GERMAN ARMY “Animals Remember Human” (Crash Symbols/ArteTetra)

This one’s for the birds.

Animals Remember Human was recorded by German Army in 2018, which also happened to have been the year of the bird. Is it fitting, then, that Animals Remember Human is “an ode to critically endangered birds and their habitats”? Or is it just a confluence of cosmic events that GeAr happened to choose this theme in this year? Or maybe some kind of divine entity intervened to make it so? Although the latter option is tempting, I’m going with coincidence. German Army’s always making an important statement, it’s only ever a matter of time with them before themes and events start aligning on a yearly basis.

Is it also coincidence that the laptop used to create this album kicked the bucket immediately after the masters were sent off to Crash Symbols and ArteTetra? Look, who knows at this point – all I know is that the digital harbinger of the destruction of habitat was itself destroyed not long after completing its work. Say what you will about conspiracy theories – and I only buy into the ones that are true, myself – but this sounds like the work of some nefarious underground organization. One, of course, whose very existence and operation was threatened by German Army’s whistleblowing.

That’s why it’s important to give Animals Remember Human a platform big enough to reach the masses. It has a story to tell, and it tells it in the best German Army way possible: through a lengthy song cycle strung together from field recordings and samples, rigged for maximum exposure. Of course, when illuminating the plight of our avian friends, there’s a sense that expressing the quiet majesty or grandeur – or even relative modesty – of their habitats, their patterns, their cycles may be more effective than grabbing us by the nape of the neck and rubbing our faces through the gravel of the human indignities we purvey, as is usually GeAr’s wont. It’s true: ARH is more laid-back and zoney than usual GeAr fare – I’m not going to refer to it as “proto-industrial” or anything like that this time around.

Instead I’m going to refer to it as nature-doc electro, because that’s a term I’ve never used before, and I’m gonna give it a go. The music rolls around your headphones like it’s meant to be there, checking out the place, figuring out where it’s going to sleep later on. It doesn’t take long to make itself at home, and you’re left fluttering from downtempo collage to bare-bones banger like they’re branches on the same tree. What did I tell you up there? This one’s for the birds!

And the humans who like birds. Along with other humans. You can get with that.