Saturday, February 4, 2017

Niagara - 1972 - S.U.B.


01. S.U.B. 11:56
02. Bones 3:12
03. Niagara 4:30
04. Kattarh 5:53
05. Kikiriti 4:53
06. Gibli 5:27
07. Terra Incognita 4:05

Bass – Milan Pilar (tracks: 4)
Bass Guitar [Fender] – Gary Unwin
Congas, Percussion – Danny Fichelscher
Drums, Percussion – Klaus Weiss, Udo Lindenberg
Electric Piano – Christian Schulze
Flugelhorn, Trumpet – Ack Van Rooyen
Guitar – Paul Vincent
Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Flute [Alto] – Ferdinand Povel
Timbales, Congas, Percussion – Joe Harris

Don't call this krautrock - this is funk. Pure and simple. It's got the breezy impersonality of krautrock, but there's no way you can listen to the rare groove of the title track and not think "Kashmere Stage Band", say. Most of the cuts use TWO drummers and a host of percussionists; that's the main sound. Seven cuts of funk grooves. "S.U.B." has some decent SRV-style guitar work and electric piano, but you're mostly sitting on a good groove for eleven minutes. On second thought, maybe it is Krautrock...

Adding guitar, sax, trumpet, keys and flute (2 or 3 max play at a time, I think) to the layered percussion present on their s/t debut, S.U.B. is a much nicer listen. There are gaps to be filled, as in the title track, where the music runs dry/gets old because it fails to progress, evidencing that the band's music is still rooted in drum grooves rather than songwriting. The grooves are generally nice and there are some nice melodies to be found throughout.



  2. Thanks for the Niagara, these albums are quite obscure and well worth a listen for 70s funk/soul/percussion fans. It may be mostly about drumming but the passion carries the music quite successfully especially on the S/T first & S.U.B. (slightly less so on Afire, which sounds a bit unfinished maybe due to Klaus Weiss and Udo Lindenberg being absent). Niagara, Sunbirds, Dauner's "Rischka's Soul" (actually an Et Cetera album) all demonstrate how incredibly funky and soulful German musicians could be under the right circumstances... much more than groups like War, etc. whose worldwide audience dwarfed anything that ever came out of Germany.