DEAD COUNTRY featuring ALFRED 23 HARTH – Gestalt Et Death

Al Maslakh

Alfred 23 Harth: alto sax, clarinet, vocal, electronics; Şevket Akinci: electric guitar; Umut Çağlar: electric guitar, monophonic synth, tape delay; Murat Çopur: electric bass; Kerem Öktem: drums, percussion

Rip-roaring chronicles from Alfred 23 Harth’s 2011 visit in Turkey, where a partnership – make that “collusion” – was born after the Frankfurter was invited to act there with this local group (previously hidden to this reviewer’s cognition). Gestalt Et Death sounds pretty coarse in terms of recording quality – one would think to a precise artistic preference, sort of a “let’s combine ingredients in the alembic and see what happens”. The force deriving from the interfusion hits right on the chin, the recordings – uneasy to ingest on the introductory attempts in spite of Dead Country’s sparse usage of rock-ish constitutions – possessing the staying power and the emblematic qualities of albums that do not need technical attires and fatuous facades to invite the listener, warranting significant substance instead.

“Horseman’s Most Expensive Effect” is a rather enigmatic “ritual” opening delimited by a hefty vamp: overdriven bass and overwhelming percussiveness, Harth blowing upon them in peculiarly strained fashion. “Fiery Red DC” offers a withering representation of punk jazz, sharp-cornered riffage and muscular drumming the basis for A23H and Çağlar swapping heavy leather before the matter gets mangled into tiny bits of rust-brown dissonance. “96205 Ararat” is the most non-concrete piece on offer, a challenging synth solo spiraling erratically inside a perpetually mutating tapis of percussion and electronics until everything calms down spellbindingly. More gargantuan pseudo-rock structures are found in “Lady Deathstrike’s Healing Factor”, perhaps the track where Harth expresses his on-the-spot creativity at best, alternating trademark sax furore and funnily enlivening “commands” yelled into a microphone and resonating with echo; the finale, a blasting mix of indocile guitars and synthetic misbehavior, is also remarkable.

The longest improvisation is (splendidly) titled “Cessily In Liquid Form Blindly Teleports The Entire Team Rag”; here, methinks, lies the finest moment of the disc, subsequent to an initial robotic oratory: a handsome arabesque depicted by the German on the bass clarinet, layered over a growingly engrossing fixed-tone drone and a clean first, knifelike later axe underlying the function’s exhilarating prospect. The concise “Mr. Burroughs’ Finger” returns to the anarchy of a free-for-all blowout bathed in scathing electricity and odd metered arousal, whereas the conclusive “Jump Off The Timestream” takes shape from deformed/flanging throat emissions and electronics enhanced by ferociously abstract strings, sealing the whole with the type of who-cares-about-defence fusillade that might annihilate your cerebral activity for a while; Harth’s sporadic declamation adds the necessary dose of enigma in a cataclysmal crescendo ended by himself with a terrific wordless invocation.

Serious mayhem overall; play loud. And dig this “vocally improved” version of Mr. 23’s impromptu cogitations: a new color in an already awesome palette. Kudos to Al Maslakh for having had the balls of publishing this stuff, definitely not easy to advertise or squeeze into the average consumer’s will of trying uncomfortable music.

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