Sylvester Anfang II – S/T – (Latitudes Session) CD/LP 2012

Sylvester Anfang II - S/T - (Latitudes Session) CD/LP 2012Well here we are with another release in the fantastic series from Southern’s Latitude imprint. Championing the more experimental and challenging end of the musical spectrum, previous releases from the series have seen artists such as Alexander Tucker, A Storm of Light, Grumbling Fur, Circle and Nadja amongst others, providing some raw, mostly improvised sessions yielding some very interesting results indeed.

With their spaced out sounds commonly being referred to as ‘Funeral Folk’ (a term coined by the band themselves on one of their first cassette releases back in 2005), I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about, having heard the band name dropped many times, working with some excellent artists such as Jack Rose, Burial Hex and the omnipresent Stephen O’ Malley, but unfortunately I never got round to feasting upon their aural delights. To be honest it took a few listens to really get the hook into these freak out jams, the Funeral Folk tag (especially on this release) is a little misleading, conjuring to my mind, something crossed with the ethereal folk of Alexander Tucker and more drone like sensibilities. However these sessions act as a straight up homage to the Krautrock of old, artists such as Amon Düül, Faust and early Can for example.

Filtering through a haze of sci-fi effects and psych vibes, the instantly recognizable and repetitive kraut rhythms push through to the fore, taking you on an astral journey of extremely epic proportions. Apparently each one of these jams was taken from a straight three hour improvised session with the Flemish troupe, with this in mind, it is no wonder the aforementioned artists were anxiously hitting these guys up to collaborate. The musicianship on display is fantastic, providing layer upon layer of dense musical delight, acutely upbeat despite what my mind had initially conjured up prior to hitting the play button.

It would be ridiculous to try and do a track by track summary, each jam seamlessly flowing into the next, trying hard not to break the spell that they majestically weave. The meditative trance like state that is achieved in the listener is great, certainly an album to lose yourself in completely, worshipping at the same psychedelic altar as newer acts such as Gnod and Carlton Melton.

Although this release is not entirely groundbreaking and original, it provides a solid addition to the Latitude series and instills a great feeling of pure escapism, harking back to age which is simply not revisited often enough for my liking. Krautrock fans will simply lap this up, anyone coming from a more drone/doom persuasion may take a little time to fall under its spell, but with some repeated listens, copious amounts of incense and candlelight, you will be right there in the moment, trust me.

Label: Southern Records / Latitudes
Website: N/A

Scribed by: Todd Robinson