Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Colour Haze guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek sends over the latest word on the 2LP release of the band’s latest album, She Said(review here). Also noting upcoming releases on his label, Elektrohasch, from All Them Witches, Sgt. Sunshine and the previously reported Sungrazer and The Machine split, Koglek details the process of getting the vinyl together and plugs the tour dates for Elektrohasch upstarts, Been Obscene, whose tour trailer can be found below.
The CD version of She Saidis available now, and the vinyl… well, it’s coming:
Just a short note: due to the apparently great vinyl-revival, producing an LP seems to take endless time at the moment. We finished a new special-vinyl-master in the beginning of November. While usually it took only a couple of days to receive the testpressing from a master, at the moment this takes 3 weeks. The testpressings are scheduled to leave the factory by the end of next week (of course I`m getting on everybody’s nerves to hurry up). As soon as I heard them I`ll send out a new newsletter. In case of approval I`ll finally have a fixed delivery date for the DLPs and it will be possible then to (pre)order them atwww.elektrohasch.de. Please do not send any preorder-requests via email. I can`t make it to take care of that. The issue is high enough and the unlimited version as well is already ordered at the pressing factory.
We are working on new releases by All Them Witches, Sgt. Sunshine, Sungrazer and The Machine – more about in the newsletter.
Been Obscene are on tour at the moment – go and see and hear them! Nov 15 | San Sebastian (SPA) | Le Bukowski Nov 16 | Clermont-Ferrand (FRA) | Le Baraka Nov 17 | Mulhouse (FRA) | TBA Nov 18 | Paris (FRA) – Les Combustibles Nov 24 | Fürstenfeldbruck (GER) – Schlachthof Dec 07 | Wien (AUT) – Arena
Posted in Features on October 5th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s not the longest an album has ever taken to come out. She Said — the 10th studio album by Munich-based heavy psych progenitors Colour Haze — closes the four-year gap since the previous record, All, was released. But isn’t Chinese Democracy, or Smile, by The Beach Boys, which finally came to light 37 years after it was first conceived. But it’s the longest stretch Colour Haze have ever had, and as guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek recounts in astounding detail below, the trio hit delay after delay in every step of the process, from the beginning stages of setting up a studio in their rehearsal space to record in to the mastering for the vinyl even now that the CD has been released.
Fortunate that they stuck it out, however. She Said(review here) is easily one of the best albums of the year, the double-CD accounting for Colour Haze‘s past even as it boldly pushes their sound to new places with the inclusion of elements like horns, strings, sampled beaches, etc. The chemistry between Koglek — who also runs the label Elektrohasch Schallplatten and so is in charge of not just making the record, but also releasing it — bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald has never been so potent or prevalent in their songs, as tracks like “Breath” and even the shorter “Slowdown” and “This” demonstrate. As Colour Haze‘s sound has developed to become focused on improvisation, the band itself has risen to the task of becoming ever more cohesive as a unit. She Saidstands in a string of releases successful in this regard — you could go back to 2003′s Los Sounds de Krauts, but certainly the 2004 self-titled, 2006′s Tempeland 2008′s Allcaptured the live dynamic between the players — but it stands alone in its creative drive and level of performance.
Further, the album proves Colour Haze‘s dedication to their form (not that it was necessarily in doubt — as I said, this is their 10th full-length, and one doesn’t get to that point without some purposefulness — but still). Koglek‘s tale of the troubles the band hit is long and complex — like a Colour Haze song, it also grooves — but what comes through at the end is that he and the rest of the band weren’t willing to compromise their vision of what they wanted the album to be. Four years and about 200,000 Euros later, She Saidis the end result of a one-of-a-kind stubbornness. They could easily have gone to a studio, put the tracks to tape, mixed it down and been done. But they didn’t, and She Said is the fruit of those efforts. Constructed in the truest sense of the word.
I could go on, but the review was long enough — though I should mention that even in listening to She Said this morning while editing this interview, I heard sounds I hadn’t picked up on before; early humming at the start of the opening title-track — and while I could continue to ramble at length about the breadth She Said makes its own, you’re better off just hearing the story from Koglek himself (yes, he knows just how beautiful “Grace” is). This is easily the longest interview I’ve ever posted on this site, and I want to personally thank Koglek for his dedication not just to his music, but to telling his story as well. It is much appreciated.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 26th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Of all the bands in the world, I think I’d probably have a really easy time sitting through three hours of a Colour Haze set. This weekend, the band will kick off their XXL tour in support of their much-anticipated new album, She Said (review here), bringing Elektrohasch labelmates Saturnia along for the ride.
Because I’ve seen people asking, I’ll mention as well that She Said has been released on CD. You currently order a copy on the label’s website now, and as I said in the review, I’d definitely recommend doing so.
Here are the dates:
COLOUR HAZE LIVE
27.09.2012 GER Rüsselsheim, Das Rind 28.09.2012 UK London, The Garage 29.09.2012 F Paris, Nouveau Casino 30.09.2012 BEL Antwerp, Trix 01.10.2012 GER Köln, Live Music Hall 02.10.2012 GER Karlsruhe, Substage * without Saturnia * 03.10.2012 CH Bern, ISC * without Saturnia * 04.10.2012 CH Genf , L´ Usine 05.10.2012 A Salzburg, Rockhouse 06.10.2012 A Linz, Stadtwekstatt 07.10.2012 A Vienna, Arena 08.10.2012 GER Jena, F Haus 09.10.2012 GER Bremen, Schlachthof 10.10.2012 GER Berlin, Lido 11.10.2012 POL Warsaw, Progresja 12.10.2012 GER Dresden, Scheune 13.10.2012 GER München, Feierwerk http://www.colourhaze.de
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stay these couriers from delivering their trademark and boomingly influential heavy psychedelia. Make no mistake — She Saidexists, and it’s on its way. The CD version is due from the plant before the end of this week and my understanding is it will be available any day now for purchase at long, long last. It’s been four years since Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald released All — double their longest prior stretch between studio albums — and it should say something about the quality of their output that the clamor for new material has only grown in that time.
The good news is that She Saidis of a scale to stand up to the delay. An 81-minute 2CD, it’s the first Colour Haze studiooffering to comprise more than one disc since 2003′s Los Sounds de Krauts, and the tones are no less warm for the frustration that must have been so present in their creation. As you’ll hear when Rasthofer‘s bass starts the 12-minute disc-two opener, “Breath,” Colour Haze‘s sound is more expansive than ever, bringing in guest vocals alongside Koglek‘s and embarking on an inimitable psychedelic pastoral. As “Breath” also captures the band’s jamming sensibilities and the all-important dynamic between Koglek, Rasthofer and Merwald, it seemed too perfect a summation of She Saidto not highlight.
Thanks to Koglek and Elektrohasch for the permission to host the song for streaming. Colour Haze will embark on the European “XXL Tour” following the CD release, playing three-hour sets with guest musicians, special lighting and more.
Info and dates for that follow “Breath,” which you’ll find on the player below. Please enjoy:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Colour Haze XXL Tour with Saturnia supporting:
27.09 Rüsselsheim Das Rind GER
28.09 London Garage UK
29.09 Paris Nouveau Casino FR
30.09 Antwerp Trix BEL
01.10 Köln Live Music Hall GER
02.10 Karlsruhe Substage GER
03.10 Bern ISC CH
04.10 Geneva L’usine CH
05.10 Salzburg Rockhouse A
06.10 Linz Stadtwerkstatt A
07.10 Wien Arena A
08.10 Jena F Haus GER
09.10 Bremen Schlachthof GER
10.10 Berlin Lido GER
11.10 Warsaw Progresja POL
12.10 Dresden Scheune GER
13.10 München Feierwerk GER
Posted in audiObelisk on October 3rd, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Given the fact that German heavy psych progenitors Colour Haze had to go back into the studio and completely remake their album following technical difficulties, the noise you hear at the beginning of the track “Transformation” from their long-awaited new album She Said could be construed as static — a joke playing off the perils that beset them as they were recording. In fact, it’s beach ambience recorded at the semi-official festival Duna Jam in Sardinia. Much more pleasant.
Several live clips of “Transformation” have made the rounds, but cool as they were in racheting up excitement for She Said, which follows the brilliantly jamming 2008 album All, they quality wasn’t good enough to really capture the spirit of the song. The tom runs of drummer Manfred Merwald toward the end, the oft-imitated warm fuzz of bassist Philipp Rasthoffer and the subtle nods guitarist Stefan Koglek (who also handles vocals for Colour Haze, though there are none here) makes at Natas‘ “Alberto Migre” backed by Christian Hawellek‘s Fender Rhodes keys in an a brief still moment past the 10-minute mark all speak to the trio’s ongoing development, ever-present chemistry and enduring influence over both the European and the worldwide underground.
Enough of my yak. Special thanks to Koglek for letting me host “Transformation,” which you’ll find on the player below. Please enjoy:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Did you hear those horns? I debated even mentioning them for ruining the surprise, but if you’re not there yet keep your ears open for when they kick in. I won’t even say when. It’s an absolute triumph, and just one of the several ways in which Colour Haze are stepping out of themselves on She Said. They keep the brass limited to “Transformation” — arrangement by Martin Homey and Georg Weisbrodt — but according to Koglek, other tracks will feature Latin percussion, a string quartet, etc. If those experiments work as well as the horns do here, we could see the ushering in of a whole new era of Colour Haze.
This mix isn’t final, but Colour Haze‘s ninth full-length, She Said, is due Nov. 2011 on Koglek‘s own Elektrohasch Shallplatten. More to come.
Posted in Reviews on August 8th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
On first listen, German outfit The Dawn Band seems a strange fit for Elektohasch Schallplatten, which over the last couple years has geared itself toward fostering the European heavy psych scene in the wake of Colour Haze’s impact thereon. The Munich duo’s debut, Agents of Sentimentality, touches on that style with some sporadically fuzzed guitar and riffy focus, but no more than it touches on classic prog, power pop or European club music. Along with the hardcore punk of DxBxSx, it represents the label stepping away from its usual fare, but it makes more sense when one discovers that Daniel Zerndl — who here handles guitar, drums, vocals and synth alongside Martin Treppesch’s guitar, bass and synth and a host of guest contributions – plays or played drums in Hainloose, whose last album, Burden State, was released via Elektrohasch in 2006. Hainloose guitarist/vocalist Haris Turkanovic, Colour Haze guitarist/vocalist (and Elektrohasch founder) Stefan Koglek and Canadian singer-songwriter Annick Michel also show up throughout Agents of Sentimentality, resulting in a widely-varied sound that’s nonetheless presented with some idea of flow.
The album is bookended by “Love is a Burglar” and the surprisingly heavier revisit “Love is a Burglar (Reprise),” and if one takes the two in a row, it’s possible to get some sense of the scope of Agents of Sentimentality. Zerndl and Treppesch play off a vast array of influences, and their arrangements are well captured in the recording by Tom Höfer, as the album immediately sets about playing its sundry styles off a base of heavy prog. There are several strong displays of songwriting – the Weezer-esque alt rock “City Lights (Shine On)” and acoustic “Boat Across the Ocean,” led by Michel’s vocals, come to mind as immediate examples – but The Dawn Band feel geared more toward instrumental exploration than working strictly within verse/chorus/verse confines. Their sound isn’t experimental in the sense of weirdness for its own sake, but one does get the sense in listening that Zerndl and Treppesch (who are joined by drummer Jan van Meerendonk in the live incarnation of the band) are pushing themselves in terms of the direction these songs are moving.
They give flashes of riff-led heaviness early on with the end of “City Lights (Shine On),” but the shorter “Lost Soul at the Night Club” comes out of somewhere else completely, sounding like an effort to organically recreate sounds one might usually hear in an electronica dance track in the earlier part of the song before Zerndl calls out the fuzz, morphing it into the kind of freakout that’s usually the highlight of a Porcupine Tree record. It’s a lot of ground to cover in 2:44, but with the eight and a half minute instrumental sprawl of “Surfing the Big Wave” following, there’s plenty of time to digest. “Surfing the Big Wave” comes on in three subtitled movements – “Bursting at the Seams,” “Out into the Water” and “The Struggle (with the Wind Against Your Face and Salt in the Eye)” – and follows an appropriate and increasingly driving course befitting those movements, though where exactly the divide between one and the next is, I couldn’t say.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 27th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well, the follow-up to Colour Haze‘s brilliant All is called She Said, but as guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek explains in the latest newsletter for his label, Elektrohasch Schallplatten, no one quite knows when the hell it will be out. The difficulties, as it goes, are technical, and it’s a definite bummer, but better that they hold it back than release something they’re not 100 percent behind.
Here’s the latest from Koglek via the PR wire:
Since June 2010 we are working on our new album. Due to several private and artistic reasons, we needed to build up our own analogue studio for this, which we did since March 2010 with great effort. Temporally and financially we went far over the actual maximum of our possibilities, totally nuts – but the world already suffers enough from reasonable economic decisions ; ) – We think that with this creatively and artistically we made a great step onwards and recorded our best, most sophisticated and most psychedelic album so far.
Unfortunately on the one hand we also had a cascade of bad luck with the gear, so all the time (expensive…) technical problems had to be solved. Furthermore because of a nearly unbelievable chain of acoustical problems on the recording side – a seemingly okay sounding room which caused some problems in the background and a basically correct but in combination difficult mic-ing – and nobody heard it all the time, several studied audio-technicians had the stuff on their ears over the course of months – all our well played and in the single signals beautifully recorded music resisted every attempt to mix it down properly yet – I invested five weeks of 11-14 hours behind the console so far – well with high-end gear you can also cause high-end problems ; ) … In the last days we analyzed the material digitally and found a few things which might work and haven’t been tried yet.
We gave everything – and everybody who knows us knows that we always try to give our very best – and with our attitude of unconditional giving we achieved so much over the years, not only for ourselves… but at the moment we came to a dead end with the new album.
Therefore we delay the releaseto an uncertain point later on this timeline ; ) – we won’t give up for sure – but we have to work it out now calmly, without time pressure and with deliberation…
In the meantime, you lucky European types can catch Colour Haze on the Up in Smoke tour. More info on that here.
Posted in Features on January 18th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Please don’t think I’m breaking any news here one way or the other about any of these releases. This post is basically just me talking about albums I’d like to see this year. Some have been formally announced, some just alluded to, but if these and the records listed yesterday were all that 2011 had in store, we’d probably still come out of it on the winning side.
Once again, the headline says “Rampant Speculation” and that’s what this is. Maybe in reading it, you’ll agree with something, maybe you’ll disagree. Either way, any comments are appreciated as always.
Let’s have some fun:
YOB: Sad as it is that Oregon doom forerunners YOB had to cancel their appearance at Roadburn and European tour, one can only hope their follow-up to 2009′s blistering The Great Cessation comes out that much sooner as a result. It will be interested to hear where the band goes stylistically. Guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt had plenty to be pissed about going into the YOB reunion, following all that Middian/Midian legal nonsense, but now that that’s through with, will he bring the same kind of vitriol to bare in the songwriting? Hopefully it’s not too long before we find out.
Colour Haze: They’re one of the classiest bands on the planet, and their last album, All, was hands-down my favorite record of 2008. They’ve released the Burg Herzberg two-disc live recording since then, but it’s time for new album, and according to the last Elektrohasch Schallplatten, it’s not far off. All had a more live, more organic feel than anything Colour Haze ever did before — the snare drum’s reacting to the bass and guitar rumble like a nod to everyone listening that it was done with everyone in the same room — and I’m looking forward to hearing how they try to top it.
Clutch: 2010 saw numerous reissues and the usual insane amount of touring, but in 2011, it’s time to see where the next stage in Clutch‘s ongoing development is leading. Maybe they’ll continue the blues-laden path they’ve taken on their last couple records, or maybe they’ll decide it’s time to confuse the hell out of everyone and do something completely different. Aside from being an astounding live act, Clutch are a fantastic group of songwriters, and it’ll be exciting to get to know a new batch of tunes both live and on disc.
Elder: Their self-titled was some seriously riffy business, and I haven’t heard the follow-up yet, but all accounts from those who have say it’s a more ethereal, more open and stonery sound these young Massachusetts rockers have taken on, and that’s just fine by me. MeteorCity is supposed to have the release out later this year, and I have the feeling that when ti finally hits, it’s going to catch a lot of people off guard, in a good way. Hard not to expect big things for a band like Elder, who have so much potential.
Dixie Witch: When it’ll be out, I have no idea, but Dixie Witch‘s fourth full-length will be the band’s first without guitarist Clayton Mills. His tone and natural bluesy shred was a huge part of what made Dixie Witch‘s prior offerings so killer, and by the time the album gets out, it’s likely to have been five full years since they released the excellent Smoke and Mirrors. This one’s long overdue.
Argus: True, I said I’d only list five bands, and these Pennsylvanian metallers make it six, but I’m genuinely curious to hear what they come up with for their Cruz Del Sur label debut. I dug heavily on the trad doom of their Shadow Kingdom Records self-titled debut, and vocalist Butch Ballch (formerly of Penance) never fails to deliver, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out.
There’s other stuff too: Olde Growth, Hour of 13, Wo Fat, Graveyard and a slew of albums that may or may not happen in time for December to roll around. Again, this is just the stuff I want to hear, so if you’ve got anything on your mind or something I should look out for, leave a comment. There’s nothing better than being exposed to new music.
I think when the smoke clears over the next decade or so, we’re going to see a lot of bands come down the line who cite Colour Haze as an influence. The German heavy psych trio have left an indelible mark on underground rock over the course of their 15-plus years together, and though they’ve all but disavowed their earliest works — albums like 1995′s Chopping Machine, 1998′s Seven and the 2000′s CO2 are all out of print and quite rare (though 1999′s Periscope was reissued on guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek‘s Elektrohasch Schallplatten imprint in 2003) — their latter-day material has made for incredible depth of listening and the strength of their playing continues to reach new heights.
So where to start? First, let it be said that the entire available discography is exceptional. 2008′s All was my favorite album of that year, and 2003′s Los Sounds de Krauts is nothing short of miraculous. You might think it strange then that I’m going with 2006′s Tempel as my pick for newcomers.
It’s a question of exclusion. On 2001′s Ewige Blumekraft, Koglek, bassist Philip Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald were still getting a feel for their sound. Los Sounds de Krauts, as I’ve said, is great, but it’s a double-CD, and might be too much to handle in terms of giving new listeners a full appreciation of what the band can do. Tempel‘s predecessor, the 2004 self-titled, is close, but the tracks aren’t as memorable.
And as for All, the only reason I didn’t pick that is because the album is better experienced if you’re already familiar with what the band has done before. It might be the best Colour Haze record to date (and I do include last year’s Burg Herzberg Live release in that), but you won’t know that unless you hear the others first — and especially hearing Tempel first, then going to All, I think that’s the best way to grasp how special Colour Haze really is. You get to hear the chemistry between Rasthofer, Merwald and Koglek and come to understand it’s really not all about the riffs, but about each instrument and how they play off each other. Perhaps even more important then where you get started is that you get started. Here’s Tempel opener “Aquamaria” to speed your way. Enjoy.