Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Various Artists - 1971 - Heavy Christmas

Various Artists 
Heavy Christmas

01. Libido - Evolution
02. Marcel - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
03. Joy Unlimited - All Heaven and All Earth are Silent
04. Virus - Mary Meets Tarzan
05. Dies Irae - Silent Night
06. Libido - Come on Everybody
07. Ardo Dombec - Heavenly Rose
08. Dies Irae - Shepard's Song
09. Ardo Dombec - Open Your Door, Open Your Mind
10. Virus - X-mas Submarine
11. Flute & Voice - Ecce Navicula 
12. Libido - Come On Everybody (Special radio version)

 Just in time for Xmas! Rare early '70s Brain release in official fold out CD digi-pak form, featuring bands playing Christmas related material. Don't let this put you off. This is a collection of mind blowing acid rock and progressive mayhem. Marcel's "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is absolutely stunning, filled with wah wah acid guitar and tripped out teutonic harmonies that will blow your tits off! Features Virus, Dies Irae, Joy Unlimited and more! Fantastic festive stoners....

One of the odder relics of the Krautrock heyday of the early '70s, Heavy Christmas found itself reissued in 1997 as part of the overall revival of the said sound. Originally released in 1971, it featured both new and traditional Christmas songs interpreted by seven different acts, most of whom contribute two tracks each. None of the featured acts are among the upper tier of Krautrock acts -- and it would have been quite something to hear the likes of Can, Kraftwerk, and Guru Guru do Christmas songs! -- but the end results have their high points. If any bands would be points of inspiration, Amon Duul II and Faust would probably be them; most of the acts here have the nutty playfulness of the first, touched here and there by the sheer cut-up chaos of the second. Compared to both, though, groups like Libido and Virus are much more straightforward. Libido itself gets in two of the representative songs: "Evolution," starting with a weird, ragged chorus and getting in some heavy drum slams and crazed guitar wah-wah action; and the rockin' good times of "Come on Everybody," apparently the album's single. Virus has its own fine winner, "X-Mas Submarine," with a stuttering keyboard line and fantastic guitar soloing its high points. Joy Unlimited's contribution is a doozy, a lengthy number called "All Heaven and Earth Are Silent" which sounds like a mix of stoner folk, pomp-rock instrumentals, and a strung-out Up With People. In perhaps the most entertaining trip-out, Dies Irae rips through an instrumental version of "Silent Night" with a snarling electric guitar taking the totally unlikely lead, alternating between full propulsion and calmer moments. Solo act Marcel delivers "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" with a nicely airy vocal, while his backing musicians crank the amps and add violin to boot.

There's a couple of fun tracks from "Libido", a band seemingly created for this set that consisted of Achim Reichel (guitar, vocals) and Frank Dostal (vocals) who were also in "A.R. & Machines" and earlier, The Rattles. You can hear a bit of their spacey guitars at the end of "Evolution" that is reminiscent of  A.R. & Machines. Flute & Voice were the duo of Hans "Flute" Reffert (guitar, flute) and Hans Brandeis (sitar, guitar, vocals).  The rest is all of high quality and you can't go wrong with the likes of strong tracks from Joy Unlimited and the pipes of Joy Fleming, Marcel, Virus and Dies Irea's brutal version of "Silent Night" (yes you read that correctly).
Heavy Christmas indeed.

Project Tyme - 1985 - Clockwyze

Project Tyme

01. The Mirror
02. Scot Free
03. B.T.W.C.
04. Rush Hour
05. The Great American Ulcer
06. Sanity Day
07. Wondering Why
08. Remembering You

Bass – Sandy Nordahl
Drums – Dan Boss, Mark Burrill
Vocals, Keyboards, Bass, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Producer – Scot Schwestka

Recorded October and November 1984 at Catamount Recording Studios, Cedar Falls, Iowa

A 4 piece from Iowa, but pressed in Dallas. Lead by double neck guitarist Scot Jon Schwestka (mullet is intact and functioning), Project Tyme are mid-80's all the way, with electric drums and warm bass tones. Early 80's Rush seems to be the main inspiration for the compositions. What keeps this from being a laugher, is the guitar work which is quite good actually. Expressive, skillful, energetic and no shred to be found (a common problem in those days). Once you get past the first 2 tracks, the rest is quite good as it's pretty much all instrumental from there on out. The production is excellent considering it's a homemade job. Neat cover art as well.