By Guest Contributor, Nick Josten
I only met Andrew Krell briefly as I was working for a music promotion company in Hamburg, Germany. He introduced us to the new musical project he founded with his best friend Benjamin Galliers: the two called themselves The Voo. Accurate name considering the trippy mix of surf and rock n roll with psychedelic and Kraut rock, it’s a mystical sound environment with a lot of different extras for the listener to explore.
Right now The Voo released a double album with all songs Andrew left after his sudden passing in early 2022, just after the release of their debut album. Benjamin decided to gather all material the two have produced together, B-sides and live songs included, to honour his friend on the record “Brother Voo”. The centre piece of all The Voo tracks is Andrew – and his unique style of upright bass playing.
Educated in music theory and composition at the university for music and education in Heidelberg Andrew Krell played upright bass in Jazz, Avantgarde Fusion Synth Pop, HipHop an FinTango bands with a broad knowledge of rock and rockabilly music too. He composed film music for four films and performed in state theatres in Mainz, Cottbus, Berlin and Hamburg.
“Andrew’s table of doom” is what his pedal board and mix of three amplifiers was called. Andrew’s playing and composing ranged from classical music to fuzz rock. The variety the instrument offers was displayed in The Voo’s live sets with Andrew using effects and loop stations to produce live “box” music on the fly. First off, all percussion and drums on The Voo are recorded with the bass. Slapback echoes and highly EQed pickups helps him create a snare-like sound whereas the body of the instrument works perfectly fine for a kick drum if the natural feedback of the wooden body is used correctly.
Andrew was exceptionally good at using the bow too. Recording and looping string parts he would create a whole orchestra with his bass. His effects ranging from Big Muffs to Delays plus a whole bunch of EQs and amps made Andrews sound unique. The Voo is guitar driven music on the first listen but actually everything except the guitar is played with Andrew’s upright.
His sudden death in January 2022 has been a shock to his family and friends but also the music scene he was kown in as an artist. “Andrew was a double bass player who hooked up the wildest effects devices to his double bass to immerse himself in worlds of sound, often merging with his instrument so sensually while playing that it could be physically felt in the audience. Andrew rode his folding bicycle with his upright bass, slider cap and stylish sunglasses to gigs where countless bands waited for him. Andrew’s son sometimes slept in the double bass case at gigs when he was little, listening to his father play from his homemade cave. Andrew loved many forms of music. Rockabilly, blues, tango, experimental music, children’s music, pop, breathed musical life into plays and gave emotional musical depth to films”, says a video statement by the Thalia Theatre.
For me who only met him briefly, I am glad I got to experience a genius musician. As a bass player I find his work inspiring, realizing that there is much more potential in an upright bass than I have ever imagined. Like a lot of artists and people in the musical world I can safely say “Thank you for your work, Andrew!” I hope with this piece I can honour his artistic legacy at least a little.