Albums of the week: News from Rammstein, Bloc Party, Kehlani, Mascha Juno – Kultur

Masha Juno – “Uno”

The totally unofficial, but awarded with all the more vehemence SZ price for the album of the week goes to Masha Juno. “Uno” (Akkerbouw) is the debut of a seasoned musician whose real name is Maria Schneider and who comes from Berlin. Many fruits of the lockdown are appearing these days. It was high time for Mascha Juno! “Uno” begins with a polyphonic, twenty-second a cappella intro: “I wont’t tell you the secrets of my heart.” That’s right, the lyrics of the album point into the open, there are no confessional lyrics here. “Better Times,” the opening song, starts off with a feigning tasteful, if somewhat conventional, folk-pop style with its finger-picked acoustic guitar, but suddenly swells towards the end and collapses over an instrumental called “Moroccan Joy,” which layers its rhythms and plays around one another leaves. This is where the percussion pro lets off steam. But – that’s the great thing – the result is not a cerebral etude, but an incredibly invigorating track under a sky full of synth flourishes. So the album oscillates between guitar simplicity and casually elaborate song structures. It’s also formidably sung and produced. Mascha Juno’s voice keeps you warm in every register, every instrument sounds organic. Particularly nice, for example, in the fifth song, the return of the secrets from the intro that were not revealed: “I won’t tell you”. Juliana Liebert

Non-Seattle – “Communist Libido”

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Catherine Kollman says a lot more than that. These days she publishes under the tocotronic pregnant alias non-Seattle her second album, the title of which sounds a bit like coitus interruptus: “Communist libido” (act of state). The focus here is on the slightly distorted e-guitar along with the authentic hum of the amplifier. At her side, of course, Kollmanns always a bit snotty, a nuance of astonished and a touch sad-brittle singing. And their texts. Because we’re in the old realm of true alternative music, when the word indie still tasted of freedom – and not of stale college soda. “I am a predator, I can govern myself,” reads the first line. A determined, vulnerable, courageously perplexed predator speaks well. Because “there is really nobody who knows anything here”. How refreshing that someone with ancient indie melancholy pronounces it! Lucid musings, which appear to be overheard from kitchen table conversations at three in the morning, deliver non-Seattle’s lyrics non-stop. With a strict no-bullshit sound. Even the drums only come to visit once in a while. Tocotronic would surely bless this album. Juliana Liebert

Kelly Lee Owens – “LP.8”

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Kelly Lee Owens delivers, on the other hand, the variety of machine beats. The Welsh singer has been a fixture on the electronic music scene since her self-titled debut in 2017. Although, “solid”: fluids would be better said. After all, you can find melodic tracks with gentle vocals as well as minimalist techno. As a prelude to her previous album, she has radioheads “Arpeggi” covered. Like a dialogue between wayward, monophonic synthesizers. “LP.8” (Smalltown Supersound/Cargo) is more rugged. A hi-hat sucks in air that bass drum hits. Monotonously it begins, monotonously it goes on. Owens stoically repeats the word “release”. Only later do ambient surfaces open up to breathe a sigh of relief – partly icy and rugged, partly in the direction of “Blade Runner” sublimity. Until, with “Nana Piano,” a montage of reassuringly creaky piano loops offers shelter. Experimental crackles and dull bangs pull you back into the factory hall. Instead of marching towards pop, Owens salutes old avant-gardists like Throbbing Gristle and clearly doesn’t want to be liked, but wants to make the music that feels right for them. Juliana Liebert

Kehlani – “blue water road”

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Told in a gently splashing way Kehlani in “blue water road” (Atlantic/Warner) stories about their dreams, love and sex. Waves can be heard in between – and seagulls too. Most of the time there is a tendency towards shallow coastal waters. “All I do is fantasize about you,” she sings in “Up at night“, a song with Justin Bieber. Elsewhere it turns bubbly and groovy, “Altar” is a somewhat aimlessly merging tangle of sounds. Instead there is an almost spiritual experience of strings, trumpets and choirs mixed with reverberant auto-tune beats. The album is like the echoes in an underwater world: a bit dull and strangely distorted. But it sounds very fluent. Eve Goldbach

Block Party – “Alpha Games”

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“You should know the truth”, and that is that bloc party be in a hurry. Lead singer Kele Okereke has a lot to say. So he rushes from one piece to the next and tries to stay true to the style of the past. That’s only half successful. The title track starts loud, rumbling and almost rapping. As to be expected with Bloc Party, the transitions are choppy and edgy. Brexit, Corona, scandals – the pent-up anger has to go somewhere. However, after six songs it has obviously fizzled out and “Alpha Games” (Bmg Rights Management/Warner) slips and slides from energetic entrances and accusatory lyrics in a soft direction. From track seven, “Of things yet to come”, it gets quieter and stays that way. “Peace Offering ends up resonating melodically and more anxious than expected. “I don’t need your peace offering” sings Okereke. But maybe we do. Eve Goldbach

Sofi Tukker – “Wet Tennis”

Albums of the Week: Albums of the Week - Cover (MicrosoftTeams-image (53).png)

Albums of the Week – Cover (MicrosoftTeams-image (53).png)

Life is a game and it may be wet, but it’s best to play along anyway and not take it too seriously – that’s what the title of the album “Wet Tennis” is supposed to convey. Sophie Tukker, the duo consisting of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, known for experimental, energetic and crazy-exotic beats and their famous rebelliousness, proves here that one can sing wonderfully clearly – but often digresses. The crazy overload that originally helped Sofi Tukker to break through can only be guessed at in a few tracks. Where they could go a step further, the music veers into solid dancehall tones. Danceable, but there is no escalation. Eve Goldbach

Rammstein – “Time”

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(Photo: Rammstein/Universal/dpa)

“Come to us and line up / we want to be sad together,” orders Rammsteinfrontman Till Lindemann on the opener “Armee der Tristen”, an echo of his poem “The Army of Sad People”. So many nice Rs to roll. In addition, the sovereign ghost train sound from the self-proclaimed “key fucker” Flake Lorenz. But it’s not a razor-sharp, seductive side-by-side like it used to be in “Links 2 3 4,” it’s just a shuffle. How “Zeit” (Universal Music) gets a bit dark overall. And mild. But there is more satire in return. Rammstein’s often forgotten strength. For the second single “zigzag“The six members staged themselves as freshly tied beauty victims. Lindemann looks like the prodigal son of Liberace and Meg Ryan. A Rammstein kiosk sold the “Zickzack-Magazine” on Alexanderplatz. The highlight of the bravoesque publication was a reader’s letter section entitled “The Dr. Flake Botox-Box”. The song itself delivers the enjoyable verse: “Belly fat in the organic waste bin / the penis now sees the sun again.” And in the opposite shot (in the song “Schwarz”): “The cold night is my pleasure / drink the black in deep drafts.” In between, yes, a sparkling piano. And delicate strings. One can imagine Lindemann sitting in his garden after midnight, in the beautiful nowhere of Mecklenburg. Reading a bit of Novalis with a headlamp before going to bed. Ulrike Nimz

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