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Mostly Harmless is a band straight out of the school of loud, fast and hard, and yet they bring more to the table than you’d normally expect from the genre. They are a pulsating mass of raw, provocative energy. They are not satisfied to simply hide behind distortion, noise and a playlist of songs that all sound alike. Mostly Harmless creates their distinctive sound by shading and constantly reshaping the guitar styles. The vocals shift from easygoing pop, to quiet and introspective, only to explode into apocalyptic screams. The bass and drums shape and hold the groove, while subtle use of keyboards takes the music to a new level. The fusion of these elements makes Mostly Harmless into something truly original—a mix of music, emotion and energy.
Mostly Harmless started out in 1995 in the small sleepy town of Basel. Early on it became clear that the "Sweet-Nice-Pop" scene was not ready for them. Still they blazed on and quickly gathered a core group of fans and freaks that gave the band the support they needed to keep going.
Over the years Mostly Harmless has changed its composition several times. The current line up works as a single unit, and every member makes their own contribution. On guitar is Hanspeter Hofmann, who—some have said—makes it sound as though there are two guitars on stage at once. Alex Habegger takes care of melody and emotion with his versatile and powerful voice; his keyboard lends the music a psychedelic aspect. The sight of Javier Bargas on bass has probably made many other musicians hair stand on end. His bass-chord technique breaks every musical tradition and gives the music its aggressive edge. Javier’s little brother, Marcelo, comes in on drums. With a minimal drumkit he still creates a maximum of drum-sound, and gives the music a special groove due to his aversion to the standard four-quarter-time groove.
Mostly Harmless’ work bore fruit early on. In December 1995, Lukas Muller of the Basler Zeitung wrote: "Ever since their first concert the boys from this Basel Band have stood out?Harmonic, fast sound with meaningful lyrics." But the first major step came in December ’97 when the Band won a contest sponsored by Avcom, beating out 93 other bands. Avcom took Mostly Harmless under contract soon thereafter, and, in early 1998, they released their first album, "Superartificial". "Superartificial" was a success for Mostly Harmless, generating positive response both from their fans as well as the critics. Marko Lehtinen wrote in the Basler Zeitung, "?the style is fresh and impressive, the songwriting versatile and the production is top-notch—a good start." Daniel Anishaenslin wrote that the music is, "Fast as a Leopard, strong as an ox, sometimes soaring as majestically as an eagle: the Mostly Harmless guitar-hurricane really lets the thunder roar!" After only a few short months the CD had sold its first pressing, and a second edition had to be ordered. Numerous songs were released on international samplers in the US, Sweden and Germany. The 20-date tour that followed Superartificial’s release brought the all-important stage experience and routine that now shows in Mostly Harmless’ solidly professional stage presence. The band gives more than everything onstage and they always manage to get the crowd involved in the mayhem.
After "Superartificial" the band wanted to record again, this time with a rawer and more dynamic production. It brought the band to Seattle, birthplace of the Grunge movement. Under the careful guidance of Scott Ross the band recorded their latest offering of eleven songs. "Iconoclast" brings the Mostly Harmless dynamism to critical mass. The chemistry between Scott Ross and the band proved so fertile, that it seems the entire being of the band has been pressed to compact disc. "Iconoclast" is more than just one step forward. The sound has tightened and ripened and takes its inspiration from the Seattle Sound.
The question remains whether a rock band from Basel can make it outside their little country. The answer is a definite "yes."