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Von Sudenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions

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Artist: Von Sudenfed

Album: Tromatic Reflexxions

Label: Domino

Review date: Jun. 21, 2007

Mark E. Smith teamed up with Mouse on Mars and made an album of their signature dance music with besotted crypto-screeds atop. Sacrifices had to be made here – for Mouse on Mars, the removal of a unifying melodic theme to make room for the vocals, and for Smith, the omission of a hired-hand band to terrorize and berate. Sounds like it was easier all around, particularly if there was no actual studio contact between the two parties (weirder stuff has happened). Both parties come together and give you what you paid for, with no surprises, provided that what you paid for was More Songs About Royalty and Piss (“Flooded” remains the favorite here … wear a raincoat, and bring a video camera for some quick online ca$h).

Seriously, Tromatic Reflexxions is a great record for all of the reasons you might suspect – unless you don’t like MoM, or MES, or either, because two wrongs are not gonna make a right, especially here – but it’s hardly the first time the Fall’s mouthpiece has been tapped out for the politics of dancing. Mouse on Mars grabbed him in 2004 for their “Wipe That Sound” remixes, which precipitated Von Südenfed’s very existence. Flash back to the late ‘90s, when electronica outfit D.O.S.E. grabbed one of Mark E.’s vocals and created the track “Inch,” pairing the Ludd up with the sort of beats that exaggerated the Fall’s lost decade of techno-pop and often insipid, fuck-with-the-fans mentality that rattled loose in his own private breakdown lane. We’re omitting past collaborations with the Sham-en, Bez, Stereo MCs, Sugar Bear, or Rick James, too, mostly because they never happened.

Ultimately, what Von Südenfed proves is the benefit of interchangeability within both sides of the group dynamic. Mark E. Smith should insert himself – yes, even forcefully – into more groups’ sounds, and likewise, Mouse on Mars oughta find more vocalists to experiment with. Moreso the former than the latter; I want an option to include MES on any recorded music, randomly generated from banks of verse and chorus a thousand phrases deep. That way he could keep going long after his sagging body gives out, and, without the burden of existence, can aspire to all of the idiosyncrasies his literary dump has thumbprinted on the counterculture’s forehead for lo these three decades.

Like 95 percent of popular music (or most Fall since “Glam-Racket,” the hammering in of that Nissan commercial excepted), you won’t remember anything about Tromatic Reflexxions in a few months, bar a vague sense of enjoyment. Carpe diem, motherfuckers.

By Doug Mosurock

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