Seamlessly integrating elements of trance, krautrock, psych rock, and drone rock.
It’s an achievement in itself to write a four-track record that qualifies as an LP, but Chilean ‘cosmic rock’ outfit Föllakzoid have pulled it off, and not a second is wasted on their new record ‘III’. Loop-heavy ‘Electric’ opens up the eagerly anticipated follow up to 2013’s aptly titled second album ‘II’. It sounds like an awakening; a hypnotising groove is omnipresent as the band further showcase their study of ancient rhythm patterns with faultless execution.
Admirers Moon Duo have coined the term ‘Repeat-o rock’ and it’s hard to not think that completely true of the sound that Föllakzoid churn out on this track. It’s repetitive, but in an endearing sense, it’s certainly not boring. The vocals on this track are few and far between, and are bordering on inaudible, yet the whisper-esque tone serves to add texture to the track. The band have admitted that they rarely rehearse anymore, and that the new songs tend to come from spontaneous live medleys that stick, or are born out of impromptu soundcheck jamming, and it’s evident. Not only are the tracks almost always focused around one entrancing groove, but they’re constructed of layers that seem unlikely to have come from any studio, layers that producers simply don’t ask musicians to add to tracks, and it’s sorta sad. At the same time, though, it makes me even more appreciative of the organic, spontaneous approach that the band have to creation.
In spite of the onslaught of Krautrock-esque darkwave medleys that the band continue to attack with on this record, there are ever-so-subtle signs of harmony. The synth pattern on the second track, ‘Earth’ is a welcome break from the intensity that’s put across on this record. Cymbal-smashing chaos and guitars so heavy with feedback that they’re almost discordant also feature on this track, perhaps testament to how bafflingly diverse the band can be in just one track. The tracks feel infinite. They’re constructed in such a way that they genuinely could go on forever. Loops within loops, 11 minutes of one metric rhythm, hypnotic drumming, Föllakzoid seem to have mastered a formula for writing mammoth songs that end too soon, in a cosmic, analogue haze of white noise, only to come back stronger than ever when the next track starts.
Despite being based around an intense study of ancient south-American music, there’s a strange middle-eastern feel that crops up on the track ‘Piure’, which sounds almost romantic, as opposed to the menacing atmosphere that is strung through the album. The Korg synthesizer used on the record was once owned by Kraftwerk, and Föllakzoid are proving themselves to be sonic innovators in their own right. Not only does the fourth and final track ‘Feuerzeug’ use trance-like sequences much in the vein of the German icons, but the vocal melody on this track isn’t a million miles away from sounding straight out of an 80’s German track. Again, scattered with moments of white-noise but always moving, always meaningful.
By seamlessly integrating elements of trance, krautrock, psych rock, and drone rock via the study of ancient rhythm patterns, Föllakzoid’s on-stage jamming has been calculated and transformed into one of the most innovative and interesting LP’s of recent times. Their stunning exploration of cosmic-madness continues to expand, with alarming drive. Play it loud.