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The Antikaroshi- Extract.Transform.Debase (2021 Exile On Mainstream Records)

The Antikaroshi and I go way back. Last time I reviewed one of their albums was eleven years ago. I talked about PER/SON/ALIEN referencing bands like Fugazi and Quicksand, I mentioned their love of postrock and even some detours to krautrock. I only got to know about Slint quite some time later on, or I would probably have mentioned them as well. Over ten years later both me and the band have grown older, like me they are showing some grey hairs already, and like me the band still tries to stay far away from pigeonholing. Firmly rooted in the guitar 90s the band’s new work is still pretty much all over the place, and I really love them for it.

The Antikaroshi have taken their good time crafting Extract.Transform.Debase with which they have shown they are true to their original form. For karoshi means “to work yourself to death” in Japanese, and these German mathrockers have picked their moniker in protest of that notion. That’s not to say their music sounds lazy, quite on the contrary. Each song rests on multiple intentions, sometimes abruptly switching gears from Unwound to Kraftwerk within the same song (Hey You). Other songs are less weird, but they are all based on inventive ideas.

Personally I am mostly really grateful for the fact that The Antikaroshi and their label Exile On Mainstream are still around, and that they keep doing what they like to do without any thought to current hypes or trends. Check out music from label bands like Dyse, Bulbul, We Insist! and Beehoover and you’ll know what I mean. Every time they release new music it’s a celebration for out-of-the-box-lookers. We share that refusal to conform, and I see it as my pleasure and duty to support them.

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