Christopher Nosnibor

Over recent months – and more – we’ve unravelled the series of releases by experimental oddballs Kröter, via their affiliation with the king of quirk, Mr Vast, formerly of cack pop maestros Wevie Stonder, aka Wevie De Crepon. You can never have too many side-projects, offshoots, and affiliated acts, and so it is that Kröter-associated Hunger give us Wollufos. (Hunger is Christoph Rothmeier & Jörg Hochapfel; Rothmeier is the other half of Kröter along with Henry Sargeant, aka Mr Vast). This is their eighth self-distributed album, and their first on vinyl.

Have you managed to keep up so far? Good, because it’s only going to get more complex and convoluted, because these guys are a prolific, self-contained community cranking out endless oddities, and Wollufos is no exception. They pitch it as ‘mixing fake folk acoustic instrumentation like banjos and open tuning guitars with Harry Partch-style homemade devices’. Fake folk?

From the springy sproingy lo-fi shuffling synth whackout of the brief intro piece that is ‘Zwergenfieber’, it’s immediately apparent that this is going to be a substantial serving of quirky, off-the-wall music that doesn’t conform to any conventions, even their own. The Berlin-based duo work across time signatures and genres at the same time, with some woozy, warpy synths and picked guitars existing in the same space but seemingly playing different songs. Then there’s the leaning towards titling their quirky, heavily rhythm-orientated instrumental ditties in French.

‘Mambo Momie’ is an exercise in bleepy motoric minimalism, and the album is brimming with minimal beats and squelchy synths, as is nowhere more apparent than on the strolling ‘Sunset Sling’. When it comes to making music with all the bells and whistles, Hunger take this quite literally: download bonus cut ‘Schuhe aus Brot’ sees them pull out all the stops to create something that borders on the overwhelming, with additional droning horn sounds and blasts of noise on top of the stuttering, clamorous percussion, before winding down to trickling chimes.

There’s some kind of half-baked wonky country / space crossover on ‘Chariot de Pipi’, and the atonal, off-key pickings of ‘Macramée Cramée’ are truly brain-bending. And then there’s the twelve-minute ‘Hundenebel’, a quivering proggy space-rock workout that makes optimal use of space and distance and of Daniel Glatzel’s clarinet to forge a vast sonic vista. Great, yawning siren wails rub against bubbling synth swells, and there are so many contrasts, to may layers, so many juxtapositions.

Why do we find discord so difficult to process? Even while I enjoy it, I find that numerous things that are seemingly disconnected or otherwise independent create something of a sensory overload that isn’t always entirely pleasurable, and can at times prove quite disorientating and uncomfortable. It messes with our orientation and equilibrium, trips our sense of balance and spins us off centre. Wollufos will leave you dizzy. At times it’s quite bewildering, but it’s never dull or lacking in inspiration.

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