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Electric Orange - EOXXV CD (album) cover

EOXXV

Electric Orange

 

Krautrock

3.53 | 9 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars German band Electric Orange have been around in some form for twenty five years now, founded by Dirk Jan Müller, a multi- instrumentalist who primarily handles keyboards (and also recently started a well-received Berlin School-influenced prog- electronic side-project Cosmic Ground). Over their early years, alongside frequent contributor Dirk Bittner, the group was mostly occupied by guests and/or a rotating door of varied musicians, but a settled line-up of the band eventually found their calling in heavy Krautrock-flavoured ambient jams on their most recent works. To commemorate their anniversary, Dirk and the group have delivered three very different and worthy works this year, with the main focus being on `EOXXV', an expansive 134-minute set that falls somewhere between a new studio work and compilation (the recordings date from 2013 to January of this year), and for your money you get a lavish triple LP set or a double CD collection of superb Krautrock jams that frequently run to over twenty minutes in length each.

`Continuum' opens the album like many of the improvisations here and on recent Electric Orange works, blending long stretches of slowly unfolding ambient electronic drones, dusty distortion-laced guitar atmospheres and rumbling bass grumbles turned in multiple unpredictable directions by unrelenting drumming, the band expertly lifting in drama and retreating again over and over. Grumbling fluid bass ruminations and trippy guitar shimmers permeate `Under The Nun' around ethereal electronic canvasses, searing Mellotron bursts and slowly growing spacey swirling Hammond organ swells (that often call to mind the `Inside/Floating' psychedelic period of vintage German symphonic band Eloy). The sublime `Gnosis' (sadly only included on the CD edition) is spiced with the most subtle of delicate jazzy flavours among its glacial synth pools and lightly pattering drums that eventually take on a hypnotic tribal beat-like grasp, the piece taking a dangerous turn with some maddening fiddle slices and wavering electronic shivers in the finale.

There's an uncomfortable unease to the first half of `Misophonia IV's rumbling and brooding faraway ambient sound-collages that float and shimmer in unhurried hallucinogenic washes, with the piece soon moving in and out of tense drumming hypnotics, nightmarish psychedelics and stormy distortion melts. `Misophonia V' glides between dreamy mellow guitars, ethereal synth caresses and cacophonous flurries of wild drumming, the final crashing moments of `Faint' with its pounding mountain-sized drumbeat stomping down on everything in its path has to be heard to be believed, and album closer `Residuum' is equally a lulling space-music collage and darker ambient distortion drone with moments of blissful life- affirming touches.

`EOXXV' jumps back and forth between `kind of more of the same' as the last few studio releases, and serious contender for one of the albums of the year. While several tracks follow a similar pattern and the album is far too long, each individual piece is an outstanding Krautrock jam of heady sounds and exploratory colour all its own, and to have them compiled in the one place makes it a very attractive release. If you're a massive EO fan and not bothered by the fact that parts of the album mine similar ground to `Volume 10', `Misophonia' and `Würzburg Cairo 2015', then `EOXXV' will make a huge impression on you and make for yet another first-rate modern Krautrock work from one of the best heavy psych bands going around today.

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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