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Günter Schickert - Uberfallig CD (album) cover

UBERFALLIG

Günter Schickert

 

Progressive Electronic

3.98 | 15 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Few people outside of a small fraternity of German music specialists probably even remember the name Günter Schickert, and it's no exaggeration to call his 1979 album "Überfällig" one of the lost treasures of late '70s Krautrock. For me, Schickert has remained an enigma for close to thirty years, ever since I gave up trying to decipher the dense, illegible scrawl of notes on the back of the LP (a pointless exercise anyway: it's all in German).

But he was certainly a unique talent, even within such a wildly creative music scene. Schickert's style, at least on this one album, employed multiple guitars to do (more or less) what KLAUS SCHULZE and EDGAR FROESE were at the same time doing with synthesizers and sequencers: building layers of sometimes dreamy, sometimes tense ostinato patterns over a subtle, shifting backbeat of driving percussion. The rhythms are often provided by a heavy application of echo to some unusual sound sources, transforming a single splash of water or a labored gasp of breath into a repetitive loop of hypnotic pulses.

The effect is especially striking on the two longer tracks here, the aptly titled album opener "Puls", and the almost 12-minute long "Apricot Brandy". The former has the cinematic momentum of a high-speed Hollywood chase; the latter is a psychedelic rocker accelerating from a semi-conscious dreamscape to a hyperkinetic rush of overlapping guitars and voices.

Relief is provided by the ballad "In Der Zeit", sung in an ominous half-whisper over an unadorned acoustic guitar, and in the album's haunting finale "Wanderer", a brooding piece of music perfectly matched to the empty autobahn pictured on the back cover.

Altogether the album is somewhat reminiscent of (ex-NEU!) guitarist MICHAEL ROTHER's early solo work, and in fact was originally released on the same label (the always reliable Sky Records). Schickert shared a similar approach to pristine guitar minimalism, but with a darker, more malevolent edge: he might have been the turbulent yin to Rother's more angelic yang.

It's reassuring to find that Günter Schickert hasn't been completely forgotten. And, by a funny coincidence, a translation of the album's title (Überfällig = Overdue) perfectly describes his status as a true Krautrock legend.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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