25
Nov
08

"I bet that you look good on the dancefloor…but nowhere else": Mikrofisch’s Masters of the Universe

Though Masters of the Universe by Mikrofisch released last year, I only just discovered it. I actually only just discovered Mikrofisch, so that could be part of the problem. Apparently, Mikrofisch began in 2001 when Mawe N. Klave and Silvi Wersi met in Cologne. Though they intended to cover The Smiths, they ended up producing original material, and a year later, they released their debut album Gleichstrom/Wechselstrom. After Wersi moved to London, the duo ended up recording Masters of the Universe over a three-year period, and the product is a magnificent anti-hipster shot in the arm. With lyrics like these, making countless music and pop culture references and observations about the trappings of being twenty-something in the 21st century, I’m surprised Klave and Wersi’s tongues haven’t come clean out the other side of their cheeks.

The album begins with Alien Monsters, a hilarious send-up of alien attack films complete with deadpan vocal delivery and rot-your-teeth twee background. Let’s Kiss and Listen to Bis starts with a Peter Hook-like bassline and then ’80s synthesizers kick in to augment a sweetness worthy of the twee mentioned. The narrators stalwartly refuse to make love to DFA; instead they want to regress into the ’90s of their adolescence, including the Glaswegian pop-punksters. The ’80s influence continues as arcade video game aesthetics, drum machines and vocoders cover the track Bad Hair Days with a retro veneer. Shifting into a more down-tempo feel, I Never Get Much Sleep on Weekdays emulates the catatonic state of the fatigued, apathetic twenty-somethings they sing about. The sarcasm and ennui drips off the chorus: “We’re the twenty-somethings/We’re the part-time punks/We got our records from Ebay and our clothes from H&M/Don’t look back in anger/Today will okay/Tomorrow will be much like yesterday.” The following track, Morrissey, Jeff Mangus, Stephin Merritt, John Darnielle, is a brilliant existential anthem for indie moper-loners everywhere.

Not only lonely indie songwriters get mentioned. Referencing the ’60s model and muse of fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt Look-alikes pops about like a soft drink or a fun fair as it satirizes those hipster girls who come to gigs dressed like thrift store mods. Then, whizzing into life and making a personificative address to the theremin, Drum Machines Will Save Mankind uses fuzzy, lo-fi synths and drum machines to revivify the twee genre – it’s a bit like if someone decided to use Darling Buds songs in an Atari game. Then disco is given an 80s 8-bit makeover in Disco Fantasy as Klave and Wersi’s vocals drift dreamily over top. They even use the galactic leitmotif that often comes with disco and funk music. The album then shifts into pure power-pop bliss with We Love You, a cutesy song ostensibly sung from the perspective of crazy fans, but which adds a brilliant twist to the narrative. It features a screamy chorus akin to Robots in Disguise or Chicks on Speed.

This is followed by one of my favourite tracks on the album, The Kids Are All Shite, which namechecks Brit indie rock mediocrity in monotone vocal delivery against an intense bassline. It lampoons the MySpace generation perfectly, including their propensity to follow “indie” trends slavishly and to idolize NME bands whose music plays in supermarkets “before the sell-out’s even started” and who “all look like Johnny Ramone.” One of the best lines is “I bet that you look good on the dancefloor, but nowhere else.” The chorus also reminds me melodically of Depeche Mode’s New Life. The record takes a slower turn with See You Next Tuesday, a delightful, electro anti-ballad with interplay between male and female vocals. The tempo comes back up for Evil Customer, a perfect track for anyone who’s felt stifled by their city or town or chained to a crap retail job – they create a perfect contrast between the pleasant sing-song of a polite front and the deteriorating mental state of the narrator that descends into Tourette’s-like hysteria by the end. Just as astute as Evil Customer, (No One Listens To You When You’ve Got) Flat Hair is one of the better songs I’ve ever heard about the mind-sickening “reality” of reality TV; the verses are delivered with a cool detachment like that of Black Box Recorder’s Sarah Nixey. The record concludes with Focus On It, the harshest song on the album with its dirty, crunchy beats and its play on and with hypnotic trance and house genres.

With the generous use of drum machines and minimal synth sounds, there’s something lo-fi and homemade about the record; indeed, it was recorded in various bedrooms and living rooms. At the same time, it is the perfect aural document of the love-hate no-win situation of being an indie music lover in the noughties. Mikrofisch intelligently deconstruct the world they live in while paying unironic tribute to the music they love. You can download the entire album for free here with the band’s blessing. This album is a bit like finding a He-Man action figure inside a Kinder egg: a nostalgic but nerdy cool surprise inside a sweet, waxy chocolate shell. The perfect gift for a generation who know too much to care very much.

Let’s Kiss and Listen to Bis – Mikrofisch

The Kids Are All Shite – Mikrofisch

Evil Customer – Mikrofisch

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1 Response to “"I bet that you look good on the dancefloor…but nowhere else": Mikrofisch’s Masters of the Universe”


  1. 1 Rol
    November 28, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    The songtitles alone make those tracks worth a listen.


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Gigs Attended

Arcade Fire w/ Bell Orchestre + Wolf Parade (2005)

Arctic Monkeys w/ Reverend and the Makers (2007)

Austra w/ Young Galaxy + Tasseomancy (2011)

Big Audio Dynamite (2011)

Billy Bragg w/ Ron Hawkins (2009)

Billy Idol w/ Bif Naked (2005)

Bloc Party w/ Hot Hot Heat (2009)

Buzzcocks w/ The Dollyrots (2010)

Damo Suzuki (2012)

David Bowie w/ The Polyphonic Spree (2004)

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Frank Turner w/ The Cavaliers (2010)

Frank Turner w/ Into It Over It + Andrew Jackson Jihad (2011)

Franz Ferdinand w/ Think About Life (2009)

Gang of Four w/ Hollerado (2011)

Good Shoes w/ The Moths + The Envelopes (2007)

Hot Hot Heat w/ The Futureheads + Louis XIV (2005)

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Interpol (2007)

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Jonathan Richman (2011)

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Lou Reed w/ Buke and Gass (2011)

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Manic Street Preachers at Wanaja Festival (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Old Folks Home (2009)

Mother Mother w/ Whale Tooth (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Hannah Georgas (2012)

MSTRKRFT w/ Felix Cartal (2008)

Muse (2004)

Nine Inch Nails w/ Death From Above 1979 + Queens of the Stone Age (2005)

of Montreal w/ Janelle Monae (2010)

Owen Pallett w/ Little Scream (2010)

Patrick Wolf w/ Bishi (2007)

Prince (2011)

Pulp w/ Grace Jones, TV on the Radio, The Hives, The Horrors, Metronomy, Devotcka, Vintage Trouble (2011)

Rufus Wainwright w/ Teddy Thompson (2010)

Snow Patrol w/ Embrace (2005)

Snow Patrol w/ OK Go + Silversun Pickups (2007)

Sons and Daughters w/ Bodies of Water (2008)

Stars w/ Thurston Revival (2006)

Stars w/ The Details (2008)

Stars (2010)

Steven Severin (2010)

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The Antlers w/ Haunter (2012)

The Flaming Lips w/ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (2010)

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The Killers w/ Ambulance Ltd (2004)

The New Pornographers w/ Novillero (2008)

The New Pornographers w/ The Mountain Goats (2010)

The Ordinary Boys w/ Young Soul Rebels (2006)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart w/ Suun (2011)

The Rakes w/ The Young Knives (2006)

The Raveonettes w/ Black Acid (2008)

The Stills w/ Gentleman Reg (2009)

The Subways w/ The Mad Young Darlings (2006)

Tokyo Police Club w/ Smoosh + Attack in Black (2008)

TV on the Radio w/ The Dirty Projectors (2009)

Yann Tiersen w/ Breathe Owl Breathe (2011)

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave

Photobucket

So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun

Photobucket

Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head

Photobucket

Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away

Photobucket

Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners

Photobucket

Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away

Photobucket

You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender

Photobucket

I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding

Photobucket

You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black

Photobucket

Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

Photobucket

Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb

Photobucket

Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape

Photobucket

Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Photobucket

And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning

Photobucket

My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it

Photobucket

Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love

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We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

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Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south

Empty

Running on

Bravado

As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different

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LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can't...call the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell

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Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are

Photobucket

You must let her go

She's not crying

Photobucket

Baiting

Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times

Valentines

Hating

Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone

Whipcrack

Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't

Photobucket

So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need

Photobucket

The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest

Photobucket

Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know

Photobucket

No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more

Photobucket

All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids

Photobucket

Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome


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