Marumari
Supermogadon
Carpark
2001
B

from an interview with Steve Ferrari of Star As Eyes:

Todd: What do you look for in an IDM release, then?

Steve: I guess I look for Marumari in an IDM release. I think his last one is perfect IDM. It's just like great synth pop, inventive, but not too inventive.


The quest for the perfect pop song has been the overriding theme and subject of songwriting for the past 50 years of music. In fact, ever since the pop song became an entity, musicians have spent countless hours agonizing over verse, chorus, and bridge; to find the perfect balance. In IDM there is a distinct group of producers that are effectively attempting to create the exact same aesthetic that pop musicians have been trying to capture all this time. Instead of using the traditional guitar, bass, and drum set up, however, these producers prefer synthesizer, mixer, and laptop. Marumari fits easily into this genre of musicians and labels that have built their reputation on creating a kindler, gentler, less abstract version of the IDM that most of us have come to expect.


In fact, I think if you asked Marumari he would abhor the IDM label, and would most likely claim that he is merely making pop music with electronics. Thus, it's hard to fault Marumari for not introducing many complex beat patterns or insane noise fests that characterize other releases that go under the same category in a record store. Instead it would be more apt to critique Marumari's music from the level of pleasantness and ability to subvert the pop form to his own standards. He's not here for the same reasons as V/VM or Kid606, necessarily, so it would be foolish to review his music in the same way.


Taken in this context, Marumari's release Supermogadon is his best one yet. Moving to a clearer and more crystallized vision, Supermogadon succeeds in being a closer approximation to the cohesive pop record that he has been struggling to achieve on his previous two efforts. Supermogadon uses the same sorts of synth sounds featured in these two releases, but for some reason the melodies are catchier, the forms more obvious and inviting.


The first half of the album starts off strongly, but the second half lacks the punch of the first half. Some of the songs, most notably Red and The Mutated Wisdom seem to lose their melodic vitality and fail to strike the nerve that Rocket Summer and Baby M did, earlier on. The beat remains constant and unyielding on all of these tracks, however, a certain marker for which the melody can wrap around and work with. It seems that a fair comparision to draw for Marumari would either be the Artifical Intelligence series put out by Warp in the early nineties or the increased melodicism of labels such as Morr Music and City Centre Offices.


There are things wrong with the release, don't get me wrong. I'm certainly not going to break it out anytime soon to get challenged. I'm not going to break it out for any other time when I'm happy, because that seems to be the prevailing mood throughout the album. It's not going to be on my top 15 releases at the end of the year, either, for these very reasons. He certainly doesn't offer up any surprises from his last release and it is becoming increasingly easy to pigeonhole him, consequently. But it remains that Supermogadon is a portrait of happy, evolving, and self-assured artist. I can't imagine anyone ever ceasing to attempt of making the perfect pop tune and I can only hope that Marumari never finds it either, so that he can keep releasing records like Supermogadon.


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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