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Villalog - Spacetrash

  by Adrian Janes

published: 7 / 2 / 2015

Villalog - Spacetrash
Label: Klangbad
Format: CD


Over-stretched and repetitious fourth album from instrumental Austrian post-rock trio, Villalog

Whether or not Austrian band Villalog’s fourth album can be regarded as a success depends on the listener’s taste for extended instrumental work-outs. Michi Duscher’s varied guitar styles (mellow and mesmeric on ‘Wall of Grooves’, ferocious on ‘NVN’ and elsewhere), Bernhard Fleischmann’s accomplished drumming, which shows a certain Jaki Liezebeit deftness allied to an instinct of when to drive harder, and the undercurrent of Marc Muncke’s snarling synth, ought to make this a more satisfying album than it ultimately is. The problem is how often, despite the players’ musical skill, the fairly memorable themes most of the tracks begin with are allowed to meander.This is crystallised in the ten minutes’ plus of ‘Bassknopf’; it has a compelling keyboard line, crisp drums and moments of Duscher’s aggressive guitar hitting a near scream. But in the end, for this listener, it overstays its welcome as the band get - and I’m as sorry to write this as you are to read it - stuck in a jam. ‘Plätscher Plätscher’ and ’Orange Sunshine’ also lean towards this over-immersion in a groove, but the latter at least is rescued by a gradual rise in intensity of guitar aided by raw synth and insistent drumming. The band’s previous album ‘Cosmic Sister’ has been described as space disco, and the baggy beat of ‘Alphaville’ and hi-hat heavy rhythm of ‘NVN’ epitomise how adroitly Villalog can get into a groove that at different times is part-Can, part Stone Roses, part-Hawkwind and part-Kraftwerk. Both are rather repetitious, but Duscher unleashes some wild guitar on both that just about maintains interest. Final track ‘Wall of Grooves’ has a subdued guitar intro, suggestive of what is to come - a subtle interplay of echoed guitars that is entrancingly effective and makes for a surprising highlight, although it ultimately peters out on another repetitive guitar phrase. A more ruthless editing process with their compositions could make Villalog’s music have even more impact. But for them it’s probably the case, like Can, that it’s the freedom to delve into inner space for as long as they like that enables them to extract the diamonds from amongst the trash. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for some),on this album we accompany them on the entire voyage, with no short-cuts.

Track Listing:-
1 Düsseldorf Dub
2 Plätscher Plätscher
3 Orange Sunshine
4 Alphaville
5 Bassknopf
6 Space Trash
8 Wall of Echoes

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