Freund der Familie – Grau 2 (Concrete Versions)

That’s what friends are for

Yesterday I looked up what Wikipedia had to say about friendship. It was interesting. Especially the part where it says that “in some cultures, the concept of friendship is restricted to a small number of very deep relationships”. Fitting, I thought, especially for this pretty little release. Very deep indeed, and very special: very well designed, tasteful gray/black marbled 10″ vinyl, artwork, postcard, sticker – you really feel like a friend of the family when you unpack this beauty.

At the same time the purchase of “Grau 2 (Concrete Versions)” is a sign of friendship. Why? Simple – you need to be a good friend and watch out for your buddies on Bandcamp if you want to get the opportunity to buy one of these 100 special vinyl releases. I have let the guys down once when the first installment of “Grau” was released, totally missing out on it, but I took special care to be on board this time. Number 41/100 it is, and I was really fast, these beauties were gone in no time.

This is what separates friends from the rest of the crowd. They don’t just exploit on what’s scarce and cash in on it, they deliver a really luxurious product in lavish packaging.

The went fast for good reason, and it’s by far not based on the pretty packaging or the clever management of the label. The four tracks on this double 10″ are even more classy than the ones on “Grau 1”. Again, they are a “tribute to the Rastafari Elders”, featuring vocal snippets by Bongo Shep, a member of this group of traveling Rastafari poets, preachers, musicians. If you have some time on your hand listen to their only album, an authentic recording of a grounation – a Rastafari religious ceremony. If I heard it correctly, the vocal elements are taken from a dialogue by Bongo Shep on this truly inspiring album. A little fun fact on the side: the Thievery Corporation took samples from the same track as well, on “2001 – A Spliff Odyssey” for example.

If you liked the first part of “Grau”, you will love this second part. The four tracks are just a bit more concrete, they have more presence – as nebulous as that may sound. “Margin” for example, tight and spacious at the same time, the hi-hat with a bit of added bash, sounding like it’s coming from a tiled room when everything else is either in your head or in infinite space – close to impeccable.

I’m never quite sure whether someone like me is actually able to tell when someone that’s in charge of mastering has done a particularly good job, but if something sounds as awesome as this I can’t believe that mastering hasn’t been a big factor – so hats off to Sven Weisemann.

The tricky rhythmic frame of “Scope” is really intriguing, grooving off the beaten track in convincing fashion as if someone wanted to prove that you can put together a seemingly nerdy rhythm and still turn it into a legitimate Rastafari Elders homage.

But then it’s straight back to extra wide screen classic Dub Techno space, and I totally can not wait to hear “Limbic” in a good club with a really good sound system. The deepest kick, the simplest four note bass line, the hi-hats wonderfully placed left and right, very present and masterfully sharing the job – and the rest is epic echo space. If this EP never leaves my bag, “Limbic” is the reason why.

Maybe “Utils” is not on the same level as “Limbic” – but I like the way it plays with speeds and creates its own sense of dynamics. It adds a version, the fourth spin on the topic.

It’s funny how I keep thinking they just don’t do this kind of stuff anymore, totally stupid of course, but it all sounds as if it was from a different time, or no time at all. What’s true though – at least for me – is that there is nothing even close to this in the world of Dub Techno. Thank god someone does this – even if the artist is listed as “unknown”.

Release for review:

Strictly limited vinyl only release. Try to get it on Discogs: Click