2016 space rock odyssey

Ruckzuck brings modern Krautrock to Spirited Goat

By Mike Ritchie

Creepy, psychedelic, atmospheric, ambient shoe-gaze could be words to describe the Island Park, New York-based retro outfit Ruckzuck. The group specializes in psychedelic sounds that harken back to the space-aged ’70s, with the mind-altering mood and trippy echoes of the ’60s. Their catalog sounds like a vintage trip back to when experimentation of all kinds was commonplace and musically encouraged, capturing the inspiration and sounds that tempered both decades.

The band has embraced the sounds and history of Krautrock, taking inspiration from ’70s band Kraftwerk, continuing the genre’s style.

“It’s music that moves forward, without restriction or reference that looks up towards the stars and ponders the existence of something beyond the human form,” guitarist/producer Nick Bedo explains. “Krautrock is essentially avant-garde/experimental music made by German/European bands of the late ’60s, early ’70s.”

At that time, artists wanted to forget the past and embrace the future. World War II was over and the “Love Movement” was beginning. Kraftwerk is one of Ruckzuck’s favorites from this period, along with Can and Neu!

“Psychedelic space rock means more to us then the sci-fi ascetic and far out sounds. It’s existential music, a portal to look beyond your physical form on earth and lift off to another state of consciousness,” Bedo asserts. “I believe this is why psych music has stood the test of time: it transcends generations and is still of great importance in the history of rock and roll.”

Bedo admits the band was born “a bit” after the ’60s but believes the young generation and today’s political climate are similar—and they want to raise some eyebrows.

Ruckzuck aligned in Long Island, New York, with teenage brothers Nick and drummer Matt Bedo. Nick met singer, synth and ukulele player Faith Kelly on a short film set in Pennsylvania. They lived together in New York for three years sharing a deep passion for music and concerts. Each played instruments for fun, until one day Nick bought Kelly an old Casiotone 403 eclectic keyboard. Their first jam went “very well,” and Ruckzuck was born.

They count Pink Floyd, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Kraftwerk, David Bowie, T-Rex, Black Sabbath and White Noise as major influences from the ’60s and ’70s. Each member has their own choice of a dream jam. Kelly chooses David Bowie. Nick chooses Tiny Tim. Matt  chooses Joel Vandroogenbroeck.

They encourage listeners to groove to their own beat while they play.

“We want to give our audience something to think about, something to inspire them in their own journeys,” Bedo says. “Everyone walks away with a different experience. Hopefully, they can leave the show with new drive to follow their own passions.”

Yellow Springs seems tailor-made for their sound.

“This will be our first time performing in Yellow Springs. We’ve been there once and loved the artistic-hippie vibe,” Bedo remarks. “Coffee houses are great places to start, but it’s great for making new friends and gaining fans. Our first show was in a coffee house, so it always feels like home to us!”

Their show is described and designed to leave fans’ eyes wide open and mouths agape in a state of confusion. Fans and first time attendees can expect color, thick wall-to-wall sound, ambient gentle jams, gender-bending, obscure instruments and repetitive kraut-grooves mixed with constant change.

“Although we love to improvise, we have written songs that we more or less stick to with specific areas for improvisation,” Bedo says.

Bedo is a production sound recorder and designer for independent films, which led to the band recording a soundtrack for the independent series, City of Mercy. Series director Rodney Ferrer became a Ruckzuck fan, and the collaboration came naturally.

The City of Mercy soundtrack was a side project with songs drastically different in both sound and style to their other releases.

City of Mercy is a separate project. We have no plans on playing them live, unless our fans say they wanted it!” Bedo exclaims.

In sharp contrast to their signature sound, City of Mercy’s spooky, doom-laden, ominous feel sounds like it could fit in the “Sinister” movies. The music is intentionally dark, fitting the show’s characters and environment.

“Ferrer set out to expose the darkest corners of the human mind in his series; the music we wrote reflects that,” Bedo explains. “Ruckzuck has an interest in the darkness as much as we do the color.”

Their music is as much an experience to listen to as to play, with, “Fall Is a Trip” and “Ones and Zeros” being live staples.

“They are just fun to play and they let us do all the noises we want to get out to an audience in one song,” Bedo says. “The random chaotic noise that ends our songs gets the most reactions, none of our songs have clear-cut endings—they just rise up into the galaxy and fade away.”

Ruckzuck will perform on Monday, March 21 at the Spirited Goat Coffee House, 118 Dayton St. in Yellow
Springs. Show starts at 7 p.m. Astronauto is also on the bill. For more information, please visi
t ruckzuckband.com or spiritedgoat.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at MikeRitchie@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at MikeRitchie@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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