“Hochenkeit from Portland, OR, has developed a unique niche with its assimilation of Krautrock, Asian ethnic music, and psychedelic free form. The group does not merely crank out rock music with ethnic music as an embellishment, nor is it neo-traditionalist by trying to resurrect the sound of a culture. Perhaps the closest comparison might be Krautrock legend Can’s Ethnological forgery series, another attempt to create a new world of music unconstrained by the rules and where anything and everything is thrown into the pot. Hochenkeit formed in 1997 soon after the demise of the Irving Klaw Trio as Jeff Fuccillo, Jason Funk, and Ryan Poulos of that group decided to shift musical direction from IKT’s Captain Beefheart-styled avant rock. Poulos, who had previously lived in Germany, came up with group’s name erroneously believing that the word was slang for reaching the highest state of inebriation possible. Poulos was in the band only long enough to name them, so Fuccillo and Funk soon recruited Matthew Yake, John Vasallo, and Josh Hanson, and they were soon gigging live. Funk, Fuccillo, and especially Vasallo have all traveled to various parts of Asia to find new instruments and explore other music cultures. By the next year and with help from Faust guitarist Steve Lobdell as well as Mike Lastra from Smegma, they started work on their first CD, I Love You, and in May 1999 the album was released on Road Cone. Lobdell occasionally showed up to perform live with Hochenkeit, whereas Hanson had been ousted before the CD came out, though he does appear on I Love You. A second album, Omu4h 4aholab/400 Boys, recorded in 1999 and 2000, came out in November 2000 and was also engineered by Lobdell and on the Road Cone label. Hochenkeit often went on hiatus, sometimes for weeks or even months, when any of the band members were out of town, sometimes on trips to Asia to pick up new instruments and experience new cultures, or in late 1999, when Fuccillo temporarily moved to Burlington, VT.” ~ Rolf Semprebon, Rovi
Listen to “Hochenkeit” here.