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Camera - Système Solaire CD (album) cover

SYSTÈME SOLAIRE

Camera

 

Krautrock

3.00 | 3 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The music of Camera is probably best appreciated when discovered by chance, in the Berlin alleys and subway platforms where the trio often stage spontaneous concerts. This limited edition vinyl EP, recorded between the band's freshman and sophomore albums, doesn't have the same immediacy of a live performance. But it still provides an easy introduction to their guerrilla-tactic improvisational style: retro-Krautrock jams in the spirit of Neu! and La Düsseldorf.

At the same time their music is very much of the moment: the trio speaks in a familiar historic tongue, but they have their own unique voice. The four tracks here include an original A-side/B-side Camera single, followed by remixes of the same by Bureau B labelmates Thomas Klein (aka Sølyist) and Alvin B. Clay (alias Kurt Dahlke, alias Pyrolator).

The opener "Skylla" presents an urgent, unchanging motorik beat à la Klaus Dinger, overlaid with dreamy atmospheric synths and surprisingly restrained guitars: a potent combination. "Meteor" is more of the same, but with an aggressive Kraut-punk attitude rarely heard in the early 1970s (outside a Hawkwind Space Ritual).

How you respond to the remixes will depend on your tolerance for modern electronica. The Sølyist version of "Skylla" stays close to the original, but de-emphasizes the hand-played Apache drumming to foreground a more synthetic rhythm. And Pyrolator's "Meteor" was meant to be played at mind-numbing volume in a strobe-lit club, designer drugs optional.

Both revisions represent a trendy corruption of the old Krautrock maxim: "it's not repetition; it's discipline", surely a moot point when achieved using the unfair convenience of electronic percussion. But the untouched original tracks, minus the cosmetic dancefloor overkill, are pure Camera: simple, yet compulsive. "We came in peace and left quickly..." says the group on its Bandcamp page, and here they live up to that claim, with economy of style and energy to spare.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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