Album Appreciation: Klinker auf XLR by Zement

As I’ve written about before I really like these Zement guys… they don’t take themselves too seriously and completely destroy that stereotype of Germans lacking humour… I’m married to a German and so already knew this, but it helps to amplify it to the wider world. But just because they are funny doesn’t mean that they don’t put out great music.

Now I’m the first to admit that, unlike most other things, I take my music very seriously… I’m not a big fan of flippancy in music… and that’s where Zement and me seem to agree, because the Würzburg duo’s record to date has been one of impeccable drone/ kraut/ motorik music which is both well played and, well, quite earnest, see also my review of the debut album ‘Zement: Werk‘.

Which brings me to this release, which is essentially a remix album of the band’s second album ‘Klinker‘, the title of which comes from something that I wholeheartedly approve of… the ‘Dad joke’:

The title „Klinker Auf XLR“ is a dad-joke-like pun about the similarity of the german „Klinke“ (a jack cable) and the title of Zement’s 2018 album „Klinker“. As much of a joke as this might be to you – I know not everybody is exactly into dad jokes – it shows the three best qualities of the duo of Philipp Hager and Christian Büdel: letting go, letting things flow, and letting things grow.

Zement bandcamp

Haha, so as I listen to the album through my streamer… connected by an pair of XLR cables to my amp… I get it… and as my kids will tell you, Dad jokes are what cements my relationship with them (oh see what I did there).

Anyway enough of this levity… I’m always rather wary of remix albums, they often seem to be to be rather superfluous and lacking in imagination… why should I listen to this when the originals were so good? Is the question I often ask myself. I also wonder whether getting different people to remix tracks rather takes away the coherency of the music… leaving us with just a bunch of songs rather than a proper album.

In this case the answer is to these questions can be made positively. This is like a completely different album to ‘Klinker’, and yet there seems to be a common purpose to each of the remixes on offer here. It underlines the minimalism of the original album, but also what a strong foundation the tunes on it provide for others to build up and work on. Zement’s attitude of “letting go, letting things flow, and letting things grow” can really be seen here, and this lack of preciousness has really paid dividends with this set.

In short you will like this album if you appreciated the original and are open-minded enough to spread your listening wings into other genres and ideas. This is because every track on here takes you somewhere different and satisfies different moods and feelings. Collectively it really shows what a remix album can be… and if they were all like this I’d have no complaints at all.

„Klinker Auf XLR“ is released by Verydeeprecords, a few copies of the cassette are still available there at the time of writing, here. Downloads also available direct from Zement here.



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