(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
Robin Taylor is a Danish multi-instrumentalist residing in Copenhagen, and has taken part in a large number of releases since 1985. Currently he has two regular band projects besides making CDs as a solo artist, and Deutsche Schule is the 10th release he issues under his own name alone.
The CD cover states that this CD was inspired by "some of the freakier German krautrock artists of the 70s". If that makes for a record sounding much different from Taylor's previous releases I'll leave for others to decide though, as I am blatantly unaware of Taylor's earlier recordings as a solo artist as well as in a band setup.
The first thing you'll notice about this album is that it seems to have large amounts of tongue-in-cheek humor though. The record cover is funny, and anyone slightly familiar with the German language will chuckle a bit when they see the song titles on this album. As a German colleague of mine said: "They managed to include most of the clichés here".
Musically most of the songs here sound like electronica pioneers Kraftwerk having added Jan Garbarek to their ranks in the late 70's, and then taking a slight approach in the direction of krautrock stylistically. There's lots of electronic sounds and rhythms reminding a lot of Kraftwerk as they sounded on Trans-Europe Express. Vogel’s saxophone can be mellow as well as frenzied - like the Garbarek material I'm familiar with, and the sound structures and soundscapes at times take on the psychedelic and experimental moods like you'll find in the classic krautrock releases issued in the early to mid 70s.
And although this mix may sound rather weird, it actually sounds rather nice. The most off-putting aspect of this release is listening to the saxophone being played in a rather jazzy way on top of electronic music; which will sound very wrong in many ears. A basic prerequisite for enjoying this music is to be rather fond of the saxophone as an instrument; and accepting that it takes the place of guitar soloing and/or synth soloing, as most other artists would have chosen to use for these songs.
As for the songs themselves, most of them have a hypnotic and intriguing quality. If you accept the basic premises for listening to this music, this is a CD that will be played over and over - at least the first 5 or 6 tracks. All of them are good, and a couple truly brilliant in my opinion.
The last track on this album is the one hardest to grasp though. A 9 minute track being more or less a sound collage and sonic experiment, being comparable with the least accessible krautrock releases 3 decades ago. Fans of these sound experiments will have a trip to heaven listening to that track, others might see that one as a soundtrack from hell.
Personal favorites on this release: “Misch Musch”, “Karl spielt Klavier”, “Neue Stimmen”.