And “back to the roots” is a natural way to put it, for if any comparison to a Sixties legend can be made, it’s to the utterly influential, low-sales Canadian pastoralists The Band, who’s rejection of psychedelic values during the peak LSD season can be mirrored in Repotente’s avoidance of both Berlin technopop (a genre he explored in his Ochosa project in 2005) and a disregard of the blues clichés that came increasingly into fashion during the last decade, thanks to a popular candy-colored duo.
“It’s blues rock, but you can’t say that it’s blues rock,” sighs an exasperated Repotente. “Because everyone in Berlin just thinks you’re going to imitate the White Stripes. I don’t only like blues, but I think that it’s the roots of emotion in music -- the purest form -- and you just go on from there.” But, it might be added, these roots are not actually Repotente’s own, and the entirety of Dust on the Halo might be considered a postmodern pastiche of a previous generation’s attempt at the refusal of modernity. It’s nostalgic for a purer form of nostalgia, though the emotion at its laid back heart remains deeply felt.
Accompanied by several compatriots sympathetic to his repudiation of current values, such as the Berlin-based singers Miss Kenichi (on the charming lope of Windbreaker) and Jelena Kuljic (on languid, country-tinged ode to great sportsmen now playing out the string, 10,000 Eyes), one hears that even on the tracks which showcase Repotente’s experimental jazz side, such as Snoestorm, with it’s Sharrock-ian modalism, his comrades -- in this case Christopher Cantillo and his rock bashing -- bury Repotente’s feet back into the Earth. In fact, a lot of the more lyrical and abstract explorations actually find their origins in genres as populist in their day as surf and garage rock.
Repotente sums it up. “Even when I’m playing experimental jazz -- well, I don’t put on a jazz hat or a blues hat -- I just try to write play and sing with that initial, primitive joy found in Muddy Waters, Hound Dog Taylor, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. The blues are, you know, in fact, really funny.
David Strauss, The Ex-Berliner