THE REDUNDANT ROCKER: Hearth (2009)
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
“Ouf! Sharpen your ears because it's going to pass tight!”
1 Gold 4:52
2 Hypostasis 6:20
3 Compress 4:48
4 Renée as Yoko 4:33
5 Omnipotence 5:09
6 Odilon 5:38
7 Heavily Dependent 4:52
8 Alluvium 6:41
9 A Change of Heart 13:26
(CD/DDL 56:19) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, Psyrock, Prog EM)
Ouf!!! Sharpen your ears because it's going to pass tight! Bernhard Wöstheinrich is a colorful character who migrates between the different spheres of EM; IDM, ambient and experimental with a rather daring touch. His one-album project, The Redundant Rocker, consists in creating an EDM with a more rock, progressive and industrial approach than ambient where a palette of styles is wandering in heavy and eclectic rhythms and ambiances. With heavy and fluid rhythmic structures where percussions and bass form an intense rhythmic structure, HEART is shaped into this concept. While the synths whistle nice harmonious snippets, Markus Reuter's guitar is hot and chews up the rhythms and melodies with great solos when not with heavy riffs a la Robert Fripp.
Gold starts the ball with a bipolar electronic rock where pinched and sharp chords flow on a fluid and somewhat jerky rhythm to dance on guitar riffs and a strident synth with whistling chants while a Castafiore voice that seems lost tries to follow the parade. There is not 30 seconds on the clock that already a symphony of sounds a little anarchic takes hold of our ears. And the percussions fall. They are heavy and harpoon this limpid tempo. Gold then becomes a heavy postmodern rock which flirts between the melodic and cacophonic approach on a rhythm become curt, sharp and very crazy. A rhythm hammered by heavy percussions, bitten by a bass with incisive chords and triturated by a guitar with languorous solos. These elements converge towards this voice with delirious psalms in a rhythm with a din fragmented by soft melodious fragments. Hypostasis is a little softer and presents a jazzy-lounge approach with a keyboard that drops its keys on a good structure sculpted by percussions, their echoes and a slightly humming bass line. The rhythm suits an oscillating structure where the synths release dreamy and silky layers that switch to more solemn tunes while anvil-like percussions pound brief refrains. More discreet the guitar will free some good solos to well-furnished loops on a structure which will be able to keep its harmonious touch throughout its 6 minutes. With its melodious approach drowned in an avalanche of percussions, Compress offers an excellent facet of the rhythmic duality that prevails in HEART. Keyboard chords draw circular arcs and spiral in a harmonious limpidity while Compress is quickly caught up by vivid percussion. The bass is heavy, the percussions are rowdy, and the rhythm is powerful, but we breathe a bit with the whistling synth interludes and the spiraling keyboard chords. And the heavy, booming rhythm resumes its ride under a delicate, crystalline serpentine rolling with its limpid chords accompanied by a resonantly layered synth. Renée As Yoko is what you could call a beautiful ballad that spins its melancholy in a heavy ambience. A soft chiming intro fed with limpid chords leads us into reverie as a drum heavily drops its sticks on a resonant skin. Fluid and suave, Renee As Yoko swirls with the lightness of its heaviness under beautiful mellotron layers and a tenderly hybrid synth. A very good track that oscillates between tenderness and its darkness, just like Alluvium.
Heavy and stationary, Omnipotence begins with layers of a violin-like synth as the percussions falls and carves a curt but heavy rhythm and the bass stretches its heavy chords. We enter a more orchestral sphere with staccato orchestrations whose jerks structure the unpredictable. A synth embraces this languid rhythm that evolves within the parameters of the paranormal with a very dark, schizoid and mysterious approach. Barely perceptible laments ululate in secret under resonant layers of guitars that crumble into fabulous solos. Sometimes punchy, sometimes ethereal, the rhythm of Omnipotence evolves on a subtly permutating base in a heterogeneous sound fauna topped with layers of a slightly metallic synth. A heavy pulsating bass makes this track inspired by King Crimson's repertoire vibrate. More rhythmic and especially very aggressive, Odilon also offers a structure very close to those of the Roi Pourpre, notably because of the demonic guitar and the Bruford-like percussions strikes. There is also this bass that harpoons a rhythm between free jazz and post-progressive by its structures as unpredictable as modern psychedelic. It's heavy, incisive, jerky and sometimes very fluid and it's also crushed down by a very aggressive guitar. One should not trust either the rather honeyed intro of Heavily Dependent, because the track switches to a more anarchic universe where the rhythmic and harmonic structures of Omnipotence and Odilon are reviewed and corrected with a more audacious approach. A heavy as an unpredictable approach where the fictitious violins flay the pulsating rhythm while making it waltz between cacophony and melody. Let's just say it's the kind of track for daring ears. Selected for an Austrian commercial, Alluvium is the 2nd ballad in HEART and a very beautiful one at that. An electronic ballad which evolves on a heavy rhythm and which starts with delicate scintillating arpeggios which frolic on a cadence weighed and slowed down by good drum hits. At same time taciturn, sensual and heavy Alluvium progresses with superb chiming notes which cross tender and dense layers of a more docile synth which frees its solos and its ululating loops in a din tamed by these tender arpeggios which come and go, reminding us of all the sweetness which is at the origin of this superb title. Very beautiful! A Change of Heart concludes this HEART by a track which has very elaborate orchestrations on lighter rhythms. A rhythmic structure a little less complex even if in constant evolution where everything rests on the strangeness of the sounds and a very progressive philharmonic approach. Although evolving, this rhythm remains lively on more laid-back drum hits and the harmonies are rendered by a synth with light solos. A synth that wonderfully mixes the symphonic approach with a slightly more tepid progressive rock approach.
I must admit that it's with a clear trepidation that I approached the music of The Redundant Rocker. I imagined an abstract musical universe where the sound fauna and the heterogeneous noises would fill the minutes, but it was quite the opposite. HEART is a powerful album where sound effects accompany an EM that gets out of its bed to flirt with more rock, indie and progressive approaches on amazing rhythmic structures with unpredictable turns. Structures always melodic, even in the most anarchic and intense moments, where each of the 9 tracks of this album has a musical imprint of a previous track, pushing even further the already very versatile musical reflection of the Wöstheinrich/Reuter duo.
Sylvain Lupari (July 20th, 2011) *****
Available at Bernhard Wöstheinrich Bandcamp