Guido Moebius – Spirituals

As a listener you could – if you stick to the “script” too closely - run the danger of too quick a judgement on this LP: because as a piece of music, (like his previous work) and uninhibited by any conceit, it’s great fun.

 

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There seems to be a debate about this LP, some of it pompous in the extreme. I half blame the musician himself with all his talk of using about nabbing parts of the Gospels and creating some kind of dada-ist, or ironic, or post – ironic commentary, (take your pick), to dovetail with the busy – often uplifting array of beats and melodies on display. Maybe withiout his proclamation we’d have been saved all this teeth grinding. Maybe the talented Mr Moebius courts this, and fair enough it’s his right. However, on listening to the record, it’s clear to me at any rate that trying to reach a definite judgement on whether these lyrics should be used as an integral part of anyone’s listening experience is pretty much irrelevant. I say only this. As a listener you could – if you stick to the “script” too closely - run the danger of too quick a judgement on this LP: because as a piece of music, (like his previous work) and uninhibited by any conceit, it’s great fun. In parts it’s fabulous. The weight or provenance of the message isn’t really our concern.*

This is a record that chops and changes between heady dance and daft experiment. The dance music certainly has moments of real lift off. Judgement is a hyperactive electronic ceilidh, replete with the cut ups, lots of jaunty whistling, (very much in the spirit of his previous LP, Gebrige) and deadpan vocals reminiscent of Brian Eno’s delivery on Here Come the Warm Jets or Nervenet. Godhead Appears is a heady and stomping charge through a flower meadow. The track mixes a rumbling, tumbling ever growing bass line against some screeching viola and an increasingly restless beat to great effect. It’s marvellous.

Things aren’t always so straightforward: Babylon’s Falling is a trip out into the atmosphere that is stunted, at the point of take-off into loony-dom, it fades away, like a dying firework. The Reign of Sin is a scuzzy blurping thing that could be from a Moebius and Plank LP or an escapee from one of Clinton’s madder mid 70’s moments, whereas the engaging All Evil Ways is some kind of dry underpowered, academic take on teenage thrashcore. Best track is undoubtedly Blessed Sleep – a Gothicke paen, sounding like a lot of wheezing air raid sirens covering Joy Division’s In A Lonely Place.

It’s a big work, and you start to appreciate the weight invested in it as it goes along. More than that it’s a fun listen.

 

*Bless him but Moebius isn’t even the first bloody German to do this – leaving aside Florian Fricke, or Shoenberg or even Old Man Stockhausen (let alone everyone who’s played with religious imagery or messages in pop from Marley to Madonna). I refer of course to Witthusser & Westrupp’s engaging (and equally daft I’m sure) Der Jesus Pilz from 1971. Whether it’s irony or an addled hippy attempt to say Jesus's disciples were on drugs is completely irrelevant. It’s great listen and good fun.

Here endeth the lesson from this cheerful agnostic.