could turn even the tattiest home into a super-stylish abode.
Hiorthøy has designed all 30 of RG's releases, and the hardback book binges on his distinctive, hugely confident artwork: gorgeous colours, minimalist typography and quirky shapes: what design writer Adrian Shaughnessy describes in the book as "Rorschach tests for the visually astute". The music, on two 15-track CDs slipped inside the covers, ranges from the simple to the baffling, via the beautiful, complex and downright unlistenable. Who are all these mysterious soundsmiths? We get instrumental gems (Arve Henriksen, Arne Nordheim, Food), songs from Tove Nilsen, Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, electronica (Phonophani, Biosphere) and downright weirdness (SPUNK, Hiorthoy himself). Yet RG's visual identity gives everything an inscrutable, tactile dignity.
In just five years, Norwegian label Rune Grammofon has established itself as one of Europe’s most challenging, consistent and eclectic labels around. Despite the eclecticism of its catalogue, Rune Grammofon has remained extremely focused on releasing quality music, always beautifully packaged. ”Money Will Ruin Everything” is an extremely powerful and enlightening testament of the label’s first five years. Deliberately mixing genres with no clear thread or apparent order, this album constantly shifts focus and throws expectations, creating a true reflection of the work of these artists. So finely tuned is this selection that it is utterly impossible to find any remotely dull moment. The listener is constantly challenged, their perceptions altered, their senses teased. Proof that there are still people willing to explore and share their findings, ”Money Will Ruin Everything” defies all classifications to unleash some of the most interesting music around. Five years after its arrival on the music scene, Rune Grammofon shows no sign of compromise, and clearly vows to continue uncovering more new sonic areas and musical territories.
I sometimes catch myself slipping into label worship, a dangerous and infrequent indulgence, but one that has yet to free my covetous eye from anything bearing the Rune Grammofon stamp. Reading through ”Money Will Ruin Everything”, I am immediately reminded of the many labels where such a release would be long overdue. Founder Rune Kristoffersen cites Tzadik, 4AD, Factory, ECM and Blue Note as inspirations, and there can be no denying that Grammofon's consistency of presentation, commitment to quality and its effected grouping of a variety of artists, under one vaguely-defined ethos, find much in common with those older, iconoclastic imprints. Perhaps the unifying characteristic of all Rune Grammofon music is that everything, given time, feels capable of deeply personal investment. There is a very unique immediacy to these artists' music that looks inward toward the same "enchanted domain" that essayist Adrian Shaughnessy describes in Hiorthøy's art, making it impossible to describe Rune music without touching on all the spectral degrees, frequency shifts, and, as Rob Young says, the "subtle colour shading" that indicate a life lived, complex, radiant, and full of surprises. ”Money” offers little more than this; it is a celebration of what every Rune release celebrates, and the perfect introduction to a label that has yet to stop short of its own high standards.
The Rune Grammofon label has been at the forefront of Norwegian jazz/electronica for five years, and this compilation, illustrated by in-house artist/musician Kim Hiorthøy, looks as good as it sounds.
It's five years since the Supersilent ”1-3” and Arne Nordheim's ”Electric” cd's launched the amazing Norwegian label Rune Grammofon onto the world. From the very start there's always been something mystical and thoroughly evocative of the Norwegian landscape in the magic and accident and warmth and originality of the music released which showcased the finest electronica, chamber jazz, folk, improv, drones, ambience, out rock and more that the country had to offer. The hardback book is 96 pages full of disections of the labels design approach - tour posters, discography info, adverts and of course the CD designs in all their glory. Spot on essays from Rob Young and Intro's Adrian Shaughnessy are included plus an insightful interview of label head Rune Kristoffersen by Hiorthøy, asking difficult questions and getting enlightening answers on the many aspects of running the label and it's influences. An amazing package where all the contributors are on top of their game. Simply breathtaking.
Embraces a wide spectrum of styles from effete jazz to glacialsoundscapes and has created a loyal label identity that´s as strong as it is varied. Accompanied by a lavishly-packaged book including interviews and essays. Bold and striking, it´s a style that defines Rune Grammofon as strongly as Vaughan Oliver once did for 4AD. 8/10.
Housed in a snappy hardback book with artwork by in-house artist/musician Kim Hiorthøy plus essays and interviews, it’s a faultless label taster, with 30 tracks of electronica-meets-jazz meets avant-whatever-you-want from Jaga Jazzist, SPUNK, Supersilent and many more.
Much of the music shares Hiorthøy´s bright, aesthetic as it flits between left-field electronica, jazz, post-rock and contemporary classical. Star names include big band Jaga Jazzist, ambient veteran Biosphere and improvisers Supersilent, but watch out also for the disquieting speaking-in-tongues of Maja Ratkje. Worth investigating when you´ve exhausted the Warp and Thrill Jockey catalogues.
Rune Grammofon continue the very familiar tradition of idiosyncratic boutique labels driven by a strong aesthetic (think 4AD, Factory, Warp) and thus deserve the respect of all who value creativity above commerce. Overall, it´s a fresh and frequently lovely meander along music´s more enigmatic limits.
This is a bit of a package. It looks like a book because it is one. Or rather, the cover of this two-disc set is in the form of a small coffee-table tome, conceived to emphasise the continuity betwixt Rune Grammofon´s music and the label´s distinctive design aesthetic. While people like me tend to prefer the almost-diatonic noodling of such marvels as Alog and the great Arve Henriksen, you, like Björk, may prefer the hours of laptop drizzle. It´s Norwegian, by the way. 4/5.
”Money Will Ruin Everything” is an adventurous and wide-ranging collection of varied musical styles that on the whole complement each other surprisingly well. Each artist is given the chance to present a track in their own style on what is a comprehensive showcase of Norwegian talent that will particularly appeal to those with an appreciation of experimental electronic music in its many guises.
Marking five years and 30 albums of existence, Norwegian label Rune Grammofon release this collection of 30 tracks. It contains both landmark recordings from their history and exclusive contributions from many of Norway's brightest stars. The fact the label owner Rune Kristoffersen runs the label part time, and still refers to it as his ”hobby” seems to have allowed an unfettered creativity, loosely basing itself on electronica, but often simply inviting the term ”free music”, transcending the oft negative connotations of that description. 4/5.
Over the course of two discs that span more than two and half hours of music from the Rune Grammofon artists and related friends, the entirety of the label is encapsulated and explained. Thus, if you are daunted by the sheer breadth of music of the Norwegian experimental electronic scene, interested in labels that are crafting their own aesthetic (in the tradition of 4AD, Factory, etc.) or already a Rune Grammofon fan, this is an essential artistic document. Go ahead, help them ruin everything.
It´s truly a joy to listen through these two records. 6/6.
Simply a treasure for anyone wanting to stay updated on new, Norwegian music. As if this wasn´t enough, Rune has taken its sleeve ideology one step further and put together the most gorgeous book to ever accompany a Norwegian record. 6/6.
Graphic wise a dazzling release, well worth the money as a book in itself. But then it´s "only" a record cover for two excellent cds.
With two and a half hour music, a 100 page book and a title cool enough to be tatooed on your forehead, it´s one of this years heaviest records.
A delicious release celebrating one of Norway´s most significant labels.
Norway´s most special and coolest label celebrates itself.
An important and indispensable map of Norwegian contemporary music today and in the nearest future.
Rune Grammofon records could reasonably claim to be The Sound Of Norway. Money Will Ruin Everything is a lavish package of two CDs and a huge book of essays and illustrations celebrating the label;s first five years, with selections from 30 albums by 30 artists. The Rune Grammofon house style, such as it is, reclaims the debased notion of fusion from a cesspit of needless virtuosity, showcasing frosty hybrids of jazz, gently bubbling electronica and free-improvised music under the umbrella of an instantly recognisable design aesthetic. Money Will Ruin Everything suggests a world of possibilities that will have you pining for the fjords.