THE COCOON: While the Recording Engineer Sleeps LP/CD Staubgold

thecocoon

THE COCOON: While the Recording Engineer Sleeps LP/CD Staubgold

This is the first ever re-issue of The Cocoon’s 1985 psychedelic German supergroup of sorts; featuring legendary (for his scene) Jazz composer Gunter Hampel.

Vocally, there is much akin to Lou Reed and his stint in the Velvet Underground; indeed there is more of smattering stylistically in the music stakes too. It all makes for a mix, which will be for purists only; and as a genre it isn’t something that I personally enjoy, even it is inoffensive by and large.

By its very nature, ‘While the Recording Engineer Sleeps’ sounds invariably older than the decade it was created in; and even more out of touch now in the 21st century. Vibraphones, Flute, bass clarinet all make an appearance; and this trippy excursion into all things fantastical is on a par with a lucid LSD binge.

The Cocoon have ensured that the up to date mastering does a lot for modern Hi-Fi and everything sounds clear and concise. As stated before, there is nothing wrong with the songs themselves; however, this is just not for me.

7/10

DENNIS YOUNG: Reel to Real LP/CD Staubgold

dennisyoung

DENNIS YOUNG: Reel to Real LP/CD Staubgold

Young is a percussionist who is best known for his tenure with 80’s NYC artists LIQUID LIQUID. ‘Reel to Real’ is a collection of his unreleased solo recordings between 1982-1983.

Opener, ‘Big Room’ kicks off the proceedings with an array of riotous drumming as I expected; reverberated and delayed vocals are belted out over the top; reminiscent of old school Industrial; creating a welcome nostalgia.

‘Gravitation’ drives an underlying Cabaret Voltaire ethos into the mix, regardless of being devoid of any instrumentation bar percussion and vocals; and by the time the electronics appear on ‘Panic in the Air’, the influences switch to a more Throbbing Gristle visceral display of madness.

From acoustically led ballads to Krautrock meanderings, there is much on this release to appease those that listen to a variety of genres that pre-date 1985; even Reggae and Dub influences make an appearance. Young’s age does show (as does the production), but through it all shines a torch for styles from a yesteryear that for some people like myself, doesn’t feel as though it was that long ago.

Overall, the gritty tape-recording production values add weight to the release; and whilst in reality this isn’t the most ground breaking of releases (even for its time), it is thoroughly enjoyable as a trip down memory lane; where the rawness and D.I.Y edge to the sound, gives the album much more creative value.

8/10

KAMMERFLIMMER KOLLEKTIEF: Désarroi LP/CD Staubgold

kammerflimmer

KAMMERFLIMMER KOLLEKTIEF: Désarroi   LP/CD Staubgold

KK have been doing the rounds for a while now and ‘Désarroi’ is their tenth in total, which is no mean feat.

Opener ‘Mayhem’ builds on a Free Jazz base; and whilst this might not immediately make you chomp at the bit, this four-piece have a few surprises up their sleeves. Whilst the instrumentation falls and stumbles haphazardly, there is a glue to the track in the form of synth, which stabilises the chaos brilliantly.

Atmospherics are the order of the day; and each instrument is systematically relevant in producing its own ambience and being. The basses are rich, the guitars reverberate with mild overdrive and harmonies drone and soar amongst a bedrock of percussion.

Subtle programming techniques warp the string instrumentation; and the welcome inclusions of backwards bows add an even flow and sea in which the listener can sail across. There are the more obscure numbers on here, which won’t sit well with some, as they didn’t with me and sometimes KK do have a tendency to just get wrapped up in themselves too much. However, more often than not there is much on here to be come engrossed in should your patience hold out.

7.8/10

KLANGWART: Transit LP/CD Staubgold

klangwart

KLANGWART: Transit   LP/CD Staubgold

With an 18-year career to fall on experience, Avant-Garde electronic duo Markus Detmer and Timo Reuber return with 9 tracks that move on from the Neo-Krautrock edge, whilst displaying tinges of previous influences that helped them formulate a healthy fanbase.

The blissful ambient openings of ‘Ante’ soar into the psychedelic pulses of ‘Passage I’, with low-end rumbles gradually lifted above the electronics as skittish pads and wire-like grit threads its way through the mix.

In contrast, ‘Express’ revels in past influences and is an altogether heavier affair that combines modern day trance sensibilities filtered through raging full on Hawkwind structured mechanics and pace. This is equalised out in contrast with the frantic experimentalism of ‘Station’; which is more of an interlude than an actual song.

The title track fuses airy ambient pads that meld into the most surprising moment of the album. A fusion of dub infused tribalism that takes an altogether more Industrial slant, clawing with a well ground-in dirt that grabs the listener by the throat and shakes them to the core. Again, Klangwart counter this with something completely different in the form of ‘Plateau’; an ambient number that hides a threatening psychosis amongst its pleasantries.

Whilst ‘Passage II’ carries on from where its partner in crime left off, ‘Exile’ mixes elements of them both into a sea of developing sounds that gradually tumble over themselves as to form a rhythm without any actual beats; and dissipates just when you think everything’s about to kick off.

Closer, ‘Rendezvous’ picks up the baton left on the ground by the title track and melds everything previously explored on the release amongst a wall of bastardised trance and furious complexities. Detmer and Reuber have created here, an album that revels in past glories and brings it forward with an uncompromising modernity; and who thought Krautrock could sound so good?

9/10