Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Prinzhorn Dance School

Astralwerks/DFA, 2007
This CD completely baffled me at first. From the packaging alone you know this is going to be odd: A strange little photo (I think) in gray on pure black, the back being black with little information. Then the inside has a few more strange pictures and the lyrics printed in a simple little font. It looks like the package was made by some other form of life on some strange planet beyond the sun. The music, surprisingly, is no less alien. Stilted and stuttering martial drum beats that manage to be simple yet complex at once, a strangely recorded guitar that more often or not is hard to identify as electric or acoustic playing lines that would make any No Wave guitarist put down his guitar and walk away in shame, and bizarre somewhat shouted/somewhat declared/never truly sung male and female vocals……… These are the ingredients that sound so horrid on paper, but work absolute magic on the CD. After a while, once you get used to the sheer oddity of it, the album becomes addictive, and you find yourself tapping along and replaying it. At that point the only remaining strangeness is what in hell possessed Astralwerks and DFA (both highly electro-centric labels) to release this, but kudos to them! Perhaps the only thing this can be compared to is the Young Marble Giants, those mostly forgotten Scottish post-punk darlings. But Prinzhorn Dance School is no YMG ripoff; they are perhaps more wondrous and completely idiosyncratic. Absolutely 100% recommended to everyone.
~Adam Naworal

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