Fazer have been making a bit of a name for themselves with a couple of excellent self released albums arriving ahead of ‘Plex’, their first outing for big indie label City Slang. Through their hard graft and no end of talent, Fazer have found themselves at the forefront of the next generation of artists to pass through the historically great music town of Munich, which was home to legendary labels ECM and Enja as well as seminal cosmic groups Amon Düül II, Popol Vuh and Embryo.
The five musicians that make up Fazer met at the prestigious Academy For Music And Theatre in Munich and the sound on ‘Plex’ is built around the telepathic musicianship of the rhythm section made up of sitting drummers Simon Popp and Sebastien Wolfgruber alongside bassist Martin Brugger. There’s a real craftsmanship at the centre of the album; melodies in the songs tend to grow gradually, whilst the grooves lock in early and don’t deviate much.
The guitar, provided by Paul Brändle, on ‘Cycle’ is gently stunning and marks the track out as a real highlight despite it not being the focus instrument necessarily. On ‘Zugzwang’ Brändle does take centre stage and it really shows off his command of the guitar brilliantly. Across the album, and mesmerically on the singles ‘Cuentro’ and ‘Dezember’, it is trumpet player Matthias Lindermayr who is entrusted to take centre stage and pull the music into new territory.
An album can’t be everything all at once, and whilst it can be frustrating at points to think where this album could go if Fazer would unshackle themselves, it’s also - perhaps oddly - a real strength of theirs that they know how to hold back. And as you listen a bit deeper, textures you didn’t notice at first reveal themselves; subtle syncopations that would pass the casual listener by jolt you. And you’re reminded that great albums also create worlds, not all of them play by the same rules, and that should be celebrated.
Words: Nicolas Graves
- - -
- - -