Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Hirsche Nicht Aufs Sofa - Im Schatten Der Möhre (1987)

"I remember Steven Stapleton [Nurse With Wound] telling me he'd discovered this great new band that sounded like Faust. They're called "Moose Without A Sofa" or something like that in German - he went on. You're going to love them. He was right."
(Alan (or maybe Steve) Freeman, Ultima Thule Record Shop and Auricle label/magazine)
Whether you translate H.N.A.S.'s full name as above, or as 'Moose Not Allowed On Sofa", "Deer Not On Sofa" and so on, it was a great name for Christoph Heeman and Achim P. Li Khan to pick for such a surreal adventure in sound between 1983 and 1992.  As above, there's echoes of Faust from the decade before them, and their kinship with Stapleton is audibly clear as well. 

Im Schatten Der Möhre (In the shadow of the carrot) is probably their best album, and to my ears it actually prefigures the NWW sound of the 90s, especially Colder Still from Thunder Perfect Mind, or all of Who Can I Turn To Stereo - an icy sonic wasteland full of disembodied voices, wisps of clanking, clattering percussion, and occasionally a near-semblance of a song or at least an identifiable instrument.  A perfect example here is Die Nacht Der Grünen Götterspeise (The night of green jelly) - after bits of distant piano, some recognisable guitars appear.  The track threatens to resolve into a normal song structure but never gets there, and everything remains swathed in a fog of distorted electronics and other noises.

Mention must be made of Erst Geht Die Kuh..., the album's definite highlight for me.  Amidst sounds of running water and a Jew's harp, fragments of an ominous, Residents-esque call-and-response nursery rhyme keep creeping in, and the track ends on a mocking, laughing-singing rendition.  The title seems to refer to "First comes the cow, then the guest..."- a Black Forest-region aphorism about rural...tourism? overdevelopment? farming in decline?  For a self-confessed Germanophile, you'd think I'd make a proper effort to learn the language at some point rather than relying on various web translators that never quite agree with each other.

Im Schatten Der Möhre

Source for quote - a discogs comment on the album prior to this one.

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