Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Kreidler - Kreidler

Kreidler


Released 2000 on Wonder / Mute
Reviewed by Lugia, 15/03/2004ce


Kreidler: "Kreidler"
Wonder / Mute 9144-2. Recorded/released 2000.

1) Circles
2) Mnemorex
3) Do It
4) The Main
5) Bewitched
6) Sans Soleil
7) Beauties
8) Ashes
9) The Boy Who Wonders
10) Estatico
11) Lanzalot

While poking around Amazon.com, I ran across a description of Kreidler as "techno with real drums". The 30-second (insufficient, really) samples also sounded interesting, so I grabbed this item used to check it out.

Well...to few peoples' surprise, the Amazon blurb description was somewhat off-base. Yes, this is largely electronic. Yes, there are real drums. No, this is not _exactly_ techno.

Instead, this seems like something of a missing link...it sits squarely between the old Düsseldorf Krautrock sound that gave us such things as Harmonia, NEU!, La Düsseldorf, Cluster, etc, and more modern-day German things such as Mouse On Mars and some of the dubbier exponents coming out of there these days.

The very first track sets you down in a setting that's definitely in that 'not this nor that' zone described above. "Circles" has some dubby bits...but it's not dub. It's a little like MOM...but it's not as quirky. It's kind of like later Michael Rother...a little, but not quite. It's all those things. And it's also none of them, too, if that makes sense. But is it satisfying? Oh, yes...most assuredly. This is fine, fine downtempoish grooviness that doesn't get up in your face, but it's also not ever unentertaining, either.

Momus guests on vocals along with the trio of electronics, bass, and drums that is Kreidler on the next track, a warped past memory of a trip to the 1970 Osaka World's Fair. It's charming, very disarming and cheery stuff, and hard not to keep from cracking a smile to. After this, we're into disjointy Kraftwerk-like video-gamish fun on "Do It". Groovy, groovy...but it doesn't compel you to move so much as it sort of suggests that it might be fun to get your feet going.

"The Main" eases you into a shuffly reggae-meets-Nintendo sort of zone next. Again, there's this distinct lightness here...it's a minor-keyed affair, but there's a lilt to it in amongst the electronic beats and little twitters and minor-ish ambience. A cheery dark? Sorta-kinda. "Bewitched" follows, and eases things WAY down, with loungy loops and hyper-mellowness abouding. You could almost imagine Barry White popping up in this, but not in some cheezy way. A digitized Düsseldorfer make-out groove, to be sure. Yeah, baby...oh, darlin'...

Then this nifty skitter-sample thing gets going, and we're gliding along in the nocturnal-ish downtempo zone of "Sans Soleil". More than a few jazzy chops get displayed here, and you just can't keep from getting that head-nod action happening. Then we get the first curveball the album with the weird dubness of "Beauties"...sort of like some strange spacy-bleepy rework of a missing track off of "Sowiesoso", this. It's a weird one, but like everything else on here, it's a playful weird, not at all off-putting.

"Ashes" gets us to the first thing on here that you could call "uptempo", I suppose. It's kind of Detroit-techno-like, actually...you can hear echoes of Carl Craig or Kenny Larkin slinking around in amongst the skitter-blips. But no aggression to be found...it's a smooth, hyperdrive groove. The next cut, "The Boy Who Wonders", also is sort of up...but at the same time, very delicately groovy. The beat is straight-ahead, but everything else sort of slinks around in a jazzy-seductive way as Basic Channel-esque echoed dub chords chime in and out along with twitters and other bits of aural candies.

One final vocal number, with Leo Garcia guesting on "Estatico". Oh, yeaahhhh...this really is best enjoyed with a fine tropical beverage, to be sure. A digital Channel-One-ish groove, lyrics phasing in Español like they're beamed in via shortwave, odd Clusteroid rhythmic bleeps, as Garcia's voice starts to loop: "...estatico...estatico...estatico...". It's so damn laid-back, you can feel your blood pressure dropping 20 whole points while it's on. Then one final outburst of playful electro-wacky as Kreidler get into this strange, defective "Zuckerzeit"-like loping groove with the odd Caetano Veloso-oid vocal scat loop on "Lanzelot" to close the album out.

Hmmm...so what fuels this sort of nifty but strange sound? Well...would it whet your interest more if I told you that one member of this trio was part of To Rococo Rot...but another was one of Klaus Dinger's compatriots in La?NEU! and also did the remastering of the reissued NEU! albums? Yeah? Thought so...

Who are Kreidler making their music for? Hmmm...well, there's a lot of people who'd jump for this, I think. Those who like the groovy downtempo stuff such as Air...sure. Those into the more recent German sounds...absolutely. The Krautrock fans who got into the mid-late '70s-thru-early '80s Conny Plank stuff...yup. In fact, about the only people who probably can't get into this are those who want everything at signal-60 blastorama smash-everything levels, and even they would be hard pressed to not smile and head-bob along to the groovy grooves Kreidler's laying down here. I know I'll be going back to snag more of this stuff, and there's probably a sizable percentage of you reading this that owe it to yourselves to bend an ear to this album.


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