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Cryme – Mekonium

Mekonium

Mekonium

A great deal of baggage comes with Cryme, and I mean that in the most positive fashion. The Swedish duo have their fingers in many other pies, but this project is a far cry from them. Mattias Gustafsson, for example—here on synth, tape, and vocal duties—is perhaps better known for his decade-long noise project Altar of Flies. His contribution to Cryme appears not too dissimilar in terms of an obvious mastery of synth ephemera, but there’s no feedback and little grit in Cryme. Here he joins Daniel Fagerström—a busy man with many toes in other projects, notably a long line of punk, psych, and noise rock bands.

Prior to this 2013 release, Cryme had one other release behind them: The Gently Way on Kosmisk Väg. I haven’t heard the whole album myself, but a video clip posted online alludes to a much more refined sound: a sort of alt-electro aesthetic with unprocessed vocals. It’s excellent stuff, but maybe not the glorious bat-shit weirdness you’d expect to see on Beläten. Mekonium, on the other hand, has a more esoteric approach. It’s much more impenetrable and all the better for it.

The album is unashamedly retarded, yet dripping with sex—like an electronic counterpart to the Cramps’ infamous live performance at a mental hospital. It’s as brazen as it is occult, and as spiteful as it is humble. Beläten describes it as ‘tape loop dancehall’, referencing Cabaret Voltaire and the Residents. That is—a twisted, absurdist pop sensibility.

Cryme

Cryme

Unlike those bands, however, groove is front and centre, such as in the excellent track ‘Blaze the World’ or the vague eighties cheese of ‘Blanket’. And while there’s a good deal of synthetics at play, tape manipulation keeps it grounded and immediate: ‘Thea Samper Power’ is beautifully intimate, for example.

There’s also analogue squelch a-plenty (is that a TB-303 in ‘Running Corpse [Reprise]’?) weighted by sparse samples and tape loops, stretched kick drum, and playfully delayed vocals. It’s a heady mix, and perfectly at home on the Beläten roster.

The album artwork seems to allude to themes of fertility: sperm, naked mother, amniotic children. The album title itself refers to the first fecal matter of a newborn (fellow parents will know it’s much more pleasant than latter fecal matter), but nothing in the track titles or vaguely recognisable lyrics supports this. All told, everything makes perfect sense in a most uncommon manner. I suspect the original tape is long sold out, but the album can easily be had for a steal right here.

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Track List:

A1) Diagonal Lines
A2) Neanderthal Dancer
A3) The Drop
A4) Blanket
B1) Blaze the World
B2) Thea Samper Power
B3) Running Corpse (Reprise)

Written by: David Tonkin
Label: Beläten (Sweden) / ᚠ / Tape, Digital
Industrial / Avant-garde