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Under this awful cover (it actually deserves a prize for well-calculated bad taste) hides Reuber's best album and one of the biggest surprises of 2005. Nothing -- not even his activities in the duo Klangwart -- could prepare you for this delicate cinematic trip down psychedelic lane. Released four years after Ruhig Blug, Kintopp is a 40-minute suite in 13 segued parts that draws equally from experimental ambient (grainy textures, drones), German cosmic music (Klaus Schulze, Conrad Schnitzler, and a very Ash Ra Tempel-sounding "Schöne Fremde"), and psychedelic rock (a tribal jam in "Unterseeglaskuppelstadt," the general melodic feel of the album). Where the playing ends and the sampling begins is anybody's guess, but the instrumentation is impressive: guitars, keyboards, organ, lots of percussion, and even a harp in "Der Geheime Garten." Whether or not the album works well as the audio movie it is marketed as depends largely on each listener's imagination, but it doesn't need such a label to seduce. Reuber has succeeded in producing an album that reunites psychedelic rock, progressive rock, and electronic music, without resorting to nostalgia. And in the end, despite the drums, organs, and guitars, Kintopp remains an electronica record dominated by the lightness and cheerfulness that have become calling cards of the German label Staubgold. Fans of the Staubgold/Quecksilber connection will most probably enjoy this album, but it also could be embraced by a larger audience. In any case, it is a masterpiece of invention, concision, and cross-stylistic appeal.

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