Thursday, July 21, 2016

Kontrast - 1986 - Volume I

Volume I 

Volume I
01. Suite For The Young Girl (25:24)
02. Trip (11:56)
03. Opus Dope Us (7:58)
04. Let's Fetz (2:37)

Bonus tracks (recorded from 1983-85 and mastered 1986, 2004-7 by Remigius Drechsler)

Volume II
05. Little Solitude (0:40)
06. Hip Me (2:19)
07. Order (8:07)
08. Good Wax Home (7:08)
09. Race To Heaven (10:55)

Ingo Schmid-Neuhaus / alto saxophone (1,3,4,7-9), electric piano (3,4,7-9),maracas, cow bell (8)
Marika Schmid-Falk / vocals (3,8), percussion, vibraphone (3), gan gan (7), cuica (8)
Remigius Drechsler / acoustic bass (1-4,6-9), darbouka (1-4,6,9), guitar (2,6), marimba, vibraphone, recorder (2), percussion (1,2,6,8,9), psaltery, horn (9), whistling, water (with Elise) (5)
Richard Netusil / special guitar (1,4,9), hand drum (1,3,4), log drums (6)
Christian Bäck / soprano saxophone (3,4,9), alto saxophone, vocal (6)
Paul Smyth / words (1,7,9)
Moran / flute (1,4,7,8), vocal (1,8), signal horn (6), cymbals (8)

Volume I is the original Kontrast LP released in 1986.
Volume II is previously unreleased recordings, specially compiled for Cosmic Egg.

Recorded 1983-85 and mastered in 1986

All original covers are hand-made, and thus each one is slightly different. Copies generally come with 2 x A4 photocopied inserts on a variety of white or coloured papers.

According to Remigius Drechsler 500 copies were pressed, of which the first 100 or so sold quickly, and the rest slowly. At Ultima Thule we had the last 50 sellable copies (some due to being stored in a damp location were deemed unsellable and were disposed of).

After the dissolution of Out of Focus around 1979, their guitarist Remigius Drechsler joined Embryo for about a year.He toured with the band in Europe and North Africa and then decided to work on some solo compositions at his own home studio.He regularly invited musicians to jam with, like ex-Out of Focus bandmates Moran Neumuller on flute and Ingo Schmid-Neuhaus on sax/piano and less-known artists like Richard Netusil on guitar/percussion, Marika Schmid-Falk on percussion/vocals, Christian Baeck on sax and Paul Smyth on voices.Two years of recordings ended up to a 1986 vinyl issue under the name of Kontrast, released on what supposed to be Dreshler's own Remi Records.

One of the most surprising (or should I say unexpected, given its birthdate well into the 80's) Krautrock albums ever, Kontrast is well in the tradition of Embryo, Xohl, Annexus Quam or Dzyann and Out of Focus. Although this last name might be a bit of a surprise (sonically different than the previous names I mentioned), Kontrast is tightly linked with OOF since three of its members are involved in this project: guitarist Drechsler (who is the main man behind this project as he recorded and designed the album as well), saxman & keyboardist Schmid-Neuhaus and singer/flutist Moran Neumeier are
And you never thought that you'd hear a 25 minutes track recorded in 83 or 85, right?? Well guess again!! Kontrast's sole historical album is filled by the sidelong Suite For The Young Girl, one long musical expansion including traffic noises, elongated solos (never indulgent, though) feeling ethnic and psych at the same time. You could easily be in Embryo's Rache with this track. The 12-mins track of the opening flipside, called Trip is a Drechsler-only track, where he plays all of the instruments, and grosso modo, we're again in the same ethnic/psych realm of Embryo, filled with acoustic guitars, vibraphones, telephone ringing and squeaky toys. Even stranger is the 8-minutes Opus Dope Us, complete with dissonance from sax and guitars, door slams etc. The short Letz Fetz is as tight a group as it gets.

And not only did Cosmic Egg unearth a rare 80's gems, but the bonus tracks they include make it that they've un-earthed a second 80's gem, called Volume II. It is clearly in the lne of their first album and the ultra-short bruitage Little Solitude followed by the sax-filled Hip Me Order is a spoken text put to music (a bit like the Beat Poets some 30 years before then) and present some great stand-up bass, courtesy of Drechsler himself, while Moran plays flute and Ingo answers on sax: fantastic stuff even though in terms of repeated listens.. Because the fight over the phone bill is funny once or twice, but more??? Good Wax Home is a dissonant improv where the vibraphone links the other instruments together. This is the most difficult track on the album. Then comes the closing 11- mins Race To Heaven returns a bit to the Order track with spoken lyrics but soon heads for faraway lands of mist and mystery with tons of instrumental space that even bouts of bruitage can't stop us from reaching the skies accompanied with distant knell and waves.

As the ultra-small Ultima Thulé team continues its Krautrock support job; their Cosmic Egg label (bith books and Cds) is becoming important for the German movement. Indeed after the essential Never Too Late OOF album released in 99, after the GAM project a few tears after, now comes out out-of- nowhere (it had been announced almost a decade ago, but we weren't expecting it anymore) THE major 80's Krautrock album Kontrast with so much bonus material that it makes it almost a double album. So Cosmic Egg's third release is just as essential OOF 's posthumous Never Too Late album. Run out for this and help boost Ultima Thulé's confidence to unleash new Krautrock wonders like it has done so far.

One of our regulars requested the Out Of Focus reunion album, so I gathered he meant this one... if there is something else out there... please lemme know!



  2. Out of Focus were one of the 10 best Krautrock bands, whether Julian Cope knew about them or not. This is very different than their 3 original studio albums, more jazz-rock than the trippy agit-prog they are better known for. Thanks for this rarity.

  3. This is great blog. Very dedicated. I am not downloading anything, because I am getting tired and fed up with just collecting data, but I had to and want to give you my props.
    Peace, Jan.