A THOUSAND SHADES OF GREY
(split CD with ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE)
1. ESCAPADE – Because Because Because 
3. ESCAPADE – Transformation 2 
LABEL PRESS RELEASE
In today's post-post-(etc.)–modern times, almost all people inhabiting this planet have access to all kinds of music. (Anybody with a fast connection who ever 'buried' him- or herself in the internet for a few days knows what I'm talking about). More than ever, 'anything goes' is the credo of the present; it seems that there is no kind of music which hasn't been there before. And yet, now and again one chances upon music, which strikes one as completely 'new'. This CD is such a discovery.
'Architecture is frozen music' is one of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer's best-known quotes. Maybe the members of New York-based band Escapade knew this quote. For their two tracks on this album sound very 'constructed'; everything seems to be based on what's been played before. But surprise, surprise: All the band's music is completely improvised and spontaneous! The first track opens with just a few notes on the organ which after about three minutes is joined by guitar feedback. The latter instrument then starts to produce rhythmic sounds and at the five-minute-mark, a monotonous drumbeat introduces itself. Ten minutes after the beginning, the guitar becomes somewhat offensive, but without aspiring to a soloistic heights. (Later, one can actually discern something like a solo in the background, but this is buried so deep in the mix that it cannot count for one). Then the whole structure slowly gains momentum and peaks in a sound-orgy that is simply mesmerising. And suddenly you find that the first 18 minutes of this CD are over. You'll probably also find yourself groping for words. What was that? A new kind of post-rock? Early Amon Düül jamming with Shellac? I can't tell you either, but one thing I know: it's damn good music!
What follows is an absolute killer: 28 minutes of
The second track by Escapade starts out as a seemingly 'normal' rock-track with drums and bass. But after a few moments these familiar forms vanish to be replaced by a spooky free-form guitar-improvisation, which reminds one of the cacophony of Pink Floyd during their A Saucerful Of Secrets-phase. Out of this, a thundering, archaic drum-pattern emerges, on top of which guitar and tambura create atmospheric droning. Again, after some time the track increases in intensity and rises to a rhythmic orgy. At the end, there is a loud bang on a gong, and all that remains is the subtle droning of the tambura. The fact that Escapade have just interpreted John Cage's 4'33'' for a compilation on the Emperor Jones-label bears further testimony that they know what they're doing.
On this CD, two of the most incredible and far out sound-sculpturers who venture off the beaten track of zeitgeisty electro-acoustic music shake hands. Anybody who thinks he or she knows his avantgarde should listen to this record. And be amazed.
Excellent '03 split acid bath
(Translated from German by Gina Zavota)
20, 50, 67, 89, 112, 151, 177, 188. This is not an abstruse mathematical series, but rather the number of seconds that go by before the first organ note of “Because, Because, Because” by Escapade is gradually joined by others. Naturally, the first interval created is a second, so that some psychedelic tension comes about. Only after three and a half minutes, when your average band is already taking its song down the home stretch, can the first guitar note be heard, and only a further 90 seconds later do the drums make their presence known.
And with that, welcome to the border of the country of Post-Rock, that island in the ocean of psychedelia, whose “Aloha” consists of powerful, repetitive chords and structures, where the drums occasionally shift the stress and try to trip up the bass-engine, regularly plucking away. Over and over the guitar tries to break away, and distant vocals are laid down in loops around the music, to keep it from completely falling apart – something that nonetheless happens after a quarter of an hour, heralding the last three minutes of the piece’s lifetime.
Escapade come from New York; they’re represented on this CD by two titles – “Transformation 2” is a trancey, slowly developing, improvised piece featuring all sorts of electronic noises and distortions – and they must be incredible live. Their influences are clearly the Krautrockers of the early ‘70’s, especially Can and Amon Düül II, even though the Americans place somewhat less of an emphasis on the rock aspect of the music, the beats.
The Japanese Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso UFO are, at the moment, the extremely hip flagship of the new psychedelic-underground scene, and with good reason. However, the piece which appears here, “European Sun,” clearly has more of an affinity with minimalists such as Philip Glass, Terry Riley and Steve Reich than with German improvisational Krautrockers of the early ’70’s. For 28 minutes, the melodic pattern in the foreground develops extremely slowly, whereas the infernal background noises remind one of the electrical storm of White Noise. AMT’s music is overall more synthesized than that of Escapade; however, band leader Kawabata Makoto also plays electric sitar and violin, and an Indian bamboo flute is added to the mix as well.
To put it in terms of numbers again: three pieces, one hour, and a trip that you don't want to end – that’s what this CD offers. A fantastic voyage. You can call it what you want, Krautrock, Psychedelic Rock, Post-Rock; each is accurate at some points and not quite right at others. Maybe, due to the influence of minimal music, it should be baptized Minimal Rock!
(Translated from German by Gina Zavota)
The three pieces on this CD transcend most of
what you might know about modern popular music. Sure, some well-known
categories do fit -- if you’re comfortable in the world of Post-Rock, Art Rock,
Psychedelic Rock or trancelike-repetitive semi-electronics, you’ll quickly feel
at home here. However, you would be wise to clear your mind of these
fixed categories before listening to this CD. What you get here will then
be nothing less than an alternative musical plan, with respect to the time that
the musicians allow for the development of their pieces, and their thorough
investigation of sonic colorings, musical structures, and emotional tension.
The CD begins with the 18-minute “Because, Because, Because” from New York City-based Escapade. An almost three minute long organ intro is broken by guitar feedback, which then develops a rhythmic structure that’s taken up by the drums. Gradually, a freely improvised jam builds up, involving all the band members and climaxing in an unbelievable pre-finale – an orgy of controlled guitar and electronic noise, supported by a straight and beat-driven rhythm section – until the piece dissolves into disorganized noise and slowly fades out. This is followed by the almost 30-minute “European Sun,” from the Japanese Acid Mothers Temple, in which a structure is built up from initially unstructured noise. The result is a chamber music rendition of completely freaked-out space- and psychedelic music, which turns it into high art: subtle, ambient, and an unexpected musical encounter, whether or not you’re already familiar with the band. The CD closes with “Transformation 2” from Escapade, a piece whose intro, with bass and drums, begins almost in the style of a trendy “The” band. However, this is only the prelude to a thorough deconstruction of traditional musical structures, which are then gradually reconstructed in altered form in the course of many processes of transformation. This piece is also the result of free improvisation and thus it doesn’t just make an impression on the intellectual level. The emotional intensity of the piece leaves you completely exhausted, and it could be a while before you know what’s hit you and before you can – or want to – listen to other music.
Unlike many other split releases (often rather charmingly makeshift productions, since in this way two releases can be produced for the price of one), this one really makes good artistic sense. New York intellectuality meets far Eastern hippie esoterica, and astonishingly the result is a unified whole. The CD is a masterpiece, and perhaps the start of a new formal language for music – one that derives its material in equal proportion from the Fluxus concept (normally attributed to E-music) and the psychedelic music of the 60’s. Nothing about it is “retro,” however. The length of the tracks in particular serves a quite different purpose than simply stringing together different “sections” or allowing for substantial soloing from various instruments. Here it allows for a multifaceted exploration of structures, for the tracing out of nuances, and for the development, discussion, and illumination of new “blueprints” for tonal arrangement. It goes without saying that this CD is recommended; for anyone who wants to peek into a laboratory for research into musical foundations, it’s a must.. -Frank Gingeleit
Oh yeah, yet another AMT release, this time with Escapade from the USA. There are three extremely long tracks of really brain-frying improvisational psychedelia on this CD. New Yorkers Escapade start the album with their peacefully evolving track "Because Because Because". The drums join the organ drone after about five minutes, and the track really gets going. The monotonic and hypnotic throbbing might get your head really messed up, so be careful out there! Next AMT, Japan's gift for all the freaks on the world, offer their contribution in for of an almost half an hour long track "European Sun". The number begins with the familiar space sounds, which are soon joined by violin, electric sitar and this and that other nice instrument. There are no drums, guitar or bass on this one, so it differs a bit from the "normal" AMT tracks. This track can do some serious damage to your brain cells as well, since it's pretty warped and flaky stuff. It cannot be recommended for those with weak mental health... This is a very psychedelic and hypnotic journey into some really strange place, and it feels like it has no ending. Time loses its meaning and the dimensions of space show themselves in a totally new way. If you ever get back from this trip, there's still one Escapade tracks left called "Transformation 2". This shortest number on the album (13:30) begins in a very tranquil way, but at some point the drums join in, creating primitive tribal moods, and during the last few minutes the jam gets rather intense. This album is suitable for the more adventurous listeners, who like to enjoy their post rock to the power of ten.
In the modern day and era, everything is possible.
Even more than in the 60’s have all boundaries been surpassed, the sky is the
utter limit. The vast expansion of the internet is cohesive to the expansion of
music styles, the 21st century is providing musical instruments men never
before had thought of, resulting in soundscapes unheard of. A.M.T. and Escapade
are two bands who share a common good, the inevitable. The clash of titan
sounds are immense on this split cd. Both bands dwell on electronics,
soundscapes and perfection of details. ATM features with one song on the cd and
Escapade with two. The music is spatial, apocalyptic, and hyper in a mellow
way. Long journeys through a mental trip are told, and one must take time to
appreciate the music. Shake society from your back and relax or end up fucked
up and irritated. The soundscape both bands present here are REALLY not for
everyone, to some it will be labeled as irritating noise, to others a beautiful
and most of all colorful trip. I agree on the latter.
This new split CD from the German Fünfundvierzig label features three lengthy tracks: 18 & 13 minute excursions from American avant-space rockers Escapade and a 28 minute voyage from Japan's masters of complete and total freakdom, Acid Mothers Temple. From New York City, Escapade are a band that deserve far more attention than they get in the space rock and improvisational music communities. They have released 7 CD's since 1996 and contributed to several compilations, and with the exception of a Pink Floyd cover on their last album all their music is improvised. The band call themselves avant-space rock, which only touches the surface of what Escapade are about, drawing on a variety of space rock, krautrock, progressive and avant-garde influences to create music that is intense, cosmic, exciting and uniquely their own.
"Because Because Because" opens with a pulsating organ line that holds its notes long enough to create genuine tension. After a few minutes some rumbling aggression is introduced that begins to stir things up nicely. Then around the 5 minute mark the band launch into a chest thudding groove with haunting space waves, drifting moans and drones, and a rhythm section that propels it all at a steady alien clip. And the rest is an intense blend of krautrock, heavy space rock and soundscape textures that kept me riveted as the anguished guitar wrenching and hypnotic but assertive groove tore along their cosmic path. Fans of Finnish rockers Circle would love this, though having heard quite a bit of Escapades' music I have to emphasize that despite the analogy they have a voice of their own that has developed over many years. "Transformation 2" begins with a cool combination of Can-like rhythms and drifting ambient waves. But the ambience soon takes over and we float along in deepest space for a while until the drums bring in the rhythmic pulse once again. There are multiple layers of sound textures, all coming together to create a haunting, barren bowels-of-the-spacecraft feel, the grinding space guitars adding a punkish sense of sonic aggression, and the pounding drums keeping everything on a determined and continually building path to its ultimate mercury bursting conclusion. VERY intense and I was completely drained at the end.
Acid Mothers Temple's "European Sun" opens with the trademark AMT freaked out alien electronics, a wailing violin drone and slowly developing minimalist patterns that are like a cross between chamber ensemble, Manuel Göttsching and Phillip Glass, all conducted in deep deep space. But as the gradually evolving music continues, Cotton Casino's space whispers add an extra tripped out element and the UFO electronics buzz about with increasing mischievous frenzy. But AMT resist the temptation to let the craziness dominate the mix, instead wisely allowing the minimalist ambience to lead the way and let the electronics add color, character and solid space fun. There are many sides to AMT and when I'm in the mood they are second to none for the ultimate freakout experience. But in this case it was nice to spend a half hour journey with the band as they paint a more cerebral and less sonically shocking landscape. - Jerry Kranitz
REVIEWS OF OTHER ESCAPADE RELEASES: