On his 24th solo release entitled „Form Phallus Function“, Nils Quak delivers three ultra heavy, yet obviously witty compositions. Yes, right, compositions - although they might be mostly the result of instant composing, these pieces have got a density and a consequence in live execution which resemble more of an orchestra than a one-man-unit.
Or, not exactly your average orchestra; maybe an orchestrated swarm of wasps, or, as in the beginning of the side-long first track „L’eclisse“, like the annual gathering of the fatalist horn players of the world doing an incantation to cry over anything bad that has ever happened: layer upon layer of ultra heavy minor chords tearing you down to the floor for a start. But because it is played and recorded entirely live, „L’eclisse“ breathes and morphs. The middle part could well be a lost reel of a mid-70s GRM gem, followed in the next movement by traces of arpeggiated rhythm, yet only traces – Quak, who once started out as a drummer in emo-violence groups Kobra Khan and Tristan Tzara, is too versatile and too smart a musician to fall for a cheap rhythm trap (like, excusez-moi, much everyone else these days).
Gone as well on this release are the romanticised synth drones of past releases like „Tage später sind es Jahre“; this is bleak and blank, nothing glitters in this darkness, cleansed of any remains of honey-drenched depression. Absent is also the sketchiness of his last tape „Sur L-eau“, released last year on Ana Ott. The first track of the B-side, „Kalter Aal“ sounds like the music an orphan would make while sitting on a big black monolith somewhere in the outer realms of space, while in the last track „Offene Runde“, the swarm comes back to end it all in a concrete sonic mess. Does this sound stark? It does, apparently. But Quak works with these atmospherics in a stupendously playful way like only experienced improvisers can do.
originally released on Otomatik Muziek: