When - The Lobster Boys (2001)
When's 8th album was released in November 2001. It was the second one for Jester Records, after 'Psychedelic Wunderbaum' (1999). Together they mark something of a change of direction for the Norwegian one-man band from the crazy sample collages, cartoon snippets, RIO indulgences and medieval or industrial soundscapes of earlier albums such as 'Drowning But Learning', 'Black, White & Grey' and 'Prefab Wreckage' to a more poppy but still quite eclectic and experimental sound.
Creative mastermind is Lars Pedersen, who first rose to attention in the early '80s as member of Holy Toy. On this album he is credited with sampling, organ, guitar, bass, xylophone, drums and vocals. Assisting him are Øyvind Borgemoen (drum pad, organ, melodica) and Nils Arne Øvergård on guitars, while one Gro Løvdahl makes an appearance on the viola on 'The Greatest Sorrow on Earth'. Actually, this information does not appear anywhere on the cd artwork, I got it from this When discography. While I haven't cared much for his later albums, where things got a bit samey and the excitement was to some extent diminished, this one is pretty great if you ask me. Maybe it just came at the right time for me, or maybe this is indeed the album where pop-When is at its freshest and most exciting. I remember my piercing disappointment when I travelled to Oslo for 'The Music and the Machines' (I remember it as if it were 13 September 2002, which indeed it was), a small Jester-organised festival where When was scheduled to appear, and found out a few days beforehand that they (or he) had cancelled. Still got to see Rotoscope and, best of all, Bogus Blimp though.
Has anyone ever managed to rip the pre-gap track? Anyway, you are urged to try this. If you're into it, you may still be able to buy it at the label's website.