Castles in Space is massivley pleased to announce the selftitled debut album from Sydney band Kl(aüs). Former Tasmanians and school friends Stewart Lawler (Boxcar, Severed Heads) and Jonathan Elliott (Prayers in Ashes, Batrachian) formed Kl(aüs) in 2013. With many years experience playing in critically acclaimed and influential Australian electronic bands using sequencers and laptops, and even more long evenings in the pub arguing the nuances of Tangerine Dream’s 1979-1985 period, the pair realised that the Berlin School genre is a perfect vehicle for a style of improvisation and sonic exploration that is focussed around playing instruments rather than performing from laptops.
Says Stuart, “We think the recent trend for ‘authenticity’ in electronic music by exclusively using vintage equipment is a bit misplaced, to be honest. What really matters is how you play the instrument; be it physical or software, it’s how you interact with the sounds as you play that counts. By recording live improvisations direct to multi-track audio we’ve displaced the sequencer from its central role, allowing a more organic development of musical ideas to take place”.
The result is a magnificent soundscape of an album that takes the listener on a journey from beginning to end and while referencing an earlier era’s style and methodology doesn’t shy away from using modern production technology to achieve its own unique sound. It may also be the first Berlin School album to feature the sounds of an Australian spotted gum forest.
The album was mastered in Sydney by industry veteran Rick O’Neil, and will be released July 2016 on limited edition coloured vinyl and digital download.
Listen to tracks from Kl(aüs) and buy the wonderful LP at the Castles in Space bandcamp site:
The review from Norman Records:
…This LP reminds you of the genuine place synth has as a dominating force in prog music, rather than just its supplement — it’s got the fogginess of Tangerine Dream, the glistening new-agisms of Laraaji and a hell of a lot of the psychedelic jamming you can come to expect from anyone with a modular and a penchant for existence at a Deep Distance.
Bits of this are just lovely, though. The flute filibuster that opens up “Proof Portal” is nothing if not ambient comfort food, a lovely, synth-scoped intro to what becomes another self-perpetuating mass of tinkering synth rotations. Other parts get lost in the speedy tunnels of time, such as “It Hurts To Shoot Gloves From Your Stick, but It’s Necessary”… here is where I’d usually describe the track, but that title has given me an idea: let’s stop music forever.
This is gonna appeal to fans of a lot of things: it’s got the rapid-fire whirring of a lot of kosmische classics, but also has a glowing ambient sustain going on in its backdrop. Those who enjoy incredibly vintage electronic music where the synth melodies sound like grandparents of Boards of Canada, you might find a good resting place for your ears. Me? I am now a robot. Thanks, guys
A review from the estimable Mr James Lister:
Today, it feels like many bands are referencing the past – in sound, in images, in methods of composition. It’s hard not to – but it’s harder to find the vocabulary that works and refine it further. Inspired by “Berlin School Electronic Music” – a style driven by hypnotic, evolving sequence(r)s, Sydney duo Kl(aus) is no exception. With just a taste of live and recorded work so far, they have affirmed a definition of creativity – taking divergent ideas that they demonstrate clear passion for and making them work without slavish reference to technical errata that may serve a genre definition better than a good tune.
Is it “artisanal” electronic music with a Teutonic feel, ironically served up in an unusual context? No. It is the work of people who haven’t set limitations on the number of keyboards you can stack up in a venue, Emerson-style, and simply let rip. Coming from an impatient (let’s call it ‘punk’) perspective with deeper Krautrock sympathies, any piece of music over four minutes by individuals with a modicum of musical training can sometimes offend. But here it isn’t an obstacle. There’s a sense of recalling the familiar, and it is presented deftly. But the real excitement is in where a band with chops, a sensitive approach to crafting sounds, unpredictable sequences with a love of driving synth lines and unrestrained solos might go next.
This is best demonstrated in the opener “Three Sheets,” a cinematic piece that builds gently and then thunders through the room. (I saw “Miracle Mile” in my head during this one). With room to move, Kl(aus)’ trajectory should echo these sentiments.