I have a confession to make. I did not really get Camera’s first album ‘Radiate’. From what I heard of it, and perhaps I dismissed it too early, it sounded a little too derivative of fellow German krautrockers of the past. “More tribute than creative expression?” is what I asked myself.
With the band’s new album, ‘Remember I Was Carbon Dioxide’, I can now see that they were playing around with their influences (however consciously) with the aim of finding their own sound; a sound that now really comes to the fore. It starts with the heavily Neu! inspired ‘From The Outside’, but from thereon ploughs a much more individual and unique furrow (and I’m wondering what a motorik furrow might look like) through a series of tracks which feel more improvised and confident than those found on ‘Radiate’.
This new album also feels much more eclectic with the band pushing their musical boundaries into more electronic realms on such as ‘Ozymandias’ and, with ‘Roehre’, examining rawer and more industrial beats. ‘Beats’ is perhaps the key here, because this is an album that has been produced in 21st Century Berlin, a city awash with a myriad of Dance and Electronica sub-cultures. This is music that is far more than Krautrock redux, it is a contemporary album of contemporary music which encompasses that city’s rich history of music. Music that reflects Berlin’s place largely outside traditional rock genres.
Overall then this is a very rewarding album of instrumental music which, and I know the band aren’t keen on being pigeonholed in this way, has its roots in the Krautrock of the early 70s, but which has clearly grown beyond that to produce a set which is both modern and satisfying in its own right, and should not have us scampering back to the past to find a reason for its existence.