Karakorum Premiere Video for “Phrygian Youth”; Fables and Fairytales out May 24

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

karakorum (Photo by Lisa Schuhbeck)

For those unfamiliar with music theory or the historical context, the phrygian scale is essentially that minor-key-type sound so often associated with Eastern sonic inflection, influences from Turkey and the Middle East. As to how that might play into “Phrygian Youth,” there are a number of possibilities, and listening the nine-minute opening track of Karakorum‘s Tonzonen-delivered second album, Fables and Fairytales, is a fitting context for considering them. The track is one of three on the record, and it comes companioned on side A by the 13:52 “Smegmahood,” while side B is devoted entirely to the 23 minutes flat of “Fairytales,” the German five-piece exploring not only a variety of scales during that 46-minute entirety that draw from classic krautrock’s jazzy inflection while holding to a modern sprawling vibe. All five members of the band contribute vocals, so there are due harmonies to bolster the classic feel, and “Phrygian Youth” starts Fables and Fairytales with a suitable otherworldliness and nuance, its vocals and instrumental progressions both offering an intricacy in the writing and execution that, well, must have made life difficult when it was time to sit down and mix the basic tracks.

They got there, though, and Fables and Fairytales is nothing karakorum fables and fairytalesif not balanced in the spirit of decades of proggy tenets. “Smegmahood” follows the opener with a stretch of near-mathy starts and stops before touching on country rock in the bass and tapping Mothers-style weirdness, harmonica included or good measure. It should go without saying they’re not working with traditional structures, but Karakorum manage to find an identity in their linear forms, with harmony helping out along the way in that but underscoring the sense of controlled-direction happening throughout. It’s fitting that “Fairytales” should cap the record by letting go a bit with keyboard and wild percussive whatnot, but even there it’s plain to hear that Karakorum know where they’re headed. There’s a sense that they’re working to still come together as a unit — they’ll continue to flesh out the arrangements they show here as they move forward — but their reach on these three songs sounds organic, and because of that, it seems all the more appropriate that the video for “Phrygian Youth” should basically be the band performing the song live.

Shot by Lisa Schuhbeck with recording by Günther Schuhbeck and mixing by Matthias Hoffmann, the clip “Phrygian Youth” brings us into the band’s rehearsal space for a runthrough of the track in live form. I’ve said multiple times that I don’t know why every band doesn’t do this. Get a couple cameras, play the song, edit it together, sync it with the audio, and boom, video done. I’m not saying every band should do it or it’ll work for every song, but especially for a group with a lush vibe like Karakorum, it gives the person watching a chance to experience “Phrygian Youth” in a rawer setting, the band in their natural habitat. The album is out May 24, so if you’re watching the clip and that’s your introduction to the band’s style, it’s pretty close to the sound of the record itself. The presentation, of course, is somewhat more barebones, but it’s not like anything’s missing, and most important, I think the video gives a sense of the balance in what Karakorum are doing. And even in black and white, it’s all plenty colorful.

Please enjoy:

Karakorum, “Phrygian Youth” official video premiere

Almost two years have gone by since Karakorum’s debut Beteigeuze on Tonzonen Records. Now the Bavarian-based quintet releases their new LP Fables and Fairytales. It’s not another concept-LP, instead this time there are three autonomous long tracks that can’t be more diverse. The music handles the full range from 70s heavy rock to free jazz, from epical melancholy to zappaesque obscurities, but still the band plays their “Karakorum-sound”.

In more than 40 minutes Karakorum invites the listener to a phantastic journey through the width of the Sahara desert or introduces you to some dadaistic fable creatures. It’s not always to be taken serious but if you listen closely you will find several salutes to the quintet’s biggest idols.

1. Phrygian Youth
2. Smegmahood
3. Fairytales

Karakorum is:
Max Schörghuber – electric guitar, percussion, lotus-flute, vocals
Bernhard Huber – acoustic and electric guitar, percussion, vocals
Axel Hackner – organ, synthies, vocals
Jonas Kollenda – bass, siren, vocals
Bastian Schuhbeck – drums, percussion, vocals

Karakorum on Thee Facebooks

Karakorum on Bandcamp

Tonzonen Records website

Tags: , , , , ,