Wednesday 30 November 2016

LABEL INTENSIVE: A 2016 Guide through the Magical World of Elektrohasch Records

By: Victor Van Ommen

 Elektrohasch is a German based record label run by the one and only Stefan Koglek of the almighty Colour Haze. The label’s beginnings date back at least fifteen to twenty years, somewhere around the turn of the century. Since then, Elektrohasch released records by bands who were part of a (European) post-Kyuss movement like Ugh!, Los Natas, and Gas Giant. All of these bands spent their time on Elektrohasch laying down songs with heavy, grungy riffing with a thick low end which resulted in albums that now, years later, are regarded as gems of the scene.

In an effort to shine a light on where the label stands today, we here at The Sludgelord thought it would be a good idea to place three of Elektrohasch’s newest releases side by side in one review. These records are Ahkmed’sThe Inland Sea,” Saturnia’sThe Real High,” and Hidden TrailsInstant Momentary Bliss.” Each of these records tells a part of the Elektrohasch story.

Ahkmed – “The Inland Sea

Drone and psychedelics mix really well on Ahkmed’s album “The Inland Sea.” There’s a hint of shoe gaze in the sound, which adds depth to the band’s otherwise consistent attack. Most of the songs rely on hypnotic, repetitive riffing, which is doused in a myriad of effects and distortions. The songs bleed into each other, making it difficult to pinpoint a standout moment. However, at five songs long that add up to an hour of mind-twisting instrumental rock, it’s fair to say that Ahkmed isn’t necessarily on the hunt for a catchy lick. Instead, Ahkmed seems to be on path to provide a listening experience. It’s this take on the craft that jives with Elektrohasch and as a result, “The Inland Sea” delivers breadth to the label’s sound and displays once again how far the world of psychedelics can go.

Band info: facebook

Saturnia – “The Real High”

What Saturnia and Ahkmed have in common is that they both provide the listener with an experience. Where Ahkmed reveled in a mess of guitars, Saturnia flies a gentler course. Saturnia’s new album, “The Real High” pretty much gives everything away with its title. The band creates smooth, textured music and does their best not to break a sweat. Despite Saturnia’s tendency to drift off into space with mind, body, and soul, the band manages to keep things minimalistic. In some ways, Saturnia drones along like Ahkmed, but they do so with a sense of melody that is both gentle and welcoming as it is inoffensive. Saturnia might not be for everyone because of just how gentle their sound is, but the album is no less immersive. They go full on stoned and swim around in the listener’s psyche, which is an element found in many Elektrohasch releases. 

Band info: facebook

Hidden Trails – “Instant Momentary Bliss”

Where Ahkmed  and Saturnia dwell in a broad sound, Elektrohasch has also released an album this year which is more precise and focused on “the song.” Psychedelic songwriting is a skill on its own. There needs to be a chorus, and this needs to be catchy. But the free-your-mind element to the music shouldn’t be forgotten, so the chorus needs to be balanced out by jams, swirls, synths, and a slew of other psychedelics. Hidden Trails have chosen to walk this line and have found a decent balance between the two. Their album “IMA” is therefore a mature listen, one that also dips into prog-rock territory, but because the band features old members of Hypnos69, this influence should come as a surprise to no one. In comparison to Ahkmed and Saturnia, Hidden Trails are less stoned but no less heady, which is an attribute of the psych rock genre that sometimes gets overlooked. Many think that psychedelic rock is only good when under the influence, but Hidden Trails shows that even on a sober mind, a song can take the listener along for a wild, trippy ride. By providing a home for Hidden Trails, Elektrohasch continues their quest to represent every color of the psychedelic spectrum.

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

As a label, Elektohasch has as a goal to provide a warm home for psychonauts. Whether you’re a listener of the music or a master of the craft, Elektrohasch is the place to be if you’re into psychedelic rock. Having hosted debut albums by the likes of Causa Sui, All Them Witches, and the extremely underappreciated Kings of Frog Island, Elektrohasch has proven time and time again that they are a front runner in the world of psychedelic rock. This year, with releases by Ahkmed, Saturnia, and Hidden Trails, Elektrohasch shows once again that they know their stuff.  Thanks to Elektrohasch for sending us these CD’s, your contribution to the world of music doesn’t go unnoticed.


Label Info: official