GU Swim Two Birds member
Photo by Sebastian Otto © 2001

gu |goō|, the;

human being, first discovered in 1974; can be found singing, playing instruments, djing vinyl, writing music and/or about life, relationships and music; developed a habit of spreading funky music on vinyl via Our Label Records; writes a column for Enlace Funk Magazine; featured regularly on the club nights Urban Jazz Groove and Juke Joint Music; partly involved in the music groups The Undecided, Yankee Sandwich, Alder Ego and temporary projects of all sorts; shares his record collection on his weekly radio program Home Diggin’; associated with Keb Darge, Henry Storch, Nia Saw, The Sweet Vandals, Jazzman Gerald, The New Mastersounds, Osaka Monaurail, Diesler, Andy Smith, Guy Hennigan, Smoove and others; developed addictive tendencies when it comes to shopping for recorded music, especially vinyl; believes in love, life and respect.

The early bird catches the worm “Countdown” Swim Two Birds

The bass rumbles threateningly on the opener “Golden Eye”, the guitar moans and twangs to the uncompromising beat of the drums, while Michael Gross blows the trumpet like the late Herb Alpert. GU’s pithy voice mercilessly makes fun of the 007 films and introduces the Bremen band Swim Two Birds, who are presenting their third album here. With “Countdown“, the septet has presented a damn good, pretty cheeky and musically captivating product. Achim Gätjen or one of his colleagues probably brought a few old LPs, including “Ventures In Space” and Duane Eddy’s “The Twang’s The Thang” into the studio – the album follows in their footsteps.

“Countdown” doesn’t fit into one category. Witty and literary lyrics close to the beat generation, pithy quotes from good old US radio shows, word-sound collages from dark wave movies, funky brass sections, sophisticated arrangements – all as crazy as Flann O’Brien’s stories. “I am not your friend – don’t call yourself my friend, because you’re not!”, warn Swim Two Birds in “Advice”, and “Lonely Road” conjures up the Lonesome Rider. It’s a bit of everything, rock, jazz, garage punk, alternative. They call it outlaw jazz themselves and whistle in “Here It Comes” like in “Big Noise Of Winneteka”.

The listener feels like Alice in Wonderland: riddles all around, shrill sounds, and – to be taken literally – colorful images swirl around him. That’s what happens when you put the disc in a PC or Mac and click through a world of sounds, images, texts and high-quality graphic videos. Only with these sequences is the enjoyment that the experienced band serves up complete. “Countdown” is more than just a gripping alternative album, it is a small work of art. Welcome to the machine!

Frank Becker