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Vintage Cucumber - Bahama Lama CD (album) cover


Vintage Cucumber


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.00 | 1 ratings

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3 stars Since 2012, multi-instrumentalist Johannes Schulz has been producing psychedelic/space rock albums under the moniker of "Vintage Cucumber", and as such, has released 10 full length studio albums. His 10th album is entitled "Bahama Lama" and it was released in July of 2019. On this album, he plays all of the instruments for all 10 of the tracks that span the 55 minutes run time on the album.

"Kaktus 3" (5:57) starts it all off with a nice, smooth jam. The backdrop is a rolling, moderate foundation and guitars provide a somewhat repetitive pattern which sometimes varies in sound and texture while synths and effects skitter around playfully. Halfway through, the smoothness gives way to an occasional stop/start pattern to break things up a bit, but the rhythm still flows even when it pauses. It's a nice smooth track that feels more like a tight knit band playing together than it feels like a single individual adding layers and such. "Albatrosse" (2:59) uses twinkling guitar patterns over a hesitant percussion and a smooth bass that stands out well. "Rauf Auf's Lama" (2:47) uses a heavier beat as multiple guitar lines play counterpoint in a repetitive pattern. Again, the bass stands out nicely against the soft jangly guitars making for a nice sound.

From here, the album moves to the longest track, "Lama Ohne Mama" (8:32). This goes for the laid-back sound as a soft-rock drum pattern establishes the slow 6 / 8 beat. Post-rock style jangly guitar lines play as this moves softly along with spacey effects shine in the background. About 5 minutes of simply drifting along, an unresolved chord plays for a sustained amount of time building a feeling of anticipation before it resolves and moves back to the main melodic pattern and then suddenly intensifies as it pushes the track to the conclusion. "Sudwerts?" (4:33) moves along a bit faster and the bass and drums establish the background with a somewhat island sound. Some nice guitar lines counteract to create a soft, wandering jam with occasional steel drum style effects keep things a bit tropical.

"Auf der Welle?" (5:56) begins with a nice upbeat interplay between the bass and drums. This continues for the first minute before the usual jangly/spacey guitar lines start swirling around. The bass and drums continue generating intensity with their repetitive patterns. The track leans toward a funky, jazzy attitude with a bit of a raga feel underlying it all, especially as it moves to a more complex middle section. The guitars are less commanding of the spotlight here giving this track a more variable feeling which was desperately needed at this point. "El Paca" (6:03) flows off of a single repeating note carried over from the preceding track, and then a moderate yet heavier beat takes over. Again, the steel drum effect is in there again making for a tropical feel, but the guitars return to their jangly wanderings.

"Wasserschlacht" (7:02) wanders along with a laid-back style, not really going anywhere at first as all of the instruments just "hang-out" together. After a few minutes, the bass creates the most interesting part of the track, but the moderately floating jam just continues along. After 3 minutes, this is suddenly interrupted by a comparatively heavy turn as the bass intensifies and the guitars break out of their light, jangly pattern and begin to stir things up quite a bit. After a while, it smooths out again with some more venturous spacey effects. The wandering feel returns again, but some jazzy chords bring it to and end where it suddenly morphs into "Casablanca" (4:40) which takes right off with a fast rhythm and solid, driving bass line. Hand claps and guitars join the party and we get a nice, rollicking jam. It's a nice combination of the spacey guitars and the latin-flair of the Santana-like bass line that makes this one stand out. The keys and synth give this the lighter feel that is much needed at this point. The album winds up with "La La Lama" (6:55) where percussion instantly create a solid and progressive style beat and the bass and guitars start to have a fun time playing around with it all. Again, you get a latin-style attitude here, but this time with a more jazz feel and some interesting, almost-whistle-like effects.

This album is fun to listen to mostly because of the interesting back drops that are used off of which some nice jams are created. This can give these spacey wandering some interesting textures, but the main problem I have with it all is the mostly jangly guitar sound that doesn't change a whole lot, except with a few exceptions. The use of more synth, or some different guitar textures and styles would have made everything more dynamic. Even with the varying tempos and rhythmic styles through the album, you still come out of it feeling like the tracks were a bit too similar. More experimentation and textures would have solved this issue, and unfortunately, this is a big issue. However, the album is still fun, and if you can concentrate more on the changes in rhythm between the tracks, it helps things out. However, overall, nothing really groundbreaking comes out of this other than space rock with a tropical or latin flair. Not bad, but nothing overly exciting either.

TCat | 3/5 |


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