Tag Archives: Motorik

Follakzoid live at Soup Kitchen 18.05.2017

Follakzoid are the real deal.

Chile’s finest krautrock band rolled into Manchester as part of their tour and played a sold out Soup Kitchen last night.

The set starts with a simple repetitive bleeping of ants-in-your-pants electronics, to start the rhythm going in your head and cast aside the outside world. When the rhythm section finally kicks in you’re already nodding your head, you’re already in the zone. Follakzoid are slave to the groove. They have melded their motorik pulse beat to a dance ethos, and like, Radar Men From The Moon, have arrived at a point where psychedelic meets trance. This is the purest distillation of dance music. Noise distilled to its simplest essence, acquiring a raw brutality on the way. 10 minutes later and you’re drunk on the music, grinning inanely. You keep expecting the song to come to an end, for the fun to stop, but it keeps going, understanding that enjoyment should never be curtailed. When it does wind down you’re dumbstruck.

The drumming makes a massive difference. Most motoric drumming is clipped, subtle and smooth, ready for the autobahn. This is tribal and sweaty. Here is a drummer who powers through the song. He’s like the guy who would beat the rhythm in a Sunday afternoon movie when the hero has been sold into slavery and forced into the bottom of a galleon.

The bass is a huge rubbery twang, so visceral you can almost see the air moving in waves. It’s a lot like Peter Hook’s circa Closer.

This leaves space for the guitar, which adds decoration. Sometimes it’s the oddest reggae style scratches, other times impenetrable squalls of pedal abuse. Strange sharp noises resound.

Follakzoid played 3 songs in what could have been 50 minutes. It could have been a couple of days, maybe a week. Time became irrelevant. Who cares about time when you’re throwing shapes to the psychedelic equivalent of The Shamen?

Groove as pleasure.

https://follakzoid.bandcamp.com

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Minami Deutsch – S/T (2015)

Minami Deutsch: krautrock so rough around the edges it bleeds a guttural punk aesthetic. This is motorik, but instead of a placid, serene journey this is more of a dirty back alley fumble. This is music that clatters more than it shimmers; each fetid bass twang and dustbin lid thump of the drums being a tangible presence in the room.

That’s not to say the music is loose. The strict 4/4 of motorik is present and correct but the accent is fuzzier. Not cut from as the same cloth as motorik then, but certainly torn from it.

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‘Vocalism Ai’ kicks your doors in with a growling Public Image showdown: tube train bass rumble and acid rain guitar. ‘Terra Recipe’ offers a few rays of dappling sunshine from a sparking guitar while the bass scurries through the undergrowth.

‘Ubergleich Pt 1’ emits a live-wire guitar to produce an energetic piece of kraut-dance. ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ does what it says on the tin, being a near flawless imitation of a Neu! / Harmonia landscape. ‘Ubergleich Pt 2’ with vocals that spookily channels Damo Suzuki becomes an infectious brew while the rumble threatens to bust your speakers.

It’s not a perfect album, even by motorik standards it’s fairly one-dimensional and the second track, ‘Futsu Ni Ikirenai’, weighing in at 9 minutes, outstays it’s welcome.

Flawed but charming, Minami Deutsch is an endearing, shaggy dog tale of motorik. Like adopting a robotic weasel: precise it may be, but watch your fingers…

Click to taste

Available here http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/product/minami-deutsch-s-t-white-vinyl

Water of Life – Water Of Life LP (2015)

Anyone who digs the outré may want to get their shovel out for Water Of Life. This is a fairly unique project built on the premise of making music from field recordings made of the water that flows through Edinburgh.

The following passage from Water Of Life’s bandcamp page explains further:

Recordings made with hydrophone, ambient and contact microphone recordings of rivers, spring houses, manhole covers, pub barrel rooms, pipelines and taps are mixed with the peals and drones of 1960s transistor organs, harmoniums, Swedish micro-synths, drum machines and iPads: a blend of the natural and unnatural; modern and antiquated; hi-fi and lo-fi. Drum beats were sampled from underwater recordings, and reverbs created using the convolution reverb technique to recreate the sonic space of different bodies of water.

Many of the sounds collected around Edinburgh and used to make the record are available on a sound map here:

www.edinburghwateroflife.org/sound-map/.

So, Tommy Perman and Rob St John have been out, captured sounds and manipulated their finding into a delightful album called Water Of Life.

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The music is generally ambient but one of the great strengths is that the music isn’t aimless and meandering, there is generally the pulse of rhythm ticking along. This isn’t just background music, this is music you can tune yourself into.

Another great strength of the album is its brevity. That isn’t a backhanded compliment, if this album were to be a couple of hours long the appeal would be lost. But this is a snappy 30-ish minutes that is just right to listen to while you have a brew, a biscuit and read a few pages of your current book. Having the discipline to keep songs short is much to their credit.

The intro piece, ‘Sources and Springs’ starts fairly demurely with a little too much emphasis on running water. Let’s face it, we’ve heard it all before. Even sodding Oasis did it.

‘Comiston Springs Water House’ is where things get interesting. What sounds like a harmonium is contrasted with all manner of gurgling and flushing. A rather comical, insistent gait keeps momentum up and the end result is hypnotic.

‘Oxgangs Elegy’ takes a post rock path with a lonely passage of organic drone.

‘Abercrombie 1949’; chirping, pastoral and bucolic this would feel at home on John Cale’s seminal Paris 1919.

‘Lost Loch’s is the longest track here, weighing in at a shade over 8 minutes. Starting slowly, a trickle of water turns into gush. What sounds like delicate Vini Reilly-esque guitar arrives. Meditative organ drones underpin the affair.

‘Liquid City’ pushes a motorik groove and dance-floor keys. In both sound and vision this is pure Kraftwerk and make no mistake, you could dance to this.

(While we’re on the subject of motorik music and civil amenities, Warm Digit’s album Interchange based on the building of the Newcastle Metro is highly recommended).

Click to listen to ‘Liquid City’

The ghostly voices of ‘The Shelleycoat’ take the album off in yet another direction as we hear a children’s song about a watery spirit.

‘Seafield Sewage Works’ closes the album with a downbeat, distorted buzz. Once clear, the music is now dirtied and rusty. And with that Water Of Life vanishes…

The variety of songs on here belies the ‘ambient’ tag and the stuffy connotations that the concept may arise. More than anything the music is fascinating and left me eager to know more, not just about the making of the album but the themes and concepts that the artists explore, particularly about the sequencing of Water Of Life.

Maybe the best reason to buy this album is that it exists.

https://wateroflife.bandcamp.com

Caudal – Ascension (2014)

As we all know, the hardest substance known to man is groove. Berlin band Caudal build their colossal mountain of sound on a groove so vast and steel reinforced you would need dynamite by the tonne to stop them in their tracks.

Over 40 minutes long but consisting just 3 tracks, Caudal’s album Ascension lives up to its name, taking the listener higher and higher into a realm of total submission.

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Let’s start with ‘Uprise’ (click to listen) …

Imagine Joy Division’s ‘Shadowplay’ boiled down to a groove then served with a gusto that makes Hawkwind look like daisy pickin’ hippies.

The bass is surprisingly subtle and mellow; it soothes as it much as it slams. Yet the unrelenting charge of the groove is irresistible. The guitar offers chiming, sharp signals; not riffs but carefully balanced transmissions.

Past 8 minutes and the groove is beginning to wane, struggling to maintain momentum as the guitar takes control with waves of effects; shimmering and colliding, strobing, power overload. At 10 minutes, dreamy desolation. Shoegaze torpor. From a Slowdive swirl, jazzy drums operate on the periphery. We’re adrift, no sign of an end. Then, past 14 minutes… bass is spotted, offering succour and providing a course to pastures new. Slowly the guitar regains its strength and grows again; it’s simplicity providing yet more power to the rejuvenated bottom end.

‘Slow Bow’ is a bit more sunshine and love. Taking its cues from the ambient end (i.e. the Brian Eno end) of krautrock. a fragile jangling guitar takes the lead, not a million miles away from a ketamine version of the guitar on Crowded House’s ‘Weather With You’ (no, seriously). There’s also a plaintiff hint of The Durutti Column and the pagan psych of The Blue Orchids.

Constantly dissolving and nebulous; all manner of wafting oddities drop by for your attention. In some respects, the album shares some qualities with the soundtrack to the movie Master & Commander, where classical bombast meets forlorn listlessness. The mysterious noises presented by the guitar and it’s pedal board grown and grow until all that remains is a miasma; trying to discern identifiable shapes in a blizzard of static.

‘451S2’ continues the album’s jellyfish-like journey until life returns.  Drums kick back in with a clattering 4/4, the bass is deep and thudding, hard and chunky as earthenware. This tracks clocks in at under 6 minutes. rather a paltry amount considering the length of its brother tracks, making this more of an outro piece.

Caudal have a F1 engine where a rhythm section should be. Combining the power and dynamism of space rock with the sleek fluidity of motorik, this is everything a growing boy needs.

A remarkable journey through space. Purchase your ticket immediately.

Fonez – Adhesivo De Contacto Espacial EP (2014)

Coming from a working class background my mentality is that if there is something going for free, get it, no matter what it is. However, there is more than being totally free that recommends  this belting EP by Fonez, hailing from Cordoba in Argentina.

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‘Nola’ is New Order all the way from the deep rumbling bass to toothpick guitar and precision drums. It all comes together to suggest what could have happened if New Order’s album Republic was any good. It’s a stunning, glorious start to the record.

‘Pseudofedrina’ has lilting guitars and chirping Inspiral Carpets-esque keyboards.

From this point the album settles down into motorik territory. ‘Inhalar’ and ‘Tosco’ are pure Neu! with glacial bass glide and shards of low-key guitar.

‘Super Eko’ has a simple, child-like electronic melody and sunshine temperament that is reminiscent of the Super Furry Animals.

Click to listen to the EP and get a copy. It’s free… you can’t not get a copy.

Jane Weaver – The Silver Globe (2014)

Genre hopping chanteuse Jane Weaver returned in 2014 with her sixth album, The Silver Globe. Working in the music industry for 20 years with Kill Laura, Misty Dixon and as solo artist, soundtrack composer and Bird records head honcho. The Silver Globe could well be the point in which Jane’s talents are brought to wider knowledge.

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‘Argent’ purrs into life with engines constructed by Neu! – a luxurious, silky smooth motorik beat. Thin, choppy guitar cuts the air like a diamond plated rotor. This provides the void-cruising capacity of space rock, but add glorious brass and the result is a quixotic delight to make you drool. The Hawkwind sampling ‘Electric Mountain’ offers twanging guitars while blissed out synths hover like strung out starfish. ‘Don’t Take My Soul’ is a wonky tune of lopsided bass and hummingbird guitar. Jane’s vocals float like a cat wearing helium slippers, the overall effect not a million miles from the summer dub of Peaking Lights. ‘Mission Desire’ boasts gloopy bass and what sounds suspiciously like wah-wah guitar…

The motorik / space rock tunes are a silky joy: feline and luxurious. Shapely and beholden to the groove, these songs are careful, yet up-for-fun. Combining a talent for pop melody with the intention of making people dance with this is divine stuff.

Meanwhile, ‘Arrows’ tinkles like a fragile, bejewelled variant of ‘Left And Right Of The Moon’ by The Warlocks. Jane’s vocals call plaintively on the wind as subdued instrumentation floats around like a disenfranchised ghost. ‘Cells’ is windswept, keys driven folk which shimmers and flutters. The acoustic guitar plucking of ‘Stealing Gold’ is a precision tool of exposed mechanics. Deconstructed pop from ‘If Only We Could Be In Love’ sees parpings worthy of Clinic, plus sweeping tones and insectoid electronics. To pitch ‘Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary’ is to cast an image of Nico singing lulalbies backed by The Slits. Clattering drums fight the best efforts of the piano to turn this into an uplifting ballad.

These songs have a rare fragility and beauty; kaleidoscopic entrails of a cracked Faberge egg. Dreamy, woozy, folk-y; stirred up and served like a cold cocktail on a warm day.

A treat.

The Lucid Dream live at The Roadhouse 14.02.15

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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From the opening salvo of ‘Mona Lisa’ the Lucid Dream yet again show that they just keep improving, even when their last show suggests this to be an impossibility. The song is an epic motorik slab with a breakneck pace, giving way to swaying releases of energy. All told its a cross between Neu!, Beethoven and a nuclear sub going critical. They could have walked on stage, played this for an hour, then left and I would have been happy, such is the power of the hypnotic groove.

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A brand new song was premiered tonight and again shows the band spreading their wings in new directions. This new song is a slow, 1950s-esque love song but spun through their trademark wall of noise sound. Captivating, I cant wait to see how this little gem grows.

The wailing, cataclysmic dub centrepiece continues to grow like a vast, tentacled underwater beast… The dub siren will burrow it’s way into your mind and rip your nervous system to pieces.

Click for melodica fun

Calling card ‘Sweet Hold On Me’ once again was the star of the show, a 10 minute epic of stellar explosions fused with a gasping rhythmic intensity. Brutal.

Click to watch ‘Sweet Hold On Me’ live

The cool thing about The Lucid Dream is that the focus is always shifting: sometimes it is all about Mark and Wayne’s guitar agony / ecstasy, sometimes it is Mike’s dub-wise bass. Tonight though the star was drummer Luke – a whirlwind of noise, an absolute hurricane. It was a masterclass.

The sequencing of their set is divine. The hour is conceived as such with each song flowing into the next and building the overall picture and momentum.

The Empire State Building of psych.