MYTHOS: Quasar (1980-2011)
Updated: Mar 22
“A daring mix tinted with nostalgia that surprises and ends up pleasing, as long as we are open to the roots of Krautrock”
1 Quasar 4:28
2 Nurse Robot 3:22
3 Flut e Qencer: the Knight Songs 9:58
a. Duel (2:21) b. Lamentation (4:03)
c. Conjuration (1:26) d. Rebirth (1:37)
4 Flut e Sizer 3:31
5 Didnt notice, Didnt Mind 3:23
6 Nothing but your Dream 3:19
7 Just a Part 3:31
8 When the Shows Just Begun 3:26
9 Collected Jingles & Theme Songs 9:58
Sky Records – SKY 046 (1980)
Sireena Records – SIR 2094 (2012)
(CD 44:23) (V.F.)
After the making of Superkraut Live 1976, Sireena Records dusted off this time a pivotal work in the evolution of Mythos. QUASAR is the transitional album in the career of the legendary German Krautrock band. In fact, this is Stephan Kaske's first solo album and the first album where Mythos transcended its Krautrock roots to embrace the paths of EM. In doing so, QUASAR is a very nice mix of a heavy tortuous progressive rock and a Teutonic-flavored EM which is strongly influenced by the pulsating and technoïd rhythms of Kraftwerk as well as their cold robot vocoders. It's a bit as if Jethro Tull fell into the robotic keyboards and percussion of the Düsseldorf quartet. At the very least, this is how the title-track harpoons our ears.
Clear keyboard keys fall like snowflakes on Christmas Eve to initiate the leaping rhythm of the title-track. The rhythm is nervous and skips in a feverish movement of staccato while a flute embraces its ardor, forging a melody which clings to a bipolar structure with interchangeable movements where slamming and cyborgnetic percussions, resonant and leaping pulsations as well as limpid spirals weave an anarchic rhythmic mosaic. It's nerve-racking, like Nurse Robot which is big electronic progressive rock with a lively and jerky rhythm where percussions, riffs, keyboard keys and vocals match their cut harmonies to unlock towards hellish spirals. We note a similar approach on Didnt Notice, Didnt Mind which on the other hand is full of superb Moog solos. These first two tracks are faithful reflections of QUASAR which is closer to the borders of electronic progressive rock than of Berlin School à la Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze, as written in the press information. That being clarified, it remains a rather interesting album. Flut e Qencer: the Knight Songs is a very beautiful title full of ambiences and divided in 4 parts. Variations on the same melodious theme with a rhythmic approach based on wide oscillating waves and sharp riffs. The murky moods breathe in medieval organ tones, Flut e Qencer: the Knight Songs evolves like 4 mini horror tales where the Moog shapes sharp arias which ululate like nocturnal specters on these ambivalent rhythms, sometimes sharp (Duel and Rebirth) and sometimes floating (Lamentation and Conjuration). The guitars are melodious and the bass is intimidating.
Flut e Sizer is lying on a stoic rhythm with percussions and keyboard chords à la Kraftwerk which skip on a melodious approach nourished by a rather soft flute and a Moog with spectral and twisted solos. The rhythm is crystal-clear and the harmonic shroud, resulting from a fusion of organ and keyboard, reminds me of Peter Baumann on Trans Harmonic Nights. Nothing but your Dream and Just a Part are two heavy titles where percussions and vocals weave very progressive rock visions that the Moog converts into more electronic structures while When the Shows Just Begun is more of the ballad genre and exploits more the romantic elements of the Moog and the flute. This new edition of Sireena Records includes a bonus track, Collected Jingles & Theme Songs, which (as the title suggests it) is a collection of Jingles and pieces of music. It goes by fast… and I imagine the interest is for Mythos fans only and not for those who aspire to be.
A bit like with Superkraut Live 1976, I continue my learning of the very Krautrock universe of Mythos and especially of Stephan Kaske, a character still too little known on the German progressive electronic scene. And I really liked this QUASAR. It's a hard and very rock album where the Teutonic rhythms à la Kraftwerk are woven in percussions and robotic vocoders while the progressive melodic ambivalences à la Jethro Tull cogitate in spectral and bewitching vapors of the Moog's harmonies. A daring mix tinted with nostalgia that surprises and ends up pleasing, as long as we are open to the roots of Krautrock. I just hope that Sireena Records will continue the adventure with Dreamlab and Strange Guys…
Sylvain Lupari (April 4th, 2012) ***½**
Available at Sireena Records