Truce & Rosen og Spyddet – Images of desire
Truce “An Olive Branch on the Bed, Pictures of Christ and Military Clothes” (Janushoved, 2017) & Rosen og Spyddet “Fantasia” (Janushoved, 2017) – review by Alexander Julin
Since the label’s first release, the compilation “Ny Dansk Romantik” from 2014, Janushoved has manifested itself as one of the most prominent Danish labels when it comes to synth-oriented lo-fi aesthetics. Back in September, the Copenhagen based label released its latest batch of tapes, counting four new releases: “Uplifter” by Soho Rezanejad, a two-track tape consisting of the title track and a remix by Internazionale; a double-tape by Olympisk Løft entitled “Tvillingeseglet” which is the project’s first release since 2015; “An Olive Branch on the Bed, Pictures of Christ and Military Clothes”, which is the fourth release by Truce; and “Fantasia”, the follow-up to Rosen og Spyddet’s “Drengen Ved Brystet” from last year.
The aesthetics of the releases from Janushoved seems somehow to be overlapping, although each project focuses on and examines different nuances of the same blue and melancholic, yet often very euphoric vibe. Although the productivity of the label is deeply impressive in itself, the content of the tapes often varies from quite spare (down to two tracks), to a monstrous collection of material from one or several artists. The newest tapes by Truce and Rosen og Spyddet can be seen as sorts of EP-releases, consisting of seven and four songs respectively, not just miscellaneous collections of material.
While you could probably say that any given release by Janushoved offers an insight into the general musical sphere that the label is operating in, both tapes seam to encapsulate a core essence of the label. “An Olive Branch on the Bed, Pictures of Christ and Military Clothes”, contains seven songs of lo-fi synth-melodies, sometimes slumbering and euphoric in its expression, other times tapping into a more post-punk vibe. The most obvious example of the latter might be “Soliloquy of a Silkworm”. With a wordless murmuring in the background and a more analogue-sounding bassline, which drives the song forwards, the track – and the release in its entirety – is a suiting musical metaphor of kicking in the nightlife’s doors to uncertainty and unforeseen ecstasy. It is the testament of cold and cynical euphoria; a feeling that is well-known from several of the label’s releases.
The cover art features a small poem which goes as follows: “Bathed in lucid fire, you’re a signifier, an image of desire, a cannon that misfires.” While neither trying or wanting to forcefully read something specific into the music of the release, the poetry nonetheless seems analogous to the music. It’s the sound of an inner burning, a blistering of pulsating desire that cold-heartedly shatters whatever’s in its reach. A feeling that cannot be tamed or be ethical in any sense, because its sole reason of existence seems to be consuming that which it touches upon in order to keep its fire burning.
The music of Rosen og Spyddet, as one can hear it on “Fantasia”, or any other given release by the project, illustrates another aspect of desire. Desire is surely a feeling that takes many forms; its faces is manyfold, sometimes cynical, dark and bestiary as in the music of Truce, other times tender and ambiguously innocent in some sense. The last sense is equivalent to the music of Rosen og Spyddet. Its sound captures a two-sidedness of desire, inscribing a somehow romantic, sometimes mellow, nostalgia to it, without ever abandoning the euphoric feel of an emotional slow motion ejaculation-anthem.
The project’s potential might already have been proven on former releases, yet it continues to shine bright on “Fantasia”: The strength of the project is still its ability to illustrate how tenderness and innocence gradually succumbs to something dirty in our every-day romanticizing of the days that will forever lie behind us. While the last track of the release is entitled “Det Koster Intet At Huske” (“Remembering costs nothing”), one is tempted to question such a statement when listening to Rosen og Spyddet. While the melodies contain a feeling of purity and sentimentality, a recalling of tender past events, the same feelings turn out begrimed in the latent ecstasy of the compositions. Surely remembrance has a price; the price of a romanticizing perversion. But most importantly the project manages to illustrate this feeling in a sincere and non-generic way, despite the somehow safe lo-fi aesthetics by which it – and the majority of the label’s releases – unfolds. Instead this exact lo-fi aesthetic actually supports the musical feeling of a faded and unclear memory recalled in sentimentality because their clear melodies and rhythms are surrounded by a fog of soft noise, quite similar to the oblivion that surrounds and threatens the maintenance of even the dearest memories.
Info: “An Olive Branch on the Bed, Pictures of Christ and Military Clothes” and “Fantasia” were released on Janushoved in September.