Friday, April 1, 2016

Cassette Review: German Army "Gone In Luxury" (Altered States of Sound)



I used to think I knew what to expect when listening to a new release from German Army.    Then I realized that I had no idea what to expect.   German Army went from this experimental electronic sound to something with vocals and now on "Gone In Luxury" the sound seems to have gone back to what I first remember German Army sounding like.    Some of my favorite artists though (Illegal Wiretaps, Stars Are Insane, for example) have this same idea of my never really knowing what to expect but I love it.

"Gone In Luxury" begins with electro-funk and haunting beats.   It's grinding, but somehow it is hollow with eerie backgrounds.    This shifts into something more mechanical, with robotics mixed in, and then it takes an Oriental slide into those "Law & Order" beats.    I'm not sure what your high school looked like, but mine had this long hallway that was just straight on the second floor.   If it was completely silent and someone was walking down it you could easily hear the pattern, the rhythm of their feet, and this reminds me of that for some reason.    There is also this resonating electronic ping-pong looping which takes it to new levels.

I'm not sure why, but since graduating high school some years ago I've had these reoccurring dreams where I went to a multi-level high school and you had to carefully step from piece of floor to piece of floor- like a video game- and everyone else in high school (in my dream) was concerned with whether or not their crush liked them or how they did on the math test while I'm just trying to hide my vertigo.   I'm not sure why, but this side made me think of that dream as well, which I used to have more often but haven't for some while.  (Though, again, after leaving high school behind I spent a lot of nights having it)

On the flip side there is a boiler room type of darkness.   It's an ambient drone and it just embraces the majority of this side.   I realize that a lot of my reviews seem to give you what the sports commentators call the "play-by-play", though I don't use official terms, but you have to understand that these few lines of text don't do the amount and capacity of this drone justice.    I sometimes feel like I should just hold down the same key during a drone set- maybe a period- and let that give you an idea of how long it goes on for.   I could even mix it up, as the drone slightly increased with something like "................:::..........::........:......" but I'm not trying to reinvent words here.

Through a static windstorm comes crashes, strings? and words are slightly spoken.    For reasons that might only apply to me, this particular portion of the cassette reminds me of something out of "Willy Wonka".     Guitar riffs come out next, with tones like glass, and there is just this overall sound of dreamy crystals to end the cassette in perhaps the only way it could have ended.  

I'm not sure how German Army does it but these cassettes always make me feel like I've only been listening to them for seconds by the time that I realize they're over and then I go and press play again.    I thought we might be building from the instrumental days to something with vocals being the norm now but this takes us back to what I consider to be the older days of German Army though, of course, for all I've reviewed by German Army it still isn't everything.    German Army continues to make each release better than the last while keeping an overall sense of greatness to them all and that's really all anyone could ever ask for in music.   









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