Last week I was talking about the new video from Farben/Schwarz for their song Vollkontrast and my love for northern German punk. This week I will continue doing so in this review for Eins the debut EP by Farben/Schwarz.
When I was a teenager, I spent hours after school in front of our family computer in the basement. At times I was playing video games, sometimes I’d chat to friends via instant messenger services but most of the time I’d listened to music. Back then I got excited easily. I was lucky in a sense that my parents had a great record collection anyway, but the music they listened to were mainly the classics (Clapton, Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, Police and so on). When I got into punk and hardcore my parents didn’t understand why I would listen to all that noise. I was a middle class kid from a small town. I had no reason to vent my anger through music as 1970s punk bands or 1980s west-coast hardcore bands did. What that music offered me was a escape route. It was a sniff of the big city. A tinge of danger and dirty streets with seedy alleys and sidewalks. I had never seen anyone doing cocaine or ecstasy until I went to university. Life was good to me but it was a bit boring. I knew I wanted to leave my hometown right after school because I wanted more. More noise, more people, more of everything. And so I left.
Farben/Schwarz are reminding me a lot of why music was so instrumental in fostering that decision. Eins is full of raw emotion. Full of punchy guitars, noisy drums and low-end bass. It would be too easy to say that energetic music injected this urge into me, rap and electronic music can be just as powerful, but it’s a different energy that drives the five song EP forward. It’s a very emotional kind of energy (just listen how the vocals are always close to cracking in the opener before falling into an almost out-of-breath sprechgesang). Techno is never touching me on the same emotional level. It’s too cold for me.
Then there’s also the underlying melancholy of the music. This is not a happy record which one could easily guess by it’s name (Farben/Schwarz translates to Colors/Black). Melodies are cracked open by feedback (perfectly executed in Sirene). And at the right moments the songs leave space to breathe. You can only imagine how draining the recording of these five songs must have been for the band. But it’s all worth it in the end.
It’s been almost 10 years since I left my parents home to the soundtrack of music like this. And it has been quite a ride thus far. I love that there are bands like Farben/Schwarz out there who manage to excite me from the first note I hear. The greatest thing about it is the comfort such bands give me. They reassure me that the decisions I’ve made so far in my life have been the right ones. Thanks a lot music. And thanks a lot Farben/Schwarz for reminding me of all that.
Photocredit: Lisa Drewes