Release Date: Mar 31, 2015
Record label: Sacred Bones
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Experimental Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
Krautrock has become a fashionable term to bandy around in order to describe a certain type of rhythm in music, a certain sense and use of space, a certain predilection for taking things in a cosmic-minded direction. It’s an overused bit of shorthand, but you can’t describe what Föllakzoid sound like without employing the word. The influence of Neu! on their fiercely motorik underpinnings, and the precise pin-point detailing of Kraftwerk, are both very much in evidence.
Seven minutes and forty-two seconds into ‘Electric’, the opening track on Föllakzoid’s triumphant return III, there begins a 48-second foray into the land of fuzzed-out feedback which is so right, so perfect, arrives just so absolutely at the right juncture in the song that it feels like the band have been playing not just with your ears and heart, but with your very soul. Before and after this we are treated to a masterclass in the appropriation of the restrained dance and dub groove in the rock music form. The interplay between insistent drums, an elastic, yet ever-pulsing bass, and the clever use of synths and guitars, which are never over-bearing, draw the listener in to a state to which the only logical answer is to submit.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. When you start to nail down genres and subgenres by name, you feel like a genius. Being able to pinpoint what you're listening to (particularly in the dizzying family tree of metal) instills a feeling most music geeks crave like water. Föllakzoid don't offer these realizations.
While post-punk and Krautrock are still at the heart of Föllakzoid's dark grooves, on III they incorporate other influences in unexpected yet winning ways. Over the course of four generous tracks, the Chilean trio draws on techno and traditional Andean sounds for an added hypnotic depth. To that end, they collaborated with Atom™'s Uwe Schmidt, whose vintage Korg synthesizer (which belonged to Kraftwerk in the '80s) imbues the album with warmth and mystery.
Sometimes it’s less about the destination than the journey. It’s a nice thought, albeit one that’s largely been forgotten in an internet age where immediacy is everything. Who has the time to dig into any one song, record, or artist when the next big thing is always dangling like a carrot just out of the reach of hungry music fans? Patience for music is dwindling, which in some respects makes Föllakzoid a band built for simpler times.
The Chilean band Föllakzoid specialize in the pillowy sort of rock music designed to shield you from the world for a while. Huge, looping riffs stretch across deeply repetitive percussion, creating an atmosphere somewhere between trance and stupor. The word "psychedelic" is never far away when reading descriptions of the band, but three albums into their career, they’ve explored many colors on that particular spectrum.
Their native Santiago might be cooling down this time of year, but on III, the trio’s second release for Sacred Bones, Föllakzoid sounds the way spring feels. Their longform guitar hypnotics come on like the billowing heat that breaks through morning frosts to announce the season’s change, a warmth accented by chill: enveloping but subtly bracing. Bursts of emphatic distortion punctuate long passages of hazy, almost metronomic pulsation.
Over the course of their previous releases, Chile's Föllakzoid have been boiling down the bones of Krautrock, stripping away all extraneous flesh to distil the very essence of the music. But on III, it feels like they've passed through the corporeal world altogether and entered some spectral realm of echoes and traces. Correspondingly, where Föllakzoid once looked to the cosmos for inspiration (Chile is the Earth's best vantage point for stargazing), III is inner space rock, a sonic descent into an underworld presided over by the ghosts of Conny Plank, Martin Hannett and King Tubby.
Follakzoid — III (Sacred Bones)If we’re reaching peak kosmische, and it’s hard to imagine the analog trances of the seventies in Germany permeating rock any more thoroughlythan they have the last few years, then Follakzoid climb higher than nearly all of their motor-skill peers. They’ve booked their own trip, far away. It may help that their home base of Santiago, like Dusseldorf 40 years ago, sits a healthy distance from the center of trends.
This space-worthy Santiago, Chile, trio makes a convincing case for trashing your earbuds and investing in quality headphones. Four songs clocking in at nine minutes or more, Föllakzoid's III unfolds subtly and gradually to steady, hypnotic rhythms inspired by their Andean forebears. More recent eras of inspiration include late-Sixties West Germany and mid-Nineties Chicago.
The groove rattles on towards the horizon, implacable, unyielding, with tight,dry measures of clamped cymbal, muttered bass and echo-wreathed guitar stamped out in an unvarying pattern. The music is stretched very taut, to the breaking point almost, achieving an unnerving kind of tension even as it repeats metronomically. And yet, there is a kind of psychedelic transcendence glowing through the machine-works, each riff and cadence a mantra shutting out mental nattering so that something essential can be glimpsed.