Thank God For Beatniks
This is the debut full-length release by 3 Shades -- a collective of musicians (and guests) that one could call a "supergroup." Based in and around Munich, Germany, members include Ivica Vucelic (Dis*ka, Die Regierung, Lightnin' Ivi) on guitar, pedals and vocals; Carl Oesterheld (Carlo Fashion, F.S.K., Ms. John Soda, Tied & Tickled Trio) on organ, harmonium, glockenspiel, and metallophone; Markus Acher (The Notwist, Tied & Tickled Trio, Village Of Savoonga, Lali Puna, 13 & God) on drums, organ, percussion and vocals; and Micha Acher (The Notwist, Tied & Tickled Trio, Ms. John Soda) on bass, organ, trombone and trumpet. On Thank God For Beatniks the band explores soundscapes, rhythm-patterns and moods in multi-colored shades. Some of them filled with whirling sunbeams, others covered with smoke and dust. "Bombay Can" sets the key -- a throbbing and bittersweet harmonium lures you into a hypnotic groove-monster, filled with echoes from the past and future. More spinning melodies are offered on "Subsequently" with hip-hop activist Fat Jon on guest vocals. "El Topo" is named after Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1970 film, and is itself a surrealistic trip into a psychedelic desert, filled with audio hallucinations, a jazz mirage and some obscure encounters at the Mexican border. More psychedelic moods in darker colors abound on "Tiny Bits Of Terrible," featuring guest vocalist and spoken-word poet Mike Ladd. The beats are dented, there are eerie whizzing sounds, and nearly everything is filled with smoke. "Thank God For Beatniks" is based on lyrics by Afro-American beatnik pioneer Bob Kaufman. "Sometimes Up" features an abstract ambient soundscape surrounding a melancholic love song. "Counting The Days" features guest vocalist Jihae Jean Meek (The Royal We, The Champagne Socialists) and an acoustic guitar suitable for night ballads. Thank God For Beatniks remembers when music was about freedom of speech and revolutionary thought unbound.