ZEITKRATZER / SVETLANA SPAJIC / DRAGANA TOMIC / OBRAD MILIC: Serbian War Songs LP/CD Karlrecords/Zeitkratzer Productions

ZEITKRATZER / SVETLANA SPAJIC / DRAGANA TOMIC / OBRAD MILIC: Serbian War Songs    LP/CD  Karlrecords/Zeitkratzer Productions

The long enduring ensemble Zeitkratzer, pump out release after release either as their own collective, or with (as here) other artists that linger around the same musical causes they inhibit.

As the title suggests, this is an album of ‘Serbian War Songs’; which incidentally are from World War One.  None of which are easy on the ear.

Zeitkratzer let the songs play out vocally (I assume from their collaborators), whilst they provide a barrage of noise and bombastic orchestral instrumentation.  In short, the end result is a ludicrously insane mass of warbling and the aural equivalent of insanity.

Underneath all of this, I am sure there is a homage to fallen comrades and whatnot, which is easy to derive from the album, even if I don’t speak Serbian.  I am sure it is well meaning; but I would have preferred the musical element on its own, as it is all a trifle too much to bear.

Kudos has to be given for this venture, even if it all becomes unlistenable.  The production is second to none (as with all Zeitkratzer material), but it’s all a little too much to swallow as a whole album, no matter how well it has been orchestrated.



ZEITKRATZER: Perform songs from Kraftwerk and Kraftwerk 2 LP/CD Karlrecords/Zeitkratzer Productions

ZEITKRATZER: Perform songs from Kraftwerk and Kraftwerk 2      LP/CD    Karlrecords/Zeitkratzer Productions

Yes, it’s the ensemble Zeitkratzer once again playing homage to another well-respected artist.  This time, it’s those electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk.

Without an electronic instrument in sight, Zeitkratzer cover classics, such as ‘Ruckzuck’, Klingklang’ and ‘Strom’ as well as others; with clarinet, trombone, double bass and a whole host of other orchestral instrumentation.  It’s truly barking mad, but it’s also a wonder to behold, making complete sense to revisit some of Kraftwerk’s classics, via a different medium.

Sometimes, Reinhold Friedl’s Zeitkratzer over perform.  In the past they have fallen short occasionally with their interpretations of others’ work.  However, with this latest output, they have remained respectful to the original tracks and indeed, with an artist of such high calibre; anything less would have been a disaster.

If you are a fan of Kraftwerk, I urge you to hunt this one out.  Devoid of any synthesizer as this is; it’s still a playful and enjoyable interpretation that is worthy of your time.  If anything, it made me smile.


ZEITKRATZER-REINHOLD FRIEDL: Kore LP/CD Karlrecords / Zeitkratzer Productions


ZEITKRATZER-REINHOLD FRIEDL: Kore  LP/CD Karlrecords / Zeitkratzer Productions

Directed by Reinhold Friedl, the ensemble simply known as Zeitkratzer, continue on their never-ending quest to produce interpretations of others’ work, the best example of this being the ‘Whitehouse’ album.

Zeitkratzer have a string of awards under their belt; and having being exposed to much of their work they have a heck of a lot to be proud of. Audacious as they are though, sometimes it simply doesn’t work; and ‘Kore’ is one of those moments where this would have best been kept to the live arena.

A noisy affair and a wreckage of collapsing Jazz instrumentation that grinds and explodes, screeches and crashes; there is a lot that could be said about this album if it wasn’t so pointless and unlistenable.


ZEITKRATZER+KEIJI HAINO: Stockhausen LP/CD Karlrecords / Zeitkratzer Productions


ZEITKRATZER+KEIJI HAINO: Stockhausen LP/CD Karlrecords / Zeitkratzer Productions

This is the second album I have heard in collaboration between the ensemble and Haino. A quieter affair than their collective last output, this concentrates on a formula that filters through as droning Dark Ambient for the most part.

Haino as expected, growls and grimaces vocally throughout the mix. A respected noise artist in his own right, it is of no surprise the gloomy trenches he drags Zeitkratzer into; and indeed a realm of oddity, that to be fair seems utterly pointless sometimes.

Where they excel on this release, is when the instrumentation is allowed to flow and ebb away with inky black fluidity. These moments however are few and far between and a lot of the time, a lot of what falls from the speakers is nothing but prolonged gasps of air.

My patience has finally given way with Zeitkratzer and their varying partners in crime. I have a few releases by these guys that are genuinely worth investing some of your time in; and apart from a few brief moments, this isn’t one of them.


ZEITKRATZER: Column One: Entropium LP/CD Karlrecords / Zeitkratzer Productions


ZEITKRATZER: Column One: Entropium LP/CD Karlrecords / Zeitkratzer Productions

I have been avidly watching Zeitkratzer roll along with their many interpretations of other artists’ work by their ensemble for some time. These have often produced mixed results; and in all honesty I have enjoyed releases where they have covered music I actually like, which I guess is to be expected.

I have always appreciated Column One, who have managed over the years to keep themselves relevant, with an array of contributors that kept their line up fresh. With such a lengthy catalogue there is much work that Zeitkratzer could have approached; yet here we have 5 collaborative efforts, which are now seeing the light of day for the first time since they were recorded during the Maerzmusik festival of 2012.

Overall the end result is that of a steady, if not over engaging wall of Musique Concrète (which is personally a genre I cannot stand, in any shape or form), but it is done with a modicum of skill, that should appeal to aficionados. I appreciate track 3 ‘Vilde Navarseke’, which suitably massaged my penchant for Dark Ambient, with its rumbling inky backdrop of colliding rich strings, amongst raining percussion.

My interest hasn’t wavered, but once again there is here another of Zeitkratzer’s works that I will only give a passing glance to, mainly due to my own personal preferences.


ZEITKRATZER + KEIJI HAINO: Live at Jahrhunderthalle Bochum CD Zeitkratzer Productions


ZEITKRATZER + KEIJI HAINO: Live at Jahrhunderthalle Bochum         CD  Zeitkratzer Productions

Reinhold Friedl and his cohorts return with electronic artist Keiji Haino; this time though, no electronics are involved and concentrated efforts on his part are focussed on his vocals only. Over six tracks, madness ensues as Haino screeches and screams illegible rants and guttural growls and to be fair, he does have many a range (if not bordering on the ridiculous).

For their part, Zeitkratzer provide a monstrous roar of percussion and instrumentation, which sound tremendous on tracks such as ‘Smaschine’; where rumbling tympani thunder through with Industrial ferocity. Counterbalancing the extreme, ‘Roses’ saunters along in haunting fashion, with a peculiar mix of orchestration that comes across as a bastardised fairy tail.

As a colliding mass of the frantic and insane, this album recorded live in Bochum is a horrific transition of talent so ultimately ludicrous; that all but a few can possibly appreciate it or recognise the skills and tools available to this 9 member strong ensemble. In a live environment however I could quite imagine this going down a storm.

As usual with all Zeitkratzer releases I encounter, I have to appreciate the work that goes into the final product, even if they never make the repeat journey back to my hi-fi.


ZEITKRATZER: Whitehouse CD Zeitkratzer Productions


ZEITKRATZER: Whitehouse CD Zeitkratzer Productions

William Bennett’s Whitehouse are one of those legendary acts that have been terrorising music circles for years. I am a fan of most of their output and adore later albums such as ‘Cruise’ and the follow up ‘Bird Seed’, showcasing one of my favourite tracks by the outfit, ‘Why You Never became a Dancer’.

Bennett appears as a guest on this, what is effectively a covers album; and the extreme electronics have been replaced with horns, piano, violin harmonics and percussion, as well as other instrumentation. It’s safe to say this will only appeal to Whitehouse fanatics who will surely revel in other interpretations of William’s work.

Rumbling toms open up an industrialised and acoustically echoed shuddering of tempered noise, allowing the vocals of Bennett a new clarity; and what happens next is where the true genius lies. The multiple collaboration of conjoined orchestral instrumentation, sound as electronic as the original ‘Daddo’ in part; whilst the amplified string scrapings, unbelievably are as visceral as the original output.

‘White Whip’ in its new form, takes on a more resonating ambient tone whilst ‘Foreplay’ sounds purely demonic, with guttural voices and string sections reacting like the bows are becoming slowly frayed; melding into a hellish and ear splitting ‘Incest’. ‘Fanatics’ ends this tip of the hat to one of the UK’s best outputs of noise, as warped Dark Ambient tones are interrupted with hisses and scratches of sound, that are as unnerving as they are mind-boggling.

I have to applaud the Zeitkratzer ensemble for attempting such a project. Whitehouse have never been easy on the ear and these five tracks are not necessarily the best example of Bennett’s work. However, there is much on here that will appeal to the hardcore fan; and for that alone, this album is a necessary collectors piece.


ZEITKRATZER: Lou Reed Metal Machine Music CD Zeitkratzer Productions


ZEITKRATZER: Lou Reed Metal Machine Music CD Zeitkratzer Productions

It’s certainly an ambitious task for Reinhold Friedl’s to cover and interpret Lou Reed’s classic; in fact it’s downright dangerous and for that they have to be commended. Here Friedl directs his nine piece mini orchestra into re-working the album into four 16-minute-plus tracks (the same as Reed) and if the original wasn’t avant-garde enough in the first place, they certainly add to it.

I have to admit now, that I have only heard snippets of Lou’s double album that deeply split opinion when it was released way back. However from the offset it’s obvious that a lot of attention has been paid in making sure this isn’t some ridiculously tedious pretentious act; and in many respects, homage has been paid to Reed now that he is deceased.

Reinhold has cleverly utilised the tools at his disposal, isolating instrumentation so that each offering carefully mimics its counterpart to a tee. Strings have the closest overtones to the guitar, the noise fill-ins are produced by percussive elements and wind instruments create a generous amount of feedback. All in all, like the original, it is a somewhat noisy affair.

To be fair, when approaching this release, it isn’t going to be because it’s enjoyable to listen to. If this say had been an album not conceptually released and was original work from the artist, there would be a lot to slate it for; however, given the time taken to construct and orchestrate such a mammoth task I am torn on how to score this as a whole.

If you are one of those collectors who love re-productions of classic works this could be for you. I would add though that there is a DVD release of this in full and most likely (I haven’t seen it) this would be more beneficial. I have to let my head rule my heart on this one and whilst I am not going to slate it (much kudos for the effort), being an actual listener of music it’s likely I will never play this again.