Chilian Krautrock Band Föllakzoid Explore Darker, More Claustrophobic Corners of Their Sound on I
There is both power and beauty in repetition. Chilian krautrock band Föllakzoid have build a sterling back catalog on this bedrock belief, and on their latest record they explore the darkest, most taut corners of this mindset for what may be their most imposing record yet.
On their previous work over the last decade, culminating with their amazing 2015 release III (and the live addendum London Sessions), they built a sound the blended Spacemen 3 psych guitar rock, the incessant rhythms of kosmische and the noisy walls of shoegaze into a potent concoction. Their sound was barely contained chaos that at many points simply burst into the sky, unshackled by earthly rules. Their sounds wasn’t bright or sunny, but it felt massive. Which made the darker, more intense turn of their new album – confusingly titled I despite following II and III – all the more compelling.
I, out now on Sacred Bones, is four tracks spread out over two 30 minute sides (two 13-minute tracks and two 17-minute tracks), but it is best absorbed as one 60 minute adventure. There are still some chugging grooves, but the sound is more dense and foreboding than previous work. They added synths and other studio layers, making the album feel heavier than anything they’ve done in the past. Unlike previous live-to-tape recordings, this record was recorded in parts in the studio and then assembled by a producer. There are moments throughout the record that could have fit in nicely with their previous records, with thumping four on the floor beats and scratchy guitars (albeit with more contextual noise), but things find a way to take left turns that explore areas of sound the band previously have not explored. There are detours of static-filled noisy ambience and squalling synths, and even some warped vocals that pop up near the end of the record. It is less “fun” trippy and more “scary/weird” trippy.
Despite the changes, I still captures the things that make Föllakzoid so great. It is a record that could pump you up or serve as a swirling background noise for other work. It is muscular but thoughtful, never cutting any corners. It is a record that keeps the strengths from their previous work and expands into new areas, building something that, while not being my favorite release from them, showcases a band that have enough tools in their tool belt to not feel constrained to an exact sound ad nauseam. If you’re looking for some psyched-out krautrock and haven’t yet been turned on to Föllakzoid…well you should be.
You can stream/buy their new release (and their whole back catalog) below from their bandcamp page. No signs of them touring anywhere close to here in the near future, but we can always hope.
Writer / co-founder