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Saturday, June 29, 2024

Narr / Steidle - Introduction (self-released, 2024)

By Sarah Grosser

There is a snare-heavy drum freakout about half way through Steidle & Narr’s "Humble Days Ahead" which is so fast, so explosive and bombastic – let’s just say, Zach Hill has been real quiet since it dropped. Certainly Death Grips fans will appreciate the brutal energy of the raucous duo of Oliver Steidle and Steffi Narr’s wilder cuts, but it’s not all smashy-smashy bins and distorted guitar shredding. Introduction offers us five helpings of a variety of different improvisations, with a red thread of unpretentiousness and general psychedelia. The bandcamp tags of ‘jazz,’ ‘rock,’ ‘cosmic grooves,’ ‘grind core,’ ‘hip hop,’ and ‘improvisation’ only make up a part of the puzzle. One could even add ‘thrash,’ ‘experimental,’ and ‘electronic’ to this list. 'Tis quite far out, man. 

Narr’s bold guitar work is prominent and crushing during album opener "A Funny Prejudice." Displaying creativity and virtuosity, she shreds like a banshee, perfectly complimenting Steidle’s ballistic, heavy drumming. 

"Colours In My Mind" provides a moment of downtime. It features a repetitive, meditative, mostly beatless loop reminiscent of '90s trip hop, peppered with chimes, subtle samples, and electronic variations progressing over its almost 14 minute duration. After a while some drums slice their way in, gradually introducing themselves, but the focus is mostly on how the other elements fit in and around this one loop. The phrase “it's a mood” gets thrown around a lot these days, but that’s exactly what this is, and that mood is evocative, dark, slightly melancholy, almost stoner-ish, but never uninteresting, and certainly never boring.

"Kill Your Darlings" sees a drum n’ bass breakbeat happening sporadically over a gating, phasing synth chord getting more bent and warped all over the place. The song is twisted into oblivion, the drums providing some kind of a reference point among the chaos which becomes progressively more unrecognisable to itself. The guitar is picked up again towards the tail end of the piece but it’s mostly drums and electronics. 

The bizarrely named “Serious Sports vs. is Wrestling Fake ?” Is three and a half minutes of utter madness. The drums appear to be triggering a beat repeater… and you know what? It doesn’t make any sense to try and analyse the production method here. It is simply an improvised exploration through an immediate set of fast samples, underlined by intense drumming and gritty, gnarly guitar sounds. 

Introduction is not an album for everybody - and thank god for that. It’s edgy, brash, and wild. Narr and Steidle look cute as hell on the front cover, which, frankly, is worth the 8 euros alone. It’s obviously been a great hair day for both of them, and now, they’ve got this sick new album out. The looks on their faces say: “Think you can handle this?” Like a dare.

…So? Go check it out, I double dare you. 


Irena said...

I like how the review starts the same way as the album starts.
You immediately got me with the "Death Grips fans" part, played it after that, it was a great listen