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Akku Quintet: Depart

Drummer for Swiss minimalists Sonar, Manuel Pasquinelli takes more of a leading role in his now four album strong side project, Akku Quintet. Depart is their latest outing, this five track album looking to weave something of a hypnotic spell through deftness of touch and the repetition of repetitious repetition. I’m not always the most comfortable in these surrounds - I remember counting the white ceiling tiles at a Ministry concert at Glasgow’s Barrowland (147, if you’re interested) so much did that band’s predilection for finding a killer riff and then playing it to death bore me (a friend asked me to go, before you ask). However, here, flanked by sax (Michael Gilsenan), keys (Maja Nydegger), guitar (Markus Ischer) and bass (Andi Schnellmann) the intention seems more to build a scene from the ground up and slowly embellish it with the merest flicks of colour and light. Opener “Largo”, running at nearly 15 minutes, dominates in more ways than one and often reminds of Marillion in their most patient and small moments. However here, instead of guitar and keys creating the melodic landscapes, it’s sax and piano and as such makes for a more intentionally muted end result.

Oddly, for such restrained, clipped fare, volume drives this beast on, the incredibly slow reaching crescendo at this song’s end never once increasing in tempo but with the drums determinedly moving from gentle rainfall pitter patter into tribal warfare clamour, so the mournful sax somehow bites and stabs. That “Made In China” moves away from the pinpoint jazz leanings of the album opener into a much more angular situation through some twisting guitar and more muted sax immediately douses any suggestions that this quintet will play the same card twice. And yet there’s a feeling of interlinkedness between the five still intrinsically individual ideas on show that makes Depart feel like a journey with a proper beginning, middle and end.

In itself that is rare but in this minimalist setting proves reason enough to keep coming back to an album that you initially think might have revealed all its secrets on first listen, but which ultimately feels almost entirely different once you’ve spent time in its company. That’s not going to make Depart anything other than mood music, or an experience that requires the correct setting to avoid the curse of being background sounds, but meet them halfway and what Akku Quintet create can be decidedly enthralling.

Track Listing
1. Largo
2. Made In China
3. Breeze
4. Depart
5. Cyan

Added: September 19th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Akku Quintet online
Hits: 463
Language: english

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