Arbeit Schnickert Schneider: an electronica supergroup of sorts

20th April 2016

Title: ASS

Label: Bureau B

An interesting one, this. Partly because of who is part of this trio but mostly because of this trio.

First up is Gunter Schickert who was part of the Berlin krautrock scene during the 70s, releasing two albums on the Brain and Sky labels but is not generally known, even to many krautrock fans. Yet Schickert was a true blue pioneer of echo guitar and associated layering. His first album, Samtvogel drew comparisons with the solo guitar work from Manuel Göttsching. His second album, Uberfallig, appeared in 1979.

Next is Jochen Arbeit whose career combined punk rock and Dada. In music terms, he has been a member of the seminal Einsturzende Neubauten since 1997. He also joined Automat in 2012.

The third member of the crew is Dirk Dresselhaus who has been musically active since the 80s, beginning in pop/rock and noise outfits before launching his own Schneider™ project. He then cuddled up to Ilpo Vaisanen. Hardcore electronica fans will know him from the band, Pan Sonic.

As you can see, this is one serious group of musicians. A super group of classic proportions, in fact with enough street cred to fill a very large space especially reserved for lots of cred.

There are eight tracks here, most of which are named in degrees centigrade. Hence 37 ºC (that’s track one), 38 ºC (track two) and so on.

Names mean less than nothing here, though. What we have is a combination of treated and layered guitar with electronica and an often haunting ambience that is sometimes added to by sampled found sounds that are inserted both for effect but also to lighten and twist the mood. Each track slowly evolves and morphs. There are no real jagged edges to this suite of tracks. Don’t think that we have no rhythms or beats. Far from it but those aspects move in tidal fashion that gives this album a conceptual, single focus-like appearance. In fact, the CD is almost a ‘Let’s start here and see where this takes us.’ project but there’s plenty of ideas and movement to stop it becoming repetitive or to suffer from a loss of innovation.

A rich array of sonic textures that will please anyone interested in an imaginative journey on sound waves.