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Various: Money Will Ruin Everything

Mark Corroto By

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This two-CD various artist release by Norwegian label Rune Grammofon asks the question, “When is a CD also a book?”

Figuratively, when it has something to say—and literally, when it is in fact a book.

Label founder Rune Kristoffersen marks his 30th release and fifth anniversary with this very handsome 96-page book, in actuality a 2-CD compilation of his very distinctive label. Included here are essays by The Wire ’s editor Rob Young and designer Adrian Shaughnessy, plus an interview with Kristoffersen. The book/CD was designed by Kim Hiorthøy, the designer of Rune Grammofon’s distinctive CD packaging. Like his CD design, this book sent me to find my old copy of Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium Is The Massage. Money Will Ruin Everything touches upon the music, but also the design philosophy of Rune Grammophon (RG). Like ECM before and Winter & Winter today, possessing the packaging of an RG disc completes the circle between the visual, the audio, and the tactile.

This mysterious music from a country of only 4.5 million residents discloses itself only through repeated listening sessions. Take the improv band Supersilent, who have chosen to number their records 1 through 6 and number songs “1.1,” “1.2,” “2.1,” and so on. Besides making things difficult for the jukebox that will never play this music, it begs you to do your own research. You get to trumpeter Arve Henriksen’s work and that of fellow member Deathprod. Connections snake through electric Miles and ECM. Later into Henriksen’s work with Food finds you tripping over the jazz of Ian Ballamy. The discoveries, revealed with time, are the magic here. You see Kristoffersen spreads his interests widely.

He has released discs by Norway’s leading composer, Arne Nordheim, and the Scorch Trio, a shred guitar outing by Raoul Björkenheim with Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (bass) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums). Does this mixture of music make sense? Certainly. Absolutely. Whether you are grooving to the jazz improv beats of Jaga Jazzist, slumming with a bit of electronica, or thinking about the post rock and modern classical treats heard here, there is a vision of music here. This lovely book ties the entire concept together. Long live this visionary independent.

Visit Rune Grammofon on the web.

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