Album Review

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>>

By Beak>

9.5 / 10
9th August 2012

By Nich Cunningham


Better known for their efforts to subjugate their neighbours, Germanyís other contributions to popular culture in the 20th century should not be overlooked. While their lasting support of David Hasselhoff's music career may seem equally misguided, the importance of the musical grab-bag that is Krautrock cannot be overstated  - not only for the fantastic music produced in it's seminal phase but also for it's lasting influence on a wide range of artists. BEAK> are one such artist but their new album >> is no mere homage, it is a recontextualisation of a time-honored form and is, quite frankly, amazing.

BEAK>'s music is very minimal. The production is completely understated, sparse and stripped back to just the essential elements. Typically, each track is driven by a repetitive Motorik beat with simple and contrasting layers emerging over and around it. References to Can, Harmonia and Neu are all evident but BEAK> are more reliant on synths than guitars.

This is genuinely interesting and immersive listening with no dud tracks. There is the disconcerting and queasy opener 'The Gaol', the mesmerising Neu-esque 'Yatton' and the almost folky 'Eggdog'. Each song is different but they are all bound together by BEAKS>'s deeper understanding of their influences that allows them to simply create in this vein.

This is an outstanding album - it seems fresh while drawing on history, it is not constrained by current trends and itís unconventional but still very accessible and listenable. The album's minimalism reminds us that careful consideration is more efficacious than poorly conceived walls of sound and this album is extremely effective.






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