The last time I saw Beglomeg perform, frontman Raymond T. Hauger was reading from a book called” Om KJaerlighet” while sonic dirge of extemporisation ensued from a group musicians, trying to find each other in some lysergic dream realm. The post-modernist nature of the performance was perfectly staged in the context of the Kunstnernes hus as the band performed what I assumed were perhaps sketches, if not uncompleted versions of the tracks that would eventually make it on to the album.
Everything about Beglomeg had always appeared to me like a happening at an afterparty that was always trying to come to a conclusion, but never does, because there’s an inherent fear of missing out. Curiosity keeps us coming back to Beglomeg, and just when you think, do we really need another Beglomeg LP, they release a record, and you’re reminded why they should exist.
Beglomeg is a band that will always divide opinion and whether you like or despise their music there’s no other band that sounds like Beglomeg at this moment in time, especially on their latest LP Elske Livet Fantastiskt. Everything from honking Sax Solos, melancholic Baroque organ figures to trite Euro Trance appears on Elske Livet Fantastiskt in a curious assemblage of musical styles that should in no way come together. It only really works on this record, because everything about it is at odds with everything else in some kitsch melange of music. For the uninitiated it might come off as a misguided attempt at irony, but I feel assured that Beglomeg are very sincere in their pedantic lowbrow pursuits in music on this LP.
It’s quite a departure from the more psych rock sounds of Very Bæd! and Eurokrjem, and besides flirting briefly with those kind of sounds on “Pønkføkke” and “Jeg er et Liv” this is a whole other Beglomeg we’re dealing with on this occasion. Elements of early nineties new-age nostalgia and 70s library music for children’s television dominate this album. Fans of the band might find this one a little more difficult to endure soncially, but it’s a very much a conceptual album at the heart of it.
It’s an album that talks about love and life in a playful soliloquy, trapped in a child-like wonder. There’s something innocent about it all, especially Raymond’s lyrics and voice which seems to channel the ghost of a children’s entertainer. Beatific melodies and very basic textures expound on this sense of innocence, but there’s an uncertainty which lingers over the record, like a friendly man trying to lure a child into a van with a bag of candy. There’s more to this record to the blatantly kitsch nature of this music.
There are echoes of that Kunstnernes hus performance, with text extracts and a picture of “Om Kjaerlighet” in the accompanying booklet. It’s uncertain how everything ties into the concept of the record, but it’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into relaying a theme, from the artwork to the music and lyrical content, but its a theme that eludes, possibly even Beglomeg.
Elske Livet Fantastiskt is not so much a pop record as it is an artistic statement, but what that statement might be and how exactly the record is trying to bring it across is a complete mystery. I don’t know how, but this could be one of the most significant Norwegian records to be released this year.