Friday, April 10, 2009

Ne:o - Illoj CD

Hear The Track Here

Like most internet musicians I have no time whatsoever for the ins and outs of the real world music business, too much crap and thousands of assholes will generally do that I find. I do, however, after almost fourteen years of watching it, see that the internet is indeed offering an alternative - for free. Yeah burt, you may piss and moan, free music is rubbish right? No, it isn't, far from it. Of late the idea of the moment is in 'netlabels' such as the excellent 23 seconds, Pilesar's Chameleon Dish Archive, Cybergrind and about a thousand more. All of which offer top class music free to download. As indeed does Aaahh Records whose Pop Grenade album by Keyboard Rebel (December 2008) introduced me to the label and made enough of an impact for me not to ignore their press releases...

Do you have any idea how many mailings lists I'm on??? Sheesh

Christian from Aaahh wrote that Ne:o (a five piece band from Dresden, Germany) make 'fiddly pop music' and are 'trying to wear away the boundaries between electro and electronic guitars' which is more than enough information to pique my interest. Illoj is a nine track affair and all the titles are in German so I have no idea what its all about but Je Laenger kicks off the proceedings in rocking style with an incredible mix of styles and sounds that sounds surprisingly fresh and original even to a palate as jaded as mine. I am a big, big fan of original German electronica and just as big a fan of the current crop of German heavy metal bands, and both influences can be heard on Inn - a very odd little track indeed. AM though really seals that whole 'wtf is this?' argument. Running at over seven minutes this wonderfully nuanced track ambles along in its own groove, showing an incredible amount of musical dexterity. Musically the sound is similar to Canterbury bands of the early '70's such as Soft Machine or (especially) Caravan.

T'ain't really pop music though.

Hand on my heart, I couldn't even begin to tell you what kind of music it is because I have no idea. It's impressive that's for sure. Grasping the production and range of the musicians is itself a sobering moment but would that be enough? Damn straight. The tracks may all be virtually instrumental but you won't have heard anything like this lately - and definitely not of this quality. Each track is a feast for any music lover, it's hard to pull out one that is particularly standout because they all are and that is a rare thing indeed. My only qualm is that with music so free ranging and sophisticated as this, it would be easy to overlook and put down as some kind of jazzy thing. For sure it has jazz overtones to it, with this kind of virtuosity its unavoidable but it's roots are firmly in rock and pop. As the last two or three tracks on the album show, although with major embellishments. Definitely a release I'm going to picking the bones off for the rest of this year.

Original, refreshing and very, very different. MUST HAVE musical feast.


Christian said...

Thanks Steve! Glad you like it!

sebastian said...

thank you very much for this flattering review! I feel at ease with all your words. and besides: I`d really like to record a heavy-metal-album someday. and now with your review i am encouraged enough to start working on this project. ;o)

best regards from dresden, germany