Wareika are a Hamburg-based electronica trio consisting of Jakob Seidensticker, Florian Schirmacher, and Henrik Raabe. Their first full-length release feels simultaneously familiar and deeply foreign, even alien. The familiar aspect of Wareika's music establishes itself quickly: this is house-based electronica with one eye on the dancefloor and one turned deeply inward. The grooves are insistent and steady, but the sounds that surround and accentuate the grooves are richly subtle; "Belonging" features Afro-beat guitars and Reichian chord pulses, while "Barracuda" uses the tiniest of glitchy percussion sounds to decorate its multi-layered marimba and clavinet sounds, and the brilliant "One Nation" deploys jazzy horns and a ska backbeat to complicate rhythmic matters a little bit. But listen more closely and things get even more complicated: what sound like displaced beats on "Ascending Descending" are actually a regular 7/8 pattern (not a time signature you're likely to hear very often in the clubs), and "Baracuda" is itself written in 5/4. There are cover versions here as well: a weird adaptation of the Doors' "Riders on the Storm," and an even weirder (and gorgeous) adaptation of the campfire-gospel classic "Kumbaya" (rendered here as "Facing the Sun"). "Prelude" is a rather aimless piano solo that frankly feels like filler, but the rest of this album is both soothingly trance-inducing and consistently interesting.
by Rick Anderson