Elektro Guzzi: Elektro Guzzi
Macro Recordings

So how do you catch the attention of your faithful textura reviewer when he's drowning in music submissions? Record your analog dance music live without overdubs or loops and using nothing more than guitar, bass, and drums, that's how. That's pretty much the route Viennese outfit Elektro Guzzi follows on its sixty-eight-minute debut album, which the trio—guitarist Bernhard Hammer, bassist Jakob Schneidewind, and drummer Bernhard Breuer—co-produced with Patrick Pulsinger. Just as it does live, on record too the group (together since 2004) delivers its motorik techno straight up sans laptop effects, self-indulgent soloing, or pre-recorded loops—techno performed ‘live' in the truest sense of the word. As a result, one would expect the overall sound to be rather skeletal but, in fact, the group's sound is surprisingly rich as guitar and percussion fill the aural space with detail. That's especially evident in “Clapping” when a front-line of miniature percussive patterns stokes an incessant burble and Hammer generates atmospheric effects rather than melodic lines, but it's pretty much the case throughout (the closer “Franz” the conspicuous exception, which finds the group gravitating towards conventional melodic structures). “Hexenschuss” converts subtle stabs of guitar clangour, syncopated bass pulsation, and beat propulsion into a thumping club groove inflected with dub shadings. “Jackpump” likewise amps up the atmospheric quota when shakers, cymbals, and psychedelic guitar treatments appear atop a thudding bass pulse. The trio animates rolling tracks such as “Kimbo” and “Sediment” with an energized forward thrust that, in the latter in particular, borders on tribal. Onstage, Elektro Guzzi might look like a rock or blues band, but once the trio digs into its taut, galloping grooves it's clear the focus is techno.

May 2010