Monday, March 5, 2012

"The Poor Man's Grace"

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Bad Alchemy Nr 12
compilation cassette
(Bad Alchemy, 1989)

Bad Alchemy is both a record label and a long-running music magazine. The first twenty-seven issues of the magazine each came with a compilation cassette featuring artists covered in the current issue. I think the first issue I bought was Nr 3, as there is a Half Japanese song on it, and I will buy anything featuring them; they being, of course, the greatest band in the history of music. That is beside the point, however.

The cassette accompanying Nr 12 devoted a good deal of its air time to artists from Sweden, many with releases on the Bauta Records label. One of them was UR KAOS (yes, spelt in all caps because they are YELLING at you). Both pieces were cool and dark, and exclusive to the cassette, so I snagged their eponymous debut album (the one with a wolf, or is it a fox?, in a fur coat on the cover) from Wayside Music not long after hearing them. Its contents are much like the piece featured today on the jukebox: short, almost fragmentary, songs with a very dark, foreboding edge. Good times!

Their next album, A Terrible Beauty Is Born, was just as dark, if not darker. The cover certainly upped the creepiness ante, with its depiction of multiple corpses dangling from a desolate gallows. Again, it was full of short, almost fragmentary, songs with a very dark, foreboding edge. I love copy'n'paste.

Nearly a decade later, they released their third album, Av sprucket ut är valt ett inuti. The mood is a bit lighter, but the songs are still mostly short, almost fragmentary. I've been told by Swedes that the title cannot be translated properly into English (too idiomatic or something). Google Translate, however, says it means By Cracking the Selected One Inside. Yahoo Babel Fish, on the other hand, can't handle Swedish, or any other Scandinavian/Nordic language! Oooh, they make me so mad! Poor Douglas Adams is probably spinning in his grave.

NOTA BENE: That's UR KAOS on the cover of the magazine. It is the only picture I have ever seen of them (not counting one of them wearing masks), and it was taken by Anton H. Leclercq, according to the credits in the back of the mag.

No biased opinions . . . yet