Ott :: Blumenkraft
[twisted]   review from derek  

"All composite phenomena are impermanent." goes a line on Ott's "Jack's Cheese & Bread." The opening, predominantly instrumental, track demands a nuevo-update on the Buddhist theory of existence (i.e. life is dukha, a sort of suffering derived from the human mind, and that it is possible to go beyond the mind). The ending "Nirvana is true peace" keeps with Eastern thought - that "beyond the mind" means accepting opposites are all enclosed in the Uroboros, the eternal womb - and while these opening remarks hint at a drifty New Age fantasy (a.k.a. Crap™), Blumenkraft is anything but.

Ott, like the maxim cited, finds balance between airier strings and vocals with seriously deep grooves, spanning Mid-Eastern percussion, trip-hop aerobics and forays into four-on-the-floor all rooted in dub effects. The production is as big as any megaclub house cut, but certain solitude creates space within the propelled vortex of sound. Every track exudes a sonic wall, but rather than bludgeoning it enhances the aural experience. Admittedly scientific in approach, Ott uses a specific alchemy not confined to geometrics, for within this laboratory emotional content is as rampant as calculated precision.

Track titles alone suggest an Anthony Burgess approach: "Spannered in Pilton," "Splitting An Atom," "Billy the Kid Strikes Back" among the quizzical conundrums. Songs are equally koan-like, leaving the listener wondering "Where the hell did they get that sound?" It's the spirit of Phillip Glass and Brian Eno taking the mechanical dexterity of organic music one step further: at root lies pure emotion, and for this, Blumenkraft achieves the rather momentous task of walking the line of science and nature and emerging victorious.

The album is not without faults, as certain datedness exists in some of the spacey effects and synthesized overtones. But the fusing of slide guitar, dumbek and Lee Perry-esque feedback is, at times, luscious. Stronger on the mellower tip, "Sommersettler" and "Smoked Glass & Chrome" - the latter speeding up the vocals of Bob Holroyd's "Adrift in Kerala" to utter perfection - both enter the dreamed plane mentioned on track one. A comfortable mellowness puts the listener into tranquil hush before the beast of Blumenkraft, "Cley Hill," is detonated. Within this mad professor's domain nothing escapes unharmed.

ethnotechno rating: 4 out of 5
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  1. Jack's Cheese and Bread Snack
  2. Somersettler
  3. Splitting the Atom (pick)
  4. Escape from Tulse Hill
  5. Cley Hill (pick)
  6. Billy the Kid Strikes Back
  7. A Load Up at Nunney Catch
  8. Spannered in Pilton
  9. Smoked Glass and Chrome (pick)