Fluff on a Faraway Hill


CD - KLANGBAD (KLANGBAD 34) - 20th April 2007


  1. Brink of Water - 5.21
  2. Devisor - 4.12
  3. Unterrock - 9.08
  4. Aspic Liner - 5.29
  5. Conceptual Misperceptions - 5.15
  6. Spanner - 5.57
  7. Toolbox - 3.53
  8. Strategy Three - 4.32
Recorded at Faust Studio, Scheer in southern Germany during June 2006. Produced by Hans Joachim Irmler, this is the first Ectogram release to not be self-produced.
  what the press said:  

  This sixth album is another firm step forward for Ectogram. While still firmly rooted in the Krautrock and post-punk spirit that is their hallmark, they keep pushing their albums into new places, challenging themselves and creating a treat for us in the process. It is easy to get lost in this album for hours; the eight songs that make up this album are meticulous in terms of sonic texture and each listening experience is full of new surprises. Not only that but Fluff on a Faraway Hill is fun too.

It is obvious right from the start that this time Ectogram are having more fun than they did on their last album, Electric Deckchair, which was great but hard work to listen to. The eight songs on Fluff are less obtuse: the band sound like they are actually enjoying themselves. The opener "Brink of Water" is like audio candy floss: a shimmering guitar bubbles over a solid rhythm while Ann Matthews' unique voice emerges from the center of the song like smoke through gauze. It is a fantastic start to an album and sets the standard high from the beginning. The next track out-does the first: "Devisor" is based around a spellbinding Ebow riff which drives the song. Again Matthews' vocals float like a ghost into the mix, her performance on this album is wonderful.

The middle of the album sees Ectogram slowing things down, allowing the sounds of their instruments to have more space. The effects are used appropriately, normally such heavy use of phaser (or whatever swooshing effect they're employing) gets irritating very quickly but Matthews and Alan Holmes both tastefully color the guitar sound instead of overpowering it. The album picks up the pace towards the end and finishes off with "Strategy Three" which has one of the cheeriest guitar melodies I have heard since I last listened to the Beach Boys.

I seem to be unable to get sick of Fluff on a Faraway Hill which is no mean feat. Overall, the album is dense enough to make multiple listens rewarding but not so dense as to make it a chore to wade through. Ectogram have outdone themselves this time and I hope they continue to outdo themselves in the future.

John Kealy

Brainwashed.com 6th May 2007


Fluff On A Faraway Hill

Something of a departure from Ectogram's recent extended fuzz workouts, swelling giddily into the interstellar realms of muscular, multi-layered psychedelic rock and avant-dreampop. Quirkily engaging, the eight songs flicker brightly with lysergic effects and Ann Matthews' breathless stream of consciousness lyrics.

Richard Fontenoy

Plan B April 2007


  Psychedelic Rock mit Pop-Appeal

Über die Krautrocker Faust und ihren musikalischen Output, insbesondere ihr Spätwerk, kann man zweifelsohne geteilter Meinung sein. Umso löblicher, dass sich sowohl das von Faust Mastermind Hans Joachim Irmler veranstaltete Klangbad Festival zu einer echten Bereichung der Festival-Landschaft gemausert hat, als auch das dazugehörige Klangbad-Label immer wieder die eine oder andere positive Überraschung bereit hält. Aktuellstes Beispiel: ECTOGRAM's Album „Fluff On A Faraway Hill“.

Ausgangsbasis für den Psychedelic-Rock der walisischen Band sind ganze Berge von Gitarrenspuren. My Bloody Valentine dürften sicherlich eines der Vorbilder gewesen sein, die ihnen hierbei Pate standen. Dank der mitunter etwas tollkühn mit Effekten aufgeladenen Stimme von Anne Matthews steht die Band jedoch immer mindestens mit einem halben Fuß in einschmeichelnden Pop-Gefilden. Oder anders ausgedrückt: ECTOGRAM lassen weitgehend all das außen vor, was die meisten Menschen, die ihre musikalische Sozialisierung nicht in den Hochzeiten des Psychedelic- und Krautrocks durchgemacht haben, eher abturnen dürfte: Endlose Soli, zur Schau getragene Spiritualität und das Suhlen im eigenen Sound.

Puristen mag dies abschrecken, aber mal Hand auf’s Herz: Wer außer Julian Cope verlangt 2007 noch nach Derartigem? Somit stellt diese etwas aufgeweichte Psychedelic Version die allemal genüsslichere Variante dar, zumal man wohl seit langer Zeit keinen derartig eingängigen Genrevertreter wie „Devisor“ gehört haben dürfte.

Sascha Bertoncin

Triggerfish.de April 2007

  Ectogram – Fluff On A Faraway Hill (Klangbad)

Ectogram come from Wales. They have close links with legendary German avant-garde music makers Faust. I mention these things in case they strike you as relevant. Some other points: Ectogram are a band of three people who sound like many more. On their web site, they are referred to as ‘Wales' premier post-tonal dronedelic noiseniks’. ‘Fluff on A Faraway Hill’ is their sixth album.

Ectogram songs build scrabbly, twiggy nests in your head, then scuffle about up there like critters in the loft. Ectogram songs are elemental - they feel like their component parts consist of unidentifiable organic matter; of mysterious dusts and curious stones, eerie weather and unusual mosses. They are constructed of discombobulating layers of textural noise that have a stick-in-your-teeth chewiness. That’s not to say that they make for ‘difficult’ listening though, these are strongly melodic works – you can hum along as sparks of sound snag in the curtains and tendrils of tune whip around the bookcases.

The tracks: ‘Devisor’ warps and drones with a mystical Eastern undertow over bendy skew-whiff notes, whilst vocalist/guitarist Ann Matthews ululates in a girlish tone. For nine minutes ‘Unterrock’ is an exhilarating headlong race through a bewildering forest of pulsing sound, where branches whip back and belt you in the face with little shrieks, with scribbling guitar and lyrics intoned as a mantra. ‘Aspic Liner’ bends and bows in a curiously soothing manner, you can imagine giving yourself up to its rubbery embrace and falling backwards into the dense mattress of sound it weaves from relaxedly epic guitar lines, hypnotic drum rounds and layers of Ann’s voice chanting buried-deep lyrics. It’s good that the album comes with a lyric booklet as it's intriguing to read what’s going on in these songs, ‘a dream of times swollen when crusts made hair curly’ or ‘deer stalker, forest running, algae blooming’, and ‘curmudgeon with his knees bent double’.

The dizzy-making ‘Spanner’ is pleasingly disorientating, its elastic guitar stretching and snapping back in a cheerily sickly manner. Noir-ish night-mare jazz-inflected ‘Toolbox’ slithers on flanging guitar and lullaby rhythms before cracking up into flying scraps of tune that flap about like bats on strings and you try not to get them in your hair. ‘Strategy Theme’ has lovely bell-like Dungen-style guitar ‘licks’ (if you will), that gallop and shudder across a bedrock of rattling, echoy drums and serenely gliding vocals. It sounds like the sun shining too brightly and is a sublime note on which to end.

‘Fluff On A Faraway Hill’ is playfully exploratory, packed with noise-making ideas skilfully interwoven to create some fearsome, tough-sounding psychedelia. An immersive sound-scape for hiding yourself in, camouflaged amongst the strange plant-forms. Not dreamy, more the sound of nature red in tooth and claw.

Kitten Painting 28th October 2007