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Boomkat Product Review:
Mani Neumaier has been a part of Krautrock experimenters Guru Guru for some 35 years now, although more recently he's made a notable guest appearance alongside the Acid Mothers Temple crew on the Psychedelic Navigator album (also released on Important Records). Sketches has been a work in progress for the past couple of decades, taking the form of a kind of audio journal culled from countless expeditions across Asia. Neumaier incorporates his own inimitable free drumming style into field recordings and indigenous percussion sounds such as gamelan and bamboo marimba. There are a few instances of Neumaier's solo drum showboating too: 'Auf Alle Felle II' being a particularly distinguished example of this. While Neumaier clearly has roots in jazz and avant-garde disciplines you can't help but feel there's an element of stadium rock lurking under the surface, just bursting to get out. There's no trace of Neumaier's inner Tommy Lee on pieces like 'Thaigenerator' though: recorded in 1987, Neumaier documents the generator next to his bungalow (which, as you'll have no doubt guessed from the title, is in Thailand) dying out in the middle of the night. Instead of switching it off and going back to bed, Neumaier ran to fetch his DAT recorder and later played some of his own percussion over the top of its oddly pleasing rhythmic hiccups, resulting in one of many intriguing and loopy pieces that make up this excellent disc. For other examples of Neumaier's eccentric electroacoustic frolics, check out the weird frog recordings later on, or the Balinese bodily percussion orchestra towards the end of the disc. Crazy, but enormously entertaining throughout.