I’m going to break with tradition here and begin with a the band’s press bio, basically because it tells you all you need to know:
“This duo is less about an inorganic building material and more about an improvised jam to drift away. More analog meets digital as a bulk product. Repetitive meet psychedelic sounds, drones meet noise and electronica. Sometimes straight forward, sometimes focusing on one sound idea. Zement is a new band from Würzburg. Zement is also an instrumental band who tries something else to tear down the old and put it back together in a new form. Drums, guitar, synthesizers, samplers and various other sound materials find together to end up in the orbit. Call it Kraut or whatever. It’s definitely a cosmic journey.”
OK, well there you are, do I need to carry on? Well actually yes because I want to have my say too. The link to this album, the band’s first and recorded live in one room back in January/ February of this year, came to me out of the blue yesterday and one listen made me want to immediately get something down.
As the band alludes to in its bio, the music could be classified as ‘Krautrock’ that strange and unsatisfying term that was coined in another age, but for which there is no recognised synonym. This is an issue because there seems to be a real renaissance in German leftfield music over the last few years with bands and labels popping up all over the country. It may be a form of neo-Krautrock, but it is also something more.
So before we affix this term once again let’s take it elsewhere. The first thing that struck me from clicking on Zement’s bandcamp page was that this was a band from the land of the Bauhaus movement and the land of Kraftwerk. A land where utility/ form/ function have always gone hand in hand. It seems only appropriate then that Zement (you know it means cement, right?) should name the tracks of its album as the natural raw materials of a building:
‘Eisenerz’/ iron ore
This on the one hand is very elemental music featuring the sonic building blocks of contemporary sound laid bare. Yet, as the band suggest, there is also a certain sense of alchemy here, a gestalt process in which the different elements come together to make something more. Yes there is something solid and functional about this music, but from that there is also something psychedelic and otherworldly. Listen to it and you gradually seen the structures melt in to a far more diffuse experience, it is Kosmische music which can take you away from the mundane into something altogether more mesmeric.
Zement:Werk is out now on Sunhair Records, with inside-out print on 180 g vinyl, limited edition of 300, 150 black, 150 grey vinyl, including a downloadcode which will get you the complete LP plus the bonus track Gips, there’s also a poster inside. Vinyl and download available from the Zement bandcamp here, or contact Horst at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find my other writing for Backseat Mafia here.