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Werkraum - Unsere Feuer Brennen!

Werkraum are a fine example of the new German folk, as exemplified on their debut CD, Unsere Feuer Brennen! This mysterious outfit led by Axel Frank have brought fresh ideas to what's fast becoming a clichéd genre. Werkraum display a strong romantic soul, drawing on the works of Rimbaud and Baudelaire. The nucleus of the sound - naturally - revolves around acoustic guitar, here ably supported by orchestral flourishes, strong trumpet scores and strident percussion. From the opening recital from Downland's 'A Pilgrim's Solace', sounding not unlike Elijah's Mantle, Werkraum slip into Germanic acoustic folk intertwined with a number of abstract electronic pieces. These range from cold electronics to looping church organs. The muffled voices and distant explosions sound as though they are being piped in from the world wars. Their plaintive folk music is beautifully polished with Axel Frank's voice largely strong, emotive and melodic. On a number of tracks the music takes a more classical direction, especially on 'Hohezeit' where the uncredited female vocalist lends the music ethereal warmth. Unsere Feuer Brennen! isn't flawless though. At several points the percussion clashes with the music (especially on 'Ewigland' where martial percussion is set against shimmering guitar).

Nick Nedzinsky of Lady Morphia and Jason Thompkins of Harvest Rain guest but its Axel Frank who deserves the real accolades. This an intriguing release, housed in a beautifully rendered gold and white digipack offering little information, but tackling a vast array of musical styles. On the basis of Unsere Feuer Brennen!, it isn't any wonder Werkraum are garnering such interest in an over-crowded and stale musical genre. For more information go to