Monday, February 23, 2015

Fläsket Brinner - 2003 - The Swedish Radio Recordings

Fläsket Brinner 
The Swedish Radio Recordings

Studio 4, Radiohuset, Stockholm, October 26, 1970
101. Mäster Beautiful (9:59)
102. Bosses Låt (11:47)
103. Gunnars Dilemma & Tysta Finskan & Virgo2 (15:20)
104. Telegram Från En Bombad By (4:40)
105. Gulan (7:41)

Swedish Radio Studio, Gothenburg, November 9, 1971
201. Jätten Feeling (7:37)
202. Sluttningar (Lek I Nedförsbacke) (7:13)
203. Batum (4:01)
204. Storstad (5:50)
205. Sonic ReEntry (1:17)
206. Turkish Lullaby (11:59)
207. Tamzara (3:17)

Studio 4, Radiohuset, Stockholm, December 13, 1971

301. Jätten Feeling (6:14)
302. Storstad (4:42)
303. Sonik ReEnry (1:10)
304. Wild Thing (5:18)
305. Samba Martinez (8:52)
306. Ball På Bali & Erik Luras (9:55)
307. Bullen & Erik Luras Igen (14:38)
308. Turkish Lullaby (7:13)
309. Lothlorien & Elidor & Bengans Boogie (5:26)
310. Gånglåten (9:36)
311. Red River Rock (3:32)

Studio 7, Radiohuset, Stockholm, October 22, 1975

401. Aquarius (9:52)
402. Grasse (9:15)
403. Kinaspel (12:14)
404. Barbarella (3:07)
405. La Resa Dei Conti (5:18)

- Bengt Dahlén / Guitar
- Bill Öhrström / Congas
- Bo Hansson / Organ
- Bobo Stenson / Fender Rhodes piano
- Bosse Skoglund / Drums
- Erik Dahlbäck / Drums
- Gunnar Bergsten / Saxofon
- Jan Ternald / El-piano
- Per Bruun / Bass
- Sebastian Öberg / El-mandolin
- Sten Bergman / Organ

This is a four disc set featuring four seperate radio broadcasts that FLASKET BRINNER did in their homeland of Sweden from 1970-1975. I first became aware of this band when I read that ANEKDOTEN listed them as an influence, and I must say that I can hear why, I really enjoy this jamming style of music.This is beautifully packaged in a long-digibox format with almost 100 photos of the band over the years and a very detailed story of their beginnings right through to their breakup.There really was three classic lineups of this band including one with Bo Hansson on organ and the final one with two members of ALGARNAS TRADGARD on board. I would describe the music as jam-like with the sax, electric piano, flute and guitar taking turns leading.
Disc One was recorded at Studio 4, Radiohuset in Stockholm, October 26th,1970. It begins with Sten inviting the audience to "feel free to take off your clothes if you like to" before the music kicks in with "Master Beautiful" a trippy and laid back number. Flute, guitar,s ax and organ each lead. "Bosses Lat" is a Bo Hansson tune and has beeen recorded three times by the band. "Gunners Dilema..." was inspired by both THE WHO and Frank Zappa. It was their only tune top receive significant airplay.

Disc two is from Swedish Radio Studio in Gothenburg, November 9th,1971.The lineup is increased from 5 to 6 here including Bo Hansson on Hammond organ and Bobo Stenson on Fender Rhodes. Sten has left (probably that "take off your clothes" comment from a year earlier). Kidding ! We get a "Lord Of The Rings" (Hansson) medley as well as a song "Storstad" that would later become the first two parts of that track on Hansson's "Magician's Hat" album.

Disc Three is from Studio 4, Radiohuset, Stockholm in December 13th,1971 with the same lineup as the last live sessions. Interestingly enough they do a cover of THE TROGGS "Wild Thing".They slow it down and do use vocals.This was the only single released by the band but it was banned by Swedish radio for including the line "so [%*!#]ing groovy". Bastards ! "Samba Martinez" by Bo hansson became part three of his "Storstad" suite. "Lothlorien" is from "Lord Of The Rings" (Bo Hansson).

Disc Four is from Studio 7, Radiohuset, Stockholm on October 22nd 1975.This is the only disc with mellotron thanks to Jan from ALGARNAS TRADGARD. We get it on three of the five tracks."Acquarius" is very spacey with mellotron that goes on until after 4 minutes when a beat then flute joins in. Cool song. "Grasse" sounds amazing when they begin to jam.

Overall a great addition to anyone's collection and a must for fans of trippy, jamming music.

Fläsket Brinner - 1972 - Fläsket

Fläsket Brinner 

01. Klotet (4:02)
02. Bennys Hammare (3:33)
03. Kommunisten (0:54)
04. Vårtagårdsvalsen (0:38)
05. Di Dumme Små Björnarna (3:33)
06. Anderssons Groove (3:55)
07. Jätten Feeling (5:06)
08. Batum (3:40)
09. Beate Hill (3:41)
10. Puppens Sång (2:19)
11. Grismakt (10:01)
12. Bosses Låt (4:38)
13. Tangon (2:42)
14. Tysta finskan (Samba Martinez) (5:39)
15. Hardugåttofått. (1:51)
16. Örsprånget (12:23)

Bengt Dahlén / guitar, violin and vocals
Bo Hansson / organ
Erik Dahlbäck / drums
Gunnar Bergsten / saxophone
Mikael Ramel / guitar and vocals
Per Bruun / bass
Sten Bergman / organ and flute

Knowing that this isn't the most famous release of all time, I am still surprised to see so few reviews for this album of exuberant Swedish prog. Perhaps not as famous as national cohorts, Samla Mammas Manna, Fläsket Brinner (The Flesh is Burning) created a fantastic album here that should definitely be heard by more people.
If comparisons are necessary, the easiest one to make is with Zappa and the Mothers, circa the late 60s, early 70s, and that can't be a bad thing. The long jam of "Grismakt," for instance, wouldn't be out of place on something like "Chunga's Revenge." Some of the music is also reminiscent of some jazz fusion, a little Miles Davis-ish in moments, but perhaps with more constraint (not that it doesn't go wild and get out of control as well). Over the course of this long album, you'll hear some strong improvs and jams, like on "Batum," but, for me, Fläsket were probably at their best in their complex written sections.

Instrumentals like the opener "Klotet" and "Jätten Feeling" stand out, with their rapid ascending and descending movements, excellent riff rock that highlights their masterful use of counterpoint, also notable on songs like "Bennys Hammare." Overall the music tends to swing between well-orchestrated sections, heavy boogie, and crunchy jam, between the elegant and the wild. As a band, they could conjure majestic riffs that could be intense yet oddly hummable.

There are also some cool, odd moments here, like the slow violin driven "Beate Hill" or the slightly perverse child-sung "Puppans Sång." In these moments they tend to evoke Swedish hippy collectives like International Harvester and Älgarnas Trädgård. Yet, just as you start to feel comfortable with that, they drop into some Santana-ish percussion-heavy groove. And somehow they make it work.

Definitely their best as an instrumental group, fusing cool keys, jazzy drums, groovy guitar and swooping horns, they only add vocals rarely. On one occasion, "Di dumma små björnarna," they go for that high childlike nyah-nyah chorus thing that the Flo and Eddie- era of Zappa and early Sammla loved so much. The only song to feature vocals prominently is "Andersson's Groove," and, unfortunately, it's a pretty standard MOR rock tune. Not much fun for the prog fan, and it's the weakest song for me.

Despite the title, the last group of tracks are all live performances, and they provide an interesting contrast. Definitely looser and heavier than the studio tracks, they show what a great band Fläsket must have been live. Still, I prefer them in their studio shape, perhaps because the jam sections of the live performances, while strong, are a tad more generic, whereas it is their tightly coordinated, beautifully harmonized compositions that show off what was special and unique about Fläsket.

Despite a few, rare weak moments, this is a tremendous album, and a prog favorite of mine.

It's always good to carry a little burning flesh with you wherever you go.

Fläsket Brinner - 1971 - Fläsket Brinner

Fläsket Brinner 
Fläsket Brinner

01. Gånglåten (6:51)
02. Tysta Finskan (14:02)
03. Gunnars Dilemma (2:10)
04. Bengans Vals (0:59)
05. Bosses Låt (5:46)
06. Räva (1:34)
07. Uppsala Gård (2:39)
08. Musik Från Liljevalchs (6:40)

- Bengt Dahlèn / Guitar, Violin, Vocals
- Gunnar Bergsten / Saxophone
- Sten Bergman / Organ, Flute
- Per Bruun / Bass
- Erik Dahlbäck / Drums

Guest musicians:

- Ove Gustavsson / Bass (4,7)
- Bosse Hansson / Organ (4), Cowbell (1,2)

This is one of my favourite old school jam bands, and if you talk to anyone in Sweden over 40 worth his/her salt, they'll tell you how brilliant and saucy this act is. Especially in a live setting! Good thing too, because this debut of theirs is exactly that - Live. Maybe these tracks were based around certain motifs and ideas, but aside from that, everything is straight out of the bag. Much like ze Germans did around the same time, the emphasis was on feel and cutting each other enough slack to actually permeate the outer regions of the stratosphere with music that was as gelatinous, rocking and free as only modern day Nutella seems to be.

There's no getting around the fun factor as well, and I think this is one of the key elements in all of music. If you pay attention to this scene in particular, you'll probably also catch the unbridled exuberance and joy other acts like Kebnekaise and Samla Mammas Manna were wielding as well. You get the impression that the bands were playing in spite of everything, only to be in the moment with their best mates, trying to hit that fleeting groove - the invisible glimpse of sonic heaven. This is very much so with Fläsket Brinner, and to add a little bit to that fun factor - the name itself means something as crazy as The Bacon is Burning... Well if you thought these guys were insane, then it probably won't surprise you to know that their preferred way of showing up at a gig back then, was with their teeth painted black...

Before this band came into fruition, all of the band members had had bad experiences with the commercial music scene, and I think this played a huge part in the final sound - relying much more on wafting free structures and jams, than the one-two-three-four approach. Good thing too I say.

Just like Pedro (Mosh) has been pointing out in the Krautrock Space here on PA, I too think the free association music happening in Germany, and several other places like Sweden, - took its inspiration from the 60s. Bands like Quicksilver Messenger, Cream, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Jimi, Santana and a whole bunch of other acts are as much responsible for "Krautrock" happening as the drug culture and hang over caused by the iron grip of W.W. ll were.

Fläsket Brinner owes a lot of their sound to those aforementioned bands, although they infused quite a bit of their own thang into the mix. The music can be described as space rock with some slightly skewed folk aspirations and jazzy spices- coming through in the most unharnessed way imaginable. Furious guitar leads with loads of fuzz teamed up with a rhythm section so ingrained and pre-conceptive of itself, that everything else around it just flows as natural like a handkerchief in a tropical storm. Over and under this core in the music, you'll get saxophone and flute bits ornamenting things nicely, and the odd Bo Hansson organ bubbling away like a muddied lava swamp. Everything fits like a glove here, there are no superfluous ingredients, even if the band at this point in time had no real control over who was in it. Sort of like The Jimi Hendrix Experience - only with far more Scandinavians involved. One big happy family sponsoring freely flowing psychedelic jazz tinged progressive rock with lots of percussive splashes, cow bells, brawny wind sections and fiery guitar. What's not to love here?

Fläsket Brinner's debut has become somewhat of a cult record here in Scandinavia, and I fully understand its attraction. I fell for it head over heels truth be told. The music it contains is a wonderful blend of everything that made the end of the 60s great - combined with the newly found adventurism of the impending decade. Anybody into this particular period of time - the feel - the nature of things and how music could take on a life on its own: Be sure you don't pass this one by!

Horrific Child - 1976 - L'etrange Mr. Whinster

Horrific Child -
L'etrange Mr. Whinster

01. Frayeur (8:53)
02. Angoisse (8:14)
03. H.I.A. (Horreur indescriptible et accumulée) (16:23)

Jean-Pierre Massiera
Accompanied by his house band

This is the second album I ever bought with a man wearing a fish head!

Though not as avant blues orientated as Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, this thing sure does get convoluted and haphazard from time to time. The instant human reaction in pretty much all we do, is trying to locate patterns - things that make us go: Ahhh, now I get it! The thing is, that with a lot of the avant-guarde releases, and here I am not simply talking about a Frank Zappa album or the odd Samla Mammas Mamma, -but the ones that sound like a demented orchestra playing tick tack toe on pots and pans inside your local diner, - you are some times left with mayhem running in all directions without much of a red thread to follow. Sure, after a while you come to grips with the situation and the feel of the album - suddenly remembering what goes where and when, but a lot of this stuff stays uncomfortable and angular, twisted and distorted - at least when you start comparing it to 'regular' music that is....

This is NOT 'regular' music! Starting off in the midst of a horror flick with an out of breath person - running away from something, with squeaking noises, fumbling beats and a weird pseudo musical segment ebbing and flowing - conjuring up an atmosphere of unease and a sense of anything can happen, and it most probably will.

The threatening ambiances of the organs here actually sound like remnants off of an old Bela Lugosi movie, and when you then hear those creepy unbalanced tribal drums filling up the backdraft as well as a dark burping narrative voice that seems to stem from a watery grave - the whole feel of insanity and horror all starts multiplying by the second. (If I am relegating this album as something for the weirdo initiated and few - that's probably a pretty good perception.) Then you have the immanence of the fan- faring trumpets, the old school string arrangements and a couple of hundred freak show sound effects, that perfectly mirror this parallel universe. Cat screeches, rotting doors opening, scrambling moogs from outer space, crying, shouting, horses neighing, African chanting(Oh yes I am not even kidding you!) owl howling, winds and then some. It is done rather brilliantly, and you feel like you've stepped into an old cinema, where the screen has gone missing.

I don't find any of this particularly frightening - as a matter of fact, most of the music found within this little Frankenstein soundtrack, leaves me chuckling like a little girl scout. There are however some musical passages hiding in there that rise above the quirky madness, and transport the listener to a strange twisted Pink Floydish land, where cymbals a-crashing and the silky smooth guitar talks familiar in your ear. These are quite beautiful - as well as the few scattered female choir ornamentations that counter the grim and loosely assembled musical puzzle pieces. Additionally, I do particularly enjoy the percussive electronics that commence the second cut here. Sounds like a flickering woodpecker with a rudimentary sense of melody.

I guess most of the album is based upon the Maldoror legend, but then again I am not French. I do however understand most of the lingo here, and what I am able to pick up seems to fit within the Maldoror sphere like a fly on a turd. The last cut features a narrative voice reading a passage of Lautreamont, in which Maldoror describes from the inside what he feels as his decomposing body is being eaten by worms, crabs, dogs and other animals. The choice of words seems pretty repugnant, but I personally love the assumed vileness of it all.

Recommended to avant heads with a soft spot for old horror movies and theatrics.

Cathedral - 1978 - Stained Glass Stories

Stained Glass Stories

01. Introspect (12:35)
02. Gong (7:00)
03. The Crossing (5:55)
04. Days & Changes (8:35)
05. The Search (11:20)

- Mercury Caronia IV / drums, percussion
- Fred Callan / bass, bass pedals
- Paul Seal / lead vocals, percussion, bass pedals
- Tom Doncourt / keyboards, percussion
- Rudy Perrone / 6 and 12 string guitar, vocals

The roots of CATHEDRAL lie in a psychedelic band called Odyssey. When that band broke up in 1975, bassist Fred Callan, and mellotronist Tom Doncourt ventured on to form CATHEDRAL. The band was filled out by drummer Mercury Caronia IV, guitarist Rudy Perrone, and vocalist Paul Seal. They toured the Long Island club scene, and bravely decided to play original music. Instead of Pschedelic, they were taking more cues from the prog leaders of the time, the likes of King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, and Gentle Giant. What Tom Doncourt refers to as a "majestic" sound.

In 1978 they got together with Delta Records, and recorded "Stained Glass Stories." 10,000 copies were printed and sold. Interestingly, Delta Records was not much more than a studio above the Palace Theater in Times Square. However, Delta did have connections to record chains, and had the likes of Duke Ellington and Allison Steele recording right alongside. It was very much like the independent labels of today. New York City itself was fertile territory for progressive rock at the time. Tom Doncourt tells stories of turning old movie theaters into concert halls for one night stands. They built the stages, put in lighting, and wired the spaces for sound themselves.

All of this led to interest from Atlantic Records. They had some meetings, but this was the end of the '70s. The popularity of prog was rapidly declining. So a second album was not to be (or was it?). This did not diminish the importance of "Stained Glass Stories." It became a highly valued collectible, and the subject of much critical acclaim. Some have even called it the best American prog album ever. Renewed interest in prog led Syn-Phonic to re-release the album on CD in 1990.

As prog began to rise again, so did interest in CATHEDRAL. Finally, in 2003, Fred Callan called on his band mates once again. They brought old and new equipment, and had a mission to create progressive music that was true to its history, but not limited by it. The played together, and experimented for three years. Then they entered the studio. The process proved to be too much for Rudy Perrone, and he left the group. The thought of adding a new guitarist to the mix was a source of great anxiety. The guys were blessed to find David Doig. His sensibilities proved to gel right with the vision of the band. After almost 30 years, they released their second album. 2007's "The Bridge" is the follow up, and also a new beginning. In Early 2008, the band signed with Musea, and continues to work on new material. It took a while, but the future now looks bright for CATHEDRAL.

This album is an absolute hidden gem and when I was listening to it the first time, I've got the impression as if YES and KING CRIMSON would have released a Mega-masterpiece together. On their one and only album US band CATHEDRAL is offering long and very intricate compositions with heavy demands, Mellotron tunes and odd guitar arpeggios that remind at KC and very dominating Rickenbacher-bass sound reminiscent of Chris Squire. Sometimes one can even recognise some very typical Steve Howe-riffs (like from CTTE or TFTO, without wanting to say that those were just rip-offs), especially in the song Days & Changes. But they were anything else than just another Yes-clone like STARCASTLE for example. Their sound was really very original and unique and overall there is no direct resemblance to any other band present. The weakest point of the album, if there is any at all, might be that they did not have a great vocalist like Peter Gabriel, John Wetton or Jon Anderson. It doesn't mean that Paul Seal's vocals are really bad, but as well not perfectly fitting to the music. If comparable at all his timbre is a bit similar to that of Wetton's but of course his voice does not have the same quality.

Already the opener Introspect is an excellent track with intricate guitar/bass riffing, mellotron sound and drumwork which is just mind-blowing. Fred Callen's bass playing is really awesome and guitarist Rudy Perrone sounds like a hybrid of Howe and Hackett. In Gong one can fully concentrate on the music without getting distracted by vocals. Really great melodies and intricate structure, and here it's revealing that they do sound different from YES, more direct and rocking in a way, not that much polished. Actually all the other tracks are really excellent as well. I could not tell which is the best one. They are all outstanding!

Tortilla Flat - 1974 - Für Ein ¾ Stündchen

Tortilla Flat
Für Ein ¾ Stündchen

01. Tortilla Flat (9:59)
02. Temperamente (5:53)
03. Fati Morgani (3:55)
04. Rumpelstiltzchen (4:59)
05. Leere, Chaos, Schöpfung (10:15)
06. Obit, Anus, Obitanus (4:32)
07. Möhre (8:27)

-Hermann Josef Bosten/ flute, guitar
-Manfred Herten/ guitar
-Franz Brandt/ Keyboards
-Heribert Schippers/ bass
-Hans Friedrich Bosten/ drums, glockenspiel
-Albert Schippers/ percussion

The German band Tortilla Flat, named after a famous John Steinbeck novel, released their only record "Für ein ¾ Stündchen" as a, now highly sought-after, private pressing in 1974. The mainly instrumental record presents a Canterbury influenced jazz-rock reminding Dutch bands Supersister and to a lesser extent Focus and the German band Tomorrow's Gift with a strong accent on e-piano and flute. Apart from the musical influence the band showed also some typical Canterbury tongue in cheek humour with the title "Für Ein ¾ Stündchen", pointing in a humerous way to the average length of a vinyl record, the gothic lettered schoolbook cover and some short funny vocal elements.

Differently from many German bands of early 70-s, Tortilla Flat played not krautrock, but less psychedelic, mechanic and more complex and jazzy music, influenced by British Canterbury sound. Seven all-instrumental compositions, based on electric keyboards sound with many flute soloings and some fuzzing guitars. Melodic, relaxed, slightly psychedelic. Really nice and pleasant listening, and quite unusual for German music of that time.

Unhappily, the self-released album is absolute rarity now, and I never heard CD was released.

Tortilla Flat - 1972 - SWF Sessions

Tortilla Flat 
SWF Sessions

01. Sommerschlaf
02. Die Mitternachtsmaus
03. Sophie, Das Henkersmadel
04. Flimmerstuck
05. Bantu
06. Meilenstein
07. Tortilla Flat
08. Das Fest Des Wustlings

-Hermann Josef Bosten/ flute, guitar
-Manfred Herten/ guitar
-Franz Brandt/ Keyboards
-Heribert Schippers/ bass
-Hans Friedrich Bosten/ drums, glockenspiel
-Albert Schippers/ percussion

Another early-70's Kraut Rock combo from Aaachen, active during the first half of the 70's.Tortilla Flat's leader seemed to be guitarist Manfred Herter and the first line-up featured also Hans Friedrich Basten on drums/glockenspiel, Heribert Schippers on bass, Hermann Josef Basten on flute/guitar and violin player Werner Knauser.Their first unreleased debut was a self-titled cassette, only sold at concerts, the tracks of which appear to be recorded in a session at SWF radio, a place visited by many other German groups of the time.

This is not your typical Kraut Rock, although the jamming parts are not absent.It lacks the raw power and free feeling of the monster acts of the genre and their sound is more refined, drawing parallels with groups such as TOMMOROW'S GIFT and HOELDERLIN.Musically there evident psychedelic influences mixed with strong folky inspirations, resulting to several light interplays through the album.Tons of delicate flute drives and melancholic violin textures are placed between the smooth, almost jazzy guitars of the Herter/Basten duo, offering some great instrumental moments.These appears to be the chosen path in the short cuts, which additionally have some really cool vocals.The longer ones are closer to the powerful Kraut Rock movement with extended guitar exercises, rhythmic manipulations and sharper flute parts, akin to RUFUS ZUPHALL, while even the violin parts sound more inventive and less ethereal.Different-sounding segments are nicely connected in these compositions, going from obscure Psych/Folk climates to Heavy Rock grooves with scratching guitars and pounding drumming.And as with many German groups of the time, keyboards are totally absent from this album, with violin and flute being the instruments with the role to enrich the rockin' music.

An early documentary of Tortilla Flat, that deserves some spins.Not really representitive of the band's later sound, but definitely rewarding for all fans of early Progressive/Kraut Rock.Recommended.

Guru Guru - 2011 - Live In Germany '71

Guru Guru
Live In Germany '71

01. Der LSD-Marsch (23:31)
02. Bo Diddley (22:20)
03. Spaceship (15:46)

- Ax Genrich / guitars
- Mani Neumaier / drums
- Hans Hartmann / bass

This is the latest posthumous release from GURU GURU and it's a great one. After two incredible studio albums in "UFO" and "Hinten" this live performance was recorded professionally by Radio Bremen in Germany on September 12,1971. So excellent sound quality here plus we get three long tracks which total in over an hour of music. The packaging for this one includes a balloon and a button. I've already got the button on my jacket. It looks like a Coca Cola bottle cap except of course it says Guru Guru. And things do go better with GURU GURU if you know what I mean.

"Der LSD-Marsch" is experimental and spacey to start then a beat comes in after 1 1/2 minutes as the crowd cheers.The guitar starts to make some noise. Nice. Vocals 3 1/2 minutes in then the tempo picks up. It settles back before 8 minutes then Mani puts on a show. The guitar is back 10 1/2 minutes in. They're jamming now. The guitar lights it up after 16 minutes. It settles again and vocals arrive before 18 minutes. It picks up again 19 1/2 minutes in with some excellent guitar. The guitar is now ripping it up before 22 minutes.

"Bo Diddley" is next and after speaking Bo Diddley's name several times they settle into a heavy jam. Bo's name is repeated again around 6 minutes and then again around 12 1/2 minutes. Later the tempo picks up to a crazy speed then we get a calm with experimental sounds. A beat starts up before 21 minutes as the sound builds. "Spaceship" is spacey to start then a beat arrives before 3 minutes. Vocal expressions after 4 minutes then the guitar begins to solo. A calm 5 1/2 minutes in as it turns spacey and experimental once again. It starts to pick up again before 11 minutes. Nice. It's insane with screaming guitar later on.

This is a keeper folks, and if your into GURU GURU's first two albums you'll definitely dig this one.

Guru Guru - 2010 - Wiesbaden 1973

Guru Guru
Wiesbaden 1973

01. Ooga Booga (37:41)
02. Round Dance (17:25)
03. Das Zwickmaschinchen (6:22)

- Ax Genrich / vocal, guitar
- Hans Hartmann / bass, double bass
- Mani Neumeier / drum, vocal

Guru Guru - 2007 - Wiesbaden 1972

Guru Guru
Wiesbaden 1972

01- Oxymoron
02- Baby cake walk
03- Ooga booga

Ax Genrich / guitar, vocals
Bruno Schaab / bass
Mani Neumeier / drums, vocals

Guru Guru - 2002 - Essen 1970

Guru Guru
Essen 1970

01. Stone in (12:00)
02. Der LSD Marsch (14:22)
03. Bo Diddley (11:27)

- Ax Genrich / guitar
- Mani Neumeier / vocal, drums
- Uli Trepte / bass, vocal

Outstanding live from Guru Guru's first line up. The album features three long "stoned" heavy compositions taken from their two first "UFO" and "Hinten". Mostly instrumental with incredibly great rockin sections. The guitars are really powerful, heavy, sometimes bluesy but with an emphasis on distorted, deranged textures. This rather loudy jam session is punctuated by a few "archaic" electronic treatments and a great dose of "multi-guitar effects", providing a nice "cosmic" tendence to the ensemble. The heavy psychedelic improvisations can without reserve be compared with Agitation Free's most memorable live performances; an inventive and freak'n roll electro-shock that can reaches you into an other galaxy. The set starts with the kraut-slowing heavy hymn "Stone in", carries on "Der LSD march" and the humorous, strange & delirious "Bo Diddley". A ecclectic and electrip improvised musical session! good-going to an "acid" test.

Guru Guru - 1981 - Mani In Germani

Guru Guru
Mani In Germani

01. Andrea (2:58)
02. Stamp Out Reality (3:53)
03. Jupiter God (6:39)
04. Komm Lutsch Mal (2:03)
05. Heit Geh I in d'Schtod (3:27)
06. Der Zweifache Weg (Der Star Wars) (7:04)
07. Für Biene Maya (Neuer Frühling - Alter... (4:51)
08. Blue Huhn (Finkenbacher Spätlese Bluus) (3:19)
09. Lurchis Abenteuer (5:58)

- Ingo Bischof / bass, drums, keyboards
- Butze Fischer / drums
- Hellmut Hattler / bass, keyboards
- Gerald Luciano / bass
- Mani Neumeier / drums, keyboards, vocals, Kalimba
- Roland Schaeffer / guitar, saxophone, vocals
- Heinz Gembus / bass

Guru Guru - 1979 - Hey Du

Guru Guru
Hey Du!

01. Starway (4:52)
02. Dös War I (4:04)
03. Was Für 'ne Welt (4:59)
04. Giri Fushi(4:00)
05. Hey Du (4:27)
06. Taoma (6:10)
07. Atommolch (9:24)
08. I Am Rolling Through The City* (7:21)

- Ingo Bischof / keyboards
- Butze Fischer / percussion, drums
- Gerald Luciano Hartwig / bass
- Mani Neumeier / drums, percussion, vocals
- Roland Schaeffer / sax, synthesizer, guitar, vocals

guest musicians:
- Peter Kühmstedt / bass
- Karla Maria von Sinnen (Helmut Hattler) / bass

The album 'Heydu !' is Guru Guru's last offering from the fantastic 70's decade. This time around we have a diverse mix of styles from Jazz-Rock to straight ahead Rock/Pop and even some honest attempts at keeping the 'Krautrock' torch aflame. Even if the album plays through a little uneven, it tends to draw the listener in with its fascinating array of ideas. Starting off with an Ingo Bischof song (Ingo, splitting Keyboard duties and Composition between KRAAN and Guru Guru) 'Starway', almost suggests the band have taken on a distinctively late-70's Disco direction, but beneath the surface, a very cosmic vibe can be felt. A very clear and faithful production to the track is immediately discernable, giving the impression of a band keeping up with the times. This opening track is quite deceiving, granted that it's more a tightly performed 'song' rather than a complex instrumental statement. 'Dos War I' cranks up the 'funky' element a bit, and features guest Hellmut Hattler on Bass, going under the pseudonym of 'Karla Maria Von Sinnen'. This tune is very much in line with the style of music Kraan were offering, and features a fine Guitar solo from Roland Schaeffer (previously Sax player of Kraut-Jazz/Canterbury band 'BRAINSTORM'). 'Was Fur 'Ne Welt' carries on with the funky baton, but extends it into a lovely, jazzy jam with interesting melodies and great interplay between the Sax and Electric Piano. First side finishes up with the exotic sounding 'Giri Fushi', an engaging piece relying heavily on percussion. It also incorporates tropical bird sounds/jungle noises and some ethereal Guitaring - here's a thought ; this tune sounds like a Kraut version of Osibisa !! The 2nd side kicks off with the title song 'Heydu !' - a commercial sounding, German Pop-song with up-lifting melodies and a positive aura. The song also displays a degree of humour. 'Taoma' is a lengthy instrumental with a laid-back Jazz-Rock styling, reminding me of the later Ashra grooves (circa 'Correlations') and shows-off some blissful Soprano Sax playing and tasteful E-Piano and Mini-Moog solos from Bischof, which wouldn't be out-of-place on a Return To Forever album. The final 'monster' track 'Atommolch', is a trippy, spaced-out extravaganza - a faithful Krautrock creation with a strobe-like rhythm, distorted, slowed-down vocals (which may tend to give off a rather unsettling effect on the listener, but it's this unpredictability in which its strength lies) quite aerial Guitaring throughout its 9.46 duration, with some heavy double-kick drumming toward the end build-up. It really is a composition that feels out of place, out of time and out of context with most things going on at the time, but remains a very inspired piece of Prog.

Guru Guru - 1977 - Globetrotter

Guru Guru

01. Rolling through the City (4:30)
02. I'm Rreally in to Rock'n Roll Man (4:03)
03. Moroso (4:11)
04. When the Light go out (3:42)
05. Da wee (5:12)
06. May Dream (4:03)
07. Simba Ku Limba (3:20)
08. Globetrotter (7:18)

- Mani Neuemeier / drums
- Roland Schäfer / guitar
- Jogi Karpenkel / bass
- Helmut Hattler / electric bass
- Ingo Bischoff / piano
- Tommy Goldschmidt / congas
- Sepp Jandrisitz / guitar
- Peter Kühmstedt / bass

 "Globetrotter" is an excellent album of jazz-rock period of GURU GURU, and it is almost without flaw. Music and arrangements are similar to that of "Tango Fango", minus unnecessary experimentation and tango/bossa nova silliness. The whole album is much more developed and consistent. It is very song- oriented and sometimes even radio-friendly but that only means it is more accessible than some earlier "experimental" nonsense. The title track with crazy instrumental announcements and "Moroso" are highlights, but the album can be seriously taken as a whole and heard several times in a row. Provided you are into this type of fusion music with some typical Krautrock weirdness.

Guru Guru - 1976 - Tango Fango

Guru Guru
Tango Fango

01. Tomorrow
02. Tango fango
03. Soba soave bossanova
04. Un, deux, trois
05. Nightbear
06. Banana flip
07. L. torro
08. Salto Mortadella
09. Das lebendige Radio
10. Rattenfänger

- Ingo Bischof / keyboards
- Tommy Goldschmidt / percussion
- Sepp Jandrisits / guitar
- Jogi Karpentiel / bass
- Mani Neumeier / drums, keyboards, producer
- Roland Schaeffer / synthesizer, guitar

With their 8th studio album GURU GURU continued to explore Latin/Fusion sound that they started on the previous efforts. The music is ever more complex with increasing use of assorted percussions, keyboards, synths and saxophones, courtesy mainly of multi- instrumentalist Rolland Schaeffer. However, this album is not very strong. With its frequent take on light samba/bossa nova sound, at times it is close to easy-listening Muzak. What keeps it back on track is omnipresent Mani's humour and satire, which reminds us that we are not listening to some Brazilian "riviera-style" samba/jazz. "L Torro" takes us back to the best moments of "Dance of the Flames", while the experimental "Das Lebendige Radio" is sort of a filler on this album, although I (with my limited German language skills) assume the satiric view of "Madagascaran accordion players helping bring Deutsche Demokratische Republik and West Germany back together again" was really funny at those times of divided Germany. GURU GURU made "Tango Fango" sound close to Frank Zappa/Mothers' fusion instrumentation with hilarious lyrics and it even reminds me of a unique ex-Yugoslav/Slovenian avant band BULDOZER, who also mocked their Alpine/Mittel-European legacy. "Tango Fango" is surely recommended to give it a listen.

Guru Guru - 1975 - Mani Und Seine Freunde

Guru Guru
Mani Und Seine Freunde

01. Sunrise is Everywhere
02. Chicken Rock
03. It's your Tour
04. Walking, Eating my Hot Dog
05. Fly Easy
06. From Another World
07. Woodpecker's Dream
08. 1234 Marsch'n Rock

- Champion Jack Dupree / keyboards
- Gerd Dudek / wind
- Ax Genrich / guitar
- Dieter Moebius / keyboards
- Ingo Bischof / keyboards
- Christa Fast / vocals
- Jan Fride / keyboards
- Tommy Goldschmidt / percussion
- Hellmut Hattler / bass
- Sepp Jandrisits / guitar
- Jogi Karpentiel / bass
- Mani Neumeier / drums, keyboards, producer
- Conrad Plank / guitar, keyboards
- Peter Wolfbrandt / guitar
- Roedelius / keyboards

From the cover of this album with Manni on the front to the music inside, it's all about making one forget about life for a while.This is fun. Mani was at a crisis point when it came to the existance of GURU GURU. Ax the guitarist had left the year before and the temporary live lineup had disbanded. Hellmut the legendary bassist for KRAAN suggested to Mani that he should make a solo album and that KRAAN would help him make it. And man this sounds more like KRAAN than it does GURU GURU, well the first half of it especially. It was released after the fusiony "Dance Of The Flames" and they continued along that same path really only they added some silliness. Lots of guests helping out, hence the album title.The two guys from CLUSTER, three members of KRAAN, a Blues pianist and even Conrad Plank adds some guitar and keyboards as this was recorded in his studio. EROC remastered this at the Ranch. So yes there is a strong KRAAN flavour here and this was released the same year they released "Let It Out".

"Sunrise Is Everywhere" has this catchy beat as the vocals join in.This sounds exactly like KRAAN. Sax a minute in and the guitar that follows is so uplifting. Great track ! "Chicken Rock" opens with the sounds of a chicken (can't remember saying that before) as almost spoken vocals come in. This is funny stuff. "Give your cock a chance and set your chicken free" is the main lyric. Words to live by. It sounds like a cross between Zappa and WIGWAM. Nice guitar solo 1 1/2 minutes in. "It's Your Turn" has some great sounding bass from Hattler in this funky intro. It then settles with guitar into a KRAAN-like mode. Love the guitar, bass and drums in this instrumental tune. Fantastic ! "Walking, Eating My Hotdog" is catchy with vocals. Sounds like a good party tune in the KRAAN style. "Fly Easy" is a short instrumental with sax, bass, keyboards and drums standing out.

"From Another World" is experimental and dark to open. Nature sounds arrive 1 1/2 minutes in as it brightens. Percussion then flute follows. Chanting is next in this tribal-like section. It changes before 6 minutes as the beat stops and it turns dark and experimental again. It kicks back in before 7 minutes to a KRAAN-like soundscape. "Woodpecker's Dream" opens with church bells and nature sounds while the mellow music joins in.The nature sounds of birds singing continues pretty much throughout. We get some spoken voices around 5 minutes as this dream gets stranger.Yes the woodpecker is talking. It ends with a guy saying "Oh, it was just a dream". Cool tune. "1234 Marsch'n Rock" is a short piece with spoken words and drums then someone looking for the right radio channel and finally getting a Chuck Berry tune. "Drink Wine" is a funny live clip.

Guru Guru - 1974 - Dance Of The Flames

Guru Guru
Dance Of The Flames

01. Dagobert Duck's 100Th Birthday (7:39)
02. The Girl From Hirschhorn (8:33)
03. The Day of Timestop (5:22)
04. Dance of the Flames (3:28)
05. Samba das Rosas (4:05)
06. Rallulli (4:35)
07. At the Junkture of light and Dark (3:12)
08. God's Endless Love foe Men (7:24)

- Hans Hartmann / bass
- Houschang Nejadepour / guitar
- Mani Neumeier / drums, keyboards

GURU GURU were one the pioneers of the Krautrock genre playing a trippy, hypnotic brand of music with outbreaks of heaviness.Their guitarist reminded me a lot of Hendrix. "Dance Of The Flames" was released in 1974 and the band had just changed guitarists, and at the same time they have changed their sound to more of a Fusion flavour. By the way the new guitarist is Houschang Nejadepour from EILIFF. This isn't what i'd call a power trio, more of a cosmic trio. Mani the drummer who has a Free-Jazz style is still amazing, and the new guitarist is excellent. This was remastered by EROC.

"Dagobert Duck's 100th Birthday" opens with silly duck vocals before the cool drum patterns come in. A guitar solo a minute in that comes and goes. Some ripping guitar 4 minutes in and the vocals return a minute after that. What a fun, catchy song this is. The duck sounds are back to end the song. "The Girl From Hirschhorn" is my favourite song by far. It opens with birds chirping. Drums keep a steady beat with some tasteful guitar soloing along for the ride. The guitar gains strength 3 minutes in just cutting a swath through the soundscape. This is so good ! It settles back down and we get vocals 7 minutes in for the first time. "The Day Of Timestop" has a bombastic intro and then the guitarist just runs with it. It's all about the drums and guitar on this one. He sure can play that guitar fast as he offers up another solo. This is followed by a bass solo and then a drum solo. Birds are singing to end it.

"Dance Of The Flames" opens with bass but the highlight is the blazing guitar solo as the bass throbs relentlessly. "Samba Das Rosas" is a lighter song with percussion, guitar and vocals. "Rallulli" opens with percussion and strummed guitar. The guitar stops leaving the cool percussion sounds. The toilet flushes to end it. Where did the birds and ducks go ? "The Juncture Of Light And Dark" features intricate guitar melodies throughout. "God's Endless Love For Mankind" is my second favourite. What a title ! This is just a great jam that twists and turns as the guitar and drums lead the way. The bonus live track "Doing" features some outstanding guitar and drum work 5 minutes in.

Guru Guru - 1973 - Guru Guru

Guru Guru
Guru Guru

01. Samantha's Rabbit (3:02)
02. Medley: Rocken Mit Eduard / Something Else... (13:30)
03. Woman Drum (4:02)
04. Der Elektrolurch (9:48)
05. The Story of Life (12:08)

- Ax Genrich / guitar, vocals
- Mani Neumeier / percussion, drums, keyboards, vocals
- Conrad Plank / guitar, keyboards
- Bruno Schaab / bass, vocals

I have never thought progressive rock'n roll could be possible, until i heard this album. Actually, it is a mix of slightly bluesy progressive rock'n roll with krautrock elements: both are clearly distinct. The musicians put together many catchy inspirations from miscellaneous popular rock'n roll bands of the 60's & early 70's, like The Yardbirds, a less hard rock Jimi Hendrix, Bo Diddley, and even Elvis Presley himself! The result is quite interesting, since the matching is really succeeded and the airs are often changing in an elegant, accessible and pleasant manner. The well played electric guitar sound is pretty sharp for the year, and the solos are quite down to earth, while not being minimalist. The drums are quite elaborated, and they sometimes fall into an experimental krautrock style a la Can. The lead singer has a typical rock'n roll voice, with a slightly marginal touch. The credits mention the presence of keyboards, but it really sounds like there are no keyboards on this record. Unfortunately, the 2 last tracks "Der elektrolurch" and "The story of life" contain disappointing krautrock elements: the first 4 minutes of "Der elektrolurch" is an interesting part of sophisticated bluesy rock'n roll, but the mid part is just a boring manifestation of the dull krautrock style: insignificant guitar sounds and vocals effects. However, the last couples of minutes come back with a more accessible part, slightly reminding Billy Idol's early stuff, at least the Steve Stevens' style on the electric guitars. "The story of life" is really more mellow and less rhythmic: the krautrock style emanates from it, in a bearable way, at least much more than their cousins Can. Since the krautrock parts on this record are less dominant than the progressive rock'n roll ones.

Guru Guru - 1973 - Don't Call Us (We Call You)

Guru Guru
Don't Call Us (We Call You)

101. Africa Steal the Show 12:22
102. Round Dance 8:35
103. 200 Clichés 5:08
104. Das Zwickmaschinchen 4:42
105. Guru Guru Ltd. 11:39

Bonus disk on Revisited Rec. SPV 305322 DCD:

201. 200 Clichés 6:56
202. Ooga Booga 34:18
203. Der Elektrolurch 16.28
204. Medley: Rocken mit Eduard/Somethin' Else/Weekend/Twenty Flight Rock 10:40

- Ax Genrich / guitar
- Hans Hartmann / bass
- Mani Neumeier / drums, keyboards,

By August 1973, they had replaced Bruno Schaab with Hans Hartmann, were back in the studio, and released their next album Don't Call Us (We Call You). This album was the basis for their live repertoire in the early 70s. It is a mixture of free form improvised material "Africa Steals the Show" and "Guru Guru Ltd." and orchestrated songs "200 Clichés" and "Das Zwickmaschinchen". The fifth song on this album "Round Dance" is a Shoshone Indian dance, which was intended to be part of their concerts but never had the desired effect with their audience. "Round Dance" has some beautiful interludes that could have come from the West Coast bands of the time. The improvised music was where Guru Guru excelled. Ax Genrich favored more composed music and within ten months of its release, he departed the band. As a bonus, there is a second disc with a bootlegged live audience recording from a 1973 German rock festival in Krefeld. It features "200 Clichés" from this album, "Ooga Booga" from Känguru, and "Der Elektrolurch" and "Medley" from Guru Guru. As this is an audience recording, don't expect a great sound or a stereo mix though it does capture the insanity and energy of their live performance.

Guru Guru - 1972 - Känguru

Guru Guru

01. Oxymoron (10:33)
02. Immer Lustig (15:37)
03. Baby Cake Walk (10:57)
04. Ooga Booga (11:11)

- Ax Genrich / guitar
- Uli Trepte / bass
- Mani Neumeier / drums, keyboards
- Conrad Plank / guitar, keyboards

Third studio effort by Guru Guru and the last one with the original trio formation, "KänGuru" is, in my humble opinion, a masterful apex in the history of krautrock, an abrasive masterpiece in the context of 70s experimental rock from Germany. Truth is that this trio had managed to create amazing adventurous music from day one in a perfectly consistent way, only "KänGuru" happens to be a bit less dense than "UFO", more in the vein of the reasonably articulated trips that had shaped the excellence of "Hinten", with a more robust focus on teh development of the musica traves that take place throughout the tracklist. Guru Guru is, by now, generating a profile that gets closer to other most relevant jam-oriented bands in the kraut circle, such as Agitation Free, Amon Düül II and Ash Ra Tempel. 'Oxymoron' kicks off with a powerful bluesy vibe instiled in the main riff. While the jam evolves further, the lead guitar's florusihes, bass's ornaments and drum kit's inventive cadences state that sort of cerebral madness based on jazz-rock, heavy psychedelia Hendrix-style and "Ummagumma" spacey expansions, with some extra industrial sensitivity that makes itself noticeable in a few pulsating passages. Mani's occasional vocal deliveries add some humor to the fold, for good effect, not being really that abundant. As atractive as this opener is, it is in the remaining repertoire that the whole album will meet its highest expresions. 'Immer Lustig' is the album's longest piece, surpassing the 15 minute mark. The track beings with a military march and a burlesque speech, soon [&*!#]ing toward a harsh blues-rock motif. This one is quite catchy, actually, so the shift to a new motif may take the listener by surprise, but sure the sense of tension has been greatly achieved. This new motif add a touch of funk to the ever-recurring heavy psychedelia: Genrich's guitar is a definitive cornerstone in the band's trippy architecture, including those moments in which it fills a more subtle space. The next motif states a weird mixture of spacey moods and rockabilly phrasing, wrapped in effective lisergic layers. Later on, the section tha tstarts at the 12 ½ minute mark bears a Zeppelin trend, featuring a powerful guitar lead that takes the overall dynamics to a red-hot climax. 'Baby Cake Walk' opens up the album's second half picking up the explosive fireworks of 'Immer Lustig'. The starting heavy jam elaborates brief climaxes along the way, until the 5 minute mark brings a brief interlude dominated by ethereal moods. With this interlude ended, the trio indulges in yet another wild crescendo sustained ona cleverly syncopated rhythm pace: ultimately, the rhythm turns fuller and the band decides to elaborate an exercise on pure frenzy, which doen't hide the previaling sense of organization on the working. Last but not least, 'Ooga Booga' starts with an extroverted mood on a 5/4 tempo, paving the way for a rockier section on 6/8 whose Arabic nuances and exotically driven drumming. Then, a momentum starts to build up on teh basis of multilayered guitar leads that sound equally menacing and magical. By the way, the rhythm duo of Mani and Tripte is also magical. All in all, who knows, maybe this is the absolute peak of Guru Guru. Less sublime and more groovy, the next section lightens things up without losing an inch of power. The last passage is more mysterious, as if displaying a cacophonic portrait of the cosmos' greyish realms until it bursts into an inscrutabe chaos. This distrubing coda is a hell of a way to close down such an incendiary album - "KänGuru" is an absolute kraut gem, a golden testimony of Guru Guru's particular genius.

Guru Guru - 1971 - Hinten

Guru Guru

01. Electric Junk (10:58)
02. The Meaning Of Meaning (12:09)
03. Bo Diddley (9:56)
04. Space Ship (11:05)

- Uli Trepte / bass, radio
- Mani Neumeier / percussion, special effects
- Ax Genrich / guitar

Second album from this groundbreaking group, this album is almost better known for its buttocks artwork than the wild music on the vinyl. The almost instrumental trio (drummer Neumeier struts out some weird vocals once in a blue moon) is still just as crazy and free from all commercial considerations, and even if the music on the album has not aged well, the album's historical worth is certainly indisputable and the Konrad Plank production and its release on the legendary Ohr label adds even more to its legend .

This is more of a free jam with four tracks all around the 10min+ mark that have no real structure or constraint or restrictions (except the one of not having any ;-), so a good bunch of progheads will most likely frown at this album the ones that bookend it. But the double guru chose theirs and they clearly announce the colour by flashing their guitar power trio based on its ultimate form: the Jimi Hendrix Experience. But overall compared to their UFO debut album, this album is more structured (if you can call it that ;-), a tad less anarchic and a bit calmer. But don't be fooled: this still complete and utter chaos. YUMMMY!!!!!!!

Electric Junk (rather aptly titled is always on the verge of complete chaos while coming from pure mystic Hendrix-esque moments to a free jazz and utter spacey nightmares with feedbacks included. A pure joy to hear, if you ask me. And this apocalyptic atmosphere is only after the first track, and there are three left, so you'd better attach the safety belt and ask your buddies fasten the strap of your loony bin costume, cos you're in for a completely mind-boggling ride, starting with the meaningful Meaning Of Meaning. This 12-min freak out is probably one of the best examples to show what kind of freedom Guru Guru enjoyed during that blessed period of the very early 70's. with even less of a structure (if you except Mani Neumeier's incredible drum works) Genrish is free to go explore what good ol'Jimi was out to explore in some of his wildest jams.

On the next slice, the group visits another black guitar rock legend, Bo Diddley, and pay him an incredible tribute, even if I always wondered how the old master appreciated his works being trampled destroyed and rebuilt, not always successfully either, as this track is maybe the slightly weaker one, because there some evident lengths. The closing Spaceships starts out understandably on spacey sounds, which can be closer to Popol Vuh's Affenstunde or TD's Zeit period, even if they remained the guitar trio without synths or other keyboards. Rather impressive, slightly fascinating but definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Yes this album is clearly indebted to the great Jimi, but it is also a bit more than a glaring and blatant copy. One of those absolute statement on musical freedom, this is the type of album that had most parents and grandparents heaving in anguish for their offspring's sanity. And little did they know that they were fully right to be concerned, because no kid listening to this album would come out fully unscathed. All hail to the double Guru.

Guru Guru - 1970 - UFO

Guru Guru

01. Stone In (5:43)
02. Girl Call (6:21)
03. Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama (5:59)
04. Ufo (10:25)
05. Der LSD / Marsch (8:28)

- Mani Neumeier / percussion, drums, voice, tapes
- Uli Trepte / bass, sounds
- Ax Genrich / guitars

Now there is one album every parents must've loathed back then, especially if their kids were playing it. I can imagine the insults and other epithets thrown (such as noisy drivel or useless sonic nuisance) at this album from the pop critics to the music industry in general. And to think that the next one would even have buttocks as an artwork would've confirmed them in their opinions, but let's face it this album was a complete and utter revolution for many more adventurous music fans. The group started as the Guru Guru Groove (the amazing Mani Neumeier on drums and the spirit of the double Guru, and Uli Trepte on the inventive bass) in 68 as a trio of free jazz and read texts. By early 70's, their text-reader had gone and after many tryouts, the incredibly experimental axeman Ax Genrich was chosen and a few months later they recorded this aptly titled album, UFO, released on the legendary Ohr (Ear in English) label. Graced with a "flying saucer" the album warned us of more intelligent and advanced life and that this album would help us getting ready to meet it. And in some ways, this album does make you see life from a different point of view, and most likely from a better vantage point.

It may appear to today's progheads that early Guru albums might just be jams sessions, but even if that were true, the sheer fact that this music was recorded and released back then, showed how much the group only cared about its own music without paying attention to chart success. Some might consider this a useless and worthless pile of rehearsal tapes (I've heard this opinion a few times from "music buffs"), but nothing could be further from the truth.

What we have in this album is one of the earliest examples of space rock, kosmische muzieke, wild psychedelia and an essential base to the Krautrock scene, even if it is not the most representative. Based on the live jams of Jimi Hendrix, a lot of Guru's music just soars on ahead often reaching mayhem and redefining chaos. Indeed Stone In and the fabulous Girl Call (it sounds like she's not calling but orgasming really) are coming almost straight out from Hendrix's realm (thinking of Hear That Train Coming on the Rainbow Bridges soundtrack, here). Their mainly instrumental rock exudes energy, sounding sometimes like a three guitar Floyd (Saucerful-era) fusing the tracks together (have to pay attention when the next Dalai Lama track starts) in an intense and sometimes improvised dirty lo-fi rock.

The second side of the wax shows a different Guru with a definitively more spacey, spooky ambient guitar feedbacks (Genrich was obviously not afraid of blowing amp bulbs, and must've had loads of spare strings) where spaceships are boarding up, travelling through black holes and shooting asteroids out of their trajectory. While the title track may appear a bit lengthy and will not really stand numerous listens, this track is absolutely fascinating because mostly made of one guitar and its amplifier. The closing LSD March is another freak out most likely depicting the world where a certain Syd never really came back from. Neumeier's drumming shines throughout the album.

Not necessarily better than it's follow-up, UFO is one hell of al album that gets the ever-essential title of historically and musically important and influential. Clearly this is the kind of album that either met marvelled disbelief and implacable attraction, or complete misunderstanding and utter repulsion. For this proghead, and even if it has not aged that well, obviously the first option was the good one.

Popol Vuh - 1978 - Nosferatu

Popol Vuh

01. Mantra I (6:14)
02. Morning sun rays (3:20)
03. Venus principle (4:39)
04. Mantra II - Choir (5:22)
05. On the way (4:49)
06. Through pains to Heaven II (3:37)
07. To a little way (2:32)
08. Zwiespräche der Rohrflöte mit der Sängerin (3:42)
09. Die Nacht der Himmel (4:03)
10. Der Ruf der Rohrflöte (3:21)

Bonus Tracks:
11. To A Little Way
12. Through The Pain Of Heaven
13. On The Way
14. Zwiesprache Der Rehrflote

- Florian Fricke / piano, moog
- Daniel Fichelscher / guitar
- Ted De Jong / tamboura
- Al Gromer / sitar

This POPOL VUH album is part of the soundtrack to Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu" movie. Funny but some of these songs don't sound like they would belong in a vampire movie. Lots of Eastern and Indian passages and some uplifting songs as well. There are six out of these ten tracks that are dark and spacey and give an eerie and haunting mood. No drums on this one as Daniel is confined to acoustic and electric guitars only.

"Mantra 1" is an Indian flavoured tune that opens with sitar that comes and goes while another ethnic instrument is played in the background. These are repeated over and over. "Morning Sun" is a Fichelscher composition and the only song that Florian didn't help create. An acoustic guitar melody is played over and over throughout. A joyful and uplifting song. "Venus Principle" is another Indian styled song with sitar and percussion early. Guitar comes and goes briefly each time. "Mantra 2" is rather melancholic and dark, quite haunting. "On The Way" really sounds like mellotron choirs but is apparently really a male choir. Very haunting and dark indeed.

"Through Pain To Heaven II" opens with a humming sound that builds quickly. Guitar comes in around a minute and comes and goes throughout. I really like the guitar here as it gives us a brighter, uptempo sound compared to that dark humming that continues throughout. Cool song. "To A Little Way" features Florian on these lonely sounding synths throughout. "Zwiesprache Der Rohflote Mit Der Sangerin" opens with sitar before a melody comes in before a minute. I like it ! The electric guitar is fantastic ! "Die Nacht Himmel" is very spacey and dark with synths reminding me of "Zeit" by TANGERINE DREAM. "Der Ruf Der Rehrflote" continues the same mood from the previous song only it's not as loud. Very dark and lonely though.

I like this one a lot. I like the variety and the contrasts of good and evil, dark and light. I don't know if Florian could make this all dark and eerie even if he was asked to. It's not what was in his heart and soul. Thanks for the light Florian.

Popol Vuh - 1978 - Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts

Popol Vuh
Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts

01. Brüder des Schattens ~ Söhne des Lichts (17:10)
02. Höre, der du wagst (5:30)
03. Das Schloss der Irrtums (5:20)
04. Die Umkehr (6:10)

Bonus Track:
05. Sing, For The Song Drives Away The Wolves

- Florian Fricke /piano
- Daniel Fichelscher / acoustic & elelectric guitar
- Alois Gromer / sitar
- Bob Eliscu / oboe
- Ted de Jong / tamboura

The side long title track is the highlight here with it's medieval chants repeated over and over. Aboe eventually joins in as this continues until we get a change before 5 minutes as piano takes over. Acoustic guitar and sitar join in to help and this continues until electric guitar arrives after 9 1/2 minutes. A change after 16 minutes as the instruments become more pronounced until it settles down to end it. Quite a song. "Hore, Der Du Wagst" is pretty much piano melodies played over and over. It's a solemn tune. "Das Schoss Des Irrtums" is mainly acoustic guitar and piano throughout and it's brighter. "Die Umkehr" is mostly sitar, guitar and drums. I like the final minute the best when they lay off the sitar.

Worth buying for the title track alone. Intersting that this was re-issued under the name "Noferatu (Original Soundtrack)" and it has the same first four tracks except the first one is shortened to 5:41.Then they have added 10 more songs which rounds out all the songs on the soundtrack of this Werner Herzog movie.To confuse things more, there is another POPOL VUH record called "Nosferatu" which is like a shortened version of the other album with the same name. They were even released the same year. Go figure !

Popol Vuh - 1976 - Yoga

Popol Vuh

01. Yoga 1 (22:10)
02. Yoga 2 (18:30)

- Florian Fricke (piano) & Indian musicians

This album was released without Florian's authorization, recordings being captured from casual playing with Indian musicians in the studio, and pressed to European market's with Popol Vuh name. Sometimes this kind of voyeurism to the recording processes can be interesting, though violating the autonomy of artists record releasing policies. I understood same kind of trick was done for Vangelis on "Hypothesis" recording, revealing some casual playing results outside the context of carefully considered thematic work. This forbidden peak to the Florian's studio reveals two long raga's with delightful sitar and tabla conversations and charming female vocalist's singing, Florian contributing with quite small emphasis trough his keyboards. The long durations are not borne however from very long mantric performings, but are edited together from shorter sequences. The classic Indian music tapestry should fit well for casual search of Hinduism feelings or as background music for enjoying vegetarian curry dish. Would have been interesting to hear what Florian might have been able to accomplish with more dedicated project with the anonymous musicians, though this album is quite charming also with the lovely cover arts and everything. Thematically it lacks however the sharp aim found from the earlier official recordings of Popol Vuh.

Popol Vuh - 1976 - Letzte Tage - Letzte Nachte

Popol Vuh
Letzte Tage - Letzte Nachte

01. Der grosse Krieger (3:15)
02. Oh wie nah ist der Weg hinab (4:36)
03. Oh wie weit ist der Weg hinauf (4:30)
04. In deine H?nde (3:00)
05. Kyrie (4:38)
06. Haram dei Raram dei Haram dei Ra (1:30)
07. Dort ist der Weg (4:30)
08. Letzte Tage - Letzte N?chte (4:20)

Total Time: 30:19

2005 Bonus Tracks
09. Wanderschaft - Wanderings (5:56)
10. Gib Hin (session version) (2:30)
11. Haram Dei Ra (alternative version) (6:32)

- Florian Fricke / piano
- Daniel Fichelscher / guitar, percussion
- Djong Yun / vocals
- Renate Knaup / vocals
- Al Gromer / sitar
- Ted De Jong / tamboura

This album is probably the closest that Popol Vuh came to straightforward rock music. The sound is dominated by Daniel Fichelschers electric guitar and drums, and there are none of the ambient, meditative pieces that they did so well on other albums. Fichelscher also gets writng credits on no less than 3 of the 8 tracks. The mood for the album is set by Die Grosse Krieger, a multi layered guitar instrumental that matches King Crimson's Red in intensity (although not virtuosity). Most of the tracks which follow are built around the same electric guitar sound with booming percussion - Fricke's piano is rarely audible, and there are no acoustic interludes. Despite all this, it is still recognisably a Popol Vuh album. The guitar may be a Telecaster, but it explores Eastern modes and scales, and the drums may be heavy but we're still a world away from John Bonham or Keith Moon. The vocals, particularly on the second half of the album, are inspired - Fricke's choirboy tones blend beautifully with the two female sopranos on 'Haram Dei...' and the title track.

The fact that this album will fit comfortably onto one side of a C60 may seem like poor value for money, but quality is as important as quantity and Popol Vuh cram more into 30 minutes than many lesser bands do into a double album. Not the best place for newcomers to start, but an exsellent addition to any collection.

Popol Vuh - 1975 - Das Hohelied Salomos

Popol Vuh
Das Hohelied Salomos

01. Steh auf, zieh mich dir nach (4:40)
02. Du schönste der Weiber (4:32)
03. In den Nächten auf den Gassen I (1:36)
04. Du Sohn Davids I (3:01)
05. In den Nächten auf den Gassen II (3:47)
06. Der Winter ist vorbei (3:45)
07. Ja, deine Liebe ist süsser als wein (3:37)
08. Du Sohn Davids II (4:45)
09. Du tränke Mich mit deinen Küssen (5:28)

- Florian Fricke / piano
- Daniel Fichelscher / acoustic & elelectric guitars, percussion
- Djong Yun / vocals
+ Alois Gromer / sitar
- Shana Kumar / tabla

Released in 1975, after the excellent "Einsjäger & Siebenjäger", this album belongs to the second era of the band. The most progrock, thanks to the rhythmic section and guitar's presence.

Compositions are short and dense, some moments are energetic but most pieces are in a meditative vein. The opener "Steh Auf, Zieh Mich Dir Nach" , is wonderful. It starts with a solemn introduction, and then the piece slowly builds up with piano and female back vocals and eventually explodes with an aerial and lyrical guitar flight supported by a powerful rhythm.

On this album, Popol vuh reaches a perfect balance and manage to do a perfect synthesis of the progrock sound, the eastern influences (sitar and tabla) and the spiritual inspiration; by creating out-of-this world and highly spiritual atmospheres, thanks to the use of sitar, spacey and expressive guitar playing, also using sometimes repetitive guitar/drums patterns creating a hypnotic mood. The background vocals by Djong Yun contributes to this ethereal, celestial feeling typical of the band at its best.

Popol Vuh - 1975 - Aguirre The Wrath Of God

Popol Vuh
Aguirre The Wrath Of God

01. Aguirre I (7:23)
02. Morgengruss II (2:57)
03. Aguirre II (6:16)
04. Agnus Dei (3:02)
05. Vergegenwärtigung (14:43)
06. Aguirre III

- Florian Fricke / piano, mellotron
- Daniel Fichelscher / electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums
- Djong Yun / vocal
- Robert Eliscu / oboe, pan pipe

Aguirre is an absolute masterpiece in the electronic-space genre and in all kind of meditative, celestial music. None other records in popular music can equalize this classic in term of implication in beauty. The choir played on the Moog we can hear on the title track is incredible. It's definitely transcending music, the ascending music to heaven. With the next tracks we come back to the unique and special psych-folk compositions which represents the mark of the band. Very floating and dreamy.

Popol Vuh - 1974 - Einsjäger & Siebenjäger

Popol Vuh
Einsjäger & Siebenjäger

01. Kleiner Krieger (1:05)
02. King Minos (4:30)
03. Morgengruß (2:55)
04. Würfelspiel (3:00)
05. Gutes Land (5:13)
06. Einsjäger & Siebenjäger (19:30)

- Florian Fricke / piano, spinet
- Daniel Fichelscher / acoustic & electric guitars, percussion
- Djung Yun / vocals

Einsjäger & Siebenjäger represents the typical signature of Popol Vuh's best years. Guitar circular riffs, calm reflective solos with piano emotional, discreet parts (as it was floating in the sky). As usual and hopefully the band delivers a very peaceful, humanistic music directed to the wonderful, quiet, introspect moments of life. This album can be played to evoke the mental inner landscapes we can dream about, the eyes closed. The first track (recorded later for the Nosferatu's album) contains a mystical repetitive guitar pattern played as a sitar drone. "King Minos" (also included in the Nosferatu's compilation) is a landmark of the band at its most progressive rock moments. It consists of a floating, pleasant and tremendous electric guitar's exercises illustrated by Fichelscher very characteristic guitar playing. The following tunes globally pursue the same scheme, sometimes bringing to the fore Florian Fricke's delicate, dreamy piano notes. A fine album, well recommended for completists. A nice introduction to the band's musical career.

Popol Vuh - 1973 - Seligpreisung

Popol Vuh

01. "Selig sind, die da hungren Selig sind, die da dürsten nach Gerechtigkeit Ja, sie sollen satt werden."
02. "Tanz der Chassidim"
03. "Selig sind, die da hier weinen Ja, sie sollen später lachen"
04. "Selig sind, die da willig arm sind Ja, ihrer ist das Himmelreich"
05. "Selig sind, die da Lied klagen Ja, sie sollen gertröstet werden"
06. "Selig sind, die Sanftmütigen Ja, sie werden einst die Erde erben"
07. "Selig sind, die da reinen Herzens sind Ja, sie sollen Gott schauen"
08. Ja, sie sollen Gottes Kinder heißen Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei"

Total Time: 28:49

Bonus Track (CD 2004-2006):

09. Be In Love

- Robert Eliscu / oboe
- Daniel Fichelscher / electric guitar (2-3-4-6), drums, congas
- Florian Fricke / piano, cembalo, vocals
- Conny Veit / electric & 12-string guitars
- Klaus Wiese / tamboura

Great to hear Conny Veit from GILA playing guitar on this one. Florian played on "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" by GILA which was released the same year as this album.This record is the first with Daniel Fischelscher on board, the former drummer for AMON DUUL II, here he drums and plays guitar. Robert Eliscu from BETWEEN adds aboe. Florian would do all the vocals on this one, although there are few. The title of this album means "Songs Of Praise". The players become shadows as it were, so we can all be drawn to God. The music is mainly aboe, guitar and piano melodies.This is the first POPOL VUH album that I ever heard, and having 12 of them now I still feel that this is the best one. It's the one that moves me the most and the one that is the most beautiful.

"Selig Sind Die, Die Da Hungern" opens with piano and cymbals as aboe and reserved vocals come in. I really like the sound after a minute. Percussion comes in. Guitar and drums 3 minutes in. I'm smiling. An absolutely gorgeous track. "Tanz Der Chassidim" opens with a pastoral soundscape that is replaced by a beautiful and fuller sound. Guitar before 2 1/2 minutes to the end. "Selig Sind, Die Da Hier Weinen" opens with piano and aboe. The piano becomes more prominant a minute in then gives way to the aboe. This is moving. The tempo picks up after 3 1/2 minutes as drums and guitar come in. Nice. Vocals 4 1/2 minutes in.

"Selig Sind, Die Da Willig Arm Sind" opens with a dark mood. It brightens as piano, guitar and percussion come in around 1 1/2 minutes. "Selig Sind, Die Da Leid Tragen" opens with ethnic sounds before piano and vocals arrive. Aboe and piano create wonder. Drums follow then the aboe takes the lead as vocals and piano return. Amazing ! Florian starts to sing "Hallelujah" repeatedly. The tempo picks up before 3 minutes. Nice guitar. "Selig Sind, Die Sanftmutigen" is simply transcending. Florian sings Hallelujah over and over as piano and aboe help out. Did you know that Hallelujah means "Praise God" and is the only word that means the same thing in all languages.This is so moving. "Selig Sind, Die Da Reinen Herzens Sind" is mellow with piano and aboe. Vocals come in. It blends into "Ja, Sie Sollen Gottes Kinder Heissen".This does become fuller sounding as drums and guitar join in the celebration to God. The bonus track "Be In Love" features Dyong on vocals and we get some guest violin too.This perfectly fits the theme of this album.

This is one of those rare albums that is able to transport me to a beautiful place. Gorgeous and emotional.Thankyou Florian.

Popol Vuh - 1972 - Hosianna Mantra

Popol Vuh
Hosianna Mantra

Hosianna - Mantra (20:18):

01. Ah! - 4:43
02. Kyrie - 5:20
03. Hosianna Mantra - 10:15
Das V. Buch Mose (16:42):
04. Abschied - 3:10
05. Segnung - 6:00
06. Andacht - 0:40
07. Nicht hoch im Himmel - 6:17
08. Andacht - 0:35
09. Maria (Ave Maria) - 4:30

- Florian Fricke / piano, harpsichord
- Conny Veit / guitar
- Robert Eliscu / oboe
- Djong Yun / vocals
- Klaus Wiese / tambura
- Fritz Sonnleitner / violin

This album has grown as one of the most affecting and memorable recordings I tend to listen. Its spiritual approach accepting all religions as different manifestations of the same search of sanctity fits to my own tolerant quest of acceptance, and the beauty of ambient textures from acoustic-emphasized instruments glorifies the yearning for tranquil ecstasy, carved firmly on the other side of the coin for political misuse of religions trough superstitious masses.

The sides of the LP form two musical entities, which movement's names are familiar from the Christian lexicon of classical European works, uniting here with global hippie philosophies of meditative musical idioms. "Hosianna - Mantra" starts gentle waves from piano, subtle guitar notes and oriental-toned tambura strings, this setting the scene of cross-cultural viewpoint and spiritual essence of the record clear from the start. Momently cascading piano streams of golden light stir movement to the sacred cycles of this musical prayer, which mostly lingers in the silent corridors of protective monasteries and nature's hideouts from man-created evil. The second movement "Kyrie" is really memorable moment of peace on the record, allowing Conny Veit's delicate guitar weeps and Djong Yun's ethereal singing unite as angelic whispers from tranquil eternity, culmination to ascending melodic progression of salvation. This sequence was also filmed to television, on my understanding as overdub, but however allowing interesting visions from the musicians at their creation environment. Florian Fricke's calm piano lingering reminds the lovely calmness of Bill Evans playing style, yet dissolving to ever more vastness of mental quietude. The main sequence of the three parts spin the mantra of faith residing in the lap of the gods, piano weaving the dynamics for the background movement, giving space for a lovely guitar and oboe solos, vocal adorations and incense-smelling shades from other supporting acoustic instruments. As an artistic creation this work really convinces with the capabilities of reaching sacral resolutions by combining traditional high cultural and modern underground methods. Possibly the purity of aims is more meaningful than the doctrines of expressional instruments.

The second side of the LP is named based on my understanding by the Deuteronomy of Moses. Even though the commandments of this scripture contain many strict codes, it also by my inferior interpretation deals with monotheistic idea of god's simultaneous existence everywhere. This aspect could be seen from broader objective perspective suiting to the acceptance of global deistic panorama of these charming musicians gathered at 1970's Munich playgrounds. From the movements, "Abschied" follows the paths of a tender hymn lead by oboe and guitar, illuminated by enigmatic tambura chords. Very operatic vision, which melody dramatics flow in vein of 17th century European music. "Segnung" blends to these motives more trance-oriented long vision to the horizon, focusing for both lovely soprano voice and guitar notes on this broad view, decorated by myriad oriental tonal ornaments creating most enlightening musical scenery. On the later parts the melodic themes are studied with broader instrumentation and joyful pace creates more solid form trough the rhythm. Surrounded by meditative sound carpets of "Andacht", "Nicht hoch im Himmel" continues with passive straits resembling classical music emulating third stream jazz, which I got familiar from ECM record's, shimmering this emotion-affecting void. Piano and emphasis on guitar gains strength in the later moments, which give me also associations from holy emptiness of Giya Kancheli's "Exil" work, also released through the prolific German record mentioned. "Ave Maria" concludes the album by summing the album's melodic potential for beautifulness, classical music forms contrasted with table-drums and strengthened with a violin. As a whole both sides create a personal culmination point of sacred art music which I would recommend for anybody as a masterpiece of spiritual music sensation, not being difficult to follow, nor lacking artistic content.