Review of ACP ‘2911.’ on Aural Innovations

aural innovationsAural Innovations in the US, captained by Jerry Kranitz since 1998, has been keeping the flame of space rock and its associated genres alive and kicking on the world wide intertubes, through the medium of reviews, a zine and several podcasts each month.

This month, Jerry looks at Audio Cologne Project’s first release ‘2911.’, the new Krautrock collaboration album between Dave Pearson, Uwe Cremer and Zsolt Galántai. Thanks, Jerry!

Computerchemist is headed up by Dave Pearson, an English musician residing in Hungary. This time last month I reviewed the 2-part new Computerchemist album, Signatures I & II, which included Budapest based drummer Zsolt Galántai. I mention that because despite the different band name, Audio Cologne Project is in some ways a follow up to the Space meets Prog of Signatures, albeit in a different direction.

Audio Cologne Project is the trio of Dave Pearson of Computerchemist on bass, keyboards and sequencers, German musician Uwe Cremer of Level Pi on guitars and keyboards, and Hungarian drummer Zsolt Galántai. Cremer has released three albums that I’m aware of as Level Pi, the first having the distinction of being one of the few new artists to be released by the Garden of Delights label. Pearson and Cremer made contact online in 2007 and collaborated remotely, and after meeting in person in 2009 decided to work together on a project that strayed from the EM and Berlin school albums that both had been known for, toward a Rock/Krautrock context, without completely abandoning their Berlin school influences.

2911 consists of 6 instrumental tracks, some taking plenty of time to stretch out and explore. The nearly 19 minute Chemist’s Bike comes roaring out of the starting gate as a hard and heavy 70s styled riff rocker, with chunky guitar chords and Hammond styled organ. But this is just a brief intro as the sequenced keyboards soon join in, along with symphonic keys and spaced out winding and weaving guitar licks. And from there it transitions to a distinctly Pink Floyd-ian jam, then returns to the opening rocking theme, before settling into a Space-Prog excursion with classic old time keyboard sounds. Crazy Bongos kicks off with a bit of a motorik groove, and the piano melody reminds me of a Neu! song that I can’t quite put my finger on. The music is propelled by rockin’ drumming, and I like the combination of piano and spacey pinging efx’d guitar licks.

At nearly 20 minutes, Spieluhr is another lengthy stretch out track. It opens with a children’s music box lullaby. Piano and a haunting spacey Mellotron-like melody soon take over, as steady understated drumming builds tension, leading up to an explosion in which the trio launch into a power rocking jam that blends symphonic Prog, cosmic keys, and trippy psychedelic guitar. Around the halfway mark the music transitions, getting into territory that’s both Tangerine Dreamy and symphonic, and things quickly get hot ‘n heavy and Space-Prog rocking again, and I love the ripping guitar solo backed by all manner of cosmic keys and stormy drumming.

Grobmotorik is a fiery guitar driven heavy rocker, though later the keys edge their way in and we get some tasty Dub-infused bass. The 17+ minute Mind The Gap lays down a cool space-jazzy groove, with monster rocking guitar solos that sting like a wasp. Parts sound like a Dave Gilmour-Rick Wright duo. The music later shifts into dreamy mode, winding things down with a peaceful Pink Floyd inspired vibe, though the sequenced keys add a twist. Finally, the short Akustisch-1 wraps up the set, sounding like a Mariachi band supported by electro grooves, sequenced keys, psychedelic guitar and freaky effects.

There’s lots of variety on 2911, and while it’s more heavy rocking, it shares with the Signatures albums (which are still fresh in my mind) an assortment of Space and Progressive Rock influences, with a fresh take on the sounds of yesterday.

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