Bulbul- Bulbul 6

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, January 19, 2009

It’s safe to say that each album I have received from Exile On Mainstream Records has progressively become weirder and weirder, and it has gotten to the point where I actually anticipate receiving new albums from the label just to see what they will offer. As I have said in my past reviews of artists such as Flu.ID and We Insist!, the artists on Exile On Mainstream are definitely what you would call an acquired taste, and the same is true of Austria’s Bulbul. This group has been around since 1998, starting out as a one man project and eventually adding new members to its roster. The band’s newest release, simply titled Bulbul 6 sees them continuing to explore the more avant-garde side of rock music, moving between techno/electro inspired rock, noise rock, and freeform music that is fairly loud and raw. This is certainly not a release for everyone, but if you’re open to music that is fairly freeform and exploratory, seek Bulbul out immediately.

Listeners will be able to tell that this album is weird almost as soon as they turn it on. The opening track “When Sun Comes Out” is a cross between indie rock and techno rock, only it sounds as though the instrumentalists dropped a ton of acid before they began to write the music. From there the album continues this style, but also dives into combinations of space rock, bursts of electronic noises, and the appropriately titled “Das Stuck” which features a repetitious drum and guitar riff that drone on for nearly 12 minutes, At times the song structures are traditional, but at other times structure gets thrown right out the window and Bulbul just lets the songs kind of find their own flow. It’s certainly not for everyone, but should fit in with anyone with a taste for the avant-garde.

Compared to some of the other bands of this type, Bulbul’s vocals are a bit tamer and laid back. Rather than going for insane screaming or indecipherable singing, the band goes for a laid back yet spacey style that is still a little hard to figure out at times. It almost sounds as though the members of the band have taken something right before recording Bulbul 6, as the vocalist typically sounds as though he is seriously spacing out and is not sure where he is going to go with his lyrical content. But at the same time, though it sounds as though the vocals are heading off into the infinite void of space, there is a sense of spontaneity as the styles do tend to switch up every now and then.

If you can’t already tell by now, Bulbul 6 is an album that’s incredibly hard to categorize. But let’s just say that if you’ve experienced this band before or really, really like experimental music that this is a disc you absolutely must own. Everyone else will want to approach with caution, as while this release is really well put together it’s style will make it one of those albums that only a select group of people will be able to get into. Bulbul is oddball even compared to many of their label mates, and that in itself may speak volumes about who will find this album to be incredible and who will wonder just what the hell they subjected themselves to.


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