JeGong return with their second full- length album which sees them continue their musical journey inspired by the spirit of krautrock, early electronic music and experimental rock. With The Complex Inbetween Dahm Majuri Cipolla (MONO, Watter) and Reto Mäder (Sum Of R, Ural Umbo) put a dazzling spin on the timeless music of genre innovators like Can, Faust and Neu!, incorporating noisier and more abrasive elements to create a mental odyssey into the uncanny. Born from the collision of the most unreal moments of Mäder’s free-flowing musical associations with Cipolla’s stick-wielding hands, these eight compositions form the duo’s own mythical realm after the rhythm has been set.
As the cradle of electronic music, krautrock is often viewed by outsiders in terms of the mechanical rather than the human, yet Mäder and Cipolla manage to uncover a human side that has always been present in the music of their forebears. That driving beat which powers album opener «Come To The Center» was never meant to be called ‘Motorik’, as explains its inventor Klaus Dinger of Neu! in one interview. “It is very much a human beat. I like to call it the endless straight. It’s a feeling like a picture.” With Cipolla behind the kit the machine becomes human, testifying to the power that rhythm can hold over us as a deeply communal obsession.
The variations in Cipolla’s drumming patterns are subtle, but signifcant on a visceral level. It’s the deep tribal drum patterns of «Clear the Way» which conjure a rhythm inside of us that resonates through the ages from our deepest origins in the womb of Mother Africa to the desolate ecstasy of contemporary techno festivals. The clever way in which Cipolla turns inside himself as he plays against the reverb of his own kit on «We End Here, We Start Here» is but one demonstration of the level of detail these compositions encompass.
Like their debut, The Complex Inbetween shows the profound knowledge these two musicians have of their source of inspiration as well as their tremendous skill in applying its principles. With the piece «Night Screaming Moves» JeGong expands their sound with atmospheric drone rock elements. A feedback laden guitar motif surrounds the oscillations of mellotron sounds, behind it pounds a slow motion drum beat that is reminiscent of dragging, shuffling footsteps in the dark of night. Evoking feelings of trench coat wearing film-noir or the cloying darkness of cult 70s horror flicks, «Night Screaming Moves» shows that not only are the duo of Mäder and Cipolla experienced musicians, but cinephiles and soundtrack lovers with a strong sense for moods and emotions.
Listening casually to these tracks is an act of meditation. Fading in and out of your attention, like the sonic snapshots they are, tracks like «Former Wish» and the aptly titled «Focus Defocus» take you on an odyssey into the space between the conscious and the unconscious. «Clear the Way» conjures the sound of a train passing by and stretches it out across space and time. The way the music puts you in a trance, only showing glimpses of its concreteness to your mind, is like a painting by Giorgio de Chirico or David Hockney. It’s about the presence of what is not said. The suspense of what’s absent, which is also neatly captured in the album cover featuring the incredible architectural photography of Rachel Bühlmann.
“Enjoyment of the landscape is a thrill” is a remark famously attributed to David Hockney, and in The Complex Inbetween that sentiment gets a sonic gestalt. Along the endless straights of mechanic-human drum beats and pulsating sequencers JeGong unveil vibrant vistas painted with meticulous attention to detail. Perhaps, besides meditating to it, you should be taking notes while listening to these tracks. Regardless of your style of listening, whether intuitively or intellectually, The Complex Inbetween is a deeply introspective affair for everyone, as by inviting you into their circle JeGong unearth a deeper shared humanity that touches the core of all of us.