LEVEL PI: Elektronische Philosophie (2020)
Updated: Feb 10, 2021
“It's an excellent album without flaws or down-times where the thrills that feed this love of music are in every title”
1 Nachtfahrt 5:39
2 Die lange Reise 14:05
3 Intermezzo 2:20
4 Elektronische Philosophie 6:48
5 Don Quijotes Gehirn 8:19
6 Zu Hause 9:51
7 Durch die Jahrzehnte 9:41
(CD/DDL 65:41) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, EM, Neo-Kraut)
Does the name Level Pi mean anything to you? Well, it's the solo project of the German musician Uwe Cremer that we discovered in duo with Andreas Baaden, the time of the Home and Aufbruch albums. His project returns to the surface after 8 years of absence. And ELEKTRONISCHE PHILOSOPHY is that kind of album that nobody saw coming. Kind of like Science Fiction; A Compendium of Space Soundtrax by Sun Dial, this latest Level Pi album is a huge bunch of fresh air in my hazy ears full of contemporary EM. ELEKTRONISCHE PHILOSOPHY is an album based on guitars, excellent bass, organ and electronic percussions in an album structured around synths and their magic. It's an incredible album where we have this delicious feeling of being locked in a post-apocalyptic bar!
Heavy and slow as I like them, Nachtfahrt comes out of its sound fog to focus on strong and slow percussions and this synth's sublime bass line. The layers are swirling and are dosed with these sound effects which erode their vintage belonging to join this futuristic psybient of a garage band. They also have this muted influence of old Tangerine Dream and Rick Wright, as well as this orchestral veil which always saves the setting in a sound universe exploited to its maximum. Its flirtation with this monstrous bassline is at the heart of this daring heaviness where the chords of the keyboard succeed in implanting an alcoholic melody in our veins, while Nachtfahrt turns and turns to exhilarate our senses. This superb introduction to ELEKTRONISCHE PHILOSOPHY is no flash in the pan in this flawless album. Die lange Reise calls out to us with this sinister voice that reminds us that Death in Vegas was once a super interesting band. Instead of an atomic rhythmic spiral, Level Pi chooses a circular approach built on a hypnotic rhythm divinely framed by robotic percussions. The use of the organ gives a vintage tint of those years when the members of Iron Butterfly were drowning in drugs. There are also these manual percussion phases, like Creole Bongos, which brings us back to those Patchoulis years. This retro mix played in a futuristic vision is a real crush. Even if particularly numerous, the dialogue samples, from the movies Horror Express and Last Man on Earth, are well inserted in this psychedelic texture. The synthesized melody whistles pleasantly in this music dominated by the organ. The synth attacks the music with pads that vibrate like flying saucers in old sci-fi movies, like Mars Attacks!, while guitar collages form strobe elements that complement the synth effects wonderfully. More than very good, it's absolutely necessary to go to its final which is a delight if you like percussions! Intermezzo offers a good unexpected blues with a psychedelic touch of the futuristic years. It's more of a nice interlude that attaches us to the title-track and its very science-fiction overture created by a synth whose memory is filled with old documentaries and sci-fi films. Initially the pace is slow and surrounded by strobe lines and fuzz wah wah effects recycled into fuzzwah. The percussions add a touch of cosmic rock to this convoluted structure where each new element contributes to jerky reversals as to phases more in ballad mode with always these fluid arpeggios competing with the strobe lines. A complete title that requires a few listening, because there is always something to discover ...
Inspired by the movie The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Don Quijotes Gehirn offers another moving structure. Dominated by the guitar and these different phases ranging from psychedelic to hard rock and art rock, Don Quijotes Gehirn visits as many eras and faces as the knight in this film by Terry Gilliam. There is a great guitar solo with Latin flavors in this track which, like Don Quixote, has no attachment but is full of imagination and twists. Zu Hause is a very good cosmic blues with a melancholic guitar which transmits its sweetness, like a skier in his slaloms, through the fuzz wah-wah. Well installed on the carpet of vintage sounds, attributable to the organ, the music offers this slow rhythm, which is divinely clubbed by percussions sometimes heavy, as sober at other times. The notes of the keyboard awaken the creative softness of Ray Manzarek in this good blues more complete than Intermezzo. Durch die Jahrzehnte ends this little gem of Level Pi with a slow hypnotic spheroidal structure. Uwe Cremer tries to impose a more contemporary electronic figure with a circular movement of the sequencer and a metronome which wears out its cadence in its transversal approach. We are very close to a blues with this screaming guitar which howls in typical David Gilmour solos and whose union with the organ rather brings Durch die Jahrzehnte back to a progressive rock of the old Pink Floyd genre, because of the guitar and of the organ. Screams come from the sound effects that try to inject a dose of psybient into the music, but the guitar remains the instrument of choice in order to dominate this last segment of ELEKTRONISCHE PHILOSOPHY. Lucky that we are! Since the album comes with a bonus track, Intermezzo-Elektronische Philosophy Crossfade-Version. If we have guessed that both tracks were linked, we have now the proof.
From post-punk to tavern blues through progressive rock inhabited by very TD synth pads and organ scents from the Patchoulis years, ELEKTRONISCHE PHILOSOPHY is a little masterpiece of electronic cosmic rock with a little penchant for krautrock. It's an excellent album without flaws or downtimes where the thrills that feed this love of music are in every title. Brilliant album Uwe!
Sylvain Lupari (February 2nd, 2021) ****½*
Available at Level Pi Bandcamp