Das weiße Pferd - San Fernando
The story of Das Weiße Pferd (The White Horse) can be regarded as archetypal. Emerging out of the idyllic, baroque sleepy capital of Bavaria, Munich, it is a story of musical wanderers on the lookout for explorations and adventures. Embryo, the legendary Kraut & World collective, have been doing just this for the past forty years. But contrary to those mentioned, who were always more prone to follow the path of Eastern experiences, Das Weiße Pferd were trapped by the sun like new world pioneers, who went West to explore the roots and origins of popular Western culture - the Wild West. This version of the story should give you, dear reader, a little bit of framework for it is a much more ambiguous and poetical piece of work this time around and has personal meaning for its founder Federico Sánchez. The singer and head of Kamerakino is already known for the band's last two albums. The first album "Paradiso" is a wide range of beautifully but definitely not fashionable grotesque sketches of modern times' citylife's absurdities, which was surprisingly released on Gomma, one of Germany's hottest dance-labels. Despite all its strange weirdness the album contained a link to the then contemporary pop-music by Nick McCarthy who had been part of this story prior to being in Franz Ferdinand (during his Munich days he used to play bass with Embryo aswell, by the way). The second Kamerakino album, recorded by Albert Pöschl, was subsequently released as a picture disc on Franz Ferdinand's drummer Paul Thomson's label NEW!, and was given the name "Munich Me Mata", - a concoction of possible building and food-scapes and this time around not refusing to sound like a rock band. At the time of the albums release, Federico had already found new directions leading to what had to become "San Fernando" . It was founded in a basic research for freedom and dignity as shown in the Western mythologies of Hollywood movies in the late sixties when bands of the LA scene like The Byrds or Crazy Horse were rediscovering early American aesthetics and were therein searching for new forms of tribalism. We all know, of course, this story is a violent one. And it is at this point that "San Fernando" becomes part of this dark but fascinating chapter. Human nature remains a stranger within this pandemonium of mysterious miniatures, but as all cruelty happens here under a big blue summer's sun flushed sky, there's a relief that lies within this beauty and shines through in all these songs. The album artwork by Anna McCarthy wonderfully translates this vision. Ironically the historical process of "San Fernando" began not during a visit to the American West Coast, but during a stay on the African West Coast; the daily morning call of the muezzin reminded Federico of his childhood near the horse races when the announcer's voice sounded alienated by the aesthetic of the megaphone. So there it was again, the dream of being a self-determined subject with all god's powers in one's hands, as if being represented by a cowboy - a figure that children aspire to be. Pure romanticism or radical criticism of society, take your pick. Or even better, trade in your stinking car for a smelly horse. The horse will teach you an important lesson, no doubt about that. The story of the recording process finds Federico showing some of his dream-popesque miniatures to Albert Pöschl, producer and owner of Echokammer records and member of numerous music combos - Queen Of Japan, Dis*ka or Blacken The Black. Albert offered to record the whole album without any time restrictions, on the condition of including half a dozen of his own songs he had been working on already. Both were surprised how good their ideas worked together and christened their newly discovered land "San Fernando". So there we have it - a result of professional studio work and lo-fi track layering, comes together to a dense concentration of airy atmospherics washed in alienation. Apart from a swampy sax, occasionally played by Wolfi Schlick (The Poets Of Rhythm and The Express Brass Band), only string instruments are to be heard on "San Fernando" - nearly every song was a collaboration with the legendary Austrian musician Hans Platzgumer who added in some cello or mandoline here and there. His band HP Zinker was the first to be released on the label Thrill Jockey, way back in the nineties. The percussion is very restrained, mostly played by former Kamerakino member, Dizzy Errol. On some tracks the percussion is played by Saam Schlamminger, who has already worked with The Notwist. On some other tracks it is Sebastian Kellig from the London based 60s outfit My Drug Hell. Tom Wu, Sebastian Mmm and Relle Büst from Kamerakino play and sing on many of the other tunes. Relle is soon to release a magnificient album under the name of Parasyte Woman - as with this one, you should give it a try.
1. Everything 2. Soviel Schönheit 3. You Are A Refrain 4. Himmelfahrt 5. Sexuelle Raserei 6. Der Marquez 7. Spanish Mountains 8. MEZ 9. Nothin´ 10. Familie 11. Schüsse 12. Brandnew Toyota 13. Knistern 14. Stranger Than Paradiso 15. Sonntag In Meiner Stadt 16. Girls Around The Corner