Elektro Guzzi: Achse Dachse
Palazzo Recordings

Elektro Guzzi's been described as a live techno band, and though it's obviously reductive the label hasn't been wholly off-target. Over and over, guitarist Bernhard Hammer, bassist Jakob Schneidewind, and drummer Bernhard Breuer have shown themselves to be a multi-limbed unit remarkably adept at generating kinetic grooves with machine-like precision in real time.

In being the premiere release on the band's newly founded label Palazzo, Achse Dachse signifies a special moment in the trio's ongoing story, and not surprisingly the playing on the cassette release is at its customary high level. But there are some new twists: on the six tracks, Elektro Guzzi links its usual guitar, bass, and drums setup to electronic instruments; even more significant, the material sees the band working African-inflected rhythms into its attack, so much so that the live techno label, in this case at least, begins to seem inadequate.

The opening title track shows that that inimitable Elektro Guzzi thrust remains very much in place, though the inclusion of electronic instrumentation naturally sees the trio's core sound more expansive than usual. As always rhythm is paramount, but the addition of excited vocal expressions makes for a feverish presentation, with the music surging ever upward and growing ecstatic as it builds in intensity. “Rekto” offers a dizzying sampling of Elektro Guzzi's trademark stomp, even if that feverish African dimension's still audible, while “Distel” dazzles with the brain-addling impact of its gyroscopic presentation.

If there's a downside to the expansion in the trio's sound, it's that some degree of clarity is sacrificed, with Hammer's guitar rendered less audible as a result. Even so, seven years after its eponymous debut album appeared on Macro (and one year after its last full-length, Clones), the trio continues to revitalize its playing on this latest outing with bold ideas and new directions.

November 2017