Monday, February 2, 2009

Guru Guru - Hinten

Mani Neumeier's barbarian rock horde in one of their more drug-blasted, wigged out efforts.

"'Hinten' was the second album by the three-piece Guru Guru comprised of: Mani Neumeier (voice, electric drums, cymbals, gong, contact microphone, kalimba, sounding being, zonk machine); Uli Trepte (bass, radio) and Ax Genrich (guitar.) And here they sound less lumpen/trudgin' than on their stellar "UFO" LP but every bit as Frei-Rock and exploratory. But unlike "UFO","Hinten" exhibits a more flexible and plastic structure: it's loose, yet tight. It's free flowing, yet scripted enough to accommodate a freefall of freak outs and it allowed themselves all the space in the universe yet managing to combine together with such effectively precise riffing JUST off enough to allow all concerned to wander off the path as many times as they liked without leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind AND NEVER GETTING LOST. There are also more vocals present here, but only if you can call murmuring song titles over ten-plus-minutes' worth of an ensemble jumble of detuned, skittering guitars shrieking and groaning feedback with an overlay of contact microphone hi-jinks with jarring percussive strikes "vocals". And this was presented in a far clearer sonic image than ever before, courtesy of its self-production ably assisted by engineer Conrad Plank.

Even though the performance was several notches up on the tightness scale from "UFO", the chaos remained unchecked to an extreme because for all its pre-planned boundaries (which they wound up pushing through or just plain ignored for most of the time) the end result was a loose and gigantically sprawling, avant-proto-metal improvisatory monster that for all its audio strength caught the trio completely in the raw...And speaking of which, the cover's got that, too. What cheek. And when I say "cheek" I mean that literally cos it's a four times repetition of a photograph of a guy's backside with the word "GURU" painted twice across his bared glutei. Although it seems a long way round to go just to riff off the album's title, it did effectively scream "FREAK" before anyone got to hear it and the music sealed the whole deal with so many instantaneous stops-and-starts, false endings, guitar solos and outright freakery it both roots you to the spot and sends you off into a zone of anarchic mind-warp all at once. Makes you crack up at inopportune moments, too." - The Seth Man


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