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Alcatraz - Vampire State Building CD (album) cover

VAMPIRE STATE BUILDING

Alcatraz

 

Krautrock

3.77 | 40 ratings

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Guldbamsen
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Site and Forum Admin
4 stars A small dog

There is something indescribably charming about this release. It is naive in a way that reminds me of Italian band Semiramis. Not because of the similar sound, language or instrumentation, but because of the approach and the heartfelt ambiance of the whole thing. Some sort of youthful exuberance attached to the thing, that hearkens back to the freedom of summer vacations away from the imprisoning school cell bathing in overly polluted lakes. Alcatraz' Vampire State Building feels and sounds like a love affair. It's like walking inside a studio run by long haired hippies, where every dark corner hides a couple of tripped out Germans with closed eyes asking kindly for some more music. The studio is filled to the brim with marijuana smoke, and you find it difficult seeing anything that's more than 5 feet away. Everything is cosy, warm, friendly - inviting you to shed all of your fears and social phobias. -And then the jamming starts...

This album is one of those clear musical links that remind us of the invisible link between blues and jazz. The playful lightness of these sonic moods swing and rock simultaneously between these two ancient lovers. The bass walks slowly along to a cymbal chiming bird teetering, and then you get soft and angelic flute bits that glue feathers onto the given piece. It's soft, mellow, lovable like an old mutt and then some. As I said, the tunes float between blues and jazz, but even more so do they challenge the very fabric of those genres. The textures here are more loosey goosey and experimental, and while you always feel invited to the party - are reminded of the sweetness of melody and composition, the tracks have a way of sneaking up on you and changing pace and posture. Without really thinking too much about it, I actually just gave away the first track here, that just so happens to sound like a wonderful hybrid of Nucleus and the early Santana track Treat.

It is basically a jam album, but built up around distinctive sound patterns, - meaning that some form of compositional thought was implemented before these Germans visited the studio. Still the best thing about Vampire State Building is that naive touch. It feels like music of the moment, while still retaining that melodic feel. I think every little note hiding away beneath this beautiful art work came into fruition through democracy, weed and a sense of do whatever the hell you want to, as long as it flows like a lubricated dolphin. -And everything does, it has that smooth slick jazz feel to it, like one of those cool cats walking along the highway - completely stoned, high as a kite - his feet miles above the very earth - walking fluidly along, and all he's getting is this organic naive Krautrock jazz that tickles his fancy like one of those feather boas with a sense of rhythm.

On the whole the natural blend of blues, hard rock, jazz, Krautrock tempers and this charming playfulness amounts to a homogeneous and organic beast, which I just adore. It's one of those albums that feels like a part of the family, and even if you can spot the occasional flaw - you still love it like a second elbow. Maybe it's the musical equivalent of a small dog....?

Only down falls are the times, when the long hairs start thinking about vocals. Perhaps a bit too abrasive and clumsy for a record like this, and thank goodness that they only pop up in the music on a few occasions. So if you want a taste of just how melodic and warm the Krautrock scene could be, and furthermore want music that you can snap your fingers to, whilst still looking cool as a cucumber, then Alcatraz' debut should fit your tastes like a latex glove.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |

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