Beak> – >> (Invada UK)

Portishead's Geoff Barrow Announces New Beak> LP

2012 has been a busy year for Geoff Barrow, with three albums to date showcasing  different aspects of his musical interests. There’s his global hip-hop survey as part of Quakers, the make-believe score to a Judge Dredd film recorded with composer Ben Salisbury, and now the second album with his Krautrock-devoted trio Beak>. Barrow and bandmates Billy Fuller and Matt Williams know their way around Can, Neu! and Kraftwerk’s hypnotic grooves, but there’s something empty and meaningless about >> (and yes, that’s really the title). The groups Beak> owes their existence to had a goal – to develop a new German musical identity that completely broke free of everything that came before it. They experimented with anything and everything they could get their hands on, and created something futuristic-sounding. I don’t get any meaningful context from Beak>, nor do I get the sense they’re working hard to push musical extremes. For them, emulating Krautrock’s elite is the only goal, and that approach rarely produces music that sounds good when placed up against their influences. More often than not it leaves us with a song like “Spinning Top” which sounds like Can on the surface, but the performance is so listless and one-note (sometimes literally!) it wouldn’t have made it past the editing room floor had Can actually recorded it. “Yatton” is the only track on >> that’s more than mildy engaging background music, the rest of it just seems to be marching in place.


1. The Gaul

2. Yatton

3. Spinning Top

4. Egg Dog

5. Liar

6. Ladies Mile

7. Wulfstan II

8. Elevator

9. Deserters

10. Kidney