Upon first glance, the premise and context of God is God is certainly an intriguing one. Comprised of Turkish musician and producer Etkin Çekin as well as the Belarusian musician Galina Ozeran, the duo is based in Germany and with such a transnational enterprise such as this it would be hard to know what to expect. However, what is most surprising about Metamorphoses, God is God’s debut album, is the lack of surprises it throws out. Over its ten tracks, God is God are reminiscent of a plethora of different artists. There’s the gloomy dark wave of Depeche Mode, the monolithic analogue synths of Tangerine Dream, mixed with the woozy dreaminess of Fever Ray’s self-titled first album; but despite this God is God never seem to quite get a sound that is distinctly their own.
That is not to say that the sound that they do create is bad, far from it. The production on the album is certainly something to be admired. The instruments all have the right weight and feel to them. A good example is the opening track ‘Behind the Heroes‘ – a moody and contemplative opener that sets the tone for the rest of the runtime. Its dark synths wash over each other with a satisfying amount of space and depth. That is something that is consistent throughout the project, the sounds the duo create are appealing and intriguing. From the rubbery, insistent opening instrumentation of ‘Liquid Space‘ to the sharp, icy glockenspiel of ‘Drops‘, God is God clearly know how to create soundscapes that are as alluring as they are hostile.
Yet production is only half an album, and where things fall apart for this one in particular is its song writing. I think a word which could best describe it would be haphazard, or perhaps inconsistent. There are certain tracks where everything fits into place, such as ‘The Song pt. 1‘, a swaggering, tense cut that is certainly a highlight. But then there are other tracks where nothing seems to really come together, like the aforementioned ‘Drops‘ which seems to have chords thrown together with little forethought. At times it sounds like someone testing out a preset in a DAW to see how it sounds, it certainly doesn’t help that the chords seem to change completely arbitrarily and at random times. This issue appears across a large portion of the record and makes a lot of the tracks feel like a first draft rather than a finished product.
Another problem that is prevalent across the record is the lack of a feeling of momentum or direction within songs. Where a song starts is generally not very far from where it ends and listening to them can sometimes feel like wading through quicksand. This is not to say that repetitive songs are bad, some of the best music ever written is repetitive, (you just have to listen to the work of Aphex Twin or Brian Eno to see that) but the strength of that music lies in its song writing which, as I said before, can be lacking on this album.
A track which perfectly summarises what’s both good and bad about this project is ‘Masha-Marie‘. A hypnotic track, which shines in its rich, foreboding atmosphere but is let down by some poor musical choices as well as by being just a little too drawn out. Had they worked a little bit more on the track, and the album as a whole, they could have something truly noteworthy, but as it stands Metamorphoses is just a little too rough around the edges to be considered a hidden gem.
Metamorphoses is released on 18th February through bureau b.
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.