'We Are Here' got way under my skin, and captured my imagination, and still has a kind of insistent quality to it. It practically forced itself into my brain, which was fun but (as I said back then) left me feeling a bit compulsive listening to it so much. The difference with 'Square Peg In A Round Hole' is it's perhaps more fluid - the tracks are just as compelling musically, but they surround me without grabbing me.
That almost sounds like I don't like it, doesn't it? But I mean it in a good way, for me the key is the 'surrounding' part, not necessarily the 'grabbing' part. For example, I still wrap 'A Dot Of Black In The Blue Of Your Bliss' around me like a blanket on a semi-regular basis, I feel a deep affinity for the songs, but I don't feel 'driven' to listen to them.
Anyway, I recently spent almost an entire day with 'Square Peg In A Round Hole' in the background, and now I have very specific associations with each track. This makes it such a pleasure to listen to, more personal in a way.
‘Square Peg in a Round Hole’ Tracklist:
01. Time Police (3:23) Discussion | | Listen
02. Sequential (3:18) Discussion | | Listen
03. Your Voice Needs Subtitles (4:04) Discussion | |Listen
04. Signs of Waking Up (3:36) Discussion | | Listen
05. Pakt (1:25) Discussion | | Listen
06. Combat Disco Music (3:42) Discussion | | Listen
07. Do It Myself (3:07) Discussion | | Listen
08. .,,. (dot comma comma dot) (5:13) Discussion | | Listen
09. (Don’t Eat The Whole) Banana (3:23) Discussion | | Listen
10. Gzmo (4:14) Discussion | | Listen
11. Super-positions (1:31) Discussion | | Listen
12. Control Park (3:51) Discussion | | Listen
I absolutely love the balance between human/emotional/organic and technology/science on a few of the tracks, 'Sequential' in particular:
"Have you seen the writing on the screen
There will be a time for us, keep watching it"
Technology (writing, screen, time) and humanity (seen, us, watching) play an equal part: interestingly, there is a distance and a bond implied at the same time.
"We are running, we are hiding
In the shadows from the demons that come in the night
We are dreaming and we're finding
That the circuits inside are sequential, we're sequential, we're sequential"
Again there are human actions (running, dreaming, hiding) paired with technology (circuits, sequential). It is such an interesting idea, in a human context, you might use an analogy of 'matching' or 'fitting together', but with machines, compatability could very well be indicated by sequence instead. It's kind of sweet and logical at the same time :-)
In 'Your Voice Needs Subtitles' (great title, by the way ;-)), yet again there are characters who are apart/distant despite a clear compatibility:
"It’s nice to know that
There is evidence
Of emptiness outside my own
A super void is pushing, pushing you away
and that's why I'm alone"
This reminds me of 'Supersonic Sound'; they are both alone, but it's possibly a better situation in that they both now acknowledge the void/emptiness (yearning?) inside themselves. Still it's sad that they are not together, I don't know what is meant by 'super void' or what a possible solution would be. I want them to find one another! Perhaps on the next album :-)
Some of the lyrics on the album have such amazing raw and touching honesty, like the second half of 'Gzmo':
"I didn't know
What I did to you
And I'm so sorry
Oh is there no tomorrow?
And looking back
I was mean to you
I didn't mean to shout
I was numb from trying
So I owe you
Now please bear with me
Won't you help me
Find the right words?"
It's interesting how the vocals of the first half of the song are so hard to decipher but the second half is so clear. A few people say the song must have been written by Magne, and I think I agree, but that may be because I am most familiar with his songwriting of the four of them.
I really like 'Do It Myself', and was so surprised when I first heard it - what an unexpected style for them! And it is great to have some guest vocals to add a new dimension to the album. People seem pretty divided about this song though.
I won't go through all the songs here, but overall the album is good dance music and I'd love to hear the songs live. We don't have any indication of upcoming Apparatjik concerts though, but according to rumor, Magne told some fans that (1) Graz was the last time the cube would be used at performances and (2) he wouldn't be working on any music apart from Apparatjik in the near future. So...hopefully there will be one or two Apparatjik shows in 2012, it will be interesting to see what they do without the cube. But...it seems that those of us hoping for another Magne F solo album have an indefinite wait ahead of us :-\
And speaking of concerts, last weekend when I was in Oslo for the a-ha fan party, people kept asking each other if they would be traveling for any solo shows by MH next year. Unfortunately I only have two weeks of vacation a year, and just one international trip can easily take up half of that. So if I do travel I need to choose carefully - it would be a shame to go to a MH concert in spring and then find out about a cool Apparatjik event later in the year that I couldn't go to.
Before I close, I want to be sure to link to a couple of official updates about the 'Square Peg In A Round Hole' album:
11/22/2011 | | 11/29/2011 | | 12/06/2011
The highlights are:
"The first widely released Apparatjik album produced by you, our comrades.
The committee has just released the first of 11 versions of the album in our iPad magazine 'Apparatjik World'.
other releasings. 11 more times. other placings. informations soon."
"on 131211 you get
ALBUM DRAFT ONE
committee would like you to do special testings"
So it seems there will be some kind of update on Tuesday for those who have liked the post on the Apparatjik Facebook page. Stay tuned!