Time Wharp and CH Rom made ‘Radical American Hippy Kraut’ during the last gasp of the Pax Americana, an empire’s epochal decline marked by spiritual stagnation and both normalized and sensationalized social injustice. Spying out patterns of self-obsession in life under the quotidian drudgery of the 21st century’s most famous decrepit patriarchal republic, Wharp and Rom devised a project to spur on new life in these old times.
RAHK arrives full of colorful, clear electronic pop jams that smash the glass of screen life and breathe infinitely outward, inflating a delightful hall of mirrors. This music bustles in dialogue with ‘60s krautrock experiments: all pulse, no histrionics. Songs re-member onto anesthetized ears the breakneck jubilant motivation of driving on a highway clear of cars late at night, the world’s blurred movement lit just orange enough to make out waving synth lines. Insistent drums and bass inter-pulse like electric braids of hair on a head swirling methodically, promising something solid as earth. It amounts to a dance and a regard: upward facing, outward reaching, saluting a future worth ambling toward/into. Invite yourself to ripple into this music and admire its cool consistency. Windows down, no cops, no ads.
In my imagination “cosmic music” (kosmische Musik) speaks to a West Germany addled by nightmares of itself, stuck in hallucinations of barely-yesterday Déjà vu, experiences of catastrophe bifurcating between past and present, both sides of the wall, pendularly caged in chaos enacted by invisible, seemingly cosmic forces drawing maps over people. The expanse of this music is not a druggy zone of checking out. It’s an affront. With today’s fascisms strutting publicly, RAHK time travels to scramble their signals and generate a rumbling dissent machine meant to be played and replayed. Against nostalgia, RAHK grounds itself in the past as a form of communal defensive action. A holy bell toll closes the album together with celestial chords from a church organ. Someone’s Sunday has come to climax in ministration. Is that you?