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Various Artists — Head Rush
(Fruits de Mer strange fish twenty-two, 2021, 3LP+CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2021-08-17Now here is a new compilation album that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. Fruits de Mer, the purveyors of all things psych, prog, etc. have a strong love for Krautrock. Over the past ten years they’ve released several tribute compilations of various German bands on the Brain label et. al. On Head Rush, the focus narrows to the heady motorik days of Can, Neu!, Harmonia, and Klaus Dinger. Head Rush may be the largest and most ambitious FdM tribute to date with three colorless transparent LPs (think of the first Faust LP) plus a full bonus CD of tracks that either arrived too late for the LP pressing, or did not quite fit in with the other tracks. After all, it is quite a challenge to fit a thirty minute track on to one side of an LP. Over the course of nearly 3½ hours of music we are blessed by some familiar musicians and bands: Anton Barbeau (performing with Julia VBH as Giacomo & Carolina), Das Blaue Palais, Moon Goose, Jay Tausig, The Lost Stoned Pandas, Psychic Lemon, Audio Cologne Project, Icarus Peel, and The Legendary Flower Punk. And of course with all FdM releases, they introduce to the world a bevy of new artists and bands: Silver Vials, The Love Explosion, David Oakes, Sonic Trip Project, Oslo Tapes, Son of Ohm, Alber Jupiter, Motor!k, Culto al Qondor, Taras Bulba, and Vince Cory. Never before has there been such a concentration of excellent music in this narrow motorik genre. Each band or artist stands on the shoulders of the giants of 70s Krautrock and continues to blow you away. It is like a breath of fresh air. The majority of the tracks are original compositions, not covers. The exceptions are Taras Bulba’s cover of Florian Fricke’s “Vuh Part 1” and The Legendary Flower Punk’s 30-minute Krautrock jam cover of Harmonia’s “Watussi” recorded live. In addition to the motorik influences throughout the 22 tracks, the artists also pay homage to Manuel Göttsching, most notably by Icarus Peel on “Der Wald” as Icarus begins with a calm and simple guitar riff that he slowly builds by adding notes and phrases, akin to lapping waves of sound, to create a gorgeous sonic delight. And then I am very happy to see Uwe Cremer’s (AKA Level ∏) project Audio Cologne Project finally appear on FdM. Their instrumental “Großmotorik” features Uwe’s searing guitar licks. As with many FdM releases, Head Rush sold out on pre-orders. There is a possibility of additional sets arriving, but with the pandemic and major record labels releasing more vinyl these days, it is becoming increasingly harder on the small independent labels. But if you are able to find a copy, Head Rush is well worth the investment of time and money.
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