When I saw that Cardinal Fuzz was bringing an album out by a band called Minami Deutsch I was intrigued but not overly expectant. It was going to be good, well for me the Cardinal does not release anything that is not, and from the name it was probably going to have some sort of Krautrock bent to it. Then I saw that it was a collaboration with the Kikagaku Moyo label Guruguru Brain, who originally released the Sundays and Cybele album ‘Heaven’, and has a compilation of Japanese Psych, Guruguru Brainwash, on its bandcamp that is wonderfully diverse and utterly brilliant.
Despite all this I was not really prepared for how good this album is, and if you like it to start with wait until you have heard it a number of times…I can already tell that it is one of those records that I will wear out over the years.
Like the Guruguru Brainwash compilation this is an album of eclectic sounds. The opening track, ‘Vocalism Ali – Forever Takemitsu’ begins as if from an early Godspeed! You Black Emperor album but then explodes into a sound not dissimilar to Mugstar’s ‘Lime’ or ‘Axis Modulator’ albums, and that for me is a massive compliment. It has huge anthem arc sweeping around a fast and tight rhythm section that drives the track forward and gives the guitar and synths free range to explore. It is like your brain has been deliberately duffed up to allow the second track, ‘Futsu Ni Ikirenai’, which then pours itself in to sooth your aching synapses. This is a great, almost otherworldly track that is deceptively simple and yet at about 5’30” introduces a screeching fuzzed-up guitar that reverses the soporific effect and offers new challenges, from then it just keeps building to a chaotic and wild climax.
‘Terra Recipe’ is Kraftwerk from the first bar to the last, but not any sort of second-rate homage. This is an interesting re-working of mid-Kraftwerk with the essence of other Krautrock elements added to the mix to make a relatively short interlude into ‘Uebergleich Part I’, on which the Neu-thrusters are most definitely set to thrill. Set over a Motorik beat, this is a track which really showcases some great guitar work which soars above the rhythm section as if on another plane. It is a really intense track after which you are pleased for the sunny uplands of ‘Sunrise, Sunset’, which keeps the Motorik beat going but it is now the chassis to an altogether different vehicle. Where ‘Uebergleich Part I’ was heavy and dark, ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ is light and bucolic…I love listening to it in the car as it accentuates the joy in the world as the countryside rolls by.
Last up is ‘Uebergleich Part II’ which is probably my favourite track of the lot. It has a wonderful melody to it, and the vocal is something quite beautiful. It is the sort of track that you can take to your heart and really not want to let got. It certainly makes me want to listen to the album over and over again.
Minami Deutsch came from nowhere for me, but had such provenance that I was more than happy to take a punt on it. It has rewarded that trust over the last five weeks or so that I have been listening to it with an ever growing appreciation of its finer points, which continue to reveal themselves with every listen. This is not for me a coherent album, but that does not matter because the individual tracks are so consistently strong that I find myself listening to it over and over again without any skipping.
- Vocalism Ali – Forever Takemitsu
- Futsu Ni Ikirenai
- Terra Reciepe
- Ubergleich Part 1
- Sunrise, Sunset
- Ubergleich Part 2
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