It’s not just me who noticed the great progress made in the latest album by Karl Hector & The Malcouns, regarding their style and sound. I was fortunate enough to watch them live two years ago when this progression was still formulating.
It was a spectacular gig, that stimulated our consciousness through the mysterious afro grooves and psychedelic nods.
This interesting experimentation that led to Non Ex Orbis, has started on the previous record –Unstraight Ahead– forged with ambient kraut-ish releases as Rodinia and peaked with this years release. The key person that inspired this transition, in my opinion, is Marja Burchard. Marja is the daughter of late Christian Burchard, the mastermind behind musical collective Embryo.
The Malcouns were exposed to a lot of German psychedelic rock (kraut) and jazz of the late 60’s – early 70’s, such as Agitation Free, Annexus Quam and of course Can, and this fused quite well with their Afro-funk elements they suggested through their previous records. This exact afro sense is something that still exists in the foundation of their compositions, however, it has been interspersed. The new thing you hear in the record is the fusion with progressive/psychedelic rock, mentioned earlier.
For me, the big bang happens -quite early- after Crawling Through Your Mind, when the sound turns to a more cosmic approach. Slow drum beat, distorted guitar and synth effects create a spacey atmosphere that is present throughout the album, bringing in mind the mumbling of the repetitive lyrics and the trance feeling Kalacakra once fueled their evocative debut with.
The step forward is made so natural and all the new pieces fit well, that makes Non Ex Orbis their best album so far.