16 September 2012

[Review] Beak> - >>

Most of you are probably familiar with Geoff Barrow of Portishead. Honestly speaking, I never liked them. Yes, I've heard "Dummy" and yes I know how talented they are and how they're mixing all these styles but I cannot stand them. Maybe my taste is shit but this does not change the fact. Anyway, couple of years ago mr. Barlow started a new project called Beak>, along with Matt Williams and Billy Fuller. They released their first album in 2009 and in June 2012 their second one. I cannot remember how I found about them but after the first listening of ">>" I was really impressed. I always admitted that Barrow is a great musician even if I didn't like his music. But Beak> is definitely an opinion changer...

">>" is one of the finest neo-kraut albums I've heard. Album's flow is very close to perfectionism. All three of them know exactly what they're doing and how to achieve a flawless result. They perused well and allow me to say mastered Can's techniques of minimalism, the repetitive methods of Neu! and Kraftwerk's musical breakthroughs as well as the wise usage of electronics. Of course the term post-punk is something they're also very familiar to. Listening to ">>" is more of an experience, affecting you in many ways. Fear, tension, horror or even a false state of euphoria are all part of the game.

From the discordant horns of chaos ("The Gaol") to kraut-homages like "Spinning Top", "Yatton", "Liar" or "Elevator" everything sound completely balanced, unbiased and natural. Using repetition is an easy path to boredom if your perspective as a musician isn't clear. Hopefully Beak> are totally aware of that and they carefully considered where and how to use it. "Deserters" goes a step further in more dark corners of your mind, having this amazing depressed guitar. Of course "Wulfstan II" is the track I really stuck into since it reminds me a lot my beloved Master Musicians Of Bukkake. It's probably the oriental keys, the chant-like vocals and the atmosphere generated by them. Absolutely amazing!

The thin line between analog and digital vibes is followed throughout the album. Each member knows his deal and what his boundaries are. They know when to spread all over and when to leave room for others to breath. The vocals are more like an instrument, adding an extra layer in the music. Beak> create pure atmospheric music. The claustrophobic feeling is everywhere, enhanced by the subtle changes that taking place. You can feel the sinister horror in tracks like "The Gaol", "Ladies' Mile" or in the second half of "Kidney".

Beak's second album resides for a long time now in my player. It's one of these albums that keeps me getting back again and again offering me a bigger pleasure each and every time. ">>" is brimming history and yet it sounds so refreshing, unconventional, truthful and definitely interesting.  Kraftwerk, Neu! and Can taught us that sometimes effectiveness and a successful result don't need huge walls of sound neither numerous ways to poorly show off each musician's "impressive" abilities. Beak> brought back this idea with the best possible way!

by Thanos   


Tracklist:
01. The Gaol
02. Yatton
03. Spinning Top
04. Eggdog
05.Liar
06. Ladies' Mile
07. Wulfstan II
08. Elevator
09. Deserters
10. Kidney

For physical needs: Invada Records



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