Various Artists - Kollektion 04: Bureau B By Richard Fearless - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Various Artists - Kollektion 04: Bureau B By Richard Fearless

by Ian Fraser Rating:6 Release Date:2015-06-29

Tap Kollection 4 into the old Google search engine and you are likely to be confronted by some line of merchandising by one or other Kardashian, some supremely rich and high-profile family of people famous for no discernible reason and of whom I know little and care even less. Ah, but dig deeper – it helps if you spell it correctly with two Ks - and you’ll find that, more pertinently, it refers to a documented trawl of Anglo-German label Bureau B’s archives by one Richard Fearless, the result of which is this doubler from the rarely travelled outer limits of what we try not to call Krautrock as it is probably offends, in a way that Britpop never seemed to (other than one’s ears, of course).

As you might imagine, then, this is the fourth instalment of the label’s overview of the styles in which it specialises. They have created a series entitled KOLLEKTION, each one given over to a different curator. Given Fearless’ pedigree as leader of techno rock outfit Death in Vegas (song titles include 'Sons of Rother'), it’s perhaps no surprise that he mines the 'weee-boinggg', electro-experimental seam of the kosmiche motherlode as opposed to the 'ter-dung', guitar-heavy freakouts.

As a result you’ll hear plenty of curious noises by chaps who sound like they belong in mediaeval legends or some Wagnerian Ring Cycle with names such as Roedelius, Moebius and the like.  Besides our Cluster/Harmonia mates, Faust get a couple of look-ins but they aren’t the obvious choices you’d immediately plump for and there are few of the other household name heavyweights of German experimental rock music (yeah, you’ve got to admit Krautrock does sound better) present.

Ten out of 10, then, to Fearless and Bureau B for avoiding the bleedin’ obvious. When it hits its stride and finds a groove, this is mighty fine ear-candy indeed.

Despatches from the frontline need to make honourable mention of Gunter Snickert for his hypnotic trance-lite 'Suleika', and the loping, extended 'Kundlaini Tremolo' by Faust. Gregor Schnitzler’s '15', too, is appealingly weird and trippy, while the pastoral noodles of Roedelius on 'Thronfolge' are enchantingly timeless and strange.

Besides which, there is plenty more among the ambient washes, analogue loops and digital distortions to enjoy across a double CD's worth. Conversely, there is material here that either passes me by or I simply don’t understand and doubt I ever will, such is the breadth of coverage spanning 25 tracks. That’s what samplers do more often than not – they hit, they miss, and you can’t help but think what a good single CD this would have made.

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