Released on September 26th, 2003, "Come On And Bring Back The Brjokén Sounds Of Yore!" is the debut album by Differnet, an experimental pop trio hailing from Sweden that is made up of
Tomas Bodén, Anna-Karin Brus and Peter Jackson. The album is the second release of the relatively new Swedish label Friendly Noise, who's main goal is to put out the best of "new pop and light experimentalism", which is a somewhat accurate description of Differnet. Friendly Noise's first release was a compilation of eleven Swedish artists titled "Friendly People Making Noise", to which Differnet contributed their cover of Throbbing Gristle's "Something Came Over Me".
The majority of the songs that grace "Come On And Bring Back The Brjokén Sounds Of Yore!" have previously been released as either MP3 files through the bands website, or as self-released CD-Rs, and because of this the album has the subtitle of "(Selections 2001-2003)". This, however, doesn't mean that the album is in any way a mere compilation, or best-of collection, but rather it is a unified, cohesive document that flows perfectly as one entity. In a way too it brings more credibility to Different, because with a solid piece of complete art that you can hold in your hand the band emerges out of obscure , conceptual MP3s and limited releases, and into a medium that everyone can, and should, readily consume.
Musically speaking "Come On And Bring Back The Brjokén Sounds Of Yore!" is relatively a mixed bag of goods, varying from the straight melodic to the straight noisey. At some points there will be nothing but traditional, acoustic instruments that carry beautiful melodies, and at others nothing but the laptop generated sounds that have been a staple of experimental electronic music. But generally these two things will mix together; perhaps a piano will pluck out wonderful chords as deep bass, static drums, and random clicks and pops move the rhythm. Different is basically your Scandinavian DNTEL, or Schneider TM, and even a little like Múm: creating blissful glitch-pop that is sure to stand the test of time, unlike so many throw away electronic groups today that pick up FruityLoops or Reason and expect to do something profound.
The first track on "Come On And Bring Back The Brjokén Sounds Of Yore!" is titled Viloläge, and it acts as an overture for the opus that is Differnet. Consisting only of spare piano chords, Viloläge is accompanied by a human/computerized hybrid voice that recites a poem written by Peter Jackson. After a couple of minutes of this mood setting section, Viloläge morphes seamlessly into the second song Mikrophonie, which continues with the piano chords, but introduces two new and important elements: distorted, slow tempo drums and the digitally altered voice of Tomas Bodén. This voice, which sounds like any other vocie run through a vocoder, sings all of the songs on the album that require singing to be done, and Mikrophonie the voice croons for you to "come on and vibrate me". Lasting seven minutes and twenty-seven seconds, Mikrophonie is the longest, most epic song on the album, but unlike most long songs it does not get stale and always holds your attention.
Bringing on the dissonant, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, the third song of eleven, starts with screeching noise that is a harsh contrast to the previous melodic song. However, after the brief bout of piercing noise an altered electric guitar and piano come into the forefront, while that familiar voice sings to us once again, this time asking us to operate him, instead of vibrating him. The noise from the introduction of the song comes back periodically through the rest of the song, and with each reappearance it sounds somehow melodic and not as harsh. After the fade out comes the next time, Revolution Nein, which the band describes on their website as "postpunkdisco", which in a Differnet way kinda works: as far as beats goes this is probably the most danceable on "Come On And Bring Back The Brjokén Sounds Of Yore!". With a video done by documentary filmmaker Eric Nilsson, this song could have been up for single status if the mainstream music industry were into that kind of thing.
The Cars That Ate Berlin is one of the first purely instrumental tracks on the album, excluding the intro track. The majority of the song revolves around the cut-up melody of a deep electric bass, with wavering static drums moving in and out at random, and a bridge that goes against the the grain of the rest of the song. By the end of the track things have built up in a way, with the addition of various instruments and noises, that things feel very resolved.
The song after The Cars That Ate Berlin is called Settled, and it opens with a stop and go noise melody which is eventually joined with acoustic guitar and various tremolo instruments and the voice, which we haven't seen for a few tracks. To this somewhat surreal and dreamy song he now sings "I'm awake", which is sometimes added with "in the trees". After a while of repeating those lines the vocals fall to the background somewhat as the "verse", if you will, goes on. Once everything becomes calm for a few seconds some blippy/bleepy drums are added, which make the body move in a way that might resemble the swaying of the trees. At roughly the midpoint of Settled, I'm talking about three and a half minutes in, orchestral strings, and later nylon strings, make an appearance and fill out the sound perfectly. Afterwards the song goes back into a vocal section with hum's from the vocoder before things fall apart and the song is over.
Settled is followed up by Convolution Sweatshop, a completely ambient song that last for four minutes and thirty-three seconds, but doesn't lose it's appeal like most ambient songs. The reverb soaked pads float through various tones and colors, while being joined with various different sounds, until it fades out with a static sheet buzz in every once in a while. However, it never fades out completely, as the next song How? starts up straight away, with various random sounds for a minutes. With drums and spastic melody coming in and out at random a new voice joins the mix, and it is the voice of Sophie Rimheden. How? is probably the most conventional song that Differnet has done, because has a relatively clear verse/chorus structure, and it works perfectly as a three minute pop song. It also works as an excellent prelude to the best song on "Come On And Bring Back The Brjokén Sounds Of Yore!".
Conflictionary (Barricade Builders of the World Unite and Take Cover) is that song, and it is truly the stand out track of the whole album. Starting with the sudden sound of someone breathing and then moving to glitched out melodies and sudden bursts of sound, the song really gains momentum with the introduction of a low-organ sound and the vocals of returning Tomas Bodén. After this part of the song things fall and rise at their will, until a lasting break down comes. After this break down what will become the rest of the song begins, slowing growing momentum with multi-layered vocals and progressive drums. Conflictionary continues to build until there is no where else to go and the song abruptly stops and only one last vocal line continues.
The second to last song, Summerface, starts with random blips and bleeps that run around between the channels, creating a very hectic and intense atmosphere. A quick, swelling bass is introduced in the chaos, and everything eventually dies down, and more swelling instruments are added to the song. However, these instruments too fade out, and once again the bass is the only thing remaining. A soft hum is introduced to the left channel and then things begin, with a sliding guitar melody and more noise. After another break in the music things start up again with new uniformity and the song progresses with pulsing bass and straight forward, looping drums. When Summerface comes to it's end, Fragment 75, the last song on the album, but ironically the first song Differnet wrote together, starts up with a brief moment of distortion and then straight ahead, rock sounding bass and drums. Pitch-bending synths are added through, and the song becomes a simple jam oriented closer.
"Come On And Bring Back The Brjokén Sounds Of Yore!" made many of the Swedish music critics top 10 lists for the year of 2003, and it's simple to see why: the album is one of the prime examples of what can be done in the genre of glitch-pop or experimental electronic music. While some music fans were eating up The Postal Service's "Give Up" last year they could have been giving in to Different. Which I recommend that you do.
Cohesive track listing:
- Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
- Revolution Nein
- The Cars That Ate Berlin
- Convolution Sweatshop
- Conflictionary (Barricade Builders of the
World Unite and Take Cover)
- Fragment 75