GATS - Gifts For The Howling Soul

GATS - Gifts For The Howling Soul

10 songs
39:52 minutes
***** **


Usually bands drown you in info material when they want you to review their music. And then, once in a while, you come across an artist who just drops you a few links that reference obscure webpages that leave you as clueless as before. So maybe in the case, just let the music do the talking.

What I do know about GATS is that it is a solo project by Berlin based musician Matthias Kanik. This project has neither official homepage not a Facebook presence, you on Soundcloud you can listen to quite a lot of his recordings. Gifts For The Howling Soul has been released as a cassette tape and digital download by photo-verlag, a company with a rather cryptic homepage.

It’s quite hard to define the nature of the ten tracks of this tape although one might try to see it as ambient musings infused by occasional krautrock moments. Half of the tracks come with guest appearances, all of them only giving their first name or coming with a pseudonym. Most of these provide haunting, ethereal female vocals.

The album begins with the gloomy Anfahrt, a reflective study of superimposed guitars building the mood for what is to come. The following Melanie (feat. Lagoon) is a krautrock track with beat machine, reminding me a little of Amon Düül II. Most of the time though, GATS prefer to remain in more meditative territory, giving the impression of recreating images of half-forgotten dreams. The pieces feel more like vignettes than actual songs, but the running time of quite exactly forty minutes prevents any kind of boredom. In the end, Gifts For The Howling Soul is a beautiful exercise in experimental songcraft. A little more of the krautrock moments would have pleased to the (kraut)rocker within me, but I did enjoy this dreamy ambient kraut album that should appeal to everyone who likes to lose themselves in flowing sonic universes that manage to retrain the charm and authenticity of an analogue bedroom recording.

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