Harms & Kapelle

Meilenstein…Country gone more listenable…

HarmsuKapelleSo….finally I’ve listened and savoured Meilenstein (Harms & Kapelle). Ah, what wonderful music making. I was hooked a while back with Nach Uns Die Sinn Flut but the rest of the album keeps that hook in deep. Ah…what can I say?

Nach Uns Die Sinn Flut still has a special something, but having had a good listen to the rest of the album, gee, pretty much all the pieces hold their own despite me having a soft spot for aforementioned piece.

Here are my two cents’ worth on some of the rest that strike a major chord with me:

Wenn Sich Monster Lieben has a good rhythm and the refrain/chorus finds its way into my mind out of the blue (in fact, I find most of this album in my mind at all times of day including when I randomly wake up in the middle of the night). Instrumentation is well done too. Gosh, now I’m humming “Wenn Sich (pause) Monster” …I’ll have to put on one of their other songs now…

Bis Zum Letzten Mann, nice…I like, I like. Cool tempo, chilled yet not too much and totally awesome to listen to.

Moving on to a more rock-feeling piece, Rosenbluth isn’t bad. It grows on you.

Es Ist Ein Meister Vom Himmel Gefallen is another wonderfully mellow one (it lived up to my expectations as per my post Country Gone Listenable). Gives that feeling of sitting in a dusty bar on a hot sunny weekend afternoon nursing a drink and just enjoying the vibe. And then, along the same visual, but maybe with some dancing, we move to the funky, upbeat Mittelpunkt Der Welt. Man, this is such an awesome piece. It really gets you tapping those feet…nay, gets the whole body moving to the beat!

Ah, now the close second to Nach Uns Die Sinn Flut…we have Mein Leib. I just dig this song. What a great collaboration! Der Schultz’s vocal timbre works well with Chris Harms‘ deep, contrasting voice. This is one for the repeat setting…especially from about the 2:44 to 3:00 minute mark…I love that section – but then I love the whole section from 0:01 to 3:50…he he!

Well, I was going to pick out those that hit a particular resonance and have just noticed I’ve pretty much touched on most of the pieces. Oh well. So I move on…to Katharsis. Nice upbeat piece with interesting vocal harmonies…in a good way. All-in-all, a good song which moves smoothly on to a slower In Der Nacht which has an awesome refrain from a musical perspective. And we rev it up again with Nur Ein Mal which is catchy and wants to pull you along. I’m tapping my feet again…I must get them checked out, but seriously, who can resist the honky-tonk piano sound thrown in with just great music and great lyrics?

Then…a perfect ending (well, ending is not perfect for this work of art but I guess I can’t have an endless album…the repeat setting will have to suffice) is Das Narrenschiff which is the only “borrowed” piece from Reinhard Mey. The original is nice but this rendition just has that little bit…let’s say…oomph. No offense Mr Mey. Maybe it is a generation thing and I’m more on the wavelength as Mr Harms and his interpretation thereof. So, repeat has kicked in and I’m back to Nach Uns…did I mention how good….

What I really enjoy about this album is the diversity of songs yet within a cohesive style. The pieces work well together. So….super gemacht Herr Harms und Team!

Country Gone Listenable

I’ve got this catchy, cool, country-ish (hear me out) song looping over and over in my mind. And that was the case after the second listening. In fact, the first time had me hooked! It is that good.

So, who and what you ask? That’s the thing. I’ve had this band keep popping up on my recommendations niggling, niggling, over and over, still niggling. You know, when you keep seeing the cover and just know who it is without a second glance and kind of go “ah, not again”? I don’t know why, but I never got around to having a listen. But, for some reason (maybe it is with music as it is with books – finding you when it is meant to be), I finally listened to Nach uns die Sinn Flut by Harms & Kapelle and all I can say is “wow!” and naturally “why didn’t I listen to these guys sooner?”. So, no, not pure country and definitely not singing about the girl down the prairie, but dark, gritty and with a great rock-type (I hate putting music into genre boxes) undertone which makes it so darn good and much more listenable than most country music (I just struggle to get into it, sorry).

Listen with a good pair of phones and you’ll pick up such cool underlying nuances, sounds and background “effects”. Adds even more atmosphere but I won’t tell – you need to listen yourself.

Ah, and then…the lyrics are in German. And it works so well. Quite refreshing actually (in this style). Come to think of it, German is just perfect for this heavier country-rock hybrid. Don’t need the typical twang or drawl.

Even the music video is brilliant with atmosphere of note! The singer, Chris Harms, mesmerises you, but at the same time, the band is intriguing as you never really get to see their faces (initially). They also have you wanting to pull up a chair, order a drink and enjoy an evening of good music ahead. I appreciate how they achieve even more mood through seamlessly integrating a modern band with a feeling of being in the past, yet, not really (watch it! hear it! you’ll understand). It gives a surreal, unsettling kind of feeling. But in a good way. A very good way!

Watching closely you’ll pick up the effects which make all the difference, albeit subtle but “in your face” when you actually spot them (or, maybe I’m just reading, I mean, watching, too much into it). Like, the reference to Heaven and Hell (with Heaven higher visually than Hell) which you’ll probably miss the first few times. Oh, and the angel wing smoke effect (very clever, intentional or not) in the one long shot. And believe it or not, the first time I totally missed a huge prop in the group shot during the last few seconds of the song. The old film reel effect is fantastic. Check it all out – I hope I haven’t given it all away.

So, now I’m off to devour the rest of this album (did I mention it is called Meilenstein?). The snippets I’ve sampled sound like they will have me addicted too. So far, I like those chord progressions in Bis zum letzten Mann; Mein Leib has me tapping my feet; Es ist ein Meister vom Himmel gefallen wonderfully mellow and Das Narrenschiff promises to be another catchy one. Oooh, I can’t wait! I suspect I’ll have the album on repeat at work tomorrow. And will tell everyone all about them – music like this deserves to be shared!