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Electric Orange - Volume 10 CD (album) cover


Electric Orange



4.05 | 127 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars From the polished and carefully composed yet energetic grooving retro prog of their first self-titled album back in 1993, through modern electronic/dance influences, wild vocal- driven wig-outs and beyond, German band Electric Orange have constantly been evolving, changing their styles and sounds between albums on their unsuspecting listeners. Heading in directions that their last couple of albums only hinted at, `Volume 10' unleashes the band in pure Krautrock mode, with mostly instrumental lengthy freeform improvisations weaving a hypnotic spell over the listener, and the sparse production, along with the exploratory atmospheres and that necessary hint of danger ensures this is the band is honing the true essence of the style, something often missed in modern bands attempting to play in the Krautrock style.

Armed with a string of Black Sabbath punning titles, while the band doesn't employ attacking metal riffs like that band, there is a definite doomy atmosphere bubbling under `Volume 10', with the album almost resembling a long, murky bad confronting trip - emotionally, spiritually...perhaps chemically?! With ethnic instrumentation, warped electronics and ragged guitars, the plodding compositions (and I only mean that as a compliment) cast a murky shadow over the listener, only to be thrown back into reality at the end of almost 80 minutes, and there's no way they can remain unaffected.

`Paraboiled' is a stark opener, a lonely, droning middle-eastern theme with a thick tension trying to break to the surface, growing more rumbling and unsettled as it progresses. Crying mandolin, eerie spectral haunting Mellotron and a quickening beat easily intimidate, while off-key double bass slices at your mind with maddening results. `Slowbind' raises your pulse with a chasing beat and urgent banjo strums over sustained synth breakdowns. `Symptom of the Mony Nurse' brings brooding lonely wailing electric guitar strains around wavering deep-space synths, while the meditative 14 minute `Suite Beef' is a mournful early Pink Floyd/Popul Vuh styled organ drone, a dark spiritual reflection with weeping mandolin and driving drums to end on. These two especially show the talent of Dirk Jan Müller, on something of a run with the modern progressive electronic gem `Cosmic Ground' impressing earlier on in the year.

Rising and falling cymbal waves crash on `A Tuna Surprise', a bass violin rumination with crystalline electric piano tip-toes and blanketing Mellotron washes. The album suddenly moves up in tempo for the wild, unhinged 21 minute vacuum-like `Behind the Wall of Sheep', a real showcase for drummer Georg Mohnheim. In addition to his relentless primal drumming, you get ominous Mellotron choir, crackling white noise, Tom Rückwald's menacing thundering pounding bass and Dirk Bittner's squealing feedback laden guitars. `Seven and Smell' is a dark psychedelic mix of distorting electronics, reverse guitars, imposing recited voices and mesmerizing trance-inducing tribal percussion. Album closer `Worn Utopia' in one melancholic closer, full of twitching electronics, crackling static, twisting feedback, out-of-tune guitar note bending, maddening percussive repetition and harsh rising and falling synth hums that constantly speed up and slow down. There's a repulsive, suffocating machine-fuelled madness throughout the entire piece, along the lines of the darkest Tangerine Dream works like the claustrophobic deep space `Zeit' album, with only a skipping up-tempo beat and humming Hammond that slowly enters in the final minutes to offer any respite.

Mastered by Eroc of Grobschnitt, `Volume 10' sees Electric Orange proudly bringing vintage influences howling into the modern age, yet never sounding like a pale imitation of the German bands noted for defining the Krautrock sound. For fans of Agitation Free, Popul Vuh, the Ash Ra Tempel and the earlier works of Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream, this is Krautrock music in it's purest form, and some of the most subdued, intricate, thoughtful, restrained, mournful and uneasy ambience I've heard in years.

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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