Alexander Paul Dowerk 2023
A symphony of screech from oblivion: Berlin master of Touch guitar finds a different, if still fierce, voice to express his zeitgeist feelings.
There’s no rest for Alexander Paul Dowerk who has, over the last decade, been juggling quite a few projects, including BLAST UNICORN, DRESCHER UND WEMMSER, HYPOSTASE and ANCHOR AND BURDEN, so one can never know what to expect next from the German musician, yet the 40-year-old’s return to ZWEITON, his oldest endeavor, is a totally unforeseen prospect. That enterprise’s first and only album was issued back in 2012, and seemed all but forgotten, which might be good, because “Gestalt” doesn’t directly follow up on “Form” in terms of sonic palette, building instead upon the guitarist’s interim experience and bringing his previously vocals into the mix. With serrated riffs reflecting Dowerk’s Teutonic ferociousness, the results of his work may sound industrial – only there’s much more texture to Alexander’s blistering blasts than meets the eye, as his melodies and rhythms create an almost orchestral scope.
Perhaps, to understand what’s going on here, the listener should start this trip from its centerpiece, “Urban” – a glorious invocation of Krautrock’s golden days, Dowerk’s pinch ‘n’ twang rolling over the stumbling groove of Troy Jones’ drums and cosmic effects – while spaced-out opener “Stasis” enshrouds Alexander’s crystalline strum, rumbling bass and processed voice in alluring echo and harmonic onslaught to promise an adventure the German lyrics are in no hurry to reveal. And though “Netzwerkgen” offers an aggressive front, topped with shouted lines, the cut’s whirling undercurrent and squealing surface blend into an exciting rave on the tuneful chorus before getting diluted to a pulsing, and bulging, oscillogram, whereas “Eskalation” exults in frenetic interplay and hectic, increasingly delirious bursts of rap, and the insistent and deliberately repetitive “Brandsatz” and the nail-hammering “Stacheln” marry Fripp-like psychosis to alt. psychedelia, bolstered by Jaime McGill’s bass clarinet. Still, if that’s as aligned with Dowerk’s modus operandi as the belligerently unhinged prog metal behind “Standhaft” is, the rock ‘n’ roll figures spinning inside the otherwise dry “Mechanik” are not readily associated with what his oeuvre’s about.
And then there’s the Theremin-washed finale “Glaube” in which Alexander exposes his soul-tingling romanticism, filling this ballad with wondrous sincerity and giving the entire record a cathartic denouement, a perfect aural picture of its title. A powerful opus.