Sunday, February 14, 2016

Galactic Explorers - 1972 - Epitaph For Venus

Galactic Explorers 
Epitaph For Venus

01. Lunarscape (17:59)
02. Ethereal Jazz (15:41)
03. Venus Rising (8:08)

- Johannes Lutz / moog, organ
- Holst Seisert / synthesizers, electric piano, effects
- Reinhard Karwatky / synthesizers, percussion, organ

Mindblowing psychoelectronic work with abundant and flowing hypnotic electronic arpeggios (in the genre of Tangerine Dream but less obsessive). The music also features a vast collection of analog synth sounds for some "cosmic", immersive dronescapes. This album announces a turning point in the developpement of progressive electronic music; One of the first "implicit" uses of electronic arppegios in popular music (the reflective, introspective and minimalist "lunarscape"). The result is quite astonshing. It looks like (in a distinctive genre and in a more "simplistic"dimension) to Terry Riley in his extended organ "loops" improvisations (especially in the awesome and trance like "Persian Surgery Dervishes"). "ethereal jazz" investigates abstract electronic loops and rhythms, delivering repetitive "molecular", "atomic" sounds. "Venus Rising" is a dronological investigation with long, linear sytnh chords and a "prehistoric" ambient soundscape. The track ends up with emotional & enigmatic synth chords. A Very organic and stimulating electronic work. I give it 4 starts because it's so closed to the all time classic "Phaedra" (Tangerine Dream). Moreover it was published two years before.

Let's just say that this album really blew me away. Now there's some rumors floating about that this was a '90s London-based fake. The fact that so few copies of the original LP were made and not sold at record outlets doesn't help matters any, with no real solid proof of the album's existence (like a posting of it on the internet). Same goes for all the other titles released on the Pyramid label. The '90s British fakes rumor only came around when these titles were reissued on CD on the Psi-FI label (which was British) in the 1990s, and they didn't come with much more than original album artwork, the tracklisting and personnel listings.

But there's two things making me believe that this is not a hoax: 1: It sounds too authentic to the time period to have been recorded in the 1990s. I am very familiar with the German prog rock, electronic, and Krautrock scene, so this recording is very consistent with those scenes. 2. Galactic Explorers featured Reinhard Karwatky, who, at the time, was also involved in Dzyan, so this is essentially a Dzyan side-project. At least no one disputes the existence of Dzyan. Toby Robinson was the guy behind the Pyramid label, and was also an assistance to Dieter Dierks. Toby also went by the name of The Mad Twiddler and Genius P. Orridge, not to be confused with the coincidentally named Genesis P. Orridge of Throbbing Gristle, whose real name is Neil Andrew Megson. I happen to own original LPs of Birth Control's Plastic People (which features Zeus B. Held, also involved in Temple, another one of those mystery Pyramid releases) and Dzyan's Electric Silence, featuring Reinhard Karwatky, naturally. Both mention Toby Robinson's name, the Birth Control LP also giving him the name of "The Mad Twiddler" and "Genius P. Orridge"). By the way, there were never any autobiographies of Genesis P. Orridge ever residing in Germany and working for Dieter Dierks, so Genesis P. Orridge and Genius P. Orridge were two separate people making me think Neil Andrew Megson (Genesis) named himself after Toby Robinson (Genius).

Galactic Explorers is really nothing like Dzyan, but much closer to Terry Riley's keyboard work like A Rainbow in Curved Air with some early Tangerine Dream, and early Popol Vuh. A lot of the music features this nice pulsing sound that often gives way to some eerie droning sounds. Lots of organ with some synths and electronic effects. I love that 1970s vibe of the album, something I'd seriously doubt I'd detect if this was recorded in 1990s London.

This is truly a great surprise to me, many obscure releases deserve to be that because they aren't that great, or its overhyped. Not this album!



  2. Many thanks for some very interesting electronic and fusion stuff today!

  3. Brilliant post, thx a lot!