Gunter Schickert - Labyrinth LP
Günter Schickert, four decades of multi-instrumental cosmic explorations, under Berlin's sky, above genres, and compromises. Marmo present on his seventh album to date, Labyrinth, the first to be released on vinyl format since 1983's Kinder In Der Wildnis. Schickert's Samtvogel (1974), equaled the imaginative leap and sonic power of the early Pink Floyd, Manuel Gottsching's 1975 album Inventions For Electric Guitar or A.R. & Machines's Die Grüne Reise (1971). Überfällig -- originally released on Sky Records in 1979 and reissue by Bureau B -- little acclaimed, spans a large spectrum of music styles, always through a distinctive and personal aesthetic, that is deeply linked to the one he firstly crafted back in '74, when Schickert pioneered the use of echo effects applied to guitar playing. And now Labyrinth, a record that stands for versatility, where soundscapes or life situations take over. The album is divided into two parts, two different production bulks and periods of Günther Schickert's life. Side A features a selection of tracks recorded in 1996, appearing on the 2012 album HaHeHiHo, released via Pittsburgh based VCO Recordings. The raga-inspired "Morning" opens Labyrinth with exotic charm and bitter-sweet nostalgia. "Sieben" kicks off with the same guitar scales of the previous theme, before the motorized progressions of a Korg MS-20 synth surprisingly storm in. "Ninja Schwert" remains on astral dimensions, it is a struggle of cosmic forces, where the steady ride of a pounding beat gets embraced by different guitar layers and analog electronic filtering. The side closes up with "HaHeHiHo", a slow ballad featuring Schickert on vocals, guitar, bass guitar, and drum machine. Side B contains material produced between 2007 and today. "Tsunami" shows the multi-instrumental and recording abilities of Günter Schickert: a field-recorded storm with mesmerizing powers, a peculiar progressive approach to guitar playing. In contrast, "Oase" muffles the intensity and jumps into a completely different soundscape, where in liaison with the sounds of a rolling drum tom and a desert-like trumpet. Like "HaHeHiHo", "Checking" represents the vocal gem of the B side, in a raw and direct way of songwriting like if Syd Barrett was his invisible helper. "Palaver" assembles different vocal recordings of Schickert into a bizarre free-style conversation. "Morning (Slide)", reprises the opening theme, this time solely performed through the caressing dilated sounds of Günter's slide guitar.