Traumkapitän - Lust

6 songs
26:48 minutes
***** ****


It will be ten years this year that Luxembourgish band Traumkapitän released their seminal debut album Virtue Comical, and as soon as this band arose, just as soon they seemed to disappear. I remember their early sets when they were only a regular sized band, but then things kept growing, until there were about two dozen musicians on stage. Maybe that’s one of the reason why all of a sudden the band imploded. Band leader Christian Clement spent afterwards some time abroad, has been recorded with Kenyan musicians, and then like just out of nowhere, Traumkapitän is back!

Other bands would have announced their comeback with some sort of fanfare, but Traumkapitän went to Brussels where they recorded five songs, then Christian added one more self-recorded piece, and then put them on their Bandcamp page as single tracks that you can pay for what you like, and call this their second album Lust. It’s of course a minor disappointment that Lust is a really short album, at less then half an hour not even half as long as the debut from 2008. Also the whole thing feels a little loveless: there is no running order, just the information that half of the songs were recorded in early 2017, and the other half in late 2017. But that’s already it for the negative part.

The positive outweighs by a lot! After listening several times to Lust, I get the feeling that Traumkapitän have become more pop / catchy / accessible, so where I compared them the last decade to Henry Cow, I get this time an avant rock vibe with elements of progressive rock, jazz and classical music. I will make my way through the songs from latest to earliest, starting with a newly recorded and arranged version of Mr Self Dynamical which was already featured on the debut. It comes with a more classical vibe due to strings and piano, and it should also be noted that the new recording is nearly two minutes longer than the source material, allowing for some jamming towards the end. KukuKaka is on the one hand typical Traumkapitän, but on the other hand it shows the band from an incredibly matured side. The strings give it a certain disco touch, whereas the drums sometimes surprise with incredibly complex patterns, and in the end I felt reminded of 1977 era Van Der Graaf in a very positive way. This song also comes with some strange effects to show that these guys are still far away from being commercial. Who Is Who? is the strangest piece on Lust. Christian Clement is narrating a Dadaist poem by Hans Arp which he recorded on his phone, and provides some very experimental music. Weird, but in a good way! So much for the songs recorded in Autumn.

Up next some words about the February tracks. Hey Man feels like a tribute to Tom Waits: raspy voice, lyrical piano, ragtime brass musicians. Unusual again, but also a wonderful example of how much Christian Clement has grown in the last ten years. Keep Your Heat feels again somewhat like a proggy disco song, although a little more subdued than the aforementioned KukuKaka, but once again an unexpected highlight. Finally we have Counterblast, a slightly gothic sounding Counterblast whose repetitive note pattern reminds me of certain minimalist composers like Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

I dare say that the new songs are a slight improvement on those from the debut. The production is top notch, the musicians are at their best, and the songwriting is mostly divine. One keeps therefore wondering why Lust has become such a short album, and why the new Traumkapitän keeps such a low profile. As far as I have seen, they neither have an official homepage nor much going on on social network sites. It would be a crime to withhold their great music from the masses!

Back to Reviews