Motorpsycho – The All is One (2020) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Motorpsycho – The All is One (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:24:42 minutes | 914 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Rune Grammofon

A double LP and double CD set, The All Is One features music from two sessions that took place in 2019, the first at Black Box Studio in France, with Reine Fiske (Dungen), and the second at Ocean Sound Studio in Norway with Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist) and Ola Kvernberg (Steamdome). This last session gave birth to a 42 minute, 5 part piece of epic proportions, inspired by paintings, alchemy and the tarot. Buckle up, folks! There is also a selection of shorter songs, loosely clocking in between 3 and 10 minutes. This is simply Norway´s finest at their sprawling best, stretching the rock format as out of whack as they can while travelling their own path in their own tempo, seemingly oblivious to outside pressure or expectations.

Over 30 years, Norway’s Motorpsycho have hammered at the limits of possibility in rock. Without intending to, they’ve become an atypical prog band thanks to conceptual outings, soundtracks, theatrical scores, collaborations with classical orchestras, etc. The All Is One completes a trilogy that began with 2017’s The Tower and continued on last year’s The Crucible. Subtitled “The Gullvåg Trilogy,” it’s named for the stunning cover artwork provided by painter Håkon Gullvåg. The music isn’t linked conceptually as much as it is connected by the band’s ravenous hunger to explore. That said, Motorpsycho go a step further here. For starters, the Gullvåg album cover was not — like its predecessor — taken from the artist’s catalog, but painted for this double-length release. Further, while the album’s centerpiece is N.O.X., a sprawling, five-movement, 42-minute suite inspired by paintings, alchemy, and the tarot, it is bookended by eight of the most accessible rock & roll songs the band have cut in over a decade. These are tangentially connected to the suite through Bent Sæther’s sociopolitical lyrics. The All Is One was cut in two sessions: The first was at Studio Black in France with longtime collaborator/guitarist Reine Fiske; it resulted in most of the more straightforward tracks. The second, which took place at Norway’s Ocean Sound Recording with Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist) on keyboards and lap steel and Ola Kvernberg (Steamdome) on strings, became N.O.X. It was developed from commissioned music composed for and performed at Trondheim’s St. Olav Festival. The entire project was mixed by Andrew Scheps in the U.K. The title number and “The Magpie” sound directly influenced by the harder tunes on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Déjà Vu (“Carry On,” “Almost Cut My Hair”), offering soaring, multipart vocal harmonies, hooky, driving guitars, swirling organs, and drums. The intro and melody to “Delusion” may be borrowed from the title number of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bookends. This is no doubt the doing of Fiske; his classic rock pedigree is unassailable. The N.O.X. suite, by contrast, wastes no time reaching for the boundaries. “I (Circles Around the Sun)” kicks off and ends the suite. Its first appearance delivers a spooky, repetitive theme with celeste, viola, and violin before heading into terrain pioneered by King Crimson in the early 1970s. “II (Ouroboros)” delivers post-rock riffing tempered by shifting time signatures and ringing guitar harmonics, with a nod to Deep Purple’s “Hush.” “IV (Night of Pan)” is a 15-minute mini-epic careening through prog, indie rock, psychedelia, electronica, and improv. “N.O.X. V (Circles Around the Sun, Pt. 2)” revels in its collision of prog and art metal. The nine-minute “Dreams of Fancy” on the backside intersperses layered Mellotrons, spiraling electric guitars, and an elliptical bass line to eclipse in a blissed-out fade. There is no other album in Motorpsycho’s vast catalog — including its two companions — that reaches these exploratory heights. For all of their ambition and excess, Motorpsycho never surrender their focus, their musicality, nor their powerful emotive directness. – Thom Jurek

1. The All is One (08:50)
2. The Same Old Rock (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy) (05:17)
3. The Magpie (05:35)
4. Delusion (The Reign of Humbug) (02:44)
5. N.O.X. I: Circles Around the Sun Pt.1 (09:10)
6. N.O.X. II: Ouroboros (Strange Loop ) (08:22)
7. N.O.X. III: Ascension (03:36)
8. N.O.X. Iv: Night of Pan (15:32)
9. N.O.X. V: Circles Around the Sun Pt.2 (05:54)
10. A Little Light (02:18)
11. Dreams of Fancy (09:36)
12. The Dowser (02:45)
13. Like Chrome (05:03)