I was thinking about this before I heard the news yesterday.
Yes, there are the songs that wallow in death that I love, like “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus, and “I Know It’s Over” by the Smiths, or how about “1963” by New Order–all so over the top. Manchester and Goth. We used to call it Modern Rock when I was little. We didn’t have the word “alternative” then.
Finally We Are No One, by an Icelandic group called Múm, is one of my favorite albums ever, and my favorite about death.
This album is cozy about death. Comfy about it. Sweet about it. And not in a glamorous way. Just in a way that death is a thing, and it will happen, so don’t you worry about it.
Maybe it’s not about death. But with tracks like, “I can’t feel my hand anymore, it’s allright, sleep still,” and “Finally we are no one,” that’s what I’ve always felt it was. Go listen to it yourself.
How does it sound? It’s lush and dreamy, the tracks are very full (as opposed to stripped down–there are many instruments in most of them: synthesizers, cello, drum machines, organs) the beats are easy to follow on the ears. There are vocals on most of them, and they’re high and dream-like. It taps into my memories that I didn’t know I had yet, reaching into the curled up folds of my brain and tickling the flesh there.
I’d classify it as ambient, but as an equation? Björk+Orb/Koushik=Múm. But then, I put everything in ambient. It’s pretty far from Aphex Twin, is what I’m saying, and I also put that in ambient. There’s probably a special genre for each of these bands. Emotional ambient or intelligent electronica or something. I don’t know. I kind of stopped paying attention to The Movement after I stopped dancing in 1997. We had four kinds of dance music back then: house, deep house, techno and ambient. And we liked it that way, goddamnit! No jungle, no trance. It was all four-on-the-floor. Get off my lawn, you whippersnappers.
This is my favorite track from this album. I hope someday soon I can listen to it without bawling.