KRAUS IN THE PRESSES. ie reviews
Kraus – Interior Castle
Moniker Records is on an experimental electronic bender in the second half of 2014, and New Zealand’s grand manipulator Kraus showed up to join the fray. On Interior Castle, Kraus brings the logic of dancefloor krautrock and highly structured layers to a surprisingly medieval conclusion by mixing ancient acoustic instruments with distorted electronics. Unsurprisingly, Kraus refines his sense of humor by playing on his listener’s sense of regal delights and pure pomp by blowing up formalities with synthetic absurdities, princely charm fit for the noiseloft. The title song is one of the best examples of Kraus’s sense of rhythm and acoustic / electric layering, carrying a lead riff that sounds fit for an announcement or ceremony. By creating some audacious mythical world where relentless repetitions are cashed out in bulky, unorthodox instrumental combinations, Kraus supervises a dense dancefloor this time around. The limited tour tape is available at Moniker Records.
Posted by Nicholas Zettel on October 15, 2014
KRAUS: Supreme Commander: LP
Ground control to Major Tom? Come in, Major Tom? Formerly of The Futurians, Norman McLaren, New Zealand’s space rock auteur, launches his latest release on milky blueberry-colored vinyl. Kraus is less Man Or Astro-Man? than early Delirium and Psychic TV’s experimental atmospheric shtick. Minimalistic and somber in its sense of isolation and solitude, this could be the soundtrack for the transit of satellites. Completely instrumental, Kraus pulls from traditional Japanese folk dramatics, mimicking a shamisen with high-pitched guitar plucks, while laying radar blips over stretched out guitar chords. Beautiful, contemplative stuff; Kraus manages to keep it all in orbit. Recommended.
Kraus – Supreme Commander LP (Moniker)
This ends my obligation of reviewing all of the last batch of Moniker releases, like nine months too late, and while I doubt I will ever receive another, might as well go out with a blast. This is another incomprehensible Sputnik blast of reverb, scratchy surf guitar, pounding tomahawk drums and toothy, chunky analog synth details from New Zealand’s Pat Kraus, originally issued on a Dungeon Taxis cassette in 2011 (where it sounded incredibly saturated, almost like another record entirely, so credit – or debit – Robt. Manis for tidying it up for vinyl, depending on where your preferences lie), and presented here on gray vinyl with two bonus tracks. I made an earlier assessment of a Kraus record as being very Domino Rally-esque, and while this one has a few ballad-type songs (like the Sun City Girls nod “Sumer Is Icumen In”) that break that cycle, there is a reliance on the machines to get it done here that pulls from mid-20th century sci-fi culture that is rare to pull off without attaching some sort of greaser/rockabilly or insufferable nerd angle to it. It’s like if Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet got a chance to make a solo record. Great stuff from an artist that keeps on evolving.
24 June 2013
Kraus is, despite the Teutonic name, one guy from New Zealand who previously released this music on cassette and lathe cut single. It certainly deserves a wider release than it got, and Monicker, another Chicago-based label, has stepped in to do the job with a bang-up, gray marbled vinyl LP edition. Vinyl's bulbous mid-range adds some heft to Kraus's low-res Sun Ra meets 80s video game electronics and swaggering ashcan drums. If you like to imagine yourself as a time-travelling returning king of the arcade, this record is your jam. You probably didn't know you were sleeping on it before; this time, there's no excuse.
Signal to Noise Magazine
#65 Spring 2013
KRAUS (supreme cmmnder)
An absolute mind bender from New Zealand and courtesy of MONIKER RECORDS and of course the artists themselves, KRAUS. The band has been around since the mid-2000s and have put out many releases at this point, but I believe this is only their 2nd LP. And it’s quite a listening experience. An aural episode that wafts between ancient sounding synthesizer wandering, cosmic guitar experiments, and out and out fuzz in your face guitar shred is what you are in for if you dare to place this platter on your turntable (or whatever it is that you do when you listen to music). This is a wild record and one that I’ve been playing non-stop. There are no vocals to be found on this thing, this thing called SUPREME COMMANDER, this fried fried thing. This is a record made by folks steeped in experimental and underground music, clearly having been influenced by many strains of separate strange from all over the world, and time.The atmosphere presented here is both free and deeply polluted, a place I need to be, but know to be deeply corrupted. Yeah. The best moments here are when the influences sprayed across these 12 tracks collide full on, folding in on each other a bit. “Flute” stretches out early with fried guitar wilding out in the sweetest way possible over some distant drum thump. Only then does drunken synth emerge, pushing the drums more out front, slithering and slathering it’s electronic slime in every direction. Heady jam. Something here for the psych heads, the experimental weirdos, and the synth obsessed, and maybe even beyond that. Certainly an early contender for best of lists in my book.
9 April 2013
KRAUS Supreme Commander (Moniker) lp
Another weird and wonderful release from Moniker records, who have recently supplied us with not one, but two aQ Records Of The Week, the weirdo warped electronic downer pop of Jealousy, and the recent sci-fi synth outing from Stacian. Somehow, even though this sounds nothing like either of those, it fits alongside them pretty perfectly. We know next to nothing about Kraus, other than they're from New Zealand, and that this is a fantastically confusional collection of low fidelity, retro-futuristic sci-fi-scapes, slipping easily from murky, stumbling, analog synth dirgery, to woozy outsider space folk, and whatever fucked up stops lay in between.
The opener sounds like Amps For Christ, if he was obsessed with the sixties vision of outer space and the future, it's raw, and garage-y, primitive and spaced out, it's the musical equivalent to some cheesy Z-move epic with aliens and monsters, heavy on the reverb, and some ridiculous drum programming, something like the Shaggs crossed with Joe Meek. Whatever it is, it's awesome. And it only gets weirder. The second track, takes harp like guitar strum, dreamy and woozy, and wreathed in in a warped squiggle of insectoid buzz from some primitive analog synth, a dizzying abstract psych folk space ballad maybe? Who knows? We just know we LOVE it.
From there on out, it's like some wild ride through the cosmos, or at least through the cosmos as envisioned by a teenaged mad scientist who built a lifesize replica of the cosmos out of paper mache, and dressed his pets up like aliens, and offered the neighborhood kids tours of this 'other world'. THIS is the soundtrack, grinding buzzing melodies, over woozy warbly basslines, swirling malfunctioning electronics, warped swells, lazer blast blurts, totally inept drum stumble, the occasional burst of seriously fierce, super distorted fuzz guitar, plenty of percolating electronics and random percussion, detuned guitars, scrapes and hum, hiss and whir. Some tracks sound like drug addled, brain damaged surf rock, or caveman garage stomp, but with a twisted futuristic bent, while other tracks are straight up kitchen sink, weirdo mad scientist electronic experiments, all seemingly recording on a busted old tape deck, giving the proceedings a very Faxed Head like productions, constant warble and pitch shifts, drop outs, bleep and blurts. Some tracks coalesce into practically being real songs, but before they can become proper songs, it's as if something malfunctioned, machine failure, or brainmelt, either way, it seems the song implodes, and splinters, and is gloriously transformed into a fantastically demented slab of warped musical whatthefuck radness.
Another shoulda / coulda been Record Of The Week! You know what that means...
Kraus Supreme Commander [Moniker; 2012] 4/5
Kraus are fuckin’ weirdos. Supreme Commander’s jacket looks like the cover from Neil Norman’s Greatest Science Fiction Hits colliding with ancient, Neptune-exclusive minerals, but its tunes, while spacey in nature, aren’t from a galaxy far, far away unless the year is 1982 or so. Rather than employ modern technology to sound of-the-moment, Kraus seem bent on achieving the gist of lonely moon-beats being blasted to bits by guitar yawns and lazy lazers. Recklessly lay endless streams of digital bloopery that sound the way Tron’s grids look overtop and you’ve come a long way to achieving the Supreme Commander sound.
It’s not that simple, of course. Like most effective audio communicators of their ilk, Kraus appeal to us because they render ineptness alluring, turning stumbles into memorable moments, small warps into artful decorations, and obnoxious squeaks into sonic bliss. At times, it could be argued this is just another one of those records wherein a few dudes are piling aural debris sky-high in a walk-in closet in NZ somewhere, and maybe that’s how this thing was made. But Blues Control this ain’t. There’s enough innovation and careful obfuscation within the folds of Supreme Commander to tire out a thousand wagging Ducktails, and Kraus never fail to choose mystery over instant rewards, gaunt skeletons over fully fleshed beings.
You might call Kraus the Pumice of the more-violent-than-you’d-think earth’s core or a natural continuation of those early, self-recorded John Frusciante hometapes cool people can’t seem to jerk off to enough. The live-jamming of Side B cheapens what is, simply put, a thrilling Side A; don’t hold that against them, however, as track-in, track-out it holds together just fine. What’s irresistible, finally, about this music is that it’s challenging and instantly enjoyable at the same time, satisfying the academic urges of the no-fun knobs while lollipop-licking the laser lust of the EDMers, whose melted minds of Laffy Taffy need the constant stimulation Supreme Commander can offer. Just don’t expect graphics much further along than those first-edition TurboGrafx machines. Plug and play, ding-a-lings.
Tiny Mix Tapes
Kraus "Supreme Commander" LP
Kraus is some mysterious guy down dere in Noisyland, pumping away on some instrumental strangeness. Originally released last year on cassette, ‘Supreme Commander’ gets the wax treatment courtesy of upstart Chicago imprint Moniker Records. It’s not hard to hear why Kraus caught Moniker’s ear. ‘Supreme Commander’ is a unique take on home-recorded whatchamacallit, demonstrating a focus on sculpting a personal soundworld that brings to mind underappreciated fellow countrymen like Pumice and Crude, but remains singularly Kraus. Tracks like “Sumer is Icumen In” sound like a bedroom take on library music, while the grinding and noisy “Guinea Coin Blues” recalls King Loser honcho Chris Heazlewood’s solo work. I swear that the laser gun-like sounds in “Bath Tube” are made by a karaoke machine from the early Nineties. “Speed Queen” tests the patience a bit; too long with a go-nowhere idea. Side Two opens with some tape fuckery and various chopped/screwed sounds. Midway through the second side and I’m starting to think of these bizarre little assaults of cheap audio gear as soundtracks to extremely short science-fiction flicks. Then “Mono Lulu” comes on with its echoed-out rudimentary drumbeat and sharp pokes of Hawaiian guitar and I realize I want to hear what Kraus could do with something a bit closer to a traditional song. He’s got great sounds feeding into his tape machine, but I’m curious to hear him apply them to something slightly more conventional. Not that this isn’t a very cool record, cuz it most certainly is.(EEK)
kraus - sumpreme commander
the back story of a band doesn't matter. never really has. even though the blogs / zines / the hype generating media saturated world we live in would suggest otherwise.......IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC........i could care less where an album came from or who made it.....it could drop from the sky......and onto my turntable and if it catches my attention and sucks me into it's little grooves, THAT'S WHAT MATTERS..........
who is KRAUS? i've heard he was part of new zealand's finest space punks THE FUTURIANS, but that might just be a rumor. he is a mysterious fringe musician for sure, and i'd rather let the question of back story remain vague. i'm sure he's from the same musical corner of the universe as SUN RA, MOONDOG and BRUCE HAACK.....but that is as far into researching as i want to go with KRAUS......anymore context would just detract from this wonderfully obscuro rock record that just appeared one day on my turntable.......
MONIKER RECORDS might just wanna keep the secret to themselves anyway......after all KRAUS' new album SUMPREME COMMANDER is a BY FAR ONE OF THE MOST WAY OUT THERE PSYCH RECORDS OF 2012......and you wouldn't want some other indie label just stealing him away if you were MONIKER, right.....?
SUPREME COMMANDER starts off somewhere in the realm of KING BLOOD and PURLING HISS with it's crunchy blown out psych riffage, wondering to and fro, melting away anything that comes close to pop structure....... what KRAUS aims for is more of an experimental / electronic / analog sound collage that's part sci-fi b-movie soundtrack and part post krautrock mind expanding......and a whole lotta OUT THERE SOUNDS....... think TANGERINE DREAM covering FLOWER TRAVELIN BAND.....or CAN and KRAFTWERK playing NINTENDO together (or making a soundtrack for their epic video game battle)..........but probably more to the point, GOBLIN and THROBBING GRISTLE getting high and collaborating on SPACE ROCK album together...........
yes KRAUS has made a wholly unique and interesting AVANT ROCK LP THAT BEGS YOU TO LISTEN OVER AND OVER AGAIN. experimental music is not just for the knob twiddlers and feedback sculptors......KRAUS proves that with a guitar, a keyboard, some effects pedals and a drum machine (and occasional drums) that you can record something exceptional....with no pro-tools foolery......just the kind of analog tricks and tape manipulating that made all those ENO and RESIDENTS lps SO GROUNDBREAKING.........(both of which are also influences on KRAUS)
do yerself a favor and check out SUPREME COMMANDER below... because it's another highly recommended platter from MONIKER......
14 December 2012
Kraus Supreme Commander LP (Moniker)
That first Kraus LP got some rave reviews around my part of town, but its outrageous retail price (like $35?) kept me at bay. Guess I’ll have to hit an ATM, as Supreme Commander is a fantastic album that exceeds my already high expectations. Imagine that your favorite classic rock riffs were abducted from your favorite classic rock songs, probed by aliens, and eventually forced to act as b-movie props. “Kraus” is the name of the person who makes all this music (save for “Maryann”‘s drums on “Flute” and “Mono Lulu”), and he treats his sci-fi trips with the reverence they deserve. Parts remind me of the first couple Blues Control records, had Blues Control left any remote new-age signifiers behind and just smoked a lot of pot while watching one of those “classic horror movies” DVD box-sets that Wal-Mart dumps in giant metal cages and sells for like $2.99 per box. I love when Kraus really shreds (see “Guinea Coin Blues” in particular), making love to his guitar Randy Holden-style while pesky flying saucers circle his Marshall stack. Fans of King Blood and Human Eye that want to leave the rest of humanity behind need to search this one out pronto… it’s a record to be savored by humans and humanoids alike.
Yellow Green Red
01 December 2012
Beautiful vinyl upgrade for what was original a heavyweight cassette on the great Dungeon Taxis imprint: more excellent baroque/sci fi miniature psych epics with one foot in the basement and in the other in the fairground. Kraus is a one-man band who also plays as one half of fellow New Zealander Stefan Neville aka Pumice’s Olympus project and his solo jams are uniquely wiggy. Try to imagine a bunch of Saturn sides cut by The Magic Band and ‘re-mastered’ for maximalist no-fi appeal by Xpressway or how about The Shaggs play Twin Infinitives? Great to have this one vinyl, on endless repeat at VT this week, highly recommended.
Supreme Commander [CS; Dungeon Taxis]
Rarely are we afforded a glimpse into the Nega, the world as it would exist if we were born where toilets flushed in a different direction, football is played on a field shaped like a football, and summer happened during the winter. Not only is this the reality of label Dungeon Taxis, this is also the spaced nega-Earth of Kraus. Supreme Commander is nonstop sludge; rock ‘n’ roll brought back from its pissy grave. It’s angry, so it’s all fucks and shits in heavy reverb and distortion. Middle fingers play mindless solos as Jimi and Janis hurl their flaming skulls across an Apocalyptic sky. Flesh melts and hell opens up, because even though we allowed rock ‘n’ roll to be buried decades ago under layers of disco balls, boy bands, and fashion magazines, Kraus’ Ouija board reach-out has brought it back around to give us one last burning reach-around. It feels all so pleasurable, but the pain of an existence spent being tortured by demons are oh so worth it.
Tiny Mix Tapes
18 May 2012
Kraus is a New Zealand musician who collaborates with Pumice's Stefan Neville in Olympus. Here he combines kook-oriented space electronics with acoustic and/or amplified strummery of a slightly unhinged nature. The effect is similar to hearing two separate street musicians in a low key dub battle that slowly gets louder, more overtly psychedelic and well amped. Corrosive and masterful.
Supreme Commander by Kraus
One must keep in mind that at the heart of every dark jewel in the crown of belief lies the legend: "Dies For Your Mother" - and its obvious that is what Kaus is driving at here. Set against a trombone player so dementedly oblivious, the furious finger picking Kras displays a venomous and breathe taking mastery of the instrument. So delicate are some of the passages that you can imagine the moustache burning clean off. Don't believe the hippos, listen to the real punk and play this backwards all night long. Kraust is probably among the top dressers in the scene right now but dont listen to this man just go out immediately to your store and buy it soon as humanely passable.
Instant Pudding magazine
18 September 2011
Kraus, “A Journey Through The First Dimension With Kraus” 7″
Some readers will realize they have encountered New Zealander Pat Kraus before, as a founding member of the Futurians and in the mail-order duo Olympus. The deliberately chaotic and amateur aesthetic that I noted in Foxy D. reviews of both groups, while carrying on the proud NZ no-fi tradition, lacked something for me. However, Kraus’ latest solo release, under his last name, is a sideways step up, and a small gem.
Kraus’ EP is the first release from the Palto Flats label, and it adds an appealing layer to the stew with an ethnic tint. Recorded (one assumes) directly to tape in the vintage manner, Kraus’ tinny speed-picked guitar solos and blown-out hypnotic grooves are similar to the vintage 45s that wind up on compilations of vintage African and Asian rock. If those frequently delicious tracks are considered rock, then Kraus is presenting a warped version of post-rock: instrumental tunes using the basic building blocks of the original songs, oblique references, toying with time and structure. In this case, the quartet of tunes offers a beguiling alternate-universe portrayal of vintage ethnic pop.
Side A opens with “Sherry,” a mesmerizingly disjointed track. Organ, guitar, and drum tracks play completely out of time with each other but somehow line up at the ends of phrases. “Prance of the Ravening Eagle” is tighter, made up almost entirely of a massive guitar solo over organ. Side B’s “Let Me Eat Cake” is more chaotic and experimental, with blipping modular synth tones and organ arpeggios stretching and blurring a melodic fragment. “Pangs of Lorna” is more of a party track, a coda that I wanted to go on for far longer. Although of humble origin, this is definitely worth tracking down, this one.
22 March 2012
KRAUS A Journey Through the First Dimension with Kraus 7" (PALTO FLATS)
Kraus has been kicking around the underground for a bit now... we first wrote about him a couple years ago, and apparently he's also the drummer in The Futurians, whose Spock Ritual album was so good I'm going to have to pull it back out right now. I think I even heard that Kraus and the 90s-00s New Zealand noise/tapes/Bananafish stalwart known as Witcyst might be one and the same person. I don't think it's true, but both are certainly one-man projects, although Kraus is a lot more song-based and rock'n'roll than the outer limit noise of Witcyst. Still very strange stuff, all instrumental (as far as I've heard), oddly uplifiting, oddly cinematic, but with grungy weird distorto tones. In addition to a bunch of tapes and CDRs, he released an LP about a year ago which I have not seen nor heard. However, this new 7-inch single landed in my lap the other day, and it picks up right off where the earlier material I did hear left off, if anything in a still more direct and accomplished manner, a fine introduction to the man's work, cheaper than the LP, available from paltoflats.bigcartel.com.
15 February 2012
A Journey Through the First Dimension with Kraus by Kraus review
One-man band Kraus is a national treasure.
Auckland’s Pat Kraus is one of the most quietly important and interesting people making music in New Zealand. With Flying Nun’s recent 30th anniversary, much fuss has been made of New Zealand music lately. But surely the last thing anyone wants is yet another sluggish and bloated reunion from the Verlaines. A little digging beneath the surface will reward you with cheerfully subterranean and thrilling artists who are actually national treasures, such as one-man-band Kraus.
Although largely anonymous, Kraus is also a cofounder of and former drummer in Dunedin noise rock group the Futurians. He happily makes his solo work easily accessible via his website if you write to him. I first did so in 2005, after hearing a Kraus cassette played on a friend’s clapped-out car stereo. He sent me a “Kraus Care Package” – many CDs and a beguiling note, typewritten on a page ripped from an Alison Holst cookery book from the 1970s.
Tacitly self-sufficient, Kraus masterfully uses synchronised loops, homemade synthesisers and free-range guitar laced with homemade fuzz pedals. This could easily be mistaken as a crude and naive approach to music-making but Kraus is technically savvy and considered. He seems to carefully gauge his very singular aesthetic. Scratchy and beautifully mangled guitars are tempered with a strangely sweet and wistful honesty. Even the stunning cover of his new four-track EP is nostalgic.
The scrunched-up and rinsed-out Let Me Eat Cake is what a primitive Jean Michel Jarre could have sounded like if all his pristine and flash gear was old and broken. Inspired by the historical romance novel Lorna Doone, Pangs of Lorna is a nicely fruity and clattering progressive folk offering. Like a science fiction take on an electronic Captain Beefheart peppered with Krautrock and catchy mutant pop, A Journey Through the First Dimension with Kraus is woozy and hypnotic. Although instantly listenable, these kaleidoscopic pieces grow and reveal more alluring hooks and facets upon repeated listening.
NZ Listener Issue 3742
28 January 2012
Kraus – A Journey Through the First Dimension with Kraus 7” (Palto Flats)
Following a much-loved full-length, New Zealander Kraus (Klaus, drummer of Futurians, member of Olympus with Stefan Neville) really brings the goods on this four-song outing of pure Martian stomp. Analog synths, gritty low-end rhythm tracks, tangled/stumbled guitar melodies and above all DETERMINATION to get something done really push this one along in a way that the Kraus LP really didn’t (or didn’t need to, as these recordings may predate that work). These songs sound like progress, and it’s a doubly amazing feat as there aren’t really songs here; more like a bunch of low-tech machines set forth to follow a complex pattern, and listening to them complete it over and over is fascinating enough. It’s like having a half-mile of slot car track, infinite terrain options, and the will to build something huge to scale. Also reminds me of those film clips of “The World’s Biggest Domino Rally” that would get shows at the back end of local news or human interest shows on TV back in the ’80s, where a bunch of dudes in a big room set off a huge chain reaction, patterns, etc. Really dig this one a lot. Fusetron might have copies if you’re looking. No direct link to the label’s Web presence, though if you look hard enough on Facebook you can find a picture of a guy holding a copy of this single between his teeth. (http://paltoflats.bigcartel.com)
Dusted Magazine: Still Single Vol. 8 No. 1
02 February 2012
Kraus – Faster Than the Speed of Time LP (Dilletante Courtoisie / Bimbo Tower)
Kraus is a New Zealand musician who has some sort of dotted-line connection to Witcyst (remember that group? It’s been reduced to pictures on a blog!), and joined Stefan Neville of Pumice in last year’s ponderous Olympus LP, Bold Mould. On his first solo vinyl, Kraus bends a variety of wily Spanish guitar around a mess of synthesizers and comes up with a half-translucent/half-mutant rockin’ blend of drone, rock, and electronic abuse. Some of the fourteen tracks here literally vanish from the audio field without every atom of your attention, others bounce along like a ‘70s sedan with hydraulics (“Royal Princess” in particular sounds like a dopplered, Zaireeka’d electro static burnout take on “Two Headed Dog”), others command a solemn, bullfighting presence, undermined by warbly synth and tape loops. It sounds daunting but I can assure you this is very much of the moment, in line with acts like Pumice, Blues Control and Peaking Lights in its endeavor to confuse and thrill. The label it’s on has opted for the art & music approach, hiring some art world brothers to paint the cover image, and tacking the music together as a total package. Personally I’m a bit more interested in the music, a longtime hometaper stepping out into the world with idiosyncratic flair. 300 copies.
Dusted Magazine: Still Single Vol. 7, No. 3
31 March 2011
KRAUS Golden Treasury CDR (NO LABEL)
This guy is from New Zealand and he seems to be a real scene of one, sketching out home-recorded DIY miniatures that take a non-kitsch soundtrack/lounge/retro feel and blast it with the destroyed rock moves that his countrymen are known for. It's some pretty singular stuff and if you go to http://kraus.co.nz and contact Kraus it seems that you can get a free copy of this album. He also put a fine tape out on the Dreamtime Taped Sounds label, but it's probably hard to get at this point.
Jan 2009 - Apr 2010
Kraus "Golden Treasury" CD-r
I don't recall exactly when or where I first came across Kraus' music. It's been a few years now. His vintage sounding electronic songs generally take the form of a standard pop tune, but that's usually where the expected ends. “Golden Treasury” is a lot like his earlier material in that it takes the above and warps, either by glitching up beats or using broken and/or homemade instruments and effects, what is otherwise mundane, or even top-40ish music. It's a marriage of free noise aesthetics and methods with slightly off-kilter popular music. As was pointed out in the FD feature, the songs have an undeniable golden-era, sci-fi film OST influence, all blending together in a naive and primitive melodic racket. On this record, the nods toward komische atmospherics which adorn many of the base structures are intuitive and seem to be native to these distorted and twisted ditties; that said, nothing here quite qualifies as brut material, as the music is often too gentle at heart, and the sources and influences too recognizable. One never quite escapes the utter accessibility of these songs, which lends a pop-art sensibility to the work. However, there isn't an overwhelming will to subvert happening either. The artist is genuinely more interested in the results of a 'what if' method rather than lobbing lawn darts at easy targets. This also suggests the truth that he is a purist, doing his work for its own sake. When I first discovered him, all he asked for was my address. A couple of weeks later two CD-R's arrived from New Zealand, adorned with a heavy cardboard cut-out of Optimus Prime and other cultural shlock—not to much, but the kind of material which makes each release special. 6/10
10 November 2009
Perfectly poised between analogue electronic mastery and '60s guitar awesomeness.
Sounding like a Soviet-era Dr Who special invaded by '60s psych guitarists, Auckland based musician (and Futurians alumni) Kraus' Golden Treasury is one of the most enjoyable and effortlessly adventurous albums you're likely to hear this year. An assured collection of clattering, pop-laced tunes mixed in with lo-tech electronic excursions (often at the same time), these tracks recall the knob-twiddling works of Raymond Scott/Joe Meek with Xpressway-informed undercurrents. A reknowned maker of electronic musical devices, Kraus has recorded this LP with an impeccable ear for aural aesthetics. These tracks are bite-sized chunks of goodness - check out second track O'erdose with it's caveman playing-guitar-on-a-mountaintop vibe, hints of electronic buzz peek out from behind hermetic soloing. The deployment of mysterious (Middle Eastern?) guitar scales adds to a feeling of distant worlds revealed. Happening for Lulu is a catchy gem featuring some lovely flute alongside spot-on guitar licks, while the tipsy tumbling of sherry keeps listeners enjoyably off-balance. The excellently titled Ode to a Delicious Pudding says it all. A winner - worth tracking down.
Real Groove Magazine
KRAUSS - GOLDEN TREASURY (CDR, private)
This is one of those things that leave me puzzled: is it a demo? There is no label mentioned, not even an address. Just eleven tracks, some vague credits. I think its from down-under somewhere, but the mailer has been trashed already. Maybe these things would be best if ignored, but while not all the tracks are great, some of them are really quite nice. Likewise as there are no credits mentioned, its hard to say what is what. But my best guess is there is a guitar, an organ, drumcomputer and a rudimentary form of sampling. In 'Dog On The Loose' this leads to some nice garage like psychedelic music, but for the same matter things are off the track in 'Hurtling Towards Doom'. Some pieces are too much improvised and its hard to keep up attention, but then the nicer thing is that all of the tracks are quite short. Perhaps all of this is not really my cup of tea, both musicwise as well as the presentation, but at least there is a couple of decent tracks around here. (FdW)
Address: none given
28 July 2009
Drumming for Dunedin's Futurians, Pat Kraus must've gotten his fill of punk action, because this solo tape offers pure, mellow space. The Facts alternates between two distinct styles, both refugees from a forgotten 70s reel: fried guitar groovers and sci-fi Sagan-style cosmic (but not kosmiche) studies. He pulls both off with equal aplomb, making me yearn for an imaginary past of smoked-out, wood-panelled rec rooms bedecked in shag.
The A-side contains the bulk of the rock moves, most all of which are languid, instrumental Pebbles-worthy excavations. Extra points for the fantastic organ melodies that drive a few tracks. Occasionally the sound becomes a bit too chilled, and the energy lapses, but overall Kraus maintains a smooth, late night, lava-lit burn.
The B-side is the more electronic and austere of the two, but even its deep-space freeze it has a Tod Dockstader-like playfulness that distinguishes it from the frowning Charlemagne Palestines of the world. A few tracks ring hypnotic and vacuous like the recent Eleh project on Important, but without the fussy, engineer-geek edge. Others have a Marvin the Martian goofiness, bubbling with synthesizer giggles and alien chatter.
This is the second edition put out by Lieven at Dreamtime Taped Sounds, and you've got no excuse if you miss it this time around. Pat Kraus will even give you a free copy if you're in New Zealand and you drop him a line.
Foxy Digitalis Tape Hiss #30
15 April 2008
Kraus The Facts CS
Back over to the Dreamtime Taped Sound label for another tape, this one from Kraus, called The Facts. Not too easy to figure out any info on this one, but apparently this is a member of The Futurians, that NZ band that released the great disc Spock Ritual in I think 2006. And hey, this tape is pretty great too. Varied instrumental tracks that get into particularly crude and spacey post-SCG ethno-punk, floating electronics, and I'm not even sure what else but I know I liked it. He has a website here where you can get more info and maybe download some tracks.
February 14 2008
the facts c30
[2007, dreamtime taped sounds]
while i doubt that the name of new zealand's pat kraus will instantly ring many bells, i'm sure that a couple of you have heard or at least heard of futurians, a band that pat drums for. perhaps a bit more obscurely (to those outside of nz) were the aesthetics, for which he did the same.
before i listened to this tape, i went to discogs to see if maybe someone had posted the track titles (because i can't decipher most of them), and while that didn't turn out to be fruitful, something else caught my eye: the notes, which seem like the label's description. "a 30 minutes book on tape, explaining the link between atlantis and u.f.o.'s.". i also wasn't assuaged by the fact that one of the genres listed was non-music and the style, book on tape. suffice to say, i didn't know what the fuck this was going to sound like, maybe that was the point? if so, congrats on a job well done.
i can cheerily report that the books on tape / whole non-music thing, just a goof. this tape, however, is not. the facts is a very impressive, slightly schizophrenic (okay, maybe more than slightly), trippy journey. contrary to kraus' propensity for noise rock in a band setting, this particular solo affair balances out catchy guitar and synth-driven instrumental songs with spacier electronic ones. huh, maybe the discogs notes weren't so far off base then?
kraus starts off strongly on the a side with dual memorable layers of guitar. i like the balance of one being tinny sounding while the other is fuzzed out and more assertive. on the heels of a downtempo segue comes the killer sebastian. it's lead by an outstanding main organ synth. the percussion does a great job of enhancing the already wonderful music. the track's breakdown, when the synth is swapped out for some rad guitar playing is another highlight. real nice. after two of the more conventional songs on the cassette, pat will start to get into the spacey electronic work. for me, these pieces come across as interlude-like diversions. most of them are warm, have an extra-terrestrial feel, are repetitious, but they can't quite get of the shadow which is the actual songs. due to that reason, it's hard to think of them as anything other than transitory. that's not a bad thing, they just don't leave a lasting impression on me. after that, it's back to the tunes. i love the bassy throbs. for some reason this makes me think of a 60s spy film that takes place during a beach party in california. beautiful. the real winner on this one, though, is the back and forth trade-off between a ? and the mysterions-esque synthesizer sound and guitar jamming plus clanging cymbals. the drastic shifts in sound, all while retaining that central rhythm, is remarkable. the side ends with a more somber keyboard-led instrumental.
the second side is the more electronically-inclined of the two. interestingly enough, the second piece has a dolphins into the future feel to it. next, kraus revisits his sunny, 1960s place. the draw here is the scaling guitar chords in tandem with the successive snare hits. the track that follows is my favorite of the electronic pieces. there's not very much going on; it centers around two looped pulsing tones, but what makes it interesting are the brief, but frequently recurring, drones which waft about the coldness.
good news for you kiwis, kraus will gladly hook you up with anything he has for free. you lucky devils. for everyone else, if you want more kraus, but are too cheap to buy anything, he has quite a few full song downloads available on his website. also worth checking out while over there are his interviews that he conducted with himself. well, not quite with himself, he just used other people's interviews, and responded for the artist. i found it pretty amusing.
21 November 2007
Kraus - Lamentations of an Ape [2009-hästen & korset]
Kraus fait un genre de rock lofi semi-électronique et a demi expérimentale. Dans le genre c'est la première fois que j'en entend et je doit dire que je trouve ça pas mal intéressant comme musique. La cassette est une ré-édition d'un CDr publié en 2005 par le maintenant défunt label Foxglove. Drôle d'idée de ré-éditer un album en cassette mais de c'est temps-ci ce médium autrefois désuet est devenu très a la mode dans les cercles fermé des musiques spécialisées, un peu comme le vynile l'es devenu au fils du temps. Donc très belle présentation, même que ça un look presque professionnel, la cassette jaune est dans un boitier lui-même a demi jaune, jolie. La musique est intéressante pour c'est percussions parfois acoustique, parfois électronique. Des sons de synthétiseur sont intégré dans le mixe, ça ajoute une touche de psychédélisme au tout. Somme toute une belle surprise que j'ai reçu par la poste. Pour plus de détail sur Kraus et sa musique aller voir son site web pour y télécharger sa musique et lire sa bio.
(Translated by Google Translate): Kraus is a genre of rock lofi semi-electronic and experimental half. As such it is the first time I hear and I must say I find it quite interesting as music. The tape is re-editing a CDr published in 2005 by the now defunct label Foxglove. Funny idea to re-publish an album on cassette but it's time they used this medium has become obsolete very fashionable in the closed circles of specialized music, much like the vynile have become the son of weather. So beautiful presentation, as it look almost professional, the tape is in a yellow box itself has half yellow, beautiful. The music is interesting for percussion is sometimes acoustic, sometimes electronic. Synthesizer sounds are integrated into the mix, it adds a touch of psychedelia to the whole. All in all a great surprise that I received by mail. For more details on Kraus and his music visit his website for downloading music, and read his bio.
10 October 2009
Kraus "I Could Destroy You With a Single Thought"
New Zealand has been responsible for producing some truly bizarre, imaginative and frontal lobe frying noises for years now and this recent offering from one-man science fiction sludge-punk terrorist Kraus is certainly no exception. Those of you who may have heard the "Emily" album on Campbell Kneale's Celebrate Psi Phenomenon label (released under the moniker Prince Kraus) or anything by The Futurians may have some inkling about what musical-hemisphere this disc lies in.
Analogue B-Movie synth bleeps nudge up against duelling cock-rock guitar riffs and some Maureen Tucker on Ketamine style tub-thumping, occasionally collapsing into disarray like someone just walked into the room and pummelled Kraus's four-track into pieces with a malfunctioning Sinclair ZX Spectrum. It's hard to describe, but bands such as Men's Recovery Project and post-Six Finger Satellite group Olneyville Sound System certainly spring to mind, or if The Residents had put out an album on Skin Graft or Bulb/Load records - the hipster's current Plat du Jour - it may very well have sounded a bit like this.
Whilst this kind of thing doesn't usually do it for me, this little slab of sound is quite original and it's certainly a lot of fun. If you're fond of any of the bands mentioned here or are generally just into some pretty far-out shit, you could do a whole lot worse than to pick up a copy of "I Could Destroy You with a Single Thought". 7/10
25 May 2005
I COULD DESTROY YOU WITH A SINGLE THOUGHT, Kraus (try PO Box 1320, Dunedin).
The superpowered arrogance of the title matches the pains taken to craft this 10-track instrumental album, somewhere between a pop Moog record and the harshest no wave. Short melodic and rhythmic figures are worked hard into the knife edge between queasy claustrophobia and rigorous brilliance. By turns evoking glam rock and cold wave, Kraus takes up the Crude aesthetic and makes the most exciting contribution in a while to the local underground.
New Zealand Listener Issue 3372
25 December 2004