Austrian, Vienna-based prolific guitarist Martin Philadelphy formed Retrograde as a musical vehicle that would have the swinging grooves of jazz, the freedom and experimental edge of free jazz, the depth of the blues and the raw power of rock. Philadelphy, who is known from his duo with Danish master drummer Kresten Osgood as well as his boundless love for music in all its forms, wanted to record the music the Retrograde band as quickly as possible and keep it fresh and raw, let it breathe, and enjoy every note. Or as he defines it: «playful and under pressure and at the same time leaning back as if you were already 75 years old».
«Retrograde II» follows the outfit debut album from 2016 and features bassist Stefan Thaler, drummer Niki Dolp (of Shake Stew and Gnigler. Both Dolp and Thaler are playing too in Philadelphy Trio) and trumpeter Martin Eberle (of Kompost3 and 5K HD), who guested on the debut album. This quartet realizes Philadelphy sonic vision with captivating passion and a sense of irony. The album was recorded at Janka Industries in Vienna in April 2021.
Philadelphy is a guitar hero that does not bother himself with pyrotechnical solos. He focuses on serving the music and adopts Frank Zappa’s timeless advice to shut up n’ play yer guitar. He composed most of the songs, two were written with Thaler and one by Dolp. All songs highlight Philadelphy’s inclusive aesthetics, and each one has its own distinct atmosphere, but some songs like «Parademie» swing between reggae to Balkan grooves and spice its infectious recipe with cartoonish voices. Eberle’s ethereal playing adds a poetic touch, especially on «Tele Schinese». Philadelphy delivery of New york-based poet and performance-artist Jane LeCroy’s «Slingshot» («My love is a slingshot, not a boomerang / I Stick once and not again / I do the damage / use the door / I’m ok by myself…») capture the ironic, hedonist essence of the poem. Dolp’s song «Mantra für Mavie» is the only ballad on this varied album, still, a heavy, distorted ballad.
Martin Philadelphy (el.g, v), Stefan Thaler (b), Martin Eberle (tp), Niki Dolp (dr, perc)