30 Days: 30 Albums | You – Time Code

30-days-30-albums-header

I first noticed Germany’s You last year at the Harvest 8th Anniversary sale. I was buying lots of CDs issued by the Bureau B label to finally hear seminal Krautrock acts like Cluster, Pyrolator, and Hans-Joachim Rodelius. There was a lot of affordable stock there, and I started to notice other Bureau B reissues. Maybe I should try some of those? You’s album “Electric Day” was there and it had “the look” that I remembered from the late seventies: airbrushed “cosmich” cover art, lots of analog synthesizers, and Germans… with beards! The last one was the clincher. I bought “Electric Day” and really enjoyed it. The 1979 album was Berlin school music just two years past its sell-by date. But in 2012, it sounded pretty good to me. Synths, loops, and sequencers predominated, but the guitars and real drums sounded pretty sweet next to them. If you have ever heard Tangerine Dream and not flinched, this might have your name on it.

This year, when rooting through the bins in the Harvest basement for $1.00 goodness, I had adopted a new credo: buy everything that Bureau B releases! Whether it’s Krautrock or NDW reissues, or even new material by those artists, I am predisposed to enjoy it. I’ve yet to hear a Bureau B release that disappointed my ears. Not since The Compact Organization have I found a label so in tune with my tastes.

Bureab B | GER | CD |2011 | BB074

Bureab B | GER | CD |2011 | BB074

#29 • You: Time Code GER CD RM [2011]

  1. Time Code
  2. Future/Past
  3. 20/11/28
  4. Deep Range
  5. Taurus-Fantasia
  6. Metallique
  7. Live Line
  8. Bluewater Dream
  9. Mission: Possible
  10. Controlled Demolition

Last year I started going to the Bureau B website to find out more, and I saw that You had a second album that was re-issued by the label. “Time Code” was now in my sights and last Saturday, I found a copy. It was originally released four years after “Electric Day” and it is a fascinating example of old dogs learning new tricks.

The resulting album is a fascinating blend of the passing old and the emerging new. There was now lots of Düsseldorf school seeping into the mix and very nearly dominating. The drummer and guitar player were cut free, and now the group was a duo consisting of Albin Meskes and Udo Hanten on computers and synths. From the first moment, it’s clear that synth music has seen a seismic shift since their debut waxing. This no longer sounds like Tangerine Dream alone, but presages the sound of The Art Of Noise which was just around the corner. Tempos are faster. Song lengths are briefer. This is grounded music with little in the way of cosmic noodling.

There is equal emphasis between classic Krautrock tropes and emergent Post-Punk aesthetics that sees the title track occupying similar space to works like Chris Carter’s “The Space Between” solo album and works yet to come like Bill Nelson’s Orchestra Arcana projects. “20-11-28” begins with an electric bolero rhythm that features harmonious flourishes of fluid sound for a look backward that hints more at the band’s roots than most of this program.

The 9:02 “Live Line” features crystalline Kraftwerkian lead lines juxtaposed against Morodersque sequencers for a truly vigorous hybrid sound that encompasses the width and breadth of  German synthesizer music. The various movements that encompass this piece make it seem less like nearly ten minutes long and more like a medley of shorter material. The blending of analog and digital sounds on “Time Code” makes for a fascinating example of music similar to what Zeus B. Held achieved with Fashion the previous year. That pragmatism allowed for something unique to flourish briefly in this timespace, before the convenience of digital led it to quickly dominate music production.

CONCLUSION: enjoy

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in 30 Days - 30 Albums, Record Review, Your Prog Roots Are Showing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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