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Twists (A Visitor Arrives) Jon Buckland , January 9th, 2024 09:31

The first album in nearly five years from the influential German electronic group features guests such as saxophonist Timuçin Dündar and Khan Of Finland

Hailing from Düsseldorf in Germany this quartet of electronic sound slingers have been subverting the genre for around three decades now. Whilst initial listens of Twists (A Visitor Arrives) may seem to suggest a continuation of their well-oiled yet leftfield digital pop, a closer look under the hood reveals an album of increased experimentation, collaboration, and focus.

Perhaps the parenthetical bit of the album's title refers to the cast of guest contributors who feature on the record. Much like the visitors in Pasolini’s Theorem, the arrival of outsiders within Kreidler’s ranks alters the dynamic, twisting the structure into something unexpected. The crooning saxophone of Timuçin Dündar on funk-licked second track ‘Tanger Telex’, for example, unleashes a wail of celebration, inviting the suggestion that the horns may have just made it out of Adam F’s lock up alive. Similarly, ‘Loisaida Sisters’ would be an altogether different kettle of disco fish if it wasn’t for Khan Of Finland’s filthy strut evoking steaming NY summer sidewalks. It might be dirty but that doesn’t discount its allure. And then there’s the smoked voice of Natalie Beridze breathily orating on ‘Hands’, taking the band back thirty years to their initial dalliances with spoken word.

With this additional personnel, Twists (A Visitor Arrives) manages to reach both into the past and across the globe. Fellow Düsseldorfers, Kraftwerk undoubtedly influenced the electronic future of the USA, with early adoptees in Detroit and New York quick to return the favour in Berlin’s direction by the time the 80s crumbled to a close. The seeds of that cultural exchange bloom majestically across Kreidler’s eighteenth LP, with acid squelches, boogie-laced bass lines, and the electro snarl of Manhattan’s Alphabet City plastered all over it. That sense of transatlantic travel gets to the heart of Twists Whether it’s in the aforementioned appearance of New York on ‘Loisaida Sisters’, ‘Kandili’s pre-Reggaeton Puerto Rican polyrhythms, or their homeland kosmische on ‘Polaris’, Kreidler rarely stick around in one timezone for long.

This also means that their sound skips around genres quite freely. The twitchy drums and impish tumbling keys of ‘Arithmétique’ are a far cry from the tight Jesus Lizard-esque bass riff propping up airy synth pads on ‘Hopscotch’ as it dodges from pools of light into obsidian shadow like a zoot-suited dancer. There’s spooky Christmas jingles seemingly lifted from Danny Elfman’s ‘Tim Burton’ folder on the album closer whereas ‘Diver’s palm-muted rhythm paves the way for exploratory synth lunges that then hand the melodic baton over to descending arpeggiated chimes. Happy boom-clap percussion lures this away from woozy Blue Jam territory and into something altogether quite cheery.

It might read like an incoherent mishmash of styles but it’s a spacious listen. Each element intricately weaved into the flowing tapestry so as to grant it ample room without the threat of muddied sonic waters. No matter how choppy it gets, how much the record twists and turns, how often it wriggles off in an unexpected direction, it’s classic forward-peering Kreidler through and through.