Steve Webster’s latest moniker, Higamos Hogamos; re-tune Krautrock, cosmic funk, prog-synth and Euro-space age pomp to produce some skulking anthems.


‘Sorcery’ Mini-Album

Cosmic slop alchemists Higamos Hogamos

All Time Low 2010
Ltd Ed. CD/Ltd Ed. Micro cassette/Download

TRACKS

1. Sorcery     (8:09)
2. O Deo     (4:25)
3. Deuced     (3:33)
4. 5-Htp     (3:38)
5. Jahari Window     (6:15)
6. Sorcery (Version)     (8:43)


PERSONNEL


Steve Webster with the help of:
Stipo Androvic — Bass
Chris Hodges — Drums
Toby Jenkins — Guitar



Various artists and bands have tried to channel the spirit and essence of Krautrock, many failing dismally, others merely aping the more obvious stylistic inclinations of this now well-worn genre.
The trouble is that this particular epoch of challenging music can’t easily be categorised, as there isn’t essentially, as such, a defining theme to conveniently wrap around it.
From as early as 1968 to the very end of the 70’s, the key German groups in this movement progressed entirely out of synch with one another, striving towards a myriad of different musical aspirations and political objections.
Amon Duul II and CAN couldn’t be more polarised, yet they’re always grouped together.
It’s like suggesting that every art movement in Paris during the last decade of the 19th century was initially similar – imagine Impressionism, Symbolism and Realism all pigeonholed under the same title.

Which leads me to the gibberish entitled Higamos Hogamos, a moniker used for the last two years by the kosmiche maverick Steve Webster.
Steve has previous form both in Fort Lauderdale and, the all too brief and much missed, Black Neon.
Collaborating with former Squire Of Somerton’s Toby Jenkins, the pair have together crafted an album and couple of EPs, bedecked in voracious cosmic inspired glitz.
But rather then hover above the surface of Krautrock like pedestrians, they’ve delved deep into the full etymology, digging ever further and unlocking some well kept secrets, which were buried beneath the concrete of Cologne, Düsseldorf and Munich.
In a nutshell, Webster and Jenkins totally get it, showing off on the latest EP Sorcery the lessons learned and treasures unearthed, not once sounding apologetic or falling into mimicry.
Even the CD packing itself harks back to those good old days of boundary pushing and no-nonsense D.I.Y aesthetics, hand-pressed in a cardboard sleeve, stamped with a pentangle symbol and delivered in a golden envelope, like some wordless manifesto of intent and only limited to the chosen few.

The EP kicks off with the brooding Teutonic tile track, which pumps along in the manner of some 80’s pulsing synth driven soundtrack – think the Equalizer meets Neu!.
Soon we are guided to downtown Detroit at the bequest of Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson’s minimal techno grooves calling out, before Holy Fuck cover Manuel Gottsching’s ‘E2 – E4’ masterpiece just for the hell of it.
This expansive moody epic rumbles along, tickled by customary swathes of oscillation and the odd air of eastern promise.
A second extended and slightly different mixed version plays out the EP like a reprise, both act as signature overture or the opening motifs of some great progressive work.

Following this triumph is the track ‘O Deo’, which breaks the motorik mood for a moment and wades through some alien swamps, where Bootsy Collins presides over a shambolic jam session with the likes of Fretless Azm.
Full of echo and plentiful reverb, this straining at the edges track almost falls apart, though in a good way mind, before proceeding with Androvic’s strutting bass as it takes a walk towards Eno and Bryn’s ‘Regiment’ track, without the middle eastern transmissions.
On ‘Deuced’ they sound like an optimistic The Fall, as hard to define Casio programmed boss nova pre-sets clash with unworldly sounds.
Some Afro – highlife bongos make a welcoming intrusion half way in, drowned out by more stratosphere searching atmospherics.

The coded chemical titled ‘5-Htp’, happens to be a reference to the drug Oxitriptan, that’s given to people with major depression and as a appetite suppression.
Having no experience of taking it, I must trust Webster’s judgement, but if the music reflects the drugs effects in any way then write me a repeat prescription please.
Our proscribed dose ensures images of Guru Guru’s ‘Dance Of The Flames’ striding across the dancefloor in a trance, drip fed with flange and delayed chuggering guitar.
‘Jahari Window’ continues along the mind fuck theme, the title being the term for a cognitive psychological tool used to help people better understand their interpersonal communication and relationship skills.
Almost in dry or wry mockery, the tune has a false start, as someone shouts out ‘are we rolling?’ – a rapid rewind restarts our cosmic goofballs back on track.
Slowly paced drums and bass lay down a methodical foundation, as squelch like Michael Rother inspired guitar riffs take us on an ambling voyage across the American West coast circa 1969.
Waves of laidback floating escapism via Ash Ra Tempal, weave in and out of the main melee to create an astral travellers soundtrack.

Higamos Hagamos leave me feeling slightly jealous, as I’ve never been able to convince any of the musicians around me to play such mesmerising, empirical tunes as these, which motor along effortlessly in a space age discothèque, somewhere over the Orion.
May you never return to the dull drab exterior of Earth again.

DV

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