BY JENNIFER KELLY
The groove rattles on towards the horizon, implacable, unyielding, with tight,dry measures of clamped cymbal, muttered bass and echo-wreathed guitar stamped out in an unvarying pattern. The music is stretched very taut, to the breaking point almost, achieving an unnerving kind of tension even as it repeats metronomically. And yet, there is a kind of psychedelic transcendence glowing through the machine-works, each riff and cadence a mantra shutting out mental nattering so that something essential can be glimpsed.
This is “Electric,” the first track on the Chilean kraut rockers’ third album (the first a self-titled, the second named II, this is not an outfit that wastes much time on non-essentials), but it describes the second, third and fourth equally well. All are extended, repetitive meditations, mostly instrumental, but laced, at intervals with eerie, drifting vocals. They ply the same general furrow as American contemporaries like Wooden Shjips, though with a tighter, more consciously limited focus. There are no solos, no change-ups, no real melody in these cuts.
The aura of IIIis Teutonic , and the band is Chilean, so we are once again left to contemplate the weird path globalization can take when it snakes through musical inspiration and influence. II was, likewise, heavily marked by Kraftwerk and Neu!, so you can’t lay it all to him, but it’s worth noting that Follakzoid brought in Atom TM, a German electro-pioneer known for combining techno and ethnic sounds. No real trace of anything ethnically Chilean can be found on this album, but as for the Kraut-y side, Atom TM does play a synthesizer once used by Kraftwerk.
I found myself listening to III and Moon Duo’s Shadow of the Sun at the same time, and marveling at the way repetition could take you out of the world if you let it. If pressed, I’d give the edge to Föllakzoid whose music is birthed in small, tight, rectangular patterns, yet somehow swells to fill the sky.