Laik Tors is Das Rad's third album. Having reviewed their previous album, Adios Al Futuro, I was curious to find out how Das Rad has evolved. By the sound of things, where Adios Al Futuro attempted to produce truly extemporaneous musical moments, Laik Tors tries to balance prog conventions with total sonic anomie.
"Offtwerk" kicks things off: sets of woodwind instrumentation harmonize so as to provide an intransigent marching tempo according to which the rest of the track can unfurl and fall into rank. A fervid rattle of high-hats signifies a descent into pure expressionism; distorted chuckles ring out as individuals begin to sever themselves from the established rhythmic order. Dead notes redolent of James Chance mark the conclusion of this rhythmic emancipation.
"Lebensmude" is a late Talk-Talk track if they had continued to use the synthesizers that typified their New Wave days. Initially, like some noxious miasma, predatory rhythms prowl throughout the mix in the aim of enveloping the spacey synth leads. The track then metastasizes, which it does by way of co-opting more and more instrumentation until some sort of natural limit is reached. Grandiose ambient swells sprawl around ethereal hums waiting for the opportune moment to strike.
These first few songs can be thought of as delineating a sonic event horizon. Prior to this point, Das Rad affords the listener safety by means of conventional prog (I use the phrase 'conventional prog' very loosely). And, beyond this point, Das Rad spaghettify the listener with puzzling, even quantum, musical states.
"Kopfkino" begins the process of spaghettification; for, it acts as a sonic determinable. A delicate plucked melody is determined such that it takes the form of various distinct species, all of which are as captivating as their relatives. The eponymous track, "Laik Tors," continues what "Kopfkino" began. Stochastic rhythmic flurries usher around industrial, almost musique concrète, spurts. As an unfettered guitar hurls its diatribe at the listener, the hostility of this musical bedlam becomes palpable.
Das Rad, through Laik Tors, honor the rules of a genre whilst simultaneously casting them aside. And, in the process of doing this, Das Rad manages to venture into sounds that are truly just a tad weird. Please, keep this group within your earshot.
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