Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Krautmash #2

Here is part 2 of the experiment:

Krautmash #1

You know how much fun it is to rediscover something that you thought was lost forever, don't you? Three years ago I decided to take 20 Krautrock songs and make 2 tracks by placing them together in sets of 10.

I randomly selected the tracks and then cut and arranged portions of them into 2 suites: Krautmash I and Krautmash II. The rules were simple - no fancy transitions or track manipulations like the mashups that were popular at the time - cuts and fades were all I allowed myself (oh and 2 small loops on the intro of 2 of the tracks - who can tell me which ones?)

I had intended to make it available to the group, but I accidentally deleted my project files and had lost the sole CD that I had burnt. Recently I rediscovered that CD while cleaning out a vehicle that I was donating to charity; better late than never. Here is the first track: Krautmash I

Brave New World "Impressions On Reading Aldous Huxley" 1972

Impressions On Reading Aldous Huxley (Vertigo 1972)
Genre: Progressive
Album Legnth: 40:52
Best Song: "Soma"

1. Prologue 1.02
2. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta 7.38
3. Lenina 4.22
4. Soma 5.18
5. Halpais Corn Dance 3.24
6. The End 17.42
7. Epilogue 1.28

Somehow this isn't quite the sound I had imagined when I read Huxley's socialist themed "futurist sci-fi" novel Brave New World. Surely, the novel brings to mind visions of a colder, bleak electronic atmospheric soundtrack rather than the whimsical impressions heard here. Brave New World, the band, was comprised of German and Irish musicians and for the most part their sound is a progressive mixture of rock and jazz with rich melodies and eclectic themes comprising the standard flute and sax arrangements of early 70's progressive genre. The lone musical exception is the Native American/Tribal percussion inspired "Halpais Corn Dance".

The "krautiest" track on the album, "Soma" is a bit of a hidden gem and worth of the "mix-tape" treatment. With a sound similar to Yeti-era Amon Duul II, "Soma" contains a space-rock sound with a great organ lead utilizing Eastern modalities (think "Scarecrow" from Piper) and what appears to be a theremin lead towards the end. The ablum's centerpiece, the 17-minute "The End" begins promisingly, showcasing a flair for cinematic themes; however, the track quickly dissolves into a melange of jazz and rock themes and fails to stand out from the rest of the album. Ultimately "The End" is saved by the Eastern-tinged psychedelic rock ending which bears a strong resemblance to the sound that Between would adopt around 1973/4. In total "Impressions On Reading Aldous Huxley" is a creative effort, but other than "Soma" and a few eclectic themes it fails to deliver anything memorable.
[2.5/5 Doug]

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Making of Zweistein

written by: Suzanne Doucet

In 1969 I got my first portable cassette recorder which was a revolution for anyone at the time who wanted to record while travelling without having to rent and "schlepp" expensive equipment such as a nagra tape recorder (which was widely used for professional field recordings.) This was not a walkman yet, the size was more like a lap top computer but for me it was the most exciting device besides my 8-mm film camera, which I took everywhere as well. Between 1962 - 1969 it was mostly my guitar that was a continuous companion but now the cassette recorder and camera went everywhere with me as well.

My half sister Diane, who had just moved from Switzerland to Munich and went to her last year of highschool (we graduate with a bachelor), and I experimented with psychedelics and went to see every avant garde band/group that came to Munich. I was a quite established pop star in Germany - hosting and moderating 2 popular TV shows with about 20 million viewers. I had several hit records under my belt and radio, TV and press coverage from all over Europe. But I was kind of fed up with the entire music industry, which was only interested in formula entertainment and not interested in real creative art. Since I was a child I was only interested in real art! Paintings, music, poems, literature, Theater, film, photography and technology that could be used to create new artforms were always in the foreground of my field of interest.

I was educated and trained in classical and modern music, had studied ballet and grew up with the best Theater and film actors and directors in Europe. My mother, a well known theater actress in Munich, was the daughter of a silent movie actress and my father, a writer, art and antique collector and para psychologist, had given me the opportunity to be educated in many artforms and since I was a multi talented person, I just soaked it all up and created as much as I could...

By accident I was discovered by a record producer who convinced me to do a pop single. The second single became a #1 hit in germany. At the same time I was also appearing in several TV shows as a singer, actress and also hostess. After 3 hit singles I produced my first own song album with sophisticated lyrics, arrangements and musicians. For that production I used one of the first studios that had 4-track recording!!! I became the youngest record producer in Germany! I received great reviews and found myself all of a sudden in TV shows next to Gilbert Becaud and Charles Aznavour or Hildegard Knef.

I played many Musicals (one with Rainer Werner Fassbinder!) appeared as an actress in TV plays, played Theater, did script writing, directory assistance and dubbing as well as song writing not just for myself but also for other well known artists.

But in 1969 I was not satisfied with my thirst for more revolutionary creations. I wanted to break free from all restrictions, rules, concepts, etc. Like modern painters and film makers, I wanted to create Avant Garde in Music: Sound Collages and Sound Paintings. With my sister, who had incredible ears and even if she did not really play any instruments she was very conscious and heard music in a very open and mind blowing way, I was able to record music I would have normally not paid attention to. When I would play for myself she said, Suzanne you should record this and - we did - I incorporated her in many ways in the creative process for a period of about 3-4 months, where we travelled a lot and recorded just everywhere - sound - music in non tradional ways, such as caroussel organs, children playing, people whispering and praying inside the Haradshin Kathedral of Prague and so on... We were also (like everyone at the time of course) pretty stoned and experimented a few times with LSD.

I was always into recording technology - starting when I was 14 to record songs with my first tape recorder... so I took all the recordings of ZWEISTEIN and transferred and edited them into a "piece" and it became 3 album length pieces. We took those to the studio to my favorite recording engineer Peter Kramper (who was also a producer and recording engineer for Liberty Records, I was signed to until 1970) and added effects and magically appearing sounds that came out of nowhere (you can hear those strange tones on the 3rd album in the beginning and end...) and they did fit perfectly with our 3rd album MEDITATION.

The 3 albums were called TRIP, FLIP OUT and MEDITATION because that was in our opinion the logical evolution our generation was going through. We all had experimented with psychadelics and the first album is such a recorded TRIP. As a result many of us went into a psychotic state of mind, i.e. FLIP OUT (the world upside down, reverse all concepts and rules were off) and if you ever came out of that your only salvation would be spirituality MEDITATION. Maybe ZWEISTEIN became such a "cult" recording because it reflected the evolution of the mind of a whole generation. And if we accomplished that I would call that art!

My sister and myself were huge fans of Einstein (of course) therefore the ZWEISTEIN pseudonym. My dear friend Christian Bruhn (who is now head of GEMA and CISAC) was a composer and (very successful) pop producer, I had worked with for years. We did a children's TV series and he produced 2 singles with me for Liberty Records in Germany. When I played ZWEISTEIN for him he was blown away and because we had that deal with Phonogram and they wanted a single he agreed to produce the single which should incorporate A VERY SIMPLE SONG but also a new song he and I would write together. We came up with MELODY MAKER. Because of the unusual and non traditional way of how the albums were recorded I convinced Christian not to use any traditional instruments in the studio. We invited a few friends to the studio (which you see on the cover of the single) which were NON musicians and had them stamp their feet on the ground, clap their hands and sing along with us and play whatever instruments they would be able to play like a little flute or mouth harmonica (which I believe was Christian). My sister was part of it of course and we all sang I'm a Melody Maker whereby Christian Bruhn sang the lead part and I sang the lead part in SIMPLE SONG. We produced the single in one night. There was of course lots of weed, nothing else though.

One of the men on the cover is Ishtwan von Barlog (he was a DJ for Radio Free Europe and a very good friend. I took my first LSD trip with him and my sister) the Chinese guy's name was Li(?) he was actually German (born in germany) a great guy, he was not a musician and I don't think he ever did another recording after... and the big blond guy had nothing to do with music, he was just a friend. I don't remember his name.

The cover shot was taken that night while we produced the single by a very famous music industry photographer. Christian like me was kind of shy to appear on the picture because he was well known as a pop producer and this was obviously not german pop! This is also the reason why my name does not appear on the LPs. Nobody would have imagined that I would do something like this. You know how people are, labeling and categorizing... I did not want to prevent the public from being able to experience something like ZWEISTEIN with a "concept" in their head of a german pop singer. The money we received as an advance from Phonogram for the single and LPs was used to finance a trip to the middle and Far East, which we started right after completing the single.

By the way George Harrison was one of the first people to receive a copy of all 3 albums which we delivered to him in England, he lived in a "castle" close to London. We hung out in his estate for 24 hours with the most incredible people (friends of George) and played ZWEISTEIN all night! (But that is a different story)

But lets go back to the actual record deal. After we had mastered the tapes we played the finished albums to many friends who all wanted copies. When we looked at the task to make 30 copies for friends we said - hm - maybe we should give this assignment to a record label. I called Phonogram in Hamburg from Switzerland/Lugano where I lived at the time because I knew they were a great label and always pushing the envelope. I knew the head of A&R, Wolfram Kretschmar, since 1964 and he sounded interested in a meeting and we set a time for November Monday Morning 11AM with him the marketing director and head of distribution. Heavy duty meeting, and you can imagine 11am is not the best time to listen to such a far out project. But when we arrived my sister made some tea, we had a pipe with us, we closed the curtains, found somewhere a candle and listened for 2 hours to ZWEISTEIN I had the masters in my guitar case (this was all strategy) and we signed a contract at 3PM at the Phonogram headquarters in Hamburg, got a check (Advance on royalties) designed the concept of the cover with the graphic people delivered the liner notes and took the train back at night to Lugano! I have never before and never after experienced a deal like this! It was magical.

But hey, the whole project was magical in many ways. For example we never found out where those mysterious tones came from that appeared on the 3rd album MEDITATION and several "mysterious inductions", you could call them, on the first album..

When I met Uri Geller in 1972 and ANDREA PUHARICH his professor who discovered him I played ZWEISTEIN for him in his house in Ossening, NY. He and his assistant were convinced that those mysterious tones were messages from aliens... You never know? Peter Kramper and I were always wondering how they appeared. He just said to me "push record" and I did. So, I guess Peter and the "aliens" are part of Zweistein as well...

Unmasking A Legend: Zweistein Revealed

Unmasking A Legend: Zweistein Revealed
written by: Doug Brotherton

Krautrock is a music genre ripe with underground acts such as Amon Duul, Seesselberg, Necronomicon, and German Oak. Many of these bands performed together for such a short period of time that in most cases all that remains are a few incredible recordings. A cloud of mystery often surrounds these groups, causing rabid fans to blend together fact and fiction in order to create and propagate the band’s legacy. Most fans would agree that one of the most sought after and fabled Krautrock albums is Zweistein’s “Trip, Flip out, Meditation” (Phillips 1970). In this case I feel that it is the avant-garde nature of the music contained on the album mixed with conflicting stories about the band which have made the album so popular. It is also helped by the fact that the title is alleged to represent the three stages which one encounters while on a drug trip.

Over the years, Zweistein has garnered quite a cult following. The slightest mention of the group or its legendary triple-LP is enough to send any hard-core fan off on numerous tangents regarding the bands mysterious existence. After an hour or so of rabid rambling this fan is most likely to retreat to his computer where he performs his daily check of to see if anybody is auctioning their copy of the vinyl.

Musically, “Trip, Flip out, Meditation” is largely a sound collage containing massive amounts of studio effects wizardry. Listeners are bombarded with an hour and forty-six minutes (106 minutes) worth of effects-laden voices, natural sounds, electronic effects, organ, guitar, drums and other instruments. The sidelong compositions are virtually strewn together avant-garde improvisations in which anything goes. It is this fact which acts as a catch 22 and splits the Krautrock fan base into two factions. First there are those who hail the album as a masterpiece due to its avant-garde nature, wild approach, and inherent reference to a drug trip. Then there are those who pass the album off as a complete timewaster due to its evident amateur musicianship, lack of direction and avant-garde nature.

As far as I am aware there are two stories in regards to Zweistein’s legacy. The first and most common story involves a love affair between a Phillips record producer and a young woman from the band. According to legend, the producer was so mesmerized by the freuleins beauty that he allowed her and a couple of her friends to record in the studio after hours. Shortly after the albums release, Phillips quickly pulled it from the shelves and deleted it from their catalogues. In addition, the producer was given a pink slip for his troubles. The second story tells of a mysterious man known as Jacques Dorian who enlisted help from his wife, children, studio engineer Peter Kramper, and certain mind altering drugs to record the album.

It was my ever-growing interest in the genre coupled with the fantastic nature of these two stories which led me on my journey to track down the album. Incredibly, it wasn’t that long before I found a vinyl copy listed on EBay. Having monitored the auction for six days I failed to enter a bid once the price had been jacked up to well over $200. My backup plan failed as well when my attempts to contact the winner in hopes of asking him to burn me a CDR copy failed. Two years went by and every so often I would search the internet only to come up empty. During this time I was able to locate a Near Mint copy of the group’s equally rare single “I’m A Melody Maker” b/w “A Very Simple Song” for $30. I jumped at the chance to purchase this and I eagerly awaited its over-seas journey from the Netherlands to the USA. Upon my first listen I was somewhat shocked to find that the music was more in the folk vein whereas the album was noted for its avant-garde and experimental nature. Nevertheless, the single had quite a deal of charm, a “far-out” picture sleeve and a slight experimental edge, so it definitely was a keeper.

While doing a recent overview of the single for this website I decided to do a bit of research on Zweistein to see if I could dig up any additional information on the band. The single lists two names S. Doucet and P. Bruhn. While searching the internet, I located the website of New Age Music artist Suzanne Doucet, whom Keyboard Magazine states “has the most authoritative voice on New Age Music”. Suzanne began her music career in 1963 as a pop singer in Germany. Her website lists her single discography and in it I was amazed to find that she had performed on the Zweistein single along with her sister Diane. I finally had a few names that went with the faces on the picture sleeve.

Things got even more interesting when I received a CDR copy of the legendary triple-LP. While doing an image search on Google for the original album cover to “Trip, Flip out, Meditation” I was again led to Suzanne’s website. This time I found no direct link between her and the recording so I decided that I would email her to find out how much she could recall about Zweistein. Fully prepared to receive the “cold shoulder” treatment, I was knocked to the floor when I opened my inbox that evening and saw not one, but two emails in response.

I nearly flipped out when I opened Suzanne’s first email and read what she had written.

“Hello Doug. I am absolutely amazed that the ZWEISTEIN LPs/ triple album became so much of a ‘cult’ item. But if I look back and think about how it all happened it was quite magical I have to say and it would probably fill many pages, if I would tell the whole story...”

Over the course of several emails, Suzanne provided me with a wealth of information about Zweistein and she even set the record straight in regards to the conflicting stories about the band. I was fascinated to learn that along with her younger sister Diane, Suzanne recorded the entire triple-LP over a four month period in various locations including Prague and Munich. After editing the material on Suzanne’s tape-recorder, they brought the material to Munich and worked with recording engineer Peter Kramper on adding studio effects and mastering the recordings. Initially the sisters played their finished piece for friends, but it wasn’t long before they decided to offer it to a record label. Deciding to call the ‘group’ Zweistein Suzanne offered the production to Phonogram/Phillips who having recently inked Krautrock acts Kraftwerk and Cluster to recording deals eagerly accepted the album. Suzanne sold herself as the producer and maintained the appearance that Zweistein was a separate group. Being a very well known pop star and not wanting to harm her career by being attached to such an avant-garde project, Suzanne used the pseudonym Jacques Dorian to disguise her identity. As far as the rumors were concerned, there was no secret love affair between her and the producer as the popular legend insists. Furthermore, the Phillips producer, the late Wolfgang Kretschmar who was responsible for signing Kraftwerk, was not fired for his involvement. The album sold 6,000 copies and was pulled off the shelves a year after its release. The rights to the album returned to Suzanne in 1980 at which time she produced and sold 1500 cassette tapes of the album with a Zweistein fan located in Nuernberg, Germany.

In the end, Suzanne offered to write an official biography about the Zweistein project. This biography, "The Making of Zweistein" will be online within the coming weeks, so please come back again.

UPDATE! A limited edition 3-CD release of the album has been put out by Captain Trip Records!

Cluster "Sowiesoso" 1976

Sowiesoso (Sky 1976)
Genre: Krautrock, Electronic
Album Legnth: 37.16
Best Song: 'In Ewigkeit'

1. Sowiesoso 7.19
2. Halwa 2.52
3. Dem Wanderer 3.52
4. Umleitung 3.29
5. Zum Wohl 6.54
6. Es War Einmal 5.26
7. In Ewigkeit 7.24

Popular consensus agrees that 'Sowiesoso' along with 'Zuckerzeit' is the measuring stick as far as ambient electronic albums are concerned and I agree with them. This album lends itself well as listening music, background music, and meditation music. The music on this album has probably stood the test of time better than Cluster's other work. To me, the instrumentation sounds fresher than 'Grosses Wasser' which was recorded three years later! The obvious stand-outs musically are 'Sowiesoso', 'Zum Wohl', 'Es War Einmal', and 'In Ewigkeit'. Each song consists of a steady keyboard progression which leaves room for what I like to call Cluster's famous 'Teutonic tinkering' (electronic effects). My favorite is 'In Ewigkeit' which translates to 'In Eternity'. This song has a quality which transcends time making it pure listening enlightenment/enjoyment which will last for, well, eternity. A must have for fans of ambient electronic music, Sowiesoso should also be a staple in any serious Krautrock fan's collection. If you are new to Cluster I would advise you to start with this album!
[5/5 Doug]

Hans Joachim Roedelius - Electronics, Guitar
Dieter Moebius - Electronics

Cluster "s/t" 1971

Cluster (Phillips 1971)
Genre: Krautrock, Electronic
Album Legnth: 44.27
Best Song: 15.33

1. 15:33
2. 7.38
3. 21.17

The first Cluster album is a bit lighter than the preceding Kluster albums. This album marks the turning point in their career as Schnitler's departure reduced the band to a two-piece. Conny Plank's engineering expertise was so relied on that he is credited with co-composing the tracks. The three tracks which are untitled are referenced by their running time. In general, the tracks have a dark, brooding nature about them and are loaded with grinding electronic pulses and moans. There are no lyrics, or poems as in the prior Kluster album. They are works of rhythmless free electronic sounds flowing naturally, ascending and descending. If you are familiar with the Kluster albums you will note that sound-wise, these tracks are much fresher and cleaner sounding. This album will appeal greatly to fans of early electronic and industrial music and to those who are interested in hearing early avant garde electronic recordings. For those of you who are not familiar with Cluster, I would advise starting with their later albums, perhaps Sowiesoso or Zuckerzeit and then work your way backwards. This truly is one of the most unique recordings of our time. As an extra note of interest, the album was garnered so well with reviews in 1971 that it was voted 10th best album of that year in one German magazine!
[5/5 Doug]

Hans Joachim Roedelius - Electronics
Dieter Moebius - Electronics
Conrad Plank - Electronics Engineering

Can "Delay" 1981

Delay 1968 (Spoon 1981)
Genre: Krautrock/Rock
Album Legnth: 35:52
Best Song: 'Little Star Of Bethlehem'

1. Butterfly 8.20
2. Phoom 0.26
3. Nineteen Century Man 4.18
4. Thief 5.03
5. Man Named Joe 3.54
6. Uphill 6.41
7. Little Star Of Bethlehem 7.09

As soon as 'Butterfly' erupted from my stereo's speakers I knew it was another classic. This album is every bit as good as Malcolm Mooney's other Can adventure 'Monster Movie'. All the tracks are great, including the short freaky jazz piece 'Pnoom'. The track 'Thief' is the mellow track on the album and features Karoli with his classic guitar sound, surrounding Mooney's sorrowful vocals. It's amazing that all these tracks and all their other early work were recorded on a simple two-track tape machine, Czukay sure is a genius! 'Uphill' is Jaki's drumming and Holger's bass creating a driving punk rock sound, which only ends abruptly probably because the studio had run out of power. The album ends with a vocal improvisation from Mooney with crazy lyrics including "Froggie and Toadie, Silent invisible conversation I'll meet you at the railroad station". The songs from this album were recorded between 1968 and 1969. Eat your heart out Red Hot Chili Pepper's!
[4/5 Doug]

Holger Czukay - Bass
Michael Karoli - Guitar
Malcolm Mooney- Vocals
Jaki Liebzeit - Drums
Irmin Schmidt - Keyboards

Can "Saw Delight" 1977

Saw Delight (Harvest/EMI 1977)
Genre: Krautrock, World Music
Album Legnth: 38:00
Best Song: "Animal Waves"

1. Dont Say No 6.36
2. Sunshine Day And Night 5.49
3. Call Me 5.55
4. Animal Waves 15.31
5. Fly By Night 4.09

In a music genre known for its ability to incorporate cultural and ethnic sounds different from its own, perhaps nobody has been more prolific than Can at doing such. So great was their talent that they even had a running series of "ethnic" recordings wittingly entitled "Ethnological Forgery Series." However, Can often strayed from the Eastern elements which were more common in other groups of the genre. 'Saw Delight' contains five heavily ethnic influenced pieces which utilize Latin, Carribean and African sounds. Can had the uncanny ability to blend these influences directly into their unique brand of krautrock. The tracks 'Don't Say No' and 'Sunshine Day And Night' are heavily influenced by Carribean sound which at times borders on Reggae. The highlight of the album is the fifteen-minute 'Animal Waves'. This track begins to rise slowly with some atmospheric keyboard and electric violin work which soon give way to Czukay's driving bass riffs and some utterly incredible percussion work by Jaki who proves that he is worthy of the 'godly' status which many have bestowed upon him and of course you can't ignore Rebop's incredible beats either. Most Can purists don't dig the latter day stuff, but for my money this album is as good, if not better than 'Tago Mago'. If you are looking for infectious grooves and catchy beats with a strong ethnic taste, then you will be in for a treat with this album.
[5/5 Doug]

Holger Czukay - Bass
Michael Karoli - Guitar
Jaki Liebzeit - Drums
Irmin Schmidt - Keyboards

Can "Soundtracks" 1970

Soundtracks (Liberty 1970)
Genre: Krautrock, Rock
Album Legnth: 35:19
Best Song: "Deadlock"

1. Deadlock 3.25
2. Tango Whiskeyman 4.02
3. Deadlock (Title Music) 1.40
4. Don't Turn the Light on, Leave Me Alone 3.42
5. Soul Desert 3.46
6. Mother Sky 14.30
7. She Brings the Rain 4.04

Not too many groups release a collection of soundtrack pieces as their second album... then again there aren't too many groups quite like Can. The seven tracks from 'Soundtracks' were culled from five films: Deadlock, Cream, Madchen Mit Gewalt, Deep End, and Bottom. Inferior to Monster Movie and Tago Mago (though some will argue that it is their best), the album manages to stand on its own, at times hinting at future directions explored by the band. The most interesting tracks are the three from Deadlock and 'Mother Sky', one of the group's most regarded tracks. 'Deadlock' is an emotional track containing beautiful guitar work by Michael and an evocative bass and keyboard rythm. 'Tango Whiskeyman' stands out as a mellow track with its subtle lead guitar, brooding bass line and Jaki's patented cyclone drumming pattern. 'Mother Sky' is a repetitive psychedelic rocker in the traditional Can vein. At 14-minutes, the track features a trance-like rhythm, mellow vocals, and soaring lead guitar. The album features Malcolm Mooney performing vocals on 'Soul Desert' and 'She Brings The Rain', a jazzy number fit for a smoke-filled lounge. Damo Suzuki is featured on tracks 1, 2, 4, and 6. A fairly good album, 'Soundtracks' lacks the flow and coherent nature of similar period Can work mainly due to the fact that the songs were conceived as film soundtracks. The album is a must for Can fans and will probably end up in most Kraut collections as well.
[4/5 Doug]

Holger Czukay - Bass
Michael Karoli - Guitar
Malcolm Mooney- Vocals
Damo Suzuki - Vocalas
Jaki Liebzeit - Drums
Irmin Schmidt - Keyboards

Peter Bursch Und Die Broselmaschine "s/t" 1976

Peter Bursch Und Die Broselmaschine (Intercord 1976)
Genre: Folk Rock
Album Legnth: 39.41
Best Song: "Sofa Rock"

1. Sofa Rock 6.16
2. Gc 3.30
3. Come Together 9.08
4. Country Doodle 1.48
5. Nah So 'Was 2.37
6. House Carpenter 4.31
7. Wayfaring Stranger 6.53
8. Standchen 1.12
9. Mississippi Blues 3.29

Not too many collectors will be lucky enough to find this little obscurity as it has never been reissued. Those who seek it out should be made aware that sadly, this is not a rehash of the group's incredible 1971 debut. I liken it to Ax Genrich's (Guru Guru) equally obscure 1975 solo LP 'Highdelberg Supersession'. Peter Bursch and Willi Kissmer, the only remaining original members, formed the new Peter Bursch Und Die Broselmaschine in early 1975. The resulting self-titled album was recorded between February and July of that same year in Conny Plank's Neunkirchen Studio. The album features guest appearances by Roland Schaeffer and Mani Neumeier (Guru Guru) and Jan Fride (Kraan). The resulting music, while still retaining a strong folk-rock tendency, is much different than the atmospheric folk which dominated the legendary 1971 album. There are a few similarities however, most notably the inclusion of three traditional tracks ala 'Lassie' and the abundance of "ethnic" percussion. Musically, the emphasis is placed on Peter Bursch's highly talented acoustic guitar techniques, although Willi Kissmer's electric guitar steals the show at times. Standout tracks include 'Sofa Rock', a six-minute instrumental folk-rock jam with ethnic percussion, and 'Come Together', a laid-back track highlighted by flute, idyllic vocals and dreamy guitar passages. Peter Bursch Und Die Broselmaschine is well worth tracking down if you are a fan of the first album.
[3/5 Doug]

Peter Bursch - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Willi Kissmer - Guitar
Klaus Dapper - Flute, Zither, Saxophone, Bass
Mahendra Kapadia - Tablas
Jan Fride - Congas, Drums
Roland Schaeffer - Bass
Mani Neumeier - Percussion

Broselmaschine "s/t" 1971

Broselmaschine (Pilz 1971)
Genre: Folk
Album Legnth: 35.44
Best Song: 'Schmetterling'

1. Gedanken 5.06
2. Lassie 5.06
3. Gittarrenstuck 2.03
4. The Old Man's Song 5.26
5. Schmetterling 9.31
6. Nossa Bova 8.06

Quite possibly the pinnacle of Krautfolk, Broselmaschine is certainly tops in the folk subgenre and is recommended to those interested in the lighter side of Krautrock. Broselmaschine combines the highly talented acoustic guitar playing of Peter Bursch (a master of the instrument who has published many instructional books on the subject), romantic vocals, and a mild Eastern influence highlighted by the use of sitar and flute. The album begins with 'Gedanken', a peaceful track with a slight renaissance-era feel, featuring acoustic and electric guitar, flute and romantic lyrics. Next the group performs the Scottish traditional 'Lassie' with multi-tracked vocal harmonies. Next, 'Guitarrenstuck', is a beautiful piece played with folk guitar and a soothing female vocal. 'The Old Man's Song' seems slightly out of place due to its use of wah-wah peddle, but this gives way to some rather ominous sounding Duul-ish acoustic guitar and folk percussion. 'Schmetterling' introduces an Eastern flavor to the album and is most notable for its sitar which reminds me a little bit of mid-period Popol Vuh. Bursch's guitar playing on this track is simply masterful and the track is given an extra boost from some atmospheric mellotron. 'Nossa Bova' stands out as a folk masterpiece with its incredible guitar work, folk percussion, and female vocals. This track has a peaceful quality similar to Paradieswarts Duul, the only difference being the musical ability of Broselmaschine's members. The album was produced by Rolf Ulrich Kaiser and engineered by Dieter Dierks and was first issued on Pilz in 1971.
[4.5/5 Doug]

Lutz Ringer - Bass, Mellotron
Peter Bursch - Guitar, Vocals, Sitar, Flute
Jenni Schucker - Flute, Vocals
Willi Kissmer - Vocals, Guitar
Mike Hellbach - Congas, Tablas, Mellotron

Blackwater Park "Dirt Box" 1972

Dirt Box (BASF 1972)
Genre: Heavy Rock
Album Legnth: 34:54
Best Song: "Rock Song"

1. Mental Block 3.18
2. Roundabout 5.45
3. One's Life 3.03
4. Indian Summer 6.10
5. Dirty Face 4.25
6. Rock Song 8.45
7. For No One 3.25

Blackwater Park was a little-known Berlin rock band that recorded its only album in Windrose Studios during December 1971. Fans of the guitar driven, blues-flavored heavy progressive rock formula can't go wrong with 'Dirt Box'. Featuring a British vocalist, the group's sound can be compared to the likes of Free, Armaggedon, and Edgar Broughton Band. 'Dirt Box', released on BASF, contains six original tracks of varying quality and a cover version of the Beatles' 'For No One' which comes off rather well. The album opens with 'Mental Block'. Containing gutsy guitar riffs which remind me of the band Free, the song features tight riffs that jam, scorching guitar solos, and an airy hammond organ for added effect. Powerful riffs guide the listener through 'Roundabout', an aggressive rocker with a slightly psychedelic intro. 'One's Life', 'Indian Summer', and 'Dirty Face' feature great guitar work and take on a heavy blues sound with 'Dirty Face' exploring the realm of boogie blues. 'Rock Song' stands out for it is the most unique song on the album in terms of sound. The song opens with a spate of aggressive riffs before turning into a doom and gloom rocker with a slight Eastern influence (imagine Black Sabbath performing 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene') before ending in a series of heavy guitar solos. Finally, the album comes to a close with a rocked-up cover version of the 'For No One' from the Beatles' 1966 smash 'Revolver'. Overall, 'Dirt Box' has its shining moments, but along with them comes a few low points. Regardless of this fact, the album has become popular amongst collectors.
[2.5/5 Doug]

Richard Routledge - Vocals, Guitar
Michael Fechner - Guitar
Andreas Scholz - Bass
Norbert Kagelmann - Drums

Birth Control "Backdoor Possibilities" 1976

Backdoor Possibilities (Brain 1976)
Genre: Progressive/Art Rock
Album Legnth: 43:30
Best Song: "Behind Grey Walls"

1. Prologue 2.30
2. Physical And Mental Short Circuit 3.56
3. Subterranean Escape 1.10
4. Film Of Life 5.36
5. Childhood Flash-Back 0.53
6. Legal Labyrinth 2.06
7. Futile Prayer 5.55
8. The Farrockaway Ropedancer 4.27
9. Le Moineau De Paris 2.23
10. Cha Cha D'amour 1.26
11. Behind Grey Walls 6.52
12. No Time To Die 6.09
13. Fall Down 2.49*
14. Laugh Or Cry 2.57*
*=Bonus Track

'Backdoor Possibilities', Birth Control's sixth studio album and eighth release, is similar to the preceding 'Plastic People' in that it too marks a shift in a new art rock direction. Overall, the music manages to maintain Birth Control's typical hard rock sound, but is augmented with jazz and classical elements. A concept album, the story appears to be based upon the life of a soulless corporate businessman, who, sucked in by the trappings of success, is caught up in the game and reminiscing about his life. The album is divided into three suites, 'One First Of April', 'Beedeepees', and 'La Ciguena De Zaragoza' with the latter being the strongest section. I am not sure if I am alone in this thought, but I have to admit that this album is one of my guilty pleasures and tends to be one of the CD's I grab for most often. The music is spontaneous, fresh, quirky, complex and at times even cheesy. One of the album's strengths lies with the complexity of the musical arrangements, for each instrument track has been carefully thought out and composed. Another aspect I enjoy is the frantic tempo changes, the excellent dual guitar and synth interplay, and the quirky classical melodies and instrument arrangements which sound like a proto-Oingo Boingo (Danny Elfman). That being said, I feel that there will ultimately be two listener classifications: those who despise the album and those who really enjoy the album. Musical highlights include the ethereal number 'Futile Prayer', which comes complete with atmospheric organ and pounding tom-toms; and 'Behind Grey Walls', the album's jewel, a powerful number containing great guitar work and enough of Zeus' keyboard exploits to prove without a doubt he is worthy of his godly name. As a whole, the album has a progressive art rock sound with a sort of proto new wave flair, partly attributed to its unique sonic synth sound and the overall quirky nature of the music which was far from anything the group had done before. As a bonus, the CD contains two bonus tracks which push the total disc time just under 50 minutes.
[4.5/5 Doug]

Bernd Noske - Vocals, Drums, Marimba, Tympani, Congas, Percussion
Peter Foller - Bass, Vocals
Bruno Frenzel - Guitar, Vocals
Zeus B. Held - Organ, Piano, Moog, Tubular Bells, Vocals

Birth Control "Operation" 1971

Operation (Ohr 1971)
Genre: Heavy Rock/Progressive
Album Legnth: 41:57
Best Song: "Let Us Do It Now"

1. Stop Little Lady 7.19
2. Just Before The Sun Will Rise 7.39
3. The Work Is Done 6.00
4. Flesh And Blood 3.29
5. Pandemonium 6.36
6. Let Us Do It 11.13
7. Hope*
8. Rollin'*
9. The Work Is Done*
10. What's Your Name*
11. Believe In The Pill*
*=Bonus Track

'Operation', Birth Control's second studio LP, is a vast improvement upon their self titled debut. Released on the Ohr label in 1971, the album features an outrageous cover drawing of a baby eating insect monster. Sounding much more refined, the group adopted a heavy progressive approach inspired by Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. Bruno Frenzel took creative control of the band and is credited as the sole composer of each track. 'Operation' kicks off with the hard rocker 'Stop Little Lady' which is dominated by Reinhold Sobotta's stellar organ work. Opening with a classically themed guitar and organ riff, the track quickly switches gear and a steady groove is established. 'The Work Is Done', the albums single, is a catchy rocker with political lyrics that deal baby killers in Vietnam. Musically, the track is quite attractive, but the accented female background vocals are a bit of a turn off. 'Flesh And Blood' is a heavy track with a brooding riff that must have influenced The Damned on their killer track 'Neat Neat Neat'. Next, 'Pandemonium' showcases a prominent hammond organ and a nice instrumental section that contains great organ and guitar solos. The album closes with the 11-minute epic 'Let Us Do It Now'. Opening with a beautiful classical piano solo the song begins to take shape as vocals are introduced. Strings, drums and brass are introduced and the song continues to build into an early symphonic rock effort.
[3/5 Doug]

Musicians:Bruno Frenzel - Guitar, Vocals
Bernd Noske - Drums, Vocals
Reinjhold Sobotta - Organ
Bernd Koschmidder - Bass

Between "Dharana" 1974

Dharana (Vertigo 1974)
Genre: World Music, Krautrock, New Age
Album Legnth: 43:41
Best Song: 'Listen To The Light'

1. Joy... Sadness... Joy 11.10
2. Om Namo Buddhaya 2.38
3. Sunset 3.05
4. Listen To The Light 6.25
5. Dharana 21.50
6. Voice Of Silence 17.32*
*=Bonus Track

Apparently, Between front man Peter Michael Hamel's musical ambition was to create a new musical genre. It is safe to say that 'Dharana', Between's third album, is successful in this venture. This album combines the delicate balance of New Age world music similar to Deuter, with the poetic nature of meditative Popol Vuh, while also attaining a great deal of pre-ambient Eno styling. The album features the Popol Vuh contributor, Robert Eliscu, on oboe and flute. The two longer pieces are largely improvised, allowing the individual musicians time to solo throughout. Track one, 'Joy... Sadness... Joy', written by Eliscu, strikes me as sounding much like mid-period Popol Vuh, whereas the title track 'Dharana' is a free form orchestra exploring unchartered ethnic rhythms and soundscapes. 'Om Namo Buddhaya' has a distinct eastern feel dominated by tanpura, flute and mystical chanting. Moving westward, 'Sunset' is a short Spanish guitar piece showcasing Argentinian Roberto Detree's skillful playing. 'Listen To The Light' is a curious, uplifting soundscape dominated by the SWF symphony orchestra. Soft and subtle, this track contains a delicate balance of musical notes which create a unique atmosphere similar to, but predating that heard on Brian Eno's 'Discreet Music'. As a bonus, the CD contains the 17-minute 'Voice Of Silence', the title track to Hamel's second solo album released in 1973. 'Voice' is a long meditative soundscape featuring traditional Indian vocal patterns. Dharana is a wonderfully diverse album which might turn some folks off with its New Age tendencies, but I feel those who give it a shot will be in for a treat! [5/5 Doug]

Peter Michael Hamel - Keyboards, Organ
Robert Eliscu - Oboe, Flute
Roberto Detree - Guitar, Bass
Cotch Black - Congas
Charles Campbell - Congas

Jerry Berkers "Unterwegs" 1972

Unterwegs (Pilz 1972)
Genre: Folk/Rock
Album Legnth: 34.11
Best Song: "Seltsam"

1. Jeder Tag sieht ganz anders aus 5.38
2. Glaub mir, Susanne 3.20
3. Es wird morgen vorbei sein 4.15
4. Dafur lebe ich nur 4.39
5. Grauer Bettler 3.41
6. Ich Klage An 4.26
7. Gelobtes Land 3.08
8. Seltsam 5.04

Jerry Berkers was born in the Netherlands. He is best remembered for his work with Wallenstein ('Blitzkrieg' and 'Mother Universe') as well as his appearance on two of the Kosmische Kurrier LP's ('Lord Krishna Von Goloka' and 'Tarot'). In addition, he performed with Witthuser and Westrupp on their classic 'Bauer Plath'. According to Harald Groskopf, a member of Wallenstein during Berkers' tenure, Jerry had been a member of a "muzak playing dancefloor band" in Australia that was asked to perform by the United States army for US soldiers fighting in Vietnam. During one of their gigs a GoGo girl was shot by sniper fire. Later, Jerry quit this band and headed back to Europe after experiencing a bloody tank attack. In an interview with Krautrock Towers, Harald explained that Berkers "went insane during the recording sessions of his first solo album... They brought him into a psychiatric hospital. He never became 'normal' again."

Jerry Berkers was able to record a solo album in 1972 utilizing members from the various bands with whom he had played. Unterwegs contains eight tracks in total. The music is a cross between folk-flavored rock and singer-songwriter pop. The songs are presented in a tightly structured straightforward manner which is different from most of the bands with whom he played. Aside from Jerrys talents, this album showcases some of Jurgen Dollas' (Wallenstein) best (in my opinion) and most effective keyboard and piano work. By far the two best tracks are 'Ich Klage An' and 'Seltsam'. Both tracks have a very slow and downbeat almost sad quality and in the case of 'Ich Klage An', some very haunting lyrics which might stem from his time in Vietnam.

This was a Pilz production and the usual players can be found on this album, which is highly recommended for those of you who collect the Ohr/Pilz releases.
[3/5 Doug]

Jerry Berkers - Guitar, Vocals, Bass, Percussion
Bernd Witthuser - Guitar
Jurgen Dollase - Keyboards
Walter Westrupp - Harmonica
Bill Barone - Guitar
Thomas Engel - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Dieter Dierks - Vocals

Ashra "New Age Of Earth" 1977

New Age Of Earth (Virgin 1977)
Genre: Electronic
Album Legnth: 47:53
Best Song: 'Ocean Of Tenderness'

1. Sunrain 7.32
2. Ocean Of Tenderness 12.42
3. Deep Distance 5.49
4. Nightdust 21.50

Originally this album was released in late 1976 as an Ash Ra Tempel album in France, but was released internationally the following year under the Ashra title, therefore, I am including it under the latter. This album is seen by many as a milestone in Electronic/Ambient music. Like the preceding Ash Ra Tempel album, Manuel Gottsching is the only performer on this CD, or so I have been led to believe. The four tracks are fully composed, arranged and performed by Gottsching. The style of the music is a bit of a mixture of meditative ambient and electronic music and what would later become known as dance/techno. The first track 'Sunrain' has a very prototypical techno/dance beat to the sound and is totally synth-driven. The music on the album is very well executed and the production values are incredible for the time (the sound is really clean and layered!). This album is a great album to listen to while laying on a couch in a dark room lit by lava-lamp light. The music on this album has a sort of healing quality to it and when in the right mood can flow through your mind.
[5/5 Doug]

Manuel Gotsching - Guitar, Synthesizer, Electronics

Ash Ra Temple "Join Inn" 1973

Join Inn (Ohr 1973)
Genre: Krautrock
Album Legnth: 43.24
Best Song: "Jenseits"

1. Freak 'N' Roll 19.09
2. Jenseits 24.15

‘Join Inn’, Ash Ra Tempel’s fourth album, is the result of a one-off jam session which took place amongst the three original members and Gottsching’s favorite tag-along, girlfriend Rosi Mueller. Recorded in Switzerland, where many of the key Ohr/Pilz players had descended to take part in the Walter Wegmuller ‘Tarot’ project, ‘Join Inn’ was completed over the course of several hours during breaks. Sticking to the groups modus operandi, the album contains two extended and largely improvised tracks, ‘Freak ‘N’ Roll’ and ‘Jenseits’ which is German for “beyond”. ‘Freak ‘N’ Roll’, is a guitar driven psychedelic rocker complete with bluesy lead guitar, trippy reverb effects, electronics noodling, plodding bass riffs, and Schulze’s usual percussion exploits. When compared to earlier Tempel tracks such as ‘Amboss’ and ‘Space’, ‘Freak ‘N’ Roll’ comes off sounding a bit restrained. Following the formula of the proceeding three albums, the album closes in dreamlike fashion with the twenty-four minute epic ‘Jenseits’. Akin to an electronic sound painting, ‘Jenseits’ gently floats along riding its ambient atmosphere into the heavens. Gottsching’s maturing guitar sound attains an ethereal quality unlike any other in rock history while Hartmut Enke’s bass adds to the mood. As a whole, the album sounds much more refined when compared to their earlier outings. Depending on your tastes this will either be a positive or a negative.
[4/5 Doug]

Manuel Gotsching - Guitar
Hartmut Enke - Bass
Klaus Schulze - Drums, Organ, EMS Synthesizer
Rosi - Vocals

Ash Ra Temple "s/t" 1971

Ash Ra Tempel (Ohr 1971)
Genre: Krautrock
Album Legnth: 45.26
Best Song: 'Amboss'

1. Amboss 19.54
2. Traummaschine 25.32

A perfect starting point for anybody wishing to taste the cosmic thrills of krautrock, Ash Ra Tempel's explosive debut album ranks as one of my favorite Tempel recordings. The band was still very fresh, having only joined forces in August 1970. Their self-titled debut album featured two extended tracks of a cosmic nature. 'Amboss' begins very softly with harmonic guitar chords before it begins to build into the mother of all cosmic space rock jams. Fueled by Gottsching's heavy and effects-laden acid guitar work, the track features nonstop guitar soloing and wreckless percussion pounding courtesy of Klaus Schulze. Clocking in at over twenty-five minutes, 'Traummaschine' (Dream Machine), seems to be at odds with the furious nature of 'Amboss'. 'Traummaschine' is a dreamy track which floats forth from the speakers so cosmically that it seems as if God himself was channeling energy into the band's recording studio. The track picks up steam near the twenty-minute mark before ultimately closing out in subdued cosmic fashion. An incredible debut, 'Ash Ra Tempel' set the standard and formula for the groups next three albums.
[5/5 Doug]

Manuel Gotsching - Guitar, Vocals, Electronics
Hartmut Enke - Bass
Klaus Schulze - Drums, Percussion, Electronics

Annexus Quam "Osmose" 1970

Osmose (Ohr 1970)
Genre: Krautrock
Album Legnth: 36:20
Best Song: "Track One"

1. Track One 4.15
2. Track Two 3.11
3. Track Three 10.35
4. Track Four 18.19

A fusion of rock and jazz with doses of the avant garde and psychedelia thrown in for good measure. A very trippy album, the use of effects and the loose jazz drumming create a sound somewhere between 'Phallus Dei'-era Amon Duul II, Faust, and Kollectiv. The last side long piece on the album is the standout track. With its interplay between guitar and sax, the droning vocals (Amon Duul II style!), jazz bass and piano, Annexus Quam create an unheard of music from another world. You recognize all the parts, but when they are put together they create something entirely different. The band went on to record one more album, but this was in a free-jazz style and only slightly hints at the music on this Ohr classic.
[4/5 Doug]

Jurgen Jonuschies - Bass, Vocals, Percussion
Hans Kaemper - Trombone, Spanish Guitar, Vocals, Percussion
Harald Klemm - Flute, Vocals, Percussion
Ove Volquartz - Saxaphone
Peter Werner - Guitar, Vocals, Percussion
Uwe Bick - Drums, Vocals, Percussion
Werner Hostermann - Clarinet, Organ, Vocals, Percussion

Amon Duul II "Wolf City" 1973

Wolf City (United Artists 1973)
Genre: Krautrock
Album Legnth: 34:39
Best Song: "Green Bubble Raincoated Man"

1. Surrounded By The Stars 7.46
2. Green-Bubble-Raincoated-Man 5.04
3. Jail-House-Frog 4.52
4. Wolf City 3.20
5. Wie Der Wind Am Ende Einer Strasse 5.44
6. Deutsch Nepal 2.59
7. Sleepwalkers Timeless Bridge 4.54

'Wolf City' is perhaps the most popular Amon Duul II recording. The sound is a continuation of the style which dominated "Carnival In Babylon". The tracks are shorter and made more accessible by a more mainstream rock approach and Renate Knaup's dominance on lead vocals. In addition to her vocals, Lothar Meid sings on the title track while Danny Fichelcher is responsible for the vocals on 'Sleepwalkers Timeless Bridge'. Despite losing touch with their underground ways the songs are fresh and range from the psychedelic "Wolf City' to the ethnic-rock-fusion 'Wie Der Wind Am Ende Einer Strasse' to the heavy gothic rocker 'Deutsch Nepal'. Some songs are so fresh that there are a few musical passages which could be deemed as 'proto-punk' or even 'proto-new wave' (check out the rocking middle section of Green-Bubble-Raincoated-Man). The obvious standout are tracks 1,4,5,6. It should be noted that allegedly, 'Wie Der Wind Am Ende Einer Strasse' was the result of an LSD trip in which according to legend, the entire band dropped acid and decided to record while tripping... This is a must-have for fans of Amon Duul II and Krautrock fans in general. Most ADII fans view this as their last great album while viewing later material as sadly lacking.
[5/5 Doug]

Chris Karrer - Guitar
Johannes Weinzierl - Guitar
Renate Knaup - Vocals
Falk Rogner - Keyboard
Lothar Meid - Bass
Danny Fichelcher - Drums

Amon Duul "Carnival In Babylon" 1972

Carnival In Babylon (United Artists 1972)
Genre: Krautrock
Album Legnth: 36:59
Best Song: "Hawknose Harlequin"

1. C.I.D. In Uruk 5.36
2. All The Years Round 7.24
3. Shimmering Sand 6.36
4. Kronwinkl 12 3.55
5. Tables Are Turned 3.37
6. Hawknose Harlequin 9.50
7. Light 3.51*
8. Between The Eyes 2.29*
9. All The Years Round (Single Version) 4.12*
*=Bonus Track

Much calmer than their preceding work, 'Carnival In Babylon', the group's fourth album, is a movement towards a more accessible and melodic sound. The album is dominated by shorter tracks which mix together folk, progressive, jazz, and ethnic influences. The only links between this and their prior work are the 10-minute 'Hawknose Harlequin' and 'Kronwinkel 12'. Edited down from a 40-minute jam, 'Hawknose Harlequin' is a mix of 'Tanz' styled space rock and 'Yeti' styled free-form jam. Likewise, the short acid-pop tune 'Kronwinkel 12' is similar in feeling with earlier acid rockers 'Soap Shop Rock' and 'Archangels Thunderbird'. The remaining tracks feature a laid-back, mature rock sound complete with acoustic guitar, psychedelic electric guitar, spaced-out organ, as well as rock and ethnic percussion. Renate Knaup returns to the fold and performs lead and backing vocals on five tracks. 'All The Years Round' and 'Hawknose Harlequin' feature some truly toe-tapping guitar riffs while 'C.I.D In Uruk', 'Shimmering Sand', and 'Tables Are Turned' offer up some ethnically-tainted folk grooves. The Repertoire release contains three bonus tracks, of which 'Light' stands out as an oddball rocker reminding me of the Velvet Underground sound.
[4/5 Doug]

Chris Karrer - Guitar, Violin, Sax, Vocals
John Weinzierl - Guitar, Vocals
Renate Knaup - Vocals
Karl-Heinz Hausmann - Keyboard
Lothar Meid - Bass, Vocals
Peter Leopold - Drums
Danny Fichelscher - Percussion

Amon Duul II "Phallus Dei" 1969

Phallus Dei (Liberty 1969)
Genre: Krautrock
Album Legnth: 41.41
Best Song: Kannan

1. Kannan 4.03
2. Dem Guten, Schonen, Wahren 6.13
3. Luzifers Ghilom 8.34
4. Henriette Krotenschwanz 2.04
5. Phallus Dei 20.48

Literally translated as 'God's Penis', 'Phallus Dei' is an important album which helped to define the genre. The groups unique blend of rock, Eastern influence, and improvisation led to a powerfully energetic sound that is distinctly German in every way. The band, eight members in total, consisted of two drummers, Dieter Serfas and Peter Leopold, who together, provide one of the most prominent percussion sections in rock history. The vocals are dark and full of angst; especially those performed by Shrat which come off as operatic in nature. The album kicks off with 'Kanaan', a powerful percussion-driven track with romantic overtones. 'Kanaan' explores Eastern musical motifs with a flair of German romanticism and showcases guest musicians Holger Trulzsch (Popol Vuh) on Turkish drums and Christian Burchard (Embryo) on vibraphone. Following this is 'Dem Guten, Schonen, Wahren' a track which was first released in its embryonic form as 'Kaskados Minnelied' on Amon Duul's (the sister group) debut-LP 'Psychedelic Underground'. The musical growth of this track is astounding as Amon Duul II rocks out in gloomy fashion while Shrat delivers some of the most crazed vocals ever put onto record. 'Lucifers Ghilom' is noteworthy for its innovative and bizarre musical structure. As with later works, most notably 'Tanz Der Lemminge', the musical direction shifts constantly as the track builds. Predating Embryo, 'Ghilom' introduces a wonderfully-obnoxious screeching electric violin into the mix. 'Henriette Krotenschwanz', a short track with a marching drumbeat and pulsing bass riff, showcases Renate Knaup performing lead vocals. Finally, the album is brought to a close by the twenty-minute psychedelic opus 'Phallus Dei'. 'Phallus Dei' is a large scale improvisation that introduces elements that would later dominate the bands sound. The album has been reissued by Repertoire in a remastered digipak edition with five bonus tracks 'Freak Out Requiem I-IV' and 'Cymbals In The End'.
[5/5 Doug]

Chris Karrer - Guitar
Johannes Weinzierl - Guitar, Vocals, Violin
Renate Knaup - Vocals
Falk Rogner - Keyboards
Dieter Serfas - Drums
Peter Leopold - Drums
Dave Anderson - Bass
Christain 'Shrat' Thierfeld - Vocals, Percussion, Violin

Amon Duul "Experimente" 1984

Genre: Commune Rock
Album Legnth: 66.45
Best Song: Special Track Experience No. 11

1. Special Track Experience No. 1 4.30
2. Special Track Experience No. 2 0.32
3. Special Track Experience No. 3 5.17
4. Special Track Experience No. 4 2.28
5. Special Track Experience No. 5 2.41
6. Special Track Experience No. 6 1.11
7. Special Track Experience No. 7 5.47
8. Special Track Experience No. 8 2.11
9. Special Track Experience No. 9 3.45
10. Special Track Experience No. 10 1.42
11. Special Track Experience No. 11 1.54
12. Special Track Experience No. 12 1.24
13. Special Track Experience No. 13 3.49
14. Special Track Experience No. 14 2.48
15. Special Track Experience No. 15 1.29
16. Special Track Experience No. 16 5.10
17. Special Track Experience No. 17 0.50
18. Special Track Experience No. 18 2.06
19. Special Track Experience No. 19 6.29
20. Special Track Experience No. 20 1.07
21. Special Track Experience No. 21 2.46
22. Special Track Experience No. 22 3.08
23. Special Track Experience No. 23 2.33
24. Special Track Experience No. 24 1.08

Posthumously released in 1984 by the Swiss label Time Wind, 'Experimente' offers up what I'm sure many of us hope to be the final leftovers from the groups famous 1968 jam session. In total, there are 24 tracks simply titled 'Special Track Experience'. Surprisingly, the material comprising 'Experimente' features slightly less percussion and is more coherent and interesting than any of the material on 'Disaster' or 'Collapsing'. Each of the 'Special Track Experience' tracks appears to be trimmed from a longer body of music, a trick that BASF should have considered before their release of the aptly titled 'Disaster'. Musically, the material shows a heavy influence from the sixties garage band sound as evidenced by the discordant 'Louie Louie' jam heard on Track 20 and the Sonics-esque sound on Tracks 10 and 11. Contrasting this is a primal melodic sound more akin to early Velvet Underground as evidenced by Track 23. However, the true gem on the album, Track 24, is an early version of a guitar riff later used on 'Archangels Thunderbird' from the album 'Yeti'. If you are thirsting for a little more Amon Duul in your life, you certainly could do worse than this album!
[1.5/5 Doug]

Angelica Filanda- Vocals, Percussion
Helge Filanda- Congas, Anvil
Ella Bauer- Vocals, Percussion
Rainer Bauer- Guitar, Vocals
Ullrich Leopold- Bass
Peter Leopold - Drums
Uschi Obermaier- Percussion
Wolfgang Krischke - Piano, Percussion

Amon Duul "Disaster" 1972

Genre: Commune Rock
Album Legnth: 67.08
Best Song: 'Imprupulsion'

1. Drum Things (Erschlagzeugtes) 9.12
2. Asynchron (Verjault Und Zugeredet) 7.37
3. Yea Yea Yea (Zerbeatelt) 1.00
4. Broken (Ofensivitaaten) 7.26
5. Somnium (Trauma) 9.30
6. Frequency (Entzewi) 9.53
7. Autonomes (Eintdrei) 5.37
8. Chaoticolour (Entsext) 7.43
9. Expressionidiom (Kapuntterbunt) 1.48
10. Alititude (Quaar Feld Aus) 1.01
11. Impropulsion (Noch'n Lied) 6.13

Here is the third album to be released containing more jams from the historic 1968 jam session. The inner sleeve only lists 7 'musicians', but I have read elsewhere that nearly 10 to 15 people are responsible for these recordings. If you are not familiar with the original incarnation of Amon Duul, then this description will be helpful for you. Imagine three or four people playing acoustic and electric guitar in a manner similar to a few drugged-out garage band kids, accompanied by six or more people playing a variety of percussions all in a different time signature. Their songs, if you can call them songs, are megalithic jams centered around a single riff or chord sequence. Extremely amateur, almost bordering on ritualistic playing. Something that has to be heard to be truly understood, liked or disliked.
[1/5 Doug]

Angelica Filanda- Vocals, Percussion
Helge Filanda- Congas, Anvil
Ella Bauer- Vocals, Percussion
Rainer Bauer- Guitar, Vocals
Ullrich Leopold- Bass
Peter Leopold - Drums
Uschi Obermaier- Percussion
Wolfgang Krischke - Piano, Percussion

Amon Duul "Paradieswarts Duul" 1971

Genre: Folk/Krautrock
Album Legnth: 34.15
Best Song: Love Is Peace

1. Love Is Peace 17.13
2. Snow Your Thirst and Sun Your Open Mouth 9.28
3. Paramechanische Welt 7.38
4. Eternal Flow 4.10*
5. Paramechanical World 5.44*
*=Bonus Track

If ever a record could change your perception about a band, it would be this record by Amon Duul. So well-documented was their historic 1968 drugged-out jam session that 4 albums worth of 'music' have been culled from the tapes. Paradieswarts Duul was their only legit attempt at recording an album and as I read somewhere else, "the commune's drug of choice had been changed". Although still quite amateur, (5 notes into the first track one can hear the guitarist flub his note!) the musicians do manage to play a few decent 'drug-folk' songs. A brief description of the music might go as follows: three extended tracks of mellow folk-ness sounding a bit like Planet Caravan in a few spots, performed by amateurs, but possessing a great deal of charm and idealism. The CD also contains Amon Duul's only other legit recording, a 7" single also from 1970. [3/5 Doug]

Ella - Bongos
Lemur - Drums, Rythm Guitar, Guitar
Lurich - Bass, Piano, Guitar
Dadam - Guitar, Vocals, Bass
Hansi - Flute, Bongos
Helge - Drums
Noam - African Drums
John - Guitar
Chris - Bongos

Altona "Chickenfarm" 1975

Chickenfarm (RCA 1975)
Genre: JazzRock
Album Legnth: 39:26
Best Track: Chickenfarm

1. Elephant Walk 5.33
2. Lover's Tale 5.10
3. Ramadam 4.03
4. Tango Lady 4.09
5. Back Again 5.15
6. Feigenblatt 5.10
7. Chickenfarm 10.06

If you are in the mood for some top notch jazzrock then look no further than Altona's 1975 follow up album 'Chickenfarm' to satisfy your urge. 'Chickenfarm's' sound is well within the mid-70's progressive framework, but Altona managed to steer clear of the technical deepend, opting instead for a more rock-based Anglo-American approach containing catchy riffs and memorable melodies. Overall the sound of this album reminds me of a more mainstream Passport mixed with a little bit of Birth Control. Vocally, Karl-Heinz Blumenberg (who sounds like Bernd Noske of Birth Control) was one of the more talented vocalists in the genre and his voice stands out and carries the melodies quite well. Musically, the strongest elements come from the horn section composed of Blumenberg, Von Ronn, and Wulff. Their sound is textured and tight, fitting perfectly into the mix. Standout tracks include: 'Elephant Walk', 'Lover's Tale', 'Back Again', and 'Chickenfarm'. 'Lover's Tale' is an atmospheric ballad containing strong melodies and a catchy horn section whereas 'Back Again' is a funky upbeat number with a slight discordant feel and an atmospheric chorus. Both are great tracks, but the most notable track on the album is the self-titled 'Chickenfarm'. The album's sole extended track, clocking in at over 10-minutes, 'Chickenfarm' builds upon a delicate guitar arpeggio in dynamic fashion as a powerful orchestration enters into the mix, builds upon the theme, then ushers in an incredibly atmospheric and epic keyboard sequence. The remaining several minutes allow the band a chance to flex their progressive muscle and includes sax and piano leads. Sadly, this proved to be the bands final recording although a few of the members did regroup shortly in the late 70's as Dirty Dogs releasing the albums 'Running Wild' and 'Seven Lives For Rock 'N' Roll.'
[4/5 Doug]

Karl-Heinz Blumenberg - Vocals, Flute, Sax
Bernd Michael Rosenberger - Keyboard
Werner von Gosen- Guitar
Fritz Kahl- Bass
Hans-Heinz Gossler - Drums
Michael von Ronn- Sax
Wolfgang Wulff- Sax

Agitation Free "Second" 1973

Second (Vertigo 1973)
Genre: Krautrock
Album Legnth: 41.31
Best Song: In the Silence of the Morning Sunrise

1. First Communication 8.10
2. Dialogue and Random 1.51
3. Laila, Pt. 1 1.41
4. Laila, Pt. 2 6.47
5. In the Silence of the Morning Sunrise 6.33
6. Quiet Walk 9.15
7. Haunted Island 7.11

From beginning to end, this is an album of infinite beauty, soft and subtle; the music, at times, has a meditative quality. The ethnic flavor from the group's first outing is gone, replaced here by a mature rock sound of a higher order. Beginning with a wash of white noise, 'First Communication' builds up with a slow, melodic, somewhat psychedelic guitar sound quite similar to that of mid-period Popol Vuh. This track ends with odd electronic effects which lead into a Michael Hoenig electronic piece consisting of harsh 'academic' electronic sounds strung together to form a melody. The two-part 'Laila' uses the Vuhish guitar sound from track one, but this time the music, driven by a tight bass and drum rhythm, is much heavier. Slowing down again, 'In The Silence Of The Morning Sunrise' consists of a jazzy guitar and organ melody line overtop a steady guitar arpeggio sequence. 'A Quiet Walk' builds slowly as it relies on the resonant quality of various sounds before erupting into another pre-mid period Vuhish 'Brudder Des Schattens'-like meditative sound. Finally, 'Haunted Island' finishes the album in dramatic fashion utilizing an atmospheric mellotron and the Edgar Allen Poe poem 'Dreamland', before ending with a wash of white noise that creates a loop if the album is played in repeat mode.
[4/5 Doug]

Lutz Ulbrich - Guitar, Bouzouki
Michael Gunther - Bass
Michael Hoenig - Synthesizer, Keyboard
Burghard Rausch - Percussion, Drums, Keyboards, Mellotron
Stefan Diez - Guitar
Frank Diez - Vocals
Jackie Diez - Vocals

Welcome to the new home of the Krautrock Album Database

I'll keep it short. Geocities is closing so I have created this blog to serve as the future home of the Krautrock Album Database.

I'll be migrating the files and reviews to this new site as I get the chance.