I originally wrote this review back in November 2015. As you can see (below) the album totally slayed me at the time, and it has continued to do so ever since. Since then the album has really gone from strength to strength enjoying a re-pressing from Guruguru Brain, and now a CD release from Sulatron Records with, excitingly, two extra tracks.
I say excitingly because I really just cannot get enough of this band. Their 2016 single for Höga Nord Records was excellent, and quickly sold out; and their live performance at last year’s Liverpool Psych Fest was just brilliant (they ‘won’ the festival for me). So I was more than intrigued to find out what these extra tracks might bring.
‘Steal Into Harmut’, despite being thirteen minutes long, feels like it is part of something longer hitting you straight from the start with a fantastic blues riff over a hard metronomic beat. This is the heaviest that I’ve heard Minami Deutsch. The track feels very immediate as if performed live, it is certain more raw and less ‘produced’ that the rest of the album; and provides and excellent counterpoint when listening to this CD in full. Whereas the album balances towards Neu, this tips over more into Can territory; with some interesting kosmische departures. Most of all though its relentless beat and stunning guitar diversions take it straight into the Minami Deutsch canon and this track on its own makes the CD worth obtaining. It is an absolute stunner!
Second new track, ‘Taitan’, starts similarly instantly as if part of something longer, and at just over eight minutes is similarly epic. Again feeling quite raw I imagine that this is an outtake from a recording session. However, that does not mean that it is substandard. If you like the idea of hearing bands who have just let loose then this is for you. ‘Taitan’ is an absolutely no-holds-barred recording that starts at lightning speed and just gets faster and faster. I can so imagine listening to this track live and getting thoroughly absorbed by it as is just buries its way deep into my spinal cortex and shakes me about like and alien sonic weapon…just sitting on the sofa here listening to it has me utterly engrossed…I’m literally just sat here shouting ‘fucking hell’ at the speakers…it really is that good!
So you’ve already got the Minami Deutsch album on vinyl and are wondering whether to get it again on CD (used to be the other way round)? Well you get an extra twenty minutes of raw and exciting Minami Deutsch that, for me, gives more of an idea of what the band is about…and for me this is one of the best bands around at the moment.
The CD is released on Sulatron Records on 17th February 2017.
Original album review begins here:
When I saw that Cardinal Fuzz was bringing an album out by a band called Minami Deutsch I was intrigued but not overly expectant. It was going to be good, well for me the Cardinal does not release anything that is not, and from the name it was probably going to have some sort of Krautrock bent to it. Then I saw that it was a collaboration with the Kikagaku Moyo label Guruguru Brain, who originally released the Sundays and Cybele album ‘Heaven’, and has a compilation of Japanese Psych, Guruguru Brainwash, on its bandcamp that is wonderfully diverse and utterly brilliant.
Despite all this I was not really prepared for how good this album is, and if you like it to start with wait until you have heard it a number of times…I can already tell that it is one of those records that I will wear out over the years.
Like the Guruguru Brainwash compilation this is an album of eclectic sounds. The opening track, ‘Vocalism Ali – Forever Takemitsu’ begins as if from an early Godspeed! You Black Emperor album but then explodes into a sound not dissimilar to Mugstar’s ‘Lime’ or ‘Axis Modulator’ albums, and that for me is a massive compliment. It has huge anthem arc sweeping around a fast and tight rhythm section that drives the track forward and gives the guitar and synths free range to explore. It is like your brain has been deliberately duffed up to allow the second track, ‘Futsu Ni Ikirenai’, which then pours itself in to sooth your aching synapses. This is a great, almost otherworldly track that is deceptively simple and yet at about 5’30” introduces a screeching fuzzed-up guitar that reverses the soporific effect and offers new challenges, from then it just keeps building to a chaotic and wild climax.
‘Terra Recipe’ is Kraftwerk from the first bar to the last, but not any sort of second-rate homage. This is an interesting re-working of mid-Kraftwerk with the essence of other Krautrock elements added to the mix to make a relatively short interlude into ‘Uebergleich Part I’, on which the Neu-thrusters are most definitely set to thrill. Set over a Motorik beat, this is a track which really showcases some great guitar work which soars above the rhythm section as if on another plane. It is a really intense track after which you are pleased for the sunny uplands of ‘Sunrise, Sunset’, which keeps the Motorik beat going but it is now the chassis to an altogether different vehicle. Where ‘Uebergleich Part I’ was heavy and dark, ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ is light and bucolic…I love listening to it in the car as it accentuates the joy in the world as the countryside rolls by.
Last up is ‘Uebergleich Part II’ which is probably my favourite track of the lot. It has a wonderful melody to it, and the vocal is something quite beautiful. It is the sort of track that you can take to your heart and really not want to let got. It certainly makes me want to listen to the album over and over again.
Minami Deutsch came from nowhere for me, but had such provenance that I was more than happy to take a punt on it. It has rewarded that trust over the last five weeks or so that I have been listening to it with an ever growing appreciation of its finer points, which continue to reveal themselves with every listen. This is not for me a coherent album, but that does not matter because the individual tracks are so consistently strong that I find myself listening to it over and over again without any skipping.