Mother Engine | Hangar
Label – Heavy Psych Sounds
Release Year – 2018
Country – Germany
Genre – Rock/Psychedelic/Progressive/Kraut/Stoner
Chris Trautenbach – Guitar
Cornelius Grünert – Drums
Christian Dressel – Bass
Within some genres of music whether it is progressive rock, psychedelic rock, krautrock, etc .. there are leaders and then there are followers. The followers try to trace a picture or try and sound like another musical entity whether it is a solo artist or a band. The followers are like sheep gone astray that left to their own devices seem very bland or someone trying to fit in with the popular crowd. 75% of music is primarily made up of followers. The followers just seem they can not think or create anything for themselves. They are always ‘YES -MEN,’ who want to appease every person with every little thing due to fear or lack of confidence or perhaps talent.
There is also the other 25% that are the leaders. The leaders are always the visionaries who lead by example. Those who are leaders create their own molds in which to make their own casts. These are people who create and innovate while others imitate. The leaders are often times regarded as foolish daydreamers who live and behave in in a altered reality. The leaders are persecuted, scrutinized and often times discouraged from perusing the passions, dreams and visions. These are courageous who cut there own path’s towards their respective destiny’s.
Why open this review with such a comparison you ask? Well by closer observation I have come to the conclusion the Heavy Psych Sounds and their act Mother Engine are in the 25% leader bracket and Mother Engine’s current release Hangar in the perfect example to this. With only three people in the band, Mother Engine certainly have a full sound of what we have come to expect from 5 to 7 person bands. Through true knowledge of their respective instruments and much practice
Mother Engine are a very unstoppable ‘Three Man Progressive Psychedelic Symphony’.
What they create is a vast expanse of quality music that requires a long attention span. This is due to the fact that there are only four tracks on the album at almost 20 minutes each. Think Bla Lotus’ Tube Alloy’s with much longer soundscapes. Without any further delay lets look into the world of Mother Engine’s Hangar through those four tracks.
Prototyp (18:23)- begins with a heavily stoner/psychedelic induced chord progression that works also as a heavy atmospheric introduction. There is a very special effect as if the band are giving the listener the illusion or appearance that some kind of spaceship or space probe is closing at its air lock. It is as if the band are going to take their listeners on some cosmic voyage into the unknown. Soon the special effects would give way and fade when a deep bass progression comes into the track. From there a rhythmic progressive frenzy ensues.
Soon the lush guitar atmospheres come in perfectly giving the listener a vivid melodic illusion of sheer melodic controlled cosmic chaos. The band certainly knows how to allow both stringed and rhythm sections to breathe and enjoyed very distinctly by the listener. Christian Dressel – Bass manages to perfectly execute a twofold approach between using the bass both as a melodic instrument and a percussive rhythmic instrument weaving in and out of both elements effortlessly. There seems to be nothing pretentious or contrived within the objective of the song composition. Mother Engine certainly has a great uncanny ability to create atmospheres of both stoner and psychedelic elements. With only three members in the band they manage with excellence to create a Stoner-Psychedelic Symphony that gives the listener the illusion that there are much more instruments and personnel involved.
Biosp(i)rit (18:08) opens up in such a precise way that has one perhaps recognizing a particular Jim Morrison and The Doors classic Psychedelic epic opus The End. Very soon after such ambient psychedelic intro, this song take on a very old school fuzzy distortion with how Chris Trautenbach – Guitar, creates it within the vast expanse of the song body. This is also supported with a deep rhythmic section that perfectly compliments the atmosphere created from the brilliant guitar. Following this great stoner symphonic introduction, the track takes on some very strong 1990’s alternative Stone Temple Pilots styled chord progressions and passages. To qualify that last statement, the band still remain very 1970’s progressive-psychedelic stoner minded and always on point to their main objective.
This track is one of those tracks that is perfectly ready for the band to give it to a live audience with the live treatment. It starts off very subtly building layer upon layer until it the absolute metamorphosis into the perfect ‘Jam Band’ song is manifested for both band and public consumption. One thing I am starting to notice going forward in the album is that the band do not layer tracks or overdub tracks to death in studio making it very difficult to give their music the above mentioned live treatment. At about the 10:00 mark the track presents the listener to come killer riffs that are perfectly complimented by some very deep and deliberate space rock style chord progressions and rhythmic sections. That brief yet powerful explosion of sonic creativity soon fades down a bit around the 13:00 mark. It settles with a simple guitar chord progression that is met with a very intricate rhythm section that takes on a progressive rock personality about it. This roars out with a heavily fuzzy distortion element on a straight away rock track.
Tokamak (21:29) opens up with a eerie suspenseful atmosphere. It has quite a Krautrock meets psychedelic Syd Barret era Pink Floyd style about it. In a era where some music is being formatted for hi fidelity sound and surround sound the effects presented in the opening to this one remind me heavily of the days of 1970’s quadraphonic sound which was the a pioneer to surround sound and hi fidelity. While most music is listened to through a headset, the opening to this alone is well worth a open air listening session through professional studio monitors if one has access to that format of technology.
The use of the guitar to form a screaming sound along with the drums created a rain water sound is a thing of sheer beauty and genius. When you are familiar with your instrument enough where you can manipulate the presentation with various effects not typically associated with that effect you are a well studied musician and Mother Engine certainly meets that criteria and it shows on this song. Another dynamic going on here is that to the very seasoned consumer to this brand of music and to the trained ear that can pick up analog sound. it sounds like the fresh needle of a vinyl record being spun like music use to be. This is yet another depth of talent that Mother Engine possesses.
At about the 9:00 mark the band take the song into a more progressive/psychedelic jazz atmosphere with the various time signatures and chord progressions. After that the band do what they seem destined to do in the recording process, that being the layering element upon chord progression in a line of melodic precept after melodic precept.
Weihe/Leerlauf (19:18) opens up with a beautiful Indian Classical Music oriental scale blended with the signature psychedelic space rock that the band have already established on the album. Here is another track where the band uses their expertise in layering their sound with various sub tracks that make for a full and warm composition. The band also has a very intricate ability to go from painting atmospheres in the song to straight away psychedelic jam band rock chord progressions. Their signature fuzzy stoner riffs still anchor this track like they have with the 3 previous tracks on the album.
The band allows for the song to move in various different directions leaving for room to be non predictable where the listeners attention remains focused within the album. This track sees the band utilize their ability and musicianship to meet this very purpose. This track has one of the most definitive and solid 8+ minute outro’s in the history of this genre I have ever heard. It is a true roller coaster ride of up tempo, to atmospheric space rock styles, to crunchy straight up rock riffs.
This one certainly took me by surprise. Mother Engine are a band that truly makes great epic psychedelic rock without it sounding imitated or just another redundant jam band session. In their improvisation their riffs and chord progressions all have a purpose and direction without them just being ‘Fills’ or ‘Cogs‘ in the system or machine. With Hangar, Mother Engine have another melodious project to build their respective legacy on. Mother Engine’s Hangar gets a 5/5.