Hans Reichel & Eroc — The Return of Onkel Boskopp
(Repertoire REP 4688-WY, 1982/1997, CD)
by Mike Ezzo, Published 1999-01-01
Careful. This is Hans Reichel; not to be confused with another German experimentalist - Achim Reichel. The Reichel featured here is known for constructing home made string instruments, and performing solo. Here he is flanked by former Grobschnitt percussion man, Eroc. For the most part Reichel offers up a beautiful multi-layered guitar style, like an avant version of Michael Rother. Or a more melodic Fred Frith. Like Frith though, he succumbs to buffoonery, adding silly vocal noises and deliberately out-of-tune violin that is neither funny nor interesting to an old curmudgeon like I am. But fortunately it isn't overdone. Originally I had expected a guitar-only approach. But that can't be, as he covers a much wider spectrum of instruments: from raunchy distorted guitar, to bass, synth, samplers and violin. If all these sounds were produced by guitar only then give the guy a medal! Percussion work is rather thin on the ground, barring a drum machine here and there, so dominant a performer is Reichel. Soundwise The Return... is practically in a genre of its own. A certain whimsy and bizarre personality pervade it, sometimes bringing to mind Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain. That kind of crossover between oddball rock that can't get its footing, with a concurrent futuristic yearning and a dash of the traditional, especially in some of the dance forms like waltz and such. The mind tends to get a bit dazed bouncing around between styles. Latin beats and even circus music don't go untouched. I may be completely stumped, but it's a successfully done boundary breaker to be sure!
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