Saturday, February 20, 2010

Organisation - Tone Float

If there's a better example of a band with "classic" status I'll never find an affection for, it certainly hasn't topped Kraftwerk on my list. Both critically lauded and perpetually glorified by music buffs of a far too similar persuasion to mine, I can't help but feel bewildered whenever I catch a fragment of the praise heaped on them in my periphery. Am I overlooking some key historical principles that make them anything but the progenitors to a genre as personally maligned as synth-pop? Or maybe that's where the problem lies...
Either way, after the 'Werk's 4th LP, the better constraints of krautrock all but dissipated, leaving a cheesetoothed, starched suit pop band of the "dorkiest" variety. But hey, enough about corny keyboard progressions, lifeless, processed vocals and simple melodies that ramble on and on longer than the universe is vast - let's talk about Organisation!

Who are actually Kraftwerk.

For whatever reason, the RCA decided the relatively phonetic Kraftwerk moniker ("Kraaftverk") had less of a hook for U.S. audiences than the plain-as-toast British variant on the the word "organization". But whatever; at this point, Organwerk was a totally different entity: almost entirely acoustic and stationed firmly in the krautrock territory with nary an electronic bloop or bleep to be found. The group's sole recording under this name is a bit like the 2 following releases from Kraftwerk - Kraftwerk and Kraftwerk 2 - and stands as a colossus of the hippie-dippie magic we all ashamedly enjoy.
The title track is a 20-some minute spiritual epic of flute, organ, bass and bongo with a particularly meditative, eastern-vibed, and almost Pharoah Sanders-esque quality, followed by the high density, Miles Davis-indebted fusion murk of "Milk Rock". From there, the tiny, creepy interlude "Silver Forest" pops in and out to allow my favorite track on the album, "Rhythm Salad" to bongo the fucking house down. It's a seriously great piece that grows in intensity over the course of 5 minutes with a whole slew of unorthodox percussive devices clattering and bopping their brains out. The album closes with an extension of the title track's sonic terrain, but pulling a scratchy electric violin in tow to a bongo/cymbal backdrop.
All in all, a solid, enjoyable release. Probably nowhere near as groundbreaking as Kraftwerk's later material, but it also doesn't sound SO AGONIZINGLY OUTDATED. Here's the ideal usage of Kraftwerk's material:

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