Instrumental music often feels more evocative and loaded with meaning, just by virtue of the fact that without direct lyrical communication to distract and drive everyone to the same conclusion, you, the listener, must find your meaning in it. Better that the creator merely hints at ideas and guides you with small snippets of information to act as stepping stones across sonic waters than ferry you immediately to the final destination.
Two years of work have gone into this latest album by Dadanaut. Even on first listen, Massenkater is a series of instrumental pieces that wander between the dark and drifting, the dense and claustrophobic, and the foggy and the unfathomable.
Massenkater, meaning mass hangover, is an idea taken from the writings of Rosa Luxemburg, who many regard as the natural successor to Karl Marx and who died for her beliefs.
Mass movement, mass struggle, mass revolution, mass uprising, mass strike, and mass action are all ideas taken from her texts and the concept of a mass hangover, as she explains, results from such popular protests and unified actions failing to gain the desired result. When this happens, a wave of dark depression can grip the people.
So, Massenkater is an album of moods, dark and melancholy, which ebb and flow through the tracks. It is built from claustrophobic waves and cocoon-like grips that float and drift past. The art of making such an album is to make the music melancholic yet stop short of misery, and that is what Dadanaut is so good at doing. The music communicates such collective moods and reminds the listener of the doubts that grip society, that feeling of Weltschmerz, that the world we see around us will never live up to the world we would like to be part of.
But it never draws us in too deep. Instead, it acts as a meditative source, music to encourage contemplative thought, a soundtrack to philosophical; ideas, and a sonic source of reflection and wistfulness.
And more broadly, Massenkater shows the scope of electronic music, its ambient drifts and self-reflective moods being a world away from what most people consider the genre to be.
Intelligent electronica? Soul-searching soundtracks? Political cinematics? It is all this and so much more.