94CD - Das Rad - Adios Al Futuro
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Das Rad is informed by progressive and krautrock musics. Their first album was described as “an extremely accessible, at times almost poppy collection of instrumental tracks, it's a skilful integration of jazzy muscularity, electronica, and invigorating surges of air-punching rock. Mostly they appear as concisely constructed bursts with a punk-like brevity that brings urgency and impact to scrunching guitar riffs and luminous shafts of Mellotron strings” by prog commentator Sid Smith. This second collection continues that fast moving trajectory, this time adding a handful or more extended rhythmic workouts.
Nick Robinson – guitars, keyboards, electronics
Martin Archer – woodwind, keyboards, synth bass, electronics
Steve Dinsdale – drums, keyboards, electronics
The second album from Sheffield-based trio Das Rad continues from where their capacious 2018 debut left off. Mellotron-infused themes, shuffling motorik beats, insurgent guitar strafes, drifting melodica and sinuous woodwind and sax - nothing is ruled out of bounds. Their ability to seamlessly traverse stylistic borders gives their heady combination of Germanic synth-scapes, sleek minimalist tones, dubbish spaces, punchy rock , and the occasional psychedelic strand a cohesive, satisfying force. - Sid Smith, PROG
Let’s open simply with: wow. Rarely am I rendered speechless by a recording, but when those moments occur, it's pure heavenly euphoria. This, the second Das Rad joint, isn’t your father’s prog-fuelled space truckin’ by any stretch of the imagination. Hell, to just blithely brandish the trio’s music with the dusty sobriquet ‘prog’ does it an extraordinary injustice; it’s necessary to fully ingest this steadfastedly progressive music, one that encompasses the many shadings and layers summoned in that phrase. “Fusion” works here too, in as much as the trio effortlessly, cleverly, and brilliantly foment works that walk in the footsteps of the pioneering legends of the 70s while making their own profound mark. It’s high time the world caught up with the three chaps who comprise Das Rad: Discus labelhead, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Martin Archer, drummer/percussionist Steve Dinsdale, and guitarist Nick Robinson (all three double up
on electronics as well). This is a group who know their musical history and drinks deep of that musical history but chooses not to maximize or exploit the very clichés of that musical history. What percolates throughout is triumphant, strident in the extreme, even caustic at moments, but possessed of singular invention and determination, its influences mere residue, echoes, callback. As syrupy strains of mellotron peek out from the opening minutes of “Inside Reverse”, Archer’s sax effects a splatterfest of fallout settling upon the synthetic, radioactive terrain; when Robinson’s guitars and Dinsdale's probing cymbals arrive they cut across the acrid electronic tones with scythe-like ferocity. Ghosts of the past rear their ectoplasmic heads while the music proceeds apace: Archer refracts glimmers of Mel Collins navigating the most scintillating King Crimson sides; Dinsdale channels synth and sequencer miasmas rescued from Dreams Tangerine in color and drumbeats timed to psychedelic prayers inside Ash Ra Tempels; Robinson works a mojo of Fripp/Pinhas intensity, with shout-outs to McLaughlin, Gottsching, even Makoto Kawabata. Electronics don’t act as mere coloration, either; they’re integral to shaping and expanding the huge canvas on which the trio operates, despite the intense torture all three players visit upon their respective acoustics. It all makes for a head-spinning, confrontational, galvanizing experience, made all the more apparent once you glance inside the gatefold sleeve at the illustrations of the world’s notorious Un-fab Four of Boris Johnson, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Donald Trump. Basically, Das Rad ain’t foolin’ around: takin’ no priz’nas on their Kubrickian trip, a far-out space odyssey energized by post-millennial tensions, and, politics aside, this is a record for the times, the endtimes, and the ages. Ears be blown here, folks. - Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery (downtownmusicgallery.com)
Much – maybe most – of the best music coming out of Britain at the moment has Martin Archer’s thumbprint on it, either as player or enabler through his eclectic Discus imprint. Archer’s ability to meld elements of jazz, free rock, krautrock, electronica, country, blues, folk, classical and just the sounds of everyday is second to none. He has long since outrun genre and Das Rad is no exception.
It’s a very nicely paced album as improv dates go. The three longer tracks are interleaved with shorter pieces. Pretty much everyone gets a whirl on keyboards, which makes it appropriately difficult at places to work out who’s doing what but Archer’s reeds, Nick Robinson’s guitars and Steve Dinsdale’s drums are the reference points and the homespun power-trio references aren’t overlooked.
This is a group that can generate some noise, or go into quieter and more detailed mode. The original krautrockers often didn’t know when to knock it off and crack a smile. Das Rad’s sense of impending disaster doesn’t stop them having a chuckle. Come November, we might well be needing it. – Brian Morton, JAZZ JOURNAL https://jazzjournal.co.uk/2020/08/11/das-rad-adios-al-futuro/
Martin Archer must be one of the busiest men in music. Not content with running Discus, every other release seems to have some involvement from him, covering so many different styles and moods it is remarkable. Here we find him teaming up once again as Das Rad with Nick Robinson and Steve Dinsdale for another improvised excursion into noir-ish soundscape territory. Adios Al Futuro is the follow up to 2018’s self-titled release and finds them edging into other territories, as well as the propulsive workouts that were so addictive on that album.
The division of labour is essentially drums, guitars and woodwind, but all the players use electronics and that puts a whole other perspective onto this nominal trio, because it ends up sounding like there are so many more players involved. The opening track “Inside Reverse” is a long one and starts with a calming yet awakening horn intro, which feels like a measured warming up, the trip sounding out possibilities.
The horns prod and search, and an organ shifts in the background, providing shadow and shelter; the calm before the guitar storm that erupts, dragging hissing cymbals in its wake. The sax is the colour of dusky, bruised clouds and the tension is palpable as the track moves raptor-like, the delightful synth bass moving it far from jazz and deep into noirscape territory with the guitar an incandescent ache.
It is quite an introduction and the following pieces don’t let it down. The Trans Am-like synth groove of “Buzz Line” is an interesting melange of romantic sax and simmering guitar, a paean to love and a revolt against the idiocy of the world leader photographs featured on the gatefold. There is a lot of hope and belief on Adios Al Futuro, with some of the tracks taking a gentle route to opening our eyes. “Deuse Of Gears”‘ Ryuchi Sakamoto-style synths and forgotten fireworks give an Eastern shape-shifting vibe, while the pastoral “Eisblume” is all classical guitar and misty morning clarinet, alive with tambourine.
The synth bass is quite a secret weapon, and although it has a tendency to reflect some gleaming ’80s atmosphere in the title track, I can see Mikhail Baryshnikov whirling around an empty ballroom, weighing up his options of escape. In a similar vein, “Rothko Dtrobe” feels like a continuation of some of David Sylvian‘s woodland synth experiments, but it lays a fine bed with chattering guitars and immense drums, all sweetness and nature. These three really bring some gorgeous work out of one another, and it would be lovely to see how this translates to a live setting. It could be that Das Rad is just a studio bound project; but either way, the album is a deft and charming series of exploratory sketches.
Adios Al Futuro ends with the melodica laden “Tiefes Blau”, which chugs at an almost slowcore pace, allowing plenty of time for the players to wind around one another as it gradually at points winds into the aether until it gently comes to a halt. This is another success for Das Rad and on the strength of this, there is nothing the three can’t turn their ands to. I am already looking forward to the next instalment. - Mr Olivetti, FREQ http://freq.org.uk/reviews/das-rad-adios-al-futuro/
Perhaps with one panel of the fold-out CD digipak leering at us with a picture of Johnson, Putin, Jong-un, and Trump, one in each of the quartered panel, and given the album title, it’s just as well this journey through a disturbed inner space is entirely instrumental, as lyrically it would all be just be too depressing. However, “depressing” is not an adjective that applies to the music here presented.
Das Rad are an improvisational collective based in Sheffield, and another band with the seemingly Sheffield-ubiquitous Martin Archer as a member. Martin, among other things, supplies keyboards and electronics to the sound, as indeed do the other two of the trio. Martin’s signature instrument is the saxophone, Nick Robinson’s the psychedelic guitar, and holding it all together are Steve Dinsdale’s anchoring rhythms. Together they take a free-rock template forged in the heat of the Krautrock furnace, and weld it to jazz and dub sensibilities, and thus create a righteously rocking and trippy whole.
Taking off with the rocket ship Inside Reverse, sparse occasional beats guide woodwind into a comets-on-fire guitar excursion from Nick Robinson, the symphonic cacophony eventually breaking down into its component parts before the engine sputters out. That first track was a loose but fiery construct, much in the style of the band’s first self-titled album from nearly two years back. The second atomic psalm is more structured and rhythmic, and Buzz Line is a tighter affair with some lovely sax work from Martin Archer that takes over and spars with Steve Dinsdale’s urgent drums.
This album is as much about the space between the notes as it is about the noise they make, proven by Deuce Of Gears as it turns the engines off and traverses a slow-moving ring of rocky debris orbiting a distant planet. The title track is a Kosmische blues for our times, chopped guitar chording and electric piano reverberate, deep baritone saxophone dispersing the miasma, becoming righteous. Despite its title, Adios Al Futuro has a distinct air of determined optimism. Don’t let the bastards grind you down, daddio!
Another Place contains more delightful sax blowing and has a distinctly David Sylvian vibe to it. This is a good thing. The languid beats of Oslo Star swing gently in a cradle of stars before the sparks from Nick’s snarling guitar send occasional flashes through the cosmos, agitating the drums in simpatico. Very nice indeedy!
We sign off with Tiefes Blau, a shimmering Kosmische vessel sailing on the becalmed azure seas into the far off distance, taking its time to develop over a very laid-back beat, echoing and reverberating in and out of focus through accompanying interstellar swooshes that swirl, disperse, and reform in front of the listener, the guitar’s quietly ringing harmonics adding another layer to the space cake. Das Rad in dub, as it were.
A lot of folk are put off by the word “improvisation”, as it conjures images of angular, disconnected noise in the minds of the more straight-laced listener. That can be the case, but in this instance, improvisation means something far less confrontational, but nonetheless exciting and involving. Give this a listen, you may be surprised! – Roger Trenwith, THE PROGRESSIVE ASPECT
News from Das Rad! Just over a year and a half after the untitled debut, the second album Adios Al Futuro followed in May 2020 . The Struwwelpeter is emblazoned on the cover, and when you open the flip cover, you can see the friendly faces of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Kim-Jong Un and Boris Johnson. This quartet can give you the idea of saying goodbye to the future, but what about the Struwwelpeter? Who knows?
Anyway, the cast of Das Rad still consists of Nick Robinson, Martin Archer and Steve Dinsdale. Musically, the weights have shifted somewhat. The psych-rock influences and with them the motorik of the debut have largely disappeared, instead one moves more towards a crimsoid jazz rock. Accordingly, the electronics take a back seat and often leave more space for Martin Archer's saxophone; The guitar, which is angularly sawn in twisted lines, ensures the crimsoid impact. Corresponding passages were already on the debut, but now they take up more space. The introductory Inside Reverse is a wonderful example of this, somewhat reminiscent of recent King Crimson stuff. The music rolls almost painfully slowly, with the guitar always wilder capers. This piece is quite characteristic of a large part of the album, whereby in the further course an increasingly jazzy component is added when Martin Archer blows the saxophone more often. Occasionally, the pace increases somewhat (Buzz Line, Oslo Star, for example), but mostly it remains restrained.
In addition, there are also moments of free sound tinkering, in which the tones are apparently randomly thrown into confusion in order to unite to strange but fascinating abstract structures. Deuce of Gears or the beginning of Rothko Strobe / Another Place, for example. After all, there is largely acoustic piece with Eisblume, in which delicate guitar plucking is combined with a slightly oriental-looking soprano saxophone.
Adios Al Futuro is a worthy successor to the excellent debut of the trio, and takes a somewhat different musical direction. Another highlight of the prog year 2020! You can listen to the album on Bandcamp . - Jochen Rindfrey, BABYBLAUE SEITEN https://www.babyblaue-seiten.de/album_18956.html
Das Rad is an English trio of Nick Robinson (guitars, keyboards, electronics), Martin Archer (woodwind, keyboards, synth bass, electronics) and Steve Dinsdale (drums, keyboards, electronics),. They define themselves as a band “informed by progressive and krautrock aesthetics”. To use a German name as an English Trio is almost a statement in these Brexit-times. Even more, because they choose a Spanish title meaning ‘Goodbye future!’
With their spaced out and lengthy excursions, they practice an idiom that is not often met any more in our times to my knowledge. They excel in spun out and laid back spacey jams. They use echoing and cascading effects like in the uptempo ‘Buzz Line’. Their creations often have a slightly psychedelic and sweltering atmosphere. Keeping the middle between rock and jazz they brew their version of improv rock. Opening track ‘Inside Reverse’ has a pleasant groove with great solo work by Robinson on guitar. A track like ‘Rothko Strobe/Another Place’ is close to soundscaping. It is more about creating an atmosphere than building a musical form. Their open structures have a straight forward rhythmic base, offering a good starting point for meandering excursions. For sure, a very sympathetic unit. – Dorf Mulder, VITAL WEEKLY
With the Discus label’s head honcho Martin Archer on board, it’s no surprise that Sheffield-based trio, Das Rad, display a fondness of prog and krautrock. Archer has been behind some decidedly quixotic ventures, including a couple of albums of Canterbury-flavoured madness by imaginary Japanese artist Masayo Asahara. Here, pieces like ‘Buzz Line’ conjure the motorick thrum of krautrockers Neu!, overlaid with fruity squelch bass and multi-tracked saxes stirring up a mysterious psychedelic swirl. In fact, with all three members doubling up on keyboards and electronics, each track is an exercise in accumulated textures, with less rhythmically-charged pieces like ‘Inside Reverse’ suggesting a kind of ambient rock seeded with Terry Riley’s time-lag saxophone experiments or, on ‘Deuce of Gears,’ a fleeting visit from the ghost of Mike Ratledge’s Lowrey Organ. If the production sheen feels a little over-polished at times, the title track delivers a welcome dollop of grunge, with a slow, twanging post-rock growler, glowering like storm clouds on the horizon. - Daniel Spicer, JAZZWISE
Einen farbigen, improvisiert-vielschichtigen Instrumentalprog gibt es hier auf die Ohren, erzeugt mit einem recht umfangreichen elektronischen Instrumentarium, bestimmt von Robinsons E-Gitarre, klanglich umfangreich ergänzt durch Archers Gebläse, und nicht selten rhythmisch vorangetrieben von Dinsdales Perkussion. Tastenflächen und Elektronisches sorgen für die sonore Grundlage, bisweilen auch Mellotronartiges oder andere retroorientierte Keyboardsounds, über denen die drei Protagonisten dann weiter improvisieren und klangbasteln. Trotz gewisser Anleihen an die Musik vergangener Zeiten, insbesondere einiger Crimsonesker Reminiszenzen, klingt die Musik dabei recht modern, gerät bisweilen in Postrockgefilde, oder bewegt sich zeitlos jazzig-rockig voran. Die auf dem Erstling bisweilen auszumachenden Krautbezüge fehlen hier eigentlich; ein wenig nach Canterbury klingt die Musik aber schon noch, insbesondere wenn Archers Sax trötet, oder ein E-Piano perlt. Manchmal ist man auch einfach nur freiformatig am Wuseln, Schweben und Hallen.
Bezeichnen wir das Ganze doch einfach als retro-moderne Instrumentalprog mit Avant-Tendenzen, wird es doch nicht selten leicht schräg und kantig. Dynamisch und rhythmisch arbeitet sich die Musik oft voran, immer mal wieder unterbrochen von freier gestalteten Klanginseln, die dann ein wenig in Richtung Ambient/Elektronik schielen. Häufiger gibt es solche Stellen in "Tiefes Blau", welches voluminös hallend das Album beschließt. Trotz des deutschen Titels klingt auch diese Nummer nicht nach Krautrock. Wieder erinnert die Musik eher an freier klangmalende Erzeugnisse aus dem erweiterten King-Crimson- und Stickprog-Umfeld (man höre z.B. "Roppongi" von den Stick Men mit Mel Collins am Sax). Etwas elektronischer als es dort meist der Fall ist "Adios Al Futuro" aber ausgefallen, experimenteller und jazziger.
Warum das Album so heißt sieht man – Jochen hat es oben schon erwähnt – wenn man das Pappteil aufklappt, in dem die CD steckt. Da fehlen eigentlich noch Erdogan, Orbán, Duda, Lukaschenka und ... sieht wirklich nicht berauschend aus. Der Sound ist prima, nur bin ich mir nicht so sicher ob das gelegentliche verzerrt-übersteuerte Knirschen (z.B. in der zweiten Hälfte des Titelstücks) beabsichtig ist. Vermutlich schon. Wie auch immer, wer wirklich progressive Klänge mag und auf Gesang verzichten kann, der/die sollte dem Album einmal einen Hör leihen. - Achim Breiling, BABYBLAUE SEITEN http://www.babyblaue-seiten.de/album_18956.html#29191
Das Rad? Struwwelpeter? Titles like ‘Eisblume’ or 'Tiefes Blue’? Just looking at the cover and the band name would lead you completely on the wrong track. Because behind the name and optical mystery hides a trio from Sheffield, England, which turns completely to the experimental and not always easy to appreciate tones.
Nick Robinson (guitar, keyboards, electronics), Martin Archer (saxophone, keyboards, synth bass, electronics) and Steve Dinsdale (drums, keyboards, electronics) move in the border area between avant-garde, ambient, open free forms and jazz rock. It is especially the saxophone and various electronics that shape the timbre of Das Rad.
Here a certain openness is required on the part of the listener, because you have to get involved with the sometimes angular material, even the floating, melodious sounds require time and space. So an improvised sound experiment like ‘Deuce Of Gears’ initially leaves a proper question mark, but on the other hand the band manages to create intense and exciting structures, such as the title song, which includes comes up with mellotron background and a lot of reverb.
In the dragging, lazy sound-cosmos, it sometimes goes in the direction of hypnotic, mystical Ambient / Space / Krautrock, in other moments electronic sound cascades find their way. Occasionally, memories of the electronic and soundscape-influenced projects by King Crimson are awakened. The stark alternative to this is the fragile ‘Eisblume’, carried by beautiful melodies.
In the truest sense of the word, this is progressive music in which the three instrumentalists let themselves be carried along by their ideas. Even if you have a certain preference for angular, unpredictable tone sequences, it is advisable to listen to “Adios Al Futuro” – Kristian Selm, Betreutes Proggen https://www.betreutesproggen.de/2020/08/das-rad-adios-al-futuro/?fbclid=IwAR0LYS9pAaoImKmh3MEMoZ5CntwDynRrCUfviE5ETHJ0eb54i16IZqIrryA
This is the second outing from Sheffield’s Das Rad, following their excellent and highly recommended debut. “Goodbye to the Future” might seem a darkly pessimistic title for this set; and the images of our esteemed leaders from the UK, USA, Russia and North Korea and surreal pastiches of Biblical scenes or fairy tales pasted on top of peeling wallpaper that Nick Robinson has used in his art-work suggest a bizarre dystopia. And yet, the music that Das Rad create has the optimism of a new dawn – albeit with some sinister undertones that blur the edges of the tunes. Take the opener, ‘Inside Reverse’, which has a stuttering cymbal pattern over a deep, spacy bass line creating space of fuzz-drenched guitar and layered saxophone to present motifs that hang in the air and then dissolve. Over its 11’40 this creates a groove that seems to meander in a never ending, hypnotic circle - when it ends, you immediately want to restart the journey, picking up the ways in which the distorted sounds melt into each other, so that you realise that they are never quite dissolving but mutating. If I was to say that this create a piece of music that manages to be both relaxing and ominous, you can, perhaps, get that juxtaposition of pessimism and optimism that the band so ably and uniquely create. Over the next two tracks that trade a more optimistic bounce (on ‘Buzz Line’) for the darkly experimental tones of ‘Deuce of Gear’ which segues neatly into the title track. Previous reviews have pointed out the hints of Prog- and Post-Rock and kosmiche Musik. For me, it is the way that the bass line and mixing calls to mind the classic Dub Reggae artists of the 70s and 80s that is most striking on this set, particularly the opener, the title track and the closing ‘Tiefes Blau’. Just as the pioneers of Dub would mix a tune to its barest essentials, often obscuring the melody of the original to leave a shuddering skeleton of bass and drums, so Das Rad lay a solid and ever entertaining rhythmic bed and pile layer upon layer of sounds from guitar and saxophones. Just when you feel you have got a sense of their modus operandi, they throw curve-balls like ‘Eisblume’, a melancholy saxophone tune over a gently plucked acoustic guitar. This continues the musical adventurousness of the first album and is a set that never fails to fascinate and excite. Easily a contender for the top ten albums of this year. - Chris Baber, JAZZ VIEWS https://www.jazzviews.net/das-rad---adios-al-futura.html
First of all, Steve DINSDALE, who plays drums and sometimes keyboards in the legendary English electronic trio RADIO MASSACRE INTERNATIONAL. Then there's Nick ROBINSON, an absolute ace of guitar loops, which he brings to life, evolve and disappear at will, like a magician of sound. Finally, Martin ARCHER, who as an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, plays saxophone, clarinet, flute or keyboards, officiates in nothing less than ORCHESTRA OF THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE and COMBAT ASTRONOMY, and who, excuse me, also founded the label Discus Music.
So when three musicians of this huge caliber enter the same studio, we are already certain of the stratospheric quality of the result. In fact, therefore, the DAS of Adios Al Futuro remained the same as for Das Rad. And the level of play and composition also remained the same, ie quite ruffled. This gives eight rich, dense and exciting pieces, from which stand out in particular the two major and magnificent pieces that are Inside Reverse and Tiefes Blau, which last more than ten minutes. All this is bold, refined, mastered, always excellent. Very great art, really, just like for the first album.
What has changed, because obviously something has changed, is the urgency distilled in large drops in all this. Yes, we say goodbye to the future, as an echo of the "No Future" of punks, and we hurry to live while we still can, to enjoy the good time we still take before tomorrow is nothing! So DAS RAD puts even more of everything into its already fabulously rich recipe. More rhythms, more guitars, more mellotron, more of everything I tell you!
In a 1970s musical film whose title I forgot, a guitarist said to the other members of his band: "You have to play hard so you don't hear the world fall apart." Adios Al Futuro is a bit like that, one last frenzied dance before today falls into oblivion.
But when it's done by musicians of this level, we console ourselves with the coming Apocalypse by thinking that it will be after all a demented reminder at the end of a monstrous concert! - Frédéric Gerchambeau https://www.rythmes-croises.org/das-rad-adios-al-futuro/
This UK-based band's follow-up to its self-titled 2019 release is a tad less experimental and more grounded in progressive rock and krautrock, aptly called out in the press release. It is an acoustic-electric offering often sweetened by Martin Archer's wistful sax lines, slightly tinged with studio echo to provide a little depth. Moreover, many of these works feature hummable melody lines and memorable hooks, although the trio does sprinkle ominous overtones amid Nick Robinson's stinging guitar chords and razor-like lead lines.
Other than related electronic dreamscapes, the core trio grooves to many different beats with EFX which may intimate the bending of space time and other cosmic trickery. With shadowy backdrops, ostinato synth motifs and prodding pulses, they also engage the free jazz element, namely on "Deuce of Gears." But on "Adios Al Futuro" they dish out a slow cadence with broad backwashes of electronics and Archer's peppery sax phrasings, largely steeped in prog rock-like explorations via a wondrously coordinated arrangement.
"Eisblume" is a pretty interlude consisting of Robinson's deft Spanish guitar work and Archer's singing sax lines, touched with mellotron voicings. Whereas "Tiefes Blau" is the lengthiest and final track clocking in a little over 10-minutes; on this piece the musicians launch a budding theme, topped with a lovely harmonica-sounding keyboard riff. They also swerve into a spacey jazz fusion mindset with enticing harmonic applications, trickling EFX and guest bassist Aidan Hall's booming notes and the artists' intersecting micro-themes. Like the preponderance of the album it is an addictive piece, where gentle adaptations seamlessly coalesce with steely injections and Steve Dinsdale's punchy pulses and crushing rock tempos. Overall, the negative if slightly playful album title bids a goodbye to the future, yet Das Rad seems to be enjoying its trek into the cosmos, searching for a habitable port of call somewhere in our solar system.
– Glenn Astarita, ALL ABOUT JAZZ