55CD - Meson - 5C4L3 - CD plus downloadTweet
Meson are a floating group of improvising musicians under the misguidance of Bo Meson who fails to impose disorder. All of our music is improvised, setting the scene for Bo's 'thoughtful' words.
How you categorise it is anyone's guess. Ambient? Ambidelic? Free-form? Improg? Make your own mind up, we prolly won't object to your preferred label! We aim to play thoughtful music, with extensive use of dynamics and rely on our own musical intuition and personal empathy to determine the length, style and structure of the piece.
What appear, with a jazzy sax and 5:4 guitar riff, to be several false musical starts to the album '5C4L3' are reinforced by the equivocation in the quasi-legalese first lyric (in the first track - 'Meson's Unauthorised Autobiography') “By hearing these words your consent is implied to the following...”, presaging some of the continua of objective and subjective scales that will be explored in the album.
Most tracks slide into one another via slo-fi sitar that is both hugely slowed and sampled at an extremely low rate to give a subterranean quality to the odyssey.
The second track, 'Dark Matters', starts with a fiddle- and melodica-driven rhythmic funk groove – an interaction, in thematic terms, between an AI-equipped space probe (searching for Dark Matter) and the next probe in sequence towards its' originator's home-world (Earth). The probe (as with 'Bomb 20' in the film Dark Star) is not entirely constrained by the original programming and has plenty of time to consider the lack of mass in the observable universe and the lack of meta-physics mixed into the physics imagined by humanity – hidden depths across many dimensions!
The next stop in the album's transversal of scale features the classical organ sound summoning the heliocentricity of 'Kem-Na Mazda' an ode to the Solar object that allows and powers our life – sung by Wolfgang, a classically trained singer of Leider.
'We Traffic in Progress', the fourth track, is a swirly sci-thesis that refers to the relatively recent notion of progress in its' current form – a reading that I owe to Robert Nisbett – but equates atomic scale objects with solar scale objects to derive an entirely different notion of what should be important in the physical sciences – ie scale rather than circularly defined constants, although somewhat tongue-in-cheek this theory is internally consistent and parsimonious.
Track five, 'Advances in Destruction by Technology', relates to the MIT Technology Review that talks of the financial implications of the adoption of AI leading to mass job losses among professionals (rather than lower skilled jobs) but also to the Zerstörung durch Fortschritte der Technologie manifesto. It is a gentle, acoustic, bazouki and guitar song.
'Scale' bemoans, with a serialist bassline, the lack of opposition to moral capitalism, asking whether this is not an example of the 'naturalistic fallacy' and features brief quotes from Eliot and about Rimbaud.
The seventh track, 'Beware the Signals', has a horn-lead distorted drum groove featuring processed guitar and bass and an increasing intensity towards the fade. In this song an AI unit considers whether human life is constituted by a single physical body moving through time or by electro-magnetic signals in the brain and nervous system that could be transmitted to another body. As the song progresses the unit experiences increasing signal degradation and takes an almost religious comfort from that fact.
'Groovy World', a clockwork tribal sensibility's hypnotic groove, is an instrumental palette cleansing musical sorbet dedicated to the shallows of the notion of time's arrow.
'Thing A' is the last track and fully articulates, in an atomistic logical form (highly suggestive of Wittgenstein's Tractatus) the method for using the scientific approach suggested by the previous tracks of the album. The juxtaposition between the fuzzy organ and octave-shifted (bass-like) guitar is intentionally grandiloquent pointing out that anyone who tells you THE truth will lie about the big stuff too!
“Scale" by Meson is a kind of melting pot of (to quote the CD cover) "ambidelic post-folk and prog-bebop," which over nine cuts just about manages to tread a tightrope of musical abstraction. On Martin Archer's Discus Music label, it is roughly in the same territory as previous releases I've heard from that stable, with, this time, more of a leaning to the spoken word. The second track 'Dark Matters' sounds a little like a jazz Hawkwind ("Dark matter in dark spaces..." computer voices to the fore...) while 'Kem-na Mazda' is more like a jazz space rock combo jamming with the owners of a Nepalese instruments emporium (lovely flute on this track). 'Advances In Destruction By Technology' evokes the much missed New Age Radio while at the same time creating a sumptuous backing of guitars, backwards reverberated voices, synths, violins and more. 'Groovy World' is my favourite cut on the album, merging samples and synths with a lovely rhythm track, while the work ends with the post-rock and spoken word of 'Thing A.' I have to admit, it doesn't all work for me. There is a shambolic air that, without the spoken words, might have come across as amiably improvised, but which here is somewhat more problematic. A noble aim, however, as always with this commendably adventurous label. - Ptolomaic Terrascope Online
A release on Martin Archer's Discus Music of itself indicates experimentalism and no truck with conventionality, and this one is most decidedly an oddity.
Bo Meson gives his name, itself derived from particle physics, to the improvisational collective Meson. Bo is described as "...a metaphysicist whose poetic musings reinvigorate those around him." "His constantly evolving and apparently self-contradictory world view..." informs lyrics which "...are inspired by both mundane and celestial issues of scale, ethics and dogma" "With Bo, what seems simple is often complex and the difficult is as easy as 1, ב, ξ."
What we end up with is an improvised inner and outer space opera with Mr Meson declaiming portentously on top, not afraid to lapse into semi-pretentious prose. One feels that criticism of his esoteric style is mere space dust off the cosmic duck's back. In places this reminds me of the also singularly driven NYC-based poet-cum-band leader Copernicus, but with a far more avant outlook.
kem-na mazda features what one assumes is Bo singing in a rather fine baritone that somehow lends an almost religious air to the track, He also uses a female lead voice - possibly the beguiling frostlake - for some of the recitals, and a chorus of voices here and there make for a multi-dimensional vocal melange, thoroughly in keeping with the rarefied intellectual subject matter. Musically this album rises and falls on waves of cosmic radiation, attaining a quality akin to a Deutschrock version of Hawkwind. Violins, synths, reeds, electronic treatments and standard rock instruments from a cast of 14 combine with Bo Meson's distinctive words for an atmospheric but highly unusual whole. - ROGER TRENWITH, ASTOUNDED BY SOUND
Meson sind Bo Meson (Metaphysiker, Poet, Klangbastler und Stimmkünstler) und Band, die sich bei Auftritten aus einer wechselnden Schar von gut 25 Musikern und Stimmkünstlern rekrutiert. Allzu viel ist über Bo Mesons musikalische Vergangenheit nicht herauszufinden. 2015 erschien jedenfalls das zusammen mit Martin Archer (und diversen Gastmusikern) eingespielte "Echoic Enchantment". Im März 2016 wurde dann von Archers Discus Label "5C4L3" veröffentlicht, bei dem es sich vermutlich um das Tonträgerdebüt von Meson (der Band) handelt.
Auf der Rückseite des schicken Pappklappteils, in dem seit einiger Zeit die Discus-CDs geliefert werden, wird die auf "5C4L3" zu findende Musik als "ambidelic post-folk prog-bepop" bezeichnet, was zumindest klarstellt, dass es sich um ein einigermaßen ungewöhnliches klangliches Gemenge handelt. Ambidelic, Ambient gekreuzt mit Psychedelik, passt, Folk ist wohl auch drin, etwas Jazz auch und progressiv ist das alles sowieso. Elektronische Flächen und allerlei Tasten- und Synthesizergewebe bildet die Grundlage der Musik, in die verschiedenste Solostimmen eingewoben sind, Geigenklänge z.B., Flöten, Gitarren, Bass und Sax, eher wenig Perkussion und einiges an Stimmen.
Es wird recht viel geredet auf "5C4L3", eine der Grundeigenschaften der Musik von Meson, über Philosophisches, Astrophysik, Evolution und Gesellschaftspolitisches (soweit der Rezensent den Texten gefolgt ist). Innen auf dem Klappcover wird näher erläutert, worum sich hier handelt: "An upbeat spiral subterranean odyssey launched by the emotional ramifications of an atomistic notion of non-personhood steered via the psychological influence of dark matter, heliocentrism and cyber punk." Alles klar? Nicht selten erklingt auch richtiger Gesang, getragen klagend meist, gehaucht-ätherisch von frostlake (siehe "White Moon, Black Moon"), oder exotisch-sakral von Wolfgang Seel, der in "Kem-Na Mazda" ein zoroastrisches Gebet intoniert.
Goutiert man das Gebotene als eine progressive Verschmelzung von Musik, Sounds und Stimmen, ohne weiter nach einer Botschaft zu suchen oder sich über dieselbe den Kopf zu zerbrechen, dann stellt sich "5C4L3" als eine beeindruckende und ausladende Klangreise dar, ein dichtes Gemenge an Elektronischem, Krautig-Meditativ-Folkigem, Tastenprog mit Spacerockatmosphäre (in der Tat erinnern einige der gesprochenen Passagen ein wenig an ähnliche Einlagen von Robert Calvert bei Hawkwind), Jazzig-Canterbureskem und freiformatigeren Tonmalereien. Das alles gleitet dabei durchaus melodisch und rund aus den Boxen, getragen bis schwungvoll, zart und zerbrechlich bisweilen, mitunter auch druckvoller aufwallend, aber nie wüst oder wirklich schräg.
Wer Progressiv-Elektronisches versehen mit allerlei folkig-kosmisch-spacig-jazzigen Verunreinigungen schätzt und sich nicht an Gesprochenem stört, der sollte "5C4L3" seine Ohren leihen. - ACHIM BREILING, BABYBLAUE SEITEN
Lui è uno strano personaggio proveniente dalla terra di Albione, la sua passione è improvvisare in tutte le forme possibili, partendo dalla parola e dalla poesia quali colonne portanti e basilari della propria arte, dipingendoci pianeti e utopie dove panoramiche cyber-punk danzano al cospetto di astruse melodie no-sense lisergiche. Lui risponde al nome di Bo Meson, look da rastafariano duro e puro (infatti non son pochi i richiami dubby nel suo mood), corporatura esile, una mente completamente distorta. Agisce già da diversi anni nel sottobosco dell’improv d’Oltremanica, montando e rimontando una falange di formazioni diverse, quasi sempre si tratta di ensemble XL, come accade per questo “5c4l3”, in cui inscena cosmici meltin pot sonori che tritano e amalgamano pillole di “ambient post-folk & prog-bebop”. Alla bisogna Bo conferma la sua indole schizofrenica, e noi dovremo fare i conti con una paccottiglia di umori diversi e contorti, che parte lasciandoci percepire una sottile linea rossa low-dub funky che scalda da subito le anime di Meson s unauthorised … e Dark Matters, lasciando poi campo libero a visionarie voragini psichedeliche, Kem-na Magda, tinte al seguito da una strana e onnisciente materia ambient, deturpata a sua volta da una raffica di terrorismi improv, We Traffic in Progress. Palese l’idea di star udendo un viaggio unico, che sa anche intingersi di velata malinconia quasi neofolk (Advances in Destruction by Technology), sfumata alla sua morte da nuove derive paranoidi in stampo declamatorio (Scale), smorzate a caldo da colorate digressioni smart-acid-funky (piaccia o no, ma tira una certa aria da Medesky Martin & the Wood durante Groovy World), volte ad una chiusura generale di sipario, ritmico e distorsivo (Thing à).
Eterogeneo e insano. Da sentire. - SERGIO ELETTO, KATHODIK
Meson is the collective name of metaphysical bard Bo Meson and an amorphous glob of hired musical help that usually expands to double figures. Strictly speaking, 5c4l3 or Scale, let’s jettison that numbers Resembling letters affectation 1, comes as Bo’s debut lasering on Discus, as the Echoic Entertainment album (from 2015) was a shared project where Discus m.d. Martin Archer’s arrangements were employed as shifting back projections to the poetic/declamatory actions of the mesonic one.
The accompanying promo sheet shoehorns in ambient, ambidelic (?), free-form and improg as suitably fitting genres for this venture. Though at certain times, it can come down to an ‘all of the above’ and possibly a little bit more. I’d expect nothing less from someone who uses a word for an unstable atomic particle as part of his pseudonym. All of Scale‘s material is of an improvised nature that slumps heavily, eyes crossed, across the deep reverb/kozmik echo generator controls, clutching a P.K. Dick-endorsed blister pack of slow release capsules in its right hand. “We Traffic in Progress” with its classic analogue squeals and talk of quantum particles and the melodica-laced “Dark Matters” come almost on a default setting.
However, it’s not all centred on Copernicus, “G.Z.D.” era Arthur Brown or 90n9 dynamics (sorry!), as certain pieces travel less frequented paths. “Kem-Na Mazda” pitches mystical Jade Warrioresque exoticism against the full-bodied, classically-trained tenor of Wolfgang Seel and “Advances in Destruction by Technology” belies its attractive and serene nature with a doomy crystal ball gaze into a future where the use of artificial intelligence has led to mass unemployment within the professional classes, Could such things really happen? Only that wildly gesticulating figure behind the lectern seems to know… - STEVE PESCOTT, SOUND PROJECTOR