“Way-out Berlin collective, featuring members of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Einstürzende Neubauten, Gemma Ray, Kid Congo Powers and others”
CANDY BOMBER VOLUME 1 – (Bronzerat) – What we have here is a free-spirited body of work, an album of which it is important to say right at the start of the review (given the nature of the beast), an album that holds together as one gloriously whole. The Candy Bomber sessions could so easily have been a ramshackle collections of disjointed ideas and jams, an album of clashing jarring musical identities, one of those things that sounds like fun to make but if you’re not involved and you’re just the listener then something doesn’t really hold together. Candy Bomber holds together brilliantly, this is anything but ramshackle, this is coherently brilliant (yep, here comes another of those annoyingly gushing positive reviews). There’s a glue here, a bond, a whole load of people sharing a piece of magic and a creative connection – no one grabbing all the chocolate or the gum, everyone sharing it out, no one hogging the limelight, no one demanding they be the centre of attention. And what treats, what candy bombs parachuted in – well no, not so much bombs as musical treat after treat dropped in and shared about by everyone – there is no standout track or dominating voice.. Dark-edged jazz, clever interaction, improv they say but it all sounds rather structured, always coherent improv, always warm, inviting, engaging, never awkward or lost. Musicians playing with a freedom, this is brilliant actually, an album and nine pieces of music alive with delightful detail, an album that flows as one whole, those individual personalities do shine through though, the warmth of Gemma Ray’s voice interacting the low slung smokey bass. Opening track Cut is some kind of high-end Siouxsie And The Banshees thrill that gets all, well it gets all Berlin, this is an album that does sound like Berlin, Butterfist sounds like high-grade Oroonies with that tribal flow, actually a lot of this sounds like classic Oroonies and suddenly we’re not in a Berlin bunker we’re out in the woods with the white owl and the silence and the ritual of it all – some kind tribal trance flavoured dark wave jazz-edged alt.rock that’s nothing like anything that might make you think of.
The Candy Bomber sessions were spearheaded by Paul Lemp, co-owner of the studio of the same name, theater, film and dance composer, and impassioned bass player. The sessions were his dream project of free-spirited experimentation into which he injected his boundless energy, teaming up with Thomas Wydler (drummer and longest-serving member of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) and studio partner Ingo Krauss (Conny Plank’s studio engineer between 1987 and 2001) to form a core triumvirate, that spiralled outwards to bring in a who’s who of talented friends and studio visitors. In this volume these include Kid Congo Powers, Swiss jazz pianist Stefan Rusconi, Jochen Arbeit (Einstürzende Neubauten/Automat), Gemma Ray, Toby Dammit (Iggy Pop/Nick Cave), André Vida, Toni Kater, Charly Birkenhauer, Paul Kuchenbuch and Matthew Styles. .
Switcher is thrilling, an almost tribal piece, an organic thing, the ritual drone of trance-jazz as rock and all done slightly differently – beautiful, gloriously detailed once again, dark and squeaky, mystical, and rather unlike anything else really. Someone had a bit of a moan about us only posting positive music reviews recently, he argued that if we only cherry-pick the best things to cover and share, then it all gets a little relentless, he had a point (although his band didn’t get reviewed recently, caught them at Cafe Oto, a band alive with good introductions, brilliant starts to their potentially epic prog tunes, tunes that ultimately fizzle out and really never ever actually go anywhere). And yes, we are going to gush over this album as well all the others we gush over- we’re going to gush over this fine body of work, these first Candy Sessions, the almost lounge-jazz of Hello Stomach – ah hell, everything about this album is satisfying – this is a very fine album indeed. The core musicians hold the whole thing together as one thing, one coherent body of work, one flow album, and that anchor the core musicians provide allow everyone else to add the clever detail, the flowing expressions, the jazz fusions, the dark waves and the rich colour and the subtle rhythms, and what we actually have here is just a really really really enjoyably good album – an album full of life, full of colour, full of treats parachuted in. Glowing details – My Life in The Bush of Ghosts details, that kind of raga-drone that keeps it flowing while the details are allowed to glow and various voices are given the freedom to radiate, the almost spoken word of Slow Blow and feel of that pressure drop… .
Built during the Nazi era, the building which houses Candy Bomber was once the largest in the world. (A Julian Montague impression of the facade of the building adorns the album cover). In 1948/49 it served as the hub for the Berlin airlift, when the allied forces flew over 200,000 flights supplying the Western part of the city with daily necessities. The airlift also provided the name for the studio, which set up shop in rooms that previously hosted a computing centre for the CIA. The studio is now legendary in Berlin, not least for its enviable collection of vintage valve gear. With this at their disposal, Lemp, Krauss and Wydler established an environment for sessions that were organic, pressure-free and, more or less, agenda-less. The end result is sonic art unimpeded – a wild cocktail of originality, intensity, beauty, sincerity, and stunning freeform musicianship – underscored by a Dada-ist playfulness and motivating force. But this is not a work of chin-stroking abstraction,. Here you will hear some of the coolest jams, ones that will peel your face off. Tragically, Paul Lemp died prematurely and unexpectedly in summer 2015, before the Candy Bomber sessions were finished. Krauss and Wydler finished the record shortly after, and despite his passing (and as the Vol. 1 title suggests) – intend to continue them in his honour.
The Candy Bomber Sessions is deliciously accessible experimental album, a jazz album, a rock album, a brooding trance album, a thrilling album, a classic piece of creativity in the tradition of all things Berlin-good… (SW)
Candy Bomber Vol 1 is out soon on Bronze Rat…
And where did the name come from