Transmission number 53 apparently from planet Der Blutharsch and these are becoming a bit of a regular thing since they discovered us. Not a problem, I am happy to waffle on about this Austrian lot’s odd musical cosmos. Their promo discs are especially nice coming with colourful artwork, post cards, stickers and the like. Hell I can just about make out the track listing this time too, even if it does mean standing on my head a bit and making myself dizzy. I am also given the advice to “misbehave and enjoy,” sounds sensible to me. Time to press play and pray as such, whatever god you believe in can be your musical companion along the way. If you want to listen alone that’s quite acceptable too and I don’t want to kick up any debates on that front here, so it’s best to let the music be the hymn sheet.
‘Shine’ is where we start and Julius Albin leads us on a monolithic journey with an incredibly lengthy track of droning doom. Prepare to go on a repetitive trip into the fuzzoverse here as it sprawls out and gets its tentacles into your head controlling you into the back of beyond like the musical equivalent of sucking down a big bong hit (well you may have done just that anyway). It’s got a slow space rock and Kraut Rock feel to it Jim, just not as we know it. There some fluttery Hawkwind etched sounds in the background behind the black hole bass which should put many space cadet in a familiar sort of zone. After several millennia some witchy vocals ebb out the speakers, I assume said enchantress is regular companion Marthynna and although just flirting with the musical canvas these parts certainly add to it.
The rest of the 9 tracks are nowhere near quite as dense and more sporadic in nature. The trance flow of ‘Wolf On Your Threshold’ a piece of Ozric Anarchist ambience is one to sit back in a comfy chair with some magic tea and nod along to, the bass heavy flow of the production giving you a good reference point to do so. It’s all quite instrumental although occasional vocal patterns haunt in the mix, casting their spell and it’s all very trippy. Chugging away things pick up and rock out more with vocals more prolific on ‘You Hang Low. The melody here seems somewhat reminiscent of stuff I have heard before but that could easily be my mind playing tricks on me man! Arid desert guitars cast a strong thirst at sunset as far as El Ocaso is concerned and tracks have begun to shape-shift and twist, each giving out different sounds and identities now and even going beyond genre definition along the way as we meld into electro garage psyche with the quirky ‘Land Of The Free’
I do like the title track a lot, it has some slow jangling guitar sounds under the pulsing bass lines. I could easily imagine Genesis P coming over the top and vocalising here although whoever does manages just fine. It does certainly bring to mind some sort of TOPY PTV offshoot though. These last few tracks do come rather quickly and to me give the whole thing a bit of a sporadic feel, not fully conceived perhaps and the idea that Der B are a bit schizophrenic packing a lot of things into this album but never completely realizing them. That really explains the mark this one is getting and I am sure it’s just part of the fact that the group like playing with their listener’s heads and no doubt their own too. Long may they continue doing so.
(7/10 Pete Woods)