Prayer Before Last

Nice cover art to the self-titled record Die Andacht (ALL MY GHOSTS amg014) by Die Andacht – designed by Iska Kaek (i.e. Franziska Kempiak of Leipzig), it seems to be a very stylised rendition of an electric guitar and an electric bass guitar, the two instruments used to make the record. Sadly the music, played by Markus Rom and Philipp Martin, is rather twee and tasteful instrumentals, not much more than post-modern wallpaper music. Admittedly there’s some skill and grace in the way they produce their delicate plucks, but the musical forms are banal repetitions and simplistic melodic patterns. The entire record is enhanced by studio echo, which doesn’t help matters much; it adds a very saccharine patina to the sound, which grows irritating. These German musicians claim to be inspired by the music of Brian Eno, Steve Reich, and Erik Satie, but they have none of the inventiveness, originality, or genius of those seminal composers. Not recommended. (04/04/2022)

RG Rough has worked his way through a personal history of 1970s recorded music armed with a pair of scissors and several rolls of splicing tape, and come up with 70 (BAM BALAM RECORDS BBLP089), a highly entertaining sampling record…although the method behind it (“ripped to shreds…coerced into fitting”) may sound violent and ferocious, these two sides of continuous instrumental passages are extremely listenable, perhaps due to the steady beat that progresses more-or-less intact throughout and acts like some time-travelling glue to hold the fragments together. Perhaps Rough is aiming for a post-modern take on Stars On 45, those novelty discs of the 1980s. Interestingly, though I may call myself a fan of this particular era in musical history, but I personally couldn’t recognise a single sound or edited snippet from the dense array of selections that have been thrown into Rough’s cauldron of velour and dacron stew. Apparently he did something similar for this same label in 2019, with his 60 album, which I never heard but is probably equally adept at concealing his swipes and lifts from Buffalo Springfield or Lothar and The Hand People. Franco-Anglo Robert G Rough first came our way on his team-up with Makoto Kawabata from 2020, where his collaging skills meshed neatly with the exploits of that Japanese guitarist maverick. I guess at heart this 70 item is rooted in the aesthetics and techniques of dance culture, but it’s an artistic and satisfying statement that would also make a good party record. (04/04/2022)

Speaking of Richard Pinhas, with whom RG Rough has appeared on record, here is the great French innovator himself recording as Heldon on Antelast (BAM BALAM RECORDS BBLP090). Made in Nantes with the help of Florian Tatard and the drummer Arthur Narcy, it’s six tracks of sprawling guitar-based cosmic anarchy, liberally enhanced with layering, studio sorcery, and excessive droning effects, designed to push the body and mind to its utmost limits. Narcy in particular is crucial to the overall plan, with his free-form drum paintings allowing much air and space into the galaxian tapestry, while still managing to propel the megacraft forward into the deepest constellations with his urgent pummels. I’m personally drawn to the two long tracks here (‘Antelast One’ and ‘Antelast Three’) since they provide the Olympian arena-size space needed by Pinhas to expand on his guitar lectures as he continues to ruminate in a philosophical manner as he weaves his dense amplifier-hungry fug. While this might not be in the same spectacular regions as Quentin Compson, his 2020 album where he was aided considerably by the production skills of Stephen O’Malley, it’s still a hefty canoe of darkened excessive spacerock, whose energy never flags once the players work themselves into the crab nebula of tranced-out soloing. “For fans of Krautrock”, says the press note, an assertion which has some truth if you accept this French titan as an “honorary” German kosmische innovator… (04/04/2022)

One comment

  1. Anyone who takes “Die Andacht” unreflectively personally does not have the review game. A super disrespectful slating of an idea and way of simply making music together. If nothing remains, all that’s left is a frustrated reviewer in his stuffy 1996 office and maybe just a little asshole who thinks someone needs his recommendation. A good example of how to describe music that you can’t follow and doesn’t know altered chords. All the cheesy best.

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