Friday, July 13, 2012

German Army - Cattle Border [Clan Destine]

I am down with this German Army band. Still don't know anything about these guys other than they're from Southern California (I think) and that their music is awesome.
In a previous review I noted their similarity to Excepter on their Night People tape Papua Mass (one of my early favs of the year) while making the claim that these guys are doing it a little better than Excepter did/do. Well, the frontlines of the German Army continue to advance sounding a little like their last tape while also delving into the worlds of plunderphonics and hip-hop.
Cattle Border, a 5 song, double-A-side affair, kicks off with a banger. "Translate Person" sounds like a dub track slowed down so much that it becomes a nightmarish throb. A bass stomp and rim shot, both steeped in delay, trade hits giving their loping 1-2 rhythm some serious thump. Elsewhere, the vocalist feeds off the lethargy and the Army weave bits of ephemeral, practically evaporated keyboard flutters throughout the joint.
The next track, "Thorax Journalism" rolls on what's nearly a boom-bap loop, samples a really catchy "It's a Small World After All"-esque track that they must have jacked from the local Merry-Go-Round, then gets into some legit MF Doom-style "interlude" material. Nice!! Sick beats, a couple minor-chord strikes to cast an eerie glow, scatterbrained speech samples: I'm sold! "North Small Map" is a jam. It doubles the tempo of the previous tracks so much so one could almost describe it as pumpin'. There's some more sloshed samples, but the track's focus is more on the processed bits of percussion, keyboard webs and grooving drum machine.
The vocalist returns from his break backstage for "Bored Heart Strings." The track is the closest to an actual dub track on the tape but it still ain't all that close. German Army lets everything run a bit more loose here. The vocalist is even more unintelligible than usual. The drum loop grooves reliably but its overrun with lots of samples, keyboard parts and other echoing muck. The brief "Albanian Self-Portrait" closes up shop. Beginning with a slowed-down vocal sample that's rhythmic enough to practically work as a drum track. Then they introduce a sweet hip-hop sample (which I suspect may be the super slow one played at normal speed) and proceed to fuck around with it before pressing "stop."
The Night People tape is still my favorite from these guys but there's some really cool stuff on this one and the appear to be exploring new avenues while maintaining the same identity which is great to hear. Plus, it's always exciting to see some hip-hop collage stuff happening in the cassette underground. UK label Clan Destine dropped this so this is a perfect chance for those across the pond to get acquainted with the sounds of the German Army. If you can handle the grotesque artwork, that is. Hit up Clan Destine for copies.

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