Cologne Tape are an German experimental rock super-group involving people from Battles, The Field and Von Spar, as well as Jens Uwe Beyer and others. Although they are based in different German cities, their spiritual centroid (and the location where they congregated to create their latest record, Welt) is Cologne.
This is a significant fact. Can hailed from Cologne, and so do Kompakt records, and if these two things were to be somehow combined, you would obtain something along the lines of Cologne Tape, and Welt.
And what thing is this?
This is a very good thing indeed. Imagine Can’s wild trip into the heart of rhythm unfolding over a tesseract whose granitic planes slide upon each other with minimal majestic force.
We know it’s hard to visualise. Try. Remember the kaleidoscopic capers in the Dr Strange film, and remove all the mystic clichés until a bare truth is revealed, a truth that comes from repetition, a truth that cannot be codified in words because it lives in the pattern of a drum, the swirl of a synth glyph, a piano melody refracted into infinity like shards of glass, like shards of Philip.
But why imagine when you can listen to Welt 3 (Magazine Edit)? A techno beat of beautiful brutality, synth lines unable to decide between religiosity and funk become both. A drop that projects white hyperspace lines through blackness, converging into the sweaty dance-floor a moment before things get messy.
God this is the kind of thing that really makes us wish we still ran a club.
Today’s bonus is the self-titled 1981 debut by Japanese avant garde chanteuse Phew.
Its connection with the above, leaving aside pleasant visual symmetries in album artwork, is Can: Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit participated in Phew’s creation (and Conny Plank produced). The result is completely amazing, fresh as if Phew had travelled through a wormhole into the present, absorbed 30 years of post-punk-funk history, and gone back to the past to fuck with the minds of causality obsessed people like you and me. She has keys, and those keys open doors.
But then, Can always had Gibson’s touch: Anything they got involved with became modern, probably because they eliminated time with the primal power of their groove. Of all Phew, their presence is most clearly felt in Signal: in its cocodrillic guitar dirge, in the Fremen jazz drums and perhaps most tellingly, in a metronomic beep that keeps the whole thing from falling apart into another reality, and taking us with it never to return.