Image: I Am A Child Of The Post War (detail)  – Thomas Schliesser


Album: Prosthuman

Label: Bureau B Records

In the ten years since their formation, and in the now nine years since their first full length release, 2012’s ‘Radiate!’ album, Berlin based instrumentalists Camera have undergone any number of personnel changes, with members leaving and rejoining while others get involved. The fact that ‘Prosthuman’ is a recognisable continuation of that first album {which I reviewed for another publication at the time} says a lot about the singularity of musical vision which the Camera collective appear to share. Like their debut album, ‘Prosthuman’ is a sequence of instrumental tracks played on both electronic and conventional instruments, fast, melodic and committed to finding the link between electronica and hard rock. Far from ambient although equally as far from improvised noise and metal, you may wonder why more bands haven’t taken this particular approach to creating music.

The 2021 version of Camera consists of longest serving band member Michael Drummer, keyboardist Tim Schroeder, guitarist Alex Kozmidi and bassist Michael Konrads, who may or may not appear on the entire album according to info I’ve had from their record label. If other previous members feature on the album, such as keyboardists Steffen Kahles and Timm Brockmann, then they aren’t credited here, and neither is anyone else that might have contributed to the sessions. Does that matter? When I interviewed Timm Brockmann for Deviation Street in 2019 he didn’t give any indication of leaving the band. Working in their studio in a converted factory, Camera produce a sound that’s redolent of their enviroment regardless of who is actually present.


Opening track ‘Kartoffelstampf’ perfectly sets the mood of the album. It’s loud, urgent and incisive, didactic rhythms plus screeching guitar, and with Michael Drummer’s now trademark interjections signifying key changes and other moments. It’s the one track on ‘Prosthuman’ that looks back most obviously to their first album. Camera then follow this with an excursion into actual dub reggae, the swirling melody of ‘Alar Alar’ and it’s also an intro to the albums title track, the 7 minute ‘Prosthuman/Apptime’ which blends the rhythm of its predecessor, slowing that down to match the pace of the instrumental mood while retaining a motorik beat at its core. To bring an additional contrast, ‘Uberall Teichen’ sounds like proper electronica of the To Rococo Rot / Tarwater school, while ‘El Lay’ seems like a more definitive tribute to Neu!


 So far everything has been entirely instrumental. Then ‘Schwarmf’ appears complete with vocal and lyric, plus nervy, verging on atonal backing although I couldn’t tell you who the vocalist is. Just adding a vocal has the capacity to entirely throw the listener at this moment, proof if it were needed that Camera have lost none of their capacity for reinvention. Lastly ‘Harmonite’ has like first track ‘Kartofffelstampf’ much of the sound that long term admirers of Camera will recognise. It’s quick paced, packed with competing synth and guitar tropes, and like all of their best work seems to end too soon. A decade after their formation Camera have plenty yet to offer, and  ‘Prosthuman’ is a constantly inventive and definitive statement of their abilities.