Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kalacakra - 1972 - Crawling to Lhasa

Crawling to Lhasa

01. Naerby shiras (9:16)
02. Jaceline (6:15)
03. Raga No 11 (5:34)
04. September fullmoon (9:35)
05. Arapaho's circle dance (2:28)
06. Tante Olga (7:31)

Bonus tracks:
07. Vamos (6:48)
08. Deja vu (5:38)

- Heinz Martin / electric guitar, keyboards, flute, vibraphone, Shawm, cello, violin
- Claus Rauschenbach / guitars, vocals, congas, percussion, harmonica

A very odd band formed by the duo Claus Rauschenbach ("guitars, kongas, percussions, vocals, harmonica, slentem") and Heinz Martin ("electr. guitars, flute, piano, vibraphon, schalmi, cello, violin, synthesizer"). The band released only one album in its all career. The name KALACAKRA refers to one of the main Tantric deities of Vajrayâna Buddhism which means "wheel of time". Their sound can be called as "mantric" acid folk. Thus the compositions have a heavily eastern influence (near to "raga" rock experiences) with a lot of flute, sitar and percussions. This meditative musical background provides a few musical interludes quite charming and dreamy. The general mood of the album is dominated by solid blues guitar sections accompanied by stoned, depressive vocals (in German) and many freak out, psychedelic rock sequences. The atmosphere of Kalacakra's musical universe is rather mysterious, sinister with a few humorous accents. Consequently it is an other acid trip from the early German underground, a good mixture of prog / psych and folk ingredients.

Really gorgeous eastern psychedelic kraut (related) improv in the mood of Siloah, Parson Sound, Lamp of the Universe, Dom.Some sections contain primitive, blues damaged folk jams. The result is astonishing, highly mysterious and luminous. "Naerby Shiras" is an acoustic, repetitive, dreamy and druggy little piece, dominated by simplistic but efficient guitars motifs, some dancing flute lines and discreet narrations at the end. Really warm & acid stuff. "Jaceline" is a percussive, floating ballad within a forest ambience, accompanied by voices and words, violin contrasts and vibraphone. The "pastoral" acoustic guitar parts always prevail. "Raga no 11" features an intense, chanting like raga improvisation with rhythms and "mantra" sonorities. "September full moon" contain folkish strings and rhythms for a rather light, bucolic composition. "Arapaho's dancing dance" is bluesy like tune with circular rhythms, evasive guitar parts and kinda folky harmonica arrangements. A charming artefact with some tripped out moments!

Freak Out - 1971 - Life

Freak Out

01. Evil Ways
02. See My Way
03. Sing Me A Song That I Know
04. Leaping Beauties For Rudy
05. Jamming Brother
06. Son Of Mr Green Genes
07. Fresh Garbage
08. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
09. Ramadhan (Part III)
10. Jaming Brother (Bonus Track)
11. Crazy Colours Of Life (Bonus Track)

Robert Musenbichler - guitar, backing vocals
Peter Musenbichler – guitar and lead vocals)
Max Wei?enba;ck – sax
Charly Dienes – drums
Mike Gartner – bass
Ivan Miholić - percussion

Freak Out were a relatively short-lived German rock band and were Robert Musenbichler on guitar and background vocals, Peter Musenbichler on guitar and lead vocals, Max Wei?enback on sax, Charly Dienes on drums, Mike Gartner on bass, and Ivan Miholić on percussion.

This, their live release, is also their only album released. Filled mostly with covers, Life does feature two pieces that the band composed, "Jamming Brother" and "Crazy Colours Of Life." "Jamming Brother" appeared on the band's 7" single, as "Jaming Brothers," and is included as a bonus track here along side the single's flip, the above mentioned "Crazy Colours…." The first of these is an energetic piece with a distinctive, funky bass riff, though it's the guitar that stands out.

It may be the Ike & Tina Turner version of "Proud Mary" that I'm thinking of with that bass riff. The second of these originals is a dreamy, upbeat piece that recalls "Traces" by Classics IV, a 1969 soft-rock hit, which almost makes it seem like another cover. Gentle vocals, light sound… quite unlike the jam-rock of the rest of the album.

The set, performed before an audience of 1000 at Klangenfurt Concert Hall, April 24, 1971, opened with the Santana classic "Evil Ways." Interestingly, the set featured many Blodwyn Pig tunes, though only two were included on the actual release. In fact, only half of the band's set is included here, and now the other 9 tracks are lost (having been recorded over). A Rolling Stones tune in the form of "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" is also featured, and it's here that Dienes gets his drum solo spot, and does quite well with it. They do become a bit possessed in a psychedelic kind of way, but you do suddenly think that maybe you've stepped into the Twilight Zone.

The set did include a cover of "Paint It Black," too, but it's one of the lost tracks. We get some neat guitar interplay during the jam section of "Fresh Garbage," a piece that recalls Santana though it was originally recorded by Spirit. And then there's sax, which can be heard all over this release, most notably in a lead role on the Zappa piece "Son Of Mr. Green Genes." The band took their name from a Zappa album, so it's fitting that a Zappa track appears here.

There is no quest this is a live recording, the sound alone tells you that. The GoD reissue is clean as the original masters were used, so this reissue of a rarity doesn't suffer from being taken from a secondary source. The two bonuses were, however, taken from well-preserved LP and de-noised using the Cedar NoNoise system;The original production was only slightly muddy at times… in other words, don't expect a "modern" live sound, it is very much a product of the 70s. What the album does demonstrate is that this band could play. My favourite aspects are the sax and guitar playing here, which do come across very clear. In the broad sense, more of interest to collectors, given the rarity of the original LP (only about 200 were pressed), but it's pretty good release besides.

Zomby Woof - 1977 - Riding On A Tear

Zomby Woof
Riding On A Tear

01. Introduction (1:56)
02. Suicide (6:25)
03. Riding on a Tear (5:17)
04. Requiem - Part I (5:17)
05. Requiem - Part II (4:07)
06. Dora's Drive (8:52)
07. Mary Walking Through the Woods (5:56)
08. Walking Through the Woods (5:30)
09. Finale (0:13)
10. Dora's Drive (5:19) (*)
11. Mary Walking Through the Woods (4:31) (*)
12. Highwire Dance (5:49) (*)
13. Back Home (7:34) (*)

* From unreleased 2nd album

Ulrich Herter / Vocals, acoustic - and electric guitar and synthesizer;
Heinrich Winter / Vocals, acoustic - and electric guitar and Hohner D6 clavinet
Matthias Zumbroich / Grand piano, Hammond organ, Minimoog, string-ensemble, synthesizer, Mellotron, electric piano and saxophone
Udo Kreuß / Bass guitar
Berthold Maier / Drums, percussion and tambourine

 A really surprising one shot band from germany. Zomby Woof release this jewel in 1977, and it is no surprise there was no follow up. The times were not good for prog acts any more, specially new ones that relied too much on the traditional symphonic sounds that were so popular early in that decade. Well, there was a second album, but I heard it was a much pop oriented one and I don´t know if it was released or not. Whatever happened to their sophmore efford, this one is really good. And if you´re into the german prog scene of the 70´s, it is one you should not miss.

The first thing I noticed was the high quality of the production and the music that comes from the CD. Garden Of Delights did a great job on the remastering. It sounds fresh and very clear. For some time I thought Zomby Woof was a contemporary retro group. The band itself proved to be quite good too, at least at the instrumental part of the CD: terrific vintage keyboards, fantastic bass, good drums and guitars. The vocals are the weakest part, but they are not bad either. In fact, they compensate their lack of technique and range with passion and conviction.

The tunes are all good, the band had fine songwriters. The CD as whole is quite varied and the arrangements are very tasteful. And good as they are, they hardly sound like anybody else I know. As a reference I can cite only Eloy and maybe Grobschnitt, but they had their own personality already. Quite energetic compositions, with strong emphasis on melody and rhythms (the instrumental Dora´s Drive is maybe the best exemple of that). The CD version comes with four bonus tracks, two being edit versions of songs from the original LP and two unissued. the new songs are as longer than the others, not so well produced, but showed they were getting even better. The group was indeed a great promise, what a shame Zomby Woof didn´t make it!

Rating: 4 stars. Another fine band that had a short career. But should not be forgotten and Riding On A Tear is an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. Highly recommneded.

Zomby Woof was a German symphonic rock formation, the name is derived from a Frank Zappa's his Mothers Of Invention composition. The band is rooted in 1971 when guitar players Heinrich Winter and Udo Kreuss joined Frank Keinath on bass and Thomas Moritz on drums in order to form a band that still had no name and no gigs. Soon Frank moved away and no replacement was to be found. As a consequence Ulrich Herter, another guitarist, joined the band and Udo Kreuss changes to bass guitar. Shortly afterwards the two keyboard players Matthias Seelman-Eggebert (Hammond organ) and Matthias Zumbroich (keyboards) also joined which meant that the sound changed, influenced by PROCOL HARUM. During the Hayinger Festival in 1974 (featuring German bands KRAAN, BIRTH CONTROL and EMBRYO) the band had their first tv appearance but in 1976 Thomas Moritz and Matthias Seelman-Eggebert left the band to concentrate on their studies and Bertha "Bea" Maier joined them on drums to form the line-up that can be heard on their LP. In 1977 they tried to earn a contract by sending the demo tapes from intense rehearsals to several record companies. Eventually the label Jupiter from the capital Munich accepted the band and the recordings started in the Olympia Music Studios in the spring of 1977. There they found a Mellotron, of course out of tune! Thanks to Udo Kreuss this incredible instrument was cleaned untilit functioned again. So despite the fact that the band didn't own a Mellotron, you can enjoy this ubiquitous keyboard on their album. On the cover you can witness the band in front of one of the slides they used during their shows. In the autumn of 1977 the LP was released by Jupiter and distributred by BMG Ariola. One estimates that eventually the sales went up to 5000 copies, a very reasonable number for such an uknown German band! A second LP on the Jupiter label never saw the daylight because Steve Kazan, the man who was responsible for this type of music was sacked because he got on everybody's nerves. In 1979 Berthold Maier and Heinrich Winter left the band to form Alarm. The were replaced by Achim Czech on drums and Harald Horvath as singer but this was not a sudden but rather gradual change in the line-up. Together with an additional vocalist named David Hanselmann (previously with MESSAGE and TRIUMVIRAT), this line-up recorded a second LP named No Hero in 1979 but the band was unable to find a record company. Without a recording contract and future prospects Zomby Woof split up, the last gig took place in their hometown Reutlingen on July 8th in 1980.

Metropolis - 1974 - Metropolis


01. Birth (5:30)
02. Metropolis (9:56)
03. Superplastikclub (4:24)
04. Dreamweaver (6:30)
05. Glass Roofed Courts (4:52)
06. Ecliptic (9:41)

- Ute Kannenberg / vocals, percussion
- Thomas Hildebrand / drums, percussion, choir
- Helmut Binzer / guitars, choir
- Manfred Opitz / keyboards, vocals, acoustic guitar
- Michael Westphal / bass, choir
- Michael Duwe / vocals, guitar

guest musicians:
- Heinz Loch / flute
- Guiseppe Solera / oboe
- Hartmut Westphal / string & brass arrangements

METROPOLIS was a short-lived band from Berlin - 1973 initiated by Michael Duwe who has been an early member of AGITATION FREE and produced "Seven UP" with ASH RA TEMPEL. Other members to have former collaborations with wellknown bands were drummer Thomas Hildebrand (MYTHOS) and Michael Westphal (ASH RA TEMPEL).

Their eponymous debut was recorded December 1973 in Munich. Very rare as vinyl and in the early 90s also released by the Germanofon label as an unauthorized bootleg on CD. A concept album with clear musical influences because 'Mickie' Duwe also participated at the Berlin "Hair" performance. So there is a special vocal emphasis (Duwe's voice was close to Bowie) combined with a blend of several styles like Symphonic, Folk, Blues, Jazz- and Krautrock, very innovative and unique at that time.

 Why this German band remains overlooked is beyond my imagination.Metropolis were sort of a German Kraut supergroup, originally born in 1972 and apparently led by keyboardist Manfred Opitz (from Agitation Free) and bassist Michael Westphal, who had been playing together in an obscure Zarathustra group, and were surrounded by Michael Sauber on sax, ex-Mythos drummer Thomas Hildebrand and Mickie Duwe from Agitation Free on guitar/vocals.A bit later female singer Ute Kannenberg, aka Tanja Berg of Os Mundi fame joined the band along with Helmut Binzer on guitar.Metropolis recorded their sole self-titled album for Pan Records in December 1973 at Studio 70 in Munich, the album was eventually released the following year.

Metropolis' style comes the closest it gets to the offerings by TOMORROW'S GIFT, OKTOBER, early MYTHOS and the likes, an impressive amalgam of psychedelic leftovers, Kraut jams and symphonic orientations.Surprisingly though the material is very consistent with different sections in the same track containing spaced-out experiments, Classical interludes and psychedelic rockers, dominated by a frenetic Manfred Opitz and his flexible keyboard acrobatics and the dual guitars of Duwe and Binzer.They come as a blend of BABE RUTH, HOELDERLIN and MYTHOS at the very end with mid-length and long tracks, filled with orchestral moves, hypnotic soundscapes, jazzy leanings and rural flute drives.Excellent execution on organ and Mellotron by Opitz delivers the appropriate symphonic images to break frequently into female-fronted, aggresive grooves and passing often through psychedelic mannerims with keyboards, flute and acoustic guitar in evidence.The longer pieces are fantastic examples of eclectic Progressive Rock with Folk and Classical spices into a Kraut Rock wrapping, dangerously balancing between tight structures, rockin' power and loose playing.

After the release of the album Kannenberg and Binzer left Metropolis.Ahead of its time the remaining members created a multi-media show with projectors, based on a sci-fi story of author Ray Bradbury, and performed it during the 75' Christmas Eve.After a last concert in 1976 during the ''Sommergarten unter dem Funkturm'' festival Metropolis disbanded.Duwe found the ''Albatros'' concert agency and formed Mickie D's Unicorn, Manfred Opitz formed Lilli's Berlin, Westphal played with Ash Ra Tempel and Hildebrand played with the cover band Tequila Sunrise.

Unknown pearl of mid-70's Kraut Rock with symphonic and jazzy touches.Great keyboard work, inspired psychedelic atmospheres and plenty of tapping rhythms with an aggressive female voice.No less than strongly recommended.

Twogether - 1973 - A Couple Of Time

A Couple Of Time

01. Percussion
02. Don't cry
03. Out of range
04. Make me feel alright
05. On the move
06. Toss-up
07. I look around/Meet me every day
08. Bolero
09. Cathedral
10. Fusion

11. I was away too long
12. I've found a love again

- Klaus Bangert /(vocals, organ, piano, synth
- Reinhard Fischer / drums, percussion, synth

A Couple of Times is an exubberant-powerfully tripped out jazzy-electronic trip. With bands as Kollektiv, Kraan, Out of Focus, Xhol (...) Twogether represent the jazziest side of krautrock. Their sound is rather atypical with reminiscence of notorious epic symphonic keyboardists (I'm thinking notably to early Keith Emerson with The Nice). A couple of Times is a patchwork of musical styles and influences, an imaginative trip through coulourful, soulful and freely improvised jam sessions. This is mostly instrumental. The album starts with a collection of groovy-spacey electronic pieces built on endless keys / grand piano improvs and jazzy drum sets, admitting discreet acid pop-ish vocals. The album contains some basic-moody psych pop ballads (I look around, Meet me Every Day ...) featuring warm organic chords. Bolero is an epic spaciousness, including dense buzzing keyboards and majestic-desperate-heroic melodies. Fusion closes the album with the cloudy-abstract electronic poetry called Fusion. Despite that it was recorded during the 70's it sounds more like mellow-psych combos of the 60's. A Couple of Times remains a deliciously psychedelic, jazzy, neo-classical orientated musical trip. A little classic and a must have for all prog-heads of the first era.

Art Boys Collection - 1972 - Stoned Wall

Art Boys Collection   
Stoned Wall

01. Freedom, Voice Of My Soul
02. Stoned Wall
03. Roll Engine Roll
04. Flying Machine
05. Love
06. All My Life
07. I'm Riding On An Arrow
08. Wait For The Days
09. Happy Woman
10. Station Nowhere
11. In A Foreign Country
12. Jesus Said

Bonus Tracks
13. Lemon Tree
14. A Walk In The Rain
15. Life Is A Dream
16. United Blues Generation 

Walter Holz (organ)
Hans Joachim Holz (vocals, drums, percussion)
Hubert Perfahl (vocals, guitar)
Gerhard Bauer (vocals, guitar)
Johann Aigner (bass)
Gerhard Egger (vocals, guitar)

Art Boys Collection are not a progressive rock band. There is a moment or two of progressive rock-ness, however, and this is mainly in the organ of Walter Holz. However, that progness is limited to a couple of tracks, and even then it's hard to make a strong case for this as fact. I will say that a vague reference to King Crimson's "In The Court Of The Crimson King" can be made with "Stoned Wall," a very faint hint of Keith Emerson in "Flying Machine," and maybe some of the psychedelic touches of the bonus tracks would qualify as a proto-prog prog. But for the most part, what you have here a fairly standard and imitative early 70s 50s- and 60s- influenced pop rock. Admittedly, the Art Boys Collection didn't bill themselves as a progressive rock band, as they were a beat band, a style that has been mentioned more than once in connection with the early days of very famous British quartet. That is to say, The Beatles. The influence here draws not only on the band as a band, but the members of the band after the split in 1971. "Roll Engine Roll" is, but for the chorus, much like Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy," (which, interestingly enough, came out 1973; Stoned Wall was released in 1972). "Wait For The Days" hints at bit a George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" in the rhythm of the acoustic guitar, though otherwise this song is very psychedelic. Here as on the "Roll Engine Roll," vocalist Hans Joachim Holz also sounds like Starr. The upbeat rocker "Happy Woman" has the distorted guitar sound that Harrison adopted for 1965's Rubber Soul -- there are many references but "Drive My Car" is what jumped to mind. "Station Nowhere" is a mellow, dreamy, psychedelic, McCartney-esque piece.Divergent from this ex-Beatles fest is "All My Life," a chirpy 60s pop ditty as catchy as any of the more widely known artists of the period. The Kinks come to mind with "I'm Riding On An Arrow," a darker toned guitar based piece, with a psychedelically echoey chorus. "In A Foreign Country" is straight out of the 50s-era (I thought of "Silhouettes" by The Crests), and the Mama's And Papa's like "Jesus Said." The bonus track "Lemon Tree" takes this and the Byrd's and the folky based rock of the 60s wrapped into one. In fact, early Bee Gees come to mind, too. Chuck Berry should come to mind with "United Blues Generation" via the Beatles, and we know that Beatles admired the 50s rock of Berry. Actually, this piece sounds like the Mama's and Papas performing a signature Berry tune as if they were the Beatles.An interesting curiosity, well preserved by GoD as this was taken from a well-kept vinyl version and declicked using the Ceder NoNoise system – which I'm not contractually obligated to mention (and there's no contract anyway), but should since the sound quality is very good, and the source sounds true for the times. But, it's a fairly average, well played bit of nostaligic rock – they reference well.Rating: 3/5.

A mixture of somewhat shallow pop and beat music and good progressive tracks. This so far relatively unknown group from Andorf in Austria released one LP "Stoned wall", which is valued at around US$700 in mint condition by collectors, and, between 1970 and 1972, another four 7"-singles, the last two of which are included in the LP, with the first two being added as bonus tracks to the CD. This means that Art Boys Collection's entire works are featured on one CD. The musical transition period of the late 1960s, which took place in the USA and England, was reflected in the efforts of the five musicians a couple of years later. Next to a detailed story of the band in German and English, the 32-page colour booklet also shows full-page pictures of the sleeves of the four singles, a complete discography, an overview of all labels and other things
Overall, a very pleasant surprise! Not a particularly compelling cover, or band name for that matter, I bought this based on the fact that I have never gotten a weak release from this reissue label. I was sure it was worthy of investigation, and was not disappointed. Though, at times reminiscent of Squeeze or 10cc., this bands sound is a mix of soft and hard pop, with strong psychedelic flavor via the use of various psych effects, and with some prog influences as well. Also present are some nice vocal harmonies. Fully 3/4 of the tracks offered get a B- or better from me. I have little doubt that this will continue to grow on me. As usual, the accompanying booklet will fill your head with all things Art Boys Collection. Recommended.

Brave New World - 1972 - Impressions On Reading Aldous Huxley

Brave New World
Impressions On Reading Aldous Huxley

01. Prologue (1:01)
02. Alpha Beta Gamma Delta (7:38)
03. Lenina (4:21)
04. Soma (5:18)
05. Halpais Corn Dance (3:24)
06. The End (17:42)
07. Epilogue (1:28)

- Dicky Tarrach / drums, percussion
- Lucas Lindholm / bass, bass fiddle, organ, piano
- Herb Geller / flutes, cor anglais, saxes (Alto, Soprano & Tenor), organ
- Reinhart Firchow / recorders, flutes, ocarina, stylophone, percussion, vocals
- John O'Brien-Docker / guitars, organ, percussion, vocals, wind chimes
- Esther Daniels / vocals

This band emerged from Hamburg and lasted only a few years. It included a mixture of local musicians and two "foreigners". The German musicians were Reinhart Firchow (recorders, flutes, ocarina, stylophone, percussion, vocals), Lucas Lindholm (bass, bass fiddle, organ, piano), Dicky Tarrach (drums, percussion), Herb Geller (flutes, cor anglais, alto/soprano/tenor saxes, organ), the Irishman John O'Brien-Docker (guitars, organ, percussion, vocals, wind chimes) and Esther Daniels (vocals). As you can tell from the name of the band and one album title, their coming together was to make their instrumental interpretation of Aldous Huxley's novel - A Brave New World. Being almost entirely an instrumental band (apart from some occasional voices) they created a most unique sound which combined together successfully different styles such as folk, psychedelic rock and electronics. Their use of wind instruments (woodwinds), peculiar percussion patterns, flute, saxophones and a stylopohone gives their music a special otherworldly sound. A possible sound-alike would be Annexus Quam (in the psychedelic rock approach) and Between (in the ethereal, atmospheric sound). Sadly, after they released Impressions on Reading Aldous Huxley in 1972 and then dissolved.

 Exceptional psych-electronic rock experimentations by an other obscure 70's band from Germany. This album is said to be inspired by Aldous Huxley's famous, enchanting writings & mystical philosophy. It's clear that the entirety of the album is assured by a vast arsenal of weird incantations and deep hallucinogenic effects. The content is very colourful, luminous, eclectic and perfectly orchestrated. Nothing is linear or boring and the psych grooves work like magic. It's not easy to understand in one listening the complexity of this release. In some aspects it tends to be near to kraut-experimentations but without the sinister vibe, the ambiences provided are rather optimistic and enthusiastic. The prologue is based on dreamy like flute lines and tranced out organic drones. "Alpha Beta Gamma" is an epic, progressive spacey rock composition dominated by soft, pop, floating sounding improvisations. "Lenina" is an enigmatic, fragile, celestial song for the flute, moody bass lines, a beautiful air. "Soma" is a really stoned, kraut, outer space experience, featuring a lot of intergalactic electronic sounds and a massive rocking energy! "The end" is the central piece here, a majestic "cosmic" rock essay with lot of guitars, sax, dreamy flutes and weird effects. Epilogue is a recitation. A mesmeric, highly inspired psychedelic album. A little classic!

Grave - 1975 - Grave 1

Grave 1

01. Morning Sun (5:53)
02. Imitations (3:57)
03. The Hunter (8:02)
04. Ohrwurm (3:11)
05. Please Günter Play The Bass (5:44)
06. Little Giant (7:16)

07. Funky Stadtkommandant (8:15)
08. Grave Boogie (4:40)
09. Hey Little Lady (3:45)
10. Father Dead (5:44)
11. Get Out Of My Life (Imitations II) (2:04)
12. Death Driver (3:19)
13. Out Of Sight (2:38)

- Günter Wendehake / bass guitar
- Thomas Lamp / bass guitar (track 10 to 13)
- Klaus Moritz / drums
- Wolfgang Kiesler / guitar
- Lutz Wowerat / guitar, vocals
- Anke Meyer / vocals (track 10 to 13)

Garden Of Delights CD reissue
Tracks 1 to 9 recorded in 1975. Tracks 10 to 13 recorded in 1989

This is pure German psychedelic, or Krautrock if you like. Nothing more and nothing less. More rocking than other, more electronic Kraut's, this is pure stoner's fantasy. This must have been done under influence of drugs, there's no other explanation.

This is album that is made by love and dreams that "we want to do something and we will do it, nothing can stop us". This is fun, enjoyment of their, music made for tripping and daydreaming.

Bonus tracks are somehow good, but more like good as the rest of album. There's even one rock'n'roll song guys. That's it, nothing more. Of course, I can say more and more words, do consistent review and I would do it if I were "Man of Many Words", but I'm not.

This CD reissue contains 7 bonus tracks. Three were recorded in 1975 during the album sessions, while the remaining four are from 1989. Predictably, these four tracks make up what I feel are the CD's weakest, though I do rate one a B-. The older stuff, including the album tracks, are quite consistently good. They are fairly crude garage/punk with some occasional prog influences and English vocals. Their biggest weakness is they suffer from poor mixing. Discounting the late 80's stuff (believe me, they are best forgotten about), of the remaining 9 tracks, there is 1 B+, 6 B's, and 2 C+'s. This is a Garden of Delights release, so there is a big booklet, of course. I share most listener's sentiments in that this is a reasonably decent listen, though there are better mid-70's krautrock albums to be found.

Prom - 1978 - Fooled Again

Fooled Again

01. Fooled Again
02. Baby I Know
03. Ride On
04. Blues
05. Scorpion
06. Shoot Him Down
07. Mogadischu

08. Forty Years

Klaus Fallert (guitar, vocals)
Uwe Karle (guitar)
Robert Dietz (bass, vocals)
Peter Milewski (drums)

Recorded with the simplest of means, the attraction of "Fooled again" for the collector is its rarity. According to the delivery note, only 78 LPs were produced at the time. Because of its rarity, it was not until 1999 that the record appeared in collectors’ circles and was soon to be traded, if it was offered at all, for about US$1000. Although the LP was recorded in the late stages of progressive rock, it shows all the characteristics of this music, featuring an excellent guitarist. Unfortunately, the sound leaves a lot to be desired, even if it was taken from an admittedly scarce master tape. The LP was released at the time on the small New Blood label, known because of groups like Dorian Gray or Rockport. In the 24-page CD booklet of "Fooled again" you will find a detailed label history and discography of New Blood and sublabels. Prom were a dirty blues-rock band from the very southern part of Germany (bordering on Switzerland) that had gigged for awhile and then in 1978 recorded an album's worth of tunes in a local church. They had assumed that they had made a firm deal to have the album released on the New Blood label in Cologne, but the label reneged and soon folded, and so only the 78 vinyl copies that had been pressed were delivered to the band. Of course, few have survived and because of rarity alone, the album has been considered something of a collector's item. Well honestly, the songs are so ordinary and the recording so murky, that it's hardly worth the effort. But this CD re-release will hopefully save some from spending a whole ton of loot on something so unremarkable. Guitarist Uwe Karle is the one player that shows some talent here, and interestingly he was initially dragged out of the audience to play bass for one gig (their former bassist having just quit) and ended up joining full-time. The singer, Klaus Fallert, seem s like he might have had a decent voice, but the fidelity of the vocal tracks is pretty rough and it's hard to tell. Probably the album's best track is "Blues," a very standard Muddy Waters-like delta blues number, so mostly an opportunity for Karle to shine on lead guitar. "Mogadischu" is their 11-minute opus, a mix of folk-rock and blues with a Freebird-style dueling solo excursion. It's easy to tell when Karle is playing lead vs. Fallert's tentative go at it, that's for sure! A four-minute bonus track (a Dylanesque folk tune) is thrown in to make it a 40-minute affair.

Zyma - 1979 - Brave New World

Brave New World

01. Brave New World (4:36)
02. Sundays (6:14)
03. Lunch Time (1:55)
04. Sunday Fever (5:45)
05. Transit (4:32)
06. Colours (8:27)
07. A Nice Way To Say Hello (5:08)

Gunther Hornung - piano, sintetizador
Meinrad Hirt - piano, sintetizador, flauta, percussão, vocal
Dorle Ferber - vocal, violino
Joachim Romeis - viola, violino, trompete, zink
Bodo Brandle - baixo
Udo Kubler - bateria, percussão, vocal

Guest musician:
- Dan Dare / congas, bongos, percussion

A very good album that features a wide range of instruments and styles. Zyma, a six-piece amalgamation of styles, uses its diversity as its cornerstone. "Brave New World" sounds mainstream soundtrack-meets as yet unheard new wave-meets disco-meets Ruphus (vocals and fiddle and groove very reminiscent). "Sundays" starts with killer dissonance featuring keys, percussion, and trumpet. A superb mood piece riding a wave of jazzed out bliss for six minutes and change. Funk permeates halfway through, sounding like Il Baricentro on "Trusciant". Wordless vocals add to the Canterbury feel. "Lunch Time" is a short piano solo throwaway. "Sunday Fever" starts in grand National Health style, tossing in the funk through the meat of the song. More scat wordless vocals enter the picture. An open groove, plenty of room for the band to stretch out. Very tight. "Transit" is a happy jazzfunk instrumental of the highest caliber. More scat and wordless add color. "Colours" is the longest track on the album, an 8 and a half progressive tour de force for violin. Synths add color and deep funk basslines sink in. Pastoral and majestic. "A nice way to say Hello" seems out of place at the end, but a good happy skipping through the meadow type of song that sounds like it could be from a mid-70's Hal Ashby movie. Light, cheerful, and creative, this recording gets four stars in my collection easy. The Canterbury mixed with jazz fusion mixed with campy soundtrack vocals plus obscurity and a great album cover make for a treasure album in my house.

Zyma - 1978 - Thoughts


01. Thoughts (8:19)
02. Businessman (12:33)
03. One Way Street (8:04)
04. We Got Time (3:43)
05. Wasting Time (9:39)

Bonus tracks:
06. Law Like Love (7:04)
07. Tango Enough (6:01)

- Günter Hornung / keyboards
- Bodo Brandl / bass
- Meinrad Hirt / vocals, flute, keyboards, violin
- Karl Heinz Weiler / guitars, vocals
- Tim Pfau / vocals
- Udo Kübler / drums

Zyma, named after an artificial ferment, were a band founded in 1972 by musicians from the area around Heidelberg and Mannheim. At that time, in the initial stages, they were playing progressive hard rock. Their keyboard player was Günter Hornung (b. 02/16/1938 in Karlsruhe), a teacher, who had played in many jazz and jazz-rock bands before, among them a big band, and whose last one had been the Groovers, a soul band. Due to his many years of experience and outstanding abilities and skills, Hornung was the leader of Zyma. Yet their driving force was Bodo Brandl (b. 04/10/1943 in Nikolsburg) on bass, also a teacher, who had been performing since 1963. He, too, came from the Groovers, as well as Meinrad Hirt (b. 01/05/1945 in Triberg), who was now singing, playing violin, flutes, keyboards and sometimes guitar. Their lead guitarist and lead singer was Tim Pfau (b. 06/08/1951 in Mannheim), their drummer Karl-Heinz Weiler (b. 07/24/1951 in Mannheim). Günter Hornung's wife Ellen was the band's manager, Mitsou Kührbis was in charge of the PA. In 1973, they began playing progressive jazz-rock, whereupon Karl-Heinz Weiler left the band. He was replaced by Udo Kübler (b. 03/31/1951 in Heidelberg), a drummer since 1966. In 1970, Kübler had founded Filter, an experimental band, and before joining Zyma he had been a member of Medusa (pop), Ra and Brassy Brew (both jazz-rock). When he left Medusa, with whom he had released a single, Karl-Heinz Weiler took his place. In 1973, under the pseudonym Hyazintus, Weiler was also to play drums for the band Nine Days Wonder on their LP, "We Never Lost Control".

After Meinrad Hirt had left Zyma (he was to rejoin them some years later) in early 1974, Dorle Ferber (b. 09/07/1952 in Mannheim) joined them as singer and on violin and flute. She had studied classical music, had a folk background and brought these influences into Zyma. In the same year, they were given a chance by Alfred Kersten to release two of their own compositions, "Law Like Love" and "Tango Enough", on the double LP, "Proton 1" (Kerston FK 65017) which also featured Nexus, Andorra, Penicillin and Sun. This compilation had a run of only a few hundred copies, probably no more than 300, but it is, in view of its rarity and quality, valued amazingly cheaply in collectors' circles. The album was recorded at the TFE studio in the town of Neustadt/Weinstrasse in the summer and autumn of 1974. In 1975, South German radio station SDR broadcast a programme where for 45 minutes Zyma were presented in detail, and some time later the band had a TV appearance in the youth show, "Drum Special", broadcast by South German TV station SWF III. In 1976, Tim Pfau left the band. Two years later, Meinrad Hirt rejoined them and Zyma released "Thoughts", their first LP of their own (Z-Productions 0381978) in a private pressing of 1,000 copies.

 "Thoughts" opens with female vocal melodies with drums and bass that brings Zeuhl to mind right away.This made me smile knowing this is a German band. It then settles in with vocals, intricate drumming, bass and Fender Rhodes. So good. Piano to the fore 3 minutes in. It turns spacey with synths 4 1/2 minutes in then the violin joins in as the intricate drumming and synths continue. Bass too.Vocals are back before 6 1/2 minutes. "Businessman" is an interesting track. It has a very spacey intro that ends before 2 minutes then intricate drumming, bass and Fender Rhodes kicks in and builds.Vocal melodies and some distorted keyboards follow. Male vocals before 5 1/2 minutes. I cannot get over how good the drumming is here. Piano to the fore before 7 minutes then violin after 8 minutes.This is so intricate and there's so much going on.Too good to be true.

"One Way Street" opens with female and male vocals. Funny lyrics here with some very cool vocal arrangements. Inventive. It turns experimental in that Krautrock style and spirit before 2 minutes. She's screaming in the background. It kicks back in at 3 minutes to an uptempo rhythm with male vocals.Violin after 4 minutes then silly vocal melodies come in followed by flute.

"We Got Time" is uptempo with flute, female vocals and a beat. When the vocals stop the violin leads then the violin stops and the vocals lead as they trade off. "Wasting Time" opens with female vocal melodies as the bass and drums join in. Drums to the fore 3 minutes in then piano and violin join in as well. Male and female vocals arrive as the drums pound. Piano and drums then lead as they jam in a relaxed manner. Nice.

Amos Key - 2010 - Keynotes 1973

Amos Key 
Keynotes 1973

01. Sometimes (Molin) 03:11
02. Flucht (Molin) 04:17
03. First Snow (Molin/Gross) 05:54
04. Ensterknick-Stimm-Stamm (Molin/Gross) 04:34
05. I Got The Feeling (Molin) 05:20
06. Emanon (Molin) 01:43
07. Toccata (Bach/Molin) 02:07
08. Knecht Ruprecht (Molin/Gross) 05:12
09. Satyr (Molin/Gross) 04:25
10. Important Happening (Molin/Gross) 08:47

- Gross, Andreas / Guitar, bass, vocals
- Ludwig, Lutz / Drums
- Molin, Thomas / keyboards, vocals

For the first time on CD: The radio session of classical rock influenced great German krautrockers Amos Key. Amos Key owed great debts to Bach, Beethoven and Schumann, adding a heavy krautrock twist to a music closely resembling the Nice or Egg, full of angst and weird psychedelic and space-rock touches (Freeman Brothers: In A Crack In The Cosmic Egg). Amos Key lived in Munich and consisted of great organ-player Thomas Molin, congenial bass-player Andreas Gross and superb drummer Lutz Ludwig. This fairly competent outfit recorded the radio sessions before they released their famous and very rare album "First Key" in 1973 on label "Spiegelei". Sadly bandleader and organ-player Thomas Molin passed away in the 90ies but bass-player Andreas Gross tells the band story in a very vivid and funny way. 24 pages booklet contains also a lot of unseen photos. Sound is perfect; remastered from the original tape. Don't miss this superb item.

Amos Key - 1973 - First Key

Amos Key
First Key

01. Shoebread
02. Ensterknickstimmstamm
03. Knecht Ruprecht
04. Sometimes...
05. Got The Feelin
06. Escape
07. Important Matter
08. Dragon's Walk
09. First Key

- Thomas Molin / keyboards, vocals
- Andreas Gross / guitar, bass, vocals
- Lutz Ludwig / drums

Amos Key is another one of those obscure, one-album gems. It is keyboard, bass, and drum, with emphasis on keyboards. There is some sparsely used guitar, but you'll have to listen closely to find it.

The obvious influences are Deep Purple (they even do a little homage in the middle of "Got the Feeling"), and especially E.L.P. Where E.L.P. would lighten the mood with an occasional novelty song, this band is able to maintain a bit of lightheartedness throughout. This is not to say it isn't serious music. There are times that even get a bit dark. The overall sense is that these guys refuse to take themselves too seriously. What all this means is that "First Key" is a lot of fun to listen to.

The music is complex, but very accessible. These are three talented musicians. The keyboards are immediately obvious, but the drums and bass almost take you by surprise. The music flows along, and then suddenly I notice how tight the drum part is. In the next moment, a machine gun bass line grabs my attention. The vocals could be stronger. Sometimes the accent is a bit heavy, and the mix is too low. However, it doesn't detract from the enjoyment. But enough of that, it's not wise to dissect it too much. As I said, this is fun stuff. Best to let the whole experience flow over you.

The basic sound may be derivative, but the attitude is genuine. It's too bad they only recorded one album. An entire career by Amos Key could have been something special. Try to find it if you can. It may not be essential, but it would definitely enhance any prog collection.

Albatros - 1978 - Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden

01. A Man Lie me (19:49)
02. Sundriver (11:32)
03. Garden Of Eden (10:13)

- Peter Breitbarth / guitar
- Thomas Büscher / drums
- Achim Hubricht / bass
- Harald Hubricht / keyboards
- Christian Köppen / piano
- Hansi Köppen / vocals
- Jürgen Polzin / congas, PA

ALBATROS only had one album, in which they were invited into a studio to record. The 3 songs written had to be shortened to fit an LP format. However, this one album was the only effort that we heard from ALBATROS, and that's a shame because their theatric and complex arrangements similar to early GENESIS and EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, were great to hear, they had a very distinct sound. The band was a sextet and consisted of Peter Breitbarth on guitar, Thomas Büscher on drums, Achim Hubricht on bass, Harald Hubricht on keyboards, Christian Köppen on piano, Hansi Köppen on vocals and Jürgen Polzin on congas.

Very hard to get this album, but if you do, don't hesitate to listen at least once, to me was a happy discovery, and an excellent addition to my music collection. One of the very good german bands from the late '70. I might say they sound like no other group i listen before, maybe similar bands are Dice or other german bands from late '70 like Tibet or Minotaurus, but for sure very intristing. Specialy i like the voice, but also the instruments are very well used. The album is made of 3 long pieces, one of them nearly 20 min, with great moods and time signatures. Not a particulary instrument is in front here, each one does a good job as a whole and the result is 4 album to me. Garden of eden is a great album by this almost unknown band. I can recommend for fans of bands mention above 4 stars for sure. I have to say it, despite the good album they made, i wonder why they don't choose other cover for Garden of eden, this is one of the most uninspired covers i ever saw from entire music, anyway 4 stars and get it you will not be disappointed.

Aigues Vives - 1981 - Water Of Seasons

Aigues Vives
Water Of Seasons

01. The Accident (5:56)
02. Heroes (7:53)
03. Dent Du Geánt (2:32)
04. Night (4:01)
05. Flying Fortress (5:09)
06. Water Of Seasons (2:48)
07. Mediterranean Journey (5:44)
08. Planet Of Dreamers (5:50)

Bonus tracks on CD (from unreleased second LP):

09. - The Knight Errant (4:04)
10. - E Pericoloso Sporgersi (4:01)
11. - The Sailor (3:24)
12. - The Forest Queen (3:09)

- MIchael Wolff / guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards
- Roland Enders / vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin
- Paul Possart / violin, vocals
- Hendrikje Horn / flute, vocals, percussion
- Karl Beck / electric bass, 12-string guitar, vocals
- Franz Kremer / flute, guitar, banjo, vocals
- Eva Küllmer / flute, saxophone, synthesizer, keyboards, vocals
- Richard Bellinghausen / drums, percussion

Named for a French town whose name in turn refers to "prosperous fountain/source", Aigues Vives was formed in 1971 in the part of Germany close to the Belgian border. Initially, they were influenced mostly by the progressive rock of their day, but several purges and reformations cast them as a mostly acoustic folk group with plenty of progressive touches. Not particularly German sounding, they nonetheless do bear some comparison to early Hoelderlin, Broselmaschine, or even Emtidi.

It was the third incarnation that finally committed a recording to posterity. Water of Seasons is an entrancing and trippy yet rooted disc that appeals across a broad spectrum of prog folk, psychedelic, and German progressive fans. It was released in a limited edition of 1000 copies and commands a healthy price among collectors.

After yet another lineup change, the group integrated a rock backing with medieval sounding folk in a homegrown cassette Dwarfs Casting Long Shadows, meant to presage a second LP that never materialized.

In 2004, both LP and cassette were packaged together by Garden of Delights into the CD Water of Seasons,

 The idea of a German group being into any of the following is in itself not particularly noteworthy: early 70s British progressive rock, French and Irish folk songs, Anglo folk rock, to name a few. But an obscure band passing through these distinct stylistic phases from 1971, yet only releasing product in 1981, that IS interesting! More so because the result is worth hearing.

By the time of the original LP that contained the first 8 cuts here, the group was in Phase 3, in which they were exploring folk rock, but had retained their psych origins, sounding not unlike HOELDERLIN meets SPIROGYRA if you will, by way of BROSELMASCHINE but without a trace of OUGENWEIDE. This is understated and largely acoustic prog folk with a mysterious almost misty mood. This is well shown in the longest track, "Heroes", and in which Paul Possart excels on the strings, part violin and part fiddle, imaginatively straddling the line between symphonic and earthy. Hendrikje Horn's flutes are less prominent but also set the atmosphere to match the plaintive multitracked vocals and the wistful melodies. They also take a more active role on other songs and instrumentals. Luckily the voices in English are good. Roland Enders' lead guitar adds some electricity without stepping out of line.

Other highlights include the hypnotic "Night" and "Flying Fortress" which could be an outtake from a much earlier Moody Blues album thanks to the swirling flute. The album suffers from a bit of sameness of tempo and mood, but the original closer "Planet of Dreamers" has a delightful chorus and some delicate and powerful lead guitar. While the lyrics admittedly were a decade past their prime thematically, this anachronistic quality is one of the appeals of the group.

The 4 bonus tracks were from Phase IV of the group, in which more electronic elements were introduced, but at the same time a certain medieval bardic quality could be discerned, especially in "The Knight Errant", which is bolstered by Eva Küllmer's accompaniment on vocals, and "The Sailor". The bonuses were meant to be part of a second album that was aborted when the group disbanded in 1983, and were wisely included by Garden of Lights along with a superb booklet and history. A swig of fresh water for prog folk fans.

Tetragon - 2013 - Agape


01. Stage Fright Train (6:50)
02. Agape (13:25)
03. Hurry On Down (6:46)
04. A German Western (10:31)
05. Freedom Jazz Dance (9:38)
06. For Example (16:38)

- Norbert Wolf / Bass, Percussion
- Joachim Luhrmann / Drums
- Jürgen Jaehner / Guitar, Percussion
- Hendrik Schaper / Keyboards, Percussion

Recorded in 1973. Released by Garden Of Delights.

Some other immaculate and as yet unreleased studio recordings from the end of 1973, originally just intended for broadcasting purposes, have now been released as CD 'Agape'. Three of the six tracks were written by keyboarder Hendrik Schaper, one by all band members together, one by Eddie Harris, and the last one by Keith Emerson and Lee Jackson from The Nice. A spotless CD, made by undisputable musical talents and drawn from the master tapes.

After already possessing one successful archival release in "Stretch", I didn't expect we'd get another one from Tetragon (and Garden of Delights). "Agape" was recorded at the end of 1973 for a radio broadcast, after the band was pretty much done as a unit. It's all instrumental, and contains loose jams centered around organ and guitar. Blues, jazz and psychedelic are the styles and forms displayed. Santana, ELP, and the Roland Kovac Set all come to mind while listening to this. Worth noting the high quality sound from the original tapes. If you're looking for more instrumental jamming from the never ending goldmine of early 1970s Germany, then "Agape" is a must. Much better than I expected it to be.

Pretty solid jam-based album with some Hammond, guitar, bass and drums. What irks me is the loose structure and the various bluesy guitar solos(tbh, i'm sick of blues). I liked Tetragon in their "eclectic-psychedelic" mode more. The tracks are also quite long, the shortest two tracks are "only" seven minutes long, so it can become repetitive/one dimensional. Still, it grooves well in some parts and brings forth wonderful improvisational energy Tetragon possessed. Sounds a lot like a band who could warm E.L.P. up without any problems, some of these Hammond licks are definitely from the early period of the former British band. My picks would be "Agape" and "For Example". Recommended to the fans of early jammy prog with psychedelic flavour, but check out Tetragon's first albums before venturing here.

Tetragon - 2009 - Stretch


01. Snowstorm (7:50)
02. Listen Here (11:00)
03. The Light (9.10)
04. Hovering Stones (6.20)
05. Dragon Song (7.50)

- Hendrik Schaper / keyboards
- Jurgen Jaehner / guitars
- Rolf Rettberg / bass
- Joachim Luhrmann / drums

Recorded in 7 days at Windrose Studio in Hamburg in Dec 1971 but never released by the band's erstwhile record label Soma until issued in 2009 by the Garden of Delights imprint.

German band Tetragon recorded only 2 albums before they call it a day in 1972. Unfortunately only one of them ("Nature") was released back then, while for another one we had to wait almost 40 years (who kept it so long on the shelf? Damn him!). Was it worth to wait for it? You bet it was! "Stretch" is a truly great piece of art which is maybe a little less focused than their debut LP (after all material for "Stretch" is some kind of demo recording in fact, not proper "final product") but still manages to remain a real gem. I'm especially impressed that quality of this staff is so good, sounds very fresh and there are no scratchin' crackin' or skippin' problems.

Tetragon's music is often described as jazz-rock but I ensure you that their style is a mix of jazz-rock, symphonic prog & heavy prog in more or less equal proportions. While "Nature" had few vocal sections, "Stretch" is a pure instrumental recording. So prepare for 40 minutes of non-stop organ/guitar battles experience!

1. "Snowstorm" - first track is definitely the most symphonic one here. In fact I'm almost sure that this ultra-catchy main melody was taken from some classical music piece, but unfortunately I can't recall which one. Anyway this almost 8 minutes performance is a truly breath-taking masterpiece! Fantastic, speedy Hammond organ solos fight their way with equally impressive guitar ones. And drums with bass create a fine battlefield for them. The most important is that they never lose the main musical theme so they don't proceed to any lousy noodlings typical for many jazz-rock and blues-rock artists. Hendrik Schaper sounds like impersonation of Marian Varga (from Collegium Musicum) or Alan Park (Beggar's Opera) here, and it's a real compliment of course.

2. "Listen Here" - according to Internet sources this composition was originally written by Eddie Harris but I'm only familiar with Brian Auger's version. Anyway I have to admit that Tetragon's style suits very well these kind of tracks, they really know how to play such jammy instrumentals and not "lose its own way". Schaper & Jaehner play extended duels where guitar & over-driven Hammond blend perfectly while rhythmic duo of Rettberg & Luhrmann take care of keeping the main motif alive, so soloists have a good "background" for their show-offs (anyway we also have quite lengthy bass guitar solo here so everybody has his own "5 minutes"). Equally impressive as Auger's version IMHO.

3. "The Light" - more laid-back track, slightly bluesy I would say, almost relaxing in comparison with previous "demonic" instrumentals. But don't worry, you won't fall a sleep here neither, Schaper's dazzling organ solos won't let you do it ;-). Anyway similarities to Brian Auger's Oblivion Express are clear in this track.

4. "Hovering Stones" - this one kicks off with highly energetic intro filled with frenetic organ chops which sound like taken from ELP's "Tarkus" suite. After that tempo significantly slows down and Jaehner's guitar takes the leading role. However in the second part of the track Schaper wakes up to entertain us with another fistful of amazing Emersonian organ solos. Very solid performance.

5. "Dragon Song" - as I read "Dragon Song" was originally played by John McLaughlin but so far I've been able to listen to only Brian Auger's version. It's a stomping, heavy jazz-rock track with slightly directionless guitar & organ solos. But the worst thing is this repetitive bass line. It's one endless "duu-duu-du-du-du", bleh! It's even more annoying than on Auger's version. Overall bearable but can become tiresome.

Conclusion: "Stretch" is a highly satisfying album filled with stretched (sic!) organ and guitar jams which usually don't lose their direction. If you like Tetragon's "Nature", this album is must-have for you too. I also recommend it to fans of Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, Brian Auger & The Trinity, Collegium Muscium, Colosseum, Beggar's Opera, Affinity, Virus or even The Nice and Atomic Rooster. And don't forget to check first Hendrik Schaper's band - power trio called Trikolon. I love it even much more than Tetragon in fact.

Tetragon - 1971 - Nature


01. Fugue (15:59)
02. Jokus (0:21)
03. Irgendwas (6:01)
04. A Short Story (13:41)
05. Nature (7:44)

Bonus Track on cd reissue:
06. Doors In Between (14:16)

- Markus Sing / guitar
- Gunther Latuschik / saxophone
- Gabriek Dominik Mueller / vocal
- Dieter Miekautsch / keyboard
- Dave Schratzenstaller / bass
- Holger Brandt / drums

German act TETRAGON was a short-lived outfit that was formed following Ralph Schmieding's departure from the trio Trikolon. The remaining members Hendrik Schapper (organ, trumpet) and Rolf Rettberg (bass) hooked up with Jürgen Jaehner (guitars) and Achim Luhrmann (drums); and decided that a new band name was a better option than the continued use of their former moniker.

The band set up a primitive recording facility in an old farm, and had to record live the tracks that were featured on their sole album "Nature", which was released in 1971. Soon after Tetragon folded, but the strength of their album has seen to it that it has been rereleased several times over the years.

Tetragon had been a rather short-living band hailing from the north of Germany that released only one single album whose title "Nature" reflected their "green" concerns in some way. The band derived from a previous one called Trikolon formed by schoolfriends Hendrik Schapper (organ,trumpet), Rolf Rettberg (bass) and Ralph Schmieding (drums). They mainly played The Nice cover versions, but at times more in a manner closer to Dutch band Ekseption and as well some blues classics like "Spoonful" or "I'm a Man" in a Cream-like interpretation. These were mixed up with long improvisations and jazz influences of a Miles Davis type Schmieding used to be a huge fan of. They became a quite well-known (in their local area) live band and even made a record with one of their stage performances pressed in 150 copies. In 1971 Schmieding decided to leave the band and concentrate on his daily job thus the remaining two musicians were looking for substitutes. At their school they found the talented guitarist Jürgen Jaehner and the drummer Achim Luhrmann and called their quartet Tetragon logically enough. The band didn't really have a predetermined musical style; they played different styles as they pleased, favouring blues (for its emotional impact), jazz and the classics (adapting a Bach fugue along the way). This record here in review had been originally produced in a quite non-professional manner using a Revox A77 2-track tape recorder and seven microphones placed judiciously to best capture the sound of each instrument. The recording duty took place in an old farm which had been converted into a house by some friends of Luhrmann's parents. Re-recording wasn't possible and any imperfections had to be avoided in the 'live' taping conditions which inspired the band to great heights though. Schapper played organ and clavinet simultaneously, with one hand on each keyboard. Jürgen Jaehner meanwhile would switch to acoustic guitar immediately after an electric guitar solo. The line-up listed here is wrong by the way I just realized, there isn't any saxophone included. The correct one is Hendrik Schaper - Organ,clavinet,Cembalet,piano,vocals; Jürgen Jaehner - Electric and acoustic guitar; Rolf Rettberg - Bass and Joachim Luhrmann - Drums. Most of the tracks are all-instrumental, only the title song has some vocals. It's in fact very well-done early progressive rock rooted in blues with jazzy and classical leanings and there isn't any weak track at all on here. Fortunately Musea has done a CD re-issue of this forgotten gem in 1995 with the great jam-rockin' live bonus track "Doors in Between" added on. Certainly a worthy purchase for all fans of early 70's Prog!

Golem - 1973 - Golem Awakes

Golem Awakes

01. Orion Awakes (7:24)
02. Stellar Launch (7:36)
03. Godhead Dance (6:34)
 a) Signal
 b) Noise
 c) Rebirth
04. Jupiter & Beyond (14:25)
05. The Returning (6:33)

- Willi Berghoff / guitars
- Manfred Hof / organ, Mellotron, synthesizers
- Mungo / bass
- Joachim Bohne /drums
- Rolf Föller / guitar

 This psychedelic Krautrock abberration surfaced in 1972-73 and is said to feature some of the who's who of the early seventies Kosmische Musik scene according to the booklet that was included with the 2010 CD release by Lion Productions.

What can I say ? 5 groovin' tripped out instrumental tracks including a Grateful dead-like extended jam which draws influences from everyone from Hendrix to Neu! Each individual track has dynamic developmental musical structures that morph and segue into different ideas. The standout track, The Returning, with a plodding beat reminiscient of tempos used by Jane and pre-dates anything that it can be compared to. Some afficionados suggest that some tracks were laid down as late as the early 90s when some of the material appeared on a Virgin compilation series of albums entitled "Unknown Duetschland". I recieved a cassette copy in the early 80s so I sort of dismiss this theory. I have also heard of "sightings" of tattered vinyl specimens ( reportedly limited to 25 copies ) in Germany and the United States. One thing that I do agree with is that the 5 spaced out recordings certainly came from different recording sessions with different combinations of musicians whoever they were as the individual musician credits are noms de plume.

Difficult to locate even on CD, the mystique surrounding Orion Awakes nonetheless presents a fascinating conundrum for fans of underground krautrock bands such as Brainticket, Neu!, Harmonium, Cluster featuring an engrossing combination of structured music and free-form improvisation.

German Oak - 1992 - Nibelungenlied

German Oak

01. The heroic deeds of Siegfried
02. Nibelungenlied I
03. Gunter & Brunhild
04. Hagen von Tronje
05. Siegfried's death
06. Dankwart, Ruediger & Hildebrand
07. Dietrich von Bern
08. Nibelungenlied II
09. Lament

- Franz / guitar, vocals
- Harry / bass
- Leo Manning / drums
- Ulli / guitar

The dark German collective back with completely catchy kraut-improvisations. All tracks deliver memacing heavy, fuzzy psychedelic moments that merit a serious listening. After their amazing and most popular effort, "Nibelungenlied" stresses the free-sonic-destruction dimension of their music. The sound is always dominated by screaming / electric bluesy guitar parts, sound experiments and macabre keyboards effects. "The heroic deeds of Siegfried" is a dark and minimalist, melancholic composition with a dubtle "medieval" flavour. The savage percussions announces a delicate, simplistic guitar sequence in a moody tone. "Nibelungenlied I" is an agressive, dynamic guitar orientated composition, featuring really hypnotic, rocking sequences; all in improvisation with a repetitive bass line and some vicious guitar solos. "Gunter & Brunhild", "Hagen von Tronje" & "Siegfried's death" are bluesy-kraut jam with wha wha effects and strangely doom, sinister atmospheres. Heavy, complex, weird & cool! A "poisoning" masterpiece.

Second release by instrumental quintet GERMAN OAK, "Niebelungenlied" (The Song of the Nibelungs in English) is a compilation of unreleased and rare material recorded between 1972 and 1976. Compared to their eponymous debut, there are things that remain constant: after WWII, "The Rhine Gold" is another "German" thematic, the cover art is once again not really attractive, the sound quality hasn't improved but the band still explores unusual sonorities.

A copycat of the self-titled opus then? Not at all. If the atmosphere is overall still sinister and psychedelic, the music is much more structured, concise, varied, emancipating from the shores of Krautrock. Shorter and less improvised, the tracks features more changes and the fuzzy guitars are heavier, resulting in somber, stoner and melancholic sonic adventures. Trippier and even more surprising than its predecessor, this second offering never loses the listener.

"The heroic deeds of Siegfried" starts with bells and a small saturated guitars passage sounding like Black Metal several years ahead! It then alternates between a slow heavy psych tune and drum solo. The stoner space-rocking "Nibelungenlied I" is powerful and devastating. This title sometimes gets as epic as HAWKWIND! The main theme of the distorted bluesy "Gunter & Brunhild" can remind the bass-line of "On the Road Again" at times. Concerning "Hagen von Tronje", this track is a dark jam in the style of the first album, while "Siegfried's death" is another heavy stoner.

However, the most surprising composition is certainly the gloomy "Dankwart, Ruediger & Hildebrand". Contrasting with the rest of the record, it simply predates Gothic rock, a few years before the emergence of the genre. Wow! "Dietrich von Bern" is melancholic and beautiful whereas "Nibelungenlied II" is a boosted-up and extended version of "Nibelungenlied I", with numerous spacey changes. This 12 minutes track is maybe the most impressive of the disc, as it can easily dispute the HAWKS's space captain insignia. A dark stoner mini-universe, a burning sonic magma exploding in multiple musical pieces! Mindblowing! Like its name suggests, "Lament" closes the record on a fine sad note.

Once again, it's a pity GERMAN OAK didn't get more success and attention. Really good compositions, original approaches, uncommon sonorities, and even some innovative ideas. Furthermore, the band evolved and explored something different on this astonishing and unique release. For all these reasons, "Niebelungenlied" is a rare black meteorite, a precious gold nugget from space that shall not be forgotten during your space rock exploration.

Contrarily to their eponymous album, we can difficulty hear the link with the thematic, except the epic breath... Nonetheless, there are no lengthy passages and the listener's interest remains constant. If GERMAN OAK's self-titled debut was an experience, this disc is an adventure to the meet Nibelungs from another planet. Don't miss it 

German Oak - 1972 - German Oak

German Oak
German Oak

01. Airalert (1:55)
02. Down In The Bunker (17:57)
03. Raid Over Duesseldorf (15:42)
04. 1945 - Out Of The Ashes (2:13)

Total Time: 37:47

Witch & Warlock CD bonus tracks:
05. Swastika Rising (4:55)
06. The Third Reich (10:18)
07. Shadows Of War (5:54)
-a. Rain Of Destruction
-b. V1 To London

- Wolfgang Franz Czaika / lead & rhythm guitar
- Ullrich Kallweit / drums, percussion
- Harry Kallweit / bbass, voice
- Manfred Uhr / organ/fuzz-organ, voice
- Norbert Luckas / guitars & noises

A free form rock band founded by a small community of 5 German hippies / "avant garde" artists back at the beginning of the 70's (Wolfgang Franz Czaika, as Caesar, is credited with "Lead- & Rhythmguitar", Ullrich Kallweit, known as Ulli "Drums/Percussion". His brother Harry Kallweit known as Harry, contributes "Electric bass/voice", Manfred Uhr AKA Warlock on "Organ/fuzz-organ/voice" and Norbert Luckas AKA Nobbi on "Guitar/A77/Noises"). Their self title effort was published in 1972 in Düsseldorf at Luftschutzbunker (Air Raid Shelter) studio. The cover of their self title album (a militaristic image which is a portrait of the third Reich military force) provides an illustration of anger expressed by the WWII's young generation against their parents. By consequence German Oak's music is very eerie, dark and weird, dominated by heavy, "distorted" guitar solos & raw bluesy rhythms. The background creates "shadowy" & "ambient" sequences thanks to delay echoes, electronic "fuzzy" noises & repetitive bass lines. A funkadelic/jazzy felt punctuates with discretion this grandiose, "creepy" instrumental album.

 A conceptual album? Maybe. Anyway this self title album is all about the II world war and its denunciation. This album is an electrified and original kraut improvisation with many weird, strange atmospheres injected into it. "Airalert " is an illustration of a military march. The electric organ stresses the tempo on it. "Down In The Bunker" can be seen as a funeral hymn related to chaos and the tragic consequences of war. A dark, creepy ambient atmosphere prevails, sustained by rolling drum parts, heavy, crying guitar lines and some frantic repetitive bass lines. Imagine something somewhere between TD's "electronic meditation" and Kluster but with more emphasis on the "dark" side. "Raid Over Düsseldorf" is an impressive, catchy "psych" heavy rock tune with lot of wha wha guitar effects and an outstanding contrast between a moody ambiance and a bluesy rock instrumentation. The rhythm is perpetual, systematic and guides the listener into an "acid" rock avalanche. "1945 - Out Of The Ashes" is a similar theme than the first track, based on a plaintive electric organ with an obsessional rhythmic. The 3 bonus tracks on the new CD reissue express also very interesting musical moments with some aggressive rock tunes, punctuated by inspired meditative, repetitive organ arrangements and concrete noises. A beautifully sinister musical adventure. Very fine and one of my all times favourite 70's rock item.

Let's see... A black and white cover art representing a German officer from World War I or II... Track names such as: "Airalert", "Raid Over Düsseldorf", "Swastika Rising", "The Third Reich"... Not very attractive, is it? Nonetheless, despite all this, you'd be unwise not to give this record a listen. Don't be fooled by this repelling exterior, this album is in fact one of Krautrock's best obscure gems, both figuratively and literally.

This first and eponymous release by Düsseldorf instrumental quintet GERMAN OAK features dark extended psychedelic/space rock jamming around repeated main themes. Another copycat of ASH RA TEMPEL? Well... There is a noticeable difference.... In 1972, rarely has a record sounded this dark, claustrophobic, tortured. Like SUBARACHNOID SPACE, but 25 years ahead. The music possesses an unique atmosphere, crafted by the massive usage of heavily distorted and fuzzy instruments, original sonorities, as well as unusual samples for a psychedelic record: falling bombs, air sirens, and even a short extract from a Hitler's speech! Don't worry, the German youth of the 60's-70's developed their own musical genres and built itself against and strongly rejected the values and the political orientation of the former generation. With "German Oak", the band wanted to denunciate the war atrocities and "dedicated this record to their parents which had a bad time in World War II" (as written on the sleeve note). So two opposite worlds collide: psychedelia and WWII. The approach was for sure risky, but the result is pretty interesting and original.

The disc is structured around two long krautjams. After the dark psych introduction "Airalert" appears the main title of the album. Like its title suggests, "Down In The Bunker" was actually recorded in an old WWII bunker. This is truly an unique and impressive experience, both for the musicians, who could nearly sense ghosts of the past while playing in this forgotten place, and for the listener. The ambiance is thrilling, threatening, as a sensation of suffocation, summoning spirits waiting during the bombings or fallen in combat. The drumming reminds PINK FLOYD's "Set the Controls..." at times. A bit monotonous, but easily one of the darkest Krautrock titles of the 70's! On the contrary, "Raid Over Düsseldorf" is more accessible. A lighter kraut/space rock jam with distorted instruments. the sonorities used in the ending section are quite uncommon. "1945 - Out Of The Ashes" is a organ- driven psych outro representing hope and reconstruction.

The 3 bonus tracks included on the Witch & Warlock reissue features are also worth the listen. The two first ones consist in variations around single musical patterns. "Swastika Rising" is heavy and powerful, whereas the psych rock jam "The Third Reich" opens with a short extract from a Hitler speech. More original, "Shadows Of War" is divided in two parts. The first section is almost post-rock, due to its beautiful ambient saturated keyboards, weaving impressions of desolation. Another speech makes the transition for the experimental second section composed miscellaneous sounds.

"German Oak" is an obscure little gem with a surprising thematic, a psychedelic trip into the horrific past, a descent to the abysses of war, a meeting with tortured soldier spirits. There are a few drawbacks: some lengthy passages, a little lack of variety and the poor sound quality. But all these are largely compensated by the dark atmosphere the music delivers, sinister and beautiful, enhanced by unusual sonorities and saturated instruments. Ambiance is the key.

It's a shame this record didn't received the success it deserved, certainly due to the adopted approach, too radical, and the controversial WWII concept. The band has original musical ideas and sounds for its time, that will be more structured in the their next release.

If you don't like long improvisations built around a simple main theme, this album won't change your opinion. Nonetheless, if you enjoy ASH RA TEMPEL, SUBARACHNOID SPACE and extended krautrock psychedelic jams, then "German Oak" is an essential listen! Prepare to go down for an unique sonic experience...

This album was reissued in 2017 as a triple LP + 3 CD edition, and at the band's request, the Nazi speeches included on Manfred Uhr's Witch and Warlock German Oak CDs have been removed, and, at [Wolfgang Franz] Czaika's request, the songs have been retitled... Czaika and the band didn't choose the titles given to their songs when Uhr initially released them... On this anthology, the two long songs from the original German Oak album have been pitch corrected to play at the speed that the band recorded them; Manfred Uhr sped them up for the album's initial release...