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The name of the band points to the German roots of the music here. As well, of course, as being an acronym of the band members, ‘das rad’ means ‘the wheel’, and so there is a many-layered set of puns at play in naming the band and its approach to making music. In several of the tunes here, they take the motorik rhythms of classic German rock bands on the ‘70s, merge these with basslines that come from the North of England in the ‘80s and mash this up with a very contemporary take on jazz-rock. This makes for a very accessible and engaging set of pieces that ought to find a wide across audiences of all manner of genres.
Three tunes (‘Canterbury steps’, track 3, ‘Porto steps’, track 8 and ‘London steps’, track 12) work a different vibe, with loops, backbeats and electronic experimentation under subtle lyricism. All of this, within the improvisatory frameworks that characterise Discus releases and Archer’s approach to making music. More than this, though; the liner notes point out that the trio set out to make a ‘European record by European musicians…our own small protest against the political and social insanity which coincides with the release of this work’.
What is so intriguing about the music here is the way that (as Archer so often does) it takes a set of musical styles, immerses itself in their history and then invents an entirely new direction that these styles could have taken. There is an odd sense that you are listening to music recorded at some point in the 70s, or 80s, or 90s but equally something that is entirely contemporary.