Much – maybe most – of the best music coming out of Britain at the moment has Martin Archer’s thumbprint on it, either as player or enabler through his eclectic Discus imprint.
Das Rad is an improv album from the times, with modified portraits of BoJo, Vlad the Invader, Little Rocket Man and his American pal, the you’ve-been-Tangoed POTUS in a rogues’ gallery inside. There’s even a little origami-like doohickey included with the set which turns into a trompe l’oeil cube.
Not that you’ll be distracted from the music long enough. Archer’s ability to meld elements of jazz, free rock, krautrock, electronica, country, blues, folk, classical and just the sounds of everyday is second to none. He has long since outrun genre and Das Rad is no exception.
It’s a very nicely paced album as improv dates go. The three longer tracks are interleaved with shorter pieces. Pretty much everyone gets a whirl on keyboards, which makes it appropriately difficult at places to work out who’s doing what but Archer’s reeds, Nick Robinson’s guitars and Steve Dinsdale’s drums are the reference points and the homespun power-trio references aren’t overlooked.
This is a group that can generate some noise, or go into quieter and more detailed mode. The original krautrockers often didn’t know when to knock it off and crack a smile. Das Rad’s sense of impending disaster doesn’t stop them having a chuckle. Come November, we might well be needing it.
Buy Das Rad: Adios Al Futuro at discus-music.co.uk
Inside Reverse; Buzz Line; Deuce Of Gears; Adios Al Futuro; Eisblume; Rothko Strobe/Another Place; Oslo Star; Tiefes Blau (58.33)
Martin Archer (reeds, kyb, syn b, elec); Nick Robinson (g, elg, kyb, elec); Steve Dinsdale (d, kyb, elec).