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coverpic flag Germany - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 29 - 03/02/99

Sandow
Stachelhaut
What's So Funny About .. / Indigo

This month's recommendation from Germany is a really monumental concept album by our favourite art rock band Sandow. This CD is filled to the top with music, 75 minutes divided into 10 tracks (which means that the length of the tracks alone is exceeding the limits of the pop song format).

The central theme of this concept album is the term 'Zone', once used to refer to East Germany, but here also often tied together by many references with the movie Stalker by Andrej Tarkovski. The movie tells the story of a fictious 'Zone', hermetically cut off from the outside world, where in a central (and difficult to reach) chamber the inmost wish would be fulfilled. These references are more prevalent in some tracks with direct quotes, less obvious in others. But even if you haven't seen the movie, you can still enjoy the album and get your own interpretation of the lyrics.

The album starts with a lengthy intro called Europa, classical in nature at first, later with hammering rhythms and noisy vocal samples. The following track Nebel is a dynamic rock song already known from the last Sandow mini album. Sirenen is a two-part song. The first part builds up slowly, the chorus becoming louder until the song switches onto a completely new track. The following twelve minute epic Mutatio is a mixture of even more different parts, the first part steadily increasing in intensity until the climax and an orchestrated outro at the end. Tal der Toten is another dynamic rock song. Raum aller Dinge is a rhythmically accentuated track with Sandow's trademark cello accompaniment about the visit of the mysterious room in the centre of the 'Zone'. Then comes another heavy rocking track from the last Sandow album, Neue Nebel. Clocking in at 4 1/2 minutes, it is the shortest track on the album. The next song is Mercedola with an extended spoken word prologue by Sandow's cover graphic artist and occasional collaborator Hans Scheuerecker. The official ending of the album is the track Für immer (in perpetuum zona), a song with a lovely girl's voice in the background that slowly builds up the tension. The outro of the disk is Stille, a five minutes field recording with birds singing.

This album is a masterpiece of Avant-garde rock, which cannot be easily put into any specific genre. Hopefully it will appeal to a larger audience. You should get it. Now!

Copyright © 1999 Lonely Locke e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Sandow article/review: Born.

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