"It's been an exhausting journey, but there's no overlooking the fact that this is a top, top, top release; an essential purchase."
White Hills – They've Got Blood Like We've Got Blood.
(firstname.lastname@example.org /Fuck Off and Di)
Let me tell you that this is a monster of a record; a veritable behemoth. Opening on a beautiful and heavily sampled muezzin's call to prayer, No Game to Play soon develops a crushing mid tempo groove that refuses to let up during the seven minutes of its duration. Swathes of guitar feedback and synth noises akin to Harmonia's Sehr Kosmisch float in and out, creating an arid, forbidding sonic landscape; occasionally backing off, only to return with renewed vigour. At times its akin to walking through a sandstorm, so dense and overpowering is the musical turmoil. In a nutshell, it's an utterly hypnotic piece of music. A whisper and it disappears. Coming for You is a Neu! drum beat accompanied by a quizzical bass-line and raucous guitar. Overall the music feels restless, and the muttered lyrics that come in near the end only help to augment this nervous mood-piece.
They've Got Blood Like We've Got Blood starts with an anti-war rally being sampled over a synth and guitar backdrop that isn't a million miles away from early Spiritualised in feel. Suddenly the voices disappear and a rolling, charging drum fill begins to dominate, propelling the track up a level. It's just the stuff for meditation or reflection; the intensity of the playing is kept at a distance from the listener – in that respect it's akin to hearing something very fleetingly, like music in a car or in another room and that is what gives it its power. As this lasts for nigh on eight minutes, it's a complete head trip and the best track on the LP. Brilliant. After this, Uhlan carries on the reflective groove creating another dry, Cluster-esque landscape, possibly a landscape under moonlight, as the vibe is preternaturally quiet and still.
A change of mood comes with Above All; the muezzin cry returns, as do the guitars and beat of No Game to Play. The mood is slightly altered from the opening track as the guitars are reigned in somewhat at the beginning, only let out of their shackles four minutes in. It feels stupefied, drugged. Then a track not listed on my CD notes turns up, replete with Autobahn car horns and Neu!2 tempo changes. It's the ultimate Toytown Krautrock. It's actually a very good head clearer after the druggy landscapes we've been walking through... a veritable splash in the pool.
Finally No Game to Play returns again, albeit clad in different, less abrasive clothing. The mood is more spacious and ethereal; drums feel lighter and faster in touch and tempo, whereas the synths are more crystalline in their approach. It goes on for a bruising nine minutes and is the perfect full stop to proceedings. It's been an exhausting journey, but there's no overlooking the fact that this is a top, top, top release; an essential purchase. Oh, and the politics should be self evident to anyone with a brain or conscience.
Words Richard Foster.