This Must Stop!
The Momus CD-ROM
Not now available. Watch this space.
Let's take a little trip back in time.
It's 1996. I'm living in Paris.
CD ROMs like Kuniyoshi Kaneko's Alice and Necro Enema Amalgamated's Blam! seem more interesting to me than music CDs. I decide to make my own, and sit in my flat on the Place Du Tertre poring over the Director 4.0 manual, learning about stages, sprites and lingo. For a couple of months, instead of getting up in the morning and writing a song, I get up in the morning and make an interactive presentation in Director.
I make a keyboard you can play, I make little movies with voice overs, I make a house you can walk through and meet a cast of somewhat disturbing characters (the fascist Putsch, the gibbering, lustful humunculus Balbus, Goat Hare the guide, the writer Ryunsuke Carlos Stevens Infanta, the druggy beatnik girl Beatrice). I get a little help from friends too: Florence Manlik does stylish drawings of the characters, and Nicholas Mead lends his stentorian baritone for their voices. Laila France and Kahimi Karie graciously allow me to include a section of demos and videos of songs I've written with and for them.
I have lots of fun. Eric Swenson of Necro Enema Amalgamated makes what we think is the world's first multimedia remix. I plan a series of ROMs, but in 1997 I return to London and plunge into production on albums by Laila France, Jacques, Kahimi Karie and Momus. I pour any extracurricular multimedia-type energy into my website. From time to time I get enquiries about 'This Must Stop!' Is the audio version still available? (No.) Is there going to be a PC version any time? (No.) Is it still available in its Mac version?
Well, not right now.
What Is It? Some Justified And Ancient Hype From 1996
'This Must Stop!' is not shovelware, old content shoe-horned into a sexy new medium. No record label or multimedia conglomerate has designed this title by committee. The first Momus CD-ROM marks a particular moment in the industry: the emergence of the independent 'auteurist' CD-ROM.
This is a disk 'by Momus', which means that, unlike Laurie Anderson's 'Puppet Motel' or David Bowie's 'Jump' (put together and possibly diluted by teams of professional multimedia designers) this is 100% the vision of the artist. What you lose on the swings of slickness you more than gain on the roundabouts of originality. (Imagine Laurie Anderson making a CD-ROM the same way she made 'O Superman', alone at home, hands-on with the building blocks of her medium, her mistakes and her originality almost indistinguishable).
Just as every Momus record is entirely written, recorded, engineered, sung and played by Momus, so every frame on the ROM has been designed and conceived by Momus, one of a growing tribe of Mac-literate digital renaissance men.
'This Must Stop!' resembles a children's game or weird Czech cartoon. First you select a character who interests you on the Pager. Then you find yourself in a bizarre and atmospheric house peopled with Shakespearean monsters who shout at you, quarrel or ask each other for drugs. Click the door in each of their rooms and visit the interactive exhibits beyond: short films, interactive text mazes, lectures, slideshows and tours of the worlds of artists Momus admires (Franz Kafka, Paul Klee). The ROM also includes demos of ten unreleased songs. When you get bored just listening you can play along on a fully operational interactive Casio keyboard.
At the moment 'This Must Stop!' is available for Macintosh computers only.
Made with Macromedia Director. Drawings by Florence Manlik, Voices by Nicholas Mead and Jennifer Dick.
These screenshots are from beta versions of 'This Must Stop!'.
They may not correspond exactly to the finished version of the ROM.
To see interactive excerpts from the ROM (only if you have the
Shockwave plug-in) click here.
You load the ROM and choose to enter one of 25 rooms
inhabited by one or several of the following characters:
Mr Goat-Hare, a spirit guide
Ryunsuke Carlos Stevens Infanta, an author
Beatrice, a beatnik, the 'Unknown Girl'
Balbus, homunculus, a Lustful Moron
Belvedere Putsch, a would-be dictator
'Of Cruelty And The Inability To Love'. A short film
with voice over by Momus. Resembles some of Derek
Jarman's super 8 pieces. Based on a loop from the
'Hairstyle of the Devil' video.
A fragmented image of the face of Franz Kafka greets
you. The pieces ripple, gather together then separate again.
You can click on each one to hear an excerpt from one of
Kafka's letters or diary entries.
A slideshow about Edinburgh, Momus's town of origin.
Beside the images, taken from a book of Chinese paintings
of gloomy Edinburgh streets, are cassettes containing some
of Momus's earliest songs, composed in 'Auld Reekie'.
The Paul Klee answering machine. Push the play button to
hear 'messages' containing dramatised portraits of the Swiss
painter, master of the miniaturised improvisation.
Next in the series of heroes is a piece dedicated to
Leonard Cohen. Momus improvises around a single
photograph of Cohen and his Norwegian lover Mariane
in a restuarant on the island of Hydra sometime in the 1960s.
The Talking Casio. Click its keys to hear several octaves
of notes from the notebooks of Momus: abortive song
titles, maxims and observations. Treated voices and a
An unreleased Momus demo called 'A Card From Islington'.
This time the Casio has notes under its keys, allowing
you to play along with the song. In fact you can also
sing its simple melody karaoke style, since the lyrics
are flicking by in synch too.
A narrative maze made entirely of text. Try to get out of
the forest without dying on a dissecting table or perishing
of sheer embarrassment at being caught having sex with elves.
If you have the Shockwave plug-in you can play this game
right now by clicking here.
Momus's appearance on cult Japanese kids' show
Ugo Ugo. Momus speaks in Japanese, demonstrating
how to turn sound samples made at Tokyo's Shibuya Station
into sound effects for a song.
Songs featured on the ROM:
Things You Never Did
Broken To Joking
A Card From Islington
I'm Still Trying
The Kitten's Telephone
Young People Today
The Pink Song
Trashy Like TV
Trance Cocktail Airlines