WITH the recent album by Spiritczualic Enhancement Center (which, not to blow our own trumpet, we reviewed here) and others, it very much looks like one of the current leftfield trends to be ear to the ground for as 2021 melts inexorably into 2022 is krautjazz; that scene fermenting in city basements and performance spaces which comes at jazz with the metronomic and open-minded and -ended approach of the German underground of the late Sixties and Seventies.
We’d humbly suggest that one of the front runners in that scene for lovers of music of a more unusual spice would be Martin Brugger, Paul Brändle, Matthias Lindermayr, Simon Popp and Sebastian Wolfgruber, who act in concert as the band Fazer; they’re with City Slang these days, and they’re counting down the T-minus scale to the release of Plex, their third album, come January 14th.
This comes, as is the thing to do du jour, with the minimal percussive territories of a new single “Dezember”, big on the percussion and with a Noo Yoik jazz cool, say Jackie McClean in session for Blue Note on a cold day in winter ’62 married to a deft guitar – all included within a tongue-in-cheek video comprised of stock footage. Have a watch below.
Coming from different musical backgrounds, the members of Fazer met while studying jazz at the Academy for Music and Theatre in Munich – a city home to labels such as ECM, with releases by Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Steve Reich in its catalogue; and Enja, who can proudly drop Archie Shepp, Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, and Elvin Jones into conversation. And that’s not forgetting Krautrock icons Amon Düül II, Popol Vuh and Embryo.
Armed with not one, but two, drummers, the five-piece stayed in Munich to write and record the new album over two months of intense sessions, eschewing the journey to London, in which city the previous album, 2019’s Nadi, evolved.
“Dezember” is attended at this late stage of the year as a soothing swansong – of sorts – not only for a year gone by, but for what feels like the end of an era, combined with deliberately cringeworthy stock footage of the clean, white-toothed neoliberal world going about is pounds, shillings and pence business … but it all begins to fall apart and fray.
Fazer say: “December is both the best and the worst month of the year. We wanted to capture this ambivalence. The way the trumpet solo drops after two long minutes is our ‘In The Air Tonight’ moment. The video arguably depicts that same sense of dichotomy in modern life.”
The band will be playing its first ever London show at The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston, as part of Eat Your Own Ears Recommends: a series of shows at which London promoters pick out the best new bands for 2022. Fazer will play on Wednesday, January 26th; entry will be free but book tickets here to avoid disappointment.
Fazer’s new Album, Plex, will be released by City Slang digitally, on CD, and on trad black and limited clear green vinyl on January 14th; get your order in here.