The Sun Has No Money by Le MillipedeRelease date: March 2, 2018
Label: Alien Transistor
Mathias Goetz plays the trombone in Alien Ensemble, but he also moonlights (or should I say “sunlights”) by himself as a multi-instrumentalist as Le Millipede. For The Sun Has No Money, his second album under this moniker he comes up with something that could be loosely called political science-fiction.
The album title and cover should be the giveaway – if the sun goes away, it makes no difference how much money you’ve got – we would all be gone. Equally. A scary concept that can certainly go wrong if you don’t do your (musical) homework properly, particularly if you try to be over-ambitious and replay some of the prog rock excesses of the Seventies.
Luckily, Goetz does something completely the opposite. He starts off the album with briefly titled ‘Keep Your Face To The Sunshine And You Cannot See A Shadow’, a track that sounds like a lite Brian Wilson instrumental outtake from the botched “Smile” album (we’re talking about the Sun, aren’t we), to simply move into The Residents meet Yann Tiersen territory of ‘Tonnchen’, and from there on into directions unknown. But obviously, always looking at the sun.
On the surface, the music playful and cheerful, almost kid-like, but as evident in tunes like ‘Daah’ and ‘Kafka’, there is an ominous streak running through, as that shadow you’re not supposed to see in the opening track.
Goetz obviously has serious instrumental capabilities, but he neither tries to stuff his compositions with unnecessary frills or show off how good he is. Instead, he keeps a steady atmospheric line that will present his musical theme exactly in the manner he envisioned it.
And although there is a seemingly dark idea driving the album, there is a distinct line of humanity and hope that prevails, preventing The Sun Has No Money from turning simply into yet another exposition of doom and gloom. Warning – yes, hopelessness – no.
So idea-wise, a double-sided affair, but one that works on both levels, most of it due to Goetz’s musical abilities, but also the presentation of his idea on this album.