Konformer / Before I Die – By Adam Turner

Wonderful words by the ever erudite Adam Turner. 

The legacy of the West German groups of the 1970s is a very long tale. Klaus Dinger’s motorik drumming, Cluster’s synths, the pioneering, homemade electronics of early Kraftwerk and the sleek robotics of the later model, the mutant grooves of Can and Neu! – all continue to influence and inspire generation after generation of musicians. A fine example is the new album by Nuremberg-based 3-piece Konformer, released on Jason Boardman’s label, Before I Die. Consisting of only five songs the record still contains a wealth of slow motion, blissful, downtempo synth instrumentals. Commencing with Noris Noir and concluding forty minutes later with Noris Blanc and finding plenty of kosmische repetition and minimalism in between.

Noris Noir is bassline led, a pulse beat over tight drums and whispery synths. The track builds, a little more with each run through the bars, clocking up three minutes, four minutes, five minutes and then after six, ever-so-slowly coming apart again. The song deconstructed as its elements fall away.

The ten-minute meditative expedition of the title track is a dusty joy – repeating loops, drums pitter-pattering, the kick occasionally being thumped slightly harder for emphasis and a circling, evolving synthetic swell.

Sebald is a little more direct, more insistent, but still in no hurry to get anywhere fast – an eight-minute theme tune to some lost TV programme, the bass descending, spiralling downwards, as the keyboard gradually teases its way to the fore. There’s a cinematic / televisual quality to Konformer, their music ideal for imagining long drives across Mittel Europa after dark, cars ploughing on through Alpine forests and gunning down the autobahn.

Reunion bursts in with a distorted bottom-end, and the whoomph of its drums, establishing a shadowy groove and settling into it. The synth riff starts to vary with each run round the loop, a guitar poking through the inky blackness. Just as it seems to be reaching a finale, the tune shifts and takes a turn, the percussive pattern changing, and the bass finding a different spin to play around.

The closing Noris Blanc, a seven-minute space-rock excursion, off kilter keys riding the rhythm section, is music from their orbiting station lounge bar, long after most of the customers have put their radiation suits on and headed back to their pods. Two and a half minutes in a wobbly topline takes over, transmitting a coded message from darkest Nuremberg off into the outer cosmos.

You can purchase Konfomer directly from Before I Die. 

You can find more proper, on point, prose from Adam Turner over at his own brilliant blog, The Bagging Area. Adam is also part of the admin at the mighty Flightpath Estate.

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