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Bulbul is the Viennese unconventional, experimental rock band, known for its high energy and subtle and often eccentric craziness. The trio features guitarist Manfred «Raumschiff» Engelmayr, who found Bulbul as a one-man band back in the mid-nineties, bassist Roland Rathmair, aka Derhunt, and drummer Dieter (Didi) Kern, known for his work with Mats Gustafsson and Ken Vandermark. Silence! is the tenth studio album of Bulbul, and even though it was not inspired by the seminal book of John Cage by the same name, some quotes from the iconic book faithfully capture its nihilist atmosphere. For example: «I have nothing to say – and I am saying it – and that is poetry – as I need it.» or «Slowly we are getting nowhere – and that is a pleasure.» 

Silence!, like Bulbul’s previous album It’s Like The Earth Is Angry (Rock is Hell, 2021), focuses on intense and massive pulses, slowly dripping and opening wider spaces, with loops that evolve a dynamic life within themselves and deepen the feeling of inevitable grind. The album was recorded at the Viennese studio minusgroundzero and was released as a limited edition 12″ vinyl in a silkscreen printed gatefold with a 7″ single, which is integrated into the front of the album cover, and a download option.

The six pieces of Silence! are titled with a horizontal line of a certain length. The album begins with a nine-minute hypnotic and distorted, twisted techno storm with a strong ritualistic vibe, anchored firmly to the ground by Kern’s massive drumming. Once you surrender to the addictive rhythm of Bulbul anything could happen and Bulbul knows that when your legs start moving, they’ve already left your body, crossed the motorway, crashed straight into the roadside trees, and started cutting wood or maybe searching for small furry animals. The following pieces use the same powerful recipe but in much more spacious and slower dynamics, even with an intoxicating dub vibe on the third one. The fourth piece introduces a mysterious, dark and gloomy, cinematic vein but the last piece on the vinyl closes the circle with a raw and mean, massive pulse and makes the whole record work as an endless loop, again, anchored by Kern’s stubborn drumming before it all melts down. The single takes a different course and suggests explosive and brutal eruptions of dense beats.

Eyal Hareuveni

Manfred Engelmayr (g), Roland Rathmair (b), Dieter Kern (dr)

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