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Kreidler – ABC

Bureau B

Kreidler - ABCKreidler’s latest album continues their post-kraut-rock meets techno melange — a kind of bastard love child of Neu! and Carl Craig — which emerged on their 2012 album Den. ABC is a genre-bending and -blending collection of tracks built around consistently strong keyboard and guitar riffs with driving percussion.

ABC was recorded in Tbilisi, Georgia and the east meets west vibe of the studio’s location rubs off on the album’s sound from the outset. The opening track, “Nino,” evokes a strong silk road vibe through the guitar lines, while the drumming has a steely, cold insouciance. This combination, with some swooshy synths overlaid, makes for a kind of industrial space funk roller. The track builds its layers into a rousing crescendo, but then peters out to a rather disappointing conclusion. “Alphabet” comes up with a much straighter four to the floor house groove, with some retro-electro synth hooks and wibbles, and lovely use of spooky female vocal loops and delay. Underneath all this there is a great big squelchy bassline that fades in and out to keep the whole thing moving along a treat.

“Destino” has a much more straightforward Detroit techno feel, with perhaps the addition of a sampler borrowed from Klute? On this track, the bass comes to the rescue to stop the techno-homage turning into pastiche. Again, it is a nice fat rumbling and rolling ride, but it makes you wonder whether perhaps Kriedler have journeyed to a space funk galaxy too far. All those misgivings fall away though when you get to “Modul,” which is the stand-out track of the album. A single repeated bass note with absolutely harder/sharper than nails/knives percussion creates a persistent and relentless rhythm that you have to move to. Some fierce pitch bend on the synth hooks adds to the overall urgency. This is interspersed with classic house motifs, like effects-laden rhythm guitar and distorted snare loops, the track builds a fantastically weaving ensemble with all the components reaching the same destination for a chilled wind down.

Kreidler then change tack as “Ceramic” starts out with a much more minimalist and unorthodox approach, reminiscent of Coil or Aphex Twin’s more esoteric moments. Unconventional percussions sounds and samples with an off-beat rhythm create an awkward, freaky groove, which then gives way to a mellow Georgian choir and loads of delay over the remnants of the synth line. The overall effect has a beauty which, given where the track started, confounds your expectations. The offbeat approach continues in the final track, “Tornado,” which is a kind of canon of sparse drum loops with a gradual layering of voice samples and a very 808-bass line. The use of heavily effects-laden vocals with distorted synths creates a heavily psychedelic groove which lollops along until it gradually builds into a full-on wig-out, lose your shit climax.

On ABC, Kreidler are very faithful to the wide range of influences that inform their sound, each track drawing distinct components from different eras and places. So while ABC may not be the most original recording ever made, the diversity of influences they drawn on, the care taken in their arrangements and instrumentation, as well as the way they have used guest vocalists and other contributors to enrich the ensemble, creates a very satisfying collection of tracks. That Kreidler are continuing to honour and mine classic electronica and create sophisticated studio albums which blend those genres with refreshing virtuosity is gratifying. Let’s hope they keep it up.

-Jim Bennett-

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