Sunday, January 3, 2016

Alcatraz - 1971 - Vampire State Building

Alcatraz
1971
Vampire State Building



01. Simple Headphone Mind 10:00
02. Your Chance of a Lifetime 5:06
03. Where the Wild Things Are 3:03
04. Vampire State Building 13:10
05. Piss Off 3:18

Bass Guitar – Ronald Wilson
Drums, Bongos – Jan Rieck
Electric Piano [Pianett], Lead Vocals – Rüdiger Berghahn
Flute, Tenor Saxophone – Klaus Nagurski
Lead Guitar – Klaus Holst



Somewhat amateur but inspired and energetic. Definitely lacking in cohesion in some parts (the first track for example). Jazzy soul/funk tinted Krautrock.

"Where the Wild Things Are", "Simple Headphone Mind and the title track are the best songs IMO, with the former being the real standout for me.

I was disappointed when I discovered that the mellow jazz parts of "Simple Headphone Mind" are copies of the beginning of Nucleus' "Torrid Zone" off of 'Elastic Rock.' Its a really nice chill jazz theme though and they do play it better here than Nucleus, with flute and a lot more soul and feel and without the fancy jazz (so it really sets and maintains a mood). Between those sections (3 of them) they launch (twice) into a loose, antsy, discordant free-style guitar-led jive for a total departure. Very schizophrenic.

"Your Chance of a Lifetime" is a bit dull and suffers from poor vocals, too much reverb, lackluster instrumentation, guitar that is too loud and doesn't integrate with the music well in its tone or style, and finally an energetic and pointless jazz workout that is a complete nonsequiter to the song before it (as in "Simple Headphone Mind"). It feels like an imitation of some old minimalist blues. It has potential, it just falls a bit flat.

"Where The Wild Things Are" is where it all comes together and we get something that feels fluid, integrated, and more inspired/original. It is more of a jam, that transitions in very smooth and integrated ways as opposed to the jarring non-sequiter transitions of the first songs. It grooves, especially at the song's end (!) It is a shame that this song is the shortest of the album and the rest of this album is not more like it.

The title track, "Vampire State Building" that starts with a jazz-rock groove and features a pretty cool 9/8 jazzy drum groove and bass grooves toward the beginning. It is a very fragmentary "song" that then goes into a  weird dinky section and ends with some appropriated soul blues

The free jam of "Piss Off" is designed to do just that, though it is somewhat interesting.

Overall a very inconsistent, schizophrenic, ADD Kraut/jazz/rock/soul/blues album that also suffers from an uncertain musical identity. that is generally good with some high points and some sloppiness.

Drago then let interject their two cents...Krautrock recording to come out of Hamburg in 1969. Playing through small venues [such as hostels,school], Alcatraz repertoire comprised mainly of covers of well known bands; Ten Years After, Keef Hartley Band, Savoy Brown, Vanilla Fudge, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep. Branching out with compositions of their own, the band began listening to jazzy bands such as Soft Machine and Tony William's Lifetime. Putting two and two together their sound falls somewhere between their earlier Hard rock contingencies and Jazz, with a healthy dose of Improv. First album by mysterious band Alcatraz from Hamburg,Originally released 1971 on Philips. Their music featured fuzz guitars and effects overdose in a heavy and bluesy over-the-top Krautrock mixing together genres that no-one else did. One of the finest slabs of eccentric heady Krautrock. Simple Head Phone Mind (11:56) and the title-track "Vampire State Building" (13:10) are masterpieces you will never forget. For the first time on CD on label Long Hair LHC00014 in 2002. This album is an absolutely must for every Krautrock or Progrock fan. From the master tapes plus one bonus track.

The album was recorded under peculiar circumstances. Recorded at Faust's studio in Wümme, the farm surrounding the studio was sieged by police after suspecting a crack down on a terrorist hideout. The band still managed to get through the whole recording process within the day, unfazed by the incident. While per se my interest is wanning for the Hard rock side of music, fused with part jazz, Improv and general Kraut craziness, made this pleasurable listening experience. Featuring flute, sax, piano, bongo, and the signature sound is made between the interplay between lead lines from Sax or flute enmeshed warmly by fuzz- guitar work. I'm not too fond of the vocals, but they fit the part well [only featured on two tracks, thankfully!]. I find myself enjoying the extended jazzy jams; more than the harder sections, but the album finds a nice balance, connecting the two comfortably without either becoming over bearing. I love putting this album on of the evenings, the jazz leanings give a sedated feeling. For those put off by Krautrock absurdities this album shouldn't provide any problems, it does possess some more 'out there' improvisation jams

Finally the album has been re-released in 2012[Long Hair] via the master tapes, containing extensive linear notes. During the re-release of the album the musicians unearthed three new tracks originally recorded at Hamburg Windrose Dumot Studio, which were recorded a few months after the deadline of the full album... it is worth to invest in this tasteful CD. This is a real treat for fans of the forgotten German Krautrock scene music.
I wrote about this album, some time ago on your blog
http://bordeldorock.blogspot.com/2011/09/alcatraz-vampire-state-building-1971.html
Drago,big hugs!

4 comments:




  1. http://www.filefactory.com/file/4c4ywo48aif1/2836.rar

    ReplyDelete
  2. Drago then let interject their two cents...Krautrock recording to come out of Hamburg in 1969. Playing through small venues [such as hostels,school], Alcatraz repertoire comprised mainly of covers of well known bands; Ten Years After, Keef Hartley Band, Savoy Brown, Vanilla Fudge, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep. Branching out with compositions of their own, the band began listening to jazzy bands such as Soft Machine and Tony William's Lifetime. Putting two and two together their sound falls somewhere between their earlier Hard rock contingencies and Jazz, with a healthy dose of Improv. First album by mysterious band Alcatraz from Hamburg,Originally released 1971 on Philips. Their music featured fuzz guitars and effects overdose in a heavy and bluesy over-the-top Krautrock mixing together genres that no-one else did. One of the finest slabs of eccentric heady Krautrock. Simple Head Phone Mind (11:56) and the title-track "Vampire State Building" (13:10) are masterpieces you will never forget. For the first time on CD on label Long Hair LHC00014 in 2002. This album is an absolutely must for every Krautrock or Progrock fan. From the master tapes plus one bonus track.

    The album was recorded under peculiar circumstances. Recorded at Faust's studio in Wümme, the farm surrounding the studio was sieged by police after suspecting a crack down on a terrorist hideout. The band still managed to get through the whole recording process within the day, unfazed by the incident. While per se my interest is wanning for the Hard rock side of music, fused with part jazz, Improv and general Kraut craziness, made this pleasurable listening experience. Featuring flute, sax, piano, bongo, and the signature sound is made between the interplay between lead lines from Sax or flute enmeshed warmly by fuzz- guitar work. I'm not too fond of the vocals, but they fit the part well [only featured on two tracks, thankfully!]. I find myself enjoying the extended jazzy jams; more than the harder sections, but the album finds a nice balance, connecting the two comfortably without either becoming over bearing. I love putting this album on of the evenings, the jazz leanings give a sedated feeling. For those put off by Krautrock absurdities this album shouldn't provide any problems, it does possess some more 'out there' improvisation jams

    Finally the album has been re-released in 2012[Long Hair] via the master tapes, containing extensive linear notes. During the re-release of the album the musicians unearthed three new tracks originally recorded at Hamburg Windrose Dumot Studio, which were recorded a few months after the deadline of the full album... it is worth to invest in this tasteful CD. This is a real treat for fans of the forgotten German Krautrock scene music.
    I wrote about this album, some time ago on your blog
    http://bordeldorock.blogspot.com/2011/09/alcatraz-vampire-state-building-1971.html
    Drago,big hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  3. File no longer available.. could you re-up? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  4. The link appears to be dead...could you re-up please?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete