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Kontrast - Vol I & Vol II CD (album) cover

VOL I & VOL II

Kontrast

 

Krautrock

3.36 | 7 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars One of the most surprising (or should I say unexpected, given its birthdate well into the 80's) Krautrock albums ever, Kontrast is well in the tradition of Embryo, Xohl, Annexus Quam or Dzyann and Out of Focus. Although this last name might be a bit of a surprise (sonically different than the previous names I mentioned), Kontrast is tightly linked with OOF since three of its members are involved in this project: guitarist Drechsler (who is the main man behind this project as he recorded and designed the album as well), saxman & keyboardist Schmid-Neuhaus and singer/flutist Moran Neumeier are

And you never thought that you'd hear a 25 minutes track recorded in 83 or 85, right?? Well guess again!! Kontrast's sole historical album is filled by the sidelong Suite For The Young Girl, one long musical expansion including traffic noises, elongated solos (never indulgent, though) feeling ethnic and psych at the same time. You could easily be in Embryo's Rache with this track. The 12-mins track of the opening flipside, called Trip is a Drechsler-only track, where he plays all of the instruments, and grosso modo, we're again in the same ethnic/psych realm of Embryo, filled with acoustic guitars, vibraphones, telephone ringing and squeaky toys. Even stranger is the 8-minutes Opus Dope Us, complete with dissonance from sax and guitars, door slams etc. The short Letz Fetz is as tight a group as it gets.

And not only did Cosmic Egg unearth a rare 80's gems, but the bonus tracks they include make it that they've un-earthed a second 80's gem, called Volume II. It is clearly in the lne of their first album and the ultra-short bruitage Little Solitude followed by the sax-filled Hip Me Order is a spoken text put to music (a bit like the Beat Poets some 30 years before then) and present some great stand-up bass, courtesy of Drechsler himself, while Moran plays flute and Ingo answers on sax: fantastic stuff even though in terms of repeated listens.. Because the fight over the phone bill is funny once or twice, but more??? Good Wax Home is a dissonant improv where the vibraphone links the other instruments together. This is the most difficult track on the album. Then comes the closing 11- mins Race To Heaven returns a bit to the Order track with spoken lyrics but soon heads for faraway lands of mist and mystery with tons of instrumental space that even bouts of bruitage can't stop us from reaching the skies accompanied with distant knell and waves.

As the ultra-small Ultima Thulé team continues its Krautrock support job; their Cosmic Egg label (bith books and Cds) is becoming important for the German movement. Indeed after the essential Never Too Late OOF album released in 99, after the GAM project a few tears after, now comes out out-of- nowhere (it had been announced almost a decade ago, but we weren't expecting it anymore) THE major 80's Krautrock album Kontrast with so much bonus material that it makes it almost a double album. So Cosmic Egg's third release is just as essential OOF 's posthumous Never Too Late album. Run out for this and help boost Ultima Thulé's confidence to unleash new Krautrock wonders like it has done so far.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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