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Electric Orange - Time Machine 1992-2017 CD (album) cover

TIME MACHINE 1992-2017

Electric Orange

 

Krautrock

4.00 | 2 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars It's hard to believe that German band Electric Orange have been around in some form for twenty five years now, founded by Dirk Jan Müller, a multi-instrumentalist who primarily handles keyboards (and also recently started a well-received Berlin School-influenced prog-electronic side-project Cosmic Ground). Over their early years, alongside frequent contributor Dirk Bittner, the group was mostly occupied by guests and/or a rotating door of varied musicians, dropping albums (some even on the renowned Delerium Records label) that covered everything from psychedelic rock, retro-flavoured prog and even dance/trance/electronic pieces, and frequently with a wry sense of loopy humour! A settled line-up of the band eventually found their calling in heavy Krautrock-flavoured ambient jams on their most recent discs, and to commemorate their anniversary, Dirk and the group have delivered three very different and worthy works this year, one of them being `Time Machine 1992-2017', a schizophrenic and eclectic collection of rarities and unreleased exclusives - and make no mistake, this is hardly some mere throwaway compilation!

Dating from 2012, the clanging machine vibrations and scuzzy feedback-driven guitar strums over a rattling incessant drumbeat of opening jam `Psysomasyl' would easily fit on their recent albums, the piece growing brooding and intense as it progresses. Those who've only checked into the band on their recent dustier eastern-flavoured jams will likely fall off their camel when they hear the first curveball, `Bone And Rock', a groovy psych-rocker powered by grumbling bass and a hint of twanging Sixties surfie rock to the guitars, whirring organs and shimmying up-tempo vibes, and there's just a trace of delicious dirty danger to some deranged faraway spoken rantings! The infectious `Noila' from 2000 then embraces the Krautrock influences of the band, being a bouncy and buoyant Neu!/Can-esque jangling pop guitar groover.

But unexpected surprises await, as we turn the clock back to the mid-Nineties - `Six Fives' is an effortlessly cool and mellow chill-out with clicking trip-hop beats that might have more in common with Massive Attack, and despite incorporating Berlin School sequencer patterns, `Patient's Pop' is a vocal dub popper that calls to mind the more commercial The Orb moments, and it's likely to be a bit of a controversial moment here!

Shooting forward to 2004, `Vegetables' returns to trippy shimmering psychedelia and fuses it with tasty slow-burn bluesy and jazzy guitar jamming. The stunning near-ten minute `Life Evil', one of the more recent pieces here from 2013, is a drifting improvisation of glistening electronics and slowly unwinding dreamy distortion-laced guitar that lightly calls to mind the early `Alpha Centauri/Zeit/Atem' period of Tangerine Dream. 2004's `Shunguki' has relentless and lurching bottled-up programmed beats that almost take on a tribal flavour, flecked with the lightest of reggae touches and twitching electronics.

`Back From The Funny Farm' (from all the way back in 1993) is a deeply psychedelic and disorientating collage of Mellotron slivers, feverish organ bleeds and drowsy Pink Floyd-like rippling guitar tendrils, and the fifteen minute closer `Time Signals' returns to the very start of the Electric Orange story a year before that. More or less a solo piece from Dirk of reverberating drones, wild drumming crashes and ultimately serene humming synth washes in the early Krautrock and Tangerine Dream manner, it's like dry run for the sort of music he offers in his Cosmic Ground side-project these days.

Also throughout the disc at various points are six sprinkled short fragments of `Dirge', an ambient and cavernous drone improvisation from 1995, perhaps the first sign of the moody atmospheres the band would embrace more fully in their recent years.

There's no doubt that Electric Orange have had a big boost in status since the release of their defining musical statement - to date - in 2014 with `Volume 10', and there's plenty of moments on this compilation that will especially appeal to listeners of that recent period of the group, as well as fans of Dirk's own Cosmic Ground. The disc has multiple personalities, so perhaps it's best to just think of it as an awesome mix-tape, and you'll likely have a great time with this unpredictable, colourful and superb collection from this talented bunch!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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