Trensmat Records is rapidly becoming my label of the year. Having released GNOD in their Dwellings and Druss formation [review], they’ve now delivered one of the most stupendously intense albums of the last six months in the shape of Whirling Hall of Knive’s Devisions.
This intensity is composed through God-forsaken dirty krautscuzz (‘Wraith/Donn Amokk’ and ‘9xReal’), sustained minimal rhythmic tones (‘Tapheslip’) and fearful buzzdrone (‘Immureme’). Conspicuous in its glow of brilliance is ‘Alternate Devil (Dvaita)’: a ritual melt of scorching and searing fuzz, oblivion pulverized drums and throbbing haze which sounds like the band seeking salvation through noise from eternal damnation. Final track ‘Lonclusion’ threatens to tear out innards and fry them with its fiery and burning electronics.
This is the sort of soul music that might actually deliver on its promise of deliverance and redemption. ‘Devisions’ is a singularly immersive and powerful experience.
‘Alternate Devil (Tamas)’:
From their 2011 release Green Glow Bridge/Red Glow Bridge:
And from a 7” back in 2010:
One of the slight drawbacks of Kontakte’s last album was the lack of motorik rhythms that made something really special of their former release. On discovering that one member, Neil Rudd, has left the band and formed Eat Lights; Become Lights, and after consuming the delights of Autopia, the reasons for this have become apparent (I think. The Great God of Google won’t tell me if this is the exact sequence of events, but it seems to make sense). So this is a contemporary motorik release that is unashamedly obvious in its influences (the band have been described at London based Klub Motorik’s ‘house band’).
If you’re going to do something with such an evident lineage then you’d better get it right – and Eat Lights; Become Lights get it spot on. With its sparkling and propulsive guitars and synths, ever forward pulsing rhythms and effortless melodies, Autopia evokes a velocity and movement that befits those modernist dreams of untrammelled mobility and freedom to which the motorik sound pays homage. As so composed, Eat Lights provide a soundtrack to those almost forgotten utopic visions of efficient travel, wherein concrete shone bright, tarmac glistened with hope and motorway services had the aura and mystique of orbiting space stations.
Jetpacks might not be included, but if you want a semi-nostalgic trip to the past-future Autopia is worth tracking down. Buy it here. And read The Quietus’ excellent article on all things motorik here when you’ve done purchasing.
It seems I’ve had an eleven year hiatus from Kreidler. I own the Düsseldorfian three (or four) piece’s 2000 eponymous album, but somehow don’t have anything earlier or in-between. And judging by the quality of Tank this is something I need to remedy.
Kreidler are masters at layering sounds over the course of a track with all manner of cybernetic throbs (both dark and ethereal), bass pulses (funky or marching) and rhythms (stomping or complex) being introduced and built into the mix. In the hands of others this strategy would no doubt result in something god-awfully messy and muddled; Kreidler’s dexterity and precision is revealed by the fact you can still discern a lone opening sound at the end of a track when many more have been introduced. And this sense of control doesn’t hinder pleasure but instead supplies something beautiful and rewarding.
Listening to Kreidler (like To Rococo Rot and others) is to be made aware of a Krautrock and German electronic heritage without having it shoved repeatedly in your face via the means of a direct copying. And for this reason alone I entrust Tank to your listening lists.
Purchase Tank here
There’s a question I just can’t answer: why is it I love analogue synthesizers so much? I really don’t know why, but I’m an absolute sucker for the sound of these things. Maybe it’s memories of the sound of the future when I was a kid? Maybe it’s a subliminal influence of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and Delia Derbyshire on my listening, before I knew who or what they were? Whatever the answer, I fall for them every time.
That’s why I’m currently loving Eine Kleine Nacht Musik’s eponymous album – it’s chocked full of wires and transistors housed in retro-futurist boxes that look like pieces of G-plan furniture. Sitting somewhere amongst a musical Venn diagram of Kraut/Motorik, Kraftwerk, Harmonia, Raymond Scott and, when the rhythms are ratcheted up, more modern outings like Add N to X, Eine Kleine Nacht Musik is all highly engineered hover-cars, jet-packs and extraterrestrial Autobahns. The only downside is some nicely played but trying-to-hard-to-be-trippy sitar action here and there (especially on ‘Die Fontane’).
And in turns out that Eine Kleine is Henry Smithson (also known as Riton) who once worked in Fat City Records here in Manc. This piece of minor trivia was only discovered on a post-purchase Last.fm search having already been into said outlet to see if they had the album earlier in the day…which they didn’t. For a whole series of prejudiced reasons I usually avoid Fat City. Perhaps it’s time to open my eyes and de-cloth the ears and pay more attention to what’s going on therein. This certainly should be the case if Eine Kleine is anything to go by.
You live and learn and then you croak, but on the way you’re given pleasure by little gems like this.
Re-hydrate your lunch and float off to buy it here