Monday, December 8, 2014

Amon Düül II - 1975 - Made In Germany

Amon Düül II
Made In Germany

01. Overture (5:12)
02. Wir Wollen (1:32)
03. Wilhelm Wilhelm (3:10)
04. SM II Peng (2:16)
05. Elevators Meets Whispering (1:26)
06. Metropolis (3:37)
07. Ludwig (2:32)
08. The King`s Chocolate Waltz (2:28)
09. Blue Grotto (3:33)
10. Mr. Kraut Jinx (8:44)
11. Wide Angle (4:06)
12. Three-Eyed Overdrive (1:17)
13. Emigrant Song (3:21)
14. Loosey Girls (5:13)
15. Top of the Mud (3:45)
16. Dreams (4:08)
17. Gala Gnome (3:52)
18. 5.5.55 (1:39)
19. La Krautoma (6:08)
20. Excessive Spray (1:41)

- Robby Heibl / bass, violin, acoustic & electric guitars, vocals
- Chris Karrer / guitar, violin, banjo, vocals
- Renate Knaup / vocals
- Peter Leopold / drums, percussion
- Falk U. Rogner / organ, synthesizers
- Nando Tischer / acoustic & electric guitars, vocals
- John Weinzierl / acoustic & electric guitars

+ Thor Baldursson / keyboards
- Heinz Becker / percussion, tympani, gong
- Lee Harper / trumpet, brass section
- Bobby Jones / saxophone solo (2/4)
- Jürgen S. Korduletsch / backing vocals
- Helmut Sonnleitner / first violin

"Made In Germany" was a real musical transformation for AMON DUUL II and a wonderful progressive album creating the first "Kraut Musical". Told over 2 LP's, this is a sort of dark story of German history put to a slight vaudevillian/cabaret vibe with all that strange DUUL'ish characteristics still intact. The early AMON DUUL II are amongst my favourites in my collection, but this 1975 release is really a solid work of art and deserves to be reviewed in different light. Whimsical at times (and thankfully so considering the theme), yet certainly vintage DUUL.. creative music with a wide variety of moods and tempos. This would have to be the most lyrically profound album they ever recorded and I love Renate Knaup's vocals throughout. Musically this album is also quite moving with some fantastic instrumentation ranging from vintage space jam Krautrock to smoke filled Cabaret themes. Please be aware that a much more condensed version of this album exists (also under the same title) but was released on a single LP at the time.

Amon Düül II - 1974 - Hi-Jack

Amon Düül II

01. I can't wait part 1 + 2 (6:18)
02. Mirror (4:21)
03. Traveller (4:23)
04. You're not alone (6:55)
05. Explode like a star (4:00)
06. Da Guadeloop (7:03)
07. Lonely woman (4:44)
08. Liquid whisper (3:24)
09. Archy the robot (3:30)

- Chris Karrer / acoustic & electric guitars, violin, Soprano sax, vocals
- Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz / vocals
- Peter Leopold: drums, percussion, acoustic guitar
- Lothat Meid / bass, acoustic guitar, vocals, string arrangements
- Falk U. Rogner / synthesizers
- John Weinzierl / acoustic & electric guitars

Guest musicians:
- Chris Balder / strings
- Thor Baldursson / keyboards
- Bob Chatwin / trumpet
- Lee Harper / trumpet
- Hermann Jalowitzki / snare drum
- Bobby Jones / sax
- Olaf Kübler / flute, Soprano sax
- Rudy Nagora / sax
- Ludwig Popp / Waldhorn
- Wild Willy / accordion, percussion, vocals

For this album, the core members of Amon Duul II were still present, but intrusions from a plethora of 'outsiders' has seemed to have dragged some of the music down the pathway of mediocrity by incorporating un-necessary sonic colour, such as pompous string arrangements to certain tracks, which sometimes enhances, sometimes doesn't.. Bassist Lothar Meid is great on his instrument, although I'm not a big fan of his voice (or is it just the 'mix' of his voice - it's always loud). He dominates side 1 of the record, not that the songs are particularly bad, just a bit bland. 'I Can't Wait - 1 & 2' starts off a little uncertain and unsure of where to go but the 2nd part features some spacey synths and a great Bass-line. Very 'hip' sounding. 'Mirror' is a song that just doesn't work - pure, standard rock-music, with some shrill 'chipmunk' backing vocals - not the sort of thing we expect from this great band. 'Traveller' bounces along in a 'cosmic-country'-ish sort of way, nice to hear Renate Knaup at the mic again, and includes some colourful clavinet playing. Meid's 'You're Not Alone' is majestic and grandiose, with tasteful Soprano Sax solos from Olaf Kubler, quite an accessible tune, too, but one can't help but think that the musicians here were capable of much more.

Side 2 shows off a more eclectic run of songs ; 'Explode Like a Star' is quirky, reminiscent of the previous studio album 'Vive Le Trance'. The 7min+ 'Da Guadeloop' is a sensational piece of music - a percussive show-case with interesting Bass playing, the string parts work well, the 2 guitar solos are exciting, and various sound effects are used in the right place. Possibly the best track on the album. 'Lonely Woman' is a smooth, sleek song, more French sounding than German, great rhythm - it's pure enjoyment. 'Liquid Whisper' is a dreamy, mellow tune, with Renate singing again. Final song, 'Archy The Robot' is somewhat directionless, and suffers from a goofy Brass arrangement - not the ideal way to finish off an album, it tends to leave an unsavoury taste in the mouth. Still, 'Hijack' is, for the most part, a pretty good listen, though not definitive.

Amon Düül II - 1974 - Vive La Trance

Amon Düül II
Vive La Trance

01. A morning excuse (3:19)
02. Fly United (3:33)
03. Jalousie (3:27)
04. Im Krater blühn wieder der Bäume (3:08)
05. Mozambique (7:40)
06. Apocalyptic bore (6:38)
07. Dr. (3:00)
08. Trap (3:35)
09. Pig man (2:38)
10. Mañana (3:20)
11. Ladies mimikry (3:18)

Bonus Tracks on Revisited rec release 2007:

12. Hands Up, Fool (6:18)
13. Pink Purple (7:09)
14. Look (4:58)
15. Bomb (4:11)

- Robby Heibl / bass, acoustic guitar, violin, vocals
- Chris Karrer / acoustic & electric guitars, violin, saxophone, vocals
- Renate Knaup-Kroetenschwanz / vocals
- Peter Leopold / drums, percussion
- Lothar Meid / bass, vocals
- Falk U. Rogner / organ, synthesizers
- John Weinzierl / acoustic & electric guitars, vocals

- Desmond Bonner / backing vocals
- Keith Forsey / percussion
- Peter Kramper / synthesizers
- Olaf Kübler / percussion, saxophone

What more could anyone want? Seriously though, I was somewhat put off by Amon Duul in one period of my youth, wondering how anyone could enjoy all this absurdist stoner nonsense that friends of mine claimed was great rock. As with Zappa, Gong, Syd, or Lydia Lunch, I just had reservations about certain artists who would inject too much insanity or absurdity into their music. Well I eventually awoke from my stupor and lightened up with some of it at least, although sometimes Gong can still irritate me first thing in the morning. German counterculture freak-rock veterans Amon Duul 2 released this boisterous album at the end of what many fans consider their peak. It is not their most representative nor their most daring work but deserves attention for the things it does get right rather than being written off for not being their masterpiece. There is still much here to fly your freak flag above.

Web reviewer The Seth Man from Head Heritage sums up nicely by noting "it was very odd indeed that no less a band from West Germany would be getting in on the act of tarting up and showcasing their own insane take on current trends through the well-honed and well-horned guitar-based moves of glam rock as it smacked straight up against their remaining acid-anarchic flashbacks. But then again, Amon Düül II were a freewheelin', expressive band that were too crazy to give up the ghost just yet and "Vive La Trance" was their very last stand of freakery (a particular department that the original Düül Eins were responsible for starting way back in '68.) Tenacious enough to sustain continual personnel transfers while assimilating a variety of contemporary fads while collecting it into an LP where they dished out one hella cannibalized assemblage of progressive rock, ballads, acid rock and even reggae and pre-punk moves as it hurtled recklessly through that air-locked, numbing corridor of mid-seventies stasis already on the rise. And while "Vive La Trance" is a stylistic mess, it was an enthusiastic one perfectly rendered into a robust offering." [The Seth Man]

"A Morning Excuse" starts off strong with a colorful rocker with nice wah-wah and smart-aleck lyrics. During the chorus they throw some violin over it for nice effect. "Fly United" recalls the Airplane with male/female shared vocals and plenty of hippie rock guitar especially in the wailing closing solo. "Jalousi" gets really interesting with the captivating Renate Krotenschwanz-Knaup delivering a simply delicious vocal over wonderful piano melody-Ken Levine pegged this well wondering if Kate Bush heard this, compare this track to...perhaps "In the Warm Room" from Lionheart and see if you recognize the resemblance. In any case it's a great song with a memorable vocal. "Im Krater Bluhn Wieder Die Baume" is a nice mixture of keys, bass, and acoustic guitar in a majestic feel eventually adding some lead electric licks over the top. "Mozambique" is the heaviest piece both musically and thematically. There is a long intro with bongos and rhythmic vocals. Then the band shifts to some very heavy jamming passages accompanied by angry vocals dealing with violence and oppression. The track drags too much in my opinion with not enough of interest to sustain the repetitive fuzzed-out "Freebird" ending but the first half is great. "Apocalyptic Bore" starts by unleashing a spoken narration to harsh your buzz but soon slips into a trippy folk-rocker as comfortable as your old slippers with crisp drumming and bass, acoustic strumming and more acid-rock leads. "Dr." is similar to the last track but a notch more aggressive with some nice drum fills by Peter Leopold. "Trap" is a delightfully upbeat pop song with Bowie overtones and perhaps a bit of the pre-punk feel mentioned by The Seth Man above. Renate's playful vocal gels well with the punchy play of the dual guitars and rhythm section. "Pig Man" is an outright country blues rocker that could be considered Beatleish or West Coast, not sure who their influence was, but with some raunchy sax thrown on top just to mess things up. "Manana" is a lightweight throwaway pop track but has some nice warbled guitar at the end. "Ladies Mimikry" finishes on a strong note with rather tense waves of violin, voice, and sax joining the guitars and no-frills rhythms to produce a trance like effect, perhaps a clever nod to the album's title.

"Vive La Trance" is actually a pretty solid album. It gets knocked around a bit for embracing traditional song structures and perhaps appealing to straights but there's nothing inherently wrong with that. It's not uncommon for bands that spent several albums reaching for the hallucinogenic cosmos to take a break and make a more straight-forward rock album. (Not that this is really "straightforward" for anyone but AD!) The question is how well they balance their unique band character with the new approach. I think Amon Duul have succeeded reasonably well in delivering and album that still contains a bit of mind haze, rocks when it needs to, and even embraces some accessible pop music moments. It's not a masterpiece to these ears but I have to say it is thoroughly enjoyable whether you choose to get "inspired" or not. Just remember, don't take any a-bomb from the dude wearing a Lion costume

Utopia - 1973 - Utopia


01. What You Gonna Do (6:37)
02. The Wolf-Man Jack Show (5:05)
03. Alice (3:06)
04. Las Vegas (4:25)
05. Deutsch Nepal (3:08)
06. Utopia No. 1 (4:00)
07. Nasi Goreng (5:33)
08. Jazz-Kiste (5:30)

Total Time: 37:24

Bonus tracks on CD release 1994:
09. Surrounded By The Stars [Wolf City] (3:27)
10. Let's Feel Alive [Surrounded By The Stars] (7:45)
11. Deutsch Nepal/Rolf Zacher Voc. [Landing In A Ditch] (5:37)

titles in brackets are the correct names - track 9/10 originally taken from the Amon Düül II album 'Wolf City', track 11 from 'Live in London'

Bonus tracks on CD release 2000:
12. Goldrush (2:56)
13. Star-Eyed (4:29)
14. Dr. Stein (3:45)

from the 18 KARAT GOLD release 'All-Bumm' (1973)

- Lothar Meid / bass, vocals
- Olaf Kübler / saxophon
- Kristian Schultze / keyboards
- Jimmy Jackson / organ
- Joe Nay / guitar

guest musicians:
- Chris Karrer / guitar
- John Weinzierl / guitar
- Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz / vocals

18 KARAT GOLD line-up
- Lothar Meid / bass
- Jörg Evers / rhythm guitar
- Klaus Ebert / lead guitar
- Keith Forsey / drums

In 1973 Amon Düül II split up over a quarrel that included threats with revolvers and knives. One half set off to record "Wolf City", the other half formed Utopia with a few other musicians. During the recording sessions of "Wolf City" and "Utopia" though the members of Amon Düül II made peace again, which ended with the whole AMON DÜÜL II gang playing on both records. Nevertheless Utopia should be seen as a completely independent project (although their only album was re-issued under the name AMON DÜÜL II for commercial reasons in the 80s).
So, the myth says that during the "Wolf City" sessions (or after that) the band split into two sections due to quarrels, leaving Olaf Kübler and Lothar Meid alone to record a separate project under the name "UTOPIA". But in the meantime, they all made peace again so the remaining members of AMON DUUL II tribe participated in the making of this album. Original LP bears the title "Utopia" only, while the re-issued CD format added the name of AMON DUUL II, probably for commercial reasons because this one and only album of UTOPIA project would be otherwise doomed for oblivion.

It is sort of by-product of the "transition phase" of Amon Düül II towards more guitar-oriented conventional rock structures of "Vive la Trance", but it still retains (not only in the cover art) certain "Gothic" and dark elements of "Wolf City"- notable is the reprise of the Teutonic satire "Deutsch Nepal" from that album (with slightly different and weaker German vocal). "What You Gonna Do" is a nice folksy-rock attempt sung by Renate, while "Alice" with "romantic" piano and drunken male vocal sounds like taken from some bluesy Tom Waits record. "Las Vegas" is a quite catchy with repetitive acoustic guitars and sax-driven hypnotic instrumental jam, while the title track is a perfect example of Kraut-rock; processed voices, Mellotrons, electronic effects, jazzy guitar jams, strong and diverse percussion, groovy bass and overall psycho/space feeling. The final track, as its title suggests, is a pure and quite excellent jazz-rock loaded with electric piano, mighty percussion and a solo part that can be a processed guitar, or sax or trumpet, or synth... I wouldn't know since I am no tech expert. It is perhaps an influence from their cousin-band EMBRYO.

Amon Düül II - 1973 - Live In London

Amon Düül II
Live In London

01. Archangels Thunderbird (3:07)
02. Eye Shaking King (6:24)
03. Soap Shop Rock (7:42)
04. Improvisation (3:40)
05. Syntelman's March Of The Roaring Seventies (8:08)
- a. Pull Down Your Mask
- b. Prayer To The Silence
- c. Telephonecomplex
06. Restless Skylight-Transistor Child (8:42)
- a. Landing In A Ditch
- b. Dehypnotized Toothpaste
- c. A Short Stop At The Transylvanian Brain Surgery
07. Race From Here To Your Ears (5:06)
- a. Little Tornados
- b. Riding On A Cloud
- c. Paralized Paradise
08. Bavarians Soap Shop Rock (17:44)
09. Improvisation On Gulp A Sonata (2:54)

- John Weinzierl / guitars, vocals
- Lothar Meid / bass and vocals
- Chris Karrer / guitar, violin, soprano sax
- Falk-U. Rogner / organ, synthesizer
- Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz / vocals
- Daniel Fichelscher / drums
- Peter Leopold / drums

"Live in London" by Amon Duul II was a budget priced album released in 1973, and costing less than a pound (full priced albums around then were about 3 pounds). Unlike a lot of the others, "Live in London" was actually good. The recording quality is not that great, but the quality of the music does come through well. Starting with the blistering "Archangels Thunderbird", reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant song", the casual listener's attention is immediately caught. Renate Knaup-Krotenschwanz's (love the name!) vocals are something of an acquired taste, sounding a bit like Jon Anderson on helium, but instrumentally the band are tight, and entertaining. The vibrato effect is overdone at times, and can become a bit irritating. I suspect some of the audience at the gig must have had tinnitus for days afterwards.

"Improvisation", which closes side one, finds the band suddenly in full Tangerine Dream mode. Presumably the rest of the band had a comfort break while Falk-U Rogner (is that his real name!?) dabbled with his keyboard effects.

The track titles on side 2 are as entertaining as the music. "A short stop at the Transylvanian brain surgery" and "Dehypnotised toothpaste" give an idea of numerous titles to chose from (13 in all!). The final track, "Race from here to your ears" is a lovely, almost ballad track which builds to a storming climax reminiscent of Uriah Heep's live "Circle of hands" ending, and complementing beautifully the opening "Archangels thunderbird".

The album sold well in the UK almost due entirely to the price, but those who bought it must have been impressed by the musicianship and originality on show. Perhaps however the music was not quite accessible enough to tempt the new and inquisitive audience to buy the band's subsequent releases in any great numbers. An album very much of it's time, but enjoyable anyway.

Amon Düül II - 1992 - BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert Plus 1973

Amon Düül II
BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert Plus 1973

01. Ladies Mimmikry – 4:51
02. Kanaan – 4:52
03. Dem Guten, Schönen, Wahren – 5:39
04. Green Bubble Raincoated Man – 4:59
05. Manana – 4:43
06. Trap – 4:18
07. Marilyn Monroe Memorial Drums (Bonus Studio) – 11:19
08. Chewing Gum Telegram (Bonus Studio Alternate) – 3:55

- Renate Knaup / vocals
- Chris Karrer / guitars, violin, sax, vocals
- John Weinzierl / guitars, bass
- Danny Fischelscher / drums, guitars, bass, vocals
- Peter Leopold / drums
- Falk-U. Rogner / synthesizer-organ

These live recordings from a BBC broadcast in 1973 show the true live essence of Amon Düül II, based more on the research of a trippy atmosphere than on technical values: while the rhythm section is very tight, the guitar and vocal parts are stunningly raw, deconstructed, sometimes evidently out of tune.

It’s obvious that this treatment is most likely to exalt the earlier material than the ‘structural’ phase of the band: so “Kanaan” and “Dem Guten, Schonen, Wahren” are given botched but valid renditions.

This edition of the album also includes two bonus tracks from the “Tanz der Lemmings” sessions.

Amon Düül II - 1973 - Wolf City

Amon Düül II
Wolf City

01. Surrounded by the stars (7:46)
02. Green-bubble-raincoated-man (5:04)
03. Jail-house Frog (4:54)
04. Wolf city (3:20)
05. Wie der Wind am Ende einer Strasse (5:42)
06. Deutsch Nepal (3:00)
07. Sleepwalker's timeless bridge (4:55)

Bonus tracks on 2007 Revisited Records:
08. Kindermörderlied (6:02)
09. Mystic Blutsturz (10:13)
10. Düülirium (4:24)

- D. Secundus Fichelscher / drums, vocals (4-7), guitars (7)
- Chris Karrer / acoustic & electric guitars, violin, Soprano sax, vocals
- Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz / vocals
- Lothar Meid / bass, synthesizers, vocals
- Falk U. Rogner / organ, Clavioline, synthesizers
- John Weinzierl / electric guitar, vocals

+ Al Sri Al Gromer / sitar (5)
- Paul Heyda / violin (5)
- Jimmy Jackson / piano, choir organ
- Olaf Kübler / vocals (2), sax (5)
- Pandit Shankar Lal / tablas (5)
- Peter Leopold / vocals (2), synthesizers (3), kettle drums (5)
- Liz van Nienhoff / tambura (5)
- Rolf Zacher / vocals (2-6)

Released the same year as CIB, Wolf City is what I call AD II's last great album and the best of their second trilogy (which includes the weaker Vive La Trance, although it was released after the Live In London album), and is a stunning album, especially for progheads. Coming with an impressive fiery Persian mythology artwork gatefold sleeve with an intriguing collage on the inside gatefold, Wolf City is an arresting work. Surrounded By The Stars strikes because it could be Jefferson Airplane going bonkers, especially once the violin gets going (Papa John Creach), but it's lacking the pure genius of Casady. Throughout its almost 8 minutes, SRBS is constantly shifting and keeps us riveted to our speakers and slowly dies down. Green Bubble is a slower mellotron-ladden track where the West Coast psych spectre still shows it head, but in a more subdued manner, while the group seems to apply a bit of musical humour in its very distorted soundscapes. Jail House Frog is a strange mix of Zappa and German cabaret-type of music where strange bubbles are sprinkled all over the song and the rhythm section going bonkers. Excellent stuff.

Excellent title track opening the flipside also, where the group is cruising at full speed, all pistons spewing fire and molten lava in your brains, the latter frying away without the need of external illicit substances. Starting on an Indian raga, Wie Der Wind slowly morphs into a great improv where the violin takes the lead (in some ways, we could imagine being on an Embryo album). Future Popol Vuh Fichelscher is outstanding throughout the whole album, especially in here; but the following Nepal track. The well known heavy Deutsche Nepal is probably my fave tracks, especially with the loud German monologue spoofing their own recent past and their expansionist plans. Built around a descending riff, the track operates magic with Daniel's drumming pulling an astonishing amount of drum rolls. And Daniel Fichelsher is the star of the Sleepwalker Timeless Bridge where he drums, plays guitar and vocalizes. No wonder he'll leave the commune and become the second part of the Popol Vuh machine.

Clearly the last of AD II's essential works, it's a wonder how they actually managed so meny good albums in a row, given the constantly chaotic background the group evolved in. But then again it's a part of the magic of those few years, where the world's usual long-established order was not only challenged but almost became obsolete. The counter-culture came awfully close to overpowering the fairly diminished so-called high culture. Too bad Wolf City came out with such short running time, because with an extra 10 minutes and a little more discipline (and lmaybe less line-up turmoil) , this record would've made the difference and the world would be upside down, the sun rising in the west and the moon lighting up the sky during the day. Oh well!! So much for that revolution. Warmly recommended.

Amon Düül II - 1972 - Carnival In Babylon

Amon Düül II
Carnival In Babylon

01. C.I.D. In Uruk (5:30)
02. All The Years 'Round (7:20)
03. Shimmering Sand (6:33)
04. Kronwinkl 12 (3:52)
05. Tables Are Turned (3:34)
06. Hawknose Harlequin (9:48)

Bonus tracks on Gammarock Records (2000):
07. Light (3:50)
08. Between The Eyes (2:28)
09. All The Years Round (4:11)

Bonus tracks on Revisited Records (2007):
07. Skylight (9:50)
08. Tatzelwurmloch (17:45)

- Danny Fichelscher / drums, congas
- Karl-Heinz Hausmann / keyboards, electronics
- Chris Karrer / acoustic & electric guitars, violin, Soprano sax, vocals
- Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz / vocals
- Peter Leopold / drums, tambourine
- Lothar Meid / bass, vocals
- John Weinzierl / acoustic & electric guitars, vocals

+ Joy Alaska / backing vocals
- Olaf Kübler / Soprano sax, door
- Falk U. Rogner / organ

This is a terribly underrated album. The problem with a band like Amon Duul II is that their sound and approach changed very radically as their career progressed, which means that you will have fans from all sides of the fence each harshly criticizing what they think to be the "bad albums" -- that are actually awesome -- which simply happened to have departed from their particular range of taste. This album (the band's fourth) is a completely different affair than the three that preceded it, in that it begins to focus more on songwriting, vocal work, and a degree of cohesion; as opposed to turning all the amplifiers up to 11 and freaking out for entire album sides (which is equally delightful, of course). So, naturally, all the stoned "early ADII fans" hear Carnival for the first time, and come away saying ridiculous things like, "It's a pop album! There's no improvisation! They've lost it!" This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, it's on THIS album that ADII's lead guitarist (John Weinzierl?) really comes into his own, and proceeds to rip it up gloriously all over each and every track! The ten minute epic "Hawknose Harlequin" is one of my absolute favorite ADII songs, with a lengthy instrumental outro section that contains some of the most delectable guitar jamming I've ever heard. What's more, the "raw" sound quality of their previous releases has been replaced by a pristine, gorgeous sonic atmosphere replete with vocal harmonies (Vocal harmonies? ADII?!?), shimmering keyboards, washed-out sound effects, and tone-perfect guitar breaks (at times reminiscent of Hendrix's prettier moments). Needless to say, I adore this album (and it's follow-up "Wolf City") equally as much as I do the drugged-out insanity best represented on the first three releases, and at various points in time, Carnival in Babylon has actually been my *favorite* ADII album. So, when you've "freaked out" enough for one day listening to their earlier stuff, check this one out and prepare for one of the most perfectly chilled-out musical gems to ever come out of Germany.

Amon Düül II - 1971 - Tanz Der Lemminge

Amon Düül II
Tanz Der Lemminge

01. Syntelman's March of the Roaring Seventies (15:50)
- In The Glassgarden (1:39)
- Pull Down Your Mask (4:39)
- Prayer To The Silence (1:04)
- Telephonecomplex (8:26)

02. Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child (19:33)
- Landing In A Ditch (1:12)
- Dehynotized Toothpaste (0:52)
- A Short Stop St The Transylvanian Brain Surgery (5:00)
- Race From Here To Your Ears
a) Little Tornadoes (2:08)
b) Overheated Tiara (1:46)
c) The Flyweighted Five (1:26)
- Riding On A Cloud (2:33)
- Paralized Paradise (3:07)
- HG Well's Take Off (1:26)

Chamsin Soundtrack
03. The Marilyn Monroe-Memorial-Church (18:09)
04. Chewing Gum Telegram (2:45)
05. Stumbling over Melted Moonlight (4:38)
06. Toxicological Whispering (7:48)

- Karl-Heinz Hausmann / electronics
- Chris Karrer / acoustic & electric guitars, violin, vocals
- Peter Leopold / drums, percussion, piano
- Lothar Meid / bass, double bass, vocals
- Falk U. Rogner / organ, electronics
- John Weinzierl / acoustic & electric guitars, vocals, piano

+ Al Gromer / sitar
- Jimy Jackson / organ, piano, choir
- Henriette Kroetenschwanz / vocals
- Rolf Zacher / vocals

After the double Yeti album, AD II had an extremely succesful year that made them forget about part of their tribe/Kommune (the other AD group to be more precise) moving to Berlin, one would've expected the group to calm down a bit but their third album was again a double lp, still released on the liberty label. With the Serfas disappearing from the scene and Anderson gone to Hawkwind (replaced by veteran jazzer Lothar Meid), ADII has to rebuild once more... With Yeti named album of the year of 70 in Jan 71, the next month sees the follow up Tanz Der Lemminge (Dance Of The Lemmings) and its double madness again. With another wildartwork covering the front sleeve, a spacecraft on the the inner gatefold and and a druidic forest scene on the back cover, the album left much to the imagination of its audience. Actually the album is made of three sidelong projects from Karrer, Weinzierland Rogner, the last side being a communal side

The first side of disc 1 is a 4-movement sidelong epic (lasting some16 minutes) called March Of The Roaring 70's where the group appears in top form, ready to exploit the ground broken with pallus and Yeti, and indeed the wild psych they dealt us in Yeti is at least matched on this first side. Wriiten by Chris Karrer, the track is an excellent progressive space folk track. The flipside is occupied by Weinzerl's 7-movement Restless Skylight/Transistor Child suite, which is extremely wide in its scope ranging from Indian (guesting is futurePopol Vuh sitarman al Grommer) to a devillish and ever-changing soundscape, including a mellotron.and

The album's second disc is opened by Rogner's Chamsin Soundtrack (for a seldom seen film), filled with completely spaced out ambiances created by a sliding growling organ lines and echoed guitars answers. While this track might be faaaaar out, it stands out also as a bit too spaced out for repeated listenings and since it takes on a full side of the album's seciond disc..... Its flipside is a confused affair, filled with a succession of short tracks that seem somewhat linked together. With these three "shorter " tracks, we return to the screaming full psych that had been lacking us since the start (there was a bit of it during Weinzerl's suite), but Chewingum Telegram is a bit short, but sounding like some Quicksilver Messenger Service on strong dope... More crunchy guitars on Melted Moonlight, but here the recording sound shoddy and the whole thing lacking tightness. Closing the album is the medium-sized (for this album anyway with its almost 8 minutes) Toxological Whispering, an excellent Agitation Floyd track

The group will escape a fire in a club (Keks in Cologne) where they were in concert, but two fans died and all their uninsured equipment is lost. Liberty records will drop them like a dirty rag, and with an English and French during the following summer, AD II is facing xcomplete bankrupcy. In November that year, they will sign to United Artiste and play with an enlarged rhythm section including future Popol Vuh member Fichelscher. While the logical successor of Yeti, TDL is only partly succesful (like its two predecessor), but here the second disk lacks real strength and aim. A real step downwards, IMHO, but TDL holds its share of unconditional fans.

Amon Düül II - 1970 - Yeti

Amon Düül II

01. Soap Shop Rock:
- a. Burning Sister (3:41)
- b. Halluzination Guillotine (3:05)
- c. Gulp A Sonata (0:45)
- d. Flesh-Coloured Anti-Aircraft Alarm (5:53)
02. She Came through the Chimney (3:56)
03. Archangels Thunderbird (3:30)
04. Cerberus (4:18)
05. The Return of Ruebezahl (1:35)
06. Eye-Shaking King (6:37)
07. Pale Gallery (2:11)
08. Yeti (18:00)
09. Yeti Talks to Yogi (6:06)
10. Sandoz in the Rain (8:55)

- Renate Knaup / vocals, tambourine
- Chris Karrer / violin, guitars, vocals
- John Weinzierl / guitars, vocals
- Falk Rogner / organ
- Peter Leopold / drums
- Dave Anderson / bass
- Shrat / bongos, vocals

- Rainer Bauers / guitar, vocals (10)
- Ulrich Leopold / bass (10)
- Thomas Keyserling / flute (10)

After their stunning Phallus Dei debut album, ADII could only up the ante with the voluminous Yeti album, a double disc affair that was filled with a live jam for the duration of one disc. Again released on the Liberty Records label in the early part of 70, graced with an ape-grim reaper outer gatefold and a shrine-in-heaven inner gatefold artworks (both again courtesy of KB-man Rogner), Yeti often comes within the top 5 Krautrock albums listed. Original drummer has now left leaving Peter Leopold (of AD1 fame) the stool and guesting on the Sandoz In The Rain closing track is part of the AD1 line-up (3 of the 6 members).

Opening on the uber-fantastic Soap Shock Rock, AD II strikes just as hard as they did in PD with Kanaan, but here the 14-mins four-part suite is the album's absolute highlight. The eastern-folky 4-mins She Came Through The Chimney is quite a change SSR, sounding like Comus mating with Quintessence, with Karrer's violin sounding like High Tide's Simon House. If you'll make abstraction of the Eastern flavour of Chimney and Karrer's violin, you'll find Cerberus is much in the same folky vein, as well, a tad more Comus-like, until the fuzz guitar gives it an unlikely electric finale, which suits my ears just fine. Renate gives a weird vocal overtone to Archangels, a track hinting at later albums (Carnival and Wolf City), with some huge riffs and makes this song one of AD II's harder rocking tracks with the short proggy guitar-laden Return Of Ruebezahl. The following Eye Shaking King is the album's second highlight and one of the band's better-known tracks, with an immediately recognizable riff, a searing & soaring guitar solo and filter-trafficked vocals. The aptly-titled Pale Gallery is somewhat of a filler, even if it offers some downright trippy/spacey soundscapes over a repetitive beat.

The second disc (speaking of the vinyl, as the Cd version is crammed into one disc) is completely different, spreading lengthy loose spacey jams over two sides, which contrasts quite starkly with the first disc's relatively tight songwriting and playing. While the first disc was relatively hard rocking, this one goes to great extent into space rock, somewhere in the region of the Saucerful-era Pink Floyd. So Yeti is overstaying its welcome a bit, yet its companion piece Yogi does more of the same. Definitely toking music. But for the closing Sandoz In The Rain, AD II is joined by AD1 members and the resulting track sounds very much like the Paradieswärts Düül album of the other section of the commune. BTW: Sandoz is the name of the pharmaceutical labs that developed the LSD. With its light folky acoustic feel and a cool flute, Sandoz is Yeti's third highlight and a charming closer.

Yes, ADII had managed to top their debut album, but it was a tough task, needing a double disc to manage it. And if most progheads would agree to Wolf City and Carnival in Babylon being their best albums, this reviewer is much more inclined to the first three albums that we should call the Liberty era. Soon after Shrat and Dave Anderson would leave AD II (bound for Sameti and Hawkwind, respectively), leaving Lothar Meid to fill up on bass, but the former would not be replaced and the group would go on to record the third album in their Liberty Records trilogy TDL, which would go on as yet another seminal Krautrock record. Just as essential as Phallus Dei, this one is a bit more diluted, but then again there is more goodies as well.

Amon Düül II - 1969 - Phallus Dei

Amon Düül II 
Phallus Dei

01. Kanaan
02. Dem Guten, Schönen, Wahren
03. Luzifers Ghilom
04. Henriette Krötenschwanz
05. Phallus Dei

Bonus tracks on 2002 Repertoire CD:

06. Freak Out Requiem I
07. Freak Out Requiem II
08. Freak Out Requiem III
09. Freak Out Requiem IV
10. Cymbals in the End

Bonus Tracks on the 2009 Belle Antique CD:

06. TouchMaPhal
07. I Want The Sun To Shine

- Peter Leopold / drums, percussion, piano
- Shrat / bongos, violin, vocals
- Renate / vocals, tambourine
- John Weinzierl / bass, guitar
- Chris Karrer / violin, guitar, sax, vocals
- Falk Rogner / organ, synth
- Dave Anderson / bass
- Dieter Serfas / drums, electric cymbals

- Holger Trützsch / Turkish drums
- Christian Burchard / vibraphone

Out of the future ashes of the Munich-based hippy commune of Amon Düül, came this unit that seemed more serious about making music, other than as a social and political statement, Amon Duul II rose like a phoenix and built around Karrer (guitar), Rogner (bass) and Serfas (drums) and reputation growing, signed a deal with Liberty records and recrding their debut album in early 69, with two more members: drummer Leopold (from the other AD group) and bassist Anderson (pushing Rogner onto the keyboard stool). With two star guests, Burchard (Embryo, crosstown rivals) Trutzsch (Popol Vuh, also from the city), produced by Passport's Kübler, and graced with an astonishing psyched-out tree-and-sky artwork (courtesy of KB man Rogner), Phallus Dei is a landmark in Krautrock, also sung in a sort of medieval Upper German

Their sound is somewhat the full-on revolutionary psych of the sister group AD and much more accomplished psych groups like Floyd and the jammy Jefferson Airplane, yet having that typical early Krautrock raw sound of Can's Monster Movie. Opening the album on an Indian sitar and Burchard's vibes, the short Kanaan is an invitation to glide some 10 miles into the stratosphere on grass smoked-filled clouds for a 4-minutes short flight. The much slower strating Dem Guten Schonen Wahren turns quickly into a Floyd-like freak out (Saucerful-era) with its repetitive riff (but not too much, either) with some silly Zappa-like vocals and other artefacts like a semblance of Gregorian choirs and tons of others. Luzifers Gholom is the centrepiece of this first side, an ever-changing piece filled with an Eastern-sounding horn disappearing to let drum and bongo duet rhythming the track to chitter-chatter-like scat vocals and wild stop/go riffs, decadent ambiance and grass fumes floating about. The Henriette piece is a martial beat with semi-operatic vocals from Renate, but simply to short (2 mins) to make an impact on the album.

Of course, the album's tour de force is the title track, filling the flipside with plenty of freaky spacey sounds filling the first few minutes, much reminiscent of early TD, PV, Cluster or Kraftwerk, but past this lengthy improvised intro, Leopold (drums) and Karrer (fuzz guitar) pull the track out in open field under Andersson's pulsing and hypnotic bass (you can hear early Hawkwind in there). Later on, a weird sort of space whisper from Renate (not unlike Gilly Smyth's whims) over a Floyd-like organ, a lengthy percussion duet filled with weird sounds, including the eastern-sounding kazoo/oboe, still later Karrer's un-tuned violin, an hypnotic slow guitar until a slow ending, are the successive features of this monster track. Definitely one of ADII's crowning achievement.

With PD (the first of the Liberty Records era trilogy) is a much more accomplished album than their sister group AD could ever dream of. Later that year, the group would have one of their gig filmed while touring for this album and the film gave Amon Duul II plays Phallus Dei (now on DVD as well), but it is a still camera shooting part of the group and is best forgotten. Also that year, they would compose the soundtrack of a film San Domingo, for which they would receive a national award prize. So, while still a very inexperienced group (some members were still learning their instruments), PD remains one of those historically essential albums in rock's history.

Amon Düül - 1983 - Experimente

Amon Düül

01. Experience # 1 – 4:30
02. Experience # 2 – 0:32
03. Experience # 3 – 5:17
04. Experience # 4 – 2:28
05. Experience # 5 – 2:41
06. Experience # 6 – 1:11
07. Experience # 7 – 5:47
08. Experience # 8 – 2:11
09. Experience # 9 – 3:45
10. Experience # 10 – 1:42
11. Experience # 11 – 1:54
12. Experience # 12 – 1:24
13. Experience # 13 – 3:49
14. Experience # 14 – 2:48
15. Experience # 15 – 1:29
16. Experience # 16 – 5:10
17. Experience # 17 – 0:50
18. Experience # 18 – 2:06
19. Experience # 19 – 6:29
20. Experience # 20 – 1:07
21. Experience # 21 – 2:46
22. Experience # 22 – 3:08
23. Experience # 23 – 2:33
24. Experience # 24 – 1:08

- 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

Experimente is an other obscure live material taken from late 60's Amon Duul delirious-spontaneous percussive jam sessions.

The musical quality and the sound production are honest compared to the difficult Collapsing and Disaster.

These live improvisations are essentialy instrumental sometimes accompanied by druggy-stoned vocals. The sound is dominated by repetitive, tribal, savage acoustic percussive pulses, fuzzy psych guitar rythms & leads.

In the tradition of Amon Duul first incarnation, this album is an infernal musical trip that can freaks your mind. Some sections are only made of wild, damaged percussive tones (16-22). The most complex improvisation epics are the spaced out fuzzing / screaming number 16, the lysergic dance of number 5 and the supreme heavy psych-hippie-like number 9.

The album delivers more consistent / catchy moments at the beginning. The rest is going nowhere, lost in a crazy bad trip.

Amon Düül - 1972 - Disaster / Lüüd Noma!

Amon Düül
Disaster / Lüüd Noma! 

01. Drum Things ( Erschlagzeugtes ) – 9:13
02. Asynchron ( Verjault Und Zugeredet ) – 7:37
03. Yea Yea Yea ( Zerbeatelt ) – 1:01
04. Broken ( Ofensivitaaten ) – 7:26
05. Somnium ( Trauma ) – 9:30
06. Frequency ( Entzwei ) – 9:54
07. Autonomes ( Entdrei ) – 5:38
08. Chaoticolour ( Entsext ) – 7:43
09. Expressionidiom ( Kapuntterbunt ) – 1:49
10. Altitude ( Quaar Feld Aus ) – 1:02
11. Impropulsion ( Noch’n Lied ) – 6:14

- Uschi Obermeier / percussion
- Ella Bauer / vocals, percussion
- Rainer Bauer / vocals, guitar
- Angelika Filanda / vocals, percussion
- Helge Filanda / vocals, percussion
- Wolfgang Krischke / keyboards, percussion
- Peter Leopold / drums
- Ullrich Leopold / bass

‘Disaster’ comes from the same ‘legendary’ 1968 studio sessions that most the other Amon Duul releases had.

All studio manipulation is gone, cuts are made abruptly and other bizarre crude arbitrary decisions are made. But Disaster somehow feels a little less turbulent and closer to the real spirit of a live jam.

At times, the bass/bongo lines are accompanied by primal vocals as well as flutes, piano and some sort of stringed instrument–violin et al. is audible… much of this subtlety is lost from the earlier releases.

Amon Düül - 1970 - Paradieswarts Düül

Amon Düül
Paradieswarts Düül

01. Love is Peace – 17:13
02. Snow Your Thirst And Sun Your Open Mouth – 9:28
03. Paramechanische Welt – 7:40
04. Eternal Flow (Bonus) – 4:13
05. Paramechanical World (Bonus) – 5:44

- Ella Bauer / harp, bongos
- Lemur / percussion, rhythm guitar
- Ulrich Leopold / bass, vocals, piano
- Dadam / guitars, vocals
- Hansi / flute, bongos
- Helge Filanda / percussion
- Noam / African drums
- John Weinzierl / guitar
- Chris Karrer / tabla
- Rainer Bauer / guitar, electric bass
- Klaus / guitar, electric bass, percussion
- Angelika Filanda / flute

The jam session that sprouted this album also served other releases but there isn’t a single doubt that the better material resulting from that monster jam clearly ended up on this album. Indeed this album is rather far away from the near aggressiveness of Psychedelic Underground (Hyde), a relaxed gentle hippy fee of this one (Jekyll). Compared to its predecessor(s), this album is at least better recorded, even if this is still close to what is nowadays called Lo-Fi.

The 17-mins opening Love Is Peace indeed shows Amon Duul in a very pastoral mood with flutes and gentle melodies over a smooth rhythm. Somehow the positive vibe of this track changes a lot from the almost oppressive spacey jams on other albums (even the mid-section separating the two jams) and this alone is sufficient to suffer its slightly over-stretched form.

The following (on the flipside) 9-mins+ “Snow Your Thrust” is more Indian raga influenced and comes with sitar and fuzz guitars. Great raga stuff with the second part which is slow entering and having to wait for a wah-wah’d guitar to start taking off, only to drop abruptly to its end.

Ending the album in yet another jam-style “Paramechanische Welt”, starting on a simple structure, but slowly crescendoing, where Chris Karrer (of Amon Duul II fame) plays a very enthralling tabla drums.

This edition of the album comes with two bonus tracks tagged on the end, the first of which, Eternal Flow is another calm slow crescendo (with a few playing glitches) that fits the album quite well. The second track is the English version of Paramechanische Welt (Paramechanical World), but the music is rather so different that you wouldn’t link the two tracks, except for the vocal lines (Karrer is not on tabla as well).