Audio Mixer: Emanuele Baratto.
Phantom of Liberty is the third full-length from Camera, a Berlin-based group who unabashedly display the influence of every '70s Krautrock band you could possibly namecheck, but they do so with such exuberance and inventiveness that their music never sounds like a predictable, pointless rehash. Many of their songs have caffeinated tempos and exuberant, joyous interplay between fuzzy garage-psych guitars, steady drums, and buzzing synths, with the electronics on this album having a particularly bright, playful tone. "Fröhlichkeit" features chiming post-rock guitars and whistling keyboards which sound spooky but not necessarily dark. It's like watching a cartoon about a UFO, meant to entertain and fascinate rather than scare. "Festus" has a constant tabla-like drum beat and is much calmer and more meditative, nodding to more mystical groups like Popol Vuh. "Ildefons" has a funky Jaki Liebezeit-like beat along with spacy, neon raygun synths and soaring guitar. "Tribal Mango" is notably more sinister, beginning with a haunted intro of atmospheric keyboards, and disembodied backwards voices before locking into a chunky groove with a two-note bassline, surrounded by trebly, backwards guitar noise and CB radio chatter. Even at their creepiest, Camera don't truly seem to have any evil intentions; they probably just love watching scary movies and TV shows as much as anyone else. While just as wide-ranging and exploratory as their previous two albums, Phantom of Liberty is easily Camera's most focused effort to date. The group are completely at home on Bureau B, a Hamburg-based label home to reissues by legends like Cluster and Conrad Schnitzler as well as high-quality newer acts such as Automat and Solyst. ~ Paul Simpson