Ape Shifter — Ape Shifter II
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-05-19
A couple years since their debut, Jeff Aug and company are back for their sophomore release, another (almost) instrumental exploration of edgy hard rock played with a punk vengeance with only a few pauses in the ongoing din. These guys do it well, though, pushing out two years of pent-up aggression in a few short minutes, and taking no prisoners, laying waste to everything in their path. For the record, Jeff Aug plays the mean guitar, a player among players, born in Maryland but living in Germany for the last twenty years, with a half dozen solo releases to his credit, and he composed twelve of the thirteen tracks (the opener “Gravity” is a group composition). Bassist Florian Walter and drummer Kurty Münch are no slouches either, maintaining the precision attack and heavy bottom end amid Aug’s incessant and powerful riffage. Notes don’t say who sings on the final track, “Matilda,” but vocals are something new for the band – their debut was a purely instrumental outing, and many might argue that’s what Ape Shifter does best, but their vocals are certainly respectable, and add a completely new dimension to the band’s work, as does the guest violin on that track by Kilian Kayser. While most of the second album is much like the first (new riffs, of course, but very similar in style), the vocals on that final cut could offer future new directions for the band if they ever run out of riffs.
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more