Seven That Spells: “The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock – Io” CD / LP
Although released a year ago, this album, and the band as a whole, still looms large. It is striking how the record has been deliberately structured to mirror the first part of the triology, “Aum” through its five movements, similar song titles with their plus one names and of course the minimal artwork complete with customary female nudity in silhouette. But all of these subtle facets simply float on the surface. Delve deeper and what will then be discovered?
From the melancholic piano bars of “In II” through the hard hitting drum sticks and introductory chant of the title track this is no mere repetition. But trance induced repetition is good and that’s exactly where “Io” leads. Perhaps that partially explains why its infinite complexity could be missed on a cursory listen. The mammoth mind explosion that follows offers an array of coiling serpentine guitars, splashing cymbals, throat vibrations, extended psychedelic lead breaks and a rhythm that meshes with a phone ringing. And ringing. With no answer. No release. Anybody out there? Having hung on, dangling, for an eternity, to no avail, tense expectation transforms to trance. Zone out…
Flipping over, “One” erupts! Heavy percussion rattles guitar scales gone wild. Tight and muscular, yet somehow playful, teasing, this is the very heart of the album. Throbbing. Pulsing. Accelerating and decelerating. Keep up! And keep breathing, you fool! “Burning Blood” makes an equally strong impression with its vocal praise and resonating Eastern strings. Eyes open or closed, that trance has returned with gusto. The space within your mind opens, expands and the visions blossom like a lush spring in full bloom. Strokes of genius come in flashes, waves and twirls. That grey matter rotates in your skull in a wild attempt to imitate an excitable sea lion high on fish. Arrr! Arrr! Throats continue to vibrate as drums roll to deep bass. Then “Out II” provides the antidote to insanity. Its sliding six string mantra has a soothing influence. Gently grounding. Grounding gently. Step by step, reality returns. What exactly just happened?