Kamera Obskur “Bildfänger” (2011)

When I hopelessly fall in love with an album I usually need to share my naked emotions with the world: with Bildfänger I am almost tempted to keep them close to my chest. This work, as its own author admits, is not overtly mystical nor does it intend to be, but it has the power to reach the core of my inner layers, making me regress to early childhood’s subconscious chambers flooded with fuzzy summer light with its swirling, hypnotizing retro sounds. But as ever, I will just go with the flow, following the passion of my heart…

Constantin König initially worked on this album on his own for a couple of years, just after Lunar Aurora (where he played bass since 1998 under the moniker of Sindar) went into hiatus. Although he relished the opportunity to widen his artistic horizons, he modestly admits it was not an easy process to begin with. It is therefore quite astounding to see the result of his hard work finalized into such a stunning and fresh artpiece. I am keen to visualize this album as a painting because of its uplifting fluidity, because of its shimmering early summer colors and fragrant impressionistic madness enhancing the scattered moments of obscure eeriness. König’s preliminary sketches took time to find their final shape, but when it was time to fill the canvas with colors and masterstrokes, aided by a couple of musician friends familiar within the German avant-garde black metal circles, what a wondrous vision it came to be!

The album, let’s be clear, it is not Lunar Aurora, so do not expect sturm und drang kind of sweeping darkness but, rather, a multifaceted lysergic trip drenched in colour. Bildfänger begins by displaying an ominous flux of eerie AGMness, from which the peculiar, seductive voice of Dirk Rehfus (Grabnebelfürsten) immediately vanquishes any possibility of commonness. Kamera Obskur’s use of truly original clean vocals which constantly balance on a suspended ribbon between psychedelic/dreamy grace and stoned/histrionic humour, half-way between Portished’s Beth Gibbons (forgive me Dirk, it’s the nasal tone and the soulful aloofness) and Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson (the craziness) is genius. If the rare shouted/aggressive/twisted vocals, uncovering solid black metal roots (echoes of Eviga – and digging back even further, of Mr Niederwieser – can be traced, a suitable homage to exceptional Germanic performers), slot into the ever-changing movements of the music like an instrument playing its solo parts within the choral, harmonic whole, the clean singing – here vastly improved from the already notable efforts in Grabnebelfürsten – undoubtedly confers to this project the ultimate seal of uniqueness. Outstanding!

Soon after the first shot of AGMness, the atmosphere becomes more stretched, unpredictable and simply magikedelic. Background synth noises create flying-carpets of fuzzy uncertainty while Marcel Breuer’s trademark guitar (of AGBM Nocte Obducta and its wonderful prog/psych off-shoot Dinner Auf Uranos, both on Cold Dimensions) swells and morphs into bluesy tidal waves, mischievously breathing the sky in and out like Aeolus, King of the Winds. Voluptuous strangeness sweeps her perfumed arms around, chasing playful ghosts smilingly – one moment dancing on her tiptoes, the other dashing through ever-morphing pearlescent clouds. Soul-stirring blackened Cocteau Twins cascade upon disenchanted groovy dynamics á la Virus, slipping back and forth from chiming celestial fragments of Ulveresque electro/ambient to die for, only peppered with heavier chasms. Fulfilling thrusts into the dazzling lysergic territory of early Pink Floyd keep chipping at my soul through layer upon layer of mesmerizing fraseggios of liquid guitar. Joyful bucolic moments where the flowing partitures meet with Bernhard Klepper’s clarinet (also on drums, ex-Lunar Aurora) send subconscious flashes of a dancing Peter Gabriel dressed as a Flower in my head, heightening the ever-reeling kaleidoscopic retro-feel of the album. The epilogue, 8” long “Ende des Weges”, is a good example of the kind of scattered madness this album encapsulates: it starts all dark ambient, then proceeds, following the leads of the polyrhythmic drumming, to becoming a twisted post-black metal gush blazing with tension, only to mutate once again into a seducing psychedelic lull which blossoms as a progressive aria that reminds me of the mystical elegance of Trespass-era Genesis. All the above is tied in stylistically by the band’s iridescent palette, an Ariadne’s thread leading back to Constantin’s brilliant lunacy.

Kamera Obskur is a studio product and perhaps even a one-off project, but to my ears it does play like a spectacular chimerical organism moving in unison: an inspiring creature indeed. As ungraspable as a marveling trip, Bildfänger keeps morphing from slow to faster, from dreamy to anachronistic, from vaguely insane to subtly ironic. All seven compositions are speckled with ever-changing silvery facets bearing both the magic of today’s avant-garde spirit and that of the all-important past, and all seven of them fill me with the kind of magical wonder I experienced through my infancy, probably still in embryonic form. Somehow I cannot help imagining Constantin dressed half-way between Carl McCoy and Syd Barrett, walking through poppy fields (of the Nephilim) brandishing a black acoustic guitar whilst chewing on a twig, humming an obskur past/future song… I am probably totally off-track, but who cares: right now I am playing this astonishing debut for the umpteenth time, having crowned it as my album of Spring/Summer 2011, and beyond.

-Mystery Flame


Release:  April 2011
Label:  Cold Dimensions
Avantgenre:  Where Syd Barrett, Eviga & Beth Gibbons Meet.
Duration:  Irrelevant When On Repeat!
Origin:  Germany
Official site:  http://www.myspace.com/kameraobskur
Review online since:  06.06.2011 / 19:08:02


01 – Morgen Grauen
02 – Ein Rest Im Glas
03 – Sternenzerstörer
04 – Leichen Im Keller
05 – Die Sekunde Zwischen Schlafen Und Wachen
06 – Ballade Von Der Verlorenen Kindheit
07 – Ende Des Weges

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