Mungolian Jetset: Mungodelics

Although creative and colorful, this collection is ultimately repetitive and annoying.

Mungolian Jetset


Label: Smalltown Supersound
US Release Date: 2012-08-21
UK Release Date: 2012-08-20
Artist Website

An electronica duo at heart, Norway’s Mungolian Jetset is certainly an interesting band in ambition, mythology, and execution. Prolific and experimental, their releases are often a hodgepodge of remixes, originals, and other assorted treatments that run the gamut stylistically from “house and disco inspired cheekiness via shameless dabblings with soft rock/westcoast, Balearic, dub and ambient, [and] psychedelia and techno”. If “Imagination is pretty much the key to Mungolian Jetset’s aural ingredients,” then their newest output, Mungodelics, defines them well. Although it can be a quite tedious and repetitive at times, its vision and color definitely warrants attention—at least for a little while.

Fusing their skills into wildly creative mixes, DJ Pål "Strangefruit" Nyhus and producer Knut Sævik are certainly onto something with their collaboration. Similar to the fictional backstories for bands like Parliament and Magma, Mungolian Jetset comes with its own folklore. Nyhus connects the music to “a parallel world of Mungsters, an ancient breed of intergalactic travelers in sound…” In addition, the group is apparently connected to a rich and eccentric history of similarly weird characters and clashes. Of course, none of this matters if their releases aren’t worthwhile, and depending on what you’re looking for, Mungodelics will either frustrate or fascinate you.

Opener “…presents Jaga Jazzist vs. Knights of Jumungus – Toccata” is intriguing immediately—a profound melody (played on bells) overlaps programmed syncopation and various oscillating contributions. It possesses a level of emotion and lusciousness that most music in the genre lacks; to be honest, it sounds similar to something Sufjan Stevens might do if he took LSD and made mixes for popular NY City clubs. Sadly, like just about every other track here, it doesn’t evolve enough to earn its duration (so you’ll probably grow tired of it before you’re supposed to); still, there’s no denying how colorful and intriguing it is at first.

“…vs. Mung’s Picazzo” opens with a profound and beautiful texture as piano and other percussion builds slowly. As it progresses, more elements are added, which eventually lead to a bit of a tribal feeling that includes horns, vocal harmonies, and odd sound effects. “Mush in the Bush” carries over from the previous track and reinterprets some of the same elements in a more clubby way. It’s not as fresh, though. Also, “People on Strong Stuff” is the most straightforward track, as it has the most form and direction. It’s also the only track that has an actual song within it, and the guitar work in the middle is very impressive. Truthfully, it’s a bit reminiscent of Neverending White Lights.

Not everything here is equally listenable, though. “…vs. Unni Wilhelmsen – Revolving Door” is colder and sharper; it feels processed and inauthentic (which is largely due to its '80s synth sound and vocals). Truthfully, there’s not much to connect to here, and unfortunately, the same could be said for “Smells like Gasoline” (which incorporates a bit of harsh industrial aesthetics to the mix) and “…presents The Sjukt – Ghost in the Machine” (which feels overly aggressive, noisy, and shallow). Although there are plenty of pleasant bits here, there are definitely some ugly ones, too.

In the end, Mungodelics is more remarkable for its chance and experimentation than its accessibility and enjoyment. While the duo should be commended for doing something relatively unique, bold, and extremely creative, these factors don’t always lead to something that’s listenable for very long. The best way to experience this album is in quick bursts by skipping around—you’ll hear all the innovative aspects without experiencing the maddening redundancy and sterilization.




Reading Pandemics

Pandemic, Hope, Defiance, and Protest in 'Romeo and Juliet'

Shakespeare's well known romantic tale Romeo and Juliet, written during a pandemic, has a surprisingly hopeful message about defiance and protest.


A Family Visit Turns to Guerrilla Warfare in 'The Truth'

Catherine Deneuve plays an imperious but fading actress who can't stop being cruel to the people around her in Hirokazu Koreeda's secrets- and betrayal-packed melodrama, The Truth.


The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.


90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

'Avengers: Endgame' Faces the Other Side of Loss

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our pandemic grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.