Zacht Automaat – ‘We Can’t Help You If We Can’t Find You’



Track List:

Side 1.

1. We Can’t Help You If We Can’t Find You  (19:44)

Side 2.

1. We Can’t Help You If We Can’t Find You  (19:56)


Carl Didur – Bass, drums, electric piano, home-made complex square wave-generator, glockenspiel, guitar, organs, oscillations and synths.

Mike McLean – Bass, drums, field recordings, fuzzbass, generators, guitar, keyboards, percussion and radio fiddling.

Henry A. Paton – Flute on Side two.

Sporting a moniker that sounds like a futurist Swiss launderette, or a Dusseldorf motor-repair shop, the Zacht Automaat pairing of Canadian’s, Carl Didur and Mike McLean, have indolently – though not entirely out of choice – continued to plough on over the past decade, strung out in the furthest corners of the musical experimental savannah.

The duo’s original, and most recognised, of variuos  incarnations, ‘The Battleship, Ethel’, has been dragged into dry dock as they now pursue an uncharted course across an even more confident sound scape of peregrination loaded vistas and minimalistic motoing soundtracks. This latest album is their eighth under the Zacht flagship.

Born from a desire to record and log their spontaneous performances, and to lay down a more concatenate set of compositions, the Automaat manage to lay down for prosperity, a commendable apodictic work of both serene and complicated improvised genius.

With a respectful nod towards the the teachings laid down by the Germanic masters of the universe Krautrock godfathers – namely CAN, Cluster and Ash Ra Temple – and a dash of the avant-jazz evangelists, the Soft Machine, amongst others; both Didur and McLean, follow in the grand tradition of throwing caution to the wind, as they devour a multiple of omnivorous styles, and manipulate a host of twitchy, squelchy, magnetic-charged effects in a polygensis display of methodical musicianship.

Their latest quasi-sage, proverbial, entitled album, ‘We Can’t Help You, If We Can’t Find You’, is constructed from two ever-changing, and, congruous improvised minor-opuses.  Both of these tracks contain ephemeral snatches and glimpses of re-worked motifs and themes,  which follow one after the other in a, mostly, flowing succession of incipient ideas.  These compositions slowly simmer in naturalistic settings before an enveloping mist of busy synthesiser cascades, dipped in space-echo and listless cosmic solar frequencies, that cover the whole atmospheric valley backdrop, start to wash and bubble over.  A nicly laid down display of bouncing and driving bass lines find a way through the richly created layers of oscillations, radio-waves and diaphanous felicitous melodic accompaniment, whilst redolent Jaki Liebizet drum breaks motor along and occasionally open-up into flurries of rollicking rolls and bounding beats; always anchoring or keeping the timing sweet.

Side one’s warped right out-of-shape tome, finds its ripe groove after a staccato introduction, and wave after wave of protruding angulared threads, darting off and following unforeseen directions into the fiery unknown. But once the duo hit upon a coalesce dynamic, they draw a comparison to the floating melodies and beauty of  Roedelius’s Harmonia, and Cluster era ‘Zuckerzeit’ sound, and at other times they come across as a much more interesting Tortoise.  After a good 16-minute wok-out, the track changes tact, moving into the territory of obscure schlock horror, and emerges from an ether smothered cloud, that sends the willies right up your spine.

Side two however, crosses subterranean vestiges of the Velvet Underground with the ‘E.F.S’ experiments of CAN, harassed by heralded aloud strangled horns of Jericho calls, and an exotic tapestry of eastern flavored landscapes. McLean’s bass slides into the mode of a 70s heist, or, getaway drive movie soundtrack, only to be shunted and provoked towards laying down the foundation for a bizarre strange concoction that sounds to all intents and purposes like Joe Meek replacing Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, to record a ghostly surf doom seance.  By the time the track reaches its final strains, a healthy use of choice psycho-nauts, The Red Crayola, is thrown into a vortex spinning loop, signaling that our time in this bewildering abstract adventure is now up.

On the very fringes of music, the Zacht juggle more ideas into the very first 5-minutes of this record then an entire topographic ocean of aspiring epigone noiseniks, and so-called edgy bands manage in a whole lifetime – this comment should be encouragement enough my friends to purchase this 40-minute epic, if not, then just buy it because they are one of the most adventurist groups out there in the field today.

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