(Heavy Psych Sounds)
They’ve rebuilt the ship that carries their name and they’re boldly going where they’ve never gone before.
German psychedelic-prog trio Mother Engine know how to run with a concept alright, laying out a sci-fi back story so finely honed and technical the pre-release info would have Asimov purring.
Picking up the tale after they crash landed on hostile but organic planet X-Alpha Wolf at the end of their last album Absturz, the explorers have painstakingly fired a fresh ‘engine’, pumped in a powerful new fuel, booted up a fusion reactor and even thrown a no-expense-spared shindig to mark the re-launch.
Each step is the inspiration for Hangar’s four separate tracks – Prototyp; Biosprit; Tokamak; and Weihe/ Leerlauf – across a double album either courageously creative or rampantly indulgent depending on your tastes.
The fact the whole nine yards is instrumental makes it all the more challenging, for band and listener both.
So is it all worth the effort? Should you sacrifice 76 minutes 18 seconds of precious life to follow Mother Engine’s evolution?
Well, yes, though maybe not necessarily all in one go.
Taken in a single sitting Hangar is a fair test of stamina for all the musical shape-shifting and sustained excellence of Chris Trautenbach, Cornelius Grunert and Christian Dressel.
A classic guitar/bass/drums combo they may be on paper but Mother Engine are many shaded and chameleon, gliding through slick rock grooves, spacey funk workouts, jazzy detours and perfect pace changes with ease.
They’ve worked hard to keep Hangar sounding fluid, fresh and engaging – hence the shards of sax and trombone on Tokamak or Weihe’s beguiling Eastern flavour – and have largely succeeded.
But only the truly dedicated could stay the course without a small break back on planet earth.