KreidlerBooker: Marcel Gein
"All the violent acts of the past centuries appear to have been thought of anew. A promise is a promise: eschatological paradises lurk behind the black holes of the universe." (Heinz Emigholz, Die Basis des Make-Up No 391)
It was originally intended to be an entirely different album.
Indeed, KREIDLER had already completed a new LP just prior to recording European Song. Initial sessions in Mexico City in early 2016 evolved into a record that was in many ways lighter, more minimalist and certainly more playful than the band's work of recent years. They put the finishing touches on the mixes in early November and a mastering session was booked.
Then came the brutal shock of the US election. It seemed to solidify everything that was going wrong with the world. The times of uncertainty, violence and xenophobisms had attained a new quality. A cartoon villain, the evil corporate manipulator disguised as a refreshing amateur, a "man of the people", lured the masses with unconditional hate speech and now enters the world-political arena. One could say it only reached a new quality on a symbolic level: It had happened already in the UK, as it is ongoing in Turkey, in Russia, as it happens with rightwing extremists all over Europe, in Germany, in Hungary, the Netherlands or France, to name a few. Paradoxically (or rather obviously) they share the same core "values" with the government of Syria, the Arabian dictatorships, and of course the IS. Some post-leftish cynics are comfortable arguing that now the enemy is visible, and now action will speak – as if it wasn't visible before.
In their 23 years of existence, KREIDLER have often made music that might be described as "dystopian". And here we are today, faced with the much greater likelihood of all those nightmare scenarios becoming excruciatingly real. Suddenly KREIDLER'S previously intended new album felt wrong for this universe. The decision was made to make a NEW new record. Right away.
"Without notice, you will break open this delicate glass box that houses absolutely nothing." (Seda Mimaroğlu, Love Songs)
KREIDLER quickly reconvened in order to record a brand new set of tracks. Circumstances provided no lack of inspiration. Fortunately the group had just completed a short run of concerts and were in top playing form. The songs were captured live in the studio as spontaneous improvisational takes. There wasn't much in the way of overdubs or additional production, just some editing for conciseness. The mixes add cohesion and impact without smoothing off the rough edges of the session. The band is audibly unified. In purpose.
And that unity brings out the best in KREIDLER. The stringent drumming of Thomas Klein meshes with Detlef Weinrich's edgy electronic sequences, the brutalist opulence of Andreas Reihse's synthetic soundscapes are complemented by Alexander Paulick's restrained flourishes and rhythmic guitar and bass work. As usual, there are no actual "vocals" on European Song. Yet abstract, voice-like sounds often occur, suggesting a terrified crowd or a choir of hooligans. Repetition and modulation are the yin and yang in the band's hybrid of UnKraut | NoTech | DarkPop | Bunker. The hallmark interplay between man and machine results from a combination of collective experience and blind trust in the moment. It's a group thing. On purpose.
"War is louder."
(Fidel Castro to Nicky Wire, after Manic Street Preachers concert, Teatro Karl Marx Havana, February 2001)
Listening to KREIDLER'S European Song, the validity of the approach is apparent from the very first bars. There is an immediacy to these songs, an alertness, a readiness for action. The album title refers to the history of a continent that has previously surpassed all others in self-destruction. The cover art by Rosemarie Trockel shows the proverbial golden fortress, an outmoded ideal of forward mobility, stopped dead in its tracks amidst a world that no longer works as intended. Everything must be repaired or replaced. The apocalyptic mood of all five pieces on this album is not meant as a warning – this is an alarm. Tear up the old manifestos and write new ones. Tear the new ones up and write better ones. There is no time to hesitate. This is music for empathy in dangerous times. This is music for resistance to fascism. This is music for fighting – not with fists or with weapons, nor with lies and and oppression – but with ideas and imagination, with love and determination.
For Today. And for a better Tomorrow.