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Review: 'Dunkelziffer'
'Colours And Soul'   

-  Label: 'Bureau B'
-  Genre: 'Reggae' -  Release Date: '16.7.21.'

Our Rating:
Dunkelziffer were a German musical collective based in Koln's Stollwerk complex in the early 1980's who had several links to members of Can and made music communally with equal input that makes for some rather un-equal output, but that also means you never get bored of this band as the music is restlessly changing. Colours And Soul was the band's debut album that came out in 1983 originally.

The album opens with the reggae lilt of Kadema that's quite laid back and gentle with vocals from Rebop Kwaku Baah of Can, as the weird noises come into the dub like mix, the vocals are a bit like Junior Delgado as the story of the oppression of work unfolds in the lyrics.

Bleib Nicht So Lang Im Schatten Stein is like a female fronted Question Mark & The Mysterions garage rock tune but with added oddness and either Coco Klaus or Josefa Martens add some very Nina Hagen meets Lene Lovich style vocal elements.

This Is How You Came opens like it might be a Lee Scratch Perry style dub exploration into African percussion with oddly cadenced spoken word vocals it's strangely enticing.

Keine Python sounds like a Nina Hagen style reggae rock song with some fierce drums and some very 80's style dub effects snaking through the tune.

Dark Number is drum and bass led musical exploration that has a Master Musicians Of Jajouka or similar Morrocan style influence while being not that far from the sorts of Percussion Nico was starting to explore around the same era.

Stil Der Neuen Zeit is tribal drumming and flute sounds with the female vocals delivered dead pan over the top with no attempts for the vocals to follow the rhythmic pulse of the drumming as if she is narrating a film while reminding me of Cherish by Eric Random & The Bedlamites.

Zufall In Der Wirklichkeit has Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy style keyboards and yelling noises set against some very pretty sounds like it wants to put you on edge and relax you at the same time.

The B-side opens with S.O. 36 that I take is some sort of tribute to the legendary Berlin Gay club, this tune is no odder than the only show I ever saw at S.O. 36 with Napalm Death and Annihilator, although this tune is far funkier and more danceable than either of those bands, as this is dubby soul disco with all sorts of odd edges.

Strom attempts to up the weirdness levels somewhat and sounds of distressed electro dub with the German Robbie Robertson on vocals as if he is trying to not go too far down that crazy river Rhine.

Free is a cool Kraut dub song with vocals seem to have a strong Peps Persson influence with some very cool steel pan and wood block playing.

The albums title track Colours And Soul is almost a lovers rock style sweet soul song about the mixing of the colours and races and languages to bring about a better world that is sung in German, English and a little bit of French.

Arche Noah appears to be reworking ELP's Fanfare For The Common Man into a tune about finding Noah's ark on the side of Mount Ararat a truly strange song.

Don't Ask Me is a talking drum led song that has a strong Sun Ra's Arkestra feel marrying it to the sort of weird beat poetics found on Giorno Poetry Systems records, I'd like to hear this on a big club system to really hear how the layers of rhythm work and to feel the bassline properly.

The album closes with Beside The Light another Nina Hagen or Lena Lovich style kraut dub rock tune with a lilting brass section, odd synth noises weird percussive elements and rhythmic drumming and an always solid bassline as they stand Beside the Light and let us try to take in everything that's going on throughout this wonderfully out there album.

Find out more at https://shop.tapeterecords.com/records/bureaub/dunkelziffer-colours-and-soul.html
  author: simonovitch

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