Haus Arafna – You


Among the thousands of bands producing all manner of music there are not many who are instantly recognizable.

Among the alternatives one thinks of:
Rammstein’s rumbunctious rock.
Muslimgauze with his indo-arabic ethnic musical creations.
Skullflower with its multilayered hyperdense ax work.
Novatron / Transitional with Dave Cochrane’s deeply resonating string bass with partner Kevin Laska.
Schloss Tegal’s sinister bleakly black compositions resulting in horror industrial.

The duo of Mr + Mrs Arafna hailing from Braunschweig (Brunswick), an old town going back to medieval times largely known for its bregenwurst (brain sausage) and ample asparagus harvest, have produced their quite unique blatantly spare, minimalistic electronics for many years now. They also have their own in-house label featuring a side project : November Novelet plus a handful of other bands.
To my thinking their music is a direct if far removed descendant of Kraftwerk and Talking Heads.

Their early recordings are trademark aggro and angry and quite raw, an acquired taste.

Then in 2003 came the album: Butterfly a much more polished milestone and well received. 

Now, 7 years later comes “You”. Listening to this several times ones gets the impression of ripe maturity, everything has the mark of being carefully thought through. The progression from the early work is obvious.

To understand their music you must know that Haus Arafna uses neither instruments nor computers (at least up to: Butterfly).

Instead they use oscillators – frequency modulation and voltage control. The unique sound is often bleak or dismal with subdued rhythms, humming-reverberating hovering sounds or droning electronics.

The song is from spoken-melodic to conversational to distorted angry shouting with both partners participating on occasion. All this is frequently split by unexpected lightning intrusions or sudden stops signaling a change of direction.

The tracks are often underpinned by grating or screeching noise.

All this results in profoundly abstract, atonal and often very abrasive-acerbic music.

Some tracks are dancable but likely too abstract for a floor used to a diet of regular beats.

In all a really good work of unusual music filling a gap in a library which no one else can bridge, a full 10 points for this album.

Rating: 5/5

Rolf Rawe (Holy Shit)


Haus Arafna
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