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Föllakzoid
III Joe Banks , March 30th, 2015 11:48

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.

Opening track 'Electric' starts with the sounds of coins being skimmed across some vast subterranean lake, before a clipped bass pulse, hi-hats and metronomic kick drum establish a precise monogroove. It's like organic techno, the insistent rhythm subtly underpinned by filtered glitches and drones, while an occasional vocal appears on the edge of hearing. What's interesting about this song structure is that it's focused on the holding back rather than the release – an alluring siren call of guitar briefly disrupts the surface tension midway through, but then we're quickly returned to the long build. Föllakzoid claim to have developed their sound before even hearing the likes of Neu!, citing instead the influence of ancient trance-inducing Andean rhythms. While the classic motorik beat is all about forward motion, this track is at war with linear time, evoking instead a sense of the eternal now.

'Earth' continues the excavation, the chiming industrial clang of reverbed guitar suggesting the introduction of heavy machinery. The rhythm remains simple and emphatic and the vocals barely there, but more toms bring some tonal variation and the track is built around a mellow, smoky spiral of guitar. There's so much use of delay on this album, it often sounds as though Föllakzoid aren't so much playing their instruments as fine-tuning the confluence between peaks and troughs in waveforms, searching for the perfect alignment. Splash cymbals and electronics build the noise, but once again it falls back to the previous pattern.

'Piure' is the most traditionally psychedelic track here, its looser rhythm, ceremonial bells and balalaika-esque drone pushing us through the bead curtains of some inner sanctum to find Goat playing in slow motion. A soundbank of fog gradually envelopes you, ebbing and flowing between zones of darkness and visibility, returning over and over to the same guitar lick, an exotic bud constantly on the verge of flowering. But final track 'Feuerzeug' takes us back to a world of rhythmic austerity, the bass riff more urgent and upfront than ever. It layers on sheets of kaleidoscopic guitars and primitive synth buzz, reverberating in the magnetic fields of the planet's iron heart.

With III, Föllakzoid have broken through the sound barriers erected by the modern psych/kraut scene. Its monomaniacal refinement might sometimes challenge you to commit to its worldview, but it's an album that both demands and rewards deep listening.

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