Have you ever felt the outstanding need to claw your way out of your own self-made conformity and aspire to develop something totally new, yet, in part, old as it was crafted out of your pure ingenious reflection on the basis of past experiences? If that exceedingly complex run-on inquiry didn’t nab you by the tongue, then the answer to that twister might very well be “yes,” should you get all psychological and dreary on us. Such is the case of Helsinki’s own art rocker, von Konow, though compellingly so and in the form of an album—the aptly-titled Lieder.
A German term for “song”, Marko von Konow set out to shed any past conceptions as purely a traditional garage band quartet rocker by setting out to develop his passion project. He hasn’t gone it alone as so many others have in Dallas Green fashion since von Konow is the passion project of six individuals, but what Marko has done is gather these faces together to fight conformity. Embracing individual differences might seem like a conflict of interest in song, but as we’ve often seen in jazz, developing a battle between meshing styles can produce the most compelling pieces.
Whether or not this is what you believe out of the music of von Konow is mostly dependent on if you can embrace their implementation of the folk attitude. Blazing in like the harbingers of individuality that they are, Marko von Konow and the gang of instrumentalists that gel into his band come across a lot like a Bowie or a Hyde set in front of a spacey, glam, and often disorienting backdrop. They fuse elements of rock and roll, classical, alternative folk, prog, electronic, and psychedelia together to create a soundscape akin to a kaleidoscope of various aural flavors.
It’s orchestral, epic, and something altogether meshed from the best elements of the 1980s. Weird and unassuming, yet altogether a wisely put-together piece, this is just one that you’re gonna have to listen to yourself to both believe and assess on your own merits. As for us? We dig it.
Words by: Jonathan Frahm