The Squid's Ear Magazine

Das Rad: Veer (Discus)

Adding bassist Jon Short to their lineup, the 4th album from Das Rad continues the band's genre-merging approach of rock & improv forms rooted in prog, kosmiche, and jazz rock, this post-pandemic album bringing the band back together for live interaction, their enthusiasm evident in their energetic intercourse, particularly in the extended suite "Expergefactor".

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product information:

UPC: 5051078004525

Label: Discus
Catalog ID: DISCUS154CD
Squidco Product Code: 33490

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded in Sheffield, UK, 2020-2023, by the artists.


Nick Robinson-guitars, keys

Martin Archer-woodwind, keys

Jon Short-bass guitar

Steve Dinsdale-drums, keys

Peter Rophone-voices

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"For their fourth full length release since the band was formed in 2018, Das Rad has returned to basics with an expanded line up. Following on from two "lockdown" albums where the original trio worked mainly in their own studios, much of the basic tracking for Veer was played live. We also welcome bass guitarist Jon Short to the band for the first time, once again with a view on re-emphasizing live interaction in the music.

The showpiece is the 25 minute suite "Expergefactor", which closes the album and which also features the extraordinary voice of Peter Rophone. But setting the scene for this finale, the preceding tracks variously revisit some stripped down krautrock / kosmiche based improv, virtuosic jazzrock, leftfield soundscaping and even (always tucked away somewhere in the music on previous albums) a short homage to the dubbed out sounds of Augustus Pablo. Another Das Rad record where krautrock grooves, extended arrangements, free improvisation and electronic abstraction all meet in the creative centre of the sound."-Discus

"The addition of bassist Jon Short to Das Rad's long-term trio of Nick Robinson, Martin Archer and Steve Dinsdale has lent an extra heft and low-end adventure to an already adventurous trio.

Although recently released, this album compiles work that dates back to 2020 and perhaps because of that runs an absolute gamut of styles and sounds, constantly switching positions, leading the listener astray and dropping hints that don't always come to fruition and instead end up far from home.

All players bar Jon are credited with the extremely vague "keys", so as well as the strength and density one might expect from players of this ilk, there is much mysterious and external stimuli that fill in any resultant gaps and prompting excrescent sidelines that move focus away from the main event.

Whatever the album contains though, it is hard to describe it as jazz; there is much more of a cool European feel to the sly hypnotic bass groove of opener "Lutraphobia". Why anyone could fear otters, I have no idea; but the swing of the track jars with the sticky, sleazy sax and guitar. There is an angry sort of energy in the guitar and that is palpable throughout the album, as if Nick is tired of pressing the point home where as Martin's woodwind is generally lighter, often dropping hints to the listener and leading them into a fruitless search. Meanwhile the rhythm section forges its own muscular, sharp shapes.

It is more about concocting an atmosphere than adhering to anything like guidelines; so the shadowy, barely contained mass of action that is "Bergen Cross" with its full kit work out and distorted ghost of Jon Lord keyboard runs melts into the brooding abstraction of "Confiture". Tones combine for a thick fug that binds the listener, ensnaring with slow moving force; a gaggle of clarinet, a surge of disparate noise, all knitting together like a web around the listener, the looseness and surge of the sax tearing up the sky.

Some of it really broods with a sinister edge, prowling, searching in dark corners, gradually upping tempo until the pursuit is in full flight, querulous keys abetting malignant guitar. At other points, there is an airy lightness, with the pressure dropping and a clear sunrise sound appearing, turning its back on the night. The flute on "Farfalla" adds to a kind of sylvan fantasy with typewriter and radio lending a surreal edge.

Incredibly, before the sprawling song suite "Expergefactor" takes hold of proceedings, the quartet takes a dash through a heavy '80s influenced splurge of post-punk, the bass as wilful as you would want and the shards of guitar, sprinkling in your hair and also the reggae-ish swagger of "Kingdom Fall", airy with echo that winks towards dub, but provides much space for surf-influenced guitar.

To be honest, the album would be satisfying if it ended there; but the six-part finale really takes all the ideas already provided and slows them down, intensifying them, stitching them together and then unfurling them with the added confusion of Peter Rophone's treated voices, hidden insinuating whispers and random, restless outbursts. It is slow, it simmers, working at tangents, players feeling their way in, allowing time to take its toll, the tension and strength of guitar and bass offset by the flightier woodwind and the steady percussive precision.

At points it flirts with metal, but is far too fluid and changeable to stay for long, instead switching tack and looking down the long meandering road towards prog. Is it prog? Well, it is certainly progressive in ideas and outlook; but it is always restless and you know that momentum is in the back of their minds. At one point Peter's voice echoes a train whistle, but a tranquil garden will ever be round the corner; and although some distant landmarks are possibly familiar, the scenery is in constant flux, its changes eventually rendering you lost and inevitably in their power.Working as a quartet adds further strength to an already impressive body of work and this might be Das Rad's best yet. Let's see how the next few years unfold."-Mr Olivetti, FREQ

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Artist Biographies

Nick Robinson: "I'm a looping guitarist living in Sheffield, England. I have been performing for 45+ years in a variety of professional bands and latterly, as a solo artist / collaborator.

Repetition and Intuition are the key factors behind my music, which places dynamics & timbre high up the list. I see the guitar as an organic sound source that uses looping technology and laptop treatment to build moods & soundscapes. My pieces are born, evolve and die away."

-Nick Robinson Website (

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"Martin Archer was born in Sheffield, England, in 1957. He started playing saxophone at age 15 and first got active on the Sheffield improvisational scene in 1973. In the early '80s, he recorded an LP with Bass Tone Trap, his first group. In 1983 he formed the saxophone quartet Hornweb, which, in ten years of existence, released three albums. It is during that time that Archer released his first solo album, Wild Pathway Favourites (1988) and founded the Discus label on which he since releases all his music.

In 1993, he disbanded Hornweb and turned to synthesizers and sequencers while shifting his activities from stage to studio. He developed a compositional approach in which he records improvisers soloing, then manipulates this raw material, combining it with electronics and structuring it into a whole new piece. This technique is illustrated on Wild Pathway Favourites, Ghost Lily Cascade (1996), and Pure Water Construction (with bassist Simon H. Fell, released in 1999). Later works such as Winter Pilgrim Arriving (2000) moved toward more constructed and less abstract pieces, even making room for melodies and rhythm tracks at times.

Apart from his solo work, Archer is also involved in Ask, a duo with guitarist John Jasnoch, and Transient v Resident, an ambient electronics project with Chris Bywater."-All Music, François Couture

"Martin Archer is a composer / improviser who is equally at home on stage or in the studio. His own distinctive saxophone playing is rooted in AACM jazz. Through his use of keyboards and electronics, and as a studio producer, he extends this interest into extended song form and leftfield rock music. He is also co-director of the uncategorisably avant choir Juxtavoices.

His principle music work is the Discus Music label, the imprint for his various releases, notably by the groups described below.

His current jazz based projects include Engine Room Favourites (current a 4 drummer, 14 piece big band), Story Tellers (6 piece group including shaman instruments alongside the conventional instruments), plus various ad hoc smaller groups. All of these are strongly aligned with AACM tradition and teaching.

Archer has a long running duo with veteran vocalist Julie Tippetts. Each of their highly acclaimed CD releases deliberately explores song from a different perspective - the duo aims to be truly progressive, and takes in elements from jazz, rock, soul and pure abstraction.

Archer's main live performance vehicle is the trio Inclusion Principle with Herve Perez and Peter Fairclough. The group operates in a space between electronics, nu-jazz, contemporary electroacoustic music and free improvisation. In performance you will hear pure jazz skill, electronic beats and areas of texture and abstraction all seamlessly woven into a fascinating and constantly shifting tapestry of sound.

The sprawling Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere was formed by Archer as an improvising rock group with shades of Terry Riley, Magma, Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra, very much in the progressive / krautrock tradition, and noted for its large scale string, horn and vocal arrangements.

Also in rock music, Archer is a member of the USA based heavier than plutonium prog / sludge / zeuhl group Combat Astronomy under the direction of Jamie Huggett.

Surprising, delighting and occasionally alarming audiences for a number of years now, Juxtavoices is a 30 piece choir for mainly untrained voices co directed by Archer with Alan Halsey which has racked up dozens of performances and issued three CDs.

This eclectic combination of sources and highly individual applications makes Archer a unique inhabitant of the school of English maverick composer / improvisers. "-Discus

-All Music, Discus Records (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Steve Dinsdale plays keyboards and drums in the leading British electronic trio Radio Massacre International, who have released a plethora of albums over the last 20 years and played concerts in both Europe and America. He is also a member of Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere and Engine Room Favourites, and has several solo albums to his name."

-Bishop's House (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. Lutraphobia 8:45

2. Bergen Cross 7:27

3. Confiture 8:48

4. We Too Shall Rule 8:44

5. Farfalla 4:34

6. Veer 5:52

7. Kingdom Fall 4:40

8. Meadow Hell 0:50

9. The Void Above 6:09

10. Brabble 5:15

11. Evian 2:27

12. Island Of Stability 6:01

13. Expergefactor 5:08

Related Categories of Interest:

Rock and Related
Progressive Rock
Improvised Rock
Improvised Music
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Quintet Recordings
Song Based Music
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Rock Forms
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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