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Efzeg - Krom

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Artist: Efzeg

Album: Krom

Label: Hatology

Review date: Nov. 23, 2006

The title of efzeg’s fourth album refers to a part of a cell nucleus, and the album’s four tracks are named after cellular and genetic components. So it comes as no surprise that the Viennese quintet’s musical pay-offs are in small details, such as the wavering sax voice that reclines languidly upon the machine-like hum of “exon,” or the way a distant guitar hovers at the brink of audibility over throbbing electronics towards the end of “ribo.” You can’t hear it at all at first, the melody overshadowed by helicopter-like clatter, but eventually the whacks, blips and buzzes recede and the guitar steps forward for a moment. But only a moment; a sullen loop plays, a stylus skips, and the music’s done.

The ensemble relies heavily on electronics; wavering synth tones, splintering computer beams, and various samples summoned from hard discs crowd around Boris Hauf’s saxophones, dieb 13’s turntables, and Martin Siewert and Burkhard Stangl’s guitars. Fifth member Billy Roisz often contributes live video, but here she provides audio input as well. The guitarists’ associations with groups like Polwechsel and Trapist should tip you off to efzeg’s consensus: patience is a virtue. The opener “intron,” for example, doesn’t seem to travel very far, but it rewards patient listeners with an almost absurd surprise; near the track’s end, locomotive sounds punch through layers of loops, as though some giant had spit the vehicle from the depths of a tunnel through deposits of turf on the side of a mountain. But generally the disruptions are more subtle, as on “som,” where vinyl rumbles and electric guitar flickers erode a near-ambient surface of drifting steel guitars and cricket-like water dripping on a cave floor. This album gives up its secrets gradually, the better to force you to get well acquainted with its ungentle quietness.

By Bill Meyer

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