497

Shining: In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
In a radical departure from their previous jazzier albums, Norwegian's Shining have headed for progressive or art rock territory. While the press release talks about "bridging the gap between classic King Crimson and ECM lyricism," there are far more influences at play, including Rock In Opposition bands like Henry Cow and more ambient noise groups like Supersilent. The result, In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster, is an extraordinarily challenging record. While there are elements of groups like King Crimson to be found—most notably in the nuevo metal of "Gortex Weather Report"—the record is so extreme, so outside, that it would likely send most King Crimson fans running for the hills.

One has to almost wonder at the mind of Shining's ostensible leader, Jørgen Munkeby. A staggering multi-instrumentalist who plays saxophones, flutes, clarinet, guitar, bass, keyboards and more, Munkeby is responsible for all 10 compositions, which incorporate so many different elements that specific labels are meaningless. There's precious little in the way of straightforward thematic or rhythmic constructs, and there's a distinct edge, even as Shining cover everything from the spacious musings of "You Can Try the Best You Can" to the saxophone and percussion-driven assault of "REDRUM."

That's not to say the group can't be understated and lyrical. "Where Death Comes to Cry" is, indeed, chamber-like, which is likely where the reference to ECM comes from. "Romani" starts with a melodic clarinet improvisation, building into a repeated theme that becomes more abstruse with every passing second. And the harder-edged "Aleister Explains Everything" revolves around a convoluted conceit that is clear at the first, but ultimately takes a back set to more extreme textures.

While many art rock bands—because surely this is the closest thing to a label that can be applied here—lean towards endless soloing and aimless long-form composition, Shining's ten pieces clock in at a mere 39 minutes, making them concise miniatures that may evoke a variety of emotional responses, but which never overstay their welcome.

The audience for In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster is undoubtedly a limited one. Listeners looking for music that has a hook, music that has a thematic consistency, music that sings, will inarguably be put off by the disc. But for those with a broader perspective who are looking to expand their horizons, and who place no artificial boundaries around their music, In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster will be a rewarding album, albeit one that generates a lot of upset and discord in between periods of surprising but abstract beauty.


Track Listing: Goretex Weather Report; REDRUM; Romani; Perdurabo; Aleister Explains Everything; 31=300=20 (It is by Will Alone I Set My Mind in Motion); Where Death Comes to Cry; The Smoking Dog; Magazine RWRK; You Can Try the Best You Can

Personnel: Jørgen Munkeby: saxophones, flutes, clarinet, Akai EWI, electric and acoustic guitars, electric bass, rhodes, synths, piano, accordion, mellotron, harmonium, church organ, celesta, vocals, string and drum programming, editing; Aslak Hartberg: acoustic and electric bass, drum machine, percussion, handclaps; Torstein Lofthus: drums, percussion; Morten Qvenild: Rhodes, synths, clavinet, piano, celesta, Casio sampler, drum machine, mellotron; Andreas Hessen Schei: additional synth on "Perduraboâ

Title: In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Southern Blood" CD/LP/Track Review Southern Blood
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Luisa" CD/LP/Track Review Luisa
by Matt Marshall
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Meeting My Shadow" CD/LP/Track Review Meeting My Shadow
by James Nadal
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Where the Blue Begins" CD/LP/Track Review Where the Blue Begins
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Mobiles Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Mobiles Vol. 1
by James Nadal
Published: May 1, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.