Originally appeared on the(now sadly defunct) VESSEL music site.

The second release on Higamos Hogamos’s own label imprint, ‘Atomized Pt.1’ continues along the same celebratory lines as their previous ‘Sorcery’ mini-album; reappraising and re-assessing the main leitmotifs from the very best examples of transient Krautrock and cosmic mind melding funk: unapologetically twisting the work of Funkadelic, Can, Bowie and La Dusseldorf to the bands own miscreant ends.

London based musician STEVE WEBSTER’S – formerly of both Black Neon and Fort Lauderdale – present incarnation involves collaborating with an array of fellow astral plain travellers; including this time around the seasoned drummer ROCCO WEBB and inventive bod/producer Dr. ANDREW ROBERTSON, whose research into interactive real-time musical systems has led to him producing the B-Keeper drum tracking device – used on this album to successful results. ROBERTSON follows the same blueprint laid-out on his last expansive and rollicking release ‘Sorcery’, laying down a consistent foundation of resonating synth lines and bass, and then adding a concomitant accompaniment of guitar, percussion and cyclonic effects to create the essential Higamos Hogamos sound.

This 6-track musical suite opens with the menacing pulsing synthesizer and jungle drums of ‘Cannibal Island’, a behemoth of a growling workout rich with snatches of MICHAEL ROTHER style wah-wah chopped guitar licks, and Harmonia searing atmospherics that dips its toes into the bubbling funk of BOOTSY COLLINS. After 8-minutes of driving and throbbing bass, it all comes unstuck, as a cascading tumbling crash of Casio drum pre-sets bring the marching posturing jam to a dramatic end. That mystical funk continues on the following track ‘Lion Head’, albeit at a more upbeat and swaggering pace, conjuring up an imagined mid-80s post punk version of Can meets an exotic ‘Miss You’ period Rolling Stones, to create a ephemeral echo-drenched lost artifact from ESG. A muffled stoner DAMO SUZUKI vocal hook flows in and out on the heavily reverb washes of effects; resplendent with squelchy 909 acid sounds that emerge from the man-made ether.

OMD emotive and brooding synthesized melodics and deft pulchritude guitar grace the swirling comforting ‘Porta Sound’, whereas ‘Old Soul’ journeys along blistering hand-clap drum breaks, Chicago sophisticated grooves and the merest hint of the glorious La Dusseldorf.

The final act of this mini-album is given over to the two-track ode to dangerous driving, starting with ‘Transfusion’, which unabashedly plays around with BOWIES ‘TVC 15’ whilst bouncing along on a jaunty rolling poppier back beat, HERBIE FLOWERS bass-lines and enthusiastic aloof bongos. WEBSTER’S vocals are full of resigned wit as he delivers such sardonic verses on the consequences of speed, “When I hit that lamppost, it caused me such contusions”, and “Strung out on the tarmac, seeking my absolution”. He even has the front to replace Bowie’s “Transmission” for his own “Transfusion” on the choruses, as he apes the thin white dukes ‘Station To Station’ period hallucinated fantasies of holographic TVs. A pandemonium-induced build-up of oscillating sound waves announces the arrival of part two of this opus, with ‘Race Car Driver’ rotating in whirls of reverberating loops and Neu! led effective drum breaks, helped along by a sea of Moroder trans-nebula express sweeping and smoky layered effects. The title itself is repeated in a ghostly MICHAEL KAROLI breathless style, revolving around an evanescent finale of lasers and alarm sounding pulses.

Higamos Hogamos unashamedly pillages all the best hooks and sounds from the golden age of German music, merging them with cosmic slop funk, post punk and, at times, even shoegazing. Yet though he plunders and evokes a certain epoch, the sentimentality is kept in check, as WEBSTER brings these influences upto date with a wry and investigative sense of fun, which leads him away from self-indulgence and mere flattery – put it this way Webster knows how to deliver a killer hook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: