still a handful of Harvey Milk live vinyl from Supersonic 08 BUY NOW
Formed in Birmingham in 2003 by ex-members of stoner rock band Sally, industrial metal titans Godflesh, Kat Bjelland’s Katastrophy Wife and post-rock/ shoegaze outfit Grover, Einstellung have stripped the motorik chassis of the first Neu! Album down to its essential cogs and gears, and fitted it to a custom-built hot rod roadster, equal parts Sonic Youth skronk, My Bloody Valentine narcotic noise and Black Sabbath hard rock. The resulting album, Wings of Desire, is finally available in the UK as one of the first releases on Capsule Records, brought to you by the fine people behind Birmingham’s unspeakably excellent Supersonic Festival. Released as an exquisitely-designed limited edition of 500 heavyweight vinyl double albums, Wings of Desire is a record that needs to be listened to loud, its six lengthy instrumental tracks (all given cod-German titles) building from droning, lazily melodic beginnings to monstrous, fuzz-blasted raptures and epiphanies, via sonorous avalanches of warped and clanging sturm und drang. We spoke to Einstellung guitarist Andrew Parker on the eve of a major show opening for Cluster at Birmingham Town Hall on the February 11, where the band will play their forthcoming second album, And The Rest Are Thunder, in its entirety.
Read the full interview HERE
Einstellung support legendary Krautrock duo CLUSTER on Thursday 11th Feb at Town Hall Birmingham
Tickets available from https://tickets.thsh.co.uk 0121 780 3333
Jenny Moore and Lisa Meyer are Capsule – Birmingham promoters of great alternative music and arguably the sole reason why great alternative artists visit the home of heavy rock music. In 2003 they launched Supersonic festival, which has carved out a reputation as the best and loudest noise festival in the UK – if not the world –seeing headliners including Mogwai and Sunn O))) – and has an undeniable knack for getting the world’s best alt. bands onto a UK stage for the very first time. Last year saw the first ever UK show for Italian soundtrack legends Goblin (whose credits include George A Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Dario Argento’s Suspiria) – it was truly a magical moment.
Supersonic takes the best parts of city and field festivals and infuses them into one. The festival site – Birmingham’s Custard Factory – is closed off from the rest of the world, yet you still get to sleep in a comfy bed and have a shower every morning. The pool that provides the centrepiece to the Custard Factory is drained and made into the main stage, whilst readymade venues become other stages and a cavernous warehouse provides a second large stage, tailormade for the incessantly loud noise Supersonic has become known for. It’s a one of a kind, and the people who attend are described by Lisa as “people who want to experience something new and aren’t afraid to go see something a bit different, it’s definitely not for fans of playlists.”
What is it about that beat they call Motorik? The beat Klaus Dinger, its ‘inventor’ preferred to call ‘Apache’, that people generally associate with Krautrock, although its appearance in this particular genre is limited to a handful of tunes only? On the face of it, a four-four beat of simply ‘bass-bass-snare-bass’, or as I sometimes prefer to play it, ‘bass-bass-bass-snare’ with no accent or groove, shouldn’t really be all that should it?
Yet to me and many others (according to the results of a quick Google of ‘Motorik’) this beat is so much more. When I hear Dinger doing his thing on those opening tracks of the Neu! albums, and in my opinion no-one did it quite like him, I feel like I’m setting off on a journey, a mystery trip with no destination in mind. I’m on an inter city train, soothed and hypnotised by the, steady grooveless, yet somehow groovy rhythm, gazing through the window, my mind registering the evolving guitar lines like the passing scenery, the occasional reversed guitar or drum fill like a sudden tunnel or passing train on the other line, but always focussed on the beat, always propelled forward.
I was first introduced to this beat through that esteemed shaman of all things Krautrock – Julian Cope and his ‘Jehovakill’ album of 1992. The track in question ‘The Subtle Energies Commission’ certainly had the ‘Apache’ beat but was verging more towards spacerock. No matter, from there a whole Neu! journey unfolded in front of me. The early works of Stereolab, especially the ‘Transient Random-Noise Bursts…’ album and ‘Refried Ectoplasm’ retrospective had me hooked. Later came Primal Scream’s ‘Shoot Speed Kill Light’, to me the perfect motorik battering ram, underpinning Kevin Sheilds’ squalling guitars and ‘More Light’ by J Mascis and the Fog.
In Einstellung, we often use a motorik beat to convey a sense of movement, a vehicle to link specific sections of music together, a kind of “Ok, we’ve done that bit, get back in the car-we’re off to the next bit” to the listener. Other times I might just use that beat as a solid foundation for the guitars to gradually build upon for extended periods, taking the listener out of themselves, warping their perception of time, until something comes along, maybe a little deliberate stumble in the rhythm to awake them from their daydream.
For me, the music writer and critic Douglas Wolk summed this up perfectly in his piece for the Boston Phoenix -‘The old Neu!-rediscovering the roots of motorik’ when he said “Dinger and Rother made listeners wait and wait for something to change by more than degrees, or for a vanished rhythm to reappear, and their fans learned to love the waiting game”.
The full article is a concise summary of the classic Neu! albums and can be found at http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/music/other_stories/documents/01779241.htm
Si Rider – Einstellung
Thursday 11th Feb 2010
Cluster play Town Hall Birmingham
with support from Einstellung
This was an amazing gig bringing together the energy and anarchy of the punk rock band The Ex with the drive of Brass Unbound, a brass section with Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson on baritone and tenor sax, Roy Paci on trumpet and Wolter Wierbos on trombone. The sheer volume of sound and the swirling rhythms created a stunning degree of excitement. Basically it was led by The Ex with weird but wonderful vocals and an excellent drummer. I am often critical of the limitations of rock drummers, but this one (sadly I didn’t get her name) really drove the band in a very interesting way totally different from what jazz drummers do. Brass Unbound essentially added riffs that blended very effectively and excitingly with the The Ex rhythms.
I have one fairly major reservation. As the gig progressed, I began to want Brass Unbound to vary their role more and to have rather more freedom. There were some solos: a particular good one from Ken, one of Mats’ almost trademark screaming solos, and punchy contributions from Paci and Wierbos, but more would have been nice.
This was, however, another good example of rock and jazz mixing naturally and successfully. It wasn’t jazz rock as that term has become associated with a certain style that emerged in the 1960s and 70s. Here it was a rock gig incorporating strong elements of free jazz , but in a very structured way. And it certainly wasn’t jazz drawing on rock. We will have to start thinking of new names to capture this important and exciting music.
Review by Tony Dudley Evans of Birmingham Jazz
Photos by Jenny Moore
Audience from Supersonic 2009 by Mark E Rhodes
We’ve just come back from a Birmingham City Council consultation meeting about the cities ‘Music Industry’. Over the 10 years we’ve been doing Capsule related activity we’ve been invited to a fair few of these things and still very little seems to have moved on.
It occured to us that based on our breakdown of tickets sales from Supersonic (see above) we have a relatively small West Midlands audience and having spoken to other independent folks within this area this seems to be the case across the creative industries. Birmingham dates regardless of genre always seem less well attended to those in other cities in the UK. There is no doubt there is a wealth of talent and tonnes of great people working really hard to promote stuff, run venues, labels etc. However it seems across the creative industries there is quite a limited regional audience that engages with independent activity. So my question to you wonderful folks is why do you think this is? What are the barriers and how do we work towards resolving it?
We’d be really happy to open this debate so – answers on a postcard.
Tony Dudley Evans of Birmingham Jazz wrote this great piece on contemporary free jazz and the genre’s links with rock and punk music.
The Variety of Free Jazz and Improvised Music Today
I spent a lot of the Christmas period listening to Keith Jarrett, the solo albums, the trio especially the Inside Out album recorded live in London and Jarrett’s American Quartet with Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian Listening to these various recordings made me realise what a range of music now contains free improvisation and what a broad term ‘free jazz’ now is. Jarrett says on the album sleeve, free playing is ‘an amazingly important part of true jazz history’. He goes on to say:
We need to be even more in tune with each other to play this way, without material; and even more attentive. Every possibility is available if you take away the tunes, but only some are valid under the circumstances. It is only our sensitivity to the flux that determines whether the music succeeds or fails.
(Inside Out Album Sleeve ECM Records).
The term free jazz began to be used in relation to Ornette Coleman’s groups of the late 1950s, and the totally improvised album called Free Jazz for two pianoless quartets may well have established this term.
It is in Europe that the free jazz has developed its greatest freedom and improvisers such as Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Alex Schlippenbach, Albert Mangelsdorff and many others have established playing styles that have moved away totally from the conventions of American jazz. It was instructive to listen to two albums (also over the Christmas period!) produced as a result of Birmingham Jazz initiatives. Opus de Life with the Profound Sound Trio (Paul Dunmall, Henry Grimes and Andrew Cyrille) strikes me as free jazz that comes naturally from the jazz tradition. There are no tunes and everything is totally improvised, but the styles of playing of all three players seem to me to derive from a jazz approach.
Of course free jazz is not always energy music and both CDs referred to above contain passages of great gentleness and beauty and this is a constant feature of the best of free jazz. But this energy of free jazz does have an affinity with certain kinds of rock music. In recent years there have been a lot of collaborations between free jazz players and less mainstream rock or punk artists. Evan Parker has, for example, played with Jah Wobble and a number of ‘noise’ players; Paul Dunmall has played with Chris Corsano, Bjork’s drummer who also played a totally improvised duo set with Mick Flower on keys at The Supersonic Festival in 2009 and members of The Guillemots run their own free jazz group The Gannets. One of my favourite albums of 2009 was Sunn O>>>’s Dimensions and Extensions which put together Sunn O>>>’s drone metal guitar work with jazzers Julian Priester and Cuong Vu. Then a number of jazz groups such as The Thing, Peter Wareham’s Acoustic Ladyland and, even more, Pete’s The Final Terror and Led Bib are deliberately incorporating a strong rock and ‘in-your-face’ punk element into their approach.
It’s all a sign of how interesting the alternative music scene is at the moment and how barriers and boundaries are being broken down. One very interesting concrete piece of evidence of all this is the fact that a group called brass unbound is touring in late January and early February with the punk band The Ex and it seems that they will be playing together. Brass unbound consists of Mats Gustafsson of The Thing, Ken Vandermark, both on saxophones , Roy Paci on trumpet and Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos.
Tony Dudley Evans
For full article go to http://www.birminghamjazz.co.uk
Monday, 1st February 2010
The Ex & Brass Unbound
Zun Zun Egui
@Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
Advanced Tickets: http://www.theticketsellers.co.uk