Imagine stepping out of the club into the quiet morning air. A pain keeps knocking behind your eyes as a disquieting feeling surfaces that a previously solid line might have been broken. But it’s a new dawn…
‘Limerence’ is not only Misantrop's debut outing, it is also the inaugurating release of his own label Foul-Up. Those latter names have been carefully chosen, and are intended with equal seriousness and irony. Does Misantrop shun fellow-mankind? Or does he just set his face against the herd mentality? Here’s an artist and a label that question the status quo without parading meaningless novelty. The guiding concept is that mistakes, omissions, SNAFUs are part of the creative process, just as they’re part of life itself. They may be unintentional, but they have to be embraced and absorbed equally. This is what drives the Danish-born and Berlin-based Misantrop - in his other lives called Nicolai Vesterkær Krog. An artist who builds upon the past, but mostly sidestepping solid amalgamations. His sounds have an obvious kinship with club and dance music, but listen closely… something is turning. The aural perspective isn’t quite what it was ten or fifteen years ago. This is music that accepts a patina of change, perhaps even of gentle degradation.
This is the work of an emerging artist who maybe previously tended to let perfectionism thwart his ambitions, seeking precision at any cost. Madness lies that way, unless one can accept that foul-up is a gift from circumstance. So, if something seems not quite right here, it’s not quite right for a reason. It happened and it has been left in for a purpose. All the real innovators know this. Miles Davis embraced error. John Cage thought it was the only sign we had of our shared presence in the midst of chaos. Edith Piaf believed she couldn’t sing a song well until she had sung it badly at least once. ‘Limerence’ finds Misantrop in dialogue with a nihilistic younger version of himself. As he says, ‘hating on people’ is often merely another way of expressing the feeling that people can't understand our character or actions – never quite managing to sync as we'd hope. This is music rooting in rough social contexts, nurtured on those awkward moments of misapprehension where you half-hear something, make wrong assumptions that still feel so right in the moment – sticking with you although you've been put straight.
So what’s happening? There are elements of an industrial mindset, but the title piece reverses out of garage/classic house that nods to 90s r’n’b. On ‘Nocturnal Emission’ friend Jon Marius Brogaard Aeppli’s guitar solo is vogueing out on the floor, psychedelic rock meets psychotic blues by way of sheer UK sound. Krog himself describes the track as the sonic equivalent to ‘flirting all night, but going home alone.’ Add to that a wobbling bass on the techno-leaning ‘No. 3’, adorned with a reference to classical composition in the cluster strings whilst ‘They Don’t Know’ puts on a bit of electro, noise and some giallo synth arpeggiation… He’s still getting out there, sharing his inspirations and moving past the elbows-out, growly vibe. There’s shine, atmosphere and a rather fascinating depth of field there, even though your usual reference points won't be of much help on this occasion.
‘Limerence’ draws its inspiration from all over contemporary music and noise grounds – not wearing its ‘influences’ in the most opulent manner but well declaring its material with confidence. If the finished product doesn’t have the uniformity of a proper industrial product, so much the better… Misantrop is out to change the way you listen to music, no matter how chaotic the journey is, showing off a vision that’s both deeply human and richly transcendent.
– Written by Brian Morton