Monday, August 25, 2014

Irmler/Liebezeit-Flut; Klangbad Records, 2014

Can  and Faust are first among the list of probably most any fan of German Psychedelic music, and deservedly so. Both bands, early and somewhat visible examples of said genre, continue to influence all kinds of musicians that have followed in their wake, and, obviously, not just in their home country. Disaster Amnesiac swears that their movement has had more influence than many contemporaries', over the long haul of extended time. It's extremely pleasurable to know, and, more importantly, to hear, the surviving members of both bands as they continue to produce top notch music.
Drummer Jaki Liebezeit and keyboardist Hans Joachim Irmler have recently released Flut, an LP's worth of duos, recorded, according the its liner notes, as they contemplated the Danube River from Klangbad Studios in Scheer. Naturlich, Disaster Amnesiac has been digging into it.
Liebezeit's drumming is always fascinating and fun to listen to. He continues to employ a paired down, willed simplicity in his playing. His trance patterns are by no means dumb, however. They are elegant and effective in their iterations, holding down tight rhythmic locked grooves that take their time evolving, and, in doing so, become something bigger. His beats carry the listener along without any sort of fuss; Jaki's aesthetic is one of Zen restraint and egoless-ness. Naturally, his presence becomes that much larger for all that. His deep toned bass drum and tight, small, dry snare drum hits cycle along in set grooves for extended periods, suddenly accented by cymbal splashes at exactly the right time. Musical subtlety often arises from a musician knowing when to accent and when to hold back, and Jaki Liebezeit is a master of this type of control.
On the melodic side of Flut, Irmler lays down wild and heavy organ grooves. Disaster Amnesiac hears echoes of Richard Wright and Terry Riley within his playing, but it's clear that he's got his own thing going. The control that he exhibits between left hand rhythm playing and right hand, high register melodics is impressive. The organ often sounds like much more than merely one instrument. There is so much going on within its sounds: treble-ey attacks that are almost as physical as the drums', deep, low grooves, and purely electronic sounding whirls. It's pretty clear that Irmler, confident with Liebezeit's more than steady hand, feels confident to explore any and all manner of tonal ideas, which he does with aplomb. There are times when he pulls back, adds space, and then....attacks. These moments are such a gas to listen to, so dramatic and equally well timed as the drummer's. Irmler's mastery of the organ is on par with Liebezeit's mastery of the drums.
The album's production is crisp and clear. The drum tones are mixed equal with those of the organ: they're equal players on Flut's sonic field. Disaster Amnesiac presumes that Irmler was the chief engineer, Klangbad Studios being his business. He clearly knows it!
Taken together, the sound of Irmler/Liebezeit makes for a thick and multi-faceted, grooving monster of a listen. One could put Flut on as simple background music, or space out mentally with headphones on: either way,  or at any place in-between, it's gorgeous and highly worth hearing. 

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