Driven relentlessly by a trippy, whimsical, almost childlike desire to create soundscapes and themes to movies that run only in the listener’s mind, Frankfurt, Germany based studio wizards Worsel Strauss and Schani Wolf—collectively known as Schleusolz—created on their compelling 2009 debut Running Out Of Time, a fascinating modern “Retronica” vibe with a swirl of colorful melodies, beats and sounds that hailed from the outskirts of spaceage/electronica.
The band have now returned not with one but with two albums. On The Weinheim Experiment, an eclectic 18-track collection that is one of the two very different recordings, Schleusolz keeps that Retronica vibe alive but adds more organic textures to create a truer band sound—complete with vocals, a few cover tunes and, for those who still appreciate great album art, a nostalgic CD booklet featuring sepia tones, old photos and scribbled and typed cryptically cool diary entries from 1959-1961. The visuals are all part of the mystique surrounding everything Schleusolz creates. The Weinheim Experiment will be released along with the group’s other new album 10 Movies on June 28.
While their uplifting debut album captured some of the most feel-good aspects of the music of the 50’s, 60’s, 80s and the future, The Weinheim Experiment—relying more on hardware than software--adds what Strauss calls “a few more border violations.” There’s pop, progressive, jazz, disco, electronic, modern composition, auditory illusions, classical and the long forgotten art of the protest song. The key is continuing to entertain while also giving the listener substance behind the fun in case they want to dig deeper.
The set opens with the symphonic techno jam rock of “Polyphobia,” then moves into the 70s-ish trash porn disco of “Sid Goes Dancing” and “The Numberer,” which was the B-Side of Roxy Music’s first single in 1972. It’s a way of paying homage to the group’s Brian Eno influence. From there, each song has a funky anecdote. “Superboy,” which showcases Schani’s quirky vocals, is a cover version of a track from Nina Hagen’s first album. Worsel wrote the hypnotic, Eastern music tinged “Itai Itai” under a friend’s living room table, where there was a metallophone; the duo’s friend Yamamoto recorded the song with a bunch of Japanese school kids in Nagaoka, Japan. “The Shepherd’s Dream” is based on the auditory illusion of endlessly ascending/descendingscales. Worsel calls “Biodegradable” “a pure classic love song, or maybe a pure classic hate song, I forget.” “She Became My Toy” is a groover with classic dancefloor elements. Wolf’s obsession with American sci fi author Philip K. Dick inspired both “Perky Pat” and “Miss F.” “Father And Son” is Schleusolz’s haunting, electronic driven tribute to the Cat Stevens classic. The album takes an unexpected twist by ending with a beautiful version of Claude Debussy’s “Claire de Lune”