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Aus glücklichen Tagen

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Album Review

Kap. Wlodek is an anarchist band from Germany; it is an octet whose obsession with traditional German song forms and mischief make for an interesting if gimmicky listening experience. Imagine Combustible Edison siddled up to the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Marc Ribot's Y Los Cubanos while playing a kind of minimal German cocktail music that weaves Lawrence Welk's arrangements and tendencies for maple sugar melodies with the sharp rhythmic chime of a polka band. It doesn't sound like a pretty picture, but in many ways it is. The band's label, Trikont, lives for music like this: where glockenspiels, tubas, banjos, flutes, saxophones, drums, organs, and cimbaloms play with one another in an ornate quaintness that makes for pleasant if somewhat itchy listening ("Why did I put this on?" "Why did I buy this?"). If anything, this sounds like incidental music for commercials or German soap operas or old-timey radio commercials. It's cool, it's played well, it's not too smarmy, and it's thoroughly enjoyable — for a while. If they reach more than footnote status even in German music history, I'd be very surprised.

Aus glücklichen Tagen, Kapelle Wlodek
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