. issue XVIII : v .

by barathron

. artist : mechanik .
. album : velut stella splendida .
. year : 2013 .
. label : r.a.i.g. .
. grade : a .


My biggest beef with the run of EPs by Mechanik, granted a small one in many ways, was that they were too short. Not that the cuts weren’t lengthy and hearty. They were, and they all delivered a full payload of Mechanik’s space- and kraut-heavy presence. Part of the cortex always wanted to ‘see’ them in the context of an album, but those EPs, like the tracks themselves, certainly stand on their own. Mechanik paints a big, deep space and didn’t need to make any more statements — but room to spread and to think bigger always seemed appealing, if not appropriate. ‘Lo and behold, I got what I wanted; delivered and delivery. Velut Stella Splendida takes more than its name from an early EP. Made up of new cuts and revisits to earlier trips, Mechanik’s full-length uses that wiggle room to maximum effect. Spreading out, digging in and heading out, Mechanik don’t retool their sound for a full-length or forsake the work those EPs did. It’s more akin to inflating to explore the extra room, a ballooning up that inhales as well to make them even more malleable to their new environment.

“De Tepenecz,” “Inner Temple,” “Bliss & Gloss,” “Russian Doll” and, partially, “Pills” get some new limbs here, opening to full wingspan. “De Tepenecz,” like new cut “Zum Traum,” tips the collective hat to earlier Floydisms. The obvious difference is that “Zum Traum” quickly discharges the cascading Syd-era sparks to fully ignite into a driving, determined and indefinite juggernaut, not unlike the album’s start with “Wherever You Are Is The Entry Point” and the vibrating and rubbery drive of “In The Faith That Looks Through Death.” “Pills” (birthed earlier with “Did You Have To Take So Many Pills?”) retains its sense of humor but gets a new body more suited to moving with the rest of Velut.

Both the revisits and the new songs stand as equals; neither are filler to the other. There’s no mistaking Velut Stella Splendida as anyone other than Mechanik, but their mixing of those two ingredients make for a fuller Mechanik, one that seems to fly a bit higher and coast a touch easier all the while taking on some weight, or at least casting a bigger shadow. They also can let out a bigger breath, or hold it in while it’s being patiently replaced, as they show on the more recent “Most People Were Silent.” The lengthiest outing here at 22-plus minutes, Mechanik strip down their suits to the essentials and forgo any finish line in pursuit of a tranquil departure. Before they go, though, Mechanik leave this space refashioned and still undisturbed, explored but not exhausted. If you’ve been consuming the earlier EPs, Velut Stella Splendida is the full course meal you’ve been waiting to savor. Space fans and krautheads alike will fully devour their plate, and even members of those camps that somehow feel the need to be mutually exclusive will end up sitting on each others’ laps, rather than just pulling up a seat next to each other.

by Mr. Atavist