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Dietrich; Lars: Stand Alone

Stand Alone is the aptly titled solo album from Lars Dietrich who is also saxophonist with the acoustic jazz quintet The Story a band featuring Samir Zarif, John Escreet, Zack Lober and Greg Ritchie. I say that it is an apt title for the album due to the fact that not only does Dietrich play every instrument on this album, but as a musical statement, this is a hard album to really tie down.

Obviously with Dietrich's background there is always a strong jazz undercurrent flowing through Stand Alone, however there are also various other influences brought to the table such as electronica, techno and classical to name but three. The result is a quite startling set of songs that are bleak, dark and intense and undoubtedly take a fair bit of work to really break into. The effort is worth it though, with the angular and at time monotone soundscapes proving to be as rewarding as they are uncompromising and whilst there are little aspects of Tangerine Dream, or even Kraftwerk in this music, in truth Stand Alone struggles for any real comparison, which is refreshing, even if the music is far from that.

Clashing styles on songs like "Monokleam", where dance beats rush headlong at flurries of blurred sax notes, with a synthesized backing and nary a melody in sight, or the trippy beats meets film noire title track create extremely dense experiences that I would go as far as to describe with the word disturbing, especially when listened to through headphones. It makes for uncomfortable listening, but the complexity and sheer skill of execution keep you hankering for more. Though the beats are certainly borrowed from a style of music that's only reason for being is to make you dance, Stand Alone is more of an experience that makes you sit still, barely breathing, in total concentration and effects like the fuzzy vinyl crackles and distortion only add to the claustrophobia of the whole experience. In fact so convincing are these effects on "Stand Alone" and the palindromic "Lars Vs Sral" that I nearly got up to check that the needle on my record deck wasn't caked in dust, forgetting that it was a CD I was listening to.

Almost every effort on Stand Alone has been made to create a difficult and jarring experience, so describing what makes it so fresh and interesting is actually a real challenge. Suffice to say that the end results are like an oddly thick and sticky breath of fresh air. If that sounds like a contradiction, then you need to hear what Lars Dietrich has produced to find out that it makes perfect sense.

Track Listing
1. Lost
2. Monokleam
4. Acebirt
5. Exitship
6. Stand Alone
7. Madretsma
8. Lars v. Sral
9. Champloo
10. Metalace
11. Clustarrr
12. Pragma
13. Headvoice
14. Byeworld

Added: May 28th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lars Dietrich MySpace
Hits: 1750
Language: english

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