Review: German Error Message – The Lifting

There’s something about an artist name like German Error Message which makes you wonder what kind of music might be lying in wait. Will it be Teutonic electronica, aggressive post rock or maybe even some lilting indie folk? The latter would be the closest answer and the man behind the intriguing avatar is Paul Kintzing who hails, of course, not from a German state but Louisiana in good old USA.

German Error Message Album Cover

‘I Am Trying’ begins as little more than an acoustic strum but the ominous threat of thick rumbling percussion can soon be heard. Fast forward two minutes and the song is joined by horns and field recordings and suddenly we’re closer to Arcade Fire territory than Nick Drake. When Kintzing utters the words “I am tired now” for the next track, ‘The Sway’, you genuinely believe him due to his world-weary delivery but all around him, the layers of sound are lively and powerful whilst ‘What Did You Hold’ is built from dark stuff indeed thanks to the ghostly harmonies and stabbing key changes.

Impressively varied material indeed but Kintzing really comes into his own with ‘I See Now’; there’s a gentler melody this time and even though fleshy percussion and horns figure prominently again, the core instrument is Kintzing’s attractively yearning vocals. Finally, piano keys resonate with shiver-inducing effect for the title track and album closer.

At less than twenty three minutes in length, ‘The Lifting’ is a little too short to be considered an album’s worth of material but Kintzing packs an awful lot of detail and creativity into these seven songs. Whilst some may compare him to indie folkers such as M. Craft, the employment of multiple layers of sound belongs more in spirit to the invention of artists from Morr Music, the Berlin-based electronica label, so perhaps that German reference wasn’t quite so irrelevant after all.

Web Sites:
German Error Message Tumblr
German Error Message Bandcamp
Hand Eye Records Label and Shop Site

Further Listening:
M. Craft, The Notwist

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