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Alameda 5
Eurodrome Julian Marszalek , March 27th, 2019 14:12

For music that elicits so many reactions from the neck down, Alameda 5's second album can still gives the inside of the head a stir, finds Julian Marszalek

From Brexit through to broken politics and the fact that we still haven’t got jet packs to use when popping out for a pint of milk, the 21st century really has turned out to be a disappointing load of old bollocks, really. What else could it be when what was once quaintly referred to as “the information superhighway” is now a gnarled pile up of mass stupidity and ignorance, while the concept of enlightenment has been thwarted by the kind of dingbat who is convinced that the world is flat?

Which is one way of looking at things, especially if you’re in a fairly despondent frame of mind. The other view is that the fight back, resistance and urge to push ever forward in the Age of Stupid continues apace from a variety of directions and angles. Ergo Eurodrome, the latest release from Poland’s Alameda Organisation under the aegis of the ever restless multi-instrumentalist Kuba Ziołek who, for the purposes of this Alameda 5 project, is joined by drummer Jacek Buhl, percussionist Rafał Iwański, bassist Mikołaj Zieliński and electronics manipulator Łukasz Jędrzejczak.

And what a team they make! Concerned with generating and maintaining grooves and hypnotic rhythms through co-operation and playing on each others’ strengths, Eurodrome is a stunning collection of music that frequently challenges, seduces and beguiles. Sometimes all at the same time. Consequently, the ten-song journey is best experienced with time on your hands, distractions left at the door, and a desire for some intense empathy.

For music that elicits so many reactions from the neck down, it still gives the inside of the head a stir for good measure. The circling bongos and drums that drive the ominous undercurrent of menace at the heart of ‘Embryon’ come as sharp relief compared to the disorientating scrapes, bangs and rattles that usher in the album with ‘Blitz-Krieg-Spiel’.

Elsewhere, there’s something almost ceremonial about the abandon at the heart of ‘Tubarao’. It feels as if its sole purpose is for you to totally lose your shit just so you can find it again. And gloriously subversive it is, too, as beyond the recognisable drums and low-end rumble, nothing else seems to be doing what it’s supposed to. Are those guitars? Keyboards perhaps? Who really cares when your mind is being blown open as wide as this?

The album’s most conventional moment comes with ‘Roam The Bottom’, but even that comes with a caveat. One of the few numbers on this largely instrumental album that Kuba Ziołek sings on, its electronic pulses and pagan percussion give way to queasy visions of trepanning as he intones, “Could you drill a hole inside of me? Could you close my eyes please for me?”

An aural sculpture of a confused and fearful continent, Eurodrome is progressive music made for regressive times.