Released on the Dial imprint in early June 2012, Ursprung is the first full length collaboration between Hendrik Weber (Pantha Du Prince) and Workshop's Stephan Abry. The album is, according to the press release, the result of recording sessions which took place against the backdrop of the "white out background of the Alps" and was inspired by a shared love of Krautrock and Kosmiche experimentalism, the Ambient music of Harold Budd & early Brian Eno, the work of various Avant-Garde composers and the minimalistic guitar sounds of Vini Reilly's Durutti Column.
I love the precision tooled, minimal techno stylings of Pantha Du Prince but am not really familiar enough with Workshop material to know exactly where this outing stands between the two. Either way, this is certainly an album that sounds nothing like Weber's last few releases as it eschews his rigorously programmatic approach for a looser and wholly more organic method of composition.
On first listen, I was absolutely smitten by the delicate acoustic textures created using a combination of acoustic & electric guitars, electric bass and the subtle use of field recordings. 'Chruezegg' is three minutes of bowed acoustic guitar manipulation set against a rich drone and sparse found sounds. 'Kalte Eiche' begins with a twinkling synth arpeggio then adds a sweeping vocal harmony before making way for a bassline that Joy Division / New Order's Peter Hook would be proud of. But it's on 'Ohne Worte' that the Durutti Column influence comes to the fore, clean picked guitar notes and harmonics bounce around the track as a plunging bassline ushers in a shuffling rhythm track and more synth arpeggios. The track which immediately caught my attention however was 'Exodus Now', ten minutes of bruised Krautrock-heavy improvisation worthy of anything that the great Holger Czukay has ever put his name to.
This another of the year's releases which leans heavily on it's influences without descending into either insipid facsimile or lazy pastiche.
Excellent stuff and recommended highly to anyone identifying with any of the above reference points.
Both CD and vinyl versions of the album can be ordered through Kompact.fm, the digital download is widely available.
'Exodus Now' taken from the album Ursprung (2012);