“Finnes det noe band som er bedre enn Kjøtt?”
CHILDREN IN MEAT: Kjøtt live in Oslo,1979.
KJØTT(“Meat”)was a band of a rare kind to these shores, in musical approach, lyrical concepts and the very un-Norwegian ability to crave for something new and fresh constantly, even if it meant breaking the spell of an established expression that was good, almost perfect, as I would dare to say at least the classic 12” from 1980 is. The ones who have the artistic stamina to go through with such a principle do not come in dozens. Rather they come one by one, every second decade or so, bearing such honorable names as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Scott Walker and Autechre. I will not hesitate to include this young and short lived Norwegian band in this rank, counting later projects, stories and the fact that they never ever reformed for as much as a single reunion show.
The intriguing combination of catchy high energy rock and bright refreshingly controversial lyrics is a powerful one. It has access to the many alleys of fascination and seduction, mainly through the language of music, words, image and projected conceptual visions, which makes its effect on the unprepared and very often(as with me)underage individual potentially dangerous. The stuff that takes your life by storm, turns you on new ideas, new possibilities, new word and sensations that may as well change the direction of your whole life, to cut it short. In the limelight of this knowledge, records like the infamous Kjøtt 12” from 1980 should perhaps have been equipped with a warning label on the cover:
Warning. The containment of this product is HIGHLY flammable, explosive and can also result in chronic obsessions that might be impossible to exorcise from your doomed ungodly soul.
5 years later on, it seemed to come on much stronger, a dive that went considerably deeper into the many aspects of the material .This gives me a precious opportunity to share the stream of consciousness that went through my mind as I reflected on if I could go as far as to evaluate my introduction to punk, withstood by Kjøtt, DEAD KENNEDY´S, THE CLASH, RAMONES, SEX PISTOLS and EBBA GRÖN in 1985, as a way stronger input in total effect. I pretty fast landed on a revision of the myth of “the first cut always being the deepest”. Bullshit. It depends entirely on the knife and thickness of skin. If “King Of The Night Time World” * was the initiation rites carefully (though determined) poke at the skin by the blade of the Athame* , this was a forceful deep stab stab into“rødt kjøtt” (“red meat/flesh)”, a wholeheartedly penetration all the way through to the Profondo Rossi *.
Punk seemed all too perfect to me and my kind, like an opening to a freeway of all extremities of this world, the horrifying wonders, the wonderful horrors. An Alchemy of possibilities and unthinkable scenarios of violence, murder, corruption, kinky sex, dystopian vision, hate and war, Cold War sensibility, science fiction, techno fetishism, pornography and drug taking. The impressions in mind after hearing the Kjøtts 12” and the Fresh Fruits For Rotting Vegetables album by DEAD KENNEDY ´S, were quick to recognize all the cues of an arousing danger in the air, reading the rough aggressive music, obscene political satirical language as clear invitations to an unknown universe of risky business.
Up to last year’s sudden collective trip down the memory lane in native music history, triggered by the All time Top 100 Norwegian Records poll in newspaper Morgenbladet, the total amount of info on this pioneering project in the public domain was sparse and also pretty one dimensional. Despite the many Norwegians having at least 1 of their classic songs restored in , there had been no official recognition of a band that easily, together with Geirr Tveitt, Arne Nordheim, Jan Garbarak, Terje Rypdahl, Darkthrone, Burzum, Emperor, Biosphere and A-ha, could be described as the best to ever see the grim daylight of their fellow Norwegians restricted enthusiasm.
However, not surprisingly and by all means well deserved, their 1980 12” (see above) manage to pull off a fourth place on this Top 100 list, which secured the release a place among the top 10 that were to receive 1 respective text each, signed the “premium league” of established Norwegian writers. Some great writers are involved though, is quite fair to say. The strangest thing was that I heard about this idea way before it was conducted, shortly after I had started to write on this lengthy piece. I cannot blame anything else but my own priority of focus and work, for the time it has taken me to round this one off. Nevertheless, as long as you eventually get there, everything can be forgiven in terms of tried patience.
Perhaps it sounds kind of strange or even arrogant to admit that I have been avoiding my reading of the Kjøtt 12” text, written by journalist Bert Erik Pedersen, but I rather not mix up the thoughts of my own with his, at least not until I have completed the reflections of my own. The almost total lack of sources of information, interviews, press statements, quotes that existed on the band and their records prior to last years publication, somehow forced my mind to take the routes of their own, spawning analysis which I still am unable to judge whether could be the fixation of my own intellect and experience rather than something that held true for the band, especially the only one that no longer speaks, unfortunately(Helge Gaarder RIP).
*KISS: “King Of The Night Time World” ( Destroyer album, Casablanca Records, 1976).
* Athame is a black-handled ritual dagger used as a magical tool by the priest or priestess in the context of Pagan/Wicca/Occult practice of Witchcraft, where it represent the element of fire as an indicator of Will.
* Kjøtt: “Flue”, Et Nytt Og Bedre Liv EP(Fleske Skiver, 1980)
* Dario Argento: Profondo Rossi, Italy, 1975.