möström ~ we speak whale

UNREC09_frontThe genre-defying debut of female trio möström is a sparkling original, beguiling in the best sense.  These Viennese veterans of other bands (including Gustav, broken.heart.collector and The Vegetable Orchestra, dedicated to “the exploration of the acoustic properties of vegetables” – really!) have now combined forces to produce music that can’t be imitated, because it doesn’t imitate anything else.  In fact, the only comparison we can make involves the “Emoticon” video, which shares the visual (although not the aural) tone of múm’s “They made frogs smoke til they exploded”.  Simultaneously playful and creepy, the childlike visuals are blended with extremely dark undertones, earning a parental warning without a single lyric.

Still with us?  Good.  Then you’ll definitely appreciate the album.  Perhaps the safest way to approach the music is sideways, so as not to alarm it.  The disjointed feeling of the combined instrumentation (bass clarinet, keyboard, DIY electronics) is mirrored by the Google translation of the press release, which seems more fitting than the actual press release.  Here are some highlights:

The fascination growing in the hearing and the hearing will remain off the spit.
Perhaps they think they are affected by amnesia when one end of the plate – including surprise!
Less is more, sometimes comes a beat.
White on their slightly larger boxes to screw and red and golden keyboards.

möström_by_Lisbeth_KovacicAnd this is exactly what is happening here.  The Viennese trio of Susanna Gartmayer, Elise Mory and Tamara Wilhelm has fallen in love with the opposite of opposites, but something has been changed (added, not lost) in translation.  we speak whale is the avant-garde representation of Dory from “Finding Nemo”, a Dory who smokes cigarettes and fidgets on a barstool, telling stories she can’t quite remember.  The result is unusual and alluring.  Take for example “Humpty Dumpty”, which begins with a nursery title and does in fact include the crashes one might associate with falling ~ until the bass clarinet and piano duet in honky-tonk fashion, lending a shimmer of happy chaos to the whole proceeding.  Oh but then – crash!  boom!  fuzz!  Oh, Humpty.  You should not have danced.

Yes, there is something in möström’s music that inspires dancing, despite its darkest intentions.  Sometimes comes a beat.  When no beat is apparent, one dances as if possessed: jerkily, inadvertently, unpredictably.  One sways, then topples, then rises in diagonal fashion.  On “Radio Da Da”, wooden percussion rolls around like a child’s toy while signals attempt to break through the electronic ether.  A pop song invades the party and is stomped to death by breath.  “Spuckspielautomat” contains the LP’s most obvious rhythms, but just as the groove is beginning to settle in, a soft alarm clock stops everything in its tracks.  When a crossing gate signal begins to sound, the groove restarts.

we speak whale is the finest sort of translation:  concepts gone awry before ending up in sharp focus.  Even now, we remain fascinated in the hearing and the hearing.  (Richard Allen)

Release date:  1 September

Unrecords Website


  1. Reblogged this on Feminatronic and commented:
    Courtesy to A Closer Listen for this review and well worth following the link and looking at the creativity of the Vegetable Orchestra : )

  2. Pingback: Fall Music Preview: The Next 150 | a closer listen

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