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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KUBUSSCHNITT: The Case (1999-2019)

“This Kubusschnitt's first album brings out all the talent of this quartet that has certainly had its impact on EM's chessboard”

1 The Case 16:28

2 The Soul of the Polymoog 13:39

3 Techno Cafe 6:41

4 The Case II 15:48

5 Sober Morning 21:04

Neu Harmony | NHR 001 (1999)

Kubusschnitt Music (2019)

(DDL 73:35) (V.F.)

(Berlin School, England School)

Kubusschnitt! Does that ring you a bell? Yet, from its short history will be born 2 big names of the Dutch EM scene; Emmens-Heij and Free System Projekt whose link is Ruud Heij. It was in the late 90's that this quartet consisting of Andy Bloyce (UK), Jens Peschke (Germany), Ruud Heij (Netherlands) and Tom Coppens (Belgium), had a short career of 2 years, generating 4 official albums, including 1 in concert at Jodrell Bank, and maybe 3 times more bootlegs. This band that made the delights of evenings' improvised EM doesn't reinvent the wheel! Like half a dozen bands from this era, he is influenced by Tangerine Dream's Baumann and Schmoelling eras with a personalized signature that is staged by pluri-textures of contiguous and intersecting rhythms, as well as multi-layered synth breezes and effects, from where are springing solos as evasive as melodious. THE CASE is a first album that brings out all the talent of this quartet that has certainly had its impact on EM's chessboard.

The title-track introduces us to the Kubusschnitt universe with a sound dropper effect whose splinters evaporate in clouds, vapors and stagnant mists, creating the illusion of a chthonic ambience. The limpidity of certain tones versus its gloomy equivalent provides a musical panorama that seduces from the first chords and effects as The Case get launched. Electric piano and keyboard chords make jingle their half-melodies that sing in wheezing winds, while the effects of the opening persist in this phase that soaks our ears with its influences of Klaus Schulze and of his universe sieved of dust of ether. A sequencer frees a line that waves with a vision of ambient rhythm and flows like a snake wrapping around a trellis. The movement is fluid and is similar to Chris Franke's gentle and structured bouncy oscillations. Especially when a second line shoulder it with more velocity in an oscillating corridor where nestled Tangerine Dream's pads and keyboards riffs. This first phase of The Case continues its short minimalist route before dissolving around the 8 minutes. The vibes and keyboard riffs dominate this structure whose fluids kicks remind me of these imaginary races of the big sand's snakes. Amputated from a line of sequencer, the rhythm performs its semi-kicks while the synths deploy their effects and their first solos whose harmonies, aided by the mist of the mellotron, end up taming the very Berlin School rhythm of The Case. The Soul of the Polymoog is an excellent title that relies on a sequencer game as relentless as that of Michael Hoening in Departure from the Northern Wasteland or, for nearer to us, the wild structures of Emmens/Heij. The rhythm clings to the 76-77 years with an incisive guitar, played by Andy Bloyce, who does very Manuel Gootsching. The atmospheres and the soundscape are consistent with a band of four musicians with textures that evolve by storing a plethora of lines and effects, and sometimes solos, in a setting where the Cosmos flirts with the vestige of an apocalypse.

Techno Cafe is an interesting title with its stubborn rhythm structure that beats a motor measurement that has nothing to do with techno but is still catchy for neurons. The pace of the sequencer is resounding with its sheaf of resonances and disco effects of the 70's that swell the ambience while hanging a memory in our ears. The dialogue of the machines with the mist-scented solos add a pretty Redshift vision on this title that captures our interest from its first listen, both for its heavy and loud rhythm that the many synth solos that are cooing from all around. The Case II could have been grafted onto the finale of the title-track with its rhythmic structure that constantly restarts its ascension loops. Here, solos are king! They walk and envelop with their harmonic wings a structure that dehydrates while clinging to his eternal desire to repeat its loops that become as fluid as a leapfrog game performed by 6 to 7 acrobats a little nervous at first but who take insurance afterwards. This is some good Berlin School crowned with very good synth solos and whose flow of rhythm disintegrates by running at full speed to a slightly fuzzy finish that is filled with mist and anesthetic shadows. Sober Morning doesn't waste time activating the senses with a rally of sequences that ascend and descend asymmetrical dunes. A bass line facilitates this race with a more fluid upward movement while the sequencers activate in symbiosis to launch rhythm lines with organic percussive effects. The rhythm is unbridled, almost wild, with other alternative sequences that twirl, twinkle and sparkle like a flop of unruly kids on a trampoline. A slight scent of the Stratosfear years infiltrates the ambiences in this tangle of lines of rhythms whose bass line remains the most captivating. Moreover, this bass line is the catalyst of the longest title of THE CASE. Mumbling like a ghost, its decline in momentum coincide with the scattering of sequences and the dwindling of rhythm structures after the 10-minute mark. Although the rhythm has become episodic after this point, Sober Morning doesn't dive at any time in ambiospheric phases. The elements in place offer panoramas filled with ocher vapors and chthonic winds purified by isolated sequences that flutter around constantly before docking with a more lively but fleeting structure. This is how this second part of Sober Morning is played, looking for a royal final without reaching it.

I liked this first rendezvous with the music of Kubusschnitt who delivers its catalog online, on the Bandcamp website, with a more current sound. If there are any talks for a possible comeback of the band, it's done in all discretion. Even Andy Bloyce remains very evasive on this subject. Meanwhile, the formation from Europe offers 17 albums on its website, and if they are as good as this THE CASE, we will have some big EM to put in our ears.

Sylvain Lupari (August 30th, 2019) ***¾**

Available at Kubusschnitt Bandcamp

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