Thursday, October 1, 2009

Home - (1995)

After initially coming to American attention with Koksofen, the trio achieved a slightly higher stature with Home, consisting of a re-recording of five earlier tracks in a new series of sessions. Einst├╝rzende Neubauten member and sometime Brotzmann collaborator F. M. Einheit helped produce Home, ensuring the band's combination of abstract artiness and crunching electricity would come through in a big way. The sound didn't change in particular, but in terms of blunt power the Home recordings can be considered the best, and they certainly don't sound anything like an attempt to hit the mainstream. Tempos are still low and ponderous much of the time, the whole pitch of the album sounds shifted towards the bass, and Brotzmann's own guitar work feels like sludge coming through another layer of same. Far from being a criticism, though, this is a definite recommendation. "Tempelhof," sharing its name with a Berlin airport, is one of the best monster rock tracks ever, a perfect calling card for the Massaker's abilities. After a slightly softer but still ominous start, Brotzmann kicks in with a charging, simple but deadly guitar line, accompanied in fits and starts by the other two members. Brotzmann's half-quavering half-rampaging vocals add to the unnerving feeling of the piece, which gets a touch lighter halfway through before kicking in again. "Massaker" itself is just as strong, an avant-feedback clang of a number with plenty of noisy sludge reshaped into new and strange ways. If drawing a connection between Brotzmann and his father's work sometimes forces the issue a bit much, "Massaker" is definitely a number that shows where it can lie. The other two long cuts, "Hunter Song" and the rolling "Bohmen," along with the shorter intro piece "The Tribe," fill out this challenging and rewarding album. (

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