Whilst poking around the corners of t’Internet, I re-discovered some great reviews of Kubusschnitt albums by Matt Howarth. I say “re-discovered” as I had known about them, but that was 18 years ago for the first set and 11 years ago for the second. These are old reviews…!!!
Matt is a well-known American comic book artist who draws a lot of inspiration from electronic music and has even included a number of them in his comics. There is a great example available to view via Klaus Schulze’s website.
I do remember getting an email from Matt back in about 2001/2002 offering to do a Kubusschnitt comic strip that could be included within an album. Sadly, at the time, I couldn’t really afford what Matt charged for what would have been a superb investment.
Here are Matt’s reviews of a number of the Kubusschnitt albums, with source references to Matt’s site.
KUBUSSCHNITT: The Case (CDR on Neu Harmony)
On this 73 minute CDR from 1999, the band offers a selection of instrumental electronic music with deep space moods and refined modern sensibilities. Starting with Berlin School of synthesizers as a foundation tinged with strong Philip Glass overtones, Kubusschnitt has forged the next stage of electronic evolution, setting their sights far beyond the heart of our sun.
Immediately, the rhythms are persistent. Generated by layered sequencer textures and keyboard rolls, tempos of lush and deep sounds rush through the mix with their emphatic declarations. Peripheral electronics define their presence with authoritative subtlty, filling every apparent sonic niche.
Buried among these duelling synthesizer riffs, soft E-perc lend a subliminal backbeat, but generally the “percussives” are rendered through the rapid interplay of keyboard pulsations.
The participation of guitar is unavoidably conspicuous. Dense strains of fiery space guitar wail with furious cosmic intent, adding emotional magnitude to each tune. These deep tones carry a vibrant majesty that transcends normal guitarwork, triggering psychological responses which traditional rock guitar could never touch.
The charismatic fusion of these lively electronics and dynamic guitar elevates Kubusschnitt’s tuneage beyond most other electronic music.
The music is rich with melody. These compositions attain high degrees of appeal, commanding the listener’s attention with little forceful coersion. Their catchy nature is suitably augmented by the band’s dramatic flair.
KUBUSSCHNITT: The Cube (CD on Neu Harmony)
On this 72 minute release from 2000, the band produces some startling electronic music of a particularly ominous nature.
Within seconds of its commencement, this music has plunged you far beyond your world. Deep into space, past Pluto and into mysterious interstellar realms. Here, the melodies tease the quantum particles with their surging sequences, agitating the molecules into dark motion.
This tuneage is seething with numerous pulsations and bass tonalities. The harmonics may be keyboard-driven, but they swarm in a nebula of beyond-ambient electronics that are not unlike the gestation of a proto-star. Chords and cycles are drawn into the central melody to orbit with increasing pace. This action produces riffs of a dynamic quality, paying homage to the more deadly elements of the void.
Intimating the promise of an alien threat from outside your world, Kubusschnitt generates electronic music that excites the listener’s thrill factor. Whether plunging into a “Wormhole” or blotting out the sky with a “Hypercube”, these compositions appeal to the audience’s rhythmic sensibilities as well as the listener’s dark side.
This music acts like a subspace wake-up call for the psyche, tickling the brain with its insistent pace and smoldering density.
KUBUSSCHNITT: The Singularity (CD on Neu Harmony)
With this 74 minute release from 2001, the band’s already-crisp sound grows even more exciting as Kubusschnitt continues its galactic sonic voyage.
From its shrill and drifting opening, this music soars far beyond earthly tides to explore realms of sound foreign to mankind. The electronics contribute to elongated riffs, enhancing the melodies with piercing results. Guided by keyboards, the riffs engage in a frenzy of harmonious vigor, delivering more than the average share of plateau-moments. The patterns swell to momentous proportions, swarming around the tuneage’s central theme like a school of luminous fish. These variations spiral together, forming ever more complex and even more enticing melodies.
Blending with this perfection, the strains of space guitar wail with passion, flavoring the music with passages of vibrant organic substance. These thrilling chords expand, rising to peaks of epic crescendo.
Percussive elements swim immersed in this busy structure, generally sounding their rhythms through rapid cycles of synthesized sounds. There are some almost-traditional E-perc tempos too, but these beats are restrained from propelling the music, reduced to a strength no more dominant than the gyrating electronics. All these aspects coexist in balance, with no single drowning out its sonic compatriots (with the pleasant exception of some fiery guitar solos).
Among the profusion of bands pursuing this enthusiastic electronic sound, Kubusschnitt’s excellence shines like a siren beacon, audible for light years and undaunted by the laws of quantum physics.
wEirD: A Different Kind of Normal (CD on Neu Harmony)
wEirD is actually two members from Kubusschnitt: Jens Peschke and Andy Bloyce.
Rhythmic synthesizers share the sonic stage with space guitar during this 72 minute journey into alternate normality. The electronics are heavily sequenced and rich with sinuous E-perc, producing catchy astral tuneage that pierces dimensional barriers and spills the listener into strange alien realms.
The track “Klaus to the Edge” pays tribute to Klaus Schulze’s dynamic synthesizer wizardry, with driving synthetic rhythms forming an entertaining Berlin School foundation for the sky-blaze guitar.
Meanwhile, “Manuel Gearchange” is an enjoyable homage to Ash Ra Tempel/Ash Ra’s guitarist, Manuel Gottsching. wEirD’s use of Gottschingesque guitar in this piece is endearing and all too brief.
It is in this CD’s 26 minute title track, however, that wEirD’s own style attempts to mature beyond these influences. Centralized around more traditional space guitar, the melody immerses itself in aerial electronics and pulsing background tones. What begins with a modicum of energy slowly erodes into dreamy passages—only to re-emerge with gentle power and non-percussive tempos. Ping-ponging electronics carry the listener back aloft to view the stately weirdness of new riffs. Traversing several individual compositions, this epic touches upon a series of strange moods in its duration, each section drifting into the next with deceptive ease.
KUBUSSCHNITT: Kubient (DL available from Musiczeit)
This release from 2006 offers 55 minutes of serene electronic music.
Kubusschnitt is: Andy Bloyce, Tom Coppens, and Ruud Heij.
Here, we have an epic-yet-serene composition that runs for 55 minutes.
It begins with soft textures generating a heavenly firmament that is lightly augmented by electronic gurglings rising into prominence. The harmonics pass through a cosmic section which studiously evokes interstellar regions, complete with rogue emissions and astral ambience.
Gradually, the music’s airy character ebbs as a mechanical presence enters the mix. The tones adopt a grinding disposition as they spiral toward more substantial expressions. Sedate layers grow darker, as if passing ominously close to a planetary mass. Tension is kept to a minimum, though, leaving the tonalities to crest and recede with terse definition.
Keyboard chords are generated and sustained, mimicking atmospheric flows. Creeping about in the distance are equally sustained guitar notes that lend a remote edginess to the cosmic ambience.
The extended finale maintains this cosmic ambience, flavoring the dreaminess with a hint of drama that swiftly turns into gentle melodics with softly twinkling keys and lazily structured guitar moans.
Lacking any rhythmic presence or strident riffs, this music luxuriates in a realm of gaseous quality, invoking a somnambulant predilection. Variation is constant, but drastically understated, mired in the type of slow-burning growth that eludes active perception and reacts primarily on the subconscious.
KUBUSSCHNITT: Nightshade (DL available from Musiczeit)
This release from 2006 offers 65 minutes of captivating electronic music recorded live at National Space Centre in Leicester, England (no date is given).
Kubusschnitt is: Andy Bloyce and Tom Coppens.
Airy textures establish a sedate opening. Space guitar takes advantage of this lull, diving in with smoldering notes. The guitar, endearing and soulful, explores a gentle melody for a while, paving the way for a rise of twinkling auxiliary effects and moody ambience.
Eventually, more demonstrative electronics enter the mix, bolstering the music’s verve and velocity. Deep down keyboard loops surge into dominance, tempered by additional cycles of more lighthearted disposition. Gradually, these sonic threads intertwine to form a denser melody, one salted with livelier riffs. The guitar adopts more traditional expressions, belting out a pleasant undercurrent. Meanwhile, crystalline keyboard loops have conquered the mix with their sparkling definition.
The instruments enter a dreamy passage, with the guitar strumming chords of twilight demeanor, while synthesizers gurgle and froth in a closing periphery. The guitar slides into a harpesque sound, evoking a delicately romantic edge amid the rising tide of liquid electronics. Pensive keyboards lend a forlorn touch, as if yearning for the promise of dawn.
Shrill keyboards take the rudder now, generating an eloquent starscape that sweeps across the sky, flavoring the darkness with shimmering sparks. An elevation of darker chords reminds the music of its crepuscular mien. Without warning, the guitar returns like a fiery blazon, spawning molten astral chords that grip the soul and squeeze passion from the seething dusk.
Nostalgic riffs coalesce with futuristic harmonics, producing an urgency that saturates the night with portentous moods. Space guitar lends a searing punctuation that fulfills the highest expectations with a resounding crescendo of nimble-fingered expertise.
These compositions blend tasty doses of dreamy passages with escalations of pace and melody, resulting in a thrilling sonic rollercoaster ride that is guaranteed to mesmerize and titillate EM aficionados.
KUBUSSCHNITT: Phoenix (DL available from Musiczeit)
This release from 2006 offers 67 minutes of incredible electronic music.
Kubusschnitt is: Andy Bloyce, Tom Coppens, and Ruud Heij.
A waterfall of glittering electronics establishes an anticipatory opening which eventually leads to denser, more expansive harmonies. Roiling textures sweep in, establishing a solemn overcast. Keyboards enter the flow, first expressing elongated chords that pretend to be additional atmospherics but inevitably evolving into substantial riffs. Regal keyboards introduce urgency to the mix, goading the tuneage into advanced stamina with their cyclic presence.
A bevy of these keyboards cluster to form an appealing bulk. Nimble-fingered riffs belt out with assertive resolve, generating a lavish vitality with their insistent delivery. As things progress, these cycles merge to acquire breathtaking scope.
Cosmic guitar contributes bewitching pinnacles that persist in striving for frontier heights. Gripping chords, subjected to searing sustains, caress heaven’s ceiling with their ecstatic outcries. Brilliant chords instill the music with a rapturous flair.
Percussion is utilized in only one track, injecting tasty propulsion to the dazzling union of celestial guitar and twinkling electronics.
These compositions are marvelous and captivating. A suitable level of verve is achieved and then augmented by passion. The tunes mesmerize as they invigorate, inducing a thrilling state of bliss. Listeners are guaranteed a stunning and alluring excursion to realms of interstellar wonder.
KUBUSSCHNITT: Journey through a Burning Cube (DL available from Musiczeit)
This release from 2006 offers 54 minutes of electronic music.
The majority of this release features selections from other Kubusschnitt albums (specifically “Kubient,” “Nightshade,” and “Phoenix”), exhibiting a cross-section of the band’s electronic stylings, from astral ambience to stellar sequencing in which nimble-fingered keyboards unleash urgent riffs laced with tasty space guitar.
There is one 7-minute previously unreleased track (“Strontium”) which revels in galactic ambience with wafting textures and bubbling tonalities, producing a serene mood that serves to transport the audience back to an earthbound vantage.
An excellent introduction to the band’s music.