Review: Sula Bassana ‘Nostalgia’

Talking about a master of musical engineering such as the indefatigable German multi-instrumentalist, electronic, kraut and space rocker Dave Schmidt aka Sula Bassana, in a way it’s a bit like writing today’s history of German kraut rock music with all its derivations. It’s like talking about an evergreen tree whose branches always extend to such a length that just watching them grow makes you feel blessed for its sheer beauty. Schmidt has a musical career to envy that goes back to the early ‘80s when he was fascinated by the sound of keyboards, so to express himself, he joined, for a short while, an electronic duo called Solaris. Moving forward with his musical taste, he went on to join Berlin psych space rockers Liquid Visions as bass player with whom he released five full-length albums.

Sula Bassana 'Nostalgia'

Noting his name, Sula Bassana, which means ‘sea bird’, he likes to fly around in search of more adventurous sounds; ethereal, freak-out spacey, improvised experimental rock, even drum ‘n’ bass and dub, he continues joining and forming, some quite interesting bands that allow him to experiment; Zone Six, Weltraumstaunen, Growing Seeds (drums), the eternal space rockers Electric Moon (guitar and keys), Danish free form space rocker Øresund Space Collective, along with his own project Interkosmos.

Bassana feels like an accomplished musician in this part of his life. While involved in other bands, he released his first solo album Dreamer in 2002 under his own Sulatron Records. This was followed by another twenty-four albums, some as solo releases and others as split releases, mostly with his long-time friend Martin Schorn aka Modulfix. Bassana likes to go through his old recording archives, he likes to unearth them and release them as part of his past music adventure. This brings us to Nostalgia, an album that is presented to us as a mini music guide into his eclectic and substantial musical career, all enclosed in five tracks of a natural music progression of fond memories.

The album includes songs recorded between 2013 and 2018 and although Sula Bassana has explored all possible terrains, and beyond, within his chosen genre, Nostalgia brings out his music prime time. Here we have a playful musician who likes to get lost in the music he produces, like a hippy soul, a psychedelic wandering monk, or a God jester.

Nostalgia is a cosmic roller coaster ride…

Looking at the album cover featuring magical strange extra-terrestrial creatures from outer space and created by French painter Hervé Scott Flament, you have a clear image of where the music will take you too. Let me guide you through the opening track Real Life, where you can feel the warmth of Bassana‘s voice and the extraordinary journey of slow and psychic experimental music that reminiscences Spiritualized with a raga mantra.

As We Will Make It releases its first few notes, you’re immersed in understated experimental ’80s post-punk like it’s straight out of a lost track on Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation. Then the title track, Nostalgia, is where we find the true classic soul of Sula Bassana. It’s a beautiful relaxing soundtrack, dreamy and engaging and the highlight of the album is within this milestone.

Wurmloch, a musically vibrant track that takes you into an atmospheric bubble spewing swirling robotic kraut ekektro sonics that brings to mind the mixed sound of Faust’s So Far playing with Gong’s Camembert Electric and Neu’s Hallogallo. With the last track, Mellotraum, Bassana highlights the more experimental kosmiche ambient sound released from his keyboard and solemn continuous drumming.

Nostalgia is a cosmic roller coaster ride that once stopped, you find yourself walking like an acrobat on a thin rope. It’s also warm like the feather of a Sula Bassana (sea bird), and as you listen to the five tracks on offer, make sure the cover isn’t out of sight, because it’s where the magical journey begins.

Label: Sulatron Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Caccamo