Push Records (label)
30 October 2020 (released)
19 November 2020
The violin is an instrument that has been co-opted by almost every genre over the years to suit their purposes. Beyond classical music, the instrument was most prominently assimilated by the country music community under the pseudonym of the “fiddle”, played with a more reckless abandon and signature twang. Rarely though do we associate the emotive instrument with the cold calculated world of electronica.
On their latest record Cryptomeduza, Norwegian electronic-folk project Metaspion uses the violin to lend a historical grandeur and enhanced humanity to their wide-tent assemblage of vast influences. The project, helmed by Morten Richter occupies the freaky space between Boney M's 'Rasputin', Mongolian throat singer band The Hu, Skrillex, a cyber-punk video game soundtrack, and a female singer-guested Euro-EDM hit-machine. The violins commingle with blown-out dubstep breaks, pulsing techno stabs, and angelic choirs to create one of the most inventive, worldly fusions heard in quite some time.
The opener 'Kundalini' has the vibe of a bazaar in a mythical far-off land. Violins and synths dance together under a pumping fuzzy beat. Excitement and grandeur are on display like the opening scene to a blockbuster epic. The title track gives us the first feature of singer Elfi Sverdrup on the album. The Viking drum-led piece has Sverdrup leading a call to adventure, untethered to words. Electrified guitar blends with glossy '90s synths. The pumping syncopated beat of 'Desire' mixed with its trilling high pitched flurries vividly evokes Indian bhangra.
'Turbo Tommy' has that eclectically ethnic feeling driving techno thing that propelled Juno Reactor to prominence. 'What Happened' draws deep bass lines from the industrial realm while a devil's fiddle scores this highway to hell number. Late album tracks 'Bom Bom Wake Up' and 'Motherfucker' offer up adrenaline-pumping jams late in the game. The former a poppy, bouncing earworm and the other the album's most aggressive banger, again verging into that motorcycle chase territory that served Juno Reactor so well.
Cryptomeduza offers us an overwhelming pastiche of superficially disparate sonic colours that flow absolutely seamlessly to create an album that feels like a global phenomenon. Metaspion combines the ever-advancing future with the hallowed halls of memory to create a truly unique set of soundscapes.