30 Days: 30 Albums | Camera – Radiate!

30-days-30-albums-headerNot every album that Bureau B releases is classic Krautrock/NDW or current work by both movements movers and shakers. Sometimes, there is new DNA injected into the mix. Such is the case with Camera. The trio operate within the parameters of Krautrock but have been termed “Guerilla Krautrock” for their approach of  setting up to play spontaneously in places where they have not expressly been invited to! They have also gigged with Michael [Neu!] Rother and Dieter [Cluster] Moebius so the old guard has passed the torch of approval down to the next generation. Word has it that they dragged their feet at actually committing the sound to plastic due to their preference for live gigging for a period of several years. This is their debut album. What’s it like?

Bureau B | GER | CD | 2012 | BB116

Bureau B | GER | CD | 2012 | BB116

#25 • Camera: Radiate! GER CD [2012]

  1. E-go
  2. Villon
  3. Ausland
  4. Lynch
  5. Utopia Is
  6. RFID
  7. Soldat
  8. Morgen

What it’s like is simply fantastic! It only took seconds of hearing the first cut to know that I was home. “E-Go” begins with droning synths and a drum machine clattering in the distance before the live drums come to the front and never let up with their relentless Dinger beat. The guitars are treated like washes of metallic pigments that add tension to the groove without ever finding a release. Fans of Neu! will definitely approve. I could have this on repeat all day long and love it.

The band moderates their attack admirable throughout the album. This isn’t all urgent trancedrone. Sometimes it’s slow tracedrone. “Villon” drops the pace considerably and the guitars are lyrical here, not simply squelchy blasts of jet engines added to the propulsive mix. The pace here comes close to attaining what Klaus Dinger called the “Apache” beat.

“Ausland” picks up the pace again and recalls Robert Fripp’s League Of Gentlemen with the organ drones offset against the propulsive beat and the distorted guitar leads. of course, it recalls the godfathers of Krautrock, The Velvet Underground, and their progeny The Modern Lovers, as much as it does Neu!

Fripp is again a touchstone for “Lynch” which reminds me strongly of his “Zero Of The Signified” from “God Save The Queen/Under Heavy Manners.” I’m guessing the track might be named for the director, since the mood here is definitely uneasy.

“Utopia Is” returns to a fast, upbeat pace caressed by shimmering, distorted guitars overlaid onto the droning synths and sound effects that sound like a party at the onset. The shuffling beat of “Soldat” [“Soldier”] proves that the clay of Krautrock is malleable enough to be recognized among the rhythmic variation that occurs here. The album concludes with “Morgen” occupying a place not unlike that of “Morgenspaziergang” from the popular apex of Krautrock, “Autobahn.” It’s a humane and contemplative end to a journey that had much urgency.

Camera have achieved a very compelling new chapter of Krautrock with enough new wrinkles in it to avoid the taint of slavish imitation without abandoning wholesale the caveats of the style that bring us back for more. This is a fantastic debut from a band I will hope to be making more room in the Record Cell for in the future.

CONCLUSION: enjoy… a lot

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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