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14 September 2017

Kreidler:
European Song (Bureau B)

German
four-piece Kreidler has been slowly and steadily working on their own
specific style of music since the mid-90s, always instrumental and
mining the history of countrymen like Neu!, working in a space that’s
loosely shared by other electro-acoustic hybrid projects like Elektro Guzzi
or To Rococo Rot (to very different ends). Their focus on rhythm and
grooves has evolved over time from a clearer dub influence to more
varied approaches, and European Song finds the quartet working in
full spontaneity. They shelved an already completed new album for
Bureau B to work from their viscera in response to the surprising and
disappointing results of the 2016 U.S. Election, and the five cuts
that comprise European Song are a from-the-gut, instinctive reaction
from their perspective as Europeans. Out of the gate, “Boots” has
something immediately compelling about it, with its trebly percussive
details accentuating its big fat bass. Its languid groove and
slightly ominous synth refrain reflect the malaise that fueled these
sessions, setting the stage for the more urgent bass hook of
“Kannibal.” It persists for nearly six minutes, anchored by that
hook and adorned with hovering sawtooth pads and crisp percussive
details.

The album’s arc works well, with “Coulées” in the
center even more agitated than the preceding cuts. It’s built around
a nervous refrain of sorts, with its drums and details bustling like
the din of a busy crowd. They reserve their most ambitious sprawls
for the last two tracks, starting with the dizzying percussive melee
of “Radio Island,” wherein metallic percussion runs circles
around the band’s staggered bass and kick groove, like Liquid Liquid
infused with some dubby and techy low end. There are some fine
details that deliver with more attentive listening: I especially like
its wet, distorted syncopation that comes through more clearly around
eight minutes in, while a tiny melodic flourish sounds overhead
periodically like a faint call to action. “No God” is as final a
statement as any Kreidler could make with this outing, denouncing
religion in the title (I’ve no doubt they’re calling out Trump’s
complete bullshit position as a suddenly pious political figure) and
configuring its urgent arrangement around a dissonant, staccato
synth-voice stab, chorused and detuned while its drums persist. It’s
the appropriately swirling finale to an album that serves as a
reaction to global political confusion and uncertainty. While
Kreidler are not likely going to affect political change with their
instrumental jams, their discontent shines through with a loose
confidence and bravado, a distinctly Euro take on the upset of
American politics in the last year. They continue to excel in their
combination of traditional band instrumentation and more electronic
effects and details, and European Song is a solid entry in their
continually expanding repertoire.

Buy it: Tapete / Bureau B Shop

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