Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Walter Wegmüller - 1972 - Tarot

Walter Wegmüller

01. Der Narr (3:55)
02. Der Magier (4:38)
03. Die Hohepriesterin (4:17)
04. Die Herrscherin (4:16)
05. Der Herrscher (2:58)
06. Der Hohepriester (3:10)
07. Die Entscheidung (3:51)
08. Der Wagen (5:15)
09. Die Gerechtigkeit (3:01)
10. Der Weise (4:01)
11. Das Glücksrad (3:38)
12. Die Kraft (3:26)
13. Die Prüfung (4:56)
14. Der Tod (1:19)
15. Die Mäßigkeit (4:47)
16. Der Teufel (3:38)
17. Die Zerstörung (4:00)
18. Die Sterne (6:14)
19. Der Mond (2:50)
20. Die Sonne (3:03)
21. Das Gericht (2:06)
22. Die Welt (8:41)

 Manuel Göttsching / guitar
- Hartmut Enke / guitar
- Jerry Berkers / bass
- Jürgen Dollase / keyboard
- Walter Westrupp, Klaus Schulze, Harald Großkopf / drums

In 1972, Rolf Ulrich Kaiser of Ohr records and a group of musicians from the Berlin Underground scene (Ashra Tempel) seriously started to think about cosmic rock music to satisfy their adventurous life with appropriate sounds. The idea of "Cosmic music" was also born as a protest against UK and United States obvious influences on rock music worldwide. The aim was to create typical German "acid" rock music. To put in practice his project, Rolf Kaiser founded his own label and called it "Cosmic Couriers". The name of "Cosmic Couriers" is an attitude of mind that emerged during the 60's. It was an idealistic movement which conceptually tries to look for ways to stay in high states of consciousness thanks to mescaline, LSD trips. The first album released under Rolf Kaiser's drug inspired philosophy was "seven up" with the guru of "acid test" Tim Leary and Ashra Tempel musicians. Soon after, the Kaiser produced two others albums with personalities from the underground psychedelic movement. There was the mystic, esoteric writer Sergius Golowin (on recitations for the cosmic/psych folk project "Lord Krishna") and the Swiss gipsy folk artist Walter Wegmuller for the project around the symbolism of "Tarot" cards.

In 1972 will be released the "Tarot' album with the help of many krautrock musicians, notably Manuel Gottsching (for many guitars parts), Klaus Schulze (for electronic & effects), a few members of Wallenstein as Harald Grosskopf (on drums), Jurgen Dollase (on keyboards) and Walter Westrupp (on acoustic parts). Musically "Tarot" consists of numerous short tracks that we can describe as a great synthesis of everything that emerged during the first krautrock years. Consequently the stress is put on hallucinatory, psych effects, bluesy/ trance guitar sounds, free form rock augmented with sophisticated synth sounds, acoustic folk passages with flute and guitar, piano pseudo romantic arrangements, odd recitations. Each track represents an idea developed by a "tarot" card. A fascinating travel through the subconsciousness and cosmic energies.

Here are a few lines which sum up Walter Wegmuller's Tarot mystical universe:

The travel starts with the madman. He is the beginning and the end at the same time. So you can hear how he goes through his own world. He stumbles over earthy things and material obstacles and doesn't know that it can give. The wizard opens the door himself. In triumph, he appears on the scene. Then he lets himself play during an endless eternity. In his scenic railway, he plays his own life into a brand eternal one. He opens the door which leads to all secrets.

Walter Wegmuller was a Swiss painter who was an expert on the subject of tarot cards. He is not a musician, but is on this double album to offer up his thoughts on each tarot card with his spoken and whispered words. He has an all-star cast playing the music here including Manuel Gottsching and Hartmut Enke both from ASH RA TEMPEL, Jurgen Dollase, Harald Grosskopf and Jerry Berkers from WALLENSTEIN and Walter Westrupp from W&W and Klaus Schulze. These guys were also known as THE COSMIC COURIERS and THE COSMIC JOKERS. Dieter Dierks and Rosi are also listed as guests. For more background info and the subject matter of this recording I would highly recommend you read the bio here at ProgArchives and Sean Trane's review. The spoken words are all in German which suits me fine as it is all about the amazing music. Speaking of which this is such a great example of what Krautrock was all about. "Tarot" is a cosmic trip with mellotron, synths and electronics creating a spacey base, while the guitar, bass, drums and percussion create a variety of sounds and styles to make your trip both an exciting and relaxing one. I'd like to touch on some of my favourite tracks.

Disc One opens with the only English on the recording as the band is introduced one by one as an uptempo melody is played. Nice."Die Hohepriesterin" features slowly spoken words as waves of mellotron and sound drift along. Great sound. "Der Herrscher" has some fantastic guitar playing front and center from Manuel as spoken words come in. This is one of the few tracks that isn't spacey. Love the guitar that goes on and on. "Der Hohepriester" has this beautiful piano melody with intricate guitar as whispered vocals and flute come in. Simply an emotional, uplifting song that has to be heard. "Der Wagen" opens quietly but the sound is building. Very cool. Spoken words before 2 minutes. Some prominant drumming on this one as spacey sounds are shooting around. A wall of sound before 3 minutes. Spacey winds are blowing before 5 minutes. "Die Gerechtigkeit" is dark and serious with haunting spoken words. It's like impending doom is near. While the next song "Der Weise" is light with piano, mellotron and fragile spoken words. Gorgeous song. "Die Kraft" features tribal-like drumming as Gottsching lights it up with his guitar.

On Disc Two "Die Massigkeit" opens with spoken words as the guitar rips it up big time. Eerie sounds 2 minutes in as guitar is still on fire. Organ replaces guitar late. "Der Teufel" features dual guitar melodies, whispered vocals and flute. "Die Zerstorung" opens with piano as softly spoken vocals come in then waves of mellotron. Explosive sounds before 3 minutes as drums go crazy. "Die Sterne" builds slowly as guitar and spoken vocals come in. Drums 2 minutes in before synths and mellotron washes arrive before 3 minutes. Spacey, cosmic winds 5 1/2 minutes in. "Das Gericht" features beautiful, heavenly sounds(mellotron etc.) as spoken words come in. Heaven must sound like this. The final track is "Die Welt" and it ends this double album in fine style. Marching-like drums early as guitar makes some noise. A great rhythm comes out of this with psychedelic guitar playing over top. Awesome sound. Spoken words and spacey waves with mellotron come in. Percussion 3 minutes in. It gets so intense 5 minutes in as Manuel is absolutely on fire ! Drums continue to pound. A wall of spacey sounds can't contain the blistering guitar. In the end though the spacey sounds win out as the song and album drift away.

Essential for Krautrock fans in my opinion. This is the stuff that legends are made of.

Sergius Golowin - 1973 - Lord Krishna Von Goloka

Sergius Golowin
Lord Krishna Von Goloka

01. Der Reigen (16:34)
02. Die Weisse Alm (5:49)
03. Die Hoch Zeit (19:25)

- Sergius Golowin / voice
- Jerry Berkers / electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, bongo's
- Jürgen Dollase / piano, melotron, vibrafon, triangel and guitar
- Jörg Mierke / electric guitar, organ, percussion, voice choir, flute, electronics, conga's
- Klaus Schulze / drum, organ, mellotron & electronics
- Walter Westrupp / acoustic guitar, flute, mouthharp, windspel, psalter, tablas and percussion
- Bernd Witthüser / guitar

In 1973, immediately after the release of « Tarot » with Walter Wegmuller and during improvised sessions of the Cosmic Jokers, Rolf Ulrich Kaiser (producer, founder of the « cosmic couriers » label) publishes an other 'acid' musical experience with his project 'Lord Krishna von Goloka'. For this highly mystical adventure around India, Oriental mythologies and legends, the Kaiser asked the Swiss esoteric writer Sergius Golowin to join the group. 'Lord Krishna Von Goloka' is Sergius Golowin's unique musical collaboration. Sergius Golowin's intellectual & spiritual world (made of occultism, popular legends, shamanism.) takes a major importance for the conceptualisation of the project. Golowin is notably responsible of lyrics, making incantatory voices and recitations in German for intriguing "acid" folk based compositions. The album features usual musicians employed for the Cosmic Jokers jam sessions (the guitarist Manuel Gottsching, the keyboarder Klaus Schulze.). In addition we can notice the obvious presence of the Munich folk artists Walter Westrupp & Bernd Witthuser (on flute, percussions, acoustic guitars.). This album sounds like an evident cross between the pastoral flavour of Teutonic prog folk and the intergalactic mood of krautrock. Consequently, this is an imaginative, freak out musical experience to serve the philosophy of Rolf Kaiser's business "Kosmischen Kuriere".

Before to launch his career in writing, Sergius Golowin worked at the University of Berne, also as a librarian in the city of Burgdorf. During his prolific career as writer he specialised in mysticism and foreign philosophies. He published more than forty books about diverse subjects treating with occultism, tales, sorcery.he also participated to Walter Wegmuller's writing about the fantasy and symbolism of Tarot cards. One of his most famous publications is his dictionary of symbols "Lexikon der Symbole", reissued recently.

An original psych/ folk project directed by the esoteric Swiss writer Sergius Golowin. It is in the mood of Rolf Ulrich Kaiser's « Cosmic couriers » series, including many musicians of the krautrock scene for psychedelic improvisations recorded in three epic pieces. Conceptually this album deals with India mysticism, ecstasy and undirectly with drugs experiences, put in music to create a unearthly, beautiful journey through the cosmos and the hidden side of the Humanity. It contains ravishing, odd, spiritual recitations in German taken from Sergius' personal writings. The musical background is essentially under the direction of the folk duo Witthuser & Westrupp who play here all the acoustic parts (flute, bongos, guitars.) in order to provide a timeless and an exotic touch to the album. With lots of psychedelic, electronic, meditative effects combined to spoken words, the atmosphere of this album delivers a very mysterious, refined 'trip' that can easily haunts the listener, brings him into an other galaxy, far from the materialist preoccupations of our common world. This album is uncomparable, the music is unbelievable and can be considered as the most achieved musical document recorded by Rolf Ulrich Kaiser for his delirious "Cosmic Couriers" adventure. A must of "Cosmic music" and a very nice prog folk effort.

Jerry Berkers - 1972 - Unterwegs

Jerry Berkers

01. Jeder Tag Sieht Ganz Anders Aus (5:38)
02. Glaub Mir, Susanne (3:20)
03. Es Wird Morgen Vorbei Sein (4:15)
04. Dafur Lebe Ich Nur (4:39)
05. Grauer Bettler (3:41)
06. Ich Klage An (4:26)
07. Gelobtes Land (3:08)
08. Seltsam (5:04)

- 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

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')
He only made one album in solo called "Unterwegs" (1972). The content is made of acoustic instruments, percussions with subtle keyboards parts. For the occasion, J. Berkers invited many of his friends and musicians with whom he had participated to several works for the Pilz / Kosmische Kurrier labels (Jurgen Dollase, Witthuser & Westrupp.). The compositions are melodic, pop, moody with a few complex progressive sounds put into structured short songs. The album was dedicated against the war in Vietnam (as suggest the lyrics.)

Unterwegs is among the least known albums signed on the legendary Pilz (Popol Vuh, Wallenstein, Witthuser & Westrupp...). Recorded at Dieter Dierks studio with Rolf Ulrich Kaiser at the production, I was waiting for my dose of weird kosmische krautrock, however after one listening, I must confess that Unterwegs is slightly disconcerted. Jerry Berkers who worked on several super krautrock projects (Sergius Golowin...) here delivers a very personal solo effort that oscillates between gorgeous melancholic acid ballads and bizarre eccentric country folk compositions. The result is rather inequal. The musical team is made of friends and old musical partners as the keyboardist Jurgen Dollase (Wallenstein) who delivers a great work here (emotional, poetical, classical piano lines), Walter Westrupp, Bill Barone (Wallenstein). The opening track is a powerfully emotional, plaintive progressive rock piece with sumptuous keyboards, sad vocals and charming folk accents. The best composition of Unterwegs with reminiscence of Wallestein at their most melodic moments. Glaub mir is a funny country folk song, but almost without interest. Es wird morgen vorbei sein is a solid, catchy prog rockin' ballad with a really nice groove and always impressive keyboards, soulful plaintive vocals. Dafur lebe ich nur is an acoustic ballad featuring dreamy- like mellotron, efficient simplistic melodies, acoustic guitars & percussions. The ambience is pastoral with a discreet cosmic-psych flavour. Grauer Bettler is a dynamic rockin' song with the great Bill Barone on the guitars. Ich Klage An is a moody, fragile little acoustic folk ballad with really desperate vocals (includes Walter Westrupp as guest on Harmonica). Nothing really impressive excepted two or three tracks but a pleasant listening with touching nostalgic kraut-folky moments.

The Cosmic Jokers - 1974 - Sci Fi Party

The Cosmic Jokers
Sci Fi Party

01. Im Reich der Magier (8:27)
02. Der Herrscher (2:48)
03. The Cosmic Curriers meet South Philly Willy (5:25)
04. Kinder des Alls I (3:40)
05. The electronic scene (2:23)
06. Kinder des Alls II (3:43)
07. Interplay of forces (5:13)
08. Planeten sit-in (3:15)

- Dieter Dierks / bass
- Jürgen Dollase / keyboards, vocals
- Manuel Göttsching / electric guitar
- Harald Großkopf / drums
- Klaus Schulze / synthesizers

Ladies and gentlemen... Our next stop will be the to visit the "Sci Fi Party" on route through the cosmos of our minds. "Sci Fi Party" was another chapter in the cosmic music voyage from the collaborative forces of Germany's Schulze, Gottsching, Grofkopf, Dollase and Dierks. This is progressive space like you have never heard before and for those who are familiar with the "Galactic Supermarket" will know just what I mean. Juxtpose Gottsching's guitar expressions with the space keyboard talents of Klaus Schulze and fellow cosmonauts and you have a recipe for space travel. Ever since I found "Galactic Supermarket" I have been addicted to the music of the COSMIC JOKERS discovering their musical genius. "Sci-Fi Party" is a wonderful headphone experience for those late night cold winter evenings alone in your upper flat. Also the cosmic musical theme established on their first album is once again re-introduced to sustain the continuity of their cosmic musical story line. Creative and highly imaginative...!

The Cosmic Jokers - 1974 - Planeten Sit-In

The Cosmic Jokers
Planeten Sit-In

01. Raumschiff Galaxie startet (1:04)
02. The planet of communication (0:55)
03. Elektronenzirkus (0:37)
04. Der Narr im All (1:16)
05. Raumschiff Galaxie fliegt in die Sonne (2:12)
06. Intergalactic nightclub (4:38)
07. Loving frequencies (3:18)
08. Electronic news (3:56)
09. Intergalactic Radio Guri broadcasting (4:24)
10. Raumschiff Galaxy gleitet im Sonnenwind (0:40)
11. Interstellar rock: Kosmische Musik (3:11)
12. Raumschiff Galaxy sanst in die Lichtbahnen (0:44)
13. Die Planet des Sternenmädchens (8:21)

- Dieter Dierks / bass
- Jürgen Dollase / keyboards, vocals
- Manuel Göttsching / electric guitar
- Harald Großkopf / drums
- Klaus Schulze / synthesizers

This album has some quite experimental elements, but the tracks build up quite logically and evolve as an nice cosmic journey for the listener accepting the invitation. The listener is wakened up with strong drones, opening up a voyage trough the hallway of mirroring illusions, leading to a calm, large musical void. Heavy experimental zones follow up, leading to an acid rock jam building over pulsing synths and introducing a nice piano riff. Calm sequences resembling Tangerine Dream's "Rubycon" are presented, before the music fades to a romantic piano playing. Hovering cosmic corridors lead to more longer progressions in abstract electronic space, and a free form architecture of sounds is revealed. The long closing track has quite much similar elements than Pink Floyd's "Saucerful of Secrets", which influence to the sound of these musicians is evident.

I think this album is a compromise of the long logical space jams of the self title master piece, and the less coherent "Gilles Zeitschiff" recording, being more pleasant than the later but not as great as the first one. Quite interesting record still,

The Cosmic Jokers - 1974 - Gilles Zeitschiff

The Cosmic Jokers
Gilles Zeitschiff

01. Tim Bleibt Bei Uns (7:06)
02. Downtown (2:42)
03. Lord Krishna (1:23)
04. Power Drive (1:40)
05. Bei Tim (1:50)
06. Right Hand Lover (1:33)
07. Cosmic Courier Bon Chance (2:55)
08. Swiss High Lands (1:19)
09. Der Magier (2:45)
10. The Electronic Scene (3:38)
11. Electronic Rock Zeitalter (11:09)
12. So Beautiful (3:51)
13. The Queen Of Sunshine (3:22)
14. Meine Kosmische Musik (1:46)

- Gille Lettman / vocals
- Klaus Schulze / electronics
- Jurgen Dollase / keyboards
- Manuel Gottsching / guitar
- Harald Grosskopf / drums
- Dieter Dierks / bass
- Hartmut Enke / bass, guitar
- Walter Westrupp / guitar
- Bernd Witthuser / guitar
- Sergius Golowin / vocals
- Brian Barritt / vocals

Here is an other concept album around « acid test » and levels of consciousness by Rolf Ulrich Kaiser (the producer and invisible member of the Cosmic Jokers). The Kaiser reiterates the use of esoteric, drug inspired recitations already mentioned in his « Tarot » and « Lord Krishna Von Goloka » projects and give the job to his female partner Gille Letmann. The result is not as sensational as in the previous recordings but offers as usual a great dose of Cosmic / Psychedelic effects with the help of ancient Krautrockers. A Further exploration in synthesized/ acid rock based guitar sounding which provides a kind of cerebral climate. Not the most powerful album signed by the Kaiser but greatly significant for listeners who want to get in touch with the unique Germanic / Intergalactic rock music.

The Cosmic Jokers - 1974 - Galactic Supermarket

The Cosmic Jokers
Galactic Supermarket

01. Kinder des Alls (18:54)
02. Galactic supermarket (19:24)

- Dieter Dierks / bass
- Jürgen Dollase / keyboards, vocals
- Manuel Göttsching / electric guitar
- Harald Großkopf / drums
- Gille Lettmann:
- Rosie / vocals
- Klaus Schulze / synthesizers

"Galactic Supermarket" was the second of a series of COSMIC JOKERS releases. Here, you get some of the big names of the Krautrock scene (at least the Ohr/Pilz/Kosmische Musik labels), that is Manuel Göttsching, Klaus SCHULZE, Harald Großkopf, Dieter Dierks, Jürgen Dollase, Rosi Müller, and Gille Lettman, jamming away, creating some of the most freaked out music ever. It's a bit harder to review this album than say, the first ASH RA TEMPEL (where I can describe the first piece as a heavy rocking piece, and the second, and final piece as more ambient and mellow). There are only two side length tracks here, "Kinder des Alls" and the title track. But what is easy to tell, is who is playing what. SCHULZE played organ and synth like it came off Cyborg, Göttsching played guitar like it came off Join Inn, and Dollase played the additional keyboards SCHULZE did not play, like piano and even Mellotron.

This is truly freaked out stuff, with tons of great analog synths, percussion, experiments with echo, and occasional female voices from Rosi and Gille. And while the COSMIC JOKERS more than pissed-off Klaus SCHULZE, this music is way better than SCHULZE would have you believe, and I'd be perfectly happy to have music like this, if you knew this was actually going to be released and the guy behind the label you're recording for didn't try to rip you off. Aside from the controversy, this is truly a classic in spacy Krautrock, highly recommended to all who enjoy ASH RA TEMPEL early TANGERINE DREAM, early SCHULZE, etc.

The Cosmic Jokers - 1973 - The Cosmic Jokers

The Cosmic Jokers
The Cosmic Jokers

01. Galactic joke (22:38)
02. Cosmic joy (19:24)

- Dieter Dierks / bass
- Jürgen Dollase / keyboards, vocals
- Manuel Göttsching / electric guitar
- Harlad Großkopf / drums
- Klaus Schulze / synthesizers

In 1972, Rolf Ulrich Kaiser founded "Die Kosmischen Kuriere" where will be signed all the Cosmic jokers albums. The COSMIC JOKERS is not really a band but a reunion of several German musicians and personalities from the 70s psychedelic and esoteric philosophies (the mystic Sergius Golowin in the Lord Krishna project or the gipsy folk artist Walter Wegmuller in Tarot). The interest of this side project was to create a cosmic music with a virtual musical tribe to develop the world consciousness thanks to LSD. The COSMIC musical team gathered around the same message a bunch of well known musicians from the Berlin scene (Klaus Schulze, Manuel Gottsching...). The COSMIC JOKERS is an extreme musical trip, a unique adventure throw time and space. The music is for a large part improvised with proto-electronic gadgets combined to bluesy & spacey musical sentences built around the talented Manuel Gottsching's electric guitar style (always spacey and bluesy). This is real German acid music, a 'music of paradise', transcending music, breaking of the materialistic world, a protest against the reality. The combination of acid, music and fun acted as a catalyst for Kaiser's visionary powers.

Here is essentially where it all started for The COSMIC JOKERS with their debut album from 1973 and giving us all a very spacey introduction and prelude of what would be to follow. For the uninitiated, The COSMIC JOKERS are the clash of space cadets Manuel Göttsching, Dieter Dierks, Jürgen Dollase, Harald Großkopf and Klaus Schulze. As you may have guessed by now I am a huge fan of these early pioneering space-psych-prog rock albums and none are finer that this 2 epic track album. This album is full of deep space effects, lots of free form jamming, analog 70's keyboards, guitars, amazing pulsating bass lines and trippy vocals and chanting. Musically this album is far out with some way too cool vibes and instrumental parts. This album is one of my late night space-festi-favs and without a question side 2's "Cosmic Joy" is one of my most treasured 70's space rock tracks.

Wurtemberg - 1985 - Rock Fantasia Opus 10

Rock Fantasia Opus 10

01. Lettres de Feu (3:41)
02. Amanite (5:25)
03. Soleil d'Automne (4:40)
04. Nymphodanse (2:58)
05. Rockmatique (3:18)
06. Bransle (3:37)
07. Symphomanie (3:05)
08. Marche du Roi Louis (2:06)
09. Aria (3:26)

- Alain-Carbonaire / organ, piano, guitars, harp, bass, tenor
- Bernard Maitre / synthesizer, dulcimer, xylophone
- Gilles-Bonnet Michault / flute, saxophone
- Michel Richard / guitars, harp
- Alain Demeusy / bass
- Jean-Pierre Garbin / drums
- Jean-Marie Hausser / drums

This reissue includes all the tracks from the "Rock fantasia opus 10" album, recorded in 1985 and never released before. Two unfinished tracks were replaced by the same number of bonus titles recorded in 1986, "Marche du Roi Louis" & "Aria".