Arling, All-in (Emperor Norton)

Posted December 31st, 1998 by admin · No Comments

Emperor Norton
By: Kerry

Lately it seems like everyone wants to cover more ground than the next guy, always using the most bizarre samples and sounds, referencing the most underated musicians and creating the most eclectic sound possible. I suppose we could call it the “Beck” effect, but he just brought genre hopping to the masses with his pastiche b-boy inspired slacker anthems. Anyhow, groups like Pizzicato Five and U.F.O. have been mixing styles and beats for years down in Japan (the epicenter of all things cool). And now they have spawned a new neo-movement of POMO loungecore, equal parts Kraftwerk and Jobim with dashes of pop, rock, electronica, and easy listening among other things.

According to Richard Cameron, “All-In stands for openness, it’s about musical freedom, expanding the boundaries of style.” He’s not kidding, All-In is all over the place stylistically, though never straying far from the dance floor. The band even has a song entitled “I Love Europe” featured on the Europe-bound flights of a Japanese airline. And it shouldn’t come as a shock that the band is based in Amsterdam, a city full of museums, converted lofts and cultural emigres that is quickly becoming the “artistic” capitol of Europe. Perhaps “All-In” is the soundtrack for that city’s cultural rebirth. Perhaps not, but it’s a nice thought.

In any case, All-In serves as a good introduction to this new niche being carved out by Emperor Norton artists such as Fantastic Plastic Machine and Takako Minekowa. The album floats along at a brisk pace and is definitely intended to get your toes tapping. Imagine Fat Boy Slim DJing with yours, your parents and grand parents record collections. In fact it’s so damn catchy I almost can’t stand it.

Tags: review