Superbly entertaining instrumental music by Klangwart on their Bogotá (STAUBGOLD 150) album…the team of Markus Detmer and Timo Reuber from Cologne have been recording as Klangwart since 1998 making sporadic forays into published statements, and we last heard them with 2014’s Transit LP. Reuber is an author as well as a musician (his Ruhig Blut and Kintopp solo records are hugely enjoyable), and Detmer runs the Staubgold label besides doing the DJ thing. Apparently they find they keep getting tagged with the neo-Krautrock label, which I suppose is a risk you have to take when you’re based in Cologne and you occasionally put out Faust albums, but in fact the music of Klangwart is hard to categorise and open to all sorts of influences. It’s also a lot more slick than “real” Krautrock, with a professional sheen to the production that makes it very accessible without harming the music’s spontaneity or energy.
In the case of Bogotá, this time the influences include the local contemporary Colombian scene where it was recorded, and there are spirited contributions from The Meridian Brothers (Damián Ponce, Cesar Quevedo, and the bonkers musician Eblis Alvarez) and the singers Juanita and Valentina Anez Rothmann who also record as Las Anez. This label in fact released a compilation of Meridian Brothers mayhem in 2013 called Devoción (Works 2005-2011) which I would recommend. Plus our favourite Cologne axeman Joseph Suchy adds his craft to three tracks. This collaborative element has really opened up a range of possibilities for Klangwart, and while there’s no explicit aim to produce some sort of modern Euro-Latin fusion of styles, the end result is just grand. The spicy mix of instrumental flavours is all good, and everyone performs brilliantly, but I will single out Damián Ponce for his percussive and drumming work – he’s injecting a lot of energy, life and passion into the whole project, much needed when you’re dealing with so many electronic elements. From 10 January 2019.