Fly Global über BM
Barbara Morgenstern is a new name to me but BM is her sixth full album release and it’s about time we got to know her better; and her special guest!
In truth, it was the Robert Wyatt credit that drew me to this one. If you’ve got this months’ Mojo magazine (the one with Lenard Cohen on the cover), you’ll have spotted a load of Wyatt related copy as his more than influential Virgin back catalogue gets reissued (notably Rock Bottom and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard).
Anyway, more of Mr. Wyatt later as back at BM there is a strange familiarity to the her approach and low and behold, sooner than later it’s Mr. Wyatt’s influence that’s gets you. O.K. she doesn’t sing like him but there’s oddness here and I can see how Wyatt would want to contribute.
The other credit that attracted me to this album was that of Bo Kondren. Who you say? Mr. Kondren is the regular mastering guy for Sonar Kollektiv so you’re right that this album was recorded in Berlin with Arne Gosh (drums), Sven Janetzko (guitar), Julia Kent (cello) and Barbara Morgenstern (vocals and piano).
A non-German album that’s not SK or minimal techno! Well, German minimal prog rock Wyattian. Ms. Morgenstern is comfortable in both German and English (‘Driving My Car’ is sung in both) and whilst on the subject, ‘Reich & Ber?ºhmt’ is like Reich (unsurprisingly) and a mellow Dresden Dolls (who are not German but are very ich bein ein berliner).
There’s also a big dollop of Kate Bush in this, ‘Deine Geshichte’ (with cellos to the fore) and ‘Monokultur’. As I failed German GCSE (many years ago), I’ve no idea what the lyrics are about and I suspect that’s a good thing as it all adds to the drama/intrigue of it all (what is the cover about?). Of course, there’s no issue with the instrumentals, ‘F?ºr Luise’ is a particularly emotive piano piece.
‘Camouflage’ is the co-written track and duet for Wyatt and piano; it’s so Rock Bottom and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard with Wyatt’s jazz scat -worth the price of the album for this track alone; play, play and play.
But don’t miss ‘Hochhaus’ as, this is perhaps the most John Peel like of the set, with a bit of jazz vibe or the electronically wiered ‘Jakarta’.
It’s hard to know what to make of this album (which is probably a good thing). If the great bearded one of Wyatt land thinks it’s worth contributing, that’s enough for me. That said, it’s not a one track album and I need to know more about Ms. Morgenstern.