Dominik von Senger | Brüsseler Platz
Dominik von Senger has here collaged a grouping of various magnetic tape archival recordings alongside assistance from Reebop Kwaku Baah and Jaki Liebezeit. The Krautrock era guitarist has worked with and on many projects in the Cologne underground scene of the early 1980s, and it is bits and pieces from this era captured and re-edited, processed and manipulated. Mind you, this gent’s last release was in 1995 and prior to that was 1983, so this is a very long time in the wings. And well worth every single moment of its thirty-five minutes plus, sides one and two, all in.
Brüsseler Platz is a very different approach to what might be considered a new release, however most of this material is from raw archives, so it likely never saw the light of day other than as merged with other projects, live or otherwise. Broken into simply an A and a B side this comes off initially like a funky cross between Talking Heads and Was (Not Was), an given its timing makes perfect sense. There was a lot of mirroring in the scene back then between the US, UK, Germany and the cross-pollination of several acts produced out of the Bahamas. This record stands tall with wacky animated voices, tranquil organ trills and warm island beats.
But it doesn’t stop there, it would seem von Senger is capably breaking from pop traditions with baby voices and melodic cut-ups with precision and a laidback approach. Moods change instantly here, but the guitar is always central, tracks are merged into a lengthy conglomeration, narrators blurt, and funky tropical jazz enters without warning. I hear a wafting of the rhythms you might catch on a classic Grace Jones record circa the time this was made, those soft “Jamaican” tempos, with wild birds as dramatic flourishes. This record is a divine collision of stream of consciousness with an artful, passionate flow.
Dominik von Senger – revox a77, dr. rythm dr55, casio vl1, guitar effects, guitars, vocals, keyboards
Jaki Liebezeit – drums, piano, strings
Jacky Horn – organ, piano
Reebop Kwaku Baah – percussion, vocals
Kelly Sheldon Ancel – vocals
Olek Gelba – percussion
Isis Zerlett – vocals
Helmut Zerlett – piano, keyboards
Richard Schneider – sax
Josefa Mertens – vocals
“I was naked” kicks off the B-side, “because you were not here…”. One may describe this as cosmic island dub in its own lane, aided by chimes, abetted by charming spoken vocals and a revolving set of percussive beats for active listeners everywhere. This has an earthy side as well as one that is as high as a kite on wild psychedelics. Once the speaker starts talking about being on the Autobahn the scene, with its slur and blur begins to act out, it’s melllllting……..
This will appeal as equally to dub-groovers as it will to underground followers of Controlled Bleeding, Psychic TV, 23 Skidoo or Cabaret Voltaire. It’s a unique cross that was, in part, replicated by followers like Jack Dangers and countless others since. But this has that sinking ‘o.g.’ sensation, deep musky chords and funk for days. This is a complete sleeper hit: resurrected, recycled, remade for moderns.