Caspar Brötzmann Massaker

Mute Massaker

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Re-forming his trio with a new bassist and drummer, guitarist Caspar Brötzmann also seemed to take a slightly different tack on this album. One of the chief attractions of his earlier records was the sense of being on the edge of chaos, as though the rough-hewn rock structures were only just capable of holding in the surging music he created. Here things are substantially streamlined. Brötzmann's tone is cleaner and somewhat less fuzz-laden than before, and drummer Robert Dammig's attack is crisper and more precise than his predecessor Danny Lommen. The question is, does this change in stance make for better music? Sadly not. Some of the tracks are surprisingly formless even by previous Massaker standards, crossing the thin line into relatively aimless noodling. At other times, as on the cut "Indians," the influence of Jimi Hendrix, which had always existed as a subtle undercurrent, becomes overt. Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it seems to drive Brötzmann into displays of pyrotechnics, an approach at odds with his more successful strategy of sublimating himself into the group sound. While Mute Massaker might not be a bad introduction for the listener otherwise unaware of his work, and is by no means a bad album at all, fans who were hoping for a continued investigation of the riches unearthed on Brötzmann's prior record, Home, might be disappointed.

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