Title: Engelstrompeten & Teufelsposaunen
Genre: Electro Pop
Release Date: 20th November 2020
Germany’s WELLE:ERDBALL inhabit a fairly unique environment. Existing in a universe all of their own making, albums and songs are “broadcasts”, everything is released as “a wave”, visually, things are borrowed from the 1920s, the 1950s, there’s a sense of nostalgia for a jumbled up time that never really existed, when people huddled around their radio sets but then went off to play on early, basic computers. And there’s the key to their sound - largely composed on primitive Commodore 64 computers, the sounds are instantly recognisable and again tap in to some vague nostalgia we have for this era, when technology seemed so exciting and other-worldly. That the concept has been running for so long (since the early 90s) illustrates the fondness for this collective reminiscing, so the question really is, why change it now? Why take a 40-piece orchestra to play some of your best songs, expanding the plinky-plonk charm of your primitive computer created soundscapes into something so much more expansive and entirely different. Could it work? Does it work?
Surprisingly it does. Elasto-plasting an orchestra onto an album has been done countlessly over the decades by everyone from DEEP PURPLE and METALLICA to VNV NATION. The results vary wildly, can be career-saving and intriguing, excruciating, or simply good at exposing the gulf between the two musical worlds on offer. On ‘Engelstrompeten & Teufelsposaunen’ (that’s ‘Angel’s Trumpets & Devil’s Trumpets’ to the non-German speakers out there) the use of classical arrangements and instruments somehow seems to enhance the early eighties feel and computer-generated origins of the songs on offer, and instead of swamping them, coaxes a certain amount of warmth and drama from them will still retaining that essential electronic coldness.
There’s a sense of grandiosity and anticipation from the off, and if you can forgive the vocals, which occasionally stray in their generosity towards tunefulness, much to be gained from the pseudo-military pomp of ‘VW-Käfer’ or when the female voices kick-in during ‘Mumien Im Autokino’. On the whole, the less is more approach of the orchestra works well, seeking not to drown the songs but work with them, supporting rather than leading - the subdued ‘Nur In Meinem Traum’ for example, or on the frantic desperation of ‘Starfighter F-104K’. There’s plenty of energy in the relentless urgency of ‘Ich Bin Nicht Von Dieser Welt’ or ‘Arbeit Adelt’ and the whole experiment and concept signs off with the fitting ‘Die Computer Verlassen Diese Welt’ “Over and out” says a robotic voice to send us all off on our merry way, and there’s a feeling WELLE:ERDBALL will be milking this orchestral show for quite some time to come. And why not. If it works, it works.
They may not be the first to add classical instruments to enhance an idea, concept, or career, but they’ve certainly used the opportunity wisely and created a new addition to their strange universe, where radios and computers walk chip in hand together with pop and classical, synth and orchestra. Definite not ‘Game Over’.
03. Mumien Im Autokino
04. Deine Augen
05. Nur In Meinem Traum
06. Gib Mir Mein Gefühl Zurück
07. Starfighter F-104K
08. 1000 Engel
09. Ich Bin Nicht Von Dieser Welt
10. Das Muss Liebe Sein
11. Arbeit Adelt
12. Die Computer Verlassen Diese Welt
Hannes “Honey” Malecki - Lyrics, Vocals
Miss Moonlight - Percussion, Vocals
M.A. Peel - Percussion, Vocals
cOzmo - Music, Programming
https://www.welle-erdball.info / https://www.facebook.com/WelleErdball
Total: 8 / 10