Helldunkel by Protein (2014)

Schamoni –  Bandcamp – Soundcloud

Okay. To be honest I wanted to put this one on a later date because I just talked about Parasyte Woman, but, with the momentum of the European release with Indigo, it needed to happen now.

Please bear with me as I need to tell you my Helldunkel story. *Or just skip next paragraph, vive l’anarchie*

Helldunkel was actually the first Munich release I waited for. Actually, on release day, on June 2, I went to the Bandcamp to buy the album. It was not there, it was just the LP release date, oops. So the day after, I went on Protein’s bandcamp (why why why the labia why why), and the day after that too. All in all, I waited and always came back and then, wayyy later, on July 17, it was finally released digitally. All the while, I spent that time learning more about turntables, home sound systems, vintage speakers and amps, and I built-up the most precise sound system I’ve ever balanced (as I usually do so for theatres, which is new, plastic equipment most of the time) and began investing in vinyls instead of digital releases only. So yes, a part of the Schamoni and Echokammer love is thanks to this album! ~°~°~ the more you know ~°~°~

Protein… hot damn. Just the name is amazing because proteins (as molecules, not as nutrients) are such a complex yet omnipresent part of life that just reading the Wikipedia page gets overwhelmingly poetic when you think about the music at the same time. And then the MUSIC. I thought Süss was a great release (not sweet like candy, but sweet like a good night kiss), but Helldunkel is one of those lyric-less releases you just keep going back to, because they creep in your daily life and just fit with it, and seem to coil around your mood and connect with your synapses (it messes up with my mind so much that I even ran the album in a spectrum analyser to try to comprehend the destructured value of the sound yes I’m a huge nerd).

Schamoni once referred to Protein as “Mad Scientist” and honestly it stuck with me so much that now I can’t think of Protein’s music in any other way than a chemist experiment on sound now: how to modify, on an atomic level, the composition of rhythms and melodies. Protein creates modulating pulsations and percussive melodies in a way that resembles alchemy, too : the never-ending quest to sublimate something pure from layers and layers of components.

Before I get lost in the correlation of clair-obscur (in visual arts) and this album, I’ll stop now and get on with the music.

LTN : Is it for London? For the genetic symbol of homo sapiens? In all cases, LTN is perfect from the first musical phrase and it’s so complete that you just realize how great an album it’s going to be. Every song is like a micro-universe. The fast pace and light-headedness of Hüpfdohle’s beats make room for the billowing sound of Februar’s wind. It’s fascinating how track titles can become supra-suggestive in lyric-less music : Februar will always be a winter song to me. Krautsinfonie is so rich. The finest whisky. Listen to it loud. Appreciate its aromas.  Taste them. How’s it like on your palate?

Ambivalent will work on your mind like a good contemporary dance solo : it’s a storyteller, mysterious and communicative.  And oh, Seegrunstück. If that’s not a scientist’s experiment with volatile elements in liquid state, nothing is. It’s all boiling, bubbling, and swirling fumes. We get on with Guckkasten, which melodies resonate deep in your bones. It’s coming from the chest and ends in the fingernails, and Dowqn acts as a balm on all this frenetic need for movement.

All in all, Helldunkel is more than songs, anyway. It’s seeking comfort in its beauty and sinking in its complexity. This album is a new langage learnt, a persona speaking to you in music. Nana Dix’ album art is a strong proposition : this swirling black creature made of liquid smoke, shown above, automatically creeps in your subconscious and becomes the bearer of the sound.

Happy release across Europe to this fantastic album!