BROEKHUIS, KELLER, SCHONWALDER & FRIENDS: The Repelen EP (2016)
“This EP is a nice variation about B.K&S's last album, Green and it also leaves more space to the music of the Berlin trio”
1 Green One
(An Acoustic Mix) 25:14 2 Green Two
(Another Acoustic Mix) 17:01 Manikin | MRCD 8005
(EP 42:16) (V.F.) (Minimalist and ethereal NBS)
Keller & Schönwälder has nourished as many discussions as disappointments in the circle of fans of the famous trio of EM of New Berlin School (or post Berlin School) EM. The arrival of Raughi Ebert on guitars and of Thomas Kagermann on violins gave a cachet more romantic and a little more acoustic, adding even a tribal hint, to the rhythms always very minimalist of Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder, restructuring so the parameters of the trio who gives itself a more ethereal approach. But as for me, the Repelen series brings well and truly the music of Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder towards a more contemporary level without ever really spoiled the approach always very Berliner of Detlef Keller and Mario Schönwälder who splendidly knew how to transpose the nuances of retro Berlin School to a more contemporary step. It's doubtless the reason which makes that I like to listen to the music of this quintet a little bit unusual. And it's exactly what makes the charms of THE REPELEN E.P.
Recorded live from an intimist concert given to the Repelen Church on March 14th 2015, this first mini album of a series of four presented in a cardboard sleeve offers a new vision of the first 2 tracks from the album Green; Green One and Green Two, that the Berlin trio was about to release 3 months after this concert. The structures of rhythm are almost identical. Only the ambiences change because of the presences of Raughi Ebert and Thomas Kagermann. Besides, the acoustic six-strings and the violin replace the choirs and precede the electronic effects which brought out Green One of its sleepy cocoon. The rhythm of Green One (An Acoustic Mix) is slower to take off and the sibylline harmonies of the synths are replaced by a piano which is going to eat away your senses and by the lamentations of a violin that we mix too easily, we maybe make a mistake, with a synth. The version aims to be acoustic. Thus, the rhythm is softer and less electronic, being even a little more ethereal, like a lascivious dance of sands. And it's the same principle with Green Two (Another Acoustic Mix) which proposes a structure of identical rhythm, but a little less livened up, where the electronic effects and the solos are always present. The arrangements, in particular the staccato effect of Thomas Kagermann's violin, are well inserted and lead the crescendo of the track while the guitar of Raughi Ebert, very discreet, scatters a delicate balance between the electronic and the acoustic.
You have liked Green? You doubtless going to love THE REPELEN E.P. which is a delicate variation of the last album from Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder about colors. And contrary to the Repelen series this mini-album of 42 minutes (sic!) leaves more space to the music of the Berlin trio. And I would add that in this context, that would be rather interesting to hear an album from this quintet which would revisit the best moments of Keller & Schönwälder. If we like Green, THE REPELEN E.P. is so a must!
Sylvain Lupari (June 8th, 2016) ***½**
Available at Manikin's Bandcamp