Güiro Meets Russia
SPAIN VERLAG SYSTEM VS011 CD (2016)
Nice, heady German Kosmische/Progressive-flavoured synth-gush on offer here. Plaudits and acclaim for that from me, straightaway. Of course the big names like Faust, Can and Neu! are massively influential and their varied mythologies are attractive to those of a certain age, myself included. If I make overt and unnecessary references to Ash Ra Tempel, Cosmic Jokers, Popol Vuh, Cluster, Amon Duul and similar others during the course of this review I apologise – I read Future Days, David Stubbs’ overview of the 1970s German progressive scene, recently. So I’ll try to control myself. This Spanish duo’s own press release states their interests as “…IDM, Cold Wave, Synth Pop and Kosmische Music…” I don’t get the Cold Wave reference as much as the Kosmische, but it’s good to hear younger practitioners of this type of music; like Jupiter Lion or – perhaps more tenuously – one of my favourite young bands at the moment; Ulrika Spacek. These days, even some of the remaining old psyche favourites are made up of young musicians these days, take Nik Turner’s Inner City Unit, Faust (both versions), or perhaps Gong, who seem to be currently made up of people who weren’t even born in the seventies, let alone the sixties. No matter. There’s a suitably urgent start to this cosmic banana. “Rootless” is just that – a kind of exhilarating, rudderless plunge into wild, arpeggiated, motorik territory. The title track is built around a relentless home-entertainment keyboard drum preset, while woozy synth pads waver in pitch by one or two percent. Chiming melody gives way to celestial, decellerating sirens. The third track, “Die Reise” displays Güiro Meets Russia’s most obvious krautrock influences, but that’s no problem for me; I’m in just the right kind of mood for it. “The Possibility Of An Island” is more laid-back with its 4/4 mid-tempo rhythm and great swells of synthesiser. Things proceed in this way for an appropriate duration until finally, to finish things off, GMR move into more relaxed Gong or Hillage territory with “Deus ex Machina”. Something new for Steve Davis’ DJ-ing record box for sure. But who are GMR? I don’t know – I’ve spent longer than was probably wise trawling the interweb in order to try to find out – but all to no avail. It doesn’t matter. Rest assured there is nothing dystopian about this record despite its title – perhaps the title is ironic, or perhaps a more abstract political comment. Either way it’s good, and deserves your attention.