"The Crack In The Cosmic Egg"light version
original book is sold-out
This reduced web-version of our Krautrock encyclopedia "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg" only includes bands and artists from the era 1967-1980. Group line-ups are restricted to the first known/fully detailed line-up. Discographies are original vinyl and cassette releases only. Also omitted are: historical entries, jazz and avant-garde musicians, and any bands that never debuted with a release until the 1980's.
This web-page is only as a rough guide to Krautrock. The book contained about 3 times as much as is detailed here, pictures, indexes, a historical overview of the scene, etc.
The Crack In The Cosmic Egg html PC CD-Rom version is now available (680 mb html) vastly expanded and revised, with full musician details, track listings, album & group pictures plus lots of other extras, like gig listings, TV and radio, festivals, samplers, 3 hours of music, etc. etc.
Much of the text content of the CD-Rom is now also available as an ongoing magazine reprint. See info.
Notes: These pages are not framed, and are best viewed with a narrower window than usual. As this has been trimmed down from the original book files, there may be some errors. If you read anything that doesn't make sense, I'd like to know!
Originally a 60's pop group known as Fashion, Abacus started their career as support to many British progressive bands touring Germany. Influenced by such music, and with the addition of English vocalist Chris Williams, they became Abacus in 1971. We've never encountered their debut LP (which is reputedly very good), but later on they still had a borderline pop sound - hints of Bonzo's and The Move in a bluesy rock with a 60's beat feel, and some psychedelic touches - occasionally mad or eccentric. Rarely would you know that Abacus were German, and in fact another English musician later took over the drum stool on their final (but still patchy) album MIDWAY. At their best, Abacus could surprise and be really creative, yet they were generally too unfocused and schizophrenic.
Hans-Rolf Schade (guitar, percussion, sitar, vocals), Felix Hans (drums, percussion, vocals), Chris Williams (vocals, guitar), Klaus Kohlhase (bass, percussion, harmonica), Christoph Barutzky (piano, organ)
LP Polydor 2371 215 (1971)
Seasong / Love You Till The Cows Come Home
7" Polydor 2041 266 (1972)
JUST A DAY'S JOURNEY AWAY (2-3/72)
LP Polydor 2371 270 (1972)
EVERYTHING YOU NEED (6/72)
LP Zebra 2949 002 (1972)
Fly With Us / The Big Moody
7" Zebra 2047 006 (1973)
LP Zebra 2949 013 (1974)
Indian Dancer / Be That Way
7" Bellaphon BF 18256 (1974)
Achtzehn Karat Gold
An early supergroup borne out of the prolific Munich scene fronted by American-German Klaus Ebert. The idea behind 18 Karat Gold seems to have been to present Krautrock in a commercial dilute form to the pop public, but not surprisingly, the idea didn't work on any level, and the band barely lasted a year. Much of the time Achtzehn Karat Gold made their living by working as pop singer Peter Maffay's backing band. Their sole album contained a few minor surprises, but considering the calibre of the musicians, it is generally a disappointing and rather average record, hinting at the direction Amon Düül II were to take in the late-70's.
Jörg Evers (guitar), Keith Forsey (drums), Klaus Ebert (guitar), Lothar Meid (bass)
ALL BUMM (6/73)
LP United Artists UAS 29559 (1974)
Aera come from the great tradition of Bavarian jazz-rock oriented progressive bands like Embryo, Missus Beastly, Munju, Moira, etc., with a style unique to that area, originating as a highly inventive fusion band, with strong percussion, driving rhythms and lots of space for solos from guitar, sax and flute. Whilst lead by Muck Groh they recorded two albums: HUMANUM EST which presented a most proficient instrumental band with a strong identity, with multi-tracked guitar riffing and near on ever-present wind solos, and then HAND UND FUSS, which was a touch more varied, due to the addition of violin and with Lucky Schmidt dealing more forceful rhythms in a jazzier concoction. As happens with most bands, Aera lost many members to other groups, and the third album TÜRKIS, saw a big change in personnel, with wheelchair-bound Klaus Kreuzeder taking over as leader. Fronting a more symphonic band featuring lots of keyboards and also multi-percussives from almost everyone involved, a new Aera sound was forged. Interestingly, being touted as a German Brand X or Turning Point, there were rumours of a UK tour, and an LP release on the Gull label was announced, but unfortunately this came to nothing, no doubt due to changes happening in the band. The LIVE album, recorded with (ex-Embryo regular) Roman Bunka, was an odd follow-up indeed. Roman's songs didn't really hit-off with the Aera style, especially with a funky focus to the music. And then, TOO MUCH lost the magic even further. But, all was not lost, finally, they got their act back together with AKATAKI, which saw another change in style, partly a step back to the energy of HAND UND FUSS, though the high-tech setting of Achim Gieseler's computer keyboards against a heavy jazz-fusion base led to unusual and often startling results. Whilst being Aera at their jazziest, it's also their most experimental and shows a band still striving for the ideals set a decade before.
Wolfgang Teske (drums), Klaus Kreuzeder (sax, flute), Dieter Bauer (bass), Muck Groh (guitar), + Peter Malinowski (bass), Jonas Porst (keyboards)
HUMANUM EST (8-10/11/74)
LP Erlkönig ERL 2001 (1975)
HAND UND FUSS (14-18/9/76)
LP Erlkönig ERL 2002 (1976)
featured on: LIVE NÜRNBERGER SZENE 1976
featured on: POP NACHWUCHS-FESTIVAL '78
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
LP Erlkönig INT 148.409 (1979)
LP Erlkönig INT 148.415 (1980)
TOO MUCH (2/81)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.625 (1981)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.633 (1982)
The full name of Ag A.M. is Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ante Meridiem, (which means something totally weird like "The Anti-Meridian Study Group"). They were a varied kind of folky politico band with a very German sound, and a music that drew in an extremely wide range of styles, ranging from theatrical Floh De Cologne territory, via trippy psychedelia, all sorts of progressive rock styles, and on to country rock even! Oddball stuff indeed, certainly their music was an acquired taste and original too.Nothing historical whatsoever is known about Ag A.M., no, not even the musicians full names! All that they left behind is an odd album that is full of surprises, yet doesn't really fit into any genre comfortably. It's a curiosity, and aptly it's one of the most obscure of 70's self produced obscurities.
P. Deltlaff (vocals, guitar), G. Westenberger (vocals, guitar, accordion), B. Gausloser (vocals, bass), G. Müller (clarinet, flute, organ)
ERINNERUNGEN AN EINE POSITIVE PHASE (5-6/77)
LP private release 1377 (1977)
One of the most legendary, formative and seminal Berlin bands of the 60's, whose early incarnations featured the likes of Christoph Franke (drums) who went on to Tangerine Dream, Ax Genrich (guitar) who after three months was nabbed by Guru Guru, and John L. "the mad-man of Berlin" a notorious eccentric who also played with Ash Ra Tempel. The full history is quite complex. Although in the spirit of Ash Ra Tempel and Pink Floyd, they had their own individual identity, with a largely improvised music that was predominantly instrumental, featuring lots of electronics, keyboards and dual guitars, and a great flair for invention. MALESCH documents their trip to North Africa and the Middle East, blending location recordings together with their own compositions and improvisations, and is still quite a unique experience even today, combining cosmic, avant-garde and ethnic musics with great invention. Much more a proper studio album, and also more typical of the patent Agitation Free sound, 2ND took them more towards the realms of progressive rock, whilst also stretching out the cosmic elements even more. It contains what was their only "song" documented on LP, the powerful Mellotron driven "Haunted Island" based on Edgar Allan Poe's "Dreamtime".
It's unfortunate really that Agitation Free only really gained success in France, being barely noticed in their homeland, and totally ignored by the British media. Still, two studio albums were not the end of Agitation Free, and they kept on recording right up to their final session. The album LAST was posthumously released (only in France), it contains recordings from two concerts and is certainly the best document of the improvisational capabilities of this most innovative group of Teutonic pioneers, developing the Agitation Free sound beyond the guitar based music of Ash Ra Tempel onto purely cosmic floating realms. The more recently released FRAGMENTS was recorded at the final Agitation Free sessions, where they attempted to recapture the early free-form jamming psychedelic sound, and is also notable for featuring original members Chris Franke and Micky Duwe. Many more musicians passed through Agitation Free's ranks than are mentioned here, including members of Os Mundi and Metropolis. Synthesist Michael Hoenig went on to work with Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, and later established himself as a successful soloist. Rhythm guitarist Lutz Ulbrich went on to Ashra, and also has recorded some new-wave styled pop albums under the guise of Lüül.
Lutz Ulbrich (guitars, zither, organ), Jörg Schwenke (guitar), Burghard Rausch (drums, marimba, vocals), Michael Hoenig (synthesizer, electronics, steel guitar), Michael Günther (bass, tapes)
LP Vertigo 6360 607 (1972) «gatefold cover»
LP Vertigo 6360 615 (1973) «gatefold cover»
LP Barclay 80.162 (France, 1976)
An obscure early band that gained recognition as one of the darkest of heavy German progressives. Little is known about Ainigma, except that they existed for some time before making their sole album DILUVIUM, and the truth is that Ainigma were actually quite typical of the more mainstream Krautrock of the era. Ainigma played a raw and slightly messy kind of hard-edged bluesy rock, sometimes recalling Frumpy, but with a more psychedelic underlying Vanilla Fudge type sound. Lyrically though Ainigma weren't too hot, and it would have been better if they had sung in German, as the lyrics do come across as somewhat naïve. Featuring chunky organ and guitar, the instrumental feel and production style (or lack of production) draws comparisons with Necronomicon, with a similar stoned feel, featuring long tracks, extensive instrumentals, and a really gloomy atmosphere.
Willi Klüter (organ, vocals), Wolfgang Netzer (guitar, bass, choir), Michael Klüter (drums), + Michael Freise (acoustic guitar)
LP Arc ALPS 151715 (1973) «pirate issues also exist»
As far as we recall (having only heard their album once several years back), these were some sort of radical experimental rock outfit. Their album was a self-produced and home-made affair, recorded live in concert.
Alfred Leil, Winfried Koch, Angela Weber, Hans Kumpf, Helmut Grab
AK MUSICK (11/72)
LP private release (1973)
Obscure melodic hard-rock band comparable to Harlis, Epitaph and other bands of the era. Just 3 long tracks.
Peter Breitbarth (guitar), Thomas Büscher (drums), Achim Hubricht (bass), Harald Hubricht (keyboards), Christian Köppen (piano), Hansi Köppen (vocals), + Jürgen Polzin (congas)
GARDEN OF EDEN (1978)
LP Lipstick CSM-10005-LS (1979)
A mysterious band, Alcatraz recorded just the one album at the notorious Wümme Studio (as used by Faust) and then promptly disappeared. Nothing at all is known of their history. But, what an album they left behind! With that unmistakable Faustian Kurt Graupner recording sound, their music featured fuzzed guitars and effects overdose in a heavy and bluesy over-the-top Krautrock akin to Frumpy and Nosferatu. Rüdiger Berghahn sounds like a male Inga Rumpf by the way! Though barely known, Alcatraz were remarkable in that they bridged and mixed together genres that no one else did. In fact, they pulled out all the stops to come up with one of the finest slabs of eccentric heady Krautrock. It's a masterpiece beyond doubt, right down to the deranged guitar blitz finale "Piss Off!"
Rüdiger Berghahn (pianett, vocals), Klaus Holst (guitar), Klaus Nagurski (flute, tenor sax), Ronald Wilson (bass), Jan Rieck (drums, bongos)
VAMPIRE STATE BUILDING (9-11/10/71)
LP Philips 6305 128 (1972)
ENERGIE PROGRAMM IN ROCK
LP private release AL 19377 (1978)
TROCKENEIS ZUM FRÜHSTÜCK (1981)
LP private release LMP 002 (1987)
NO. 4 (12-13/9/82)
LP private release ? (1990)
These were typical of German late-70's melodic rock, with an indistinguishable Anglo-American style, made at least a little unique with the singer's German accent and some nice arrangements. We have only heard their LP, which is pleasant, but only marginally progressive or of interest.
Phil Dreher (vocals), Leslie Förster (bass), Dagmar Horn (guitar, vocals), Joe Schäfer (guitar, vocals), Tommy Vieweg (drums), Randy Kwizorowski (keyboards, vocals), + Ludwig Götz (trombone), Jörg Seemann (trumpet), Martin Urigshardt (sax)
Marplot / Magic Man
7" private release (1974)
featured on: KLANGSTADT
LP Cain CL 4793 (1979)
Alto was the name for the short-lived rock and fusion project fronted by former Kraan saxophone player Johannes "Alto" Pappert. They were never really a proper band, as Alto (check the LP covers) was really more of an ego trip for Johannes Pappert, showing off his talent as a multi-instrumentalist, and featuring a hoard of top musicians and Kraan friends as guests. Typical of many such late-70's productions, despite all the talent involved, the results were nothing special, just a lighter more varied twist on the Kraan of the era. Better than most such projects, but very dilute all the same.
Johannes Pappert (saxes, percussion, 12-string guitar), + Andy Göldner (vocals, guitar), Lou Marignan (bass), Bernd Kiefer (bass), Micky Stickdorn (drums), Hellmut Hattler (bass), Zabba Lindner (drums, percussion), Ellen Meier (vocals), Peter Wolbrandt (guitars, banjo, vocals), Wolfgang Grasekamp (keyboards), Jan Fride (percussion, drums)
LP Spiegelei INT 160.609 (1978)
HAPPY AMBROSIA (1979)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.608 (1980)
With their roots as ex-Thrice Mice members, Altona wisely chose this new name (Altona is a town on the edge of Hamburg) when dropping the former band's classical edge in preference for a jazzier front. On their debut Altona played a lively fusion that crossed many boundaries, but kept the Blodwyn Pig feel that dominated the early Thrice Mice recordings. Notably, they sounded almost like a hybrid of Birth Control and Creative Rock, occasionally hinting at Eiliff, with songs and instrumentals that were full of surprises! In contrast, their second album CHICKENFARM, disappointed as it saw a mellowing of style, to funky edged jazz-rock with blues and soul tendencies, and an indistinctive Anglo-American type brassy-rock sound. A few Altona members later reappeared in the obscure band Dirty Dogs.
Fritz Kahl (bass), Karl-Heinz Blumenberg (vocals, bass/soprano saxes, bass), Klaus Gerlach (guitar), Wolfgang Wulff (tenor sax), Karl-Heinz Gossler (drums), Werner von Gosen (guitar), Michael von Rönn (tenor sax)
LP RCA PPL1-1049 (1975)
LP RCA PPL1-4129 (1975)
The original Munich commune group, formed in 1967, Amon Düül were not your normal outfit of political activists or hippies, they were much more than that. Living together, they were constantly attempting to create or explore new genres in music. Psychedelic drugs, free-love, and a shared community were all factors, as was the new psychedelic music from Britain and the USA, especially so Hapshash & The Coloured Coat. Inevitably, due to political and musical differences, tempers got frayed and just before a legendary concert they split into two separate bands. Founder members, including Chris Karrer and others, went on to front the internationally successful Amon Düül II.
In sharp contrast, the original Amon Düül (who were more concerned with being politically active) recorded on very few occasions. A great part of their work was all recorded during the very same early sessions in 1969 within a matter of days. Typical of commune bands, Amon Düül were often quite wild and free-form. They played a high-energy bare-bones aggressive rock that was totally over-the-top in the percussion department, with raw grating guitars and wailing vocals. Their debut AMON DÜÜL (originally untitled, but generally referred to as "PSYCHEDELIC UNDERGROUND") and its follow-up COLLAPSING: SINGVÖGEL RÜCKWÄRTS & CO., both also displayed an eccentric use of studio effects, sound manipulation and sonic gags (like jumps, stuck-grooves, scratches, etc.), which gained them a curious notoriety. A total of four albums (two of them double LP's) were eventually released from those early sessions, and all are essential listening for fans of aggressive 60's rock.
The later incarnation (which grew out of an association with the "Berlin Commune 1") were different, and only recorded one album and a single. Still a touch hippy-political in concept the album PARA DIESWÄRTS DÜÜL was a more relaxed, albeit unusual, folky rock with the accent on multiple guitars, featuring lengthy improvised instrumental sections, closer to Quintessence or Popol Vuh, yet still quite unique. Members of this version of the band also guested on the similarly styled "Sandoz In The Rain" on Amon Düül II's YETI. The actual history of this incarnation of Amon Düül is virtually undocumented, though we do know that Karl-Heinz Hausmann of the "Berlin Commune 1" passed through and followed Peter Leopold to Amon Düül II. They also played live quite extensively when based in Berlin, and even Klaus Schulze is reputed to have played in concert with them!
Rayner Bauer (guitar, vocals), Ulrich Leopold (basses), Helge Filanda (congas, vocals), Peter "Krischke" Leopold (drums, piano), Ella Bauer (drums, vocals), Angelika Filanda (drums, vocals), Uschi Obermaier (maracas)
AMON DÜÜL "PSYCHEDELIC UNDERGROUND" (1969)
LP Metronome MLP 15.332 (1969)
COLLAPSING: SINGVÖGEL RÜCKWÄRTS & CO. (1969)
LP Metronome SMLP 012 (1969)
Eternal Flow / Paramechanical World
7" Ohr OS 57.000 (1971)
PARA DIESWÄRTS DÜÜL (11-12/70)
LP Ohr OMM 56.008 (1971)
2LP BASF 29 29079-4 (1972)
2LP Timewind MDB 950142 (Switzerland, 1984)
Amon Düül II
Amon Düül II were instigated in Autumn 1968 out of a loose collection of musicians who were involved with the Munich Amon Düül commune. As the story goes, Amon Düül (the original band/commune) were booked to play at the Essener Songtag Festival, but due to differences the commune split into two and both versions of the band played. The split was instigated by Chris Karrer, who was much more interested in making music than getting into politics. In their early days a number of other Amon Düül members migrated to Amon Düül II, as well as the likes of Christian Burchard and Edgar Hofmann (who both went on to form Embryo), Holger Trülzsch (of Popol Vuh), Dieter Serfas (who formed his own band, then later resurfaced in Embryo) and...
Their debut album PHALLUS DEI contained a charged and purely innovative music, with bizarre structures, almost operatic and crazed (male and female) vocals, with lots of distinctly Teutonic angst, tons of percussion, duelling violins, Eastern-scale guitars, and all really tripped-out to the point of excess. This was especially so on the side-long title track, which featured improvisation of such complexity that even the likes of Pink Floyd only hinted at. Like a hybrid of High Tide, Hawkwind and Third Ear Band, the connection may have been coincidental, yet bassist Dave Anderson did later return to England and join Hawkwind! The following two albums, both doubles, are regarded by many as the finest Amon Düül II music, extensively featuring lengthy tracks and side-long segued suites, full of musical invention, surprises throughout. Not least is the phenomenal 11/2 sides of "Yeti" and "Yeti Talks To Yogi", which are space rock of the utmost invention, and the curious cosmic space-out "The Chasmin Soundtrack" (on TANZ DER LEMMINGE) which pre-empted The Cosmic Jokers. There's lots of other classic material on these doubles (naturally!) and not least the second side of YETI which has some of the most mind-bending psychedelic music on record. And, let's not forget the weirdly twisted songs that were as surreal as the music they were contained in! As with any big band, personnel changes were a regular feature of Amon Düül II, amongst them: Shrat had gone to form the Hawkwind-like Sameti, Karl-Heinz Hausmann had joined from the "Berlin Commune 1", and a wealth of other top Munich jazz and rock musicians passed through the band. This variety of talent from the likes of Jimmy Jackson (and his amazing choir organ) or eccentric singer Rolf Zacher, and numerous others, makes the Amon Düül II canvas of sound even more diverse.
CARNIVAL IN BABYLON was a single LP with shorter song-based tracks. A disappointment to most at first, , it's still a fine and well-crafted album, though of the more subtle kind. But, hereon, with the onset of international recognition and tours abroad, Amon Düül II became an even much more unstable entity, with a steady flow of musicians passing through the band (amongst the more obscure were Reinhold Spiegelfeld and Reiner Schnelle of Weed). As evidence of this, on WOLF CITY (and its sister alter-ego album by Utopia which took the Amon Düül II sound to jazzier realms), no two tracks featured the same musicians, yet despite this WOLF CITY was a surprisingly varied, fresh and highly inventive album extensively featuring Daniel Fichelscher, the percussionist/multi-instrumentalist who was to become the main musician of Popol Vuh, and much more Renate Knaup. As a "thank you" to their British fans, the excellent LIVE IN LONDON (actually recorded in Croydon) was released here at budget price. It featured radically different versions of classic tracks, mostly from DANCE OF THE LEMMINGS, again with Renate more to the fore. The last true (and really creative) Amon Düül II album is often quoted as VIVE LA TRANCE, which continued this trend of musical simplification. Although being an album of songs VIVE LA TRANCE still had lots in the way of radical invention, not least some really witty songs and pacey complex instrumentals. After Amon Düül II left United Artists, the label issued the singles collection LEMMINGMANIA (United Artists UAG 29723).
When the acid-haze faded, further Amon Düül II albums moved to ever more accessible mainstream rock realms, becoming increasingly patchy. HIJACK lived up to its title, and "hijacked" from various different types of music, tango's and Bavarian folk music amongst them. It was a more trendy side-step from the songs on VIVE LA TRANCE. Then, even more wide ranging, was the double opus MADE IN GERMANY, lyrically Amon Düül II's ultimate stab at German society, attitudes, the media, the record industry, etc. The great shame was that musically much of it wasn't too inspired. Even before the departure of Renate Knaup (she moved on to Popol Vuh) there had been hoards of changes in personnel. And, now again, it was all-change time!
As Lothar Meid left, in came a number of new members: Jörg Evers, Keith Forsey and Klaus Ebert, all ex-members of an earlier Lothar Meid band Achtzehn Karat Gold. And then there was also pop singer Stefan Zauner! Not surprisingly, all of this tore the Amon Düül II sound apart, losing their identity entirely. Yet it must be said that all later 70's Amon Düül II albums contained at least something of excellence. Even after proverbially disappearing up their own arses on ONLY HUMAN, there's been constant attempts to resurrect Amon Düül II. VORTEX sounded like a MOR return to VIVE LA TRANCE, and more recent attempts have been even more embarrassing, a couple of almost disco-styled new numbers appeared on the compilation SURROUNDED BY THE BARS (Spalax 14810).
Note: John Weinzierl also established a British incarnation of Amon Düül in 1979 along with former Amon Düül II member (also of Hawkwind and Groundhogs) Dave Anderson and a collection of impromptu musicians. Their releases confused at first, being billed as "old recordings" when they were no such thing. Of their four releases, the largely improvised albums HAWK MEETS PENGUIN (Thunderbolt TB 102) and FOOL MOON (Magnum TL 011) are highly recommended to all fans of the early Amon Düül II. A compilation AIRS ON A SHOESTRING (Thunderbolt TB 043), also features an excellent unreleased work.
Dieter Serfas (drums, cymbals), Peter Leopold (drums, percussion, piano), Shrat (bongos, vocals, violin), Renate Knaup (vocals, tambourine), John Weinzierl (guitar, bass), Chris Karrer (violin, guitars, soprano sax, vocals), Falk Rogner (organ, synthesizer), Dave Anderson (bass), + Christian Burchard (vibes), Holger Trülzsch (Turkish drums)
LP Liberty LBS 83279 (1969) «gatefold sleeve»
2LP Liberty LBS 83359/60 (1970), Liberty LSP 101 (UK, 1970)
Rattlesnakeplumcake / Between The Eyes
7" Liberty 15417 (1970)
TANZ DER LEMMINGE
2LP Liberty LBS 83473/74 (1971)
Light / Lemmingmania
7" Liberty 15458 (1971)
CARNIVAL IN BABYLON
LP United Artists UAS 29327 (1972)
WOLF CITY (7/72)
LP United Artists UAS 29406 (1972)
LIVE IN LONDON (16/12/72)
LP United Artists UAS 29466 (1973), United Artists USP 102 (UK)
VIVE LA TRANCE
LP United Artists UAS 29504 (1973)
LP Nova 6.22056 (1974), Atlantic K 50136 (UK, 1975)
MADE IN GERMANY
2LP Nova 6.28350 (1975)
LP Nova 6.22890 (1976)
LP Nova 6.23305 (1977)
LP Strand 6.23561 (1978)
LP Telefunken 6.24874 (1981)
A little-known band, of whom we know nothing historically, Amos Key were one of the few early German bands to play a fiery classical rock with such creativity and invention, and even parallel the excellence of the Italians! Much more so than fellow organ-rock pioneers Sixty Nine, Amos Key owed great debts to Bach, Beethoven and Schumann, adding a heavy Krautrock twist to a music more closely resembling Egg or The Nice, full of angst and weird psychedelic and space-rock touches. They apparently also released a single, but we've no idea whether the tracks are taken from the LP.
Thomas Molin (keyboards, vocals), Andreas Gross (bass, guitar, vocals), Lutz Ludwig (drums)
LP Spiegelei 26.413-5U (1973)
The Italian's may claim Analogy as a classic band from their 70's scene, though the truth is that they were actually German! Their debut LP (which became quite notorious because of the nude group scenes on the cover) was recorded and only released in Italy, which would be the reason for such confusion. Analogy were of that genre some suggest as being inspired by US West Coast bands, though really they were very European, combining classical and space-rock elements, and fronted by a powerful unusual female vocalist. If they could be compared to anyone, Earth & Fire and Sandrose would be favourites, not forgetting to point out an added Floydian spaciness, with lots of organ and guitars. Despite being an oddly balanced album, its reputation is certainly deserved.
After this various different incarnations of the band, under various names, existed. Whilst known as Earthbound (reputedly a new-wave band) they completed an ambition of Martin Thurin's, in the form of a lengthy symphonic opus. So, due to recognition of the Analogy album upon its CD reissue, this later recording was released under the guise of Analogy in 1993. A pleasant work, again notable for Jutta's vocals, but more laid-back, like early Renaissance.
Jutta Nienhaus (vocals), H-J. "Mops" Nienhaus (drums), Mauro Rattaggi (bass), Martin Thurin (guitars), Wolfgang Schoene (guitar, bass), Nicola Pankoff (keyboards)
Sold Out / God's Own Land
7" Produzioni 28 ? (Italy, 1971)
Credited to: Yoice
LP Ventoto PRV 2204 (Italy, 1972)
Andromeda started in the 60's as session musicians, and members of the Cologne pop band The Tony Hendrik Five. On their LP, however, they were hardly a proper band, but merely a duo aided by guests. They only made the one album (and also a single culled from it) which is very varied, at its lightest resembling late-60's The Beatles, though mostly it's heavy and psychedelic rock. As it's often fronted by chunky organ, with blues and classical elements, hints of Brian Auger or The Nice are notable. Note: The album forgets to list who does the vocals. There's also a guest brass-section on some tracks as well as female backing vocalists!
Peter Schild (keyboards), Günther Steinborn (drums), + Gerry Fleming (bass), Tony Hendrik (guitar)
LP Vogue LDVS 17205 (1970)
This Androméda (from Berlin) were one of many bands from the late-70's wave that lurked in obscurity. On their debut they played a lyrical and varied rock with blues and fusion elements. Admittedly the vocals are most odd, yet the music is often inventive and unique, though notably inspired by earlier bands like Jane or Epitaph.
Bernd Jahnke (guitar, vocals), Alexander Hensel (bass), Rainer Bergmann (drums, percussion), Karl-Heinz Engelhardt (flute, sax, vocals, harmonica, percussion), Thomas Lüdemann (keyboards), Rainer Lingk (vocals, guitar)
LP Resco 66.21801 (1979)
LP Resco 66.21998 (1980)
LP Resco 66.22199 (1981)
The duo of Paul and Limpe Fuchs (aka Anima or Anima Sound) were amongst the most experimental to emerge out of the late-60's and become involved in the Munich underground rock scene. Elitists, and pure avant-gardists at heart, they worked with all manner of conventional and home-made instruments, performing wild and demanding music. Somehow they were adopted by the experimental rock label Ohr, despite their music being barely rock at all! STÜRMISCHER HIMMEL, recorded at a "thousand year old cottage on a windy hill" with their children, is amongst the oddest of albums. Bizarre creative music it certainly is, but Krautrock it is certainly not! Soon they became friends of the Austrian jazz avant-gardist Friedrich Gulda, and were invited to perform at his "Ossiach" festival. With Friedrich Gulda guesting on ANIMA a long association began with them touring together and being featured on many of each others albums. Some of their later LP's run very close to free-jazz or the serious avant-garde. Also, Limpe Fuchs has recently been working as a soloist.
Paul Fuchs (Fuchshorn, voice, cornet, bass), Limpe Fuchs (voice, drums, Fuchszither, Fuchsbass)
LP Ohr OMM 56 011 (1971)
featured on: OSSIACH LIVE
LP Melocord ST-LP-NB 0.027 (1971)
LP Pilz 20 29097-2 (1972)
featured on: HEIDELBERGER JAZZTAGE '72 (1972)
LP BASF/MPS 29 21655 1 (1972)
IT'S UP TO YOU!
2LP Preiser SPR 3268 (Austria, 1974)
MONTE ALTO (1977)
LP Alter Pfarrhof ST-A-33 (1977)
DER REGT MICH AUF/A CONTROVERSY (12/79+10/82)
2LP Ohr Today OMM 580.001 (1982)
featured on: AN AFFLICTED MAN'S MUSICA BOX
LP United Dairies UD 012 (UK, 1982)
BRUCHSTÜCKE FÜR ILONA (7/85)
2LP Loft 1010/11 (1985)
Amongst the most innovative of underground Krautrock bands, who, like Organisation, built the foundation for a new type of music. Their roots stem back to 1967 as the band Ambition In Music, from Kamp-Lintfort near Düsseldorf, and by 1970 they'd expanded, took on all sorts of influences and ideas, and moved well away from their hippy-rock roots, becoming Annexus Quam. The earliest morsel of Annexus Quam (recorded during the sessions for their debut LP) is the uniquely ethnic "Kollodium", featured on the excellent OHRENSCHMAUS compilation. It's now a rarity worth seeking out, showing their roots, tripping-out like a cosmic Third Ear Band. Their debut album OSMOSE (issued with a novelty multi-fold cover) is most fascinating, even more cosmic, than "Kollodium", featuring much guitar and unusual use of jazz instruments in what is really a rock based music. A really spacious fusion of avant-garde, rock, jazz, and unusual use of psychedelic studio effects, somewhere between Ash Ra Tempel and Kollektiv maybe, it is considered by many as one of the finest Ohr albums. After a change in personnel, and much playing at jazz festivals, BEZIEHUNGEN dived head-first into the realms of free-jazz. Admittedly one of the best examples of the genre, it still had its moments, though there are parts that jar and grate, with much experimental improvisation akin to early Iskra or Music Improvisation Company.
Uwe Bick (drums, vocals, percussion), Jürgen Jonuschies (bass, vocals, percussion), Werner Hostermann (clarinet, organ, vocals, percussion), Peter Werner (guitar, vocals, percussion), Hans Kämper (trombone, Spanish guitar, vocals, percussion), Ove Volquartz (sax), Harald Klemm (flute, vocals, percussion)
featured on: OHRENSCHMAUS (9/70)
2LP Ohr OMM 2/56.006 (1971)
LP Ohr OMM 56007 (1970)
LP Ohr OMM 556.028 (1972)
One of the many progressive rock bands to appear in the late-70's inspired by the likes of Genesis, Gentle Giant, Jane, et al., Anyone's Daughter were far better than most. Their early albums featured English vocals, ADONIS being a very accomplished debut of refined progressive rock, with strong symphonic elements, jazzy touches and a notable debt to Eloy. Obviously intent on trying to get international fame their second LP, tried for an even more direct style, but paled next to ADONIS. A radical change from hereon, especially on their third album PIKTOR'S VERWANDLUNGEN, a conceptual opus (live in concert) featuring mainly spoken German texts along with vast instrumentals in the realms of Novalis and Grobschnitt, and only a couple of actual "songs", it is arguably their most successful, and certainly their most experimental. IN BLAU returned to a more accessible style, almost like mid-70's Genesis sung in German. A good album, but from hereon the Anyone's Daughter sound paled significantly, with shorter compositions on an ever more melodic song based level. The LIVE double was thus very disappointing.
Harald Bareth (bass, lead vocals), Uwe Karpa (guitars), Kono Konopik (drums, rototoms, cymbals), Matthias Ulmer (pianos, synthesizers, organ, vocals)
LP Brain 60.186 (1979)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.612 (1980)
PIKTOR'S VERWANDLUNGEN (18/1/81)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.624 (1981)
IN BLAU (12/81)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.632 (1982)
NEUE STERNE (2/83)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.640 (1983)
2LP Corona CMC 018001 (1984)
LAST TRACKS (1979-84)
LP private release 86007 (1986)
An obscure Berlin jazz-rock band (formed 1975) with the accent on percussion, of whom we know very little, except having heard their contribution on the BERLIN FUSION compilation.
Michael "Willy" Wilke (guitar), Dieter Anker (guitar), Gerard Batrya (bass), Andreas Hommelsheim (keyboards), Lutz Halfter (drums), Tommy Goldschmidt (percussion), Michael Tybus (percussion)
featured on: BERLIN FUSION
LIVE AT THE QUASIMODO
LP Blackbird BD 102 (1981)
Very little is known about Ardo Dombec, though they were quite untypical of the Pilz label, being a heavy, bluesy and slightly jazzy rock with the accent on songs rather than instrumentals, and barely did they sound German. Undoubtedly they were inspired by the late-60's work by American bands like Chicago Transit Authority or Blood Sweat & Tears (as obviously were Creative Rock and Emergency), and admittedly the album ARDO DOMBEC had its moments, combining blues, soul and jazz styles into a song-based rock music, all with surprising depth in the arrangements for a four-piece band. Obviously a great deal of multi-tracking was going on! But, ARDO DOMBEC became most notorious for featuring the painful "five second scratch" joke track "Oh, Sorry" and its rather dangerous looking "bloody cactus in an ice-cream cone" cover! Contrastingly their contributions to the HEAVY CHRISTMAS concept sampler showed them at their best - instrumental, radical and full of invention, towards the realms of Thirsty Moon or Kollektiv.
Harald Gleu (guitar, vocals, harmonica), Helmut Hachmann (sax, flute), Wolfgang Spillner (drums, vocals), Michael Ufer (bass)
ARDO DOMBEC (8/71)
LP Pilz 20 21095-2 (1971)
featured on: HEAVY CHRISTMAS
An obscure ethnic fusion band from Nürnberg, that we only discovered very recently and know nothing of historically. Aptly being with Schneeball Records, the album NIMDIRSI is a step aside from Embryo, drawing on Asian and North African cultures, blending in a wide variety of classical and rock elements too, and despite being mostly percussive, it is quite relaxed and moody, with rich textures occasionally reminding of quieter Third Ear Band, with diversions from Between through to Oregon or Codona realms. The more recent IDJO is much more Afro-fusion styled, akin to Dissidenten or Embryo's AFRICA album, with a very modern highly produced sound, and features an international cast of musicians (most notably Ramesh Shotham).
Stefan Lederer (dolgi, pianos, percussion, gong), Dieter Weberpils (quena, flutes, percussion, piccolo), Achim Schmidt (darbouka, drums, marimba, congas, vibes, horn)
MC private release (1979)
LP Schneeball 1036 (1983)
Although mostly a straight hard-rock band, Arktis did however have their moments. They were certainly not professionally trained musicians, and their amateurish edge gave them a very different feel. Not being with a major label they also took chances, especially so on their debut which featured numerous lengthy instrumentals, especially rewarding is the side-long "Rare Girl". Arktis had hints of early Jane, Harlis or even Pancake in their music, but they never really seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do. This is especially notable on the session recorded with Conny Plank in December 1974, where they come across as totally deadly bland. But there again, Arktis could be seen as innovators, with unusually early new-wave touches. But most rewarding of all is the bonus material found on the CD reissue of their second album ARKTIS TAPES, two lengthy instrumental jams in the manner of Cargo or Man that proved Arktis had much more potential than the original LP's insinuated.
Karin Töppig (vocals), Klaus Blachut (guitar), Klaus Göllner (bass), Harry Kottek (drums)
LP private release R 4040 (1974)
ARKTIS TAPES (1974-75)
LP Bon-bons-records BBR 7502 (1975)
ON THE ROCKS
LP private release ARK-76-1 (1976)
Fronted by prolific guitarist Frank Diez, Armageddon were one of the foremost Berlin exponents of Anglo-American inspired rock, and much better than most of their contemporaries, yet until the CD reissue hardly anyone had heard of them! With their influence clearly defined, the album contained excellent versions of Jeff Beck's "Rice Pudding" and Spooky Tooth's "Better By You, Better Than Me", Armageddon should have been an international hit, as they had an accessible sound with lots of complex and highly progressive elements. But, as with most Kuckuck releases, nobody noticed. Nowadays it's revered as one of the finest heavy rock albums in the early-70's. Unfortunately short-lived, Armageddon only made the one album and then split.
Frank Diez (lead guitar, vocals), Manfred Galatik (electric piano, bass, vocals), Michael Nürnberg (bass, rhythm guitar), Jürgen Lorenzen (drums)
LP Kuckuck 2375 003 (1970)
Ash Ra Tempel (Ashra)
On the late-60's Berlin underground scene, there was a growing trend for radical innovative bands. One band was the embryonic Ash Ra Tempel, then known as Steeple Chase Bluesband (formed June 1969), who played a freak-out blues rock with John Mayall influences. The original line-up was: Manuel Göttsching (guitar), Hartmut Enke (bass) and Wulf Arp (drums), with Volker Zibell (harmonica) joining in August 1969. Arp was momentarily replaced by Wolfgang Müller, at which time they gained wide exposure with an appearance in concert on TV. A document of Steeple Chase Bluesband can be found on THE PRIVATE TAPES, which is just the sort of stoned blues-rock underground we expected.
Having left Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze met up with Manuel and Hartmut and hatched the idea of Ash Ra Tempel. At this time all three were also involved in Konrad Schnitzler's Eruption project. In August 1970 they started rehearsals and also played concerts, becoming notorious for improvisations that could exceed 30 minutes yet be most fascinating and invigorating. Documents from various concerts can be found on THE PRIVATE TAPES, revealing the innovation of the band, in which Klaus was much more than just a drummer (playing steel guitar, organ, electronics, etc.), but as a drummer he was something else!
After a couple of aborted demo's Ash Ra Tempel decided to go to Hamburg and record an album proper, with the aid of Conny Plank. This resulted in their debut, which was housed in a mystical elaborate centre-opening gatefold cover. As with their live jams, Ash Ra Tempel on record was a unique twist on the space-rock music as pioneered by Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, with elements of both yet devoid of songs, free-rock in the truest sense. Just one track per side: firstly with the power-drive storming "Amboss" (close to Klaus' work in Tangerine Dream) and in contrast, the shimmering timeless "Traummaschine". A yin-and-yang type concept that made for an extraordinary album. But, not too long after this, with a yearning for greater things in life than just playing drums, Klaus left Ash Ra Tempel, saying to Manuel "You keep the name, I'm going to do other things" and went on to pursue a most fruitful solo career as one of the pioneers of synth music.
After this, the former Steeple Chase Bluesband drummer Wolfgang Müller returned. The next album SCHWINGUNGEN ("Vibrations" in English) returned to their bluesy origins, and again (like their debut LP) it had contrasting sides. "Light And Darkness" exists as the closest any German band have got to early Hawkwind, a wild acid-rock cum cosmic-blues music fronted by eccentric vocalist John L. spouting rather than singing his LSD induced visions. It's intense, powerful, and for some - too dark and unnerving. In stark contrast, "Suche & Liebe" owed a huge debt to Pink Floyd's "A Saucerful Of Secrets", complete with shimmering vibes, a hazy electronic mist, and an overdose of Dave Gilmour style glissando guitars, stretching out to cosmic bliss.
Hereon, Ash Ra Tempel history becomes a mite complex, with involvement from Timothy Leary and numerous other projects, like the jam sessions released as The Cosmic Jokers. Ohr boss Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser had a vision of making the ultimate psychedelic trip, and naturally Timothy Leary being in nearby Switzerland lead to the opportunity of a lifetime. Hartmut was very keen on this idea, and went to Switzerland to meet Leary, and work out a concept based on "the seven steps to a better karma of consciousness". The results were SEVEN UP, a crazed trip with Leary at the helm. Timothy Leary had spiked the 7 Up that the band were drinking with LSD. The trip was set, and obviously too, was the title! On the tongue-in-cheek "Space", stoned 50's styled blues fronted by Leary, Brian Barritt and sexy backing singers, fused with Krautrock, psychedelia and an overdose of electronics. In true Ash Ra Tempel tradition, "Time" contrasted greatly, returning to the spacey realms of "Schwingungen" and moving the closest Ash Ra Tempel got to the cosmic Gong sound. The SEVEN UP experience caused the disintegration of Ash Ra Tempel as a proper band, "Gedanken" (on the KOSMISCHE MUSIK sampler) showed how much in flux Ash Ra Tempel had become. A huge band one moment, and next they were but two!
Such was the unpredictability of Ash Ra Tempel's line-up, that the next album JOIN INN resulted from an impromptu jam, recorded while Manuel, Hartmut and Rosi were waiting for everyone else that was supposed to turn up for the Walter Wegmüller TAROT sessions. It saw the return of Klaus Schulze to the band, and again an album of stark contrasts: "Freak And Roll" being the raunchiest relentless wah-wah guitar rock freak-out ever, and the cosmic drifting Schulze synthesizer-dominated "Jenseits" which featured Manuel's girlfriend Rosi Müller reciting her story of the Timothy Leary experience. After this, the trio toured for a while, playing at the Actuel Festival in Paris in February 1973, amongst other venues. But, two weeks on, after a concert in Cologne, as Manuel put it "Hartmut was too spaced out to play any more", Hartmut left Ash Ra Tempel. Though Klaus had been playing in the band, he wasn't an official member, he was more into developing his solo career.
So, Ash Ra Tempel became Manuel Göttsching and whoever was handy at the time. STARRING ROSI, recorded with Rosi Müller was very varied, sometimes comparable to Gong and Camel, and there's even a cosmic tango! Yet, still there's many classic touches. Also featured was Harald Grosskopf on drums, whom Manuel had worked with on The Cosmic Jokers sessions. After this, alone, Manuel went on to record his most innovative album INVENTIONS FOR ELECTRIC GUITAR, entirely created with guitar and echo devices, though you'd hardly believe it! Akin to Günter Schickert's SAMTVOGEL or more recent Robert Fripp, yet more sequential, cosmic and floating, awash with those typically Göttsching guitar licks. Almost like synthesizer music, yet purely guitar!
Continuing solo, adding synthesizers to his instrumentation, he eventually adopted the guise of Ashra. Manuel also worked in collaboration with many other musicians, including sessions with ex-Agitation Free members Lutz Ulbrich and Michael Hoenig, and in concert with ex-Wallenstein drummer Harald Grosskopf. Some sessions from this period have only appeared as official releases recently, namely the ethereal LE BERCEAU DE CRISTAL film soundtrack, the RIAS radio session DREAM & DESIRE, and the Hoenig/Göttsching jam EARLY WATER. The first two albums released as Ashra at the time were entirely solo, showcasing Manuel's great talent as a multi-instrumentalist, firstly with the cosmic and sequential NEW AGE OF EARTH which showed much Klaus Schulze influence along with unique new way of using sequencers, and then the energetic guitar riffing BLACKOUTS.
Soon Ashra became a proper group. Yet, as a trio, Ashra became far less easy to pin down, CORRELATIONS had an uneasy commerciality, and they almost bordered on disco music on one track of the unevenly balanced BELLE ALLIANCE, yet Ashra still ventured onto more experimental realms. Unique documents of Ashra live in 1979 feature on THE PRIVATE TAPES, showing how many different ideas were at play, attempting an uneasy balance between commercial accessibility and experimentation. This schizophrenic incarnation split and reformed numerous times, and all musicians have recorded solo works and worked in collaboration with other people since. Of the later Ashra albums, the most innovative was WALKIN' THE DESERT which ventured onto new uncharted territory of systemic and weird sound-sampling music, proving Ashra to be just as innovative as they ever were.
Hartmut Enke (bass), Manuel Göttsching (guitar, vocals, electronics), Klaus Schulze (drums, percussion, electronics)
ASH RA TEMPEL (9-11/3/71)
LP Ohr OMM 56013 (1971) «centre-opening gatefold cover»
LP Ohr OMM 556020 (1972)
SEVEN UP (9-10/8/72)
LP Die Kosmischen Kuriere KK 58001 (1973) «gatefold cover»
featured on: KOSMISCHE MUSIK (7/72)
JOIN INN (12/72)
LP Ohr OMM 556032 (1973)
STARRING ROSI (7-8/73)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58007 (1973)
INVENTIONS FOR ELECTRIC GUITAR (7-8/74)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58015 (1975)
NEW AGE OF EARTH (3-6/76)
LP Isadora ISA 9003 (France, 1976)
LP Virgin 25686 XOT (1978), Virgin V2091 (UK, 1978)
LP Virgin 200 431 (1979), Virgin V2117 (UK, 1979)
BELLE ALLIANCE (7/79)
LP Virgin 202 284 (1980)
WALKIN' THE DESERT (1988-89)
LP Navigator NAV 8901-1 (1989)
Association PC were an international free-jazz and rock-fusion band lead by Dutchman Pierre Courbois. By basing themselves in Germany and signing to the Munich jazz label MPS they inevitably became part of German the scene. Partly this was due to German guitarist Toto Blanke. Many of their releases featured a wealth of invention, covering a lot of new ground, stretching the boundaries of jazz. SUN ROTATION and ERNA MORENA were their boldest statements featuring lengthy tracks of great power and aggression, showcasing the talents of Toto Blanke and Jasper van't Hof. In the mid-70's Association PC disintegrated. Toto and Jasper went on to successful solo careers, as well as forming the Electric Circus together. Pierre Courbois returned to jazz realms.
Toto Blanke (guitar), Siggi Busch (bass), Pierre Courbois (drums), Peter Krijen (bass), Jasper van't Hof (keyboards)
LP Munich 6802 634 (1970)
LP BASF/MPS 21 21329-3 (1972)
ERNA MORENA (4/72)
LP BASF/MPS 21 21542-3 (1972)
ROCK AROUND THE COCK
LP BASF/MPS 21 21763-9 (1973)
LP BASF/MPS 21 21840-6 (1974)
featured on: HEIDELBERG JAZZTAGE '73
LP BASF/MPS 21 21913-5 (1974)
Though never confirmed beyond doubt, Asterix would seem to be an early version of Lucifer's Friend (the album credits Hecht, Hesslein, Horns and Lawton as composers), with the addition of a second vocalist, playing a more mainstream 60's styled hard-rock. Their sole LP was only of marginal interest, and never hinted at the more experimental facets of early Lucifer's Friend proper.
George Monroe (vocals), Peter Hecht (organ), Peter Hesslein (guitar), Dieter Horns (bass), Joachim "Addi" Rietenbach (drums)
Everybody / If I Could Fly
7" Decca D 29048 (1970)
LP Decca SLK 16695 (1970)
The Astral Army
Now these are a band I'm sure should have remained lost! Though, as a mid-70's act, their basic rockin' Hawklords type "Interstellar Shortwave" was way ahead of its time!
Alex (vocals), Gunther Dorn (guitar), Wolfgang Willhauk (guitar), Herbert Metzger (guitar), Otto Bretnacher (drums)
featured on: UNKNOWN DEUTSCHLAND: VOLUME 1
Basically, Atlantis were Frumpy reformed and repackaged, but with a more commercial hard-rock style. Fronted by Inga's un-feminine vocals Atlantis' debut was the ideal vehicle for her poignant lyric, with a selection of shorter more varied tracks than on the Frumpy albums, more rock and ballad oriented, though still with some classic tracks. After the ironically wrongly titled IT'S GETTING BETTER, subsequent albums repeated the same formula on an ever more commercial pop and soul level. Really, none of these later albums are of anything but historical interest. Eventually Inga established a solo career, and more recently a reformation under the name Frumpy paled even more so.
Inga Rumpf (vocals, percussion), Jean-Jacques Kravetz (piano, organ), Frank Diez (guitar), Karl-Heinz Schott (bass), Curt Cress (drums, percussion)
LP Vertigo 6360 609 (1973)
IT'S GETTING BETTER (7/73)
LP Vertigo 6360 614 (1973)
LP Vertigo 6360 621 (1974)
2LP Vertigo 6623 900 (1975)
GET ON BOARD
LP Vertigo 6360 630 (1975)
TOP OF THE BILL (12/75+3/76)
LP Venus V78 AT-F 1002 (1978)
Not to be confused with the much later neo-progressive band Baba Jaga, this obscure mid-70's duo were quite aptly named after the fabled fictional magician, being multi-instrumentalists of great invention. Ingo Werner is also known for his earlier work with My Solid Ground and nowadays as a session musician/synthesist. In Baba Yaga, the mixture of ethnic instruments, percussives and multi-keyboards, makes for a music that steps beyond early Between or Deuter, steering clear of any pretty or melodic noodling, moving to darker more abstract realms like the most mysterious Third Ear Band. Largely, this also adds up to a sound close to the later Brainticket albums ADVENTURE and VOYAGE. This one album seems to be the only document of Baba Yaga, and nothing historical is known. An excellent unknown obscurity.
Nemat Darman (santur, sitar, tablas, congas, cymbals, gongs, kettledrums, drums, vibes), Ingo Werner (synthesizers, string ensemble, clavinet, pianos)
LP Phonola LP 7014 (1974)
These were a marginally interesting folk band formed by Frank Baier (ex-Kattong) along with Walter Westrupp (after a couple of years with Die Walter H.C. Meier Pumpe). Though much less engaging and not at all as progressive as the Witthüser+Westrupp albums, their sole LP featured traditional folk melodies and was very heavily laden with strange German lyrics. The LP cover never gave any musician details.
DAT MUß DOCH AUCH WAT SPÄßCKEN BRINGEN!
LP Pläne S 66601 (1976)
Herbert F. Bairy
A new discovery, not in the original book, and an excellent cross-culture fusion from an unknown Krautrock underground talent.
Herbert F. Bairy (percussion, drums, piano, windharp, zither, harmonium, voice, sounds), + Manfred Kniel (percussion, drums), Jürgen Bräuninger (synthesizer, sounds), Georg Heinen (dilruba, tamboura), Martin Klenk (cello), Bernd Konrad (clarinets, soprano sax, flutes), Michael Körber (voice), Dietburg Spohr (voice), Rob Terstall (guitars, bass), Thomas Stabenow (basses), Ulli Süsse (organ), Dizzy Pandtli (tabla), Frédéric Rabold (horn), Rudolf Reindl (trumpets), Jeff Beer (synthesizer, bass, drums, guitars, voice, harmonium, percussion), Jeanette McLeod (voice), Michael Weilers (guitars)
LP Sandra SMP 2019 (1979)
Along similar lines to the Alan Parsons Project, as a late-70's dilution of progressive musics in a conceptual opus, Carsten Bohn's Bandstand were ill-fated and certainly not what one would expect from a former Frumpy, Dennis and Kickbit Information musician, with such a luminary cast of helpers. Of curiosity and historic interest only (and be warned, the album's steadily get worse as they go along), Bandstand were the crap total commercialisation of Krautrock.
Carsten Bohn (drums, guitar, vocals, percussion), Frank Fischer (bass), Manne Rürup (piano, synthesizer), Bob Reed (percussion), + Rainer Baumann (guitar), Roman Bunka (guitar), Muck Groh (guitar), Günter Reger (sax), Micho Corea (guitar), Peter Wolbrandt (guitar), Lee Kantzmann (trumpet), Lawrence Elam (trumpet), Hans Uwe Reimers (sax), Egon Christmann (trombone), Linda Fields (vocals), Freya Wippich (vocals), Jackie Carter (vocals)
HUMOR RUMOR (7-11/77)
LP Erlkönig ERL 2007 (1978)
MOTHER GOOSE SHOES (1979)
LP Erlkönig INT 148.407 (1979)
C.B. RADIO (5/80)
LP Erlkönig INT 148.417 (1980)
Peter Baumann, like many synth soloists, had a chequered start to his career as a musician, being in many Berlin bands during his youth, including Burning Touch, The Ants and various other unknowns. But, as a member of the most famous and successful Tangerine Dream incarnation (from 1972 to 1978) Peter had a sure footing for a solo career.
His debut as soloist, ROMANCE 76, was recorded whilst he was also at his most active within Tangerine Dream. Actually, when comparing ROMANCE 76 to Tangerine Dream's STRATOSFEAR, this revealed his own influence within the Tangerine Dream style of the era, with a sequencer based and sparse electronic music, putting the accent on melody and intricate structure. The orchestral complemented suite that covered side 2 "Meadow Of Infinity/The Glass Bridge" is his finest creation, taking synth and rock musics to more classical avant-garde realms. At this time Peter also established the short-lived but prolific Paragon Studio, presenting innovative albums by Cluster, Conrad Schnitzler, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Asmus Tietchens and various others. Upon leaving Tangerine Dream, subsequent Peter Baumann solo albums saw him move on to the realms of Kraftwerkian electro-pop. A strange move.
In the early-80's Peter quit his Paragon Studio and moved base to America, recording the abysmal STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT before disappearing from the music scene for some time. He then later reappeared as the owner of the Private Music Record Company promoting light instrumental and new-age music, but has never released an album of his own music since STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT!
ROMANCE 76 (7-8/76)
LP Virgin 28311 XOT (1976), Virgin V2069 (UK, 1976)
TRANS HARMONIC NIGHTS (7/78-1/79)
LP Virgin 200 578-320 (1979), Virgin V2124 (UK, 1979)
LP Virgin 204 014-320 (1981), Virgin V2214 (UK, 1981)
STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT
LP Arista 205 970-320 (1983)
Despite what media and many collectors would try to have us believe, Baumann/Koek were nothing whatsoever to do with Peter Baumann. In fact, it would seem that the Baumann/Koek album was a cleverly conceived con-job issued just as Peter announced his departure from Tangerine Dream! With a music based on the Tangerine Dream sequencer style, and often comparable to Michael Bundt's early solo material, it made for a pleasant if simple melodic synth album, and was amongst the first independent Teutonic synth releases to get noticed internationally. As to who exactly Baumann/Koek were - one could guess - though the name Baumann is very common in Germany!
LP private release BAU-KE (1979)
These were an obscure heavy blues-rock band, but with little individual identity, nor any real Krautrock touches, being much more English styled. Their privately issued album is sought after in collectors circles due to its scarcity, more than for its musical content. Despite what Dag Erik Asbjørnsen says about these - which seems to describe a completely different album - in his book "Cosmic Dreams At Play", we weren't impressed, as ON TOUR sounds much like an average late-60's British hard-rock album.
Ulrich Klawitter (guitar, vocals), Michael Lobbe (guitars), Volker Wobbe (bass), Gerhardt Meyer (drums, percussion)
LP BMF BS 6232 855 (1972)
The origins of the DDR band Bayon go back to 1971 and a collection of like-minded students at universities in Weimar who got together to form an amateur band. By 1972 the group had stabilised as two Germans, a Kampuchean and a Cuban, and of course the music from such a cross-culture foursome was unique. Blending folk musics with rock and jazz, it made for a wide range of styles, from psychedelic rock onto pure ethnic music.
Some of their earlier weirder psychedelic type concoctions, as heard on the HALLO series, hint at the Third Ear Band, but are quite original in the use of Oriental touches, blues, psychedelia and 60's pop elements. Their debut LP plunged deeper into oriental musics resulting in what sounded like a Chinese band attempting European fusion, whereas SUITE, probably their most refined and esoteric album, blended in more classical and European folk styles, drawing comparisons to Between and Continuum. As time went on, the band tended to disintegrate on EL SONIDO, and much of their earlier innovation was lost in favour of an odd blending of jazz and Latino elements. But, it must be said that, of all DDR bands Bayon were certainly the most original and intriguing. It's a great shame that they weren't given more freedom in their early days.
Christoph Theusner (acoustic guitar, flute), Sonny Thet (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion), Reiner Pätzold (bass), + Tobias Morgenstern (accordion), Norbert Jäger (percussion, marimba)
featured on: HALLO, NR. 1, 2, 8, 9
LP Amiga 8 55 570 (DDR, 1978)
LP Amiga 8 55 772 (DDR, 1980)
EL SONIDO (12/82-8/85)
LP Amiga 8 56 139 (DDR, 1985)
Beatique In Corporation
These were an early blues-rock band from Hamburg whose only recorded output seems to be on the POP & BLUES FESTIVAL album. Their contributions had lengthy instrumental sections and classical touches, showing promise that they could have become a major league band. Who exactly they were, we've no idea!
featured on: POP & BLUES FESTIVAL '70
Although Dutch born, Jerry Berkers was very much a part of the Krautrock scene. He was the original Wallenstein bassist and second vocalist (often taking the lead on MOTHER UNIVERSE), and was also a collaborator in the early Cosmic Courier sessions. Jerry also recorded an album of his unique folky, psychedelic spiced rock (as hinted at in softer Wallenstein songs) showing much influence from acoustic Pink Floyd, in fact British and German folk-song in general. But, be warned, Jerry's deeply intoned Dutch accented German vocals can be a little hard to take at times!
After this, Jerry disappeared into obscurity. Rumour has it, that when on an LSD trip he announced to his friends that he was walking back to the land of flowers: Holland (not really that far from Monchengladbach), and he was never seen again. Whether this is true, or just a fanciful tale, we may never know!
Jerry Berkers (guitars, bass, percussion, vocals), + Jürgen Dollase (keyboards), Thomas Engel (drums, percussion, choir), Bill Barone (guitar), Walter Westrupp (harmonica), Bernd Witthüser (acoustic guitar), Dieter Dierks (choir)
LP Pilz 20 29131-6 (1972)
Na Na Tschu Tschu / Es Wird Morgen Vorbei Sein
7" Pilz 05 19128-6 (1972)
Unlike most DDR progressives who served a long apprenticeship before making an album, Berluc were virtually catapulted onto the scene in early 1979, only a few of months after their formation. Their debut REISE ZU DEN STERNEN was quite remarkable for its invention and originality, especially as a space-rock album with lots of synthesizers, heavy rock and ballads, almost a cross between Stern Meissen and Hawkwind, with typically East Euro touches akin to Omega and Progres 2. Unfortunately, further albums (with a different guitarist and bassist each time) paled each in succession to a rather ordinary indistinguishable song-based 80's DDR rock mediocrity.
Dietmar Ränker (drums), Alexander Stehr (keyboards), Manfred Kähler (vocals), Gerd Pöppel (guitar), Günter Briesenick (bass)
REISE ZU DEN STERNEN (1979)
LP Amiga 8 55 692 (DDR, 1979), Pool 6.24959 (1979)
HUNDERTTAUSEND URGEWALTEN (1981)
LP Amiga 8 55 934 (DDR, 1982)
ROCKER VON DER KÜSTE
LP Amiga 8 56 090 (DDR, 1984)
A most unusual and unique group, the Munich combo Between (formed in 1970 as Between The Chairs) were the brainchild of musical theorist and experimentalist Peter Michael Hamel. As such, Between drew together a wide range of international musicians into a musical and cultural melting pot. Between were aptly in between everything, both musically and culturally.
Featuring avant-garde tendencies within a music that blended the medieval, the ancient and the futuristic, with jazz and rock musics, the initial results on their debut EINSTEIG were most inspiring. Arguably a step on from The Third Ear Band (sans the mantric rhythms) Between were invention in the extreme, in a music that was melodic yet challenging. Not surprising for a band that featured such acclaimed musicians as James Galway, Roberto Détrée and Robert Eliscu. There are some extraordinary cosmic excursions here too, all amounting to a revolutionary mixture of psychedelic and world musics. EINSTEIG is still as remarkable and fresh now as when it was created. Further albums developed the Between sound on an increasingly ethnic level AND THE WATERS OPENED with its atmospheric dronings from Détrée's moto-cello is probably Between's most innovative and fascinating, it's an album that oozes beauty and mystery. It's almost chilling! DHARANA and CONTEMPLATION were the most ambitious on a cross-cultural level, and were much more serious in their attitude. Both of these combined Indian and African musics into a larger more symphonic sound, notably so the lengthy excursions that encompassed the second side of each. Finally, with SILENCE BEYOND TIME Between moved both closer to esoteric ECM jazz realms, notably because of Roger Jannotta's presence and other influences, and also moved closer to traditional ethnic musics.
It's a great shame that Between split after this. Peter Michael Hamel has been quite prolific since, going on to work solo in systemic/new-age music and also serious avant-garde. Also, Roberto Détrée has continued his work with novel instrument creations. During Between's history Peter Michael Hamel also worked with Agitation Free, Bob Eliscu worked on and off with Popol Vuh in tandem with Between, and Cotch Black was also in the rock group Sinto, and the jazz/percussion ensemble Niagara. An oddity in Between's discography is the album HESSE BETWEEN MUSIC, which wasn't really a Between album as such, but a radio-play project of one Gerd Westphal with Between and guests. Its message is lost to non-German ears, and musically only some of it is real Between. Approach with caution!
Roberto Détrée (guitar, moto-cello), Jimmy J. Galway (flute), Bob Eliscu (oboe, flute, crumhorn, voice), Cottrell Black (tympani, congas, drums), Ulrich Stranz (viola), Peter Michael Hamel (organ, piano)
LP Wergo WER 1001 (1971)
AND THE WATERS OPENED
LP Vertigo 6360 612 (1973)
LP Vertigo 6360 619 (1974)
HESSE BETWEEN MUSIC (6/74)
LP Harvest 1C 062-29 546 (1975)
LP Wergo WER-SM 1012 (1977)
STILL ÜBER DER ZEIT/SILENCE BEYOND TIME (1979)
LP Wergo SM 1023 (1980)
Formed in 1968 as a Cologne student rock-band, Birth Control chose their name as a stab at Pope Paul's anti birth control policy. In their early days, dogged by military service commitments, and ideological differences, the line-up was in flux for many years. In fact, only two original members remained by the time of their first album, at which time they had moved base to Berlin for a while.
Their debut was released with a special mock birth control pill case type cover, and introduced them as an original hard-rock band with a classical edge, extensively featuring the keyboards of Reinhold Sobotta. Highly progressive (with a psychedelic edge) and with an original sound, they also paid homage to one of their influences with a highly creative version of The Doors' "Light My Fire". Comparable to many British bands of the era, Birth Control were accessible and creative, yet rarely on their studio albums did they ever show how talented they really were. The album OPERATION was much more conventional than their debut, and they also released a lot of singles at this time. This was Birth Control the underground pop band, with a hard-rock based style. Birth Control were the straightest of rock bands on the Ohr label!
Strangely, after moving to CBS, the third Birth Control album HOODOO MAN took them to very different realms. It's surprising that the same album that spawned a hit single could also be their most experimental, the creativity in HOODOO MAN ranges from sublime to outrageous. But, ever unpredictable, the album REBIRTH was not so hot. It seemed that CBS wanted Birth Control to become a German Chicago type brass-rock band. Yet, the double album LIVE revealed their talent as superb musicians and improvisers, showcasing Zeus B. Held as a major new asset.Moving away from 60's influences, the concept album PLASTIC PEOPLE had its moments, with a move to more sophisticated mid-70's progressive styles, and complexly composed works featuring synths, winds and guitars. It was BACKDOOR POSSIBILITIES that saw their final creative peak, being a surreal concept work, with a move into more instrumentally complex progressive-rock, like a hybrid of all they had done before, embellished with Gentle Giant type multi-vocal cannons and keyboard stylisms. All change in 1977, adding two ex-Message members, and subsequent albums moved to a funky pop-rock, becoming less interesting with each release. A minor highlight was the LIVE '79 album, which recaptured some early magic. Since this, Birth Control have reformed many times without any real success.
Bernd Koschmidder (bass), Reinhold Sobotta (organ), Bernd Noske (drums, vocals), Bruno Frenzel (guitar, vocals)
October / Freedom
7" Amadeo AVRS 21560 (1969)
No Drugs / All I Want Is You
7" Metronome M 25204 (1970)
LP Metronome MLP 15.366 (1970)
Hope / Rollin'
7" Ohr OS 57003 (1970)
LP Ohr OMM 56015 (1971)
What's Your Name / Believe In The Pill
7" Ohr OS 57007 (1972)
HOODOO MAN (9-10/72)
LP CBS S 65316 (1973)
Nostalgia / Kaulstoß
7" CBS 1682 (1973)
LP CBS 65963 (1974)
2LP CBS 88088 (1974)
PLASTIC PEOPLE (5-6/75)
LP CBS 80921 (1975)
BACKDOOR POSSIBILITIES (7-8/76)
LP Brain 60.019 (1976)
Fall Down / Laugh Or Cry
7" Metronome 30.036 (1977)
LP Brain 60.066 (1977)
LP Brain 60.149 (1978)
LIVE '79 (6/79)
LP Brain 60.240 (1979)
COUNT ON DRACULA (10-12/79)
LP Ariola 201 299 (1980)
DEAL DONE AT NIGHT (11-12/80)
LP Ariola 203 423 (1981)
LP Ohr Today OMM 560.002 (1982)
Amongst the earliest of Krautrock bands, The Blackbirds (like Xhol) started elsewhere before venturing on to experimental realms. In fact, they were originally a 60's pop band typical of the soul-beat era, but with a touch of the Mothers Of Invention type satire and some progressive touches. Although their debut NO DESTINATION had its moments, it is generally very dated and only of marginal interest. Curiously it only ever gained a UK release.
By the time of their second album TOUCH OF MUSIC, the three year gap had made a lot of difference. In fact, only one member (Werner Breinig) remained from the original line-up, and they had moved on to a classical spiced rock music of great invention, blending heavy and spacey styles with great finesse. Strong songs form the basis of most tracks, all of which are sufficiently long enough to give plenty of room for solos from flute, violin, guitar and keyboards. Stylistically The Blackbirds here come pretty close to Italian bands of the era like New Trolls, Panna Fredda, Hero, at al, (a hint of Xhol Caravan and Vanilla Fudge even more so) and they also had much in common with British bands like Skin Alley or Jody Grind. It's a shame they never made a third album!
Werner Breinig (guitar, vocals), Heinz Koop (bass), Hubert Koop (organ), Helmut Vigneron (drums)
LP Saga FID 2113 (UK, 1968)
TOUCH OF MUSIC
LP OPP 5-34 (1971)
One of many obscure bands on the little-known independent label Brutkasten, Black Spirit were of Italo-German origins, and may actually have been Swiss. Their style was a basic heavy progressive, with some Cream, Man, Quicksilver influences, and some saving moments, but were largely uninspired, and of only marginal interest.
Salvatore Curto (keyboards, vocals), Giovanni Granato (bass), Nicola Ceravolo (guitar), Johnny G. Peske (drums), + Gianny Piras (percussion)
BLACK SPIRIT (1969-78)
LP Brutkasten 850 006 (1978)
Amongst the most obscure of Berlin bands, Blackwater Park's sole album was nothing remarkable, being mainstream Anglo-American styled heavy rock with blues touches, with no real individuality or experimentation. They were very basic Edgar Broughton Band type stuff really, nothing more. But, despite this, DIRT BOX still gained a reputation in collectors circles amongst those liking gutsy heavy rock. This said, the album only has one track of any real merit for Krautrock fans, which reflects Andreas Scholz's origins in Murphy Blend.
Michael Fechner (guitar), Richard Routledge (vocals, guitar), Andreas Scholz (bass), Norbert Kagelmann (drums)
DIRT BOX (17-20/12/71)
LP BASF 20 21238-6 (1972)
Toto Blanke was originally the guitarist in the German-Dutch avant-garde/jazz-fusion band Association PC. With them he served a long apprenticeship, and made friends with many international musicians, achieving fame as one of the most dazzling fusion guitarists in Europe. His work as a soloist, as group leader, and with his own experimental band Electric Circus, has indeed been most varied. With the aid of top international session musicians (John Lee and Gerry Brown were both previously in Dutchman Chris Hinze's band) on his debut SPIDER'S DANCE, he took the Association PC sound into rock realms (as hinted at by his composition "Spider" on Association PC's SUN ROTATION), and came up with fiery fusion akin to Mahavishnu Orchestra, playing some dazzlingly fiery guitar against Charlie Mariano's flute and sax. Since then, Toto's ventured onto creating all sorts of fusions, from simple classical and jazz musics through to groundbreaking avant-garde, both as a multi-instrumental soloist and in collaboration with other musicians. Sometimes Toto embraces technology and pushes it to the limits, and at other times he ignores it altogether. Such is his schizophrenic personality as a musician. Apart from numerous albums with Electric Circus (see entry elsewhere) his most interesting release since the 70's is the more recent, and very bizarre, adventurous classical/electronic-fusion of FOOL'S PARADISE.
Toto Blanke (guitars), + Joachim Kühn (electric piano), John Lee (bass), Charly Mariano (soprano sax, flute), Gerry Brown (drums)
SPIDER'S DANCE (7-8/74)
LP Vertigo 6360 623 (1974)
TALES OF TOMORROW (2/78)
LP Bacillus BAC 2054 (1978)
SOMEWHERE IN TIME
LP Aliso 1012 (1981)
These were originally a fully fledged band on their debut album DIE ZEIT STEHT STILL, playing a lightweight progressive rock, stylistically close to Novalis or DDR bands like Karat or Electra, with folky phrased lyrics in German. Later releases however (not listed here) saw the rest of the band scarper, leaving Blonker as the vehicle for guitarist Dieter Geike with the aid of various session musicians (Peter Franken, Dieter Horns, Jochen Petersen, etc.), playing a lightweight guitar fronted instrumental music, even softer than Michael Rother, akin to Sky or Hank Marvin. Really, these albums are so wet and pretty, that they are not musically within the scope of this book!
Kay Jessen (vocals, percussion), Thomas Grützmacher (bass, percussion), Nicolas Stallard (keyboards), Helge Tillmann (drums), Dieter Geike (guitars, percussion), + Gaby Borowski (choir), Rolf Köhler (choir), Heiko Effertz (choir), Bernardo Ball (percussion)
DIE ZEIT STEHT STILL (11-12/77)
LP Brain 60.104 (1978)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN II
This was the project of one Rainer Degner (ex-German Bonds and Rattles guitarist), creating a psychedelic rock and beat theme music all based on the song "Meister Jakob" (note: Bokaj Retsiem is Meister Jakob backwards, or what we know as "Frère Jacques"). Hardly "psychedelic underground", of minor curiosity interest only.
LP Fass 1532 WY (1969)
M.L. Bongers Project
An obscure band, fronted by singer Marcel L. Bongers, of whom we know virtually nothing historically. Comparable to many other fellow late-70's progressives: Second Movement, Rousseau, Pancake, et al., the strangely named M.L. Bongers Project had a slightly different angle, in that they made that spacey type of progressive, often more akin to the French band Pulsar. They were a lot better than most, with thick wedges of keyboards, guitars and lots of flute, especially the lengthy suite covering side 1 of the LP.
Jacques Thysen (bass, acoustic guitars), Günter Heinz (drums, percussion), Joe Grande (guitar), J. Georg Kobeck (keyboards), Marcel L. Bongers (vocals), + Georg Michels (flute)
PACIFIC PRISON (7/78)
LP private release F 666 372 (1979)
Brainstorm originated from Baden-Baden (in South West Germany), as the eccentric Mothers Of Invention inspired combo with the unlikely name Fashion Prick. Later, wisely changing name and becoming Brainstorm, they still attempted to shock with their debut album SMILE A WHILE, which caused such a scandal due to its outrageous cover that it was apparently withdrawn from release! The music on both Brainstorm albums was a highly inventive blend of songs and instrumentals, with a touch of Zappa, and Canterbury inspired certainly, akin to Caravan, Hatfield & The North, Soft Machine, etc., but also with a style all of their own. Highlighted by quality musicianship, notably a dizzying array of winds and keyboards, with complexly arranged instrumentals and, like the Dutch band Supersister, a penchant for eccentric tongue-in-cheek humour. Brainstorm lived up to their name, and both albums are classics of the genre. Roland Schaefer later became a bastion of Guru Guru, and Joachim Koinzer has fronted numerous fusion bands since.
Eddy von Overheidt (organ, electric piano, vocals), Joachim Koinzer (drums, percussion), Roland Schaeffer (guitar, soprano/tenor saxes, clarinet, electric piano, percussion, basses, vocals), Rainer Bodensohn (flutes, bass, vocals)
SMILE A WHILE (8/72)
LP Spiegelei 28 505-6U (1972)
You're The One / Das Schwein Trügt
7" Spiegelei 22 319-8N (1973)
SECOND SMILE (3-6/73)
LP Spiegelei 28 596-5U (1973)
The history of Brainticket is virtually undocumented, and their origins are also very confused. And, although they are considered by many to be a Krautrock band, they were really a nomad troupe, going wherever the scene took them. Basically, Brainticket were born out of the 60's jazz and soul scenes, and a variety of groups featuring Belgian born keyboardist Joel Vandroogenbroeck. Their origins can be traced back to 1968, as the nucleus of Dee Dee Barry And The Movements, with Joel Vandroogenbroeck (organ, flute), Ron Bryer (guitar), and Wolfgang Paap (drums), though this was far away from the music they were later to create. Joel, along with a few like-minded musicians active in the South of Germany, inevitably got caught up in the fertile Krautrock scene, and like many other bands from the area they formed an international combo that drew on a wide range of influences.
Their debut COTTONWOODHILL (sometimes just referred to as BRAINTICKET or "SAME") has long been one of the most revered and quoted of psychedelic albums. All but for the two short dreamy surreal tracks that open side 1 of the album (which hint at the later Brainticket sound), the majority of the album is a long repetitive funky groove opus, propelled along by chunky organ and percussion. It has the spirit of Can, the outrageousness of Funkadelic, and pre-empting Faust, and for 1971 it's certainly nothing less than revolutionary. Over this musical mantra, Dawn Muir recants vividly the experience of an extraordinary LSD trip, acting it out for us, including all the paranoia, visions of ecstasy, power and confusion, the pure surreal buzz of the experience. This is topped off by extraordinary use of special effects, sound-collage and electronics. And, if that weren't enough, they also resort to all manner of trickery and surprising diversions. It all adds up to a strange and unique album that's still surprisingly startling and fresh over 25 years on, and as a result it's also been the subject of numerous homage's.
Moving base to Italy, some of the band split off and formed the Swiss hard-rock band Toad, and thus a new version of Brainticket evolved. Though Brainticket were never quite so radical or eccentric again, the second album PSYCHONAUT, being by a transitional band, covered a wide range of styles. It was more your typical trippy progressive, with actual songs and compositions, sometimes in the vein of early Hawkwind, yet often closer to Quintessence and Group 1850. There are many facets to the music here, especially when venturing on to trippy folk territory, with female lead vocals, akin to Emtidi or Pentangle (a little). New members: Swiss percussionist Barney Palm and American singer/multi-instrumentalist Carole Muriel, were to become the nucleus of the third version of Brainticket recording CELESTIAL OCEAN, a bizarre mystical concept based on Egyptian mythology. It's an album that saw a diversion to weirder more electronic realms, with strong use of ethnic instruments and a wealth of surprises. Strangely, in a way, it pre-empted Nik Turner's similarly conceived SPHINX XITINTODAY project, and its influence can be heard in much of 80's space-rock. Though very different to the original Brainticket, they were still proving to be innovators. This trio apparently existed for some time touring Germany, Switzerland and Italy in the mid-70's.
We know that Brainticket carried on through the late-70's, as concert tapes have been advertised by some dealers, though nothing was released again until 1980. This later incarnation, who issued the albums ADVENTURE and VOYAGE, seemed to be purely a studio project, based in Basel Switzerland, making a highly experimental music, with lots of jazz and diverse ethnic influences. For the first time, Brainticket were a totally instrumental combo, leaving the music to speak for itself. Apart from a proliferation of electronics, these albums strongly feature percussion and flute, and in the established tradition of Brainticket, these were groundbreaking stuff, again radical innovative albums, though far from the psychedelic realms of the 70's releases. (Note: the Purple Pyramid CD releases feature the wrong LP's, ADVENTURE is actually VOYAGE, and visa-versa!) In parallel, during the late-70's and through on to the 90's, Joel Vandroogenbroeck has also fronted other projects, he had is own jazz-rock band Joel, and has also done much solo work, as well as travelling the world researching obscure ethnic music cultures. It seems that he is currently earning a living by recording music for film and TV. See Joel Vandroogenbroeck entry for more information.
Ron Bryer (guitar), Werni Froehlich (bass), Hellmuth Kolbe (potentiometers, generators, sound effects), Cosimo Lampis (drums), Dawn Muir (voice), Wolfgang Paap (tabla), Joel Vandroogenbroeck (organ, flute)
LP Hallelujah X 606 (Switzerland, 1971), Hallelujah/Bellaphon BLPS 19019 (1971)
LP Bellaphon BLPS 19104 (1972)
CELESTIAL OCEAN (8-9/72)
LP RCA Victor DLISP 34158 (Italy, 1973) «gatefold cover plus poster»
LP private release BT 80-1 (Switzerland, 1980)
LP private release BT 80-2 (Switzerland, 1982)
Chris Braun Band
Female vocalist and band, with hints of Frumpy.
Chris Braun (lead vocals), Elmar Krohn (guitars, flute, percussion, vocals), Horst Schreiber (guitars, percussion, vocals), Jochen Bernstein (bass), Bill Bakine (drums, percussion)
BOTH SIDES (3-4/72)
LP BASF 20 21399-4 (1973)
FOREIGN LADY (11/73)
LP Pan 87586 (1973)
JEDE MENGE KOHLE
LP CBS 70208 (1981)
LP EMI 1C 064-65050 (1983)
Brave New World
A short-lived Hamburg based project, featuring Irishman John O'Brien-Docker (formerly of City Preachers and Marcel) and jazzer Herb Geller, along with a few top local rock and pop musicians. Brave New World's whole oeuvre was the concept of the Aldous Huxley science fiction novel. An unlikely "supergroup", and remarkably the music they created was unprecedented and original. On their LP, Brave New World blended styles, in such an unlikely manner, hinting at the music later created by the likes of Art Zoyd or Univers Zero. Virtually instrumental, blending medieval musics, electronics, jazz and rock in a dazzlingly complex fusion, a big step beyond early Between, with the Krautrock feel of Annexus Quam, Achim Reichel, Tomorrow's Gift, et al. And, dig that over-amplified stylophone! An all-time Krautrock classic.
Dicky Tarrach (drums, percussion), Lucas Lindholm (bass, bass fiddle, organ, piano), Herb Geller (flutes, cor anglais, alto/soprano/tenor saxes, organ), Reinhart Firchow (recorders, flutes, ocarina, stylophone, percussion, vocals), John O'Brien-Docker (guitars, organ, percussion, vocals, wind chimes), + Esther Daniels (vocals)
IMPRESSIONS ON READING ALDOUS HUXLEY (5-6/72)
LP Vertigo 6360 606 (1972)
An obscure mid-70's rock band, of the more mainstream type with notable American influences. Their album had its moments, with hints of Thirsty Moon and Karthago. Only of marginal interest.
Ferdi Kühnel (vocals, flute, percussion), Horst Schreiber (guitars, vocals), Guntmar Feuerstein (organ, piano, synthesizer, vocals, percussion), Eberhard Voelz (bass, vocals), Bill Bakine (drums, percussion), Jürgen Kampert (acoustic guitar, vocals)
IT'S TIME FOR BREAKFAST (12/75-1/76)
LP Sky 004 (1976)
Originating from traditional folk music, Bröselmaschine were formed in Duisburg in autumn 1968, and were fronted by renowned guitarist, theorist and writer Peter Bursch. The original band, who were inspired by Pentangle (their quote, not ours) and European folk musics, played a mixture of all sorts of cultures. They wrapped vibrant songs in a hybrid of folk, Indian music, psychedelic rock and cosmic musics, all fused together to form a delicate spacious folk-fusion of great beauty. Their style was characterised by Jenni Schücker, who has a most sensual vocal style ideally suited to such music, all ready to wisp us off to the clouds with the "heads flying by" - to quote the surreal psychedelic lyrics of the opening "Gedanken". With the exception of "Lassie" (a minor low-point, being a traditional folk song) BRÖSELMASCHINE is a delightful album, trippy and otherworldly, stylishly Teutonic cosmic folk, not least so in the addition of Dieter Dierks spooky Mellotron, sitars, zither, tablas, and the like. It all adds up to an ideal companion to Emtidi's SAAT or Hölderlin's TRAUM.
The later incarnation made a different type of music, and was less of a proper band and more a vehicle for Bursch's own ego, though Willi Kismer from the original band also carried on through. Peter Bursch had become celebrated, with books published on his guitar techniques and was eager to show the world, though really neither of these later albums amounted to much.
Jenni Schücker (vocals, flute, shells), Willi Kismer (vocals, guitars, zither), Lutz Ringer (metallophon, bass), Mike Hellbach (congas, tabla, spoons, Mellotron), Peter Bursch (vocals, acoustic guitar, sitar, flute)
LP Pilz 20 21100-2 (1971)
PETER BURSCH UND BRÖSELMASCHINE (2+7/75)
LP Xenophon 161.012 (1976)
I FEEL FINE (5-7/77)
LP Spiegelei INT 160.610 (1978)
A really eccentric and bizarre political theatre troupe from (we presume) Hamburg. Brühwarm were not a proper band as such, more a quartet of singer/actors, and thus on their LP releases they sought the aid of Ton Steine Scherben as musical backing, who added their aggressive rock style to Brühwarm's strange theatrics. The concoction they came up with certainly owed a debt to Floh De Cologne, though due to the overtly theatrical nature of their albums, lyrically Brühwarm can be very confusing to non-German ears!
Ralph, Götz, Donny & Corny (vocals), + Ton Steine Scherben (music)
LP April 0006 (1976)
LP April 0016 (1978)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
Bullfrog were a rather heavy-handed hard-rock and melodic progressive from the mid-70's, notable for their unusual Rod Stewart like gravel-voiced vocalist Gerd Hoch, but with little in the way of a distinctive style or originality. Really, they sounded British, not at all Krautrock, and only really of interest to hard-rock fans and Sky Records collectors! There was another band could Bullfrog who should not be confused with these.
Sebastian Leitner (guitars), Gerd Hoch (vocals), Harald Kaltenecker (keyboards), Vincent Trost (bass), Bruno Perosa (percussion), + Ute Hellermann (choir), Jane Palmer (choir)
LP Sky 006 (1976)
HIGH IN SPIRITS (8+10/77)
LP Sky 012 (1977)
LP Nash NR 003 (1980)
Originally, as a bass guitarist, Michael Bundt started his career as the leader of the band Medusa, an obscure early-70's progressive who by a strange chain of events transmuted into the second incarnation of Nine Days Wonder. After leaving Nine Days Wonder, Michael tried on various occasions to get a new band together. One of these was Nerve, but without any success Nerve soon disbanded, and then Michael made a surprising career change into synth music, teaming up with ex-Tritonus keyboardist Peter K. Seiler as the duo Sirius. Eventually this collaboration with Peter Seiler led to the recording of the very varied synthesizer album JUST LANDED COSMIC KID, which ranged from Schulzian cosmic realms onto upbeat styles, onto many other realms too. It also included the Jarre/Baumann styled single originally credited to Sirius. Not content to stay still, his next album NEON was a dodgy diversion into electro-pop, no doubt inspired by the success of Kraftwerk. Then, two years on, it was all-change again with ELECTRI-CITY, this time for an album of highly inventive borderline industrial synthesizer based music. Based on more aggressive use of analogue synths and sequencers, it often veers towards Cluster, Asmus Tietchens or Moebius & Plank, rhythmic and melodic yet also highly unusual.
Michael Bundt (synthesizers, string ensemble), + Peter K. Seiler (keyboards), Bernhard Schuh (drums), Carlos Albrecht (drums), Inge Laib (vocals), Paul de la Ware Ranson (vocals)
JUST LANDED COSMIC KID
LP Offers OMP 7704 (1977)
LP Hansa 200 349 (1978)
LP Blubber Lips bl 810 (1980)
One of the most celebrated and influential of all Krautrock bands, Can dared to bring the avant-garde to the masses and succeeded. Can certainly had the credentials to do so too, with backgrounds in serious avant-garde (studying with Stockhausen) and in jazz. Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt had known each other from their contemporary studies, though it was Holger meeting multi-instrumental talent Michael Karoli that set the formation of the band in motion. Being connected with the arts certainly had its advantages. A matter of days after getting a band together, then named "The Inner Space", they played their first concert at the Schloss Norvenich, near Cologne in June 1968. A tape of some of this was much later released as PREHISTORIC FUTURE, with a wild rock sound comparable to Amon Düül, though much more avant-garde and free-form.
David Johnson (an American jazz winds player who had also worked with Stockhausen) was a member of the band at this time, and featured on some of the early Can sessions, he also acted as their engineer for a while. After the addition of black American singer Malcolm Mooney came Can proper, moving to a more straight ahead rock, that many compare to the Velvet Underground. Due to his fascination with electronics (as further evidenced on the Technical Space Composers Crew album) and his ability to handle the recording equipment, Holger Czukay also became the bands recording engineer. Can's debut album MONSTER MOVIE and the later anthology of early recordings DELAY 1968 documented a music with 60's punk energy, pacey rhythms and the manic vocals of Mooney. But, this phase of Can was short-lived, as Malcolm Mooney was forced to leave the band due to ill health.
The next lead vocalist to front Can was an unlikely choice, a Japanese busker, one Kenji "Damo" Suzuki. His penchant for vocal experimentation led Can in a very different direction. The transition period was documented by the surprisingly varied and creative SOUNDTRACKS, featuring music to a number of underground films. Next was the greatest of Can albums, the monumental double album TAGO MAGO, which, although starting on safe ground, draws the listener in with a succession of even greater weirdness and invention, not least "Aumgn" with Jaki's manic drums and "Peking O." where Damo lets out some of the most agonising vocal sounds amidst a plethora of electronic and percussive effects. Weird and radical innovation, that still sounds bizarre twenty odd years on! In contrast (in fact in contrast with each other) the other two albums to feature Damo were, on the whole, less extreme: EGE BAMYASI with a collection of mostly shorter accessible songs, though still odd and uniquely Can, unexpectedly breaking-out with the wild avant-garde 10 minute "Soup" on the second side, and FUTURE DAYS which is often quoted as Can's most well-balanced and successful album, with its dreamy cosmic otherworldly atmosphere, understated songs and strong melodic content. This is the era that brought Can international success, with many tours in Britain and the continent. They also recorded sessions for the BBC's "John Peel Show" and "In Concert" programmes.
After Damo's departure, the famous four continued to forge on (sometimes with a featured vocalist in concert: Tim Hardin, Thaiaga Raj Raja Ratnam and Magic Michael amongst them) and produced a quite extraordinarily powerful and very percussive album in SOON OVER BABALUMA, with compositions that were to prove to be great concert favourites, a dense and complex music that was earlier hinted at on the great "Halleluwah" and "Mother Sky". Yet, ever surprising, the next Can offering LANDED was as different again, and in many ways marked the end of an era in Can history. Here we can hear songs that hint at Holger Czukay's solo project MOVIES, one of Can's most dazzling rock extravaganza's in "Vernal Equinox", and lastly their most esoteric and brooding opus, the aptly entitled free-form avant-garde "Unfinished".
Earlier, an album of unreleased recordings had been issued on UA's budget series as LIMITED EDITION, documenting the most uncommercial and off-beat Can. In 1976, together with a bonus LP's worth of further previously unissued material, it was issued as UNLIMITED EDITION. This would seem to be Can's response to THE FAUST TAPES, containing some of the weirdest Can ever.
Admittedly, the later era of Can, borne by the surprise hit single "I Want More" and the overtly schizophrenic FLOWMOTION, still offered some exceptional music, yet only the ethnic fusion spiced SAW DELIGHT really shone, strongly featuring Karoli's fluid guitar lines, Schmidt's synthesizers and keyboards bordering on Schulzian realms, and Czukay's expert use of sound effects. It's easy to see why real schizophrenia stepped in on OUT OF REACH, as Holger had gone, and with the unlikely ex-Traffic Rosko Gee and Reebop Kwaku Baah in the ranks there were many conflicting elements at play. However, by the time of their eponymous 70's finale they'd created a formula that worked, all be it safe and easy going compared to the Can of yore.
But still, right through to the late-70's Can proved to be innovators, especially so in concert, as documented on numerous bootlegs, and also the excellent THE PEEL SESSIONS. It's a shame that more of this excellent music isn't officially documented. After this, Can were put on ice for an unspecified period. But, not content to lay the ghost to rest however, a Can reunion was organised in 1986 with Malcolm Mooney. In 1989 it gained release as RITE TIME, a stylish yet emotionless throwback to the early Can era, understandably it was really "the wrong time" and it made little impact. Meanwhile the various Can members are still active on the scene, check elsewhere in this book!
Irmin Schmidt (organ), Holger Czukay (bass), Jaki Liebezeit (percussion, flute), Michael Karoli (guitar), Damo Suzuki (vocals), Malcolm Mooney (vocals)
Agilok & Blubbo / Kamera Song
7" Vogue DV 14785 (1968)
Credited to: The Inner Space
Kama Sutra (11/68)
7" Metronome M 25128 (1969)
Credited to: Irmin Schmidt
MONSTER MOVIE (10/68-7/69)
LP Music Factory SRS 001 (1969) «limited edition, black & white cover»
LP Liberty LBS 83437 (1970), United Artists UAS 29283 (UK, 1973)
TAGO MAGO (11/70-2/71)
2LP United Artists UAS 29211/12 (1971) «gatefold sleeve»
Turtles Have Short Legs / Halleluwah (11/70-2/71)
7" Liberty 15465 (1971)
Spoon / Shikaku Maru Ten (12/71)
7" United Artists 35304 (1972)
EGE BAMYASI (12/71-6/72)
LP United Artists UAS 29414 (1972)
FUTURE DAYS (8/73)
LP United Artists UAS 29505 (1973)
LIMITED EDITION (9/68-5/74)
LP United Artists USP 103 (UK, 1974)
SOON OVER BABALUMA (6-8/74)
LP United Artists UAS 29673 (1974)
LP Horzu 1C 062-29 600 (1975), Virgin V2041 (UK, 1975)
UNLIMITED EDITION (9/68-7/75)
2LP Harvest 1C 148-29 653/4 (1976), Caroline CAD 3001 (UK, 1976)
FLOW MOTION (6/76)
LP Harvest 1C 062-31 837 (1976), Virgin V2071 (UK, 1976)
Silent Night / Cascade Waltz (11/76)
7" Harvest 1C 006-31 973 (1976), Virgin VS 166 (UK, 1976)
SAW DELIGHT (1/77)
LP Harvest 1C 064-32 156 (1977), Virgin V2079 (UK, 1977)
Don't Say No / Return
7" Harvest 1C 006-32 155 (1977)
OUT OF REACH (10-11/77)
LP Harvest 1C 066-32 715 (1978), Lightning LIP 4 (UK, 1978)
LP Harvest 1C 066-45 099 (1979), Laser LASL 2 (UK, 1979)
DELAY 1968 (1968-69)
LP Spoon 012 (1981)
PREHISTORIC FUTURE (6/68)
MC Tago Mago 4755 (France, 1984)
RITE TIME (12/86)
LP Mercury 838 883-1 (1989)
12" Casablanca 875 751-1 (1990)
On the basis of their ROCK OFFERS contribution (the only recording that we've heard), these were a typically Teutonic lightweight but majestic progressive, akin to Rousseau or Jane at their softest, a little Pink Floyd-like, with much use of keyboards to flesh-out the sound.
Hans Adolphi (keyboards), Raphaela Ciblis (vocals, percussion), Ralph Ehmann (bass), Holger Hoffmann (drums, congas), Klaus Peter Stiefel (guitar), Dieter Streck (guitar, effects)
featured on: ROCK OFFERS
WAITING FOR THE NIGHT
LP Peak 3080 (1980)
LP Neue Welt ? (1982)
Credited to: Cannock Combo
An obscure heavy Swiss progressive blending British 60's styles with the typically Teutonic 70's hard-rock sound, notably inspired by Deep Purple, along with some more progressive touches. Amateurishly produced, and with little in the way of originality, Cardeilhac are good, but really only of minor interest.
Rinaldo Häusler (guitars), Denis Angelini (vocals), J-C. Balsinger (bass), André Locher (organ), Gaston Balmer (drums)
LP Decibel DBR 1 (Switzerland, 1971)
Carol Of Harvest
A very English sounding folk-rock band, and largely acoustic, fronted by a talented female vocalist. They had little individual style of their own, recalling the likes of Pentangle or Mellow Candle, with a nice dreamy trippy feel.
Beate Krause (vocals), Axel Schmierer (guitars), Jürgen Kolb (keyboards), Robert Högn (drums), Heinz Reinschlüssel (bass)
CAROL OF HARVEST (4-5/78)
LP Brutkasten 850 004 (1978)
A jazz-rock group from the Mannheim region, Chameleon played a richly textured and melodic fusion strongly featuring (ex-Night Sun) Knut Rössler as soloist on a variety of winds. Often akin to later Release Music Orchestra, and with some notable Return To Forever type stylisms, Chameleon chose an apt name considering the wide range of influences and moods their sole album contained. Note that the Berlin Chameleon are a different band entirely.
Knut Rössler (tenor/soprano saxes, flute, lyricon), Joachim Essig (pianos, synthesizers, string ensemble), Roland Herbe (basses, piccolo), Ralph Dietze (drums), + Walter Helbig (percussion)
LP Blubber Lips bl 807 (1979)
Checkpoint Charlie (named after the notorious checkpoint in the Berlin Wall) have often been acclaimed as the first truly German rock band. They originated from Karlsruhe, and, as early as 1967, they were performing their own uniquely groundbreaking "Terror Rock" music in German! An extremely radical political rock band, especially so in their early days, Checkpoint Charlie were also innovators along with Floh De Cologne and Ton Steine Scherben of a unique German form of rock, blending all sorts of music into a complex and often aggressive rock music. Their debut was very extreme, and very difficult to come to grips with, yet later albums saw more refinement instrumentally, with complex progressive rock styles (akin to Oktober, Lokomotive Kreuzberg, et al.) making headway against the theatrics, especially so on FRÜHLING DER KRÜPPEL, which featured keyboards strongly, and lengthy instrumental sections venturing on to Grobschnitt realms even. Throughout, even into the 80's, Checkpoint Charlie have proven to be amongst the most uncompromising of Krautrock bands. Unfortunately we have not yet managed to find their more recent (presumably) reformation album GURGLERSINFONIE.
Harald Linder (vocals, bass), Uwe von Trotha (vocals), Malte Bremner (guitar), Werner Walten (guitar), Joachim Krebs (organ), Werner Heß (drums)
GRÜSS GOTT MIT HELLEM KLÄNG
LP CPM LPS 003 (1970)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
FRÜHLING DER KRÜPPEL (2/78)
LP Schneeball 2015 (1978)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
DIE DURCHSTIGEN (1979)
LP Schneeball 2019 (1980) «clear vinyl»
KRAWALL IN SCHWEINESTALL (2/81)
LP Schneeball 0024 (1981)
FEUER & FLAMME
LP Schneeball 1033 (1982) «novelty cover with matchbook»
Checkpoint Charlie, + Joachim Krebs, Derek Haufen
ECHTES LIVEBLOCKING/GURGLERSINFONIE (6/90)
LP Schneeball 1046 (1990)
These were amongst the most dismissably mainstream of "progressive" rock bands from Munich, typical of the mid-70's I suppose, with a light progressive edge, in the Audience cum Wishbone Ash type of vein. Andy Marx was previously with the similar but more folky styled Tanned Leather. Their debut is only of marginal interest, having some enjoyable moments. We haven't heard the second! Take note of the interesting cast of guests on both of these.
Andy Marx (guitars, banjo, sitar, vocals), Bo Born (organ, piano, vocals), Wolf Graf (bass), Pit Trojer (percussion, vocals), Hardy Wilhelm (drums, vocals),
LP United Artists UAS 29688 (1974)
LP United Artists UAS 29780 (1975)
These were an obscure heavy progressive, who almost certainly had their roots in the late-60's, and were definitely inspired by Jimi Hendrix and early British bands, like Back Sabbath, Tractor, et al., but were notably much more free and improvised. Despite the title of their album, Chicken Bones were not at all mundane hard rock, but were highly creative and often moved very close to May Blitz, early UFO or Cargo, but with lots of nice moves and flowery guitar work-outs. Basic, and gutsy admittedly, Chicken Bones were a lot better than the reputation that preceded them, and their album became quite a sought after obscurity. Chicken Bones existed in various forms for around a decade, afterwards ending up as the vastly inferior more metal oriented Revanche, then eventually disbanding in the 80's.
Rainer Geuecke (guitars, vocals), Hilmar Szameitat (rhythm guitar), Werner Hofmann (bass), Wolfgang Barak (drums)
HARD ROCK IN CONCERT
LP Procom ? (1973)
Choice are ex-Epidaurus, in fact they were virtually the same band, though Choice played a much straighter type of rock music, starting progressive akin to Eloy and Epitaph, but becoming rather bland as the album progresses. Of very little interest really. More recently they reformed (and just to confuse things) again as Epidaurus, but this time round with an even blander offering!
Günter Henne (keyboards, percussion), Gerd Linke (keyboards, acoustic guitar, drums), Heinz Kunert (bass, pedals, percussion), Ulrich Steinert (guitars), Peter Jureit (drums), Ferdi Kühnel (vocals)
JUST A DREAM
LP Rocktopus 202 812-320 (1980)
From Basle, Switzerland, Circus had much success in Europe, with three studio albums and a document of them in concert (which we presume to be a bootleg). Formed in 1972, Circus took time to refine and hone their style, a complex rock with jazz and classical angles, and a rather unique instrumentation. Yes, remarkably, Circus played rock music without any electric guitars or keyboards, instead they used processed bass guitar and wind instruments. Undoubtedly, they were influenced by British progressive rock of the late-60's/early-70's, with references to Jethro Tull, King Crimson and (especially in the instrumentation) Van Der Graaf Generator. Their debut was a promising first step, though it didn't quite reveal their potential, being a mite too lyrical. MOVIN' ON however, has become regarded as their classic, featuring lengthy tracks, with complex arrangements, dynamics, superb instrumentals and unusually crafted songs. Three years on, and with a more conventional instrumentation, the third album FEARLESS, TEARLESS & EVEN LESS took them closer to Genesis realms. Circus, later transmuted into Blue Motion. Marco Cerletti now makes jazz and ethnic fusion, playing the Chapman Stick.
Fritz Hauser (drums, vibes, percussion), Marco Cerletti (bass, pedals, 12-string guitar, vocals), Andreas Grieder (flutes, tambourine, alto sax, vocals), Roland Frei (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, tenor sax)
LP Zyt Z 10 (Switzerland, 1976)
MOVIN' ON (5/77)
LP Zyt Z 11 (Switzerland, 1977)
LP Zyt Z 17 (Switzerland, 1978)
FEARLESS, TEARLESS & EVEN LESS (3/80)
LP Illuminations A-5015 (Switzerland, 1980)
In their early days these were a very inventive and unique band. Formed by Bulgarian Georgi Gogow, City were quite original for a DDR progressive. Refining their sound for some five years, it took until 1978 to be able to release anything. Their debut (originally untitled) was an interesting blend of hard-rock and folky sounds, notable for the esoteric violin fronted side-long suite "Am Fenster", of which an edited single version became a surprise hit in both East and West Germany! Avoiding the temptation to be controlled by the state or sell-out, the next album contained even more diverse elements, particularly notable is the lengthy "Bulgarian-Rock" which strangely recalls Guru Guru with its complex guitars and unusual rhythmic structures. Later, Georgi left the ranks when the rest of the band wanted to follow a more commercial style, and thus the many subsequent albums (not listed here) lost the originality of his unique compositional style. In essence the later City without Georgi were a different band.
Georgi Gogow (bass, violin), Toni Krahl (vocals, 12-string guitar), Klaus Selmke (drums), Fritz Puppel (guitar)
LP Amiga 8 55 586 (DDR, 1978)
LP Amiga 8 55 647 (DDR, 1979)
Formerly as the trio Kluster (see entry elsewhere), after the departure of Conrad Schnitzler, the duo of Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius carried on as Cluster. Actually, much touted as pioneers, Cluster are often quoted as innovators in ambient music, but in reality they were far more wide ranging, and have been important in the shaping all sorts of modern electronic music genres. As the story goes, only armed with an organ, guitar and some electronic gadgets, Cluster approached Conny Plank with the idea to try and do something different. Both their debut and second albums are remarkable feats for featuring such basic instrumentation, and the results are as much down to the technical wizardry of Conny as Moebius and Roedelius' instrumental talents. What they came up with was highly original, devoid of standard musical structures or melody - atonal, floating, oozing and pulsing masses of processed sound - a dark menacing industrial music.
After an association with Neu! guitarist Michael Rother as the trio Harmonia, Michael also produced Cluster's next offering ZUCKERZEIT (actually recorded in between the two Harmonia albums), which was a radical departure from the avant-garde Cluster sound, as it featured rhythm machine, melodic synthesizers and guitars, often close to Kraftwerk yet wholly instrumental, with a slightly weirder number sandwiched into each side. The next three albums (all on the Sky label) were much more ambient keyboard based music. First was SOWIESOSO, which was very minimal and hypnotic, aptly fitting the title, which means "always the same". An earlier session of Brian Eno with Harmonia lead to two of these albums being recorded together with him. The first of these, CLUSTER & ENO, was arguably the more successful in its use of rich instrumental textures, though AFTER THE HEAT covered more new ground. Although these latter two are not purely Cluster albums, this was their most commercially successful era.
Ever the surprising band, after this Cluster made the very different GROSSES WASSER (produced by Peter Baumann) which found them on more experimental footing again, with one side of shorter varied synthesizer and guitar based pieces (each an island unto itself) and the second side "Grosses Wasser" itself, a lengthy suite growing out of silence with atmospheric Florian Fricke like sustained piano tones, via bizarre crackling electronics onto almost tribal-industrial rock percussives. After this, Cluster split for a while, with Moebius venturing on to other projects, and Roedelius pursuing a solo career. They would still get together for occasional concerts however (the CLUSTER & FARNBAUER cassette is a document of one such gig). Momentarily, Cluster reappeared on the scene again in 1981, with CURIOSUM, which is one of the most unusual and restrained of their output, whist being totally strange throughout. Nowadays this is revered as an ambient classic.
Dieter Moebius (organ, guitar, generator), Hans-Joachim Roedelius (organ, cello, generator)
LP Philips 6305 074 (1971) «gatefold sleeve»
CLUSTER II (1/72)
LP Brain 1006 (1972)
LP Brain 1065 (1975)
LP Sky 005 (1976)
CLUSTER & ENO (6/77)
LP Sky 010 (1977)
Credited to: Cluster & Eno
AFTER THE HEAT
LP Sky 021 (1978)
Credited to: Eno Moebius Roedelius
LP Sky 027 (1979)
LIVE IN VIENNA (6/80)
MC YHR 015 (UK, 1981)
Credited to: Cluster & Farnbauer
LP Sky 063 (1981)
For such little output, Cobraa's history in fact goes back a long way! They were formed in 1966 originally as the beat group Q66. By the time of their debut single "Ride A Pony" they had changed name to Cobraa (avoiding confusion with the Dutch band Q65) and they had moved on considerably, with a hard-edged psychedelic style. This single was their finest moment as the album never really delivered, being a mellow lightweight rock with few progressive touches.
Freidel Ahrens (organ, synthesizer, piano, harmonica), Wolfgang Hausmann (guitar, vocals), Bernd Kliemt (drums, percussion, vocals), Klaus Sebastian (vocals, guitar), Rolf Sondermann (vocals, bass, flute)
Ride A Pony / End Of A Day
7" EMI 1C 006-30 443 (1973)
LP EMI 1C 062-29 507 (1974)
Code III were never a proper band, but were an impromptu group created for an album dedicated to showcasing the amazing sound characteristics of the Kunstkopf Artificial Head Recording System. Principally, Code III were Berlin studio engineer Manfred Schunke and American multi-instrumentalist Ed Key. The music on PLANET OF MAN is a sonic depiction of the history of the Earth, from the void through to man's domination of the planet, and ultimately back to the void. A blend of atmospheric electronics with abstract use of voice and effects, via trippy folk and primeval percussives, onto a space-rock burn-out featuring Klaus Schulze at the drum stool, and returning to weird space music at the end. It all adds up to a remarkable and unique album. In addition to the LP, is the unique track "Walkin' By Train" featured on the KUNSTKOPF DIMENSIONEN sampler, which also has Klaus Schulze on drums, and is an extra piece recorded during the same sessions.
Manfred Schunke (instruments, electronic effects, sounds, vocals), Ed Key (vocals, instruments), + Mary Key (vocals), Aparna Chakravarti (vocals, tamboura, harmonium), Klaus Schulze (drums)
PLANET OF MAN (3-5/74)
LP Delta-Acustic 25-125-1 (1974)
featured on: KUNSTKOPF DIMENSIONEN (3-5/74)
LP Delta-Acustic 10-130-1 (1974)
On the more avant-garde end of jazz-rock, Contact Trio were an unusual combo, drawing on the new forms of jazz as developed by Wolfgang Dauner in the 60's and mixing in a bit of spaciness and ethnic flair, akin to Dzyan, Giger.Lenz.Marron or Eberhard Weber. We have never encountered their debut album DOUBLE FACE, but their Japo label releases were moody and schizophrenic, at the darker end of ECM genres, with a penchant for experimentation. Especially enjoyable is NEW MARKS. The live recording from 1983 presents them as a much more aggressive fusion combo.
Evert Brettschneider (guitars), Aloys Kott (bass), Michael Jüllich (drums, tabla, flute, marimba)
LP Callig CAL 30614 (1975)
NEW MARKS (1/78)
LP Japo 60024 (1978)
LP Japo 60036 (1980)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PAPENBURG 1983
Quite an exceptional band, of whom we know little, except that they were discovered by Jochen Petersen. Despite only releasing one album, Cornucopia (a Latin term meaning "Horn of plenty") certainly lived up to their name, as FULL HORN is a wondrous cornucopia of delights, containing a dazzlingly complex rock and fusion, overflowing with invention. Typical of the era, Cornucopia had a big sound, their songs were unpredictable, often outrageous in Zappa-esque manner with dense musical textures comparable to Amon Düül II, close to Nine Days Wonder, Gnidrolog and Grobschnitt, with an instrumental flair recalling Thirsty Moon. From the side-long "Day Of A Daydream Believer" onto the closing "And The Madness" Cornucopia ride from the weird psychedelic, via the absurd, onto raucous rock fusion with an ever-unpredictable surprise with each twist and turn. The very spirit of eccentric Krautrock - a delight!
Wolfgang Kause (vocals), Wolfgang Bartl (bass, vocals), Christoph Hardwig (keyboards, guitar, vocals), Wolfgang Gaudes (drums, percussion, 12-string guitar), Kai Henrik Möller (guitars, vocals), Harry Koch (effects, percussion, voice), Rudy Holzhauer (percussion), + Jochen Petersen (saxes, flute, guitar)
FULL HORN (9/72+2/73)
LP Brain 1030 (1973)
The Cosmic Jokers
The Cosmic Jokers came into being by the whim of Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, out of impromptu studio sessions made at Dieter Dierks studio during spring 1973, featuring musicians from Ash Ra Tempel and Wallenstein. No such band as The Cosmic Jokers ever existed, and these recordings were never actually intended for release. They were the results of sketches for new ideas, extracts from wild LSD induced jams and the like. Fortunately for fans of Kosmische Musik, music from these sessions gained release by devious means, and the three albums that resulted are quite extraordinary examples of space-rock, fleshing out the Ash Ra Tempel type sound with dense wedges of keyboards and synthesizers. Earlier similar projects often credited to The Cosmic Jokers (in retrospect, but not originally released as such) are Sergius Golowin LORD KRISHNA VON GOLOKA and the Walter Wegmüller opus TAROT.
The strangest of the three albums resulting from the spring 1973 sessions is THE COSMIC JOKERS itself. Here we have the freaky "Galactic Joke" on side 1 with its synthesizer overload and feast of wah-wah guitar, sounding like Ash Ra Tempel crossed with early Hawkwind. But, especially strange is the flip-side "Cosmic Joy", which thunders off into the cosmos towards the realms of Amon Düül II's equally stunning drum driven cosmic opus "The Chasmin Soundtrack", as it becomes ever more lost within itself amidst a muddle of effects and phasing. The second album GALACTIC SUPERMARKET (which was not originally released as being by The Cosmic Jokers) has the same band augmented by two ladies: Rosi and Gille, and has a richer, more complex sound, closer to the earlier Wallenstein instrumentals with lots of Mellotron and heavy rocking passages, as well as the further ventures off into weird cosmic space-rock. Here Jürgen Dollase's Mellotron and piano ride alongside Klaus Schulze's synthesizer pyrotechnics, spurred on by Harald Grosskopf's phenomenally precise and intense drumming. In contrast (the above two albums had one track per side) the third instalment of the series PLANETEN SIT-IN amounts to a patchwork of lots of snippets from various sessions, edited and mixed to flow together, resulting in a disjointed, unpredictable yet fascinating album combining everything from twittering and bubbling electronics through to crazed drums and back to the realms of Ash Ra Tempel and Wallenstein.
Though also released on CD as a Cosmic Jokers album, the record SCI-FI PARTY is actually a compilation featuring various Kosmische Musik artists. It does however feature a novel extract of "Galactic Joke" with over-dubbed vocals courtesy of Rolf and Gille. Other related Cosmic Jokers projects include works with Sergius Golowin, Sternenmädchen and Walter Wegmüller. The Cosmic Jokers' project eventually came to a sticky end, when the musicians realised that Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser was ripping them off. Manuel Göttsching has often commented on the experience of hearing these sessions playing in a Berlin record shop, and being shocked when he found out exactly what he was listening to! Reluctantly Klaus Schulze took the initiative and prosecuted Kaiser, and amidst much publicity the musicians eventually got the rights back. The downside of this was that all The Cosmic Jokers' albums were withdrawn from sale, the Ohr/Kosmische Musik labels ceased trading, and Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser disappeared from the scene. Naturally, as good taste prevails, and due to demand, CD's of all The Cosmic Jokers' and related releases are now widely available.
Jürgen Dollase (keyboards), Manuel Göttsching (guitar), Dieter Dierks (bass), Klaus Schulze (electronics), Harald Grosskopf (drums)
THE COSMIC JOKERS (2-5/73)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58008 (1974)
GALACTIC SUPERMARKET (2-5/73)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58010 (1974)
featured on: SCI-FI PARTY (2-5/73)
PLANETEN SIT-IN (2-5/73)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58.013 (1974)
A very obscure mid-70's band who made at least one album under the guidance of Toby Robinson. These were unknown until recently rediscovered. They were a mysterious and lazy relaxed band, generally abstract and moody, often with the accent on Terry Riley styled organ, along with synthesizers and guitars. Apart from some female German spoken text, the mood often reminds of some such avant-garde cosmic Italian acts like Pierrot Lunaire or Franco Leprino, though it does also bridge the realms from Cluster through to Emtidi, on a more esoteric level.
Alex Meyer (organ, vocals, synthesizer), Peter Förster (guitars, violin), Pauline Fund (vocals, percussion), Hans Jürgen Pütz (cello, percussion)
LP Pyramid PYR 009
Cravinkel, lead by one Gert Krawinkel, were odd for a German band in the early-70's, as their sound was often closer to Nordic bands of the era like Culpepper's Orchard, blending in country and folk musics into Anglo-American type rock. We've heard their first album, which was deadly dull. Contrary to general trends, their second GARDEN OF LONELINESS, is reputed to be an excellent progressive psychedelic album. Whether this is true, we're yet to find out!
LP Philips 6305 055 (1970)
Keep On Running / Mr. Cooley
7" Philips 6003 158 (1971)
GARDEN OF LONELINESS
LP Philips 6305 124 (1972)
Formed in late 1969, as The Bourbon Street Paraders, and inspired by the American rock-soul-jazz movement (i.e. Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, et al.) and the likes of Colosseum and Nucleus from Britain, Creative Rock went on to develop a unique repertoire. A couple of years on, and after numerous personnel changes, but still with a nucleus of original members, a demo tape sent to Metronome gained them a contract. Promptly, they changed name to Creative Rock - a misnomer as their music contained much more jazz! Not unlike early Emergency, but with a good deal more invention and a powerful lead singer, their debut GORILLA was barely recognisable as German rock, yet despite this it was still rather good, full of complex brass arrangements and a most energetic rhythm section. LADY PIG followed in a similar, but heavier vein, with a bit more experimentation. The last we know of Creative Rock was that in 1975 they were touring with an adventurous rock ballet production called "Die Creative Rock-Dekadenz-Show".
Heiko Steinsiek (drums), Klaus Weber (guitar, percussion), Rainer Erbel (vocals), Günter Schmeide (guitar, bass), Michael Maas (bass, guitar), Benny Stremmel (tenor/alto saxes, flute), Hubertus Kreutner (trumpets, flugelhorn)
LP Brain 1017 (1972)
LP Brain 1061 (1974) «original copies exist without the album's closing joke track "Strullsinfonie"»
Curt Cress Clan
These, in a sense, were Curt Cress' attempt to front his own version of Passport. The idea was partly a success, partly not. The Curt Cress Clan were most notable for Volker Kreigel's guitar work, and lively keyboards from fellow Passport musician Kristian Schultze, all in a sophisticated and varied jazz-rock. On the
down-side, Ack van Rooyen's flugelhorn was no replacement for Doldinger's superb sax, and Dave King often tries to funk it up too much! The Passport albums released either side of this are infinitely superior.
Curt Cress (drums, percussion), Dave King (bass), Volker Kriegel (guitars), Kristian Schultze (keyboards), Ack van Rooyen (flugelhorn)
CURT CRESS CLAN (1975)
LP Atlantic ATL 50079 (1975)
Crew Blues Session
These were one of the earliest of German progressive rock bands (formed in 1966), and were the origins of what was to eventually become Grobschnitt. What they sounded like at the outset, we've no idea, though later they played a kind of acid-space-rock and blues, betwixt early Ash Ra Tempel and The Groundhogs, hinting at the early Grobschnitt sound. Unfortunately, Crew Blues Session never released an album, and their only recorded output (two tracks) is to be found on Eroc's EROC 3 anthology album, along with other historical recordings from related bands Wutpickel and Grobschnitt.
Edd Hüber (bass), Gerd-Otto Kühn (guitar), Stefan Danielak (guitar, vocals), Joachim Ehrig (drums, effects), Kasi Klassen (vocals, harmonica)
featured on: EROC 3
These were originally an inventive fusion band, typical of the new lighter progressive fusion sound that was proliferating in Germany circa 1975. In essence, Cry Freedom mixed a wide range of musics into a style akin to Guru Guru of the era (i.e. fusing Latino and ethnic musics with rock, jazz, soul, etc.) on their debut album VOLCANO, which is not bad at all, comparable to the likes of Solution, Wigwam, etc. The later releases however, were gravely disappointing, being rather lame and uninspired, and saw the more commercial elements of the Cry Freedom sound take over, reducing them to a jazz-funk band of little merit.
Gerhard Billmann (piano, organ, synthesizer), Dieter Urbassik (alto/tenor/baritone saxes), Rudolf Madsius (guitars, vocals), Klaus Kukla (bass), Klaus Braun (drums, percussion)
LP private release 66.21313 (1976)
LP Erlkönig INT 148.408 (1979)
LP Erlkönig INT 148.416 (1980)
Curly Curve originated in Berlin in the late-60's, as an underground psychedelic rock band, and they existed some four years before recording an album. Reputedly Alex Conti was at one time a member, though no recordings with him exist. By the time of their debut LP, their style had mellowed somewhat as a heavy blues rock, obviously inspired by the late-60's British scene (of John Mayall, Steamhammer, Groundhogs, etc.), though they did have a unique style, with some slight progressive touches, and were fronted by a particularly odd gruff blues singer. Although considered collectable nowadays, their album is admittedly one of the less exciting of the Brain catalogue rarities. The FORGOTTEN TAPES features similar music recorded prior to the original album.
Martin Knaden (guitar), Hanno Bruhn (vocals, guitar), Kurt Herkenberg (bass, vocals), Chris Axel Klöber (keyboards), Hans Wallbaum (drums)
CURLY CURVE (7/73)
LP Brain 1040 (1974)
FORGOTTEN TAPES (1972-73)
LP Ökotopia 0681V1 (1981) #1000
Originally, when in his early twenties, circa 1960, Holger Czukay earned the fame of being disqualified from a jazz festival, because the jury couldn't understand his music! Naturally, being a radical and free thinker, fascinated with new possibilities in music, it was logical that he went on to study composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Cologne WDR studios. There he learned studio techniques, composition and other things. But, ever wanting to try out new ideas in music, he found that Stockhausen's academic approach left him unsatisfied, which lead to him exploring new-music himself on other levels. On one hand, Holger got involved as a founder member of Can, and he also worked with the studio engineer Rolf Dammers, under the guise of the Technical Space Composers Crew (who released the album CANAXIS V, see entry elsewhere).
Holger was an essential part of the Can sound, being more than just a bassist, and he stayed with them until the mid-70's as both musician and engineer. His editing techniques, use of sound effects, radio, and tape collage, within Can (learnt from those Cologne WDR studio days), constantly added an air of the unexpected to their music. It was inevitable, by the time of Can's LANDED, that Can were changing, and it seems that Holger realised this and decided to formulate his own solo concept. Holger's first solo album took several years to complete. A diligent work combining music with a complex and precisely edited selection of texts from film clips, MOVIES was musically almost like a continuation from the lighter parts of Can's LANDED album, whilst also venturing to new pastures. Much lauded by the alternative music press, even before its completion, it was heralded as a critical success at the time, and has become a much quoted influence on sampling in music. Further works followed after this, amongst them were collaborations with the pioneering new-wave band SYPH, with whom he recreated the classic Can sound combined with the energy of punk, and sessions with Moebius & Plank, Jah Wobble, and also the notoriously outrageous and macabre Les Vampyrettes. All this lead to a much more diverse second solo album, not least so because of the cast of musicians involved. ON THE WAY TO THE PEAK OF NORMAL, also featured unusual use of vocoder and Holger's uniquely odd horn playing, and in essence defined the Holger Czukay sound, eccentric and groundbreaking whilst riding the edge more commercially accessible styles. But, as a result of this move to more song based material, later albums ventured further into pop parody, a little towards The Flying Lizards or The Residents. As with Irmin Schmidt's later solos, these are very much an acquired taste.
His collaborations with Jah Wobble (except SNAKE CHARMER where Holger is third in the cast) were much more interesting, in that they broke new ground. And, even more so, Holger again proved his talent as both musician and engineer, on the two very strange experimental ambient albums made with ex-Japan member David Sylvian - these were a big surprise in that they went back to the realms of CANAXIS though on a much more esoteric and modern footing.
Holger Czukay (vocals, guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, radio, bass),
+ Jaki Liebezeit (drums, congas), Michael Karoli (guitar), Irmin Schmidt (piano), Reebop Kwaku Baah (organ)
LP Harvest 1C 062-45 754 (1979), EMI EMC 3319 (UK, 1979)
ON THE WAY TO THE PEAK OF NORMAL (1976-81)
LP Welt-Rekord 1C 062-46 400 (1981), EMI EMC 3394 (UK, 1981)
How Much Are They? (1981)
12" EP EMI 1C 64 419 (1981), Island 12WIP 6701 (UK, 1981)
Collaboration with Jah Wobble and Jaki Liebezeit
FULL CIRCLE (1981-82)
LP Virgin 205 866 (1982)
Collaboration with Jah Wobble and Jaki Liebezeit
MLP Island 205 969 (1983)
Collaboration with The Edge and Jah Wobble
DER OSTEN IST ROT (1983-84)
LP Virgin 206 258 (1984), Virgin V2307 (UK, 1984)
ROME REMAINS ROME
LP Virgin 208 052 (1987), Virgin V2408 (1987)
PLIGHT & PREMONITION (1986-87)
LP Venture VE 11 (UK, 1988)
Credited to: David Sylvian & Holger Czukay
FLUX + MUTABILITY (12/88)
LP Venture VE 43 (UK, 1989)
Credited to: David Sylvian & Holger Czukay
RADIO WAVE SURFER (1984-87)
LP Virgin V2651 (UK, 1991)
A rarity in German rock, Da Capo were Inspired by the late-60's American West Coast scene, of bands like Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead. Da Capo offered a light guitar based bluesy rock, with hints of country and a slightly trippy sound. Not of much interest really, until the second side of their LP, which ventures towards instrumental Quicksilver Messenger Service. Though the album DA CAPO gained the reputation of being a quality collectable rarity in the 80's, the reissue destroyed the myth revealing it as nothing special - at least not to the Krautrock or progressive fan that is!
Peter Stanek (guitars, vocals), Peter Treiber (guitars, vocals), Peter Weisner (bass, vocals), Alfred Urban (drums)
LP California ? (1972)
Despite general international apathy, Wolfgang Dauner should have been acclaimed as the most innovative force behind modern jazz and jazz-rock in Germany, in parallel to the pioneering work of Miles Davis in America. But no, Wolfgang Dauner never ever got the credit that he was due. Born way back in 1935 in Stuttgart, Wolfgang Dauner became an accomplished music student at an early age, he chose piano initially as his favoured instrument, although he was trained as a trumpeter. Working in various jazz bands during the early-60's Dauner could almost be considered a veteran of the scene before he formed his own band. His early pre-rock albums were certainly inspired by the likes of Bill Evans, Steve Lacy, Sun Ra, et al., being experimental modern jazz. Such albums from 1967 or earlier should only be approached by real jazz fans. The album FREE ACTION is really a bit early, and is listed in the discography mainly for historical interest.
By 1969, however, the psychedelic era had created new possibilities! Dauner had some of the finest young jazz musicians at his aid, and instead of doing the clichéd jazz everyone else was doing at the time, they decided to break every rule they could. They were doing to jazz what Faust would in turn do to rock a few years later! The results were the outrageous album FÜR which was not really jazz at all, but a variety of experiments aimed at breaking boundaries, revolutionary just for the sake of it. The cover notes explain how they had ideas for making the record even more novel, i.e. a record that played from the centre outwards, or one that destroyed itself whilst being played! Of course, they decided that musical invention was much more important than novelties. Ever unpredictable, THE OIMELS presented Dauner and co. in a very different light, as a psychedelic pop band! Full of surprises, it even included a version of The Beatles' "A Day In The Life" alongside weird jazz, ethnic music, twisted pop and beat music. Another surprise from this era was the cool jazz fusion of RISCHKA'S SOUL (not released until 1972) on which Wolfgang also plays flute, and in sharp contrast is the very electronic sounding and avant-garde fusion of OUTPUT, which is amongst the most underground of early-70's jazz-fusion albums, and ashamedly the most ignored classic on the ECM label. All these albums proved what an innovator he was.
Dauner's most exciting concept however, was the band Et Cetera (check elsewhere in this book) who were intentionally marketed as a new Krautrock band. In parallel to Et Cetera Wolfgang continued as a soloist and in sessions with other musicians. His later output has mellowed somewhat, though he's still an important figure on the German jazz and new-music scenes. Inevitably Dauner's stable group of helpers all went on to other projects, Eberhard Weber especially becoming famous, whilst others moved on to bands like Embryo, Exmagma, etc.
Later, after Mood Records was established, Wolfgang recorded CHANGES alone, a fully fledged jazz-fusion album played entirely on keyboards that sounded more like a full group. He's also worked in the folk-jazz trio KID (with Kolbe & Illenberger), been active as a session musician and producer, and also established the mammoth international fusion outfit The United Jazz+Rock Ensemble. It's a shame though that not since the disbandment of Et Cetera has any classic Dauner made it on to record. Inevitably, the daring spirit of the early-70's was lost and Wolfgang went on to play it safe.
Wolfgang Dauner (piano, vocals, percussion, organ, piano, melodica), Jürgen Karg (bass, vocals, tapes), Eberhard Weber (cello, vocals, bass), Fred Braceful (drums, percussion, vocals)
FREE ACTION (2/5/67)
LP Saba SB 15095 (1967)
LP Calig 30603 (1969)
LP MPS 15248 (1970)
MUSIK ZOUNDS (5/70)
LP MPS 15270 (1970)
LP ECM 1006 (1970)
RISCHKA'S SOUL (1969)
LP Brain 1016 (1972)
LP BASF/MPS 21 22019-2 (1974)
LP Mood 23333 (1978)
An obscure Swiss combo, Deaf were formed by ex-members of Shiver: Dany Rühle and Jelly M. Pastorini in late 1969, stepping on from Shiver, moving to heavy progressive rock. Unfortunately, Deaf recorded sessions for an album but never got to release anything. Taking blues and psychedelic elements, they had a very loose jamming style when live. Their only surviving studio recording, based on Ravel's "Bolero", is a fine example of classical rock that blends Teutonic and Italian styles. Later, Mark Storace (the singer with Tea and Krokus) passed through the band. After the band split, Güge Jürg Meier went on to Island.
Dany Rühle (guitars, vocals), Bert Buchmann (bass), Jack R. Conrad (flute, vocals), Jelly M. Pastorini (organ, piano), Güge Jürg Meier (drums, percussion)
LP Black Rills BRR-LP 9401 (Switzerland, 1994) #500
Franz de Byl & Heiner Hohnhaus
Franz de Byl and Heiner Hohnhaus, existed as an eccentric folk, theatre and political duo, akin to Floh De Cologne's song style, yet much more basic. Their album is not of much interest, unless you have a good understanding of German. And, even then, maybe it's not that interesting! Franz de Byl has also worked as a soloist.
FRANZ DE BYL & HEINER HOHNHAUS
LP Thorofon ATH 114 (1971)
An international Munich based band fronted by Tommy Fortman, Demon Thor produced a rather mainstream rock on the whole, very Anglo-American, and uninspired. They did become adventurous though, on the long title track on WRITTEN IN THE SKY, mainly due to being aided by a number of notorious Krautrock musicians, for an apocalyptic rock opera suite. Only of minor interest.
Tommy Fortman (vocals, piano, zither), Stephen Nuesch (organ, spinet, piano, Mellotron, synthesizer), Claude Thoman (drums, percussion), Ricardo Aebi (bass), Karl Gsteiger (trombones), Madeline Bach (vocals, acoustic guitar), Corrine Fortman (vocals), Liselotte Frey (violin, vocals)
LP United Artists UAS 29393 (1972)
WRITTEN IN THE SKY
LP United Artists UAS 29496 (1973)
An enigma of Krautrock, Dennis existed on the Hamburg scene for some 30 months as a collection of musicians from Tomorrow's Gift, Thirsty Moon, Kravetz and Xhol. In charge was Frumpy drummer Carsten Bohn. It seems that Dennis were never a proper band, and thus their LP was a collection of jams and impromptu encounters, remixed and compiled at a later date. All the musicians in Dennis were also involved in various other bands at the time. Carsten Bohn and Hans Pape both worked on the Uli Trepte "Inbetween" sessions, a project that eventually became Kickbit Information. Carsten also established the "Voll Bedienung" percussion project along with former Tomorrow's Gift drummer Zabba Lindner. Various others also worked in Achim Reichel's "AR" series of sessions. Dennis, exuded the talents of the musicians' backgrounds, and the album HYPERTHALAMUS comes across as a collection of extracts from acid-jams and freak-outs, with a hybrid of progressive, psychedelic and cosmic styles, notably elements of late Tomorrow's Gift, Thirsty Moon, and even hints of Embryo and Guru Guru: a musical melting pot of surprising diversions and fusion sounds. All told, it's a little-known classic.
Thomas Kretzschmer (guitar), Klaus Briest (bass), Jim Wiley (bass), Manne Rürup (keyboards), Michael Kobs (keyboards), Willi Pape (sax, clarinet, flute), Olaf Casalich (percussion), Carsten Bohn (drums, percussion)
LP Nova 6.22352 AO (1975)
An obscure supergroup of sorts, featuring (ex-Guru Guru and Night Sun member) Bruno Schaab and (former Tomorrow's Gift and Novalis member) Carlo Karges, and typical with such bands of the mid-70's, their music covered a wide range of styles. It doesn't seem as though Desperado existed long enough to make a studio album. Their sole LP documented them live in concert, fresh and energetic, and whilst a little patchy (notably with a dodgy opening track), it had some astounding moments with excellent musical interplay. The Desperado sound was the sum of many elements, a blend of British and German rock styles, but was mostly close to that boogie rocking Man style, with touches of Ton Steine Scherben rock 'n' roll spiced psych with German lyrics, and naturally some fiery Guru Guru inspired dual-guitar heavy jams and free-riffing.
Carlo Karges (guitar, vocals), Mick Kessler (drums), Bruno Schaab (bass, vocals), Reinhold Goosen (guitar, vocals)
HALTEN AUS! DESPERADO KOMMT... LIVE! (1977)
LP Heisse Rillen HOLSIEDIR 1 (1978)
The Munich musician Georg Deuter was amongst the earliest of multi-instrumental soloists in Germany. Because of his talent for always embracing new musical forms, and especially combining the new and the old, Deuter was always at the pioneering forefront in new musical forms. He started in rock music, but rock music with a difference that is, in that he created a new genre that fused ethnic musics, atmospherics (tapes, sounds, etc.) and European rock styles. With an instrumentation including guitars, sitar, organ, harmonium, Asian and Oriental percussives, etc., his debut "D" was a mixture of psychedelic underground rock (hinting at early Amon Düül II), cosmic music (akin to Klaus Schulze) and ethnic fusion (Between and Popol Vuh realms), though not all at the same time, but in varying quantities, being constantly an album of surprises. AUM contrasted somewhat, in that much of the rock aspect was dropped, in favour of atmosphere, being a more mysterious collage of shorter pieces, with lots of percussion, sound effects and echo-guitar. Sometimes akin to Achim Reichel, it had a magical quality, balancing melodic and more experimental musics. Also around this time, Deuter collaborated on the Maschine Nr. 9 project.
After a lengthy stay in Poona, India, with the Bhagwan Shree Rhajneesh, he adopted the Buddhist faith becoming Chaitanya Hari Deuter. Naturally, there was a major change in Deuter's musical attitude, and he was now the creator of spiritual, harmonious, and deep meditational music. CELEBRATION was aptly joyous with a rich palette of instruments, including flutes, synthesizers, and a wealth of ethnic instruments. The following HALEAKALA was a touch more introspective and acoustic, closest to Stephan Micus. Hereon the Deuter of the late-70's played a softer more richly textured music, increasingly developing a preference for using synthesizers and flute alongside exotic instruments. As such Deuter became a pioneer of the "new-age" genre, before anyone had thought of popularising the cliché. Although, in the 80's, his music tamed somewhat, SILENCE IS THE ANSWER and SAN are highlights that have proved him to be an ever exploring musician searching for new expression. Though, more recently his focus has moved to relaxing melodies instead of the musical invention of his 70's work.
LP Kuckuck 2375 009 (1971)
LP Kuckuck 2375 017 (1972)
LP Kuckuck 2375 040 (1976)
LP Kuckuck 2375 042 (1977)
LP private release 0666 515 (1978)
KUNDALINI MEDITATION MUSIC
LP Polydor 2392 879 (India, 1979)
LP Kuckuck 044 (1979)
SILENCE IS THE ANSWER/BHUDDAM SHARNAM GACHCHAMI (1980-81)
2LP Kuckuck 049/50 (1981)
LP Kuckuck 056 (1982)
LP Kuckuck 068 (1984)
MC private release DM-002 (USA, 1985)
CALL OF THE UNKNOWN (1972-86)
2LP Kuckuck 076/77 (1986)
Deutsch-Amerikanischen Freundschaft (or known as D-A-F for short) were a late-70's band born out of the scene of young Düsseldorfers inspired by the likes of Kraftwerk and Can. They were pioneers of the more experimental edge of the Neue Deutsche Welle. Interconnected with the more eccentric Der Plan, D-A-F were the first German new-wave band to get noticed outside their homeland. Their debut album PRODUCT DER... showed strong influences of weirder works by Can, Amon Düül II, etc., like an instrumental haphazard patchwork of ideas that amounted to a Kraut twist on Chrome, in a new angst ridden punky setting, with clattering drums against brash guitars and bass, backed up by warbling electronics. After becoming known in the UK, the partly live in London DIE KLEINEN UND DIE BÖSEN presented them as a more outlandish new-wave industrial act, with wild songs, manic electronic mayhem, and lots of rough unrestrained angst. Admittedly their most experimental album, and more in tune with the era, it was also a mite too schizophrenic. Due to musical differences apparently, most of the band split after this, gradually reducing D-A-F to a duo of just Gabi Delgado-Lopez and Robert Görl. Thus, on subsequent albums (which are much too crap to be listed here) the duo version of D-A-F went on to do trendy Kraftwerk-like techno-electro and vocal music of little merit.
Robert Görl (drums), Wolfgang Spelmans (guitar), Kurt Dahlke (synthesizers), Michael Kemner (bass)
PRODUKT DER... (2-4/79)
LP Warning WR 001 (1979)
Kebabtraume / Gewalt
7" Mute 005 (UK, 1980)
DIE KLEINEN UND DIE BÖSEN (3/80)
LP Mute STUMM 1 (UK, 1980)
Tanz Mit Mir / Der Rauber Und Die Prinz
7" Mute 011 (UK, 1981)
Technically these were a British band, who, like Nektar, were established and based in Germany, and also coincidentally were signed up by Bellaphon. On their sole album (which featured a German drummer), they played an inventive mixture of hard-rock and folk, in the realms of early Message and Nektar, with a touch of Jethro Tull (notably because of the flute).
John Hadfield (guitars, vocals), Anthony Hadfield (bass, vocals), Philip Howard (flute, tenor sax, organ, piano, vocals), Ellwood von Siebold (drums, percussion)
LP Bellaphon BLPS 19068 (1971)
Very little is known about Dies Irae, except that it is rumoured that Manfred von Bohr started his career with them. They were hardly typical of bands on the Pilz label, with a heavy brand of Krautrock, blending in jazz, blues and psychedelic touches. Mostly they used straight rock structures, with much psychedelic spice, and good songs. All creatively and imaginatively played, and inter-cut with all sorts of surprising twists and turns. Maybe less distinctive than most Krautrock of the era, Dies Irae were nonetheless excellent!
Rainer Gerd Wahlmann (harmonica, vocals), Robert J. Schiff (bass), Harald H.G. Thomas (guitar, vocals), Andreas F. Cornelius (drums)
LP Pilz 20 20114-7 (1971)
featured on: HEAVY CHRISTMAS
Diez & Bischof
The spiritual successor to Emergency in a sense, in that Peter Bischof became the front-man of Emergency on their later Brain releases. Also with the final Emergency was former Armaggedon guitarist Frank Diez. Thus for the Diez & Bischof LP project they sought the aid of Passport members and session musicians for a mixed blend of songs and an instrumental. Nothing remarkable resulted however!
LP Atlantic ATL 50156 (1975)
Frank Diez (guitar, bass, organ, Mellotron), Peter Bischof (vocals),
+ Curt Cress (drums, percussion), Kristian Schultze (piano, clavinet, organ), Tato Gomez (bass), Dave King (bass), Linda Fields (vocals), Jackie Diez (vocals)
Din A Testbild
Originally Din A Testbild were one of the most experimental of the new-wave bands in Germany, in parallel with Einsturzende Neubauten, SYPH, D-A-F, et al., and part of the fertile late-70's Berlin scene with avant-gardist Frieder Butzmann in their ranks, creating a weird and wild music with much electronics. Later, when down to just a duo, they were signed up to IC as a token "weird new-wave" band, creating a synth-spiced music akin to D-A-F and mid-70's Kraftwerk on PROGRAMM 1. The later releases were not really group albums, but were sessions of IC in-house musicians fronted by Marc Eins.
Nutty Norman (bass, guitar, vocals), Ian Wright (synthesizer), Mark Eins (vocals, guitar, bass), Ralf Z. (drums), Jurgen Rommeis (guitar, vocals), Frank u.d.B. (guitar, synthesizer)
Glas Konkav / Abfall
7" Marat 04794 (1979)
PROGRAMM 1 (9/80)
LP IC KS 80.002 (1980)
PROGRAMM 2 (1981)
LP IC KS 80.011 (1981)
PROGRAMM 3 (3-4/83)
LP IC KS 80.045 (1983)
TV JUNK AND NEW BEAT FUNK
LP IC 80.079 (1989) «retrospective with original material»
Dr. Roberts Blues Band
An obscure heavy blues-rock band, typical of the Hamburg sound at the time, who are only documented by one track recorded live at the Love & Peace festival in 1970.
Karsten Beck (guitar), Peter Alber (bass), Jörg Witte (drums)
featured on: LOVE & PEACE
A pioneering and multi-talented musician with a career that has run from MOR pop onto the leading edge of experimental jazz fusion. Doldinger's history is confused. If you want to know all about his background via trad. jazz, as a James Last popular jazz and soul copyist (aka Paul Nero), onto psychedelic pop and Passport, all this is documented on the triple anthology album DOLDINGER JUBILEE (Atlantic 60073), though even that doesn't really make sense of it all.
His first rock group was Motherhood (see entry later), which kind of transmuted into Passport (the other Motherhood members split off forming Hallelujah), though also during this period Klaus Doldinger also kept working in jazz under his own name, as witnessed by the first three albums listed below, all which explore different aspects of modern jazz fusion. Numerous top Munich musicians have also been involved in Klaus' various bands (many of whom can be found on numerous MPS releases, or went onto more progressive musics with Embryo, Amon Düül II, etc.) or have become well-known afterwards, like Udo Lindenberg or Kristian Schultze for instance.
More recently, as a synthesist, Klaus has also become sought after as a film soundtrack composer, after his success with the soundtracks to "Das Boot" and "The Neverending Story". There are no doubt numerous others we don't know of. Yet above all, Doldinger is an excellent and uniquely styled saxophonist, best remembered for several excellent albums in the early-70's with his groundbreaking jazz-rock band Passport, who paralleled the likes of Isotope or Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Klaus Doldinger (tenor/soprano saxes), Ingfried Hoffmann (piano, organ), Helmut Kandelberger (bass), Cees See (drums), + Joe Quick (guitar), Lothar Meid (bass), Wolfgang Paap (drums), Kurt Bong (drums, horn)
LP Liberty LBS 83167 (1968)
Credited to: Klaus Doldinger Quartet
2LP Liberty LBS 83317/18 (1969)
Credited to: Klaus Doldinger Quartet
2LP United Artists UAS 29542/43 (1973)
LP WEA 58366 (1981)
LP WEA 240 132 (1983)
DIE UNENDLICHE GESCHICHTE
2LP WEA 250 396-1 (1984)
One of the legendary classics of the German underground. Little or nothing is known of their history, and as to how two Hungarian brothers, a Pole and a German got together. Yet the resultant music this international combo created resulted in some of the most inventive Krautrock. A strange spacious and innovative album fusing rock, folk, ethnic and the avant-garde musics most uniquely, EDGE OF TIME is one of those albums that is extremely difficult to describe. Just consider, it ranges from atmospheric Yatha Sidhra realms via electroacoustic collage, and free-form jazz, onto the chaotic psychedelic underground of Amon Düül. All this is the framework for a dreamy poetic semi-spoken song recanting the lyrics on the cover. Enigmatic through and through. And, if that weren't enough, it all flows as if a grandiose conceptual opus, one which combines so many disparate elements that it becomes uncategorisable! Amazing, for such a strange album, EDGE OF TIME has become a much sought after collectable rarity, and deservedly so!
László v. Baksay (bass, vocals), Gábor v. Baksay (percussion, vocals, flute), Reiner Puzalowski (guitar, vocals, flute), Hans Georg Stopka (organ, guitar, vocals)
EDGE OF TIME (1983)
LP Melocord ST-LP-D 001 (1971)
These were an obscure non-professional band who self-produced one album and then disappeared. Interestingly Dorian Gray can be seen as a very early example of a music that was later to be simplified and commercialised by innumerable female vocal fronted 80's new-wave bands. But, it must be said, Dorian Gray were odd! They mixed in a lot of heavy guitar rocking and contrasting spacey folk, male and (mostly) female vocals, all creating a hybrid between the 60's psychedelic trippiness and slightly punky sounds. An interesting album, though hardly worthy of its reputation as a pricey collectable rarity.
Claudia Schippel (vocals), Filler Mueschenborn (guitar, vocals), Kurt Paetzold (drums), Rüdiger Brune (keyboards), Herbert Jassmann (bass)
LP New Blood NPA 476 (1976)
Out of the ashes of Yatha Sidhra, though quite a long while after, the nucleus of the band: the brothers Klaus and Rolf Fichter as a multi-instrumental (synths, guitars, drums, etc.) duo, resurfaced as Dreamworld playing a synthesized music in the sequential and spacious progressive rock vein. We've only heard ON FLIGHT TO THE LIGHT, which is patchy but with some classic moments. It's "Beneath Silence And Storm" is almost a rewrite of the song from A MEDITATION MASS and is the only real reference to the Yatha Sidhra style. Elsewhere, it occasionally steers a mite close to electro-pop, but generally it's comparable to Tangerine Dream circa FORCE MAJEURE, or Velvet Universe, as a hybrid of rhythmic synth and cosmic styles.
Klaus Fichter (vocals, pianos, string ensembles, synthesizer, computer, 12-string guitar, drums, percussion), Rolf Fichter (vocals, organ, clavinet, pianos, synthesizers, Mellotron, vibes, flute, mouth organ, guitars, bass)
ON FLIGHT TO THE LIGHT
LP Vertigo 6435 050 (1980)
GATES TO ETERNITY
LP ESP Collection ESP 40-111 (Switzerland, 1983)
An extremely obscure early Krautrock band, Drosselbart played a heavy psychedelic rock, with lots of weird touches, heavy wedges of organ and strange songs in German. We'd like to tell you more about them, but very little is known. Drawing influences from both American and British 60's styles, they steeped their music with lots of Teutonic strangeness, akin to early Tomorrow's Gift or Eulenspygel. Although admittedly dated, Drosselbart's music is still remarkably volatile and surprising, and is one of the earliest examples of the stranger side of Krautrock psychedelia.
Peter Randl (vocals, guitar), Christian Trachsel (organ, piano), Dietmar Mainka (guitar), Martin Honemeyer (drums), Werner Schüler (bass), Jemima (vocals), + Ralf Nowy (flute)
LP Polydor 2371 126 (1970)
An Einem Tag Im August / O'Driscoll
7" Polydor 2041 190 (1971)
A rather straight hard-rock band fronted by a hyperactive and talented guitarist and a rough gravel-voiced vocalist. Admittedly, as a band they were rather unimaginative, and despite a rather promising opening track on their LP and its surreal cover art, Dschinn are one of the poorest from the original Bacillus roster. Completing the Dschinn discography is the sampler track called "Rock n' Roll Dschinny", which would seem to be for an abandoned single.
Peter Lorenz (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Silvio Verfuehrt (bass), Ulrich Mund (drums), Bernd Capito (guitar)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19120 (1972)
featured on: MAMA ROCK & THE SONS OF ROCK 'N ROLL
2LP Bacillus BLS 5526 (1973)
An obscure 80's Bavarian political-folk band, featuring former Sparifankal members. Their music was very introspective and eclectic and, because of the bizarre nature of the lyrics, very difficult to come to grips with!
Carl-Ludwig Reichert (guitar, vocals), Hernert Alois (guitar), Werner Eckl (guitar), Stefan Liedtke (banjo), Bernhard Ludwig (congas), Ulrich-Heinz Ludwig (bass)
LP Trikont US-0010-60 (1982)
It's very strange how some albums gain a reputation, as although Dull Knife could be quite extraordinary, they were also extremely patchy! Why it is so rated in collector's circles is beyond us. You see, Dull Knife didn't seem to know if they wanted to a tripped-out psychedelic blues band, or if they wanted to preach the gospel! Thus, their sole LP was a schizophrenic mish-mash, with some good moments of Hendrixy cum Cream like heaviness. Though, largely, the only reason any of it was at all good was because of the engineering talents of Dieter Dierks. You may know their leader (singer and keyboard player) Gottfried Janko as he later joined Jane and is featured on their LADY album.
ELECTRIC INDIAN (8/71)
LP Philips 6305 107 (1971)
A surprisingly unknown diversion from Krokodil's drummer, often listed as a Krokodil album. It was in fact a completely different project using the Krokodil name as a selling point. An original drummer, he is joined by fellow Krokodil member: bassist Terry Stevens, and others. It's a remarkable drum-based opus, embellished by a wide variety of other instruments, with rock and fusion elements, featuring just two lengthy LP side-long instrumental suites. Highly creative and unique, sitting somewhere between Niagara, Embryo and later Brainticket. It's not at all what one would expect! By the way, the vocals are wordless harmonies only. The guest winds player Jonas C. Häfeli is also known as a soundtrack music composer.
Terry Stevens (bass, piano, percussion, vocals), Jonas C. Häfeli (flute, soprano sax), Brew Bruckner (guitar), Düde Dürst (drums, percussion, vocals)
LP Sunset SLS 50199 (1971)
Much travelled on the Berlin underground scene since the 60's, Michael "Mickie" Duwe originated as the lead singer with early Agitation Free, joining Ash Ra Tempel, and establishing the supergroup Metropolis. He was not a brilliant vocalist mind you, but over the years he became quite a multi-instrumentalist. Rumours abounded on the scene of Mickie being imprisoned for smuggling drugs. Though, later he resurfaced as the leader of his own session group project Mickie Duwe's Unicorn, playing an idiosyncratic concoction of rock, pop and psychedelia, with the aid of musicians from Kraan, then IC Records percussionist Michael Shrieve, and fellow ex-Metropolis Manfred Opitz. A more recent version of Unicorn (with the albums NO REGRETS and ALADDIN) are basically doing late-70's pop music (brought up-to-date) and are of no real interest.
Mickie Duwe (vocals, guitars, synthesizers, sequencer, vocoder),
+ Manfred Opitz (Moogs), Michael Shrieve (drums), Jan Fride (congas, drums), Helmut Hattler (basses)
LP IC 58.064 (1979)
Formed in Mannheim in 1971, Dzyan were typically eclectic for a band from Southern Germany. In fact Dzyan were always a hard band to pin down, as each album they released was quite different. The original quintet on their debut album DZYAN played a jazzy form of rock, with hints of Wolfgang Dauner, flashes of Zappa's HOT RATS and even some Van Der Graaf Generator styled sax-fronted diversions. All this lead to a weird hotchpotch, punctuated by strange gothic songs and experimentation with electronic effects (including some stolen from an obscure French electronic LP by Bruno Menny - yes, directly stolen!).
When the band eventually disintegrated, Reinhard Karwatky was the only member remaining. So, he drafted in jazzers Eddy Marron (ex-Jochen Brauer Sextet and Vita Nova) and drummer Lothar Scharf (from Virgo), who didn't stay long, and was in turn replaced by the much more original percussionist Peter Giger. On TIME MACHINE they played, to quote Eddy Marron: "in the Kriegel-Doldinger-Association-Et Cetera jazz-rock style", a very inventive fusion, the spirit of Krautrock in a radical jazz-fusion. Whilst Peter Giger worked on other commitments as a session musician for ECM and on tour with Eberhard Weber, ex-Dave Pike Set drummer Marc Hellmann filled in. By the time Giger returned, the Dzyan sound had changed considerably, as both Reinhard and Eddy had been experimenting with ethnic musics and a wider range of instruments. Mellotrons, sitar, and the mysterious "Super String" were added. The third album ELECTRIC SILENCE was even more out on a limb, bringing weird avant-garde elements together with jazz, rock and various ethnic musics; all together in an extreme melting pot of styles, ideas and fertile imagination. Running from free-jazz through medieval cum raga-rock (cf. Third Ear Band) and intense rock improvisation it is indeed one of the landmarks in experimental rock. After Dzyan split, Giger and Marron formed Giger.Lenz.Marron. Reinhard Karwatky also played on the Galactic Explorers album.
Jochen Leuschner (vocals, percussion), Reinhard Karwatky (basses, sounds), Gerd-Bock Ehrmann (tenor sax), Harry Krämer (guitars), Ludwig Braum (drums, percussion), + Gunter Kuhlwein (organ, electric piano)
LP Aronda AS 10.006 (1972)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19161 (1973)
ELECTRIC SILENCE (10/74)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19202 (1974)
A huge band with a confused history, Eden drew on a wide range of musics in their complex progressive style, lots of folk references, adapted classical melodies, etc. Aptly, in tune with their name, Eden were also very much a religious group, as virtually all of their songs use texts taken from the Bible, and amount to Teutonic rock-opera's in a sense. At their best (as on ERWARTUNG) Eden come across as a blend of early Renaissance, Novalis and Hoelderlin, together with some neo-progressive touches! Eden are interconnected with various other bands on the Lord and Pila labels.
Marcus Egger (vocals), Anne Dierks (vocals), Annette Schmalenbach (vocals), Mario Schaub (flute, clarinet, sax, vocals), Dirk Schmalenbach (violin, piano, synthesizers, sitar, acoustic guitar, percussion, vocals), Hans Fritzsch (guitars), Michael Dierks (organ, piano, clavinet, string ensemble, vocals), Michael Claren (bass, vocals), Hans Müller (drums, percussion), + Emil Wirth (congas)
LP Lord EM 33523 (1978)
LP Pila EM 20001 (1980)
LP Pila EM 20002 (1981)
Probably the best known of 70's Austrian progressive rock bands, surprisingly little is known about their early history. In fact, Eela Craig's first privately issued album is now a sought after rarity, but as to what it is like we've heard only rumours. Under the wing of well-known producer Uli Rützel, and on a major label, Eela Craig gained international recognition for a refined form of classical rock that blended lyrical folk and high-tech space fusion. ONE NITER, their most symphonic, is a fine example of very high technical quality within the rock idiom that, apart from showing a touch of Pink Floyd influence and some jazzy diversions, is highly original. In contrast HATS OF GLASS was quite conventional, song based and closer to Barclay James Harvest. The other high point of their career was the highly synthesized MISSA UNIVERSALIS, a full-blown rock mass sung in four languages with very dramatic musical accompaniment. In 1978 Hubert Bognermayr left the band to establish his own electronic music studio and help organise ARS Electronica festivals, whilst the rest of the band continued with the unimpressive VIRGIN OILAND and subsequently disappeared from the scene. Meanwhile Harald Zuschrader joined up with Bognermayr to follow a successful career as a synthesizer/computer music duo on Uli Rützel's Erdenklang label.
Harald Zuschrader (acoustic guitar, organ, flute, saxes), Gerhard English (bass), Heinz Gerstmair (guitars, organ), Horst Waber (drums, percussion), Hubert Bognermayr (electric piano), Will Orthofer (vocals, saxes)
LP Pro Disc 208-711 (Austria, 1971)
Stories / Cheese
7" private release ECS 1 (Switzerland, 1974)
ONE NITER (4+6/76)
LP Vertigo 6360 635 (1976)
HATS OF GLASS (8-11/77)
LP Vertigo 6360 638 (1978)
MISSA UNIVERSALIS (1978)
LP Philips 6360 639 (1978)
VIRGIN OILAND (3-4/80)
LP Ariola 202 311 (1980)
A short-lived hard-rock band featuring ex-Jane and ex-Rattles musicians as backing to singer Curtis Efendi. Musically bland, and only of historical note.
Curtis Efendi (vocals, megaphone), Wolfgang Krantz (guitar, keyboards, vibes), Frank Meier (bass), Wolfgang Schreiner (drums, percussion), + Klaus Hess (guitar), Heinz Alberding (sax)
LP Babylon 80004 (1979)
Ego On The Rocks
Jürgen Rosenthal and Detlef Schmidtchen were two ex-members of the most internationally successful Eloy incarnation (from DAWN through to SILENT CRIES & MIGHTY ECHOES), who by splitting off as Ego On The Rocks proved how important they had become to the Eloy sound. An adventurous concept album, ACID IN WOUNDERLAND covered a lot of ground. Although some of the songs are more conventional than all but the latest Eloy, they produced a varied and inventive album mixing synth music, electronic rock, sound collages, and even a touch of Heavy Metal rock in a similar way to Hawkwind on their CHURCH OF HAWKWIND album, which was coincidentally published at around the same time. Apparently, after this, the duo have been involved in other projects, and also went on to score theatre works and soundtracks.
Detlef Schmidtchen (string ensemble, synthesizers, sequencer, organ, vocals, guitars, bass), Jürgen Rosenthal (drums, percussion, tapes, vocals)
ACID IN WOUNDERLAND (6+9/80)
LP Jupiter 6.24692 (1980)
One of the great, but little known, wonders of Krautrock, originating from Stuttgart we believe, Eiliff on their two LP's developed a most unique style of powerful rock fusion. Admittedly, Eiliff didn't get off to too good a start, and their debut single is best left forgotten, as although it's not bad for a pop record, it has nothing in common with the Eiliff album style. On their two predominantly instrumental albums, Eiliff destroyed barriers between rock, jazz and established progressive genres, with lengthy intensive compositions that twist and turn with startling complexity, or riff with amazing power and stability. In their unique concoction songs were rarely used, and only then to counterpoint the instrumentals, and when necessary get over an idea that couldn't be achieved without words. Eiliff just seemed to do everything right. They had the power of Mahavishnu Orchestra, the invention of Guru Guru, the diversity of Out Of Focus, and really they were purely excessive, with diverse elements blended together as only experienced in Krautrock. Intense chopping piano and organ, along with excellent drums and firm bass guitar providing a structure for a wealth of superb guitar from virtuoso Houschäng Nejadepour, and lots of smooth "Mothers styled" electric sax. EILIFF itself is remarkable as one of the most complexly instrumental of Krautrock albums, not least the 20 minute side-long "Suite", whereas GIRLRLS! came close, but was shorter, more condensed and added a touch of hard-rock and psychedelia. After their demise, Houschäng Nejadepour went on to join Guru Guru (on their DANCE OF THE FLAMES), and Rainer Brüninghaus joined Eberhard Weber's Colours before proliferating as an ECM session musician and then going solo.
Rainer Brüninghaus (organ, electric piano, sounds), Herbert J. Kalveram (sax), Houschäng Nejadepour (guitars, sitar), Detlef Landmann (drums), Bill Brown (bass)
LP Philips 6305 103 (1971)
Ride On Big Brother / Day Of Sun
7" Philips 6003 225 (1971)
LP Philips 6305 145 (1972)
We don't know of any albums by Einhorn, but based on their festival recordings, they were typical of the jazz-rock bands on Schneeball, though maybe a might freakier than most. Einhorn had a sound that blended in a wide range of influences, but was uniquely German. A blend of Passport, Moira, Release Music Orchestra, and the like.
Atzen Wehmeier (guitar), Michael Wehmeyer (vibes), Achim Kemper (bass), Wolli Delphin (sax), Thomas Kretschmer (drums)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1976
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
One of those obscure lost privately produced relics from the early-70's, and not surprisingly so with such an odd name! Ejwuusl Wessahqqan existed on the Munich scene for several years before they plucked up the courage to release an album. By the mid-70's however, there was little chance of a major label record contract, so they decided to produce the record themselves, which was a mixed blessing in that they could do whatever music they liked, but it also meant that the recording quality wasn't up to professional standards. The band make a point of the fact that they were friends of Amon Düül II, though really the Ejwuusl Wessahqqan sound relates much closer to Egg (or even more so Arzachel) and Xhol, with their blending of trippy psychedelic space-rock, fusion and classical musics. Elsewhere influences from Embryo can be felt, and because of the raw edge to some of it, there are also hints of industrial music akin to German Oak or early Kraftwerk. Ejwuusl Wessahqqan apparently have a vast archive of tapes, of which two tracks are included as bonus material on the CD reissue. They later became the more symphonic progressive styled band Koala-Bär.
Michael "Hieronymus" Winzker (organ, piano), Jürgen "Yogi" Wollen (drums), René Filous (bass, Filouphon)
EJWUUSL WESSAHQQAN (1975)
LP private release (1975)
Elastic Rock Band
Obviously inspired by Embryo, Missus Beastly, Munju, et al., Elastic Rock Band were typical of later German fusion bands, in that they came up with a mixture of disparate influences, taking a touch of rock, jazz, ethnic elements, and much angst. Unfortunately however, their sole album was too much of a
mish-mash, and lacked any real direction or style of its own.
Jan Zelinka (drums, gongs, timbales), Wolfgang Fahr (guitars), Alex Grünwald (pianos, organs, synthesizer, clavinet), Matthias Krüger (bass, percussion), + Leszek Zadlo (soprano/tenor saxes)
FARUK'S TRAUM (8/79)
LP Schneeball 00-001 (1980)
One of the longest running of DDR progressives, and because of that they changed completely throughout their history. Electra were unfortunate to be where they were. Established in the late-60's, and although quite popular, they were considered too radical to get an album released, instead they spent much of their time as backing band to various pop singers. Eventually they managed to gain permission to release an album in the mid-70's, but it seems that they were forced to play it safe, and the results were a patchy album that only occasionally hints at how talented a band they were. So, avoiding vocals altogether on their second album, they opted to do a record of classical adaptations, and ADAPTIONEN must certainly be one of the most successful and inventive of such works, akin to Ekseption at their best, yet also comparable to later bands like Solaris or East. Like their debut, the third Electra album was also a retrospective, however this showed them on a more radical footing, capturing them as an inventive progressive band. After the ambitious rock-opera DIE SIXTINISCHE MADONNA Electra followed the way of other DDR bands, becoming nothing more than lightweight melodic rock.
Bernd Aust (flute, sax, keyboards), Hans Peter Dohanetz (keyboards), Peter Ludewig (drums, percussion, vocals), Wolfgang Riedel (bass), Peter Sandkaulen (guitars), Stephan Trepte (vocals)
featured on: HALLO, NR. 3, 5, 6, 12
LP Amiga 8 55 311 (DDR, 1974)
Doch Das Feuer Dieser Erde / Weiter, Weiter...
7" Amiga 456 041 (DDR, 1974)
featured on: HALLO 1/75
LP Amiga 8 55 501 (DDR, 1976)
ELECTRA 3 (1979)
LP Amiga 8 55 762 (DDR, 1980)
DIE SIXTINISCHE MADONNA
LP Amiga 8 55 802 (DDR, 1980), Pool 6.24960
Originally, the international trio of Toto Blanke, with Dutchman Jasper van't Hof and Finnish Edward Vesala, Electric Circus attempted to take the more progressive elements of Toto and Jasper's former band Association PC, and turn them into a much more purely inventive fusion. The results were surprisingly original, especially so for what could have just been a jazz trio! With extensive use of electronics, combining rock, jazz and synth musics, they created a new genre bridging from the avant-garde through to Heldon-like synth-rock realms. This era is documented by two very different LP's: ELECTRIC CIRCUS itself, which makes great use of the most advanced studio technology of the time, and in contrast LIVE AT THE QUARTIER LATIN performed earlier at a 1976 jazz festival at the famous Berlin venue, which captures them in a much more free and improvised mode, with lengthy excursions bridging free-form fusion and cosmic music.
The second incarnation of Electric Circus, originally featuring ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra synthesizer dabbler/jazz pianist Stu Goldberg and famous ethnic percussionist Trilok Gurtu, also included former Missus Beastly bassist Norbert Dömling on all three albums. This incarnation, originally centred on a more
jazz-rock based music, was less radical, and quite derivative, especially in the use of ethnic elements. FRIENDS in fact, is like a hybrid of Mahavishnu and typical German fusion styles, with some notably uniquely Toto Blanke touches. The live album FAMILY ventured beyond Mahavishnu to jazzier realms. Without Stu Goldberg, the later BELLA DONNA, came as a weird surprise. Really, it's just too plain odd and eccentric for its own good, as a hybrid of German accordion music, bluegrass and jazz, and doesn't relate at all to the earlier Electric Circus albums!
Toto Blanke (synthesizers, sequencer, guitars, banjo), Edward Vesala (drums, percussion), Jasper van't Hof (organ, pianos), + Dave King (bass), Ulli A. Rützel (piano)
LP Vertigo 6360 634 (1976)
LIVE AT THE QUARTIER LATIN (19/4/76)
LP Vinyl VS 004 (1979)
LP Bacillus BAC 2063 (1979)
LP Aliso 1010 (1980)
LP Aliso 1014 (1983)
These were one of many impromptu session bands featuring Peter Hesslein of Lucifer's Friend. Who the actual band was is a mystery, as no musician credits are given. We've only come across the debut below, which takes a more commercial twist on the Lucifer's Friend sound, being deliberately derivative of
late-60's heavy rock and psychedelia. Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, Spooky Tooth, and the likes were Electric Food's oeuvre. Another Lucifer's Friend connected project was Pink Mice.
LP Europa E 424 (1970)
LP Europa E 453 (1971)
A mysterious early Krautrock band, of whom we know nothing historically. And, despite a most odd name, Electric Mud were quite extraordinary, radical, dark and intensely psychedelic. Strongly Teutonic, with German lyrics, stylistically akin to Eulenspygel, Drosselbart, or early Tomorrow's Gift, with a gloomy atmosphere, lots of organ, heavy guitars and riffing. An obscure classic for fans of psychedelic Krautrock sounds.
Udo Preising (bass, vocals), Axel Helm (organ, electric piano), Jochen Dyduch (drums), Manfred Simhäuser (guitar)
LP Förderturm BL 30201 (1971)
No historical information is known about Electric Sandwich, though they are reputedly ex-Vinegar. Typical of many Krautrock bands of the era, they drew on a wide range of influences: jazz, blues, psychedelia, etc., and moulded their own fusion with that typically cosmic yet powerful edge. Their sole album is oddly balanced, opening with the lengthy Xhol/Kollektiv-like instrumental "China" with excellent electric sax, and thereafter establishing a more unique brand of song fronted by a gruff vocalist, in a blues and jazz accented progressive blend. Really, every track on the album is different, though a recognisable Electric Sandwich style does ride throughout.
Jörg Ohlert (guitar, organ, Mellotron), Klaus Lormann (bass), Jochen Carthaus (vocals, sax, harmonica), Wolf Fabian (drums)
On My Mind / China
7" Brain 507 (1972)
LP Brain 1018 (1972)
Das Liebe Bonn / Der Guillaume Ist Ein Spion
7" Bonnbons 7F 65 (1975)
Formed by ex-Scorpions guitarist Uli Roth, Electric Sun were acclaimed by many as classic Heavy Metal, especially on the debut album EARTHQUAKE. Although a bit mainstream to include in this book, Electric Sun were far better than the average Heavy Metal band. In fact, after Uli's departure, the Scorpions rapidly deteriorated, whereas EARTHQUAKE stepped on from Scorpions' IN TRANCE on a more progressive level. With unique vocalising and Hendrix inspired guitar, especially so on the lengthy instrumental work-outs that close each album, Electric Sun are worth a look-in for those liking more conventional rock. Later, the name Electric Sun was dropped, with more commercial albums released as by Uli Jon Roth.
Uli Roth (guitars, vocals), Clive Edwards (drums), Ule Ritgen (bass)
LP Brain 60.196 (1979)
FIRE WIND (3-9/80)
LP Brain 60.378 (1980)
These were an obscure 70's Anglo-American styled hard-rock band, and in fact possibly one of the straightest you'll find in this book. Really, their song-based kind of boogie rockin' style draws comparison to many an ex-Man band, like The Neutrons or Judas Jump. I don't know why Ohrwaschl reissued this, as they should have left it well-alone!
Jack B. Menzel (vocals, bass), Michael Dertscheny (guitars, vocals), Clemens Mueller (drums, percussion)
MADE IN ROCK (5-6/77)
LP MDM 011246 (1977)
Taking their name from H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine", Eloy always exhibited an interest in science-fiction, especially on later fantasy and sci-fi conceptual works. Eloy originated in Essen, in early 1971, and in their early days, they played a heavy rock, highly derivative of the likes of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, et al.; otherwise British styled hard-rock and ballads. On their debut LP, Eloy were not that distinctive a band, and had a very British hard-rock sound, with some psychedelic touches and a couple of powerful rock ballads included for contrast.
After a major rethink, Frank took over the band, adopting the role of lead vocalist (sounding surprisingly like Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson with a German accent) and forging ahead with a completely new style. So, enter Eloy the space-rock band, and the astounding album INSIDE, with lengthy tracks combining organ based classical rock elements into a dynamic mixture of heavy and cosmic styles, a union of progressive and psychedelic with strong Pink Floyd influence. FLOATING further developed this style on a heavier level, featuring much more guitar and multi-percussives, lengthy instrumentals and intelligently crafted songs. The mid-70's were notorious for ambitious concept albums, and obviously Frank didn't want to be left out. Thus, the next two Eloy albums were dedicated to telling a science fantasy story in music and song. Despite being by virtually different bands, POWER & THE PASSION and DAWN do have a continuity in style, and tell a fascinating tale of time travel, lost love and the creation of a God-like being! But, even DAWN, couldn't have prepared anyone for their next opus, the mighty majestic OCEAN, an extraordinary and spacious work based on the legend of Atlantis. OCEAN, with its richly synthesized instrumentals and lengthy unfolding compositions, is certainly a timeless classic of progressive rock. With the obligatory live album out, and fame growing in countries other than Germany, a return was made to Pink Floyd realms on SILENT CRIES & MIGHTY ECHOES with Gilmour styled guitar licks and keyboard arrangements almost stolen from "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" - yet this was still distinctly Eloy, branded with Frank's unique song style, use of dynamics and space.
Latterly, with yet more personnel changes (most notably the departure of Schmidtchen and Rosenthal, who went on to form Ego On The Rocks), and obviously pressures to get even greater sales, further albums saw the development of a more direct hard-rock based band. Still highly progressive and inventive, the album COLOURS, and their second attempt at a two-part science-fiction concept, PLANETS and TIME TO TURN, all have much to commend them. However, the same cannot be said for any of the subsequent albums, and then there was the paradox that on the film soundtrack CODENAME WILDGEESE, Frank Bornemann was nowhere in sight! Certainly Eloy were one of the most internationally successful of German progressives, and one of the few to survive the new-wave era into the 80's, leaving their mark with many excellent albums. As the later one-off reformation RA, and the subsequent returns to the scene have been of little interest, we have chosen not to catalogue any albums by the 90's incarnation of Eloy, of which there are several, including albums of re-recorded versions of 70's and 80's material.
Manfred Wieczorke (guitar, bass, vocals), Erich Schriever (vocals, piano, organ), Frank Bornemann (guitar, percussion, harmonica), Helmut Drath (drums), Wolfgang Stöcker (bass)
Daybreak / Walk Alone
7" United 1401 (1970)
LP Philips 6305 089 (1971) «with elaborate die-cut dustbin lid cover»
LP Harvest 1C 064-29 479 (1973)
Daybreak / On The Road Again (8/73)
7" Harvest 1C 006-30 481 (1973)
LP Harvest 1C 062-29 521 (1974)
POWER & THE PASSION (6-8/75)
LP Harvest 1C 064-29 602 (1975)
LP Harvest 1C 064-31 787 (1976)
LP Harvest 1C 064-32 596 (1977)
2LP Harvest 1C 164-32 934/35 (1978)
SILENT CRIES & MIGHTY ECHOES (11-12/78)
LP Harvest 1C 064-45 269 (1979)
LP Harvest 1C 062-45 936 (1980)
Wings Of Vision / Sunset
7" Harvest 1C 006-46 158 (1981)
LP Harvest 1C 064-46 483 (1981)
TIME TO TURN (8/81-2/82)
LP Harvest 1C 064-46 548 (1982)
LP Harvest 1C 064-46 714 (1983)
LP Harvest 1C 066-46 945 (1984)
LP Milan CH 014 (France/Switzerland, 1984)
LP SPV 08-4800 (1988), FM Revolver REV LP 120 (UK, 1988)
Bizarrely named & pretty dated for 1976, sounding a little like Jane/Harlis mixed with DDR rock (i.e. Karat, Puhdys) edges, with strong German lyrics (on most tracks).
Joachim Brands (keyboards, vocals), Gunter Christ (guitar, vocals), Helmut Meier (bass, flute, vocals), Wolfgang Merkens (drums, vocals), Karlheinz Schmitz (guitar, flute, vocals)
LP Attaca 2/7625 (1976)
Birthday Song / Geld
7" Attaca AT 78114 (1978)
Literally the birthplace of a new type of fusion, Embryo had their roots in the very fertile Munich late-60's scene. Formed in 1969 by percussionist Christian Burchard (after leaving Amon Düül II) along with other like-minded former jazz and underground musicians, the idea of Embryo was to work collectively, intuitively, and let the music evolve on its own. Early pioneering improvised sessions can now be witnessed on the CD reissue of their debut OPAL (with Lothar Meid on bass) which take a jazzy twist on the improvised Ash Ra Tempel or Amon Düül II type sound, freaky and inventive in the extreme. However, the original album OPAL itself offered a much more varied collection of musics, as British guitarist John Kelly had bought with him a good deal of psychedelia, into the rock, jazz and blues concoction.
EMBRYO'S RACHE was a very surprising follow-up, with new mainstay Roman Bunka, ex-Xhol Hansi Fisher, and extraordinary keyboards courtesy of Jimmy Jackson (aka "Tabarin Man") the basis for the unique Embryo sound was set. STEIG AUS and ROCKSESSION offer some of the most dazzling Embryo music, a mostly instrumental fusion from an expanded line-up including Sigi Schwab, hot from his stint with Et Cetera and veteran jazzer Mal Waldron. FATHER SON & HOLY GHOSTS, with its more condensed and accessible style, is a more direct song-based slice of Embryo. WE KEEP ON, featuring Charlie Mariano, took a step back again to free-riffing fusion realms, offering some of the heaviest Embryo on record. But it marked the end of a phase, and SURFIN' failed to be the success the record company hoped for, Embryo were dropped with little hope of getting a workable contract with any other label. Embryo's solution was to form their own label. A label with which they could have total artistic freedom. Thus they embarked on forming the April collective along with other like-minded bands. See April entry for more on this. With the artistic freedom that they had fought so much for, the Embryo sound moved radically towards jazz with much more ethnic styling, featuring the songs of black American female jazz vocalist Maria Archer.
Later they embarked on ambitious tours to the East and onto India. Early recorded results include a session with Trilok and Shoba Gurtu on APO CALYPSO and then the ambitious double album EMBRYO'S REISE, documenting their tour of the Middle East through Afghanistan and India. An extraordinary release combining the Embryo sound with many different types of ethnic and traditional music, venturing on to realms unheard before. One enterprising Indian troupe, the Karnataka College of Percussion, later came to Germany to tour with Embryo (documented on LIFE) and they have since become famous working with the likes of Charlie Mariano and Iain Ballamy. Always trying something new, the next big Embryo adventure was a tour via Turkey through to Egypt, and later a tour through Africa. LA BLAMA SPAROZZI, YORUBA DUN DUN ORCHESTRA and AFRICA document these projects with an exceptionally wide variety of musics. The only proper Embryo album of this era was ZACK GLÜCK, a surprising and very long album often hearkening back to the origins of Embryo, with the phenomenal "U-Bahn" occupying most of the second side, shades of EMBRYO'S RACHE and STEIG AUS abound. In all, a remarkable album. Celebrating 20 years of Embryo, TURN PEACE offered many more surprises, showing that Burchard and co. were still fresh and innovative musicians, still willing to try new ideas and forge on whilst still having the knack for recreating the music they originally set out with! IBN BATTUTA stepped back to ZACK GLÜCK, but with a much more spacey ethnic feel. Embryo continue to tour the continent and further abroad, and constantly surprise with new innovations, proving to be the only Krautrock band to have stuck to their ideals over 25 years, whilst always moving on.
Edgar Hofmann (soprano sax, violin, percussion), Hansi Fischer (flute, percussion, vocals), Christian Burchard (drums, electric piano, vocals), Roman Bunka (bass), + Jimmy Jackson (organ, Mellotron), Franz Böntgen (vocals), Hermann Breuer (electric piano, organ)
LP Ohr OMM 56003 (1970)
EMBRYO'S RACHE (1971)
LP United Artists UAS 29239 (1971)
FATHER, SON & HOLY GHOSTS (3/72)
LP United Artists UAS 29344 (1972)
STEIG AUS (12/71+3/72)
LP Brain 1023 (1973)
LP Brain 1036 (1973)
WE KEEP ON (12/72)
LP BASF 20 21865-1 (1973)
LP BASF/Buk 17 22385-3 (1975)
featured on: VLOTHO-WINTERBERG
BAD HEADS & BAD CATS (1975)
LP April 00005 (1976)
featured on: UNSOMST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1976
LP April 0003 (1977)
featured on: UNSOMST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
LP April 000010 (1978)
featured on: UNSOMST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
2LP Schneeball 0020 (1980)
LP Materiali Sonori MASO 012 (Italy, 1980)
LP Schneeball 0023 (1981)
LA BLAMA SPAROZZI/ZWISCHENZONEN (4/79-9/82)
2LP Schneeball 1028 (1982)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PAPENBURG 1983
ZACK GLÜCK (2-3/84)
LP Materiali Sonori MASO 33026 (Italy, 1984)
YORUBA DUN DUN ORCHESTRA (1985)
LP Schneeball 1043 (1985)
featured on: F/EAR THIS!
2LP P.E.A.C.E. 4/5 (Italy, 1986)
LP Materiali Sonori MASO 33036 (Italy, 1987)
TURN PEACE (2+6+8+9/89)
LP Schneeball 01045/08 (1989)
JAZZ BUHNE BERLIN '89 (16/7/89)
LP Amiga 8 56 496 (1989)
The history of Emergency is a strange one, as their roots actually stem from Prague, Czechoslovakia with the jazz musician Hanus Berka. In 1966 he went to America to seek his fortune and the roots of jazz, whilst there he discovered a new music: "brass-rock", but becoming disillusioned he drifted back to Europe. In Munich he met some fellow Czech's touring with a production of "Hair" and decided to form a band, the only German was Udo Lindenberg. Their debut EMERGENCY showed a group with many influences, a meeting of East-Euro jazz and Anglo-American styles as instigated by the likes of Chicago Transit Authority, Keef Hartley, etc., they were stylists of the popular CBS jazz-spiced progressive sound. Moving to Brain, after many personnel changes, so much so that it was a virtually new group, they disappointed with GET OUT TO THE COUNTRY, which was Emergency at their most commercial, mainly straight bluesy songs. Only the lengthy title track was of merit, in that it showed a subdued flair for invention. This was further highlighted on NO COMPROMISE, which was a much more progressive album, featuring a good collection of songs and instrumentals, especially as it featured the talents of Veit Marvos to the fore, and had a heavier musical base. By 1975 Berka was the only Czech musician left in the band. Emergency never reached their full potential musically, disappearing without trace in the mid-70's.
Hanus Berka (tenor/baritone saxes, flute, percussion), Otto Bezloja (basses), Udo Lindenberg (drums, percussion), Jiri Matousek (organ, pianos, percussion), Barrie Newby (guitar), Milos Reddy (vocals, percussion), + Dusko Goykovic (trumpet)
LP CBS S 64381 (1971)
EMERGENCY ENTRANCE (1/72)
LP CBS 64928 (1972)
GET OUT TO THE COUNTRY (6-7/73)
LP Brain 1037 (1973)
NO COMPROMISE (3/74)
LP Brain 1052 (1974)
Initially formed by a number of street musicians in Hirschberg, 1977, with the desire to create something more than just folk music, Emma Myldenberger quickly established a rich folk-rock style, totally acoustic, featuring female vocals and a penchant for blending in many other ethnic musics than just German folk. Really, their eponymous debut was much like a throw back to the progressive folk albums of several years earlier, akin to Bröselmaschine, Hölderlin or Emtidi, yet with an otherworldly medieval feel, embellished by Middle-Eastern ethnic musics, notably with Biber Gullatz's distinctive oboe playing, their concoction was unique. Especially, it was amazing in that everything was acoustic! The second album, TOUR DE TRANCE, with considerably longer tracks and much more instrumental interplay, broke even more ground with a uniquely styled music that even went beyond the pioneering music of Between or the Third Ear Band, mysteriously ethnic and medieval, not really rock but with a lively rock energy, and an abundance of solos, surprising for what was still a totally acoustic ensemble. Emma Myldenberger were indeed pioneers that were pushing beyond the frontiers of established progressive, folk and world musics. But, for some unknown reason, they split before the end of the decade. Three Emma Myldenberger members later became the nucleus of the equally innovative Radio Noisz Ensemble. Biber Gullatz is nowadays much sought after as a session musician, working in jazz, ethnic and new-age musics.
Anne Goßlau (violin, flute, banjo, vocals), Biber Gullatz (oboe, flute, crumhorn, guitar, ocarina, glockenspiel, vocals), Gaby Kinscherf (vocals, flute, percussion), Michel Meyer (guitar, mandolin, autoharp, vocals), Reines Pauker (guitar, percussion, vocals), Topsi Tkacz (bass, guitar, vocals), + Sepp Niemeyer (drums, bongos), Wastl Gassert (congas, percussion)
featured on: MUSIK AUS DEM ODENWALD
EMMA MYLDENBERGER (6/78)
LP MS Edition MS 1008 (1978)
TOUR DE TRANCE (18-26/5/79)
LP MS Edition MS 1011 (1979)
An odd duo, of Canadian Dolly Holmes and German Maik Hirschfeldt, Emtidi's roots are most obviously in traditional folk, and the music of Bob Dylan or Donovan, et al., yet by the time of their debut album Emtidi were no longer a conventional folk duo. Though very lyrical and totally acoustic, they had moved on and developed a style uniquely their own, a trippy folk-based music with an ethereal kind of cosmic edge. Being in Berlin at the time, they soon caught the attention of enthusiastic Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser who signed them up for his then "new German folk-music label" Pilz. The album SAAT was a truly progressive folk masterpiece, with the beautiful "English" vocals of Dolly Holmes and occasionally the contrastingly Teutonic voice of Maik Hirschfeldt, in a richly textured music featuring multi-guitars, keyboards and electronics, elevated cosmic progressive of a refined and most magical kind, beyond the realms of early Bröselmaschine or Hölderlin, towards Klaus Schulze even! Relocating to Munich and with an expanded line-up, including Rudi Haunreiter (later of Peter Frohmader's Nekropolis) and others, Emtidi continued with an expanding roster of material for several years, yet unfortunately never got to record any further albums.
Dolly Holmes (acoustic guitar, bouzouki, kazoo, vocals), Maik Hirschfeldt (guitars, flute, vocals)
LP Thorofon ATH 109 (1970)
LP Pilz 20 29077-8 (1972)
A late-70's amateur progressive, Epidaurus had their footing firmly in the early-70's progressive sound of bands like Pink Floyd, Eloy or Pulsar. However, their largely instrumental multi-keyboard fronted blend was closer to Faithful Breath on their classic FADING BEAUTY, with a dreamy feel, "cosmic" to want for a better term, but with one difference - the opening track has female vocals! Later, Epidaurus resurfaced under the name Choice, and more recently have reformed, attempting to cash-in on the interest generated by the CD reissue of EARTHLY PARADISE. But, be warned, ENDANGERED is abysmal pop styled rock, and is to be avoided at all costs!
Christiane Wand (vocals), Heinz Kunert (bass, pedals, percussion), Manfred Struck (drums, percussion), Volker Oehmig (drums, percussion), Günther Henne (organ, Mellotron, Moogs, clavinet, electric piano), Gerd Linke (organ, Mellotron, Moog, 12-string guitar, clavinet, pianos), + Peter Maier (flute)
EARTHLY PARADISE (25-26/6/77)
LP private release e 1004 (1977)
These could have been classed as Germany's answer to Gentle Giant, they certainly had all the very complex arrangements and adept interactive vocal harmonies (cross chanting, canons, chorales, etc.) that characterised Gentle Giant, yet they also had their own style being a much darker, weirder, cosmic and gothic styled band on the ambitious GENIUS OF ORIGINAL FORCE. An album that aptly became a sought after collectible. Epidermis were seasoned musicians who had been around a long while (an earlier previously unreleased album is due for issue sometime) and they continued well into the 80's, although they changed somewhat, as revealed on the posthumously released FEEL ME, which had folky edge, and a song style closer to Novalis.
Reiner Neeb (drums, glockenspiel, recorder, vocals), Wolfgang Wünsche (basses, vocals), Rolf Lonz (guitars, recorder, vocals), Michael Kurz (keyboards, vocals)
GENIUS OF ORIGINAL FORCE (11/77)
LP Kerston 65063 (1978)
LP Tonträger 8502 (1982)
Staying in Germany after serving in the British army, Cliff Jackson got together with Scotsman Jim McGillivray and Dortmund bassist Bernd Kolbe, and formed Fagin's Epitaph playing concerts of pop hits at British army bases. Two years on, after relocating to Hannover, and with a second guitarist, they developed an original progressive repertoire, and were fortunate to be promptly signed up by Polydor. Both of their early Polydor albums have been acclaimed as classics of guitar led progressive hard-rock by fans of the genre. But, based on their second STOP, LOOK & LISTEN (we haven't heard their debut in its entirety) they were much too British styled to be associated with true Krautrock, though it did feature lengthy tracks with extended instrumental breaks. The even more ordinary and commercial OUTSIDE THE LAW was recorded during a USA tour and gained them some recognition internationally, but was of little merit. Heralded by the sampler HANDICAP, subsequent albums, by a reformed band in the late-70's, offered a lighter rock with symphonic touches, notably due to Eloy connections. Latterly they moved onto Heavy Metal realms. Epitaph were the commercial face of 70's German rock, though, at least in their early day's, they did have their moments!
Cliff Jackson (guitar, vocals), Klaus Walz (guitar, vocals), Bernd Kolbe (bass, vocals), Jim McGillivray (drums, vocals)
THE EPITAPH (1971)
LP Polydor 2371 225 (1971)
London Town Girl / Visions
7" Polydor 2041 201 (1971)
STOP, LOOK & LISTEN (4/72)
LP Polydor 2371 274 (1972)
Autumn '71 / Are You Ready
7" Zebra 2047 003 (1973)
We Love You, Alice / Paradise For Sale
7" Zebra 2047 005 (1973)
OUTSIDE THE LAW (11/74)
LP Billingsgate BG 1009 (USA, 1974), Membran 22-131-1 (1975)
2LP Babylon 80.002 (1979) «compilation with 2 unreleased tracks»
RETURN TO REALITY
LP Brain 60.185 (1979)
SEE YOU IN ALASKA
LP Brain 60.274 (1980)
LP Brain 60.385 (1981)
DANGER MAN (2/82)
LP Rockport RO 014 (1982)
Initially working under the name Karthago and with a repertoire of The Nice compositions, they changed radically when joined by the former Orange Peel and Nosferatu guitarist/vocalist Michael Winzkowski. Upon realising that another band called Karthago existed in Berlin, the name Epsilon was chosen instead. Typical of bands from Marburg (cf. Pell Mell, Frame, etc.) Epsilon drew heavily on classical music in an original and complex progressive rock, in a very different way to their British or Italian counterparts, especially so on side one of their debut, which blends in these classical influences in a very unusual and original manner, not least so a classical styled rendition of The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black". It all amounts to an odd album that covers a lot of ground, yet is also excellent throughout. Subsequent releases moved onto hard-rock and blues realms, though MOVE ON was surprisingly good for a more mainstream song-based rock album, with some nice folky touches breaking the mood occasionally. And, even on the straight hard-rock EPSILON OFF they still retained the unique Epsilon sound with Winzkowski's unusual vocals. However, we suspect that the later singles are of no real interest!
Michael Ertl (bass), Hartmut Pfannmüller (drums, percussion), Walter Ortel (organ, pianos, vocals, percussion), Michael Winzkowski (vocals, guitars, percussion)
I'm Not My Brother's Keeper / Everyday's Pain
7" Philips 6003 090 (1970)
LP Bacillus 6494 001 (1971)
MOVE ON (1971)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19078 (1971)
LP Philips 6305 216 (1974)
Leave The City / Wake Up
7" Ariola 16424 (1975)
Ay Ayay A / Elephant Funk
7" Ariola 17587 (1975)
Classic dreamy progressive obscurity.
Eckhardt Freynik (organ, pianos), Friedrich Krüger (guitars), Michael Brandes (drums, vocals), Günter Ambrecht (bass)
LP private release TST 77678 (1973)
Eroc is the pseudonym of Joachim Heinz Ehrig, best known as the madcap drummer with Grobschnitt. Eroc has never been just a drummer however, he has been an innovative sound explorer since the mid-60's, and a really talented multi-instrumentalist, as documented on a series of solo albums. As early as 1967 Eroc had developed his own methods of multi-tracking and phasing effects, with voices and instruments. He said, that like Udo Lindenberg or Klaus Schulze, he wasn't satisfied with just being a drummer, so he explored other creative types of music. In 1970 he recorded the revolutionary echo vocal collage work "Horrorgoll", very much like a piece of Dadaist sound-poetry (yet with a rock aesthetic), it can be found on his debut solo LP along with early synthesizer and multi-instrumental works. His earliest release however, was an obscure single, which we've never encountered. A further anthology of early works (including rare Grobschnitt and other pre-Grobschnitt historical recordings) was later released as the very varied EROC 3. But, before that was his madcap conceptual extravaganza EROC ZWEI, with its concoction of synthesizer music, space-rock, comic theatrics, schlager and folk musics, all coming together like an outrageous lopsided look at the German media and music industry, and obviously Eroc's homage to Frank Zappa's equally outrageous LUMPY GRAVY. On later recordings Eroc mellowed somewhat, ending up like a mixture of Bavarian folk, synthesizer and rock, oft-reminiscent of Michael Rother's solos.
Der Meier Sitzt In Afrika
7" private release (1973)
LP Brain 1069 (1975)
LP Brain 60.007 (1976)
EROC 3 (1968-78)
LP Brain 60.197 (1979)
EROC 4 (1981-82)
LP Brain 60.484 (1982)
LP Metronome 833 080 (1987)
One of the earliest of Swiss progressives, Ertlif were fronted by an English vocalist and had a very English style with strong hints of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. But, having said that, Ertlif also had a Teutonic touch (much darker than Jane) that lent a doomy Ainigma or Necronomicon edge, in a music that had folky touches and an abundance of classical references. It all amounted to much more than just a heavy rock album, and although quite dated it's still a fresh and vital album. In 1974, alongside Ertlif (who were touring Germany at the time and planning a second album) two members: James Mosberger and Teddy Riedo also worked as the cosmic synthesizer duo Irrlicht. Obviously inspired by the Klaus Schulze classic, they unfortunately never released anything, although an album was planned for Klaus' aborted idea for a record label prior to Innovative Communication. Both these musicians have also worked solo since, and on several occasions Ertlif have reformed. No new album has appeared as yet however.
Richard John Rusinski (vocals, 12-string guitar), James Mosberger (organ, Mellotron, piano), Danny Andrey (guitars), Teddy Riedo (bass, synthesizer), Hanspeter Börlin (drums, percussion)
LP private release TLP 5510 (Switzerland, 1972)
As Release Music Orchestra moved onto lighter jazz realms, the former Tomorrow's Gift and RMO duo of Zabba Lindner and Bernd Keifer, together with keyboard maestro Georg Kochbek, and original Tomorrow's Gift singer Ellen Meier, attempted to recapture the early Tomorrow's Gift psychedelic blues-rock sound. Based on the live recordings we've heard, they could have been good. However, by this time, Ellen's voice had matured somewhat, and Es were a good deal more jazzy, and even funky at times. We don't know what the studio LP is like, though we don't hold out too much hope considering Zabba Lindner's later solo, and other related albums from this era.
Bernd Kiefer (bass), W. Zabba Lindner (drums), Ellen Meier (vocals), Wolfgang Grasekemp (piano), Alto Pappert (sax)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
ES IN CONCERT
LP Fran L-00210 (1977)
LP Fran L-00309 (1979)
Ever the entrepreneur of new musical revolutions, Wolfgang Dauner hatched the idea for one of the most elaborate con-jobs in Krautrock history. He managed to relaunch the Wolfgang Dauner Group as Et Cetera and promoted them as a new band, with an LP cover that was eye-catchingly psychedelic, and deliberately obscure in its references as to who the musicians were. And so, despite being on a jazz label, the album ET CETERA was launched onto the rock buying market. Amazingly Dauner's radical concoction of rock, jazz, ethnic and avant-garde musics caught the attention of many, Et Cetera being voted as newcomer band of the year in a German Sounds readers poll, despite the fact that the band had actually been in existence since 1968 (under various names) and recorded numerous albums! ET CETERA itself is an extraordinary album of weirdly trippy fusion that rides somewhere between instrumental Amon Düül II, Embryo and Dauner's own earlier classic OUTPUT. Full of ethnic and avant-garde elements, with lots of ethnic colour added by Sigi Schwab and his vast range of instruments, and many surprises, not least notable being the offbeat poem "Lady Blue".
All three Et Cetera albums were full of surprises, not least so in that excepting Wolfgang Dauner and Fred Braceful, the rest of the band was different on each album. Totally unexpected is the Hendrixy song by Larry Coryell that opens KNIRSCH, contrasting totally with the rest of album. And then there's the double live album which featured all new compositions and the talents of newcomers: the avant-gardist Jürgen Schmidt-Oehm and former Eulenspygel member Matthias Thurow. There's lots of great spacey Embryo styled fusion on this, archetypal Dauner riffing jazz topped by his unique keyboard style, avant-garde experimental works, and a trippy blues that recalls Beaver & Kraus' "Walking Green Algae Blues" and even a synthesizer track!
Wolfgang Dauner (synthesizer, piano, clavinet, clavichord, ring modulator, electric percussion, trumpet, flute), Sigi Schwab (guitars, sitar, tarang, lute, veena, sarangi, flute, balafon, ring modulator), Fred Braceful (percussion, vocals), Roland Wittich (percussion), Eberhard Weber (basses, cello)
ET CETERA (9-12/12/70)
LP Global 6306 901 (1971)
LP BASF/MPS 21 21432-2 (1972)
2LP BASF/MPS 29 21754-2 (1973)
Confusingly Eulenspygel's debut LP was titled EULENSPYGEL 2, but obviously this was to indicate that their first Eulenspygel album was by their former incarnation as The Royal Servants. Confused? Well, probably that was the intention! An obscure band from the Stuttgart region, Eulenspygel were a very Teutonic sounding band in the early days, with brash "political" songs and strongly accented German lyrics, blending in German folk culture into a complex progressive cum acid psychedelic rock. Add to this classical rock and uniquely Krautrock fusion, and a wide range of solo instruments, including dual guitars, flute, violin, keyboards (and even wider a range on AUSSCHUSS), and you can see that the Eulenspygel sound was rich and varied. Not unlike Joy Unlimited, Out Of Focus, Eiliff, et al., their exceptional talent went into creating a music beyond the normal song format (a touch of Floh De Cologne here too) and straddled genres with ease.. The later incarnation, reformed by Detlef Nottrodt, were very disappointing in that they bore no resemblance to the original band at all, playing a mellow hard-rock closer to the more mainstream DDR progressive bands.
Detlev Nottrodt (guitar, vocals), James Thurow (guitar, violin), Cornelius Hauptmann (flute), Karlheinz Großhans (organ, vocals), Ronnie Libal (bass), Mulo Maulbetsch (vocals, harmonica), Günter Klinger (drums, percussion)
EULENSPYGEL 2 (19-21/7/71)
LP Spiegelei 28770-6U (1971)
LP Spiegelei 28780-5U (1972)
LP Bellaphon BBS 2584 (1979)
LAUT & DEUTLICH
LP Neue Welt NW 9009 (1983)
Excalibur were a very British sounding rock trio, though they also had many uniquely German touches and some experimentation, giving them a unique character. Of interest only to those liking the German twist on the hard-rock style. We assume that the guest musician "Gorilla" could be Achim Reichel, and thus "Lemmy" may well be Lemmi Lembrecht, as certainly there's a touch of Achim Reichel eccentricity in some of the instrumentals.
Werner Odenkirchen (guitar, vocals), Hartmut Schölgens (organ), Manfred Terstappen (drums), + Gorilla (bass), Lemmy (percussion), Hans Lampe (percussion)
THE FIRST ALBUM
LP Reprise REP 44163 (1972)
Why Do People Cry / Run Through The Past
7" Reprise REP 14216 (1973)
An obscure 70's Swiss band, with a varied blend of progressive and hard-rock styles. Nothing is known about them except for one LP that was privately issued in the mid-70's. Exit were of that amateurish sounding vein akin to Grave or Kaputter Hamster, with rather drab production. Though, nonetheless, they were highly creative in mixing a wide range of influences, from the heavy and psychedelic through to majestic rock ballads. Especially notable is the album's opening track "Paradise" sounding like a hybrid of Birth Control's "Stop Little Lady", Pancake and 60's bubblegum pop! Such a bizarre blend of styles in a heavy progressive is most odd. Elsewhere the mood is often more melancholic, even bluesy, with the accent on organ passages and melodic songs.
Andy Schmid (guitar, harmonica), Edwin Schweizer (bass), Roman Portail (organ, synthesizer), Kafi Kaufmann (drums, percussion)
LP Boing 33-002 (1975)
Fronted by guitarist multi-instrumentalist Andy Göldner, with an aspiring Mike Ratledge-like organist in Tommy Balluff and the long-time Wolfgang Dauner and Et Cetera drummer Fred Braceful, the curiously named Exmagma created an avant-garde rock-jazz that was full of invention. Their debut had much in common with Dauner's OUTPUT or the strangest tracks by Et Cetera, as pure invention in a music that goes beyond jazz, using a wealth of effects and electronic gadgets. Although poorly recorded it had much to commend it, being largely improvised and highly experimental, and is well worth seeking out by those liking adventurous rock and jazz forms. Strangely, their second album GOLDBALL was only released in France, and because of the bands name it caused much confusion amongst Magma collectors! Much less avant-garde, and closer to Isotope or Hugh Hopper's mid-70's releases, it should please most Canterbury fans. After Exmagma disbanded, Andy Göldner went on to pursue a solo career, Fred Braceful went back into jazz, but what happened to Thomas Balluff we've no idea.
Thomas Balluff (organ, pianos, effects), Fred Braceful (drums, percussion), Andy Göldner (bass, guitar, sax, tapes)
LP Neusi ST-B-204 (1973)
LP Urus 000.009 (France, 1975)
Originally called Inspiration, Ex-Ovo hailed from Koblenz. They were a typically Teutonic hard-rock quartet with wailing guitars and a psychedelic edge, akin to early Epitaph, Night Sun or Sperrmüll. Rumour has it that an LP was recorded for Polydor yet it wasn't released. A shame, as their only record, a powerful gutsy rocking single, showed great promise.
Harry Koch (vocals), Ottmar Vosswinkel (guitar), Fritz Barth (drums), Rüdiger von Sanden (bass)
Crazy Nature / Burning Fire
7" Polydor 2041 182 (1971)
Ex Ovo Pro
An obscure Munich jazz-fusion band, Ex Ovo Pro (according to the cover of EUROPEAN SPASSVOGEL their name means "Out of the Egg - Professional") are amongst the most obscure of the mid-70's jazz-rock front. Ex Ovo Pro took hints from the early-70's scene, with hints of Nucleus, Soft Machine, and all sorts of other influences, fusing it all with a slightly funky edged fusion, with a wilder flash here and there. Typical of Bavarian jazz oriented bands they knew how to get away with wilder freaky touches without losing melodic content, and thus were often quite unusual too, not least so as most of the winds parts are played on bassoon.
Roland Bankel (guitar), Max Köhler (bass), Hans Kraus-Hübner (electric piano, synthesizer), Harald Pompl (drums), Mandi Riedelbauch (sax, bassoon, flute)
EUROPEAN SPASSVOGEL (9/76)
LP Amayana A 4504 (1977)
LP Amayana A 4508 (1979)
The origins of Faithful Breath are somewhat obscure. Originally they were a symphonic rock band, in fact one of the earliest of the genre in Germany. Their debut album FADING BEAUTY has indeed justly become revered as a classic, having lengthy side-long suites, composed of a melodic, oft-sedate and dramatic rock, driven on by vast washes of keyboards (lots of Mellotron and synthesizers) and lengthy involved instrumentals, merging in with mysterious songs with a science fiction fantasy concept. Several years on (and after many line-up changes, in fact they were a guitar/keyboards/drums trio at one point) they returned with the album BACK ON MY HILL, which presented a less esoteric but still interesting rock music with contrasting LP sides: one of shorter hard-rock based tracks, and the other a lengthy suite spurred on by majestic Mellotron orchestrations. Later, with only one original member, Faithful Breath have become a Heavy Metal band gaining some international success, but far from their former glories and out of the scope of this book!
Manfred von Buttlar (organ, Mellotron, synthesizer, piano, guitars, vocals), Heinz Mikus (guitars, vocals), Jürgen Weritz (drums, percussion, vocals), Horst Stabenow (bass, 12-string guitar, vocals)
FADING BEAUTY (12/73)
LP private release FB AA 6693 233 (1974)
Back On My Hill / Stick In Your Eyes
7" private release FB RRF 45003 (1977)
BACK ON MY HILL
LP Sky 038 (1980)
An obscure light folk-rock progressive (who grew out of the traditional folk band Fiedel Michel), Falckenstein bridged many styles, from the more traditional to the esoteric, like Pentangle or Hölderlin through to Floh De Cologne. The most traditional album was their debut, which hearkened back to Ougenweide, but on a softer level. Vastly different, yet still with strong folk leanings. FEUERSTUHL had the more Floh De Cologne styled edge, due to its theatrical and conceptual feel. Latterly ILLUSION saw a move to more mellow symphonic and new-age Blonker type realms.
Monika Marie Domin (hackbrett, vocals, guitar), Thomas Kagermann (violin, bagpipes, acoustic guitar), Mick Franke (bouzouki, acoustic guitar), Wendelin Wermer (guitar), Peter Löwner (bass), Joachim Luhrmann (drums, percussion)
LP Nature 60.179 (1979)
LP Nature 60.268 (1980)
LP Nature 60.428 (1982)
Family Of Percussion
Aptly, Family Of Percussion was the joining of forces by four talented percussionists, a supersession band of jazz, rock and ethnic musicians fronted by renowned drummer Peter Giger. Not easily categorised however, Family Of Percussion made a highly creative cross-culture music of the quality you'd expect from the esteemed musicians involved.
Peter Giger (drums, vibes, marimba), Trilok Gurtu (tablas, congas), Doug Hammond (vocals, steel drums, marimba), Tom Nicholas (congas, marimba)
FAMILY OF PERCUSSION
LP Nagara MIX 1010-N (1975)
MESSAGE TO THE ENEMIES OF TIME (6-7/7/78)
LP Nagara MIX 1016-N (1978)
LP Nagara MIX 1018-N (1979)
HERE COMES THE FAMILY
LP Nagara MIX 1021 (1980)
The brainchild of Uwe Nettelbeck, and commissioned by a Polydor A&R man, the idea of Faust was to create a band to rival the likes of Can and Kraftwerk, pioneering a new music that would also sell! So, Uwe set up studio in a small school hall outside Wümme (between Hamburg and Bremen) and with the aid of engineer Kurt Graupner, he gathered together six unknown musicians and began to hatch the ideas for a devastating and fantastic album.
Although never fully detailed on any album cover, the line up of the original Faust was more or less as follows: Werner Diermaier (drums), Joachim Irmler (organ, electronics), Arnulf Meifert (drums), Jean-Hervé Peron (bass, guitars, vocals), Rudolf Sosna (guitar, keyboards), Gunter Wüsthoff (sax, effects). Obviously, other members also sang apart from Jean-Hervé, and they all played other instruments, though none of this has ever been properly documented, and thus exact details are unknown. Testing the water, a concert was organised in autumn 1971, but despite a critical thumbs down and a bewildered audience recording of the Faust debut went ahead. With enthusiastic acclaim from John Peel, their debut album FAUST - uniquely packaged as a clear record in a clear sleeve with a clear insert and striking clenched fist design - soon gained public attention in Britain (despite apathy in Germany), with its excessive invention breaking beyond the normal realms of rock, with much use of electronics, unusual rhythmic structures and songs that weren't really true songs, excessive invention upon surprise after surprise. Unlike their objective, Faust hadn't come up with something totally new, but had built on convention and abused it. Still today FAUST is an extraordinary and weird album. The second album SO FAR (again a novelty package, this time virtually all-black, with a set of 10 picture inserts depicting each track) acted more on parody, with shorter tracks and a wider range of styles, metronomic rock anthems (with nonsensical lyrics), guitars fuzzed with intense electronic effects, pseudo psychedelia onto trippy folk, dadaism and even a closing Pasadena Roof Orchestra styled jazz number! The lyrics are extraordinary, and every track is a surprise - invention upon invention - a bounty of delights. The "So Far" single was a very different version of the album title-track given a weird brassy edge and a very strange mix. A version of the B side later appeared on FAUST IV.
Other projects at this time included members working on sessions with Slapp Happy, Anthony Moore, and the minimalist rock classic OUTSIDE THE DREAM SYNDICATE recorded with American avant-gardist Tony Conrad, an album that still confuses a lot of Krautrockers even today! After signing to Virgin, a compilation of studio out-takes THE FAUST TAPES (released at the price of a single), and a session on John Peel's radio show gained them even wider exposure, and a reputation as one of the most bizarre bands around, a fact confirmed by their notoriously outrageous British tour, featuring pneumatic drills and a pinball machine on stage, Faust continued to shock, surprise and delight. Recorded at Virgin's The Manor, FAUST IV was quite different in sound to the earlier albums, still with much dynamic and radical invention, not least the Can cum early Kraftwerk styled riffing on the relentless "Krautrock", yet there was a lighter edge at play too contrasting with the passages of electronics and weird guitars. For a couple of tours following this, Rudolf Sosna had left the band and Jean-Hervé Peron worked with Henry Cow for a while, and in their shoes stepped in Peter Blegvad and Uli Trepte. Despite existing for almost two further years a planned fifth album, although announced by Virgin, was never realised. Some of the sessions from this era (and earlier recordings) appeared on samplers and 7" EP's from Recommended Records. These recordings eventually gained proper release as two excellent retrospectives: MUNIC & ELSEWHERE and THE LAST LP (later compiled onto a single CD). These releases proved that Faust were indeed more prolific in the mid-70's than first thought, and presented some incredible music, covering much new territory.
After innumerable rumours and hearsay, it was confirmed that the nucleus of Faust were again playing live in the late-80's. The return of Faust started with a concert in Hamburg (9 October 1990), and then in October 1992 Faust stepped back onto the international scene, with a concert at the Marquee Club in London. The original members: Werner Diermaier, Joachim Irmler and Jean-Hervé Peron, were augmented by one Achim, on extra percussion, for a concert of brazen wild industrial Faust music. CD's have been released documenting both these concerts. Since then, Faust have been touring and working with various musicians, and for the first time have performed live with Tony Conrad. The new album RIEN was awaited with great anticipation for three years, and proved Faust to be just as radical as they ever were, although down to a nucleus of two augmented by numerous guests. A step back to the first Faust really, yet less musical in a sense, possibly because it was mixed by American experimentalist Jim O'Rourke. Surprisingly varied, with diversions to crazed industrial realms, and also a track that's like a hybrid of "So Far" and their work with Tony Conrad, RIEN proves that Faust have never lost the spirit of Krautrock.
Werner Diermaier, Joachim Irmler, Arnulf Meifert, Jean-Hervé Peron, Rudolf Sosna, Gunter Wüsthoff
LP Polydor 2310 142 (1971)
So Far / It's A Bit Of Pain
7" Polydor 2001 299 (1972)
SO FAR (3/72)
LP Polydor 2310 196 (1972)
OUTSIDE THE DREAM SYNDICATE (10/72)
LP Caroline C1501 (UK, 1972)
Credited to: Tony Conrad with Faust
THE FAUST TAPES (6/71-6/73)
LP Virgin VC 501 (UK, 1973)
FAUST IV (6/73)
LP Virgin V2004 (UK, 1973), Virgin 87.739-1T (1973)
Extracts From Faust Party 3 (1972)
7" EP Recommended RR 1.5 (UK, 1979)
Faust Party 3 Extracts #2 (1972)
7" EP Recommended RR 6.5 (UK, 1980)
MUNIC & ELSEWHERE (1973-75)
LP Recommended RR 25 (UK, 1986) «first 1000 on white vinyl»
THE LAST LP (1971-72)
LP RéR 36 (UK, 1988) #1988
featured on: CHEMICAL IMBALANCE, VOL. 2 #3 (9/10/90)
7" Chemical Imbalance CI 008 (USA, 1992)
The Pyre Of Angus Was In Kathmandu / The Death Of The Composer Was In 1962 (10/72)
7" Table Of The Elements LITHIUM 3 (USA, 1993)
Credited to: Tony Conrad with Faust
LP Table Of The Elements CHROMIUM 24 (USA, 1995)
MLP RéR F3V (UK, 1996) « BBC session (1/3/73) and unreleased work (1996)»
YOU KNOW FAUST
LP Klangblad FY 103 (?)
FAUST WAKES NOSFERATU
LP Klangbad FLI 5 (1998) «different recordings to CD version!»
An obscurity from the Pyramid Records archive, captured at Dierks studio in the mid-70's. Apparently their only recordings resulted from an impromptu jam session, and no albums were ever released. All that has been issued thus far is the track "Ganz Wie Du Willst" which is a loose jam in the vein of Amon Düül, though sounding much more untogether and free-form, making use of effects and studio trickery.
Neil Andersen (guitar, synthesizer), Hans Lorenzen (guitar), Toby Robinson (guitar)
featured on: UNKNOWN DEUTSCHLAND: VOLUME 1
A polished and complex symphonic progressive by a veritable supergroup of 70's rock musicians, notably including ex-Eloy/Jane keyboardist Manfred Wieczorke, and aptly with much Pink Floyd and Yes styling. Firehorse were cursed really, in that they had too many influences, were over-weighted in the vocal department, especially with David Hanselmann involved! For those liking the later 70's style of progressives, Firehorse may appeal, although they had little style of their own.
Manfred Wieczorke (keyboards), Rudi Kädling (drums), Jürgen Baumann (keyboards), Florian V. Hofen (bass, vocals), Heiner Schädel (vocals), David Hanselmann (vocals), Jutta "Li" Garrattoni (vocals), Peter Ludwig (guitar), Sandy Nedde (guitar), Hasso Anhoek (timbales, congas), Heinz Alberding (sax)
ON THE WIND
LP Ariola 201 735 (1980)
Along with Irrwisch, Flame Dream presented the more commercial edge of 70's and 80's Swiss progressive rock, which related close to German bands of the era like Eloy or Anyone's Daughter. Featuring strong arrangements and elaborately crafted songs, Flame Dream could be considered as the Swiss Genesis, with little originality of their own. All their albums feature excellent musicianship, high quality production, a Peter Gabriel styled lead vocalist, and are quite enjoyable. Certainly they were easily on par with any contemporary British counterparts. For some unknown reason, the album TRAVAGANZA was released in the UK as being by Travaganza, not Flame Dream!
Peter Furrer (drums), Roland Ruckstuhl (keyboards), Urs Hochuli (bass, guitars), Peter Wolf (voice, woodwinds)
LP Philips 6326 067 (1979)
LP Vertigo 6326 976 (1980)
OUT IN THE DARK (1980)
LP Vertigo 6367 016 (1981)
LP Vertigo 6435 144 (1982)
LP Vertigo 6435 197 (1983), Aura AUL 727 (UK, 1984)
Progressive - with male & female vocals on 2nd.
Joachim Jansen (organ, violin, synthesizer, piano, clavinet), Peter Wahle (drums, guitar, percussion), Hans Wende (bass, guitar, clavinet, drums), + Wolfgang Neumann (vocals), Bruno Blättler (guitar), Wolfgang Hoffmann (guitar), Barry Peeler (guitar), Bernd Renn (bass), Helmut Leinhas (timbales), Frank Kirchner (sax)
TANZ DER GOETTER
LP private release F 666761 (1979)
LP Polydor 2372 062 (1981)
Floh De Cologne
Outrageous and purely innovative, Floh De Cologne, since their inception in 1966 as a student cabaret and music band, constantly surprised, puzzled and always deliberately broke convention. Their elaborate stage shows, socio-political theatrical productions and pure musical innovation lead to obvious comparisons with the similarly radical Mothers Of Invention. Yet, whilst the Mothers were chiefly the vehicle of one musician, Floh De Cologne were a collective unit of creative musicians and actors, who continually dared to take chances, provoke and surprise their audience via a blend of rock, satire and theatre.
Together with political activist Dieter Suverkrup, their debut was a sharp poignant anti-Vietnam war stab, almost like a play it is very lyrical (if you don't understand German, it's a bit heavy going) and not very musically involved. But, after this, they progressed in leaps and bounds. With FLIEßBANDBABYS BEAT-SHOW (the very first Ohr LP) they had changed considerably to a much more musical footing, with a complex rock suite blending many styles. Like all Floh De Cologne records it was another concept work, this time though it was a furiously aggressive anti-capitalist statement, running a whole gamut of musical styles, and features Floh De Cologne at their most psychedelic. It's a formula they developed further on subsequent albums, on ROCKOPER PROFITGEIER (meaning "Profit Vulture's rock opera" which had a really gory elaborate cover with pull-out vulture intestines!) they aptly developed a more rock song based formula, and were also in a more aggressive mood. All in all a fascinating blend, though not normal "rock opera", that became an influence to many younger German bands. The last in this more psychedelic rock edged vein was the bizarre double LUCKY STREIK which presented the Floh De Cologne experience in concert with a totally new work. The most unusual and innovative of all Floh De Cologne albums was GEYER~ SYMPHONIE, which concerns the life of corporate magnate Friedrich Flick and his exploits, and even if one doesn't understand German the music is still extraordinary, a concoction of rock, blues, jazz and experimental theatre, with diverse elements like death marches, skiffle, Rock 'n' Roll, even schlager and spaghetti western type musics! Trying to picture such a concoction is impossible, yet Floh De Cologne not only manage it, but succeed with amazing results. Pure innovation!
After this, further albums moved a little closer to progressive rock, notably due to the addition of Vridolin Enxing (who gradually took over as leader), though MUMIEN (with its aptly dark H.R. Giger cover) and TILT! are quite exceptional too, being in the FLIEßBANDBABYS BEAT-SHOW style yet with complex progressive stylings instead of the psychedelic. And then, maddest of the lot, there's the totally outrageous re-writing of "Little Red Riding Hood" on the wacky radio-play styled ROTKÄPCHEN. Despite virtually ending up as a parody of themselves as a satirical pop band in the end, Floh De Cologne must be regarded as one of the most unique groups to emerge out of Krautrock.
Hansi Frank (drums, organ, vocals), Dieter Klemm (percussion, bass, vocals), Markus Schmidt (bass, guitar, organ, vocals), Dick Städtler (guitar, organ, bass, vocals), Gerd Wollschon (percussion, organ, vocals)
LP Pläne S 33101 (1968)
FLIEßBANDBABYS BEAT-SHOW (3/70)
LP Ohr OMM 56000 (1970)
St. Pauli, Dumein Loch Zur Welt / Bruno-Lied
7" Ohr OS 57.001 (1970)
ROCKOPER PROFITGEIER (11-13/1/71)
LP Ohr OMM 56 010 (1971) «novelty cover: first issue on deep "blood" red vinyl, second issue on bright salmon/pink vinyl»
Emil In Erkenschwick / Zahlen Mußt Du
7" Ohr OS 57.009 (1972)
LUCKY STREIK LIVE (25/11/72)
2LP Ohr OMM 2/56 029 (1973)
Der Lowenthaler / Bayrisches Heimatlied
7" Ohr OS 57.012 (1973)
GEYER~ SYMPHONIE (1973)
LP Ohr OMM 556 033 (1973)
Dieser Chilenische Sommer Was Suss
7" EP private release 21174 (1973)
LP Pläne S 99201 (1974)
LP Pläne S 99202 (1975)
LP Pläne K 20905 (1977)
LP Pläne G 90239 (1978)
LP Pläne 88230 (1980)
LP Pläne 88319 (1983)
At the more mainstream end of German heavy rock, but still with a few Teutonic touches, Florian Geyer had little to commend them, despite the collectability of their sole self-produced LP. Florian Geyer were listenable, but very ordinary, especially as on occasions they steer dangerously close to Status Quo.
K. Dieter Stieg (bass, vocals), Jürgen Glüge (drums), Manfred Wolff (guitar, lead vocals)
Candle Of My Burial / Monday Afternoon
7" private release (3/74)
LP private release 66.21284 (1976)
Flute & Voice
An unusual Berlin duo, Flute & Voice were in fact much more multi-instrumental than their name would suggest! The music on their debut IMAGINATIONS OF LIGHT was a strongly ethnic concoction that was not at all easy to pin down. An understated kind of folky rock that seemed to step on from King Crimson's "Moonchild" with weird jazzy and raga touches, hinting at Kalacakra or the Third Ear Band, though totally devoid of any emotion. In fact, the whole album sounds "stoned". The HEAVY CHRISTMAS track was more straight folk.
Hans "Flute" Reffert (guitars, flute), Hans "Voice" Brandeis (sitar, guitar, voice)
IMAGINATIONS OF LIGHT (1970)
LP Pilz 20 21088-2 (1971)
featured on: HEAVY CHRISTMAS
Strongly interconnected with fellow Marburg band Pell Mell, though the musical connection is not always so obvious, Frame exhibited a style that had very little in common with them really, being much more influenced by the late-60's heavy psychedelia and blues rock by the likes of Deep Purple or Vanilla Fudge. Only some of the rhythmic structures hinted at the Pell Mell connection. Mixing in folky styles and progressive touches into their heavy rock style, their sole album FRAME OF MIND bore the unmistakable stamp of Dieter Dierks at the mixing desk, with great use of dynamics and stereo dimension. Really varied, steering away from the mainstream of early-70's rock, with many classic moves and excellent vocals, all giving it that something special, it's an album that's still amazingly fresh even today. Andy Kirnberger was a featured guest on early Pell Mell albums, after Frame's demise he went on to the vastly inferior Hardcake Special, whilst Cherry Hochdörfer and Wolfgang Klaus moved to Pell Mell.
Andy Kirnberger (guitars, vocals, piano), Cherry Hochdörfer (organ, piano, Mellotron, spinet), Peter Lotz (bass, vocals, percussion), Dieter Becker (vocals, percussion), Wolfgang Claus (drums, percussion)
FRAME OF MIND
LP Bacillus BLPS 19107 (1972)
Formed in Witten in 1969 as Franz Kafka. In their early days they were one of those very Teutonic underground rock bands, akin to Ton Steine Scherben or Lokomotive Kreuzberg, with a hard-edged agit-rock style. By the time of their debut (becoming just Franz K.) they had matured their sound from the early days of Fugs and Mothers style theatre in German. SENSEMANN featured just two side-long tracks offering a great deal of freedom for invention, with aggressive German lyrics and similarly angular freaky guitars characterising their sound. A psychedelic hard-rock twist on Ton Steine Scherben perhaps. Franz K. continued for many years, ROCK IN DEUTSCH is also reputedly good, but on later albums (at least another nine!) the vocals took over and they moved to a more mainstream rock and cabaret mixture, totally lacking the innovation of their debut.
Peter Josefus (bass, vocals), Stefan Josefus (drums), Mick Hannes (guitar)
LP Philips 6305 127 (1972)
ROCK IN DEUTSCH (8-9/73)
LP Zebra 2949 014 (1973)
Aka Friedemann Witecka, a multi-instrumental new-age and fusion musician, producing varied instrumental music between later Blonker and Andreas Vollenweider, though sometimes with a jazzy edge. Probably the most interesting thing about his output, is the esteemed musicians he's managed to secure as guests.
Friedemann (vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, zither), + Jane Reid (percussion), Friedemann Leinert (flute), Rainer Böhm (sitar), Angelika Behre (vocals)
SONGS FOR A BEGINNING
LP Stockfish SF 5013 (1977)
THE BEGINNING OF HOPE
LP Zweitausendeins 23640 (1979)
LP Zweitausendeins 26100 (1983)
Friedhof were an early-70's underground band who produced just the one obscure album, and then disappeared into obscurity. The self-titled record, which sounds like it's recorded in a sewer, is largely a collection of totally freaked-out guitar, bass and drums instrumentals, charged to the power of brain-numbing intensity. So, whilst a touch grungy and raw in the production department, the sheer quality of the music overrides the technical defects. This is one for those who not only like their rock music with guitars afire, but - white hot!
Ernst-Ulrich Freitag (guitars), Norbert Schulz (bass, percussion), Rainer Bartl (drums)
LP Sound Star Ton SST 0103 (1973)
Founder and only continual member of Tangerine Dream (for almost three decades now), Edgar Froese could be seen in the 70's as one of the most innovative of German rock musicians. Although originally just a guitarist, starting with the psych-pop band The Ones, Edgar is also widely regarded as one of the innovators of synthesizer and electronic rock music. Innovation was the key factor on his early solo albums, a fact especially evident on his first solo release AQUA, which was a very imaginative concoction of bubbling and crackling electronics, symbolic of water and ice, with sequencers and Mellotron, taking a much weirder step aside from Tangerine Dream's PHAEDRA. Edgar also tried his hand at other musics that didn't really fit the Tangerine Dream mould, like the esoteric Mellotron and sound-effects drenched YPSILON IN MALAYSIAN PALE, that is so amazingly spooky, and in contrast the throbbing multi-guitars featured on side one of MACULA TRANSFER. Often, elements of Edgar Froese's solos would make it into Tangerine Dream live concert jams, notably the MACULA TRANSFER themes that found their way in to Tangerine Dream's 1976 set. The double AGES took another step to TD realms, introducing Klaus Krieger (aka Klaus Krüger) to the fold. As with later Tangerine Dream, Edgar's later solos lacked those early sparks of innovation, and sounded pretty much like the Tangerine Dream of the era they were recorded in.
LP Brain 1053 (1974), Virgin V2016 (UK, 1974)
YPSILON IN MALAYSIAN PALE (6-7/75)
LP Brain 1074 (1975)
MACULA TRANSFER (6/76)
LP Brain 60.008 (1976)
2LP Virgin 25756 XBT (1978), Virgin VD2507 (UK, 1978)
LP Virgin 201 036-320 (1979), Virgin V2139 (UK, 1979)
SOLO 1974-1979 (1974-79)
LP Virgin 204 574-320 (1982), Virgin V2197 (UK, 1982) «compilation with remixes and excerpts»
KAMIKAZE 1989 (1982)
LP Virgin 204 864-320 (1982), Virgin V2255 (UK, 1982)
LP Virgin 205 594-320 (1983), Virgin V2277 (UK, 1983)
One of the most innovative of musicians to emerge in the 80's, Peter Frohmader's origins in music go back to the early-70's. He was in many bands during the Krautrock era, which included Alpha Centauri (1971, reputedly a radical avant-garde band), Electronic Delusion (1973, Tangerine Dream inspired electronic experimental), Kanaan (1975, jazz-rock electronic), and he also got involved with the new-wave. But Peter was a Krautrocker, so in 1979 Peter started two new projects: the hard-rock band CIA, and the experimental solo/group project Nekropolis, to do his music.
His LP debut MUSIK AUS DEM SCHATTENREICH ("Music From The Darklands" in English), was quite extraordinary, aptly as dark and abstract as the sinister cover: a mysterious blend of electronics, guitars and percussives with rock aesthetics, a weird concoction recalling early Cluster and esoteric Amon Düül II. NEKROPOLIS 2 revealed a fascination with the music of Magma, especially the development of Jannick Top inspired bass guitar work, and in fact whole orchestras of bass guitars are used! Nekropolis often gigged as a proper band, in fact we learned recently that Nekropolis existed live as various incarnations since the 70's, but it wasn't until the 80's that they were documented on record, as on NEKROPOLIS LIVE, with a music mixing elements of Magma, King Crimson and acid Krautrock, close to Spacebox. This band toured and also played at a couple of RIO festivals.
Despite a diversion into Material-like electro-funk on the EP FORGOTTEN ENEMY most subsequent work has been almost purely electronic. Though still, Peter has surprised on occasions with the electronic rock of RITUAL, and other adventurous works, like WINTERMUSIC and his grandiose "bass symphonies" that are devastating to behold. These evolved out of the bass works on NEKROPOLIS 2 and amount to Peter creating orchestra's of bass guitars all on his own! Peter's synthesizer-based music, starts with the esoteric and hypnotic (very limited pressing) 10" TWO COMPOSITIONS, which set the trend for a new type of music, a music further developed as abstract and visionary forms, on the cassettes ORAKEL/TIEFE and JULES VERNE CYCLE. The later cassette SPHERES was, in contrast, an exercise in meditational new-age music. Contrasting with those pioneering works, on his LP releases, he ventured onto complex synthetically orchestrated extravaganzas, featuring elaborately arranged classical and rock elements, starting with CULTES DES GOULES and continuing with the gothic symphonies of the HOMUNCULUS albums. This trend, with some exceptions is what Peter has pursued on his CD albums.
NEKROPOLIS '81, VOL. 1
MC Nekropolis NC-1 (1981)
NEKROPOLIS '81, VOL. 2
MC Nekropolis NC-2 (1981)
NEKROPOLIS '81, VOL. 3
MC Nekropolis NC-3 (1981)
NEKROPOLIS '81, VOL. 4
MC Nekropolis NC-4 (1981)
NEKROPOLIS: MUSIK AUS DEM SCHATTENREICH
LP Nekropolis RP 10122 (1981)
LP Hasch Platten KIF 002 (1982)
10" Nekropolis 220171 (1983)
NEKROPOLIS LIVE (25-27/7/83)
LP Schneeball 1037 (1983)
featured on: MUSIK FÜR DICH (1982)
LP+7" Hasch Platten KIF 006/7 (1984)
THE FORGOTTEN ENEMY (1983-84)
MLP Hasch Platten KIF 008 (1984)
CULTES DES GOULES (5-11/84)
LP Nekropolis 220172 (1985)
MC Auricle AMC 011 (UK, 1985)
LP Multimood MRC-001 (Sweden, 1986)
JULES VERNE CYCLE (1982)
MC Auricle AMC 018 (UK, 1986)
HOMUNCULUS, VOL. 1 (1985)
LP Nekropolis 220173 (1987)
HOMUNCULUS, VOL. 2 (1986-87)
LP Multimood MRC-004 (Sweden, 1987)
MLP Multimood MRC-006 (Sweden, 1987)
THROUGH TIME & MYSTERY-ENDING (1987)
2LP Nekropolis 220174 (1988)
MC Nekropolis NC-7 (1988)
A very obscure jazz-fusion band from the Hamburg area, with a penchant for jamming, for long tracks and Miles Davis styled riffing. Their albums sound a mite dated today, but have a unique charm because of that, especially with their distinctly European sound, and being full of complexities and an abundance of solos.
Gustl Mayer (tenor/soprano saxes), Dieter von Goetze (bass), Klaus Göbel (organ), Kurt Bong (drums, percussion)
"0611" CAT QUARTER
LP CBS S 64616 (1971)
LP CBS S 65254 (1972)
Born out of the 60's folk-pop band The City Preachers, and inspired by the burgeoning progressive scene, Frumpy were formed in March 1970 with the idea of creating a fusion of rock, blues, classical, folk and psychedelic. Frumpy were a unique combination. Though they debuted at the Pop & Blues festival, they were much too progressive and experimental to appeal to pop audiences, Frumpy were much more than that. The classical elements were endowed by French keyboard player Jean-Jacques Kravetz, a most imaginative organist rivalling Keith Emerson, Dave Stewart or Marián Varga easily, who had worked with Michel Polnareff during the 60's. The blues and folk elements were courtesy of Inga Rumpf's often remarkably unfeminine vocals and her poignantly observant lyrics. After numerous concerts and festival appearances, Frumpy's debut LP was a guaranteed success, and to assure everyone that Frumpy were nothing like The City Preachers an apt title was chosen: ALL WILL BE CHANGED. Frumpy's greatest triumph however was FRUMPY 2, which saw the addition of former Sphinx Tush guitarist Rainer Baumann. Having just two tracks per side, this was the definitive Frumpy style to savour, there was lots of room for extensive instrumental work, guitar and keyboard duets, with classical and blues diversions, all wrapped up by excellent songs from Inga. It hinted at, and previewed the excellent vastly extended works as found on the posthumously released double live album. Hereafter numerous personnel changes occurred and, though still a very good album, as a result BY THE WAY suffered somewhat. During this period Kravetz went on to work with Udo Lindenberg and also record a solo album, Rainer Baumann also established a solo career, and subsequently Frumpy transmuted into Atlantis.
Inga Rumpf (vocals, percussion), Jean-Jacques Kravetz (organ, piano, Mellotron, percussion, sax, spinet), Karl-Heinz Schott (bass, percussion), Carsten Bohn (drums, percussion)
featured on: POP & BLUES FESTIVAL '70
ALL WILL BE CHANGED (8/70)
LP Philips 6305 067 (1970) «novelty gatefold cover»
Roadriding / Time Makes Wise
7" Philips 6003 174 (1971)
FRUMPY 2 (1971)
LP Philips 6305 098 (1972) «circular fold-out cover in polythene bag, green and black splattered vinyl»
BY THE WAY (3/72)
LP Vertigo 6360 604 (1972)
2LP Philips 6623 022 (1973)
Two thirds of the symphonic rock trio Schicke-Führs-Fröhling. As a duo, they were initially formed out of necessity when Eduard Schicke left the trio for a while. As a duo they offered a rich music blending acoustic guitars and keyboards, sometimes along similar lines to Kolbe & Illenberger, Alain Markusfeld or Anthony Phillips, otherwise light instrumental music with progressive and unusual touches. Especially rewarding was their debut AMMERLAND, though subsequent releases paled somewhat, veering towards new-age and easy listening light classical music.
Heinz Fröhling (guitars), Gerhard Führs (synthesizers, Mellotron, piano)
LP Brain 60.105 (1978)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN II
LP Brain 60.223 (1979)
LP Brain 60.333 (1981)
Nothing is known about this obscure and classic band, except their sole album released on the rare and sought after Kerston label. Gäa were a typically cosmic Krautrock band, who like Mythos or Virus, infused their Teutonic art with lots of guitars, keyboards and much in the way of Pink Floyd styling. With enigmatic lyrics in German, lengthy largely instrumental tracks with all the classic moves, spaced-out organs - the works - "On the way to Uranus" is a magical album, a Krautrock classic!
Werner Frey (guitars, lead vocals), Stefan Dörr (drums, vocals), Werner Jungmann (vocals, congas), Günter Lackes (organ, piano, vocals), Peter Bell (bass, flute, vocals)
AUF DER BAHN ZUM URANUS (1973)
LP Kerston 65014 (1974)
A 70's obscurity, unknown of until recently. They may have only existed for the recording of one LP. "Lunarscape" (side 1 of the LP) opens like a mixture of Florian Fricke synthesizer and Peter Michael Hamel systemic organ, diverting to a section that resembles Wired, or very atmospheric Tangerine Dream or Ash Ra Tempel - magic stuff. Apparently, Reinhard Karwatky's involvement was a by-product of Dzyan's ELECTRIC SILENCE, which was recorded around the same time, and his influence is especially felt on the spooky "Ethereal Jazz".
Johannes Lütz (Moog, organ), Holst Seisert (synthesizers, electric piano, effects), Reinhard Karwatky (synthesizers, percussion, organ)
EPITAPH FOR VENUS
LP Pyramid PYR 005
An inventive, yet heavily lyrical, progressive rock with a fresh direct approach, though Richard Kersten had a Jon Anderson cum John Wetton type voice, the Galaxy sound was notably inspired by the likes of Nektar, Omega, Message, etc., and bore the unmistakable mark of Dieter Dierks. Three-fifths of Galaxy later turned up as members of Waniyetula.
Richard Kersten (vocals), Heinz Kühne (guitars, vocals), Norbert Abels (keyboards, vocals), Hermann Beckert (bass), Victor Bergmann (drums)
NATURE'S CLEAR WELL
LP Venus V78 GA-F 1005 (1978)
The name GAM is an acronym of the three musicians' first names: Günter Schickert, Axel Struck and Michael Leske, a trio of musicians who had worked together under various guises since the early-70's. Günter Schickert is well-known as a pioneer of the echo-guitar, and his influence is strong in their acid freaky guitar rock. In the spirit of early Ash Ra Tempel or Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive", the jam sessions on GAM 1976 are full of invention, with walls of guitars and deranged vocals. As yet, their official studio album EISZEIT (recorded 1978) remains unreleased.
Günter Schickert (guitar, vocals, trumpet), Axel Struck (guitars, vocals), Michael Leske (drums, percussion)
GAM 1976 (1976)
MC Auricle AMC 017 (UK, 1986)
One of the many heavy bands of the early-70's, Gash had little imagination of their own. Their LP was good, if a bit over-rated in our opinion. With a gruff vocalist fronting the band, one side of the LP featured three straight-ish heavy rock tracks mixing the styles of Jane and Nektar. Whereas Side 2 contrastingly had one lengthy suite of inventive space-rock, with orchestral padding and the aid of three guests it's quite a spectacular affair that almost makes the album worth having.
Jochen "Lude" Peters (organ, piano, cembalo, lead vocals), Reinhard Schmeimann (drums, percussion), Frank Feldhusen (guitars, vocals), Manfred Thiers (bass), + Atze (slide guitar, harmonica), Bernd E. Schulz (screaming), Dicky Tarrach (congas), The New Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Hecht
City Of Delight / In The Sea
7" Metronome M 25426 (1972)
A YOUNG MAN'S GASH (4-6/72)
LP Brain 1014 (1972)
Amidst the second wave of German progressives Gate were much more original than most, and in fact they were quite well established on the live scene before they got a record contract. Gate's debut release was thus a live album, capturing them as a creative and unusual guitar fronted progressive. Their richly crafted progressive style was based around complex and lively songs, and was comparable to many other bands of the era, notably with hints of Jane and later Message. With the addition of a full-time keyboard player guesting on RED LIGHT SISTER, this studio album was much more highly produced, and saw them drawn closer to other bands of the era like Birth Control and Pancake, notably with Gentle Giant, Genesis and Pink Floyd influences. We've never been able to track down their third album!
Horst Kamp (vocals, percussion), Martin Köhmstedt (guitar), Manfred Schröpfer (guitar, bass, vocals), Angelos Tsangaris (bass, keyboards), Manos Tsangaris (drums, percussion)
LP Brain 60.043 (1977)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN
RED LIGHT SISTER (9/77)
LP Brain 60.093 (1977)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN II
LP Biber BI 6080 (1980)
Formerly with Agitation Free, and then the guitarist on the first five Guru Guru albums, Ax Genrich was the most phenomenal of German guitarists. A genius of his instrument. But, by the time of his debut he'd calmed down on one hand, whilst also becoming much more eccentric. His own debut project HIGHDELBERG was very much in parallel to Mani Neumeier's MANI UND SEINE FREUNDE, involving many of the same musicians (from Kraan, Cluster, Guru Guru, etc.), and similarly was eclectic and varied. In later times, he became involved in folk festival promotion, but then disappeared from the scene.
After a very long silence, Ax Genrich eventually resurfaced with a new album in 1994, released due to realising that the reissues of early Guru Guru albums were generating much interest. PSYCHEDELIC GUITAR recaptured a lot of the old Guru Guru spirit, along with much invention and many surprises. No less eccentric than his last album with Guru Guru, and combining the old freaky trips of early Guru jams with modern stylisms. And now, an even greater Guru Guru fan's dream is WAVE CUT, which jumps straight back to the realms of Guru Guru's fourth (and even further back), with more than tongue-in-cheek rock 'n' roll sitting alongside some of the freakiest Guru rock in a decade, it's often an album of total numbing energy. Some of the finest Krautrock of the 90's
Ax Genrich (guitar, vocals, percussion, bass, banjo, harmonica),
+ Mani Neumeier (drums, congas), Jan Fride (drums), Peter Wolbrandt (guitar, vocals, congas), Hellmut Hattler (bass, choir), Dieter Moebius (synthesizer), Hans-Joachim Roedelius (organ)
LP Happy Bird 5017 (1975)
featured on: MUSIK AUS DEM ODENWALD
One of the more obscure Düsseldorf bands, German Oak existed on the underground scene for several years, and remained unknown. Typical of the Düsseldorf industrial sound, but also with that manic percussive air typical of early Amon Düül, they were highly experimental, ignoring standard musical conventions, going for the jugular with an aggressive hard-rock and blues music. Their sole LP, was issued privately in a very small edition and without proper covers, was recorded in an old army bunker and has an eerie mysterious presence. Over the years a few people caught up with this obscurity, and eventually an ex-member of the band plucked up the courage to release it on CD, preceded by three unreleased archive recordings where they were even more extreme. NIBELUNGENLIED is another CD of archive jams and sessions, and covers an even wider range of styles.
Wolfgang Franz Czaika (guitars), Ulrich Kallweit (drums, percussion), Harry Kallweit (bass, voice), Manfred Uhr (organs, voice), Norbert Cuckas (guitar, noises)
GERMAN OAK (1972)
LP Bunker 001 (1972)
Originating in Augsberg circa 1969 as Phallus Dei, Gift had quite a confused history. Their debut LP as Phallus Dei apparently was never officially released, though it is rumoured to exist. After ill-fated attempts to get a record contract they changed name to Gift and adopted a straighter hard-rock style. Neither album is that extraordinary, though, with the addition of keyboards on BLUE APPLE they became a lot more progressive, and it has some great moments. Note: although the cover of GIFT lists Nick Woodland as a member, he had moved to Subject Esq. before they recorded it!
Uwe Patzke (bass, vocals), Rainer Baur (guitar), Helmut Treichel (vocals), Hermann Lange (drums, percussion)
LP Telefunken SLE 14680 (1973)
BLUE APPLE (2/74)
LP Nova SDL 8002 (1974)
The talented percussionist, formerly of Dzyan, and much sought after for session work with Eberhard Weber, et al., Peter Giger had an adventurous percussion style that is almost instantly recognisable. His own albums feature a mixture of solo and multi-percussion works, along with jazz and ethnic fusions, and are very experimental. He was also the leader of Family Of Percussion.
Peter Giger (drums, marimba, bells, gongs), + Gerd Dudek (sax, flute), Trilok Gurtu (tabla, madel), Günter Lenz (bass), Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone)
LP Nagara MIX 1014-N (1978)
FOR DRUMMERS ONLY - LIVE
LP Nagara MIX 1022-N (1982)
Formed by former Dzyan members Peter Giger and Eddy Marron, along with jazz bassist Günter Lenz, this super trio offered a more jazz oriented yet similar music to Dzyan, but with a jazzier feel. Without the electronics and weirdness of Dzyan, their music centred around Peter Giger's flowery percussion and Eddy Marron's multi-guitars and ethnic saz, and was much more jazz-fusion based. Giger.Lenz.Marron dabbled with unusual time signatures and lots of experimentation with Eastern musics and off-beat rhythmic structures.
Peter Giger (drums, percussion), Günter Lenz (basses), Eddy Marron (guitar, saz)
LP Nagara MIX 1011-N (1977)
WHERE THE HAMMER HANGS (7/78)
LP Nagara MIX 1015-N (1978)
Formed in early 1969, out of the Stuttgart political commune, as Gila Füchs, we can only guess as to what their music was like in these early days, yet they quickly established themselves as the foremost exponents of psychedelic space-rock. By 1971, with the shortened name Gila, they recorded one of the finest cosmic classics of Pink Floyd inspired space-rock. GILA (sometimes quoted as "FREE ELECTRIC SOUND") is a mainly instrumental trip and feels much like one suite per side. Superbly conceived, it featured an amazingly innovative music that took hints from all the classic Pink Floyd inventions, and went further, blending in ethnic textures with the complex multi-guitars of Conny Veit, and superb percussive fired space drives. Naturally, it's widely regarded as one of the finest Krautrock albums. Gila were an extraordinary band, at the peak of the Krautrock ladder, and it's a shame that this original incarnation only made the one album. Gila had a vast repertoire, and concerts would include jams in excess of 20 minutes, covering a range from weirder Guru Guru realms to the most ethereal Agitation Free kind of trips.
After disbanding for some six months or so, and working as a member of Popol Vuh, Conny Veit decided to form a new incarnation of Gila. This new band was a veritable supergroup, as it featured Popol Vuh leader Florian Fricke and ex-Amon Düül II multi-instrumentalist Daniel Fichelscher. Although hinted at by the earlier Gila, the new Gila sound was very much in the Popol Vuh style, with medieval and ethnic touches in a complexly textured rock music featuring multi-guitars and female vocals. Whereas Popol Vuh were purely a studio band, Gila toured and played many concerts, and existed until summer 1974. After this Danny Fichelscher joined Popol Vuh, and Gila eventually split. Conny Veit then joined Guru Guru for a short while before disappearing from the scene for several years. He reappeared within the ranks of Popol Vuh some time later. Whether he has made any other music, we don't know.
Daniel Alluno (drums, bongos, tabla), Fritz Scheyhing (organ, Mellotron, percussion, electronics), Conny Veit (guitars, voice, tabla, electronics), Walter Wiederkehr (bass)
GILA "FREE ELECTRIC SOUND" (6/71)
LP BASF 20 21109-6 (1971) «with large poster»
BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE (1973)
LP Warner Bros 46234 (1973) «with insert»
An Austrian Anglo-American styled hard-rock band. We've only heard their debut, which was typical mainstream rock of the early-70's, though it did contain some progressive sections and many a Teutonic touch recalling the likes of Epitaph, Birth Control, et al.
Georg Doggette (vocals), Charly Ratzer (guitar, vocals), Jano Stojka (drums, percussion), Kurt Haustein (bass, keyboards, vocals),
+ Richard Schoenherz (keyboards, vocals), Peter Wolf (piano, organ, vibes)
LP BASF BAG 20 21115-0 (Austria, 1972)
HERE WE COME
LP Pan 87053 (1972)
An obscure jazz-rock band from Duisburg. The roots of Glatter Wahnsinn can be found on the 1978 festival album listed below. At that time they played a high energy fusion, fronted by guitar and keyboards, firmly in the late-60's/early-70's style, with hints of Embryo, Passport, Missus Beastly, sans the winds. On their LP they are quite different, due to it featuring former Kollektiv members Klaus Dapper and Waldo Karpenkiel.
Bernd Strohm (guitars), Michael Strohm (bass), Georg Mahr (piano, synthesizer, organ), Rainer Mackenthun (drums)
featured on: POP NACHWUCHS-FESTIVAL '78
LP Anvil ANV 1011 (1980)
Goebbels & Harth
From the world of free-jazz and the huge brass band Sogenanntes Linksradikales Blasörchester (an ensemble that are musically well out of the scope of this book!), Goebbels & Harth took a radical side-step after becoming involved with the likes of Dagmar Krause, Chris Cutler, etc. The likes of Brecht, Eisler, free-jazz and folk musics all combine in Goebbels & Harth's strange concoctions. Heiner Goebbels also became involved in using electronics and has worked solo (see above), and on INDIANA FÜR MORGEN, their finest LP, the concoction was really radical. Latterly, whilst still working as a duo, they both also became involved in Cassiber. More recently, Alfred Harth has gone on to other projects like the international combo Gestalt Et Jive, and now works mostly on vast theatrical and political works.
Heiner Goebbels (piano, accordion), Alfred Harth (saxes, clarinets)
HOMMAGE/VIER FÄUSTE FÜR HANNS EISLER (10/76)
LP FMP SAJ-08 (1977)
VON SPRENGEN DES GARTENS (6/78-9/79)
LP FMP SAJ-20 (1980)
INDIANA FÜR MORGEN (8/81)
LP Riskant 4001 (1981)
BERTOLD BRECHT: ZEIT WIRDKNAPP (8-10/81)
LP Zweitausendeins 28.022 (1981)
LP Riskant RISK 4011 (1984)
LIVE À VICTORIAVILLE (2/10/87)
LP Victo 04 (Canada, 1988)
Andy was formerly the guitarist with the experimental jazz-rock group Exmagma. As well as working extensively since as a session musician, he also fronted his own rock band creating a typically German rock with Kraan and Karthago stylings. BELLEVILLE was very commercial in comparison, mostly a tongue-in-cheek satire affair!
Andy Göldner (vocals, guitar), Lou Marignan (bass), Tommy Balluff (keyboards), Klaus Lorey (drums), + Peter Wolbrandt (guitar), Jan Fride (drums), Ellen (choir)
LP Well Known 002 (1979)
LP Peak pea 3480 (1980)
A space-rockin' hybrid of Gila and instrumental Hendrix type moves, Golem were another band from the lost Pyramid Records archive. Totally instrumental, and a feast for guitar fans, Golem's style was highly derivative, yet also full of invention. On first listen Golem come across as a lost classic of Krautrock without a doubt, with a music that blends everything from Neu! to Novalis, and all crammed full of solos. But, after a few listens, it's easy to see that this was never intended as an album originally, as it's distinctly taken from at least three different sessions, each with a different studio sound and style. The slightly new-wave edge that dogs the last track would indicate that the recordings here vary from around 1972 to 1976, however no firm details are known.
Willi Berghoff (guitars), Manfred Hof (organ, Mellotron, synthesizers), Mungo (bass), Joachim Bohne (drums), + Rolf Föller (guitar)
LP Pyramid PYR 015
Berlin brassy fusion band who only released the one single, sounding like a cross between Creative Rock and Thirsty Moon, the A-side being a rock arrangement of the well-known hymn.
Dies Irae / Children's Game
7" Ohr OS 57.008 (1972)
The first of what has become known as the "Cosmic Jokers" series, being the first Cosmic Courier supersession organised by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, involving Klaus Schulze and other notorious musicians from Wallenstein and Witthüser+Westrupp. Sergius Golowin, himself an artist, poet and friend of Timothy Leary, handles the vocals on this extraordinary album, recanting verse most energetically over a music that sounds like a hybrid of Ash Ra Tempel and the Third Ear Band, full of rich musical textures adrift with Mellotron and synthesizers. A timeless work of beauty that has no equal. All the musicians here you will find elsewhere except for the mysterious Jörg Mierke, of whom Klaus Schulze told us was involved in one of his early bands. They recorded, but never gained a name, nor released anything.
Sergius Golowin (voice), Jerry Berkers (guitars, bass, bongos, choir), Jürgen Dollase (piano, Mellotron, vibes, triangle, guitar), Jörg Mierke (guitar, organ, percussion, voice, flute, electronics), Klaus Schulze (drums, organ, Mellotron, guitars, electronics, percussion), Walter Westrupp (acoustic guitar, flute, harmonica, psalter, tablas, percussion), Bernd Witthüser (acoustic guitar)
LORD KRISHNA VON GOLOKA (1972-73)
LP Die Kosmischen Kuriere KK 58002 (1973)
Originally a psychedelic pop band, the debut album from the mysterious Gomorrha featured a number of rather dated pop songs, topped off by the lengthy opus "Trauma" recorded with the aid of Conny Plank, who turned it into an opus of spectacular electronics and effects, mixing freaky rock with abstract collage. Some time later, and again under the aegis of Conny Plank, they re-recorded the album with English vocals and a more modern sound, releasing it as TRAUMA. A far more successful album, all the compositions being given a new lease of life, with the title track, instead of diving into a collage, treks on to space-rock. Gomorrha's finest moment however was I TURNED TO SEE WHOSE VOICE IT WAS, where Gomorrha's identity had become firmly established: complex psychedelic rock fronted by angry guitars and organ, that could be simultaneously aggressive and spacious, with bizarre lyrics about life, religion, death, etc. They presented a unique, adventurous and constantly surprising form of rock music that has become an island unto itself.
Helmut Pohl (drums), Eberhard Kreitsch (bass, organ, piano, vocals), Ali Claudi (guitar, vocals), Ad Ochel (guitar, vibes, vocals), Peter Otten (vocals)
LP Cornet 15038 (1970)
LP BASF/Cornet 20 20413-8 (1971)
I TURNED TO SEE WHOSE VOICE IT WAS
LP Brain 1003 (1972)
These Krautrock "cuckoos" from London played a complex May Blitz/Wallenstein/Parzival (??) hybrid.
Chris Williams (lead vocals, autoharp), Paul Barrett (lead guitar, clarinet, choir), Dave Blake (cello, sitar, flute, choir), Stan Decker (bass, guitar, keyboards), Chris Perry (drums)
LP Metronome 15.393 (1971)
A hard-rock band from Bremen, who existed from 1970. Their sole document of existing for ten years and playing some 100 gigs was the self produced album GRAVE 1. Nothing remarkable, as Grave were of that genre akin to Epitaph, Ice, McOil, Harlis, et al., and being amateurishly produced it's an album that lurked in obscurity until the late-80's. Some of the bonus material on the CD reissue is recorded by a later incarnation of the band in the 80's.
Wolfgang Kiesler (guitar), Klaus Moritz (drums), Günter Wendehake (bass), Lutz Wowerat (guitar, vocals)
LP Sound SPA 275 (1975)
These were an early Hamburg blues progressive with a relaxed sound, featuring later Novalis drummer Hartwig Biereichel. The only document of their recorded output is on LOVE & PEACE, which is all cover versions that act as vehicles for improvisations on a theme, revealing talented musicians with a unique style.
Olaf Weitzel (guitar), Lorenz Westphal (violin, vocals), Ascan Jencquel (bass), Hartwig Biereichel (drums), Alan Milner (organ)
featured on: LOVE & PEACE
The history of Grobschnitt (meaning "Rough Cut", as in tobacco) is quite a complex one. In fact it goes way back to 1966 in Hagen, with the band Crew, reputedly one of the very first true Deutsche-Rock bands. They existed until 1969, when they met up with another local band called Charing Cross. These bands joined together for a while as Crew Blues Session, but there was much conflict, with members splitting off, like the eccentric rock-theatre band Wutpickel. Thankfully, for the curious amongst us, much of this Grobschnitt pre-history is documented on the third Eroc album, which includes Wutpickel and Crew Blues Session recordings.
Grobschnitt proper, was formed in February 1970. Their diverse background in Deutsche-Rock, psychedelic, theatrical and progressive musics, and wide range of influences, all added up to making Grobschnitt into a highly original, yet accessible rock band. Notably their style drew on Pink Floyd and Yes stylings, but their song style and humour lent more to Frank Zappa and Gong. In fact, Grobschnitt, like Gong, all assumed pseudonyms. I've already mentioned Eroc, their long serving drummer (from the beginning through to the early-80's) whose real name is Joachim H. Ehrig, some other pseudonyms included: Lupo (Gerd-Otto Kühn), Mist (Volkar Kahrs), Popo (Wolfgang Jäger), Wildschwein (Stefan Danielak). In fact it became the convention to use these names in the late-70's.
Grobschnitt's debut presented a mature band, blending classical and space-rock styles, with complex dual guitars and keyboards in a music that oozed an eccentric psychedelic feeling. In these early times Grobschnitt were already working towards their ultimate triumph "Solar Music" with the album's closing cosmic excursion "Sun Trip". A very busy live band, popular for their eccentric theatrics and showmanship, by the time of their second album BALLERMANN "Solar Music" had expanded enough to take up a whole LP at 34 minutes. Though the first LP of this double was no less extraordinary, opening with the outrageous "Africa" fronted by Eroc in lunatic Monty Python style, it also offered three other aspects of the Grobschnitt style. Shortly after this Eroc also started to release solo albums, proving he was not only a great drummer, but also a visionary multi-instrumentalist. Developing the song style from BALLERMANN, Grobschnitt then came up with a great commercial triumph, the delightfully easy going and whimsical JUMBO. It was such a success that a German vocal version was also recorded! Definitive Grobschnitt, but unfortunately also the last innovative studio album. On an even lighter and theatrical level was ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND, a fairy tale told with wit and imagination to a music reminiscent of themes from JUMBO, but with notably more Yes styling. But, now, with even more touring, "Solar Music" had developed into a 50 minute concert extravaganza, their pinnacle of creativity had blossomed, changed and grown. The album SOLAR MUSIC LIVE stands as one of the finest progressive albums of the late-70's.
Few bands had managed to make it to 1978 without succumbing to commercial pressure, and even Grobschnitt were forced to change eventually. ILLEGAL is arguably their last creative studio album, though live even 1985's SONNENTANZ has moments of brilliance. Though, without Eroc in their later days the Grobschnitt magic was lost.
Joachim Ehrig (effects, drums, percussion), Axel Harlos (drums, percussion), Stefan Danielak (vocals, guitar), Bernhard Uhlemann (bass, flute, percussion), Gerd-Otto Kühn (guitar), Hermann Quetting (organ, piano, spinet, percussion)
LP Brain 1008 (1972)
2LP Brain 2/1050 (1974)
LP Brain 1076 (1975)
Sonnenflug / The Clown
7" Metronome M 25734 (1976)
ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND (11/76-2/77)
LP Brain 60.041 (1977)
SOLAR MUSIC - LIVE (7/4/78)
LP Brain 60.139 (1978)
LP Brain 60.224 (1979)
VOLLE MOLLE (10-12/79)
LP Brain 60.291 (1980)
LP Brain 60.365 (1981)
LP Brain 60.510 (1982)
LP Brain 817 836 (1984)
LP Brain 827 734 (1985)
LP Teldec 6.26439 (1987)
LAST PARTY - LIVE (2-4/89)
LP Brain 843 106-1/2 (1989)
Formed in Zurich in summer 1968 by former Irene Schweizer trio musicians: Mani Neumeier (drums) and Uli Trepte (bass) as Guru Guru Groove. the history is abridged here, but they were quick to develop an original music from their free-jazz roots, moving on and developing a new type of psychedelic rock music. Ex Agitation Free Ax Genrich joined a guitarist who could do unbelievable things with his instrument - he could even make it talk! Instantly Guru Guru were one of the hottest bands on the scene and were promptly signed by Ohr Records, making the extraordinary free-form rock album UFO. This proved to be amongst the ultimate musical acid-trips, with greatly condensed versions of music thrashed out in concert jams. Titles like "Stone In" and "Der LSD-Marsh" instantly tell us where they were at! With rattling drums, scuttling, shuddering bass, and a swamp full of guitars, with vocals used mainly for effect, incredible through and through, right down to the ultimate space-trip, "UFO" itself! With the same line-up, the subsequent two albums saw a refinement of style, with composition replacing free-form jamming.
Not wanting to yield to the pressure of trying to make it big in a rock band, Uli decided he should try to go it alone. So, now came the start of a regular succession of personnel changes, firstly with bassist Bruno Schaab (previously of Night Sun) filling in on the eponymous fourth album. Another change of label, another bassist (the much travelled jazzer Hans Hartmann), relocating to Heidelberg, and again a change of direction. DON'T CALL US would seem to be very much Ax Genrich's show, with a totally outrageous blend of styles, there's a bit of "Hari Krishna" and much silliness. Eiliff's Houschäng Nejadepour stepped into Ax Genrich's place, turning Guru Guru into a mini fire-breathing Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the unbelievably hot and energetic DANCE OF THE FLAMES. Barely existing long enough to make the album, Conny Veit (from Gila) had joined the band before the album's release.
For over a year and a half Guru Guru was shelved as Mani worked on other projects (check the Mani Neumeier section for more on this) though eventually a new band was grouped featuring a reliable side-kick in ex-Brainstorm multi-instrumentalist Roland Schaeffer. This new Guru Guru would create an offbeat blend of jazz, rock, psychedelia and mad-cap cabaret, and debuted with the schizophrenic TANGO FANGO. Live they would perform a selection of new and classic old works like "Der Elektrolurch", as featured on the double live album. Attempting to create a new image, credited to "Guru Guru Sunband", HEY DU! saw Mani becoming lead singer of a Guru Guru that showed hardly any of the innovation of early incarnations (note that the rest of the band worked without Mani as the vastly different experimental band Hausmusik) and eventually again, after the dreadful MANI IN GERMANI, Guru Guru disintegrated.
Later 80's reformation attempts were of little interest, some were in fact horrendous attempts to break Guru Guru as a pop band! Though Mani has been prolific and inventive in numerous other projects, as a guest with L.S. Bearforce, Moebius & Plank, Tiere Der Nacht, and also solo. More recently Guru Guru have again reformed, and to great surprise, issued the remarkably offbeat and creative fusion album WAH WAH.
Mani Neumeier (drums, cymbals, gongs, voice, tape), Uli Trepte (bass, electronics, radio), Ax Genrich (guitar, echo, pedals)
LP Ohr OMM 56005 (1970)
LP Ohr OMM 556017 (1971)
LP Brain 1007 (1972)
LP Brain 1025 (1973)
More Hot Juice / 20th Century Rock
7" Atlantic ATL 10402 (1973)
DON'T CALL US [WE CALL YOU] (8/73)
LP Atlantic ATL 50022 (1973)
DANCE OF THE FLAMES (12-20/4/74)
LP Atlantic ATL 50044 (1974)
TANGO FANGO (2/76)
LP Brain 1089 (1976)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN
LP Brain 60.039 (1977)
2LP Brain 80.018-2 (1978)
LP Brain 60.187 (1979)
Credited to: Guru Guru Sun Band
MANI IN GERMANI (1980-81)
LP GeeBeeDee GBD 008 (1981)
HOT ON SPOT (1972)
LP United Dairies UD 024 (UK, 1986)
Cosmic Hole / Ungluck Bei Tiffany
7" Face ? (1986)
LP Casino 87302 (1987)
A very unusual experimental fusion band, and not really German, featuring master of the choir-organ: Jimmy Jackson, along with other non-German Munich residents. Haboob were very odd, really hard to pin-down, as their concoction sits on the edge of fusion, avant-garde, and psychedelic musics, without really settling anywhere. Odd through and through, with slight hints of Amon Düül II and Embryo, and fascinating because of that, though with hardly any real rock structure.
George Green (drums, percussion, vocals), William D. Powell (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Jackson (organs, piano, vocals)
LP Reprise REP 34002 (1971)
Nina Hagen Band
Nina Hagen was originally from East Berlin. But, failing to make a name for herself in the DDR during the 70's, Nina defected to the West where she sought her fortune, and quickly became involved in the new-wave scene. Unusually however, her "punk" backing band were in fact Krautrock underground veterans formerly known as Lokomotive Kreuzberg! Nina's unique and aggressive style, sometimes bordering on the outrageous, caught the attention because it was so different. The radical edge however was tamed on UNBEHAGEN. When the band split, and Nina carried on solo, and the rest of the band went on to become the satirical pop group Spliff.
Nina Hagen (vocals), Herwig Mitteregger (drums), Manfred Praeker (bass), Bernhard Potschka (guitar), Reinhold Heil (keyboards)
NINA HAGEN BAND
LP CBS 83136 (1978)
LP CBS 84104 (1979)
A hard-rock and blues band from Bonn, who existed in other forms (reputedly) in the 60's, though any such history is obscure. As Hairy Chapter, they had a flair for invention, though this wasn't so obvious on their debut EYES which was mostly basic Groundhogs-like rock and blues, with a couple of more psychedelic numbers hinting at Guru Guru. Their real triumph was the heavy brainstormer CAN'T GET THROUGH, which is swamped with fiery guitar work and unusual rhythm structures, topped with feedback and psychedelic effects, close to May Blitz or Chicken Bones.
Rudi Haubold (drums), Rudolf Oldenburg (bass), Harry Tilbach (guitars), Harry Unte (vocals)
LP OPP 5-21 (1970)
CAN'T GET THROUGH (11/70-1/71)
LP Bacillus 6494 002 (1971)
A Krautrock oddity, in that Hallelujah were in fact an Anglo-German duo, split off from Doldinger's Motherhood. They absconded to England to make their album, and sought the aid of much travelled top session-musicians Rick Kemp and Pete Wood. But, strangely the album only gained release in Germany! Adventurous and creative, though quite wordy in the song department, Hallelujah's influences were wide: a touch of the Beatles' "A Day In A Life", a hint of Wonderland, and lots of Pink Floyd folky Roger Waters influence. In all, an accessible blend of progressive and psychedelic styles.
Paul Vincent (guitars, vocals), Keith Forsey (drums, vocals), + Pete "Funk" Wood (keyboards), Rick Kemp (bass)
LP Metronome MLP 15805 (1971)
Peter Michael Hamel
A visionary composer and musician, Peter Michael Hamel is one of the foremost experimentalists to emerge on the Krautrock scene. His multi-national group Between recorded many remarkable albums, and as a soloist Peter has developed unique twists on ethnic and minimalist styles. He could be seen as the German Terry Riley because of this, as he is also a music theorist, and has written a fascinating book "Through Music To The Self". Peter's background includes studies in classical composition in the mid-60's, establishing a new-music studio in Munich in 1967 together with Ulrich Stranz, and also involvement with Munich underground jazz and rock bands. His debut as a soloist was quite a revolutionary opus, featuring organ, prepared piano and electronics, with a much more experimental approach in technique and structure than Riley, notably by the use of prepared piano he also showed an affinity with John Cage. His ethnic studies, naturally lead to even more cross-cultural music blending in to the Between sound, and also his next solo THE VOICE OF SILENCE, which was a very strange concoction of avant-garde, systemic and Indian musics, and in itself, unique. The double BUDDHIST MEDITATION EAST WEST features one LP of Peter attempting his vision of Tibetan music, whereas the other LP is authentic recordings of Tibetan monks. Most of his later work, starting with the groundbreaking NADA, has centred on lengthy melodic floating pieces featuring synthesizers and organ, notably the ethereal duo of COLOURS OF TIME and BARDO, and the extraordinary church organ based opus ORGANUM. All developing a unique niche as a creative pioneer.
As previewed by TRANSITION, mostly a classical styled piano album, latterly Peter has returned to his classical roots, and has gone on to produce several serious orchestral albums (starting with THE ARROW OF TIME/THE CYCLE OF TIME in 1992). Although some were composed or recorded many years ago, and prove that Peter had a hidden side, musically these are well-out of the scope of this book!
Peter Michael Hamel (organ, voice, electronics, piano), + Anatol Arkus (synthesizer)
2LP Vertigo 6641 055 (1972)
THE VOICE OF SILENCE
LP Vertigo 6360 613 (1973)
BUDDHIST MEDITATION EAST WEST (1973)
2LP Harmonia Mundi 29 22292-6 (France, 1975)
LP Wergo SM 1013 (1977)
COLOURS OF TIME (12/79)
LP Kuckuck 046 (1980)
LP Kuckuck 048 (1981)
2LP Kuckuck 063/064 (1983)
LP Kuckuck 074 (1985)
LET IT PLAY (1979-83)
LP Kuckuck 078 (1987) «compilation with 2 unreleased tracks»
A long established political rock group, though not so well documented in their early days, they'd moved on to a mix of psychedelic rock and fusion by the time of their debut. Elements of Jane, Oktober and Embryo can be found in their unusual blend.
Wolfgang Kuhlmann (guitar), Achim Patz (flute, vocals), Hans Schemel (bass), Klaus Otto (drums)
featured on: VLOTHO-WINTERBERG
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1976
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
HIER BEI UNS
LP Maulschnauz MOL 007 (1978)
7" Maulschnauz 001 (1980)
LP Schneeball 0026 (1981)
LP Schneeball 0034 (1983)
Berlin band formed by Murphy Blend organist Wolf-Rüdiger Uhlig in May 1971 at a festival in Munich, along with a trio of jazz and blues musicians. Hanuman took the Murphy Blend sound, sans the classical style, hinting at Out Of Focus, but more lyrical and offbeat. The odd German vocals can be off-putting to
non-Germans! Without Uhlig, Hanuman transmuted into Lied Des Teufels.
Wolf-Rüdiger Uhlig (organ, piano, vocals), Peter Barth (flute, alto sax, vocals), Jörg Hahnfeld (bass), Thomas Holm (drums)
LP Kuckuck 2375 012 (1971)
Widely regarded as the worst album on the Brain 1000 series. Despite being a supergroup, Hardcake Special were not at all special in any way, with an album of predominantly American styled rock, they even sound like The Eagles on occasions. At their best they were a bit like Karthago, but still rather ordinary stuff.
Andy Kirnberger (guitars, vocals, piano), Jochen Leuschner (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Reinhart Bopp (guitar, vocals), Günter Bopp (bass, vocals), Ron Sheepmaker (pianos, organ, vibes, pianett), Hans Harbrecht (drums, percussion), + Rainer Bach (steel guitar)
HARDCAKE SPECIAL (1974)
LP Brain 1060 (1974)
Formed in September 1974 by former Jane members Charly Maucher and Wolfgang Krantz along with early Scorpions member Werner Löhr. To many, Harlis reflects the poorer moments of Jane's output. HARLIS took the hard rock style from JANE III and presented a reasonable selection of songs with some good guitar breaks. NIGHT MEETS THE DAY was a concept album, on which Harlis ended up sounding more American than German!
Charly Maucher (bass, vocals), Werner Löhr (drums, vocals), Wolfgang Krantz (guitar, choir, piano, synthesizer, bells), Arndt Schulz (guitars, vocals)
LP Sky 001 (1975)
NIGHT MEETS THE DAY (12/76-1/77)
LP Sky 008 (1977)
Established in parallel to Neu! and Cluster, the super trio of Michael Rother, Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius explored a wide range of synth and electronic rock styles. Initially they were formed as a live band, but also recorded two very fine albums of music that combined varying degrees of Cluster and Neu! styles. MUSIK VON HARMONIA is most notable for the deep-space trek "Sehr Kosmische" and strange ambient textures, whereas DELUXE featuring Mani Neumeier on drums, recalled the Neu! sound but in a highly electronic Kraftwerk type setting. A concert of Harmonia together with Brian Eno at the Hamburg Fabrik Club in 1974 led to a friendship that bore fruit on the later Cluster & Eno albums, and also recordings that have recently appeared on Roedelius' solo THEATRE WORKS. Check Cluster and Michael Rother sections for more on their activities since!
Joachim Roedelius (organ, piano, guitar, electric percussion), Michael Rother (guitar, piano, organ, electric percussion), Dieter Moebius (synthesizer, guitar, electric percussion)
MUSIK VON HARMONIA (6-11/73)
LP Brain 1044 (1974)
LP Brain 1073 (1975)
Geff Harrison Band
Geff, though being Scottish, spent most of his 70's career in German bands, like Twenty Sixty Six & Then, I Drive and Kin Ping Meh. Actually his own band was Kin Ping Meh in disguise, playing heavy rock and blues numbers. He later went on to a solo career.
Geff Harrison (vocals), Peter Oehler (guitar, vocals), Alan Wroe (bass), Astor Astor (drums, vocals), Chris Klöber (keyboards)
LP Jupiter 25595 (1977)
Not so much a solo project, Helmut Hattler's debut was his personal twist on the Kraan sound, but with a more commercial edge, and very schizophrenic due to the wide range of musicians involved. Since the 70's Hellmut has returned to Kraan on occasions, as well as working on other projects, like the de Winkel/Hattler album below, and more recently as the duo Hattler & Krause.
Hellmut Hattler (vocals, bass, percussion), + Peter Wolbrandt (guitar, vocals), Ingo Bischof (keyboards, synthesizer, string ensemble), Nops Noppeney (viola), Jan Fride (drums), Gerd Dudek (tenor sax), Elmer Louis (congas), Curt Cress (drums, percussion), Joey Albrecht (guitars), Andy Göldner (vocals), Roland Schaeffer (alto sax)
LP Harvest 1C 064-32 523 (1977)
Basically Guru Guru Sunband, without Mani Neumeier, Hausmusik were a surprising combo, playing a crazed, underground weird rock and fusion, the total antithesis of HEY DU! It's a great shame they only got to release a cassette.
Gerald Luciano Hartwig (guitar, sitar, bass, percussion, voice, flute), Ingo Bischof (synthesizers, bass, percussion), Butze Fischer (tabla, percussion, voice), Roland Schaeffer (soprano sax, guitar, flutes),
+ Jan Fride (drums)
EAR MAIL (1980)
MC Transmitter 06 (1980)
Flute fronted (notably an edge of "Bouree" type Jethro Tull) & largely instrumental live album. Slight hints of Satin Whale & Novalis, although much less professional.
Dieter Neumann (flute, vocals), Achim Neubauer (electric piano), Michael Moebius (bass, vocals), Rainer Greffrath (drums)
Albioni / Difference
7" Dizzy DS 723 (1972)
LP Dizzy DS 726 (1972)
A complex heavy progressive featuring guitars to the fore and a bizarre vocalist, Haze were typical of the Bacillus sound yet were also unique, venturing on to psychedelic and blues realms.
Dietmar Löw (bass), Heinz Schwab (solo guitar), Hans-Jürg Frei (organ, guitar), Christian Scherler (vocals), Kurt Frei (drums)
LP Bacillus 6494 007 (1971)
Zeus B. Held
For the man that pushed Birth Control on to more complex progressive rock, Zeus' solo debut ZEUS' AMUSEMENT was quite a surprise: a potpourri of styles from a corny vocoder version of "The Fool On The Hill" via Kraftwerk style electro-pop, progressive rock, spacey synth music, etc., on to some really good fusion. On his next album, he continued in a similar vein. EUROPIUM featured the Kraftwerk-like and synthesized styles more, and is less patchy. The third album we haven't heard.
ZEUS' AMUSEMENT (11/77-1/78)
LP Brain 60.120 (1978)
LP Strand 6.23731 (1979)
ATTACK TIME (1979-81)
LP Aladin ALA 85240 (1981)
From Wuppertal, 20 miles or so east of Düsseldorf, Hölderlin evolved out of a 60's folk group playing Fairport Convention and Pentangle songs. They took their name from the 19th Century writer Friedrich Hölderlin. Originally, they were a family band, the core was the brothers Christian and Jochen Grumbcow, with Christian's wife Nanny as lead singer. Their debut HÖLDERLIN'S TRAUM (aka "Hoelderlin's Dream") aptly lived up to its title, superbly recorded at Dierks' studio, with a trippy cosmic feel, progressive folk, full of rich textures, psychedelic, medieval and classical touches. The multiple strings: violins, cellos, acoustic guitars, along with flutes, piano, and rock instruments including Mellotron, made for a rich diversity, all topped-off by Nanny's delicate singing.
Three years on, Nanny had left, and one Joachim Käseberg had joined. There was a big change though, with a shift to electric rock instruments. HOELDERLIN presented a new style, opening with "Schwebebahn", an instrumental that riffs at breakneck speed, with the king-pin of the new sound: Nops Noppeny's electric viola to the fore. Hints of Genesis and King Crimson were added. CLOWNS & CLOUDS saw a split into two styles: "Clown Side" being more song-based and complex, with hints of Genesis and Caravan, and "Cloud Side" with largely instrumental lengthy tracks fronted by Nops' viola moving closer to King Crimson. Christian Grumbcow moved on to become the band's manager, after this. RARE BIRDS was Hoelderlin perfected, deep and otherworldly. A magical album, sedate yet also dynamic, the ultimate track of all being the Pablo Weeber penned "Necronomicon". The double LIVE TRAUMSTADT, recorded two months later, proved them to be an amazing live band. With only eight tracks, much of it RARE BIRDS and CLOWNS & CLOUDS material, the extended space resulted in a much more instrumental music. The tour-de-force is the exclusive "Die Stadt" which trips out to King Crimson realms, but with that uniquely Hoelderlin cosmic touch.
Following this, the band disintegrated and regrouped, but never regained the magic. NEW FACES featured Eduard Schicke from SFF, along with other new names, but it disappointed with a mildly progressive trendy styled rock, virtually all their originality had been squeezed out, to make a safe easily digestible music. FATA MORGANA was even less interesting.
Nanny de Ruig (vocals), Nops Noppeney (violin, viola, piano, flute), Peter Käseberg (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals), Michael Bruchmann (drums, percussion), Jochen Grumbcow (cello, flute, acoustic guitar, piano, organ, Mellotron), Christian Grumbcow (guitars), + Peter Bursch (sitar), Mike Hellbach (tablas), Walter Westrupp (flute)
HÖLDERLINS TRAUM (1/72)
LP Pilz 20 21314-5 (1972)
LP Spiegelei 26.511-6U (1975)
CLOWNS & CLOUDS (1/76)
LP Spiegelei 26.605-6U (1976)
RARE BIRDS (6-8/77)
LP Spiegelei INT 160.608 (1977)
LIVE TRAUMSTADT (24-25/10/77)
2LP Spiegelei 180.602 (1978)
NEW FACES (5-6/79)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.605 (1979)
FATA MORGANA (3-8/81)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.626 (1981)
Originally the synthesizer player from Agitation Free, Michael didn't really become known internationally until after he'd toured as a member of Tangerine Dream. He'd also played together with Klaus Schulze in Timewind, and with Ash Ra Tempel's Manuel Göttsching. His solo debut was an instant winner with Tangerine Dream fans, combining strong sequencer lines and waves of synthesizer sound, in the characteristic Teutonic style. After this, Michael moved to America to set up his own studio. And, although his first USA solo was rather poor techno new-age, he has become quite successful composing film soundtracks. Notably, he was musical director of the Godfrey Reggio movie "Koyaanisqatsi", scored by Philip Glass, which also featured some music by Michael. Most of his soundtrack work is, as yet, unreleased.
Michael Hoenig (synthesizers, keyboards), + Micky Duwe (voice), Lutz Ulbrich (guitar), Uschi (voice)
DEPARTURE FROM THE NORTHERN WASTELAND (1976-77)
LP Warner Bros K 56464 (UK, 1978), Kuckuck 079 (1987)
Borne out of the confused Kraftwerk history, and taken under the wing of Conny Plank, Ibliss were one of the most remarkable one album wonders. Featuring Basil Hammoudi (from Organisation) and Andreas Hohmann (one of the two drummers on the first Kraftwerk album) augmenting a trio of no less talent, Ibliss created a logical jazz-fusion diversion on the Organisation sound, heavily featuring flutes, saxes and an overdose of percussion. All this in a typically Teutonic cosmic concoction, kinda Kraftwerk meets Miles Davis and ROCKSESSION era Embryo, and also hinting at the later Kollektiv. It's a great shame they only released the one album!
Rainer Buechel (saxes, flutes), Wolfgang Buellmeyer (guitars, percussion), Norbert Buellmeyer (bass, percussion), Andreas Hohmann (drums, percussion), Basil Hammoudi (percussion, flutes, vocals)
LP Spiegelei/Aamok 28501-5U (1972)
An obscure progressive rock band established in Bad Kreuznach in the mid-70's, existing for several years (only releasing singles) before an album in 1980. By this time, Ice had moved to more basic hard-rock styled realms, in the vein of guitar-oriented Jane or Harlis. Ice's debut wasn't really any opus as suggested by the title, but is typical of this German genre. The band leader Alexander Russ later formed the Heavy Metal band Foxx, and is now with the instrumental guitar duo Avalon.
Hubert Benz (bass, vocals), Alexander Russ (drums), Heinz Gerber (guitar, vocals), + Helmut Christmann (guitar)
Never Feel Good / Dreaming In The Morning
7" Kerston FK 60121
Set Me Free / Waitin' Sunshine
7" private release 29547
OPUS 1 (7-9/1/80)
LP Time 29547 (1980)
Seemingly an impromptu special studio session project, I.D. Company (aka "Inga Rumpf and Dagmar Krause Company") made a remarkable experimental album, crossing rock, jazz, ethnic and avant-garde musics, with Inga handling the vocals on one side and Dagmar the other. Whereas Inga's side fringes rock, hinting at the style she'd develop in Frumpy, Dagmar's side is all the more weirder, and is in fact amongst her strangest work. Historically, the background as to why this album existed, is unknown, though both Inga and Dagmar were ex-members of The City Preachers. The results were an indescribably varied and radical album, and one of the oddest releases of the early-70's. Inga went on to Frumpy after this, and Dagmar later joined Slapp Happy.
Inga Rumpf (vocals), Dagmar Krause (vocals), Frank St. Peter (sax, flute), Hans Hartmann (sitar, bass), Joe Nay (percussion), Wolfgang Kliegel (violin)
LP Horzu SHZE 801 BL (1970)
Idetemp, as far as I recall is actually some solo experimentalist, a guitarist predominantly with a taste for use and abuse of effects. The album he made was a mysterious, very strange and deranged experimental private production, featuring mangled guitar sounds and much abstract sound manipulation. It's an early, but crude, example of German indie new-wave/industrial front, often as avant-garde as it is rock.
1983...AND SHE TOLD ME I WAS DIE
LP private release 1983 (1978)
A British band, who essentially became part of the German scene, featuring in their early days future Twenty Sixty Six & Then and Kin Ping Meh vocalist Geff Harrison. Basically a straight hard-rock band, with a few more progressive and classical rock touches courtesy of the keyboard player. To be honest, they weren't so interesting, and only of historical note really.
David Bailey (drums), Les Graham (bass), Richard Hampson (guitar), Geff Harrison (vocals), John Barry Smith (keyboards)
Classic Rigby, Parts 1 & 2
7" private release (1969)
LP Metronome MLP 15.420 (1972)
I DRIVE (1971-72)
2LP Little Wing of Refugees LW 2024/25 (1992) «contains all the Metronome LP plus archive tracks»
Formerly a beat band in existence since the mid-60's, known as Jonah & The Whales, Ihre Kinder established themselves in 1968 as a unique and very German band on the edge of pop but with folk and progressive tendencies. As such their sound had little appeal outside their homeland. They had a few hit singles early on, but their polit-rock aesthetic didn't really catch the ear of the pop fan, and vice versa, they were generally too pop styled to appeal to progressive fans. Their debut LP was virtually a collection of pop songs, and is only likely to appeal to those fond of German beat. Their albums after this, the first three released by Kuckuck, are the only ones from their output really worthy of any attention. Though, having said that LEERE HÄNDE was still rather patchy! 2375 004 (also known as "Jeans Cover") was possibly the best, though WERDOHL contained their most experimental works. After this, their long-serving lead guitarist Muck Groh left, eventually turning up in Aera a few years later. The major songwriters in the band: Sonny Hennig and Ernst Schultz both went onto solo careers. Also, Ihre Kinder have reformed on numerous occasions since.
Sonny Hennig (organ, piano, vocals), Muck Groh (guitar, vocals), Walti Schneider (bass, vocals), Olders Frenzel (drums), Georgie Meyer (violin), Judith Brigger (vocals)
LP Philips 844 393 (1969)
LEERE HÄNDE (1-2/70)
LP Kuckuck 2375 001 (1970)
2375 004 (8/70)
LP Kuckuck 2375 004 (1971)
LP Kuckuck 2375 013 (1971)
ANFANG OHNE ENDE
LP Kuckuck 2375 016 (1972)
A typical Teutonic progressive rock fusion band (from Hamburg) of the Thirsty Moon, Os Mundi type, Ikarus were fronted by the prolific Jochen Petersen handling all manner of wind instruments. It's a great shame that Ikarus didn't exist for very long, but they were fortunate in that Jochen had his own label! With a gloomy air, quotes from Edgar Allan Poe and a hint of Van Der Graaf Generator, all in a multi-textured blend drawing in jazz and classical musics. Ikarus were uniquely spacious, dynamic, and full of surprises!
Wolf Dieter Strunz (organ, piano), Jochen Petersen (guitars, alto/tenor saxes, flute, clarinet, vocals), Manfred Schulz (guitar, vocals), Wolfgang Kracht (bass, vocals), Lorenz Köhler (vocals), Bernd Schröder (drums, percussion)
LP +Plus+ 4 (1971)
Not to be confused with the earlier Hamburg band, these were an obscure Berlin folk-progressive with a lyrical style and numerous influences. Often their sound is close to DDR bands like Bayon or early City, combining Eastern and Western folk musics, with traditional style songs, ballads and rock. Other comparisons (when listening to NACHTFLUG) included Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) style flute, hints of Ougenweide, and themes reminiscent of Floh De Cologne songs.
Wolfgang Heinze (guitar, vocals), Mohammad Tahmasebi (dombac), Florian Schneider (guitar), Christoph Bernhard (cello), Beto Romero (bass)
LP Pool 6.23792 (1979)
2LP Pool 6.28505 (1980)
LP Pool 6.25175 (1982)
A recent discovery, Irmin's Way were an obscure mid-70's Anglo-German band who recorded an LP in 1976, that remained unreleased and lost until 1995. Taking their name from the Saxon god that slayed a dragon, their conceptual opus was steeped in mythology too. In the classic tradition of Krautrock bands of the era, Irmin's Way notably drew on the cosmic side of Pink Floyd, close to Belgian's Dragon, or towards Gäa's psychedelic space-tripping. A touch amateurish, and not that well produced, it is nonetheless a classic of the genre.
OPUS; DESTROY (1976)
LP Kissing Spell KSLP 9589 (UK, 1996)
In essence, Island could be seen as some sort of Swiss supergroup, though really they were the evolution from a number of bands, originating from Deaf, whilst also interconnected with Toad (but not ex-Brainticket as often reputed) and Circus, as well as other lesser-knowns. So many origins and influences resulted in Island creating a refined and complex style. Apparently sessions exist with various line-ups circa 1974-77, of which one such work is included on the recent CD reissue of their LP. On their sole album PICTURES, which was aptly as gloomy and as strange as H.R. Giger's visionary cover art, Island's music oozed invention. Often quoted as the Swiss Van Der Graaf Generator, Island had a similar feel, with a very odd instrumentation for a rock band and a vocalist who sounds like a hybrid of Peter Hammill (with a German accent) with a few Peter Gabriel touches. They were by no means copyists however, like Berlin's acclaimed Van Der Graaf Generator: Metropolis, Island had all sorts of unique elements at play, full of gloom and sinister lyrics. PICTURES has justly been acclaimed as one of the masterpieces of Swiss rock.
Benjamin Jäger (vocals, percussion), Güge Jürg Meier (drums, percussion), Peter Scherer (keyboards, pedal-bass, voice), René Fisch (saxes, flute, clarinet, voice)
LP Round 01001 (Switzerland, 1977)
Formed out of two Munich based student groups: Pipedream and My Sound, when My Sound's keyboardist introduced his father to British progressive rock. Ulrich Sommerlatte was the conductor of the Hannover Symphony Orchestra, and was fascinated how rock was becoming the vehicle for new interpretations of classical music and such like (no doubt he'd been listening to ELP), and thus he took his classical composition knowledge and applied it to rock music in his own unique manner. Although ignored by the media, Ivory eventually managed to get an album released. SAD CYPRESS presented a mature and richly crafted progressive strongly featuring keyboards, yet highly derivative of Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes, etc.
Ulrich Sommerlatte (keyboards), Thomas Sommerlatte (keyboards), Christian Mayer (lead vocals, guitars), Goddie Daum (guitars), Charly Stechl (bass, flute), Fredrik Rittmueller (drums), + Antonio Agnissanti (Latin vocals)
SAD CYPRESS (1979)
LP Jupiter 202 428 (1980)
One of numerous short-lived supergroup's featuring Lothar Meid during the 70's, Jackboot had little identity as a German rock band. Straight song-based hard-rock, with little invention, their sole album gained international release, but still remained unknown!
Wolfgang Jaas (vocals), Karl Allaut (guitar), Lothar Meid (bass), Bertram Passmann (drums)
LP Jupiter 28286 (1977), Response RES 012 (UK, 1977)
The history of Jane goes back a long way. Originally, the roots of Jane emerge out of the Hannover rock scene in the late-60's, from a group called Justice Of Peace (aka The JP's), who released a single "Save Me/The War" (Studioton 671091) in 1969. Obviously a lot had changed by the time they were renamed Jane, as they were the first of a new breed of progressives, hot on the heels of Pink Floyd but playing such music with a more Teutonic heavy progressive style featuring strong songs, thick wedges of keyboards and guitars. Their debut album TOGETHER was a very powerful and trippy album fronted by the unusual blues singer Bernd Pulst, with a music adrift with swirling organ, great riffs, and a unique twist on the Dave Gilmour type of guitar sound. A little towards the realms of classic Frumpy, but spacier. After Bernd Pulst's departure, Jane never really regained the awe-inspiring spirit of TOGETHER, though they did continually progress, surprise, and in the course of doing so became quite successful. Actually HERE WE ARE was a very good sequel, a bit haphazard and varied, but with much experimentation, and a number of surprising new ideas. JANE III found Charly Maucher returning and fronting the band alongside Klaus Hess, for a much more gutsy hard-rock guitar oriented excursion. An odd diversion really, It seemed like Jane were gradually losing their identity, especially so on LADY on which they drafted in Gottfried Janko (from Dull Knife) which covered an even wider range of styles.
Time for a rethink, and Jane entered a second renaissance, first with the return of Werner Nadolny on the more atmospheric concept album FIRE, WATER, EARTH & AIR, and then with the ex-Eloy keyboardist Manfred Wieczorke. Jane again hit a peak of creativity, stepping back to the original Jane sound, but with a much more cosmic Pink Floyd cum Eloy edge blending in with the Jane hard-rock style. Notably the LIVE AT HOME double is essential Jane featuring many new tracks. Whereas BETWEEN HEAVEN & HELL and AGE OF MADNESS were albums of great contrast, with more accessible tracks juxtaposed against more unusual ones. SIGN NO. 9 heralded a straighter rock song based style, the end of the Jane we knew, and although during the 80's Jane persisted they did little of any merit. Eventually, after a moderately successful solo, long-standing stalwart Klaus Hess left the ranks, taking his unique compositional style with him.
Bernd Pulst (vocals), Klaus Hess (guitar), Werner Nadolny (organ, flute), Charly Maucher (bass, vocals), Peter Panka (drums, percussion)
LP Brain 1002 (1972)
Here We Are / Redskin
7" Brain ? (?)
HERE WE ARE
LP Brain 1032 (1973)
JANE III (13-20/2/74)
LP Brain 1048 (1974)
Bambule-Rock / Feuer Auf Der Dragonia
7" Brain 511 (1974)
Credited to: Der Chef (Jane's only songs in German!)
LP Brain 1066 (1975)
FIRE, WATER, EARTH & AIR (11/75)
LP Brain 1084 (1976)
LIVE AT HOME (13/8/76)
2LP Brain 80.001-2 (1976)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL (2/77)
LP Brain 60.055 (1977)
AGE OF MADNESS (2/78)
LP Brain 60.124 (1978)
SIGN NO. 9 (1979)
LP Brain 60.218 (1979)
LP Brain 60.354 (1980)
LP Brain 60.519 (1982)
BEAUTIFUL LADY (1/86)
LP Sky 111 (1986)
LIVE '89 (1989)
LP Brain 843 071-1 (1990)
Not actually a German band, Janus were an enigma for almost two decades - as they were actually British! Their album GRAVEDIGGER however, was very much a product of the Krautrock era, as Janus were based in Germany at the time, and even Harvest presented them as a Krautrock band! All the production and other credits were courtesy of German luminaries, and it had that Teutonic feel: blending heavy rock with psychedelic and cosmic musics, so it's definitely worthy of inclusion here. The reformation and demo recordings that have been issued since however are of no real interest.
Keith Bonthrone, Derek Hyett, Bruno Lord, Colin Orr, Mick Peberdy, Roy Yates
LP Harvest 1C 062-29433 (1972)
Initially a pop trio with hard-rock and psychedelic overtones, their curiously titled debut album COSMIC BLUES was just a collection of all their early singles. Later, after a major change in personnel (notably Rainer Marz went solo) with only one original member, the third album also saw a big change in style. Here, Dieter Dierks was in control of the recording, helping them create a richly crafted progressive. TIME RIDE blended folky and dynamically arranged rock works, notable for some stunning keyboards. After many years apart the original Jeronimo reformed in 1982 and issued a new single version of their biggest hit: "Heya".
Gunnar Schäfer (vocals, bass), Hajo Born (vocals, drums), Rainer Marz (vocals, guitar)
COSMIC BLUES (1969-70)
LP Bellaphon BI 1530 (1970)
Kind Of Feelin' / Save Our Souls, SOS
7" Bellaphon ? (1971)
LP Bellaphon BLPS 19044 (1971)
TIME RIDE (3/72)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19095 (1972)
Based on their HALLO series contributions, this DDR progressive were greatly inspired by British acts like Jade Warrior, Raw Material, et al., but they added a psychedelic feel kind of like Die Puhdys, with a little Krautrock feeling too. A unique combination. We don't know of any album releases, which is a shame, as they could be quite phenomenal.
featured on: HALLO, NR. 1, 3, 8
An instrumental synth-rock duo of unknown origin, with strong Camel inspiration and the accent on melody, akin to ACI and also French synthi-rock styles like Space Art or Saint Preux.
Peter Garattoni (drums), Helmut Grab (synthesizers, electric piano, string ensemble), + Emil Wirth (bass), Ulrich Bühl (synthesizer, pianos)
LP AAR 5052 (1978)
Originally a Mannheim pop band fronted by the powerful female vocalist Joy Fleming under the guise of Joy & The Hit Kids, they moved on to progressive and very different realms by the late-60's and adopted the name Joy Unlimited to record OVERGROUND featuring numerous cover-versions of well-known songs. Their second SCHMETTERLINGE was an odd album for the Pilz label, a complex and ambitious conceptual rock ballet suite performed by a larger much more multi-instrumental ensemble. It ran a wide gamut of styles, from spacious jazz, via psychedelic rock onto a wild tongue-in-cheek raunchy blues, where Joy invites the listener to indulge with her sexually in a most profane manner! A fascinating and unique album. After this, Joy went on to pursue a successful solo career, and the band continued without her. American singer Ken Traylor replaced Joy on REFLECTIONS, an album that developed themes from SCHMETTERLINGE, but with a varied rock fusion as explored by many British bands of the era, like Raw Material or Gravy Train. In sharp contrast, with German Joschi Dinier as vocalist, on MINNE the style changed to a very Teutonic, slightly Floh De Cologne like, progressive folk.
Joy Fleming (vocals), Hans Herkeene (drums), Albin Metz (bass, trumpet, trombone), Roland Heck (piano, organ, vocals), Dieter Kindl (bass, tenor sax, vocals), Klaus Nagel (guitars, flute, vocals)
Jubeldown / Helpless Child
7" Polydor 2041 114 (1970)
LP Polydor 2371 050 (1970)
Silvergun / Peace Train
7" BASF 05 11273-4 (1971)
LP Pilz 20 21090-1 (1971)
Early Morning Moanin' / Proud Angelina
7" Pilz 05 11556-3 (1972)
featured on: HEAVY CHRISTMAS
LP BASF 20 21686-1 (1973)
LP BASF 17 22331-0 (1974)
Das Neue Topset / Qua Qua Pa Pa Qua
7" Trend TSW-005 (1974)
Go Easy Go Bahn / Komm Mit In Die Welt
7" private release DB 777
A very unusual lightweight folky band, with odd instrumentation and sometimes even stranger songs. The mood seems to imply that maybe they were all stoned-out-of-their-minds. A very amateurish sounding production, FROM OUR FRIENDS TO OUR FRIENDS is a very obscure one too. Maybe it was just made for their friends?
R. Firchow (vocals, flute, guitar), J. Hahn (vocals), H. Klöcker (electric piano), D. Degen (bass, 12-string guitar), A. Degen (percussion, vocals, bass), G. Halfas (guitar, vocals), A. Adams (percussion), V. Ochsenkrecht (percussion)
FROM OUR FRIENDS TO OUR FRIENDS
LP Å F 666.131 (1976)
Quite offbeat and unique for a German band, Kalacakra were an obscure duo, of whom we know nothing historically, making only the one self-produced album. Their music combined various folk and Eastern influences, slightly hinting at the Third Ear Band and Popol Vuh, but closest to Clark-Hutchinson on their album A=MH˛. Kalakacra's blend of mantras, blues, folk and stoned psychedelia, gained CRAWLING TO LHASA a well deserved curiosity value, yet they were an altogether more eclectic and strange band than any of their possible mentors.
Claus Rauschenbach (guitars, congas, percussion, vocals, harmonica), Heinz Martin (guitar, flute, piano, vibes, cello, violin, synthesizer)
CRAWLING TO LHASA
LP private release K-ST 2000 (1977)
An amusing name for a band "Broken Hamster", and one of the many unknowns of Krautrock, that produced just the one extremely obscure privately issued album. They played a brand of Krautrock drawing on diverse influences, the folky trippy feel of Amon Düül contrasting with the heavy blues progressive in the realms of Jane through to The Groundhogs.
Peter N. Buchfeld (vocals, guitar, percussion), Frank Linde (vocals, guitars, percussion), Holger Heldt (bass, acoustic guitar), Arne Linde (drums, percussion), + Wilfried Krickhahn (vocals, guitar, percussion)
KAPUTTER HAMSTER (9/74)
LP PA Records 10-2009 (1974)
A bastion of the more commercial DDR progressive front, Karat were formed in 1973 out of the remnants of the jazz and soul progressive band Panta Rhei, and were often used as the backing musicians for many DDR pop singers. Admittedly, in general, Karat were not that impressive a band, at their best they were imitative of Novalis, Pink Floyd or Electra, and even their best album ÜBER SIEBEN BRÜCKEN was very patchy. Later albums (not listed here) were little more than pop music.
Herbert Dreilich (vocals, guitar), Hans-Joachim Neumann (vocals), Henning Protzmann (bass, vocals), Bernd Römer (guitar), Michael Schwandt (drums), Ulrich Swillms (keyboards)
LP Amiga 8 55 573 (DDR, 1978)
ÜBER SIEBEN BRÜCKEN (1979)
LP Amiga 8 55 695 (DDR, 1979)
LP Amiga 8 55 770 (DDR, 1980), Pool 6.24363
DER BLAUE PLANET (1982)
LP Amiga 8 55 929 (DDR, 1982), Pool 6.25377
DIE SIEBEN WUNDER DER WELT
LP Amiga 8 56 011 (DDR, 1983), Pool 6.25651
A surprising diversion from the former Wolfgang Dauner bassist, that's not jazz in any sense of the word! What Jürgen came up with on ELEKTRONISCHE MYTHEN had more in common with early Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream's ZEIT, or more atmospheric electronic Karlheinz Stockhausen, being performed on four EMS synthesizers and other devices. It's a fascinating record, atmospheric yet very dark and mysterious, and well worth checking out.
Jürgen Karg (synthesizers, sequencer, electronics)
ELEKTRONISCHE MYTHEN (1972-77)
LP Mood 23555 (1977)
Long time guitarist and multi-instrumental talent with Amon Düül II and Embryo, Chris first tried his hand at a solo project in 1980 when he was understandably dissatisfied with the direction Amon Düül II were heading. Still, it had little to commend it, being merely a development of his own familiar song style and the Amon Düül II of the era. The much more recent DERVISH KISS comes after working with Popol Vuh, serving much time with Embryo, and working with the likes of Rabih Abou-Khalil. Aside from some occasional Amon Düül II and Embryo touches, it's so ethnic it barely sounds at all like a Chris Karrer album!
Chris Karrer (vocals, guitars, soprano sax, violin), + Curt Cress (drums, percussion), Gerard Carbonel (bass), George Mehl (keyboards), Jörg Evers (guitar, bass, choir)
CHRIS KARRER (1979)
LP Vinyl 6.24328 (1979)
Formed in Berlin in 1970, the musicians of Karthago came from all over Germany and from various backgrounds. They were not a true Berlin band. Strongly inspired by British and American bands, Jimi Hendrix was a notable influence, but more so they were into the type of rock fusion garnered by CBS (like Chicago Transit Authority, Argent, Black Widow, Heaven, etc.). Karthago developed a more mainstream style than most Berlin acts, with strong songs, jazz and funk elements, backed up by excellent musicianship. Often they were much more Anglo-American sounding than German. It would seem that BASF were really pleased to sign Karthago up, as their debut LP had the most extraordinary multi-fold-out cover. The album was a fine example of the genre, with many excellent tracks, yet unbefitting such a crazily psychedelic cover! It obviously wasn't such a great success though, as it took 21/2 years for the aptly entitled SECOND STEP to appear, and then there was another lengthy gap till their third. With each album the Karthago sound was becoming less progressive and closer to mainstream rock, though it seems they never gained any greater success due to this. A live double album summed up most of the best material from this era, with some tracks greatly extended.
Tommy Goldschmidt (drums, percussion, vocals), Wolfgang Brock (drums, percussion, vocals), Joey Albrecht (guitar, vocals), Ingo Bischof (organ, vocals), Gerald Hartwig (bass, vocals, percussion)
LP BASF 20 21185-1 (1971) «multi-fold cover»
SECOND STEP (1972)
LP BASF 20 21780-9 (1973)
Johnny B. Goode / Going Down
7" BASF 06 12076-1 (1974)
ROCK 'N ROLL TESTAMENT (11-12/74)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19201 (1975) «die-cut gatefold cover»
LIVE AT THE ROXY
2LP Bacillus BAC 2040 (1976)
LOVE IS A CAKE
LP Crystal 064CRY32769 (1978)
A more mainstream band in the generic DDR progressive style, not unlike Karat. Their earlier albums show some imagination, but having no real identity of their own, and with the accent on shorter tracks with melodic song content, they steadily went downhill on subsequent albums.
Reinhard Huth (vocals, 12-string guitar), Jochen Hohl (drums), Wolf Rüdiger Raschke (keyboards), Bernd Dünnebeil (guitars), Peter Gläser (vocals, guitars), Claus Winter (bass)
LP Amiga 8 55 687 (DDR, 1979)
DAS EINZIGE LIEBEN
LP Amiga 8 55 786 (DDR, 1980)
A lively fusion combo from Heidelberg, Katamaran were often comparable to (late-70's) Guru Guru at their jazziest, which isn't so surprising as Waldemar Karpenkiel's brother Jogi was in Guru Guru circa 1976-77 (both being from Kollektiv) and naturally influences rub off. Katamaran, though, were unique in many ways, not least so for a heavy reliance on percussion and two winds players, and were comparable in feel to many East Euro fusion bands of the era.
Wolf Burbat (flute, synthesizers, pianos), Roland Schmitt (soprano/tenor saxes), Franz Holtmann (guitars), Dago Dombrowski (bass, percussion), Rudi Marhold (drums, percussion), Waldemar Karpenkiel (percussion)
LP Pläne S 3003 (1977)
CAFÉ FLORIAN (17-19/5/78)
LP Pläne G 0043 (1978)
Kin Ping Meh
Originally a floating group of amateur and pop musicians from Mannheim, Kin Ping Meh never actually formulated a style of their own until joined by Geff Harrison on VIRTUES & SINS. Their best material however, is to be found on their earlier patchy albums which feature jam sessions and experimental compositions amidst the pop-rock tracks. Much of the experimental material was inspired by their association with Achim Reichel and other interconnected bands: Night Sun and Twenty Sixty Six & Then. When Geff Harrison joined as lead singer he turned the band into a tight hard-rock outfit. Though generally what they came up with was of little interest. Geff also later fronted his own band of ex-Kin Ping Meh musicians, and on several occasions since drummer Kalle "Charlie" Weber has reformed Kin Ping Meh unsuccessfully.
Kalle Weber (drums, percussion), Torsten Herzog (bass, vocals), Frieder Schmitt (organ, pianos, Mellotron, vocals), Willie Wagner (guitars, harmonica, vocals), Werner Stephan (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion)
Everything's My Way / Woman
7" Polydor 2041 126 (1970)
Every Day / Alexandra
7" Polydor 2041 172 (1971)
KIN PING MEH (12/71)
LP Polydor 2371 259 (1972)
NO. 2 (6/72)
LP Zebra 2949 005 (1972)
Sunday Morning Eve / Come Down To The Riverside
7" Zebra 2047 004 (1973)
KIN PING MEH 3 (10/73)
LP Zebra 2949 011 (1973)
VIRTUES & SINS
LP Nova 6.22015 (1974)
Me And I / Blue Horizon
7" Nova 6.11647 (1975)
2LP Nova 6.28370 (1975)
KIN PING MEH
LP Bacillus BAC 2046 (1977)
HAZY AGE ON STAGE (1/71-1/73)
2LP Second Battle SBT 002 (1991) «live and alternate takes»
Klaus Der Geiger
Very obscure politico-folk, with hints of Floh De Cologne and Bernd Witthüser.
Klaus von Wrochem (violin, vocals), Peter Trunk (bass, piano), Richard Palmer (guitars), Curt Cress (drums), Andy Marx (banjo)
ARBEIT MACHT FREI (1973)
LP Bluff BF 1010 (1973)
LP Unsere Stimme US 13 (1976)
Credited to: Klaus Der Fiedler und Toni
Amidst the active late-60's underground scene at The Zodiac Club in Berlin were three radical experimentalists: Conrad Schnitzler (also of Tangerine Dream), Dieter Moebius (from Austria) and Hans-Joachim Roedelius (from East Berlin), who formed the radical avant-garde band Kluster. All three were long-established musicians and radicals on the Berlin underground scene, and naturally what they would come up with was unlike anything heard before!
The concept of Kluster was born out of the 60's "chance music" experiments of Conrad, and the idea to push rock aesthetics into the avant-garde. Although they never possessed any electronic instruments, the music of Kluster was quite extraordinary, featuring guitars, percussion, organ, cello, etc., with an abundance of sound processing devices, echo, tape machines and filters, to create a music that oozed electricity - stark, bleak, industrial, and nightmarishly unnerving. A rough translation from the cover notes of their debut KLOPFZEICHEN reads: "The ensemble Kluster is a progressive pop group. They play the most radical German underground music. Their playing technique is in the manner of Stockhausen and the Gruppa Nuova Consonanza". By a strange quirk of fate, it was a progressive church who had signed up Kluster to release records. Yes, a church! Strangely, they thought that Kluster's music would be the ideal foil for a new way of getting their message across. Apparently, the text sides feature ancient prophetic writings and are designed for religious instruction, whereas the second sides are for meditation! Thankfully, the texts on side 1 of each album fitted in with the music rather well, and due to the obscure message and dialect, even a small understanding of German doesn't reveal too much. After numerous concerts, often not so favourably received by audiences, who were expecting some form of rock music as opposed to Kluster's weird dissonance, the trio split. Conrad established the project Eruption, and then went on to a prolific solo career, whilst Moebius and Roedelius continued without Conrad as the duo Cluster.
Just to clear up a minor point, we know some people have listed a Kluster album called SCHWARZ, but actually, this was a Conrad Schnitzler release. Admittedly it may sound like Kluster, albeit much more electronic, indeed it seems to be Conrad reprocessing Kluster recordings, although the tracks were titled "Eruption", the history behind it is obscure. Collectors note: The original pressings of these Kluster albums had green Schwann labels and were housed in elaborate vacuum moulded plastic sleeves. Copies also exist without these sleeves. The 80's reissues had yellow labels and conventional single sleeves of a different design. Just to confuse matters further, the CD reissues have different artwork again!
Conrad Schnitzler, Joachim Roedelius & Dieter Moebius (piano, guitar, cello, drums, organ), + Christa Runge (narrator)
LP Schwann AMS 511 (1971)
ZWEI OSTEREI (23/12/70)
LP Schwann AMS 512 (1971)
LP Block KS 1001 (1971)
Formed out of the remnants of the Munich underground band Ejwuusl Wessahqqan, Koala Bär played a much lighter blend of rock, with folky and lighter Pink Floyd style touches, and strongly featuring synthesizers. Well, at least that's what the two tracks featured on the Ejwuusl Wessahqqan CD are like, both of which are taken from the cassette release below.
Christian Hoffmann, Hieronymus Winzker, Wolfram Graser
MC private release (1980)
Helmut was the former guitarist and lead-singer with Triumvirat, but his career was cut short when he died in 1977. He did however record sessions for another project. The album YOU WON'T SEE ME, was posthumously collected from these unreleased sessions, issued as a tribute. As an album, it's rather tame and uninspired, and feels unfinished, being in a more song-based rock style than Triumvirat, although it features fellow Triumvirat musicians.
Helmut Koellen (vocals, guitar), + Dieter Petereit (bass), Matthias Holtmann (drums), Jürgen Fritz (keyboards)
YOU WON'T SEE ME (10-11/76)
LP Harvest 1C 064-32 965 (1977)
Kolbe & Illenberger
Two extremely talented classical/jazz guitarists, Martin Kolbe and Ralf Illenberger were befriended by Wolfgang Dauner who secured them for release on the Mood Records label. Betwixt them Kolbe & Illenberger would play a multitude of acoustic and electric guitars, in an instrumental blend that mixed all sorts of rock, jazz and folk elements, and even variations on classical music. The effect on WAVES was like a Ralph Towner album, with the invention and texture of Alain Markusfeld. Moving away from their mostly acoustic stance, on TRONIC, they adopted a much more progressive/experimental style, with notable Can, Pink Floyd and new-wave influences creeping in. Kolbe & Illenberger have also worked as the jazz-folk trio KID with Wolfgang Dauner. More recently they have both pursued solo careers in more conventional jazz and new-age realms.
Martin Kolbe (guitars, gong, vocals), Ralf Illenberger (guitars, vocals), + Wolfgang Dauner (piano, synthesizer), Eberhard Weber (bass)
LP Mood 22 900 (1978)
COLOURING THE LEAVES (4-10/79)
LP Mood 23 700 (1979)
LP Wundertüte TÜT 111 (1982)
LP Wundertüte TÜT 118 (1983)
The story of Kollektiv is quite complex. Originally a school band playing pop songs in the mid-60's as a trio called The Generals with the twin brothers Jogi and Waldemar Karpenkiel, and Jürgen Havix. During the late-60's the three went their separate ways playing in diverse rock, blues and psychedelic bands. In 1967 Jogi joined The Phantoms, which also featured later Kraftwerk member Ralf Hutter. This band went through several changes of name: Rambo Zambo Bluesband, Bluesology and, after Jogi had left to rejoin The Generals, became Organisation. Also in Bluesology was the talented jazz saxophonist Klaus Dapper who left the band along with Jogi. With Dapper at the helm, The Generals changed style completely and changed name to Kollektiv. It's hardly surprising then that Kollektiv's debut album bore much resemblance to the music of Organisation and early Kraftwerk, a spacious fusion featuring electrified flute and sax, too esoteric and complexly crafted to be called jazz-rock. In fact, along with the likes of Xhol, instrumental Thirsty Moon, Ibliss, et al., Kollektiv exhibited a style that was uniquely German, the jazzier end of Krautrock, full of invention and exceptional musicianship. Like many bands of the era, though they existed for several years on and off, with members moving into other bands like Guru Guru, Katamaran, etc., Kollektiv disappeared into obscurity. Eventually a radically different sounding Kollektiv appeared in the late-80's aided by Swedish bassist Jonas Hellborg, presenting a very lively and high-tech fusion.
Jogi Karpenkiel (bass), Waldemar Karpenkiel (drums), Jürgen Havix (guitar, zither), Klaus Dapper (flute, sax)
LP Brain 1034 (1973) «novelty game cover»
KOLLEKTIV FEAT. JONAS HELLBORG
LP ITM 979.034 (1988)
Kollektiv Rote Rübe
These were a wild and anarchic political theatre group from Berlin, who mostly just performed live, and were quite notorious. For their infrequent LP releases, they were aided by members of Ton Steine Scherben, who added their distinctive agit-rock to Kollektiv Rote Rübe's bizarre, sometimes almost surreal theatrics. A twist on the Floh De Cologne genre perhaps, though being even more eclectic and less musical, Kollektiv Rote Rübe do not appeal that much to non-German ears.
Ludwig Böttger, Hans-Peter Cloos, Gerlind Eger, Alfonso Hausmann, Molly Moll & Katja Rupe (vocals), + Ton Steine Scherben (music)
PRESENTS: SONGS AUS IHREN STÜCKEN
2LP Trikont US-0014 (1976)
LP April KRR/LP 1 (1983)
Credited to: Kollektiv Rote Rübe & Ton Steine Scherben
Apparently, their name is a contraction of Kommunikation Und Kollektiv. An unusual and very obscure early-70's underground progressive, of whom very little is known about them. They played a varied polit-rock, from hard-rock through to folk styled, akin to Ton Steine Scherben and Lokomotive Kreuzberg.
Hans-Jürgen Eich (guitars, vocals), Dieter Sallinger (drums, percussion), Thomas Roscher (bass, vocals), Walter Slansky (guitar, congas, vocals), Mischa Zai (organ, pianos, vocals), + Fred Pfirrmann (organ, vocals)
LP Kanal LEUB 25 (1972)
Schmeiß Die Wand An / Solidarität
7" Kanal ELZ 302 (1973)
Born out of a friendship between three free-jazz musicians from Ulm: Peter Wolbrandt, Hellmut Hattler and Jan Fride in the late-60's, they were later joined by sax player Johannes "Alto" Pappert, becoming the hard-rock group Inzest. But it wasn't until they moved to Berlin, and became Kraan with a concept based on rock and jazz, blending in ethnic musics - in particular Arabian music - that they blossomed. But, Berlin wasn't a practical base for a touring band. Their first album was recorded in Munich before relocating to a farmhouse at Wintrup in Westfalen.
Kraan's debut is a remarkably original album, that whilst not being overtly weird or experimental, had a groundbreaking original character, especially so for a type of progressive jazz-fusion. Wolbrandt's unusual guitar, Pappert's flowery sax, and a most imaginative song style, were all factors. But, more than that, it was their intuitive playing, Arabic textures (witness the extraordinary "Kraan Arabia") blending in a psychedelic spiced fusion, resulting in what was uniquely Kraan. Their second album WINTRUP, named after their new home, was a much calmer light-hearted album, more song-based yet still eclectically Kraan. And a fusion of the styles of both those albums lead to the more developed sound of ANDY NOGGER and LIVE (a double album recorded in Berlin's "Quartier Latin") which gained Kraan the chance to tour Britain. LIVE was Kraan's hottest moment on vinyl, having many of their favourite tracks extended with great energy, and being largely instrumental giving all the musicians ample room to really let go.
Karthago's Tommy Goldschmidt had been guesting on hand percussion in concert, and was followed by their keyboard player Ingo Bischof who joined Kraan for LET IT OUT. Johannes Pappert left during the recording (to head his own project Alto) and the attempts to make the Kraan sound more commercial didn't work, resulting in a patchy album, one that was still uniquely Kraan, but not of the calibre of earlier releases. Subsequent Kraan albums mellowed somewhat, becoming smoother and jazzier, and the stable nucleus of the band fragmented. As with many bands, they have continued well past their "sell by date", though through to the early-80's all their albums contained something of merit. As guest and session musicians (check the index) all of Kraan have been prolific, mostly due to their friendship with Cluster and Guru Guru.
Peter Wolbrandt (guitar, vocals, percussion), Hellmut Hattler (bass), Johannes A. Pappert (sax, percussion), Jan Fride (drums, congas)
LP Spiegelei 28778-9U (1972)
LP Spiegelei 28523-9U (1973)
ANDY NOGGER (7/74)
LP Spiegelei 26439-0U (1974), Gull GULP 1009 (UK, 1975)
2LP Spiegelei 26440-8Z/1-2 (1975), Gull GUD 2001/2 (UK, 1976)
LET IT OUT (7/75)
LP Spiegelei 26542-1U (1975), Gull GULP 1013 (UK, 1976)
LP Harvest 1C 064-32 110 (1977)
LP Harvest 1C 064-45 210 (1978)
LP Harvest 1C 064-45 931 (1980)
LP GeeBeeDee GBD 0028 (1982)
2 SCHALL-PLATTEN (1977-82)
2LP GeeBeeDee 16-1873 (1983) «compilation with 3 unique tracks»
LP TIS 66.23241 (1983)
LIVE 88 (19/10/87)
2LP private release 8801 (1988)
DANCING IN THE SHADE
LP Intercord IRS 951.921 (1989)
It's unlikely anyone realised how important and influential Kraftwerk would become, not even the consistent duo nucleus of Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider! Ralf, from a background with underground and fusion bands (Phantoms, Rambo Zambo Bluesband and Bluesology), and Florian, a classically trained flautist, first got together at the Ramscheid Academy in 1968 and hatched the idea of the band Organisation (see entry elsewhere). Two years on, the duo, with the aid of drummers Andreas Hohmann, and then Klaus Dinger, established Kraftwerk (meaning "Power Station", indicating their affinity with the industrial surroundings of Düsseldorf) as an ongoing project for experimental music. Their debut was indeed a most innovative album, featuring four very different tracks, each a fascinating excursion into a new music, often extreme and challenging. With its use of metronomic rhythms, unpredictable schizophrenic cut-about editing and dynamics, both catchy and numbingly weird, it hinted strongly at later works by Can, Faust and Neu!
During this era many musicians passed through the band: Michael Rother (from Spirit Of Sound) for one, he together with Klaus Dinger went on to form Neu!, and also there was Eberhard Kranemann (aka Fritz Müller) who also worked with Neu! live. Other musicians would join Kraftwerk later, yet on the second Kraftwerk LP they were down to the duo of Ralf and Florian alone (with much aid from Conny Plank) making liberal use of multi-tracking. A rarity in those days, as multi-track quality studios were few and far between, and the results were possibly the strangest of Kraftwerk's entire output, being dark, strange and very avant-garde. After amassing a good deal of electronic gadgetry the Kraftwerk sound took a step towards the synth-rock/electro-pop they were to become famous for. The first step was the schizophrenic, yet sometimes Harmonia-like RALF & FLORIAN which added synthesizer melodies to their industrial type rhythms and Florian's flute. The biggest step, in commercial terms, was AUTOBAHN, which spawned a surprise hit single, setting the trend that would become a big influence on the new-wave in the late-70's.
Each Kraftwerk album from hereon was a step closer to catchy pop music. Their mid-70's releases were still of interest though. RADIOAKTIVITÄT had its moments, with its crackling electronics, Mellotrons and weird humour. Though, as far as innovation goes, the last Kraftwerk album of note was 1977's metronomic rhythmic excursion TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS. From THE MAN MACHINE onwards, Kraftwerk may have continued to be influential, but their output had moved well out of the scope of this book, becoming mainstream techno-pop.
Ralf Hütter (organ), Florian Schneider (flute, violin, electric percussion), Andreas Hohmann (drums), Klaus Dinger (drums)
LP Philips 6305 058 (1970)
KRAFTWERK 2 (26/9-1/10/71)
LP Philips 6305 117 (1971)
RALF & FLORIAN (5-7/73)
LP Philips 6305 197 (1973) «with large "comic" poster»
7" Philips 6003 356 (1973)
LP Philips 6305 231 (1974), Vertigo 6360 620 (UK, 1974)
LP Kling Klang 1C 062-82 087 (1975)
TRANS EUROPA EXPRESS
LP Kling Klang 1C 062-82 306 (1977)
DIE MENSCH MASCHINE
LP Kling Klang 1C 058-32 843 (1978)
Jean-Jacques Kravetz was best known as the keyboard maestro in Frumpy. An extraordinary talent, it's strange that he left to work in more commercial music with Udo Lindenberg. His "solo" album was in fact the Udo Lindenberg band with Kravetz at the helm, for a more progressive outing. Although a patchy album, it had some excellent moments, notably some lengthy instrumental breaks and much Frumpy influence.
Jean-Jacques Kravetz (organ, piano, synthesizer, percussion), Udo Lindenberg (drums, vocals, percussion), Carl-G. Stephan (bass), Thomas Kretzschmer (guitar), + Inga Rumpf (vocals), Roger Hook (acoustic guitar)
LP Vertigo 6360 605 (1972)
A bastion of German modern jazz and a pioneer of jazz-rock, Volker Kriegel perfected his unique guitar style with the likes of Albert Mangelsdorff and the Dave Pike Set in the 60's. He's often remembered as one of the first musicians to play sitar in German jazz-fusion. In 1971 he established his own jazz-rock band Spectrum, a veritable supergroup featuring many well known names. The line-up was flexible, as many of the musicians were involved in other projects too, including many top international names. The Spectrum sound was a cool and relaxed jazz-rock with good use of dynamics and lots of room for solos. Volker has continued as a prolific and influential musician with numerous albums, and collaborations with other musicians.
Volker Kriegel (guitar, vibes), + Peter Trunk (basses), Cees See (drums), Claudio Szenkar (vibes), Günter Lenz (bass), Peter Baumeister (drums, percussion)
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
LP Liberty LBS 83065 (1968)
LP BASF/MPS 21 20874-5 (1971)
INSIDE: MISSING LINK (21-23/3/72)
2LP BASF/MPS 33 21431-1 (1972)
LP BASF/MPS 21 21753-1 (1973)
featured on: HEIDELBERG JAZZTAGE '73 (1973)
LP BASF/MPS 21 21913-5 (1974)
SPECTRUM - MILD MANIAC (2/74)
LP BASF/MPS 21 22020-6 (1974)
TROPICAL HARVEST (12/75)
LP MPS 68.037 (1976)
ELASTIC MENU (12/77)
LP MPS 15517 (1978)
Credited to: Volker Kriegel & Mild Maniac Orchestra
Krokodil (German for "Crocodile") were constantly promoted by the labels they signed to as a Krautrock band, yet though they had the spirit of Krautrock in their veins, the truth was that they were Swiss! Naturally, Liberty tried to present them as the Krautrock answer to The Groundhogs. Well, Krokodil did have blues origins, they really knew how to rock-it and had a flair for the experimental, so they did have the same sort of attitude as The Groundhogs. But, all that aside, Krokodil were innovators in their own right, not at all copyist, except for maybe their John Mayall type roots. Like most Swiss bands, Krokodil were an unlikely combo, mostly of German-Swiss extraction, with one Englishman: Terry Stevens. Early on, the quoted "Swiss Bob Dylan" Hardy Hepp seemed to be in control, his softer folk and blues mix, and Mojo Weideli's harmonica, gave them a more down-to-earth sound. After Hardy's departure for a solo career, Krokodil really blossomed with the extraordinary AN INVISIBLE WORLD REVEALED, an album that took on all sorts of ethnic and fusion elements, becoming like a hybrid of Amon Düül II, Man and Third Ear Band, all mixed into that unique Krokodil style. Ethnic elements had figured in earlier Krokodil recordings, but not so much as here, where the sitar, tablas and flute are heavily featured. Krokodil had become the finest of Swiss Krautrock bands. A change of label, to Bacillus, their next album GETTING UP FOR THE MORNING offered a similar blending of rock, blues and ethnic styles, though in a more condensed and song-based concoction. The double album SWEAT & SWIM, though it had a couple of duff tracks, also contained some of their best, not least so the 17 minute cosmic-ethnic trip "Linger" recalling the masterworks of AN INVISIBLE WORLD REVEALED.
Hardy Hepp (violin, piano, vocals), Düde Dürst (drums, percussion, vocals), Walty Anselmo (sitar, lead guitar, vocals), Terry Stevens (bass, guitar, vocals), Mojo Weideli (harmonica, flute, percussion)
Camel Is Top
7" ? (Switzerland, 1969) «1-sided flexi»
Don't Make Promises / Hurra! Alive
7" Liberty 15 229 (1969)
LP Liberty LBS 83306 (1969)
LP Liberty LBS 83417 (1970)
AN INVISIBLE WORLD REVEALED
LP United Artists UAS 29250 (1971), Gold 11160 (Switzerland, 1982)
GETTING UP FOR THE MORNING
LP Bacillus BLPS 19017 (1972)
SWEAT & SWIM (9+13/5/73)
2LP Bacillus BDA 7502Q (1973)
Rolf & Joachim Kühn
Quite a revelation, I never expected to include this duo in this book! But their THE MAD ROCKERS is such a killer, it deserves your attention! Extraordinarily revolutionary for 1968 (earlier than The Mothers' UNCLE MEAT by the way) being a highly inventive rock fusion fronted by electric clarinet, lots of chunky organ, and a really wild psychedelic sound. The cover notes quoted this as the new musical form "free-rock", and really this pre-empts the jazzy edge of the Krautrock scene, i.e. Et Cetera, Embryo, Missus Beastly, Passport, etc. Dated a little nowadays? Maybe, though it's still an amazing experience even though it's over 30 years old! The Kühn brothers had worked together in free-jazz before this, though albums like 1967's TRANSFIGURATION are out of the realms of this book. Well, they're free-jazz, and we're not covering free-jazz! Rolf was a 60's jazz pioneer, leader and collaborator in numerous projects, from big band jazz orchestra's onto free-jazz avant-garde. His discography is enormous. Joachim Kühn worked in numerous German fusion bands, and then went on to a successful solo career after moving to the USA, as a soloist and in a group with Daniel Humair and Jean-François Jenny-Clark. His discography is also enormous. Recently he made an interesting album with the international fusion band Let's Be Generous. Günter Lenz later worked with ex-Dzyan members in Giger.Lenz.Marron. Stu Martin returned to Britain to form The Trio with John Surman.
Rolf Kühn (clarinet), Joachim Kühn (piano, organ, alto sax, shenai), Volker Kriegel (guitar), Günter Lenz (bass), Stu Martin (drums)
THE MAD ROCKERS (1968)
LP Goody GY 30005 (France)
Austrian 70's progressive band who were notably influenced by earlier British bands like Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator, et al. Their debut album THE FOUNTAIN BEYOND THE SUNRISE was a richly textured and lyrical progressive with spacious and dramatic phases, with that odd Teutonic strangeness in the lyrics. The CD only issue THE BLIND WINDOWS SUITE documents early historic unreleased recordings. Kyrie Eleison later transformed into the neo-progressive band Indigo.
Michael Schubert (vocals, percussion), Manfred Drapela (guitars, choir), Gerald Krampl (organ, piano, synthesizer, Mellotron, choir), Norbert Morin (bass, bass pedals, acoustic guitar), Karl Novotny (drums, percussion, choir)
THE FOUNTAIN BEYOND THE SUNRISE (11/76)
LP Merlin MEKE 001277 (Austria, 1977)
In essence La Düsseldorf were the continuation of Neu! Whilst Michael Rother had been working with Harmonia, Klaus Dinger formed a new band called Düsseldorf, featuring his brother Thomas and Conny Plank's studio assistant Hans Lampe. Apparently plans were afoot for an album, but Brain wanted another Neu! album, and so really NEU! 75 was an amalgam of both bands. After Michael went back to Harmonia and then solo, the other three continued as the group La Düsseldorf. The first album was a stylish twist on the NEU! 75 sound, with punky vocals and a metronomic Kraftwerk type feel. It seemed very fresh at the time, though "Silver Cloud" (a hit single in Germany) is just too pretty, it's the closing track, the spooky and ethereal "Time" that came across as most innovative. VIVA brought the punk edge even more to the fore, and was not so successful an album. The swan song INDIVIDUELLOS returned to the Neu! sound again, but said little new, though it's arguably the most endearing. With only three LP's in six years, and riding on the edge of the new-wave movement, it's amazing that La Düsseldorf became stylists at the forefront of new-music, and highly influential on 80's techno-pop.
Klaus Dinger (guitars, vocals, keyboards, synthesizers), Thomas Dinger (percussion, vocals), Hans Lampe (percussion, electronics), + Harald Konietzko (bass)
LA DÜSSELDORF (9-12/75)
LP Nova 6.22550 (1976), Decca SKL-R 5252 (UK, 1976)
LP Strand 6.23626 (1978), Radar RAD 10 (UK, 1979)
LP Teldec 6.24524 (1981), Albion ALB 107 (UK, 1981)
Ich Liebe Dich / Koksnödel
12" EP ? (1983)
Surprisingly these were a rather uninspired melodic rock band fronted by ex-Jane keyboardist Werner Nadolny. Therefore only really of historical interest.
Werner Nadolny (organ, string ensemble, piano, synthesizer), Claus Zaake (drums, percussion), Christian Reinhardt (bass, vocals), Hanno Grossmann (guitars), + Dieter Dierks (percussion)
LP Vertigo 6360 636 (1976)
An obscure folk rock trio, of whom very little is known. They made just the one album, which was rather amateurishly produced, though it had a certain redeeming charm. It's as much Neil Young inspired as by Pentangle or Fairport Convention, yet also has a very Teutonic feel to it, especially due to the wide range of instruments used.
Egbert Fröse (guitars, organ, psalter, koto, sitar, vocals), Matthias Mertler (guitar, percussion, psalter, banjo, bass pedals, vocals), Ulrich Nähle (guitars, flute, percussion, vocals)
LP Düsselton TS 2737 (1976)
A Berlin commune band. Stylistically Lava were quite schizophrenic, no doubt due to the members conflicting ideas. Somewhere between early Hawkwind, Quintessence and a variety of folky and ethnic Krautrock styles, their sole album was quite patchy (one track is dreadful actually - a bit like Bob Dylan), yet had enough good material to commend it, especially the album's second side which moves from stoned blues on to lazy instrumental fusion.
Thomas Karrenbach (piano, organ, vocals), Stefan Ostertag (guitars, vocals), Jürgen Kraaz (guitars, flute, choir, bass, organ), Christian Ostertag (bass, choir, guitars), Archer Weaver (drums, harmonica, jews harp, vocals), Peter Moses (percussion), + Conny Plank (guitar)
TEARS ARE GOIN' HOME
LP Brain 1031 (1973)
Former DDR, Berlin jazz trumpeter (once with the Modern Soul Band), Klaus Lenz could be considered as the German Ian Carr, especially as his band do often sound like Nucleus. On the earlier albums, also akin to Sincerely P.T. in feel, the large brass section is counterpointed by a more rock based rhythm section, with keyboards (and guitar on AUFBRUCH) filling out the sound. As the "Jazz & Rock Machine" on FUSION, much of the show is given to Polish saxophonist Zbigniew Namyslowski, and as such is much more jazzy.
Axel-Glenn Müller (alto/soprano saxes, flute, bass clarinet), Axel Gothe (baritone sax, alto flute, percussion), Klaus Lenz (trumpet), Mathias Pflugbeil (trumpet), Claus-Dieter Knispel (trumpet), Siegnor Rothbart (flugelhorn), Bernd Swoboda (trombone), Hannes Baner (trombone), Wolfgang Fiedler (pianos, ARP, Mellotron), Christian Pittius (electric piano, string ensemble, Moog), Jürgen Kratzenberg (bass), Dieter Erhardt (drums), + Reiner Gäbler (alto/tenor saxes), Detlef Kessler (drums), Wolfgang Schneider (drums), Jürgen Resnizcek (bass)
LP Vinyl VS 001 (1977)
LP Vinyl VS 002 (1978)
LP Vinyl VS 005 (1979)
Basically, Les Vampyrettes was an ad-hoc partnership of Holger Czukay and Conny Plank (along with other musicians) in the late-70's and early-80's. Though Les Vampyrettes only recorded a single under their own name (and one track on Holger Czukay's second solo album ON THE WAY TO THE PEAK OF NORMAL) as far as post-Can Holger Czukay work goes, it's amongst his finest. The "Biomutanten/Menetekel" single is extraordinary. A dark menacing off-beat rock, with the accent on the bizarre, with clanking shuddering rhythms, macabre voices and catchy melodic electronics. Both weird and highly commercial, it's unique! "Biomutanten" itself was also used to fill the B side of Holger's "Photo Song" single.
Together with Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, Holger Czukay and Conny Plank also recorded an album with eccentric Japanese singer Phew - the Nippon Nico! This took the Les Vampyrettes sound closer to Can territory, along with strange female vocals.
Holger Czukay, Conny Plank, Axel Gros
Biomutanten / Menetekel
12" Electrola F 667.226 (1980)
Hardly a German sounding name, eh? No, Mike Lewis is in fact Canadian, yet whilst in Germany he made this unusual album, a collaboration together with Conny Plank, which obviously came about by them working together in Wired. Conny's Teutonic edge is layered on heavily in an album that covers a wide range of rock and fusion styles. Unclassifiable and challenging!
LP Philips 6305 087 (1971)
An impromptu duo featuring Achim Reichel and Frank Dorstal who were working on the heavy-rock project Propeller at the time of the sessions for the Pilz label's HEAVY CHRISTMAS album. (Why they were invited to contribute to this sampler we've no idea, as they never recorded anything else for the Pilz label!) Their two contributions to this LP were powerful tongue-in-cheek psychedelic spiced parodies akin to their work as Wonderland Band, full of that typical early-70's Reichel musical invention.
featured on: HEAVY CHRISTMAS
Lied Des Teufels
Previously known as Hanuman. They changed name after leader Wolf-Rüdiger Uhlig left, naming themselves after the closing track on the Hanuman album. Lied Des Teufels (in English "Song of the Devil") made a much more aggressive politico-German rock, stylistically between Out Of Focus, Floh De Cologne and Ton Steine Scherben, being all the more theatrical and offbeat on their second album.
Thomas Holm (drums, vibes), Jörg Hahnfeld (bass), Ralf Schultze (guitars, vocals), Peter Barth (vocals, alto sax, flute)
LIED DES TEUFELS
LP Kuckuck 2375 019 (1973)
2: HÖLLISCH HEIßE ROCKMUSIK (2/75)
LP Pläne S 99301 (1975)
Amongst the lesser known of DDR progressives, Lift started as a kind of soul-spiced psychedelic styled band, with strong German vocals. Often, they would also work as a backing band to pop singers too. By their debut LP they'd moved on to more mellow realms, in fact, it sounds like a collection of singles! But, only a year on, during the DDR progressive wave, their greatest triumph was MEERESFAHRT, which had strong rock ballads on side one, and a lengthy opus akin to classic Stern-Combo Meissen, and the realms of Polish space-fusion maestro's SBB, covering most of side two. Like virtually all other DDR bands, their 80's output paled significantly, towards the more normal Karat type vein.
Werther Lohse (drums, vocals), Michael Heubach (synthesizer, organ, electric piano), Till Patzer (alto sax, flute, vocals), Wolfgang Scheffler (electric piano, Mellotron, synthesizer), Henry Pacholski (vocals), Gerhard Zachar (bass, vocals)
featured on: HALLO, NR. 10, 1/74
Komm Doch Einfach Mit / Jeder Tag Ist Eine Lange Reise
7" Amiga 4 56 033 (DDR, 1974)
LP Amiga 8 55 550 (DDR, 1977)
LP Amiga 8 55 638 (DDR, 1978)
LP Amiga 8 55 814 (DDR, 1981)
Light Of Darkness
Apparently these were originally a Scottish band, who based themselves in Germany, and in fact the drummer on their album was German. Light Of Darkness did reveal some Teutonic influences, though largely they were a hybrid of Status Quo and Canned Heat, with an unusual psychedelic bent.
John Latimer (vocals, piano, organ, percussion), Byron Grant (guitars, violin), Mike Reoch (bass, flute, piano, harmonica), Manfred Bebert (drums, percussion)
LIGHT OF DARKNESS (1970)
LP Philips 6305 062 (1971)
Formed in 1974 by four students, Lightshine originated from the town of Emmerich in the lower Rhein area. Slightly out of their time, negotiations with Sky and Vertigo came to nothing, they didn't fit in with the new smoother progressive sounds of the mid-70's, so eventually they decided to publish an album themselves. Unusually, Lightshine sounded very psychedelic for a band in 1976, their personalised brand of progressive rock was heavily inspired by British bands like Family and Genesis, along with touches of early Jane, Eloy, or Satin Whale, but with a touch of Teutonic eccentricity, their twist on Peter Gabriel type theatrics is highly original, and with complex arrangements and clever (sometimes very funny) songs, it all made for an enjoyable and inventive album. But, aside from getting enough interest to repress the album a year later, Lightshine never got above the ranks of support act to the likes of Hoelderlin or Scorpions. They disbanded in late 1977.
Olli (synthesizer), Wolfgang (bass, vocals), Egon (drums), Ulli (rhythm guitar, flute, vocals), Joe (guitar, vocals)
LP Trefiton HS 1049 ST (1976)
A supergroup project that bought together some amazing talents, namely Dieter Moebius from Cluster, top engineer Conny Plank, Kraan musicians: Johannes Pappert and Helmut Hattler, and a couple of free radicals: Asmus Tietchens and Okko Bekker. An odd combination indeed! Dieter had worked with Okko and Asmus on the CLUSTER & ENO album, Conny's involvement was also logical, but the Kraan connection dates back to their previous collaborations with Cluster on the Mani Neumeier and Ax Genrich projects a couple of years earlier. Such a meeting of varied talents resulted in an extraordinarily odd cosmic album, beyond Harmonia's "Sehr Kosmische", kind of betwixt early Cluster and The Cosmic Jokers, but with a couple of very different twists added by the strange jazziness from the ex-Kraan duo and also Asmus' rummagings inside pianos! Industrial space music indeed! Full of weirdness and innovation.
Dieter Moebius (ARP, guitar, percussion), Asmus Tietchens (Moog, piano), Okko Bekker (ARP, keyboards, percussion, vocals, guitar), Conny Plank (ARP, guitar, vocals), Johannes Pappert (alto sax, drums, bass, flute), Helmut Hattler (bass)
LP Brain 60.117 (1978)
A totally unknown entity, that existed, made one album, and just as quickly disappeared! Lily were in fact not unlike label stablemates Nine Days Wonder and Message, almost like a hybrid of the two. But unlike those multi-national bands Lily were entirely German, and more offbeat in a bizarre Krautrocky sort of way, with oddly composed songs, strangely worded lyrics and such like. An unknown gem for the Bacillus collector.
Wilfried Kirchmeier (bass, vocals), Klaus Lehmann (guitars), Manfred Schlagmuller (drums, percussion), Manfred-Josef Schmid (guitars), Hans-Werner Steinberg (saxes), + Armin Bannach (gong), Dieter Dierks (Mellotron)
V.C.U. [WE SEE YOU]
LP Bacillus BLPS 19144 (1973)
Formed in Heidelberg in 1968, Limbus were a most unusual band who grew a unique music out of jazz, folk and avant-garde roots. On their debut album NEW-ATLANTIS (subtitled "Cosmic Music Experience") they had become the acoustic trio Limbus 3, and had broken out beyond free-jazz, enthused chaos and delirium into a weird ethnic music concoction, and naturally with overtly uncompromising results. As the more varied instrumental quartet Limbus 4, with swirling organ, studio effects and a most bizarre use of kazoos, MANDALAS is the Ohr album that has perplexed and confused many. Limbus were certainly one of a kind.
Odysseus Artner, Bernd Henninger, Matthias Knieper & Gerd Kraus (piano, bass, cello, viola, violin, flutes, percussion, tablas)
NEW-ATLANTIS "COSMIC MUSIC EXPERIENCE"
LP CPM LP S 001 (1969)
LP Ohr OMM 56 001 (1970)
As one of the top bubblegum pop stars in Germany, you may wonder what Udo Lindenberg is doing here! Actually, prior to becoming a star, he was also an important figure on the Krautrock scene. Graduating from jazz groups in the 60's, Udo was highly sought after as a creative drummer and session musician, working with Free Action, Passport, Niagara, Emergency, and many others. Of his solos, only this album (recorded with fellow members of his former beat group The Mustangs) is worth a look-in, although patchy it paralleled the likes of Kin Ping Meh and Epitaph with a varied hard-rock, bordering pop and progressive, but with long tracks and containing many inspired moments. All later Lindenberg albums (generally credited to Udo Lindenberg's Panikorchester) should be avoided at all costs!
Udo Lindenberg (vocals, drums, keyboards, percussion), Carl G. Stephan (bass), Andy Marx (guitars), + Helmut Franke (guitar), Mag Johannsen (choir), Ischi Bendorff (choir), Sybille Kynast (choir)
LP Telefunken SLE 14637 (1971)
Lindner & Bohn
Two of the most accomplished of Krautrock drummers, integral to the Hamburg scene, Zabba Lindner (from Tomorrow's Gift) and Carsten Bohn (from Frumpy) weren't simply satisfied with making rock music, and between them made one of the most exceptional and innovative of multi-percussion albums. The record VOL BEDIENUNG OF PERCUSSION (in English "Various Aspects of Percussion") mixed spacious polyphony with dynamic rhythmic structures, ranging from cosmic and gothic realms, via classical and avant-garde musics onto frenzied rock riffing. It covered much more that you'd normally expect from a percussion album. The musicians' backgrounds had given them plenty of scope for creativity and invention, resulting in a wealth of surprises. To promote the LP a live group was formed featuring other renowned drummers like Udo Lindenberg, Mani Neumeier and Lucky Schmidt, as well as international drummers.
Wolfgang "Zabba" Lindner & Carsten Bohn (drums, cymbals, gongs, timbales, bells, gongs, tam tam, piano, organ, vibes)
VOLL BEDIENUNG OF PERCUSSION
LP Brain 1047 (1974)
An obscure lightweight symphonic progressive of the Pancake and Jane type, typical of the mid-70's. The only track we've heard is on the ROCK OFFERS album. No albums are known.
Norbert Aufmhof (keyboards, flute), Thomas Bohn (guitar), Dieter Kurr (drums), Franz Reichenberger (percussion), Gerd Wessel (piano)
Unknown Soldier / Land Of The Blind
7" private release 1-01/74 (1974)
featured on: ROCK OFFERS
An inventive Berlin polit-rock band, who were launched onto the scene in early 1972 with enthusiastic help from Floh De Cologne, to whom Lokomotive Kreuzberg were comparable in many ways. Amazingly creative, even on their debut, Lokomotive Kreuzberg blended hard-rock and blues together with more progressive sounds, with socio-political lyric and elements of satirical theatre. KOLLEGE KLATT was remarkable for its invention, accomplishing a sound that pre-dated Floh De Cologne's TILT!, witty and creative, with original use of synthesizer and theatrics. Their third album FETTE JAHRE was much more tongue-in-cheek, being a parody of various musical styles from doo-wop through to psychedelic and experimental, feeling very much like a German Mothers Of Invention. Latterly the nucleus of Lokomotive Kreuzberg (without Andreas Brauer, who went on to release a couple of solo albums) ended up as being the backing musicians for Nina Hagen, and eventually transmuted into the pop-satire group Spliff.
Andi Brauer (vocals, clavinet, violin, synthesizer), Volker Hiemann (vocals, guitars), Uwe Holz (vocals, drums, harmonica), Franz Powalla (vocals, bass), Kalle Scherfling (vocals)
KOLLEGE KLATT (9/72)
LP Pläne S 99101 (1972)
LP Pläne S 99103 (1973)
Chile '73 / Hey Mr. Amerika
7" private release 374 (1974)
LP Pläne S 99104 (1975)
Arbeitslos / Teddy Tex
7" private release 976 (1976)
LP Pläne S 99105 (1977)
The history of Lucifer's Friend is complex, confused and not that well documented. We know that they originated with Hamburg pop bands The Giants and German Bonds in the early-60's, who, it seems merged into one band. Around 1969 a consistent nucleus of five musicians established what was to become Lucifer's Friend. However, as all the musicians were earning their crust as studio session musicians, before they settled down and established a style they tried their hand at various different musical styles. The precursor to Lucifer's Friend was Asterix, and various members of the band can also be found on records by the likes of Electric Food, Pink Mice, etc. Lucifer's Friend, once established, were primarily a studio band, as all the musicians also had other careers within the music industry. Unpredictable, they could range from Led Zeppelin onto soul, and contrastingly to highly experimental Krautrock. Some of their finest moments were to be found on the B-side's of singles. Their debut is arguably one of the finest of German early-70's hard-rock albums. However, it's the unlikely titled WHERE THE GROUPIES KILLED THE BLUES which proved to be their finest, with a more complex and progressive rock blending in classical and jazzy elements, comparable to many Italian progressives. Later, English singer John Lawton returned to England and joined Uriah Heep. After this, Lucifer's Friend became just another run-of-the-mill Heavy Metal band, recording at least three more albums.
Peter Hecht (organ), Dieter Horns (bass, vocals), John Lawton (vocals), Joachim Rietenbach (drums, percussion), Peter Hesslein (guitar, vocals)
Ride The Sky / Horla
7" Philips 6003 092 (1970)
LUCIFER'S FRIEND (11/70)
LP Philips 6305 068 (1970)
WHERE THE GROUPIES KILLED THE BLUES (1/72)
LP Vertigo 6360 602 (1972)
Rock 'n Roll Singer / Satyr's Dance
7" Vertigo 6147 004 (1973)
I'M JUST A ROCK 'N' ROLL SINGER
LP Vertigo 6360 611 (1973)
Our World Is A Rock 'n Roll Band / Alpenrosen
7" Vertigo 6147 005 (1973)
LP Vertigo 6360 618 (1974)
LP Vertigo 6360 633 (1976)
Made In Germany
An obscure early pop rock band from Berlin, whose album contained some progressive elements.
Dieter Asleben (drums, percussion), Hans-Dieter Graber (organ, piano), Joachim Pade (saxes, flute, percussion), Stephan Pade (bass, vocals, percussion), Rita Penker (vocals, percussion), Wolfgang Schulz (guitar, vocals, percussion)
MADE IN GERMANY
LP Metronome MLP 15.416 (1971)
A complex progressive with hard-rock tendencies, similar to Jane and Harlis, Madison Dyke had a touch more lyrical fantasy akin to Genesis. Their LP had lengthy tracks with extended instrumentals, and was rather out of character at the time it was released. No history is known, though it has been suggested that Jürgen Baumann could be the Baumann of Baumann/Koek, he later resurfaced in the band Firehorse.
Jürgen Baumann (guitars, piano, Mellotron, synthesizer, vocals), Andreas Nedde (guitars, vocals), Burkhard Rittler (lead vocals, flute, Mellotron, percussion), Robert Krause (bass), Burkhard Engel (drums, percussion)
Walking / Dice-Box
7" private release 1021 (1975)
LP Racket RRK 15.001 (1977)
Typical of many DDR bands in the late-70's/early-80's, Magdeburg offered a richly crafted progressive with heavy and symphonic touches and a song style (in German) comparable to the Novalis of the time, though much less technical and with a folky distinctly DDR edge. A most promising debut, though late on the scene, it's a pity they only made the one album.
Dietrich Kessler (keyboards, flute, sax), Gisbert Piatkowski (guitar, vocals), Rüdiger Barton (keyboards, vocals), Andreas Kuhnt (bass, vocals), Bernd Schilanski (drums), Hans-Joachim Kneis (lead vocals)
LP Amiga 8 55 703 (DDR, 1980)
Born out of the jazz scene in Villingen (near Stuttgart, Southwest Germany) from musicians formerly of the bands The Rope Set and Those. Mammut were an obscure underground band, whose sole album was the result of no-holds-barred late night jam sessions at the MPS studios. Dark sounds, with hints of Amon Düül II, heavy blues-rock (in the more freaky Frumpy or Tomorrow's Gift vein), with all sorts of strange, ethnic and gothic touches combined in their music. Although the band themselves quoted Deep Purple's IN ROCK as a major influence, their spirit was purely Krautrock. Their sole album is a legendary rarity, and rightly so. The CD reissue was withdrawn due to legal problems.
Klaus Schnur (guitars, vocals), Peter Schnur (guitars, vocals), Rainer Hoffmann (piano, organ), Tilo Herrmann (bass, flute, vocals), Günter Seier (drums, percussion)
LP Mouse Trick Track Music TTM 5022 (1971)
An obscure progressive fronted by Marcel Schaar (also of McChurch Soundroom) with help from John O'Brien-Docker (before Brave New World). The only work we've heard by Marcel is their imaginative arrangement of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" on HEAVY CHRISTMAS, which leaves scope for the album to be almost any sort of music! Reputation however doesn't give such a good report on DREAMS CONSUMED.
LP BASF 20 21094-4 (1971)
featured on: HEAVY CHRISTMAS
Much travelled as a session musician (in the 60's he played with Creepy John Thomas), and also with the bands Tanned Leather and Cherubin.
Andy Marx (vocals, guitars, percussion, mandolin, vibes), + Jim Wiley (bass, vocals), Peter "Josh" Collins (drums, percussion), George Mayer (guitar, vocals), Dawnie Edwards (vocals), Walter Quintus (violin), Conny Plank (vocals, guitar, percussion)
LP Spiegelei 28.517-1U (1973)
Marz was the project of former Jeronimo lead singer Rainer Marz. In contrast to the psych-pop of early Jeronimo, Marz played easy going Neil Young type folky rock, with traditional folk and occasional progressive touches. Only of minor interest.
Rainer Marz (vocals, guitar, Mellotron, percussion, bass, drums, vibes, piano), George Eperjessy (vocals, guitar, bass, violin), + Wolfgang Wuesteney (drums), Jürgen Zöller (drums)
MARZ & EPERJESSY
LP Bacillus 6494 009 (1971)
THE DREAM IS OVER
LP Bacillus BLPS 19094 (1972)
Maschine Nr. 9
Not a group, but a one-off sound-theatre project headed by Wolf Wondratschek, Bernd Brummbär and Georg Deuter. An unusual concoction of texts, sound effects and music, the title HEADMOVIE is quite apt, it is intriguing and bizarre: not least for some original Deuter music, weird singing by Renate Knaup, and fascinating tape-collage work including borrowed material like Roger Waters' "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals..." and John Lennon's immortal "number 9".
Wolf Wondratschek, Bernd Brummbär, Georg Deuter, + Vlado Kristl, Olimpia Hruska, Rolf Zacher, Waki Zoellner, Hans Noever, Temur Samy, Helmut Qualtinger, Peter Schranner, Thomas Schamoni, George Moorse, Alfred Edel, Hans Jürgen Diedrich, Louis Waldon
LP Philips 6305 221 (1974)
Void of information (except that the lyrics are by Marcel Schaar), the cover of McChurch Soundroom's sole album gives virtually nothing away. So any history is impossible! Starting deceptively in folk-rock realms, DELUSION moves around a lot, never sitting comfortably within any genre, and is largely instrumental, bridging psychedelic, hard-rock and fusion, being variably comparable to Gomorrha, Thirsty Moon and other such bands. The closest album I could compare is Gravy Train's superb debut, which similarly featured flute in a variety of rock and fusion styles. A classic!
LP Pilz 20 21103-7 (1971)
A late-70's band, McOil were too late on the scene to gain any media interest, being hard-edged rock with a typically German sound, akin to Jane, Harlis, Eloy, etc. Originating in Ochsenhausen in 1976, it was two years before a single was released, and with no chance of a record contract, they self-produced their only album in 1979. Andy Tischmann moved on to Bullfrog after this. He was replaced by one Rudolph Scheich, and a second guitarist Dieter Eisenmann joined the ranks. This line-up recorded a second album in 1981, which remains unreleased. McOil disbanded in 1986, with three members forming the Heavy Metal band Stinger.
Norbert Kuhpfahl (bass), Karl Wild (guitar, vocals), Andy Tischmann (drums, percussion), Doris Tischmann (keyboards, vocals), Walter Utz (keyboards, vocals)
Mask Of Life / A Better Day
7" AVC Production ? (1978)
ALL OUR HOPES (8-9/79)
LP private release (1979)
Active on the jazz-fusion scene in the 60's with Mal Waldron and Klaus Doldinger, and in the early-70's with Embryo and Passport, Lothar Meid is best known as a member of Amon Düül II (to whom he's returned on many occasions) and as one of the brains behind the Utopia project. After this, he went on to the hard-rock band Jackboot, and solo recording three albums, all featuring Amon Düül II musicians, but of little merit.
Lothar Meid (bass, vocals), + Karl Allaut (guitar), Thor Baldursson (keyboards, synthesizer), Jörg Evers (guitar), Keef Hartley (drums, percussion)
MENSCH, DIESER KLAUS (1975)
LP Philips 6305 283 (1976)
LP Atlantic ATL 50447 (1978)
LP Global 63209 (1980)
Message are one of those enigmas of Krautrock, in that their origins are not only from Germany originally, but also from Britain. And, it's a strange and complex story! Scotsman Tommy McGuigan and Allan Murdoch (not a Scots, but from the Isle Of Wight) first got together in 1962 in the Scottish rock 'n' roll band The Waysiders. After they split, in 1965, Allan returned to England playing in many bands, eventually ending up in the band MI5 with Taff Freeman. Due to lack of media interest in England, MI5 moved base to Germany in 1967 and eventually became Nektar. Meanwhile German bassist Horst Stachelhaus had formed Message in September 1968 and the two bands became close friends. Allan Murdoch joined Message and invited his old friend Tommy to join too (who seemingly also brought along Billy Tabbert), and thus Message as a 60%-British 40%-German band was formed.
Akin to Nektar in many ways, but fronted by Tom's unique singing and fiery sax playing, Message combined the best of British heavy and progressive styles with Krautrock innovation. Firmly in the definitive Bacillus rock style (with that unique Dieter Dierks sound), their debut showed an innovative progressive band at work, not afraid to take chances. As such, their LP debut THE DAWN ANEW IS COMIN' is excellent, though, it took until the second album for Message to reveal their full potential. Even without a second guitarist and running-in a new drummer, part of the key to FROM BOOKS AND DREAMS success was Dieter Dierks' enthusiasm, phenomenal production and vivid recording. Yes, right through it's an album of astonishing creativity, menacing and intensely powerful, with bizarre surreal dream image lyrics and all sorts of surprising twists in the music. As often is the case with inventive bands, the Message roster was never stable. Again, a change of drummer saw a change of focus, Manfred von Bohr was a much travelled jazz-rocker, and both that factor and that they were now with a major record label saw the Message sound mellow considerably, with the accent on more conventional songs, and so I suppose the eponymous third album was a kind of new-start. With a little more confidence, another peak was reached with more jazzy invention on SYNAPSE. But, as the story goes, disaster struck, as next Message signed up to Brain, but scarcely after their appearance at the first Brain Festival, the group fell apart, and Tom McGuigan hasn't been heard of since!
So, now we have the story of Message #2! It was left to Allan Murdoch to get a new band together: the first try recorded the appalling USING THE HEAD, an incarnation that thankfully disbanded promptly; the second try was an even shorter-lived incarnation with Anne Haigis on vocals as documented on the second Brain Festival album; for the third try a whole new band were drafted in again and managed to make two albums. Marginally interesting, ASTRAL JOURNEYS captured a little of the old magic, but in a new more commercial mellow progressive style, but MILES OF SMILES amounted to little more than boring
Anglo-American styled rock.
Tam McGuigan (vocals, sax), Horst Stachelhaus (bass), Allan Murdoch (guitars), Gerhard Schaber (percussion, vocals), Billy Tabbert (guitars, spinet, vocals), + Taff Freeman (Mellotron, vocals), Veronica Green (voice)
Smile / Painted Lady
7" Bacillus 6106 002 (1971)
Sunshine Girl / Bubble Gum
7" Bellaphon BI 1158 (1971)
THE DAWN ANEW IS COMIN'
LP Bacillus BLPS 19081 (1972)
FROM BOOKS AND DREAMS (3/73)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19159 (1973)
LP Nova 6.22213 (1975), Decca SKL-R 5213 (UK, 1975)
LP Nova 6.22533 (1976)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN
USING THE HEAD (7/77)
LP Brain 60.078 (1977)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN II
LP Brain 60.165 (1978)
MILES OF SMILES (12/79-1/80)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.609 (1980)
Little is known about this huge Berlin 70's group. Messengers were in fact virtually an orchestra, playing a soul-spiced brassy rock with male and female vocals. On their debut they were barely at all recognisable as German, more Anglo-American with that big bold sound akin to CBS acts like Black Widow, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Heaven et al., though even more produced and symphonic. They deliberately attempted an international sound, though the plan obviously didn't work, as Messengers are a virtually unknown band.
Antonia Maas (lead vocals), Joe Körner (trombone, tenor horn, vocals), Peter Förster (soprano/alto/tenor saxes, clarinet, flute), Bernhard Jobski (trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo, choir), Thomas "Doc" Neviger (trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion, vocals), Peter Tüllmann (trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion, choir), Nono (keyboards, choir), Michael Gechter (guitar, violin, vocals), Thomas "Keule" Schiedel (bass, piano, 12-string guitar), Olaf "Vicking" Gustafsson (drums, percussion, choir), Stefan Holm Jr. (percussion)
FIRST MESSAGE (9-14/5/75)
LP Red Point 89 221 OT (1975)
CHILDREN OF TOMORROW
LP Warner Bros. WB 56416 (1977)
A Berlin supergroup who were formed by ex-members of Zarathustra, Mythos and others. The front-man seemed to be Michael Duwe, who started with early Agitation Free and had just left Ash Ra Tempel. Really, Metropolis were the most famous supergroup that hardly anyone has heard of! Their sole album is a little-known classic, akin to Island, but with a bigger rock sound, in the realms of early Van Der Graaf Generator. Thus with two lead vocalists, Metropolis were lyrically complex, as well as being radically inventive with a music that constantly surprises. After disbanding, reforming and changing into Orange Surprise with Michael Günther (of Agitation Free) for a while, and various other projects, all musicians went to other bands, or worked solo. Many are still active today.
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, guitars), + Heinz Loch (flute), Giuseppe Solera (oboe), Hartmut Westphal (string & brass arrangements)
LP Pan 87439 IT (1974)
featured on: SÜß UND SAUER
Amongst the most individual pioneering talents in modern German music, Stephan Micus began to travel the world during the
late-60's, when he was sixteen, and gained a fascination for ethnic musics and culture. He studied sitar at the Benares Hindu University, learnt shakuhachi in Japan, and with his music he had a little success in the USA. His first musical recording is apparently with Chinese zither player Liang-Tsai Ping, issued only in Taiwan.
On returning to Germany, after even more globe trekking collecting all sorts of obscure instruments, Stephan managed to gain a contract with Virgin Records, for a release on their budget weird music series Caroline, issuing the remarkable yet oddly titled ARCHAIC CONCERTS. A blend of composed and improvised musics, all totally acoustic, with flutes, zither, acoustic guitar, obscure percussives, etc., a new unique music had been created that was in the spirit of Popol Vuh's HOSIANNA MANTRA but devoid of the rock or song structures, as the title suggests: archaic, but as though Stephan had bought us some magical lost music from prehistoric times. In luck, it seems that ECM wanted to expand their horizons, yet putting his albums on the subsidiary label Japo, I doubt they realised how successful he would become, as after two albums of superbly deep and meditative music, he left ECM, and his fourth solo, the melodic and almost new-age Deuter-like BEHIND ELEVEN DESERTS came from the obscure Wind label. A return to ECM saw the earlier previously unreleased and magical KOAN, which developed themes from ARCHAIC CONCERTS, but in a more condensed form. This was followed by a couple of more lightweight, and slightly jazzy albums. The major triumph that caught both public and critical attention was the otherworldly mystical OCEAN, a richly expressive music spurred on by strange chanting, Egyptian and oriental flutes, dense drifts and patterns of sound. Since that extraordinary album, Stephan has gone out of his way to surprise with new combinations of unlikely instruments, including arrays of tuned flower pots, stones that sing, and a wide range of traditional instruments with strange names. All are surprising for their innovation, emotion and intensity, (particularly the sinister edge to DARKNESS AND LIGHT) and all the more surprising in that everything Stephan Micus has recorded is totally acoustic!
KROHN + MICUS
LP German Blues & Underground 1558018 (1972)
Credited to: Krohn + Micus
LP Caroline C1517 (UK, 1976)
LP Japo 60017 (1977)
TILL THE END OF TIME (6/78)
LP Japo 60026 (1978)
BEHIND ELEVEN DESERTS (1+10/78)
LP Wind 001 (1979)
LP ECM SP 230 5804 (1981)
WINGS OVER WATER (1+10/81)
LP Japo 60038 (1981)
LISTEN TO THE RAIN (1980-83)
LP Japo 60040 (1983)
EAST OF THE NIGHT
LP Japo 60041 (1985)
LP ECM 1318 (1986)
TWILIGHT FIELDS (11/87)
LP ECM 1358 (1988)
THE MUSIC OF STONES
LP ECM 1384 (1989)
DARKNESS AND LIGHT (1-2/90)
LP ECM 1427 (1990)
An obscure folky progressive from the early-70's. It would seem as though the idea behind Midnight Circus, being as duo with the aid of session musicians, was to emulate the cosmic folk of Witthüser+Westrupp, but with an internationally appealing English vocal bias. A success indeed, but also a touch rockier and strongly influenced by Dieter Dierks' involvement in the sessions. The atmospheric tracks featuring Mellotron also recall The Moody Blues and early King Crimson. Christian Bollmann has since become an accomplished ethno-musicologist, moving into the more ethereal realms of the new-age. 1993's EVOLUTION by Christian Bollmann and Michael Reaming is well worth investigation.
Christian Bollmann (vocals, guitars, trumpet, recorders), Torsten Schmidt (vocals, guitars), + Thomas Engel (drums), Veit Madaus (keyboards), Dave Crocket (bass), Rainer Marz (guitar), Jan van Roosendahl (guitar), Peter Hauke (drums, percussion)
Coloured Is Gay / Get It
7" Bacillus 6106 003 (1971)
MIDNIGHT CIRCUS (1972)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19108 (1972)
An obscure late-70's self-produced progressive, and notably amateurish, though with that quaintly new-wave type edge typical of many German bands from the era. They aspired for greater things, but when compared to similar bands of the era: Madison Dyke, Second Movement, Neuschwanstein, et al., they paled as nothing remarkable, but pleasant.
Bernd Macey (bass), Micky Helsberg (guitar), Peter Scheu (vocals, percussion), Cucky Hofstetter (guitar), Dietmar Barxen (organ, Mellotron, clavinet, synthesizer), Ulli Poetschutal (drums)
LP private release (1977)
An unusual band from Munich, blending progressive rock and jazz fusion in a similar way to Pell Mell's blending of rock and classical, in fact there is much in common between these two bands, especially in the song style, though the album NEVERGREEN! is very varied, exploring a different genre with almost every track. Missing Link historically are pretty obscure, although Dieter Miekautsch did later join Missus Beastly and then go on to Embryo.
Günther Latuschik (tenor/soprano/alto saxes), Markus Sing (guitars), Gabriel Dominik Mueller (vocals), Dieter Miekautsch (organ, piano, Mellotron), Dave Schratzenstaller (bass), Holger Brandt (drums, percussion)
Friday On My Mind / Kids Hunting
7" United Artists 35568 (1972)
LP United Artists UAS 29431 (1972)
Formed circa 1968 in Herford (central Germany), the history of Missus Beastly is confused in the extreme! Apparently the reason for such confusion is three-fold: because of their manager, constant line-up changes, and that being born in the psychedelic era they were obviously all pretty spaced! The original band were amongst the most underground and psychedelic of German bands, though less so than CPM label mates Checkpoint Charlie. Like a darker more experimental Out Of Focus, with the accent on psychedelic blues and jazz, their 1969 debut was amazing for its variety and invention. Whilst in the doldrums for a while, as numerous people passed through the Missus Beastly ranks, including Roman Bunka who went on to Embryo, it took until 1974 for the band to get together properly and record a new album. In the meantime, however, not only had their original manager Henry Fromm bootlegged their debut, he'd formed another Missus Beastly (see below for more on this) and had released other albums. The original Missus Beastly, in the meantime, had changed considerably, becoming an instrumental jazz-rock group typical of the Munich mid-70's scene, more jamming and livelier than Passport, more groove-oriented than Embryo. But, talking of Embryo, Missus Beastly's history here becomes totally entwined with them, and the birth of a number of other Schneeball label bands (i.e. Jürgen Benz went to Munju), with later albums being very close to the Embryo sound.
Lutz Oldemeier (drums, percussion), Atzen Wehmeyer (guitar, vocals), Wolfgang Nickel (organ, piano, vocals), Pedja Hofmann (bass, vocals), + Hansi Fischer (flute), Dieter Serfas (drums)
LP CPM LP-S 002 (1969)
LP Nova 6.22030 (1974)
featured on: VLOTHO-WINTERBERG
DR. AFTERSHAVE AND THE MIXED PICKLES (1/76)
LP April 00001 (1976)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1976
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
SPACE GUERILLA (4/78)
LP Schneeball 0011 (1978)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
There's a lot of confusion as to who the second Missus Beastly were. Could they have been formed by an ex-member of the original band, or were they hijacked bootlegged recordings from a certain Mr. Fromm? Whatever the story, the music on these later albums released by Henry C. Fromm on Electric Bird is intriguing, containing a mixture of gutter blues, psychedelic rock and fusion, interesting but very different to the music by the real Missus Beastly. They should be judged in their own right as the darker side of 70's German underground, loose and creative, and totally uncommercial. They also released an amusing single called "F@#k You Free" (culled from VOLKSMUSIK), an anti-statement that was sure to get them banned on any radio station!
Henry Fromm (drums, saxes, flute, vocals), Pedro Schemm (vocals, guitar, harp), Herm Erbel (percussion), Tony Schaeffer (guitars), G. Taylor (bass, organ, vocals), + Heidy Wachter (electric piano)
LP Electric Bird ECB-XC-321-90001S (1972)
IN GÄRTEN DES SCHWEIGENS
LP Electric Bird ECB-XC-321-90002S (1973)
Moebius & Plank
The first such project of Moebius & Plank was the group Liliental, which obviously found them hitting it off with lots of new ideas. Their early albums as a duo were revelations of innovation, bringing unlikely combinations of industrial rock, cosmic and even dub music (on RASTAKRAUT PASTA) together in a hybrid of genres. A reborn spirit of Krautrock that played recklessly with offbeat forms, recalling Cluster, Can, and Harmonia. Not all of the Moebius & Plank projects have been so successful, unfortunately, as working with Mani Neumeier on ZERO SET strangely took the music too close to techno for comfort, as does the more recently issued EN ROUTE (an originally abandoned project) which is also similarly plagued.
Dieter Moebius, Conny Plank, + Holger Czukay (bass)
RASTAKRAUT PASTA (9/79)
LP Sky 039 (1979)
LP Sky 067 (1981)
ZERO SET (1982)
LP Sky 085 (1983)
Credited to: Moebius-Plank-Neumeier
Almost a supergroup, Moira were a melting pot of musicians from Munich, the best-known musician being Embryo's Edgar Hofmann. With a touch more jazz-rock energy, Moira were a side-step from Embryo, sans the Burchard touch, fronted by some lively guitar.
Butze Fischer (drums, percussion), Jürgen Kanwischer (guitar), Rainer Frank (bass, flute), Burkhard Plenge (keyboards), Jofrey Ramos (percussion), + Edgar Hofmann (soprano sax, flute)
CRAZY COUNTDOWN (1977)
LP Schneeball 2014 (1978)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
Though not German, Anthony was at this time a member of the German international group Slapp Happy, and he later joined Faust. A few Faust members feature on the Tony Conrad and La Mont Young inspired PIECES FROM THE CLOUDLAND BALLROOM, a strange systemic and atonal semi-classical offering recorded at Wümme. Similarly odd is his SECRETS OF THE BLUE BAG.
Anthony Moore, Werner Diermaier, Gunther Wüsthoff, + Glyn Davenport (vocals), Geeske Hof-Helmers (vocals), Ulf Kenklies (vocals)
PIECES FROM THE CLOUDLAND BALLROOM (10/71)
LP Polydor 2310 162 (1971)
SECRETS OF THE BLUE BAG (2/72)
LP Polydor 2310 179 (1972)
An inventive progressive fusion band, with a notable debt to Kraan, Aera and nods to Munju, Missus Beastly and Secret Oyster. Morpheus' sole self-produced LP is an unknown gem. It has a very live sound to it, and the music is full of warmth, strong melodies and some great riffing, with a wealth of Alto Pappert style sax soloing and Peter Wolbrandt Kraan styled guitar.
Peter Blömeke (bass, flute, percussion), Gerold Adler (guitar, effects), Heinrich Holtgreve (alto sax, percussion), Alfred Franke (drums, percussion)
LP private release 34705 (1976)
Motherhood was the unlikely name of Klaus Doldinger's psychedelic fusion band, who eventually transmuted into the bands Passport (Doldinger, Meid and Lindenberg) and Hallelujah (Vincent and Forsey). Often comparable to British rock fusion bands like Colosseum and early Nucleus in many ways, Motherhood covered a wide range of styles from psychedelic pop through to jazz-rock.
Klaus Doldinger (tenor/alto/soprano saxes, clarinet, piano, organ, vocals), Paul Vincent (guitar), Lothar Meid (bass), Udo Lindenberg (drums, vocals), Keith Forsey (drums, vocals)
I FEEL SO FREE
LP United Artists UAS 69173 (1969)
LP Liberty LBS 83426 (1970)
Aka Eberhard Kranemann, and once an associate of Kraftwerk and Neu!, Fritz Müller is one of the most obscure innovators on the Düsseldorf scene. There is apparently rumour of an earlier album on the Zebra label, but we've never come across it! KOMMT is the only album we've encountered, and is very much a mixed bag with heavy psychedelic sounds, hints of new-wave, rock satire and Zappa-like madness, alongside lengthy excursions in the classic experimental Kraftwerk, Neu!, Harmonia realms.
Fritz Müller (vocals, guitar), Egon Stüwe (guitar, choir), Dirk Fleck (bass, choir), Rüdiger Braune (drums, choir), Oliver Petry (keyboards, choir), + Christa Fast (voice)
LP Roth-Händle 6.23159 (1977)
A typical Schneeball fusion band at the start, Munju originated in Würzburg circa 1976 as the new group of ex-Missus Beastly winds-player Jürgen Benz. A notable Kraan feel lived in their early recordings, yet increasingly, via their association with Embryo and RIO bands, they rapidly progressed and diversified, until on BROT+SPIELE they came up with a radical new music that pulled out all the stops! Munju had created a fusion music with the energy of new-wave, but with the invention of true Krautrock. So much so that simple description of its concoction of world music, psychedelia and brazen jazz is not really possible. Having discovered their own sound, LE PERFECTIONNISTE attempted to refine it further, yet taking in Michel Berckmans' Univers Zero influence changed the sound yet again! What happened to Munju after this is unknown. Wolfgang Salomon and Michel Berckmans went on to work with the Swedish RIO combo Von Zamla, and Wolfgang more recently issued an unusual semi-classical ambient and fusion solo LUNA: SMALL STEP FOR MANKIND (on Chance).
Thomas Römer (drums), Jürgen Benz (flute, sax), Wolfgang Salomon (bass), Dieter Kaudel (guitar)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1976
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
HIGH-SPEED KINDERGARTEN (5/77)
LP April II/00012 (1978)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
LP Schneeball 2017 (1979)
LP Schneeball 0022 (1980) «with free board game!»
LE PERFECTIONNISTE (2/84)
LP Exil 5502 (1984)
Strangely named after a pipe tobacco, the Berlin group Murphy Blend were always quite a mystery. They were also a rarity in early German rock, as they combined the psychedelic Krautrock sound with heavy rock, blues and classical musics. Their music had hints of early Jane and Pell Mell, but apart from that they had a unique style, with a strongly accented vocalist, topical lyrics and heady instrumentals, heavily featuring chunky Hammond organ. Singer/organist Wolf-Rüdiger Uhlig went on to Hanuman. Andreas Scholz went to Blackwater Park.
Wolf-Rüdiger Uhlig (organ, cembalo, piano, vocals), Wolfgang Rumler (guitar, vocals), Andreas Scholz (bass), Achim Schmidt (drums, vocals)
FIRST LOSS (10+12/70)
LP Kuckuck 2375 005 (1970)
My Solid Ground
A little known hard rock and psychedelic band, who just made the one album. MY SOLID GROUND is most notable for the tracks that feature guest keyboardist Ingo Werner, like the opening cosmic kinda Thirsty Moon-like opus "Dirty Yellow Mist" and the disturbingly sinister "Executioner". Most of the rest of the album was more normal hard-rock typical of the era, but with an inventive flair, and a nod in the direction of Guru Guru.
Bernhard Rendel (guitars, vocals), Karl-Heinrich Dörfler (bass, vocals), Andreas Würsching (drums, percussion), + Ingo Werner (organ, piano)
MY SOLID GROUND (2+4/71)
LP Bacillus 6494 008 (1971)
Mythos were one of the finest of Berlin bands, yet were unfairly overlooked by most of the media. Maybe this was because of the group's leader Stephan Kaske's most unusual strongly accented vocals, who like Jürgen Dollase of Wallenstein, often came across as a strange Kraut Peter Hammill! Aside from his odd vocals, Stephan was also a highly talented multi-instrumentalist, and a visionary. Mythos were fine purveyors of cosmic Krautrock, covering ground from space-tripping Pink Floyd via Ash Ra Tempel, onto Hawkwind and further by also blending in classical and ethnic themes. Science fiction themes were used as basis for lyrics, though, especially so on the eponymous debut, the music came first. A magical album, full of invention, yet all the more memorable for the ecological sci-fi proverb that ends the opus "Encyclopedia Terrae". No sooner had the debut been released that Stephan needed to search for a new rhythm section. From late 1972 through to May 1973 he was aided by Axel Brauer (drums, percussion) and Michael Krantz (bass), who unfortunately never got to make an album, as in concert they presented many new songs that remain lost. It took another six months for Stephan to get together a new Mythos, and well over a year to formulate a new concept for an album. In the meantime Stephan also took the first step as a soloist, composing the music for the TV film "Die Superspinne". The next album DREAMLAB, befitted its title as one of the dreamiest and trippy of cosmic music albums, a wonder world of flutes, Mellotron and synthesizers. Mysterious and totally unique.
Whatever the reason for such radical changes in personnel, at least the next band Stephan got together made two albums! This era saw a move to a more direct, harder edged rock form, though still uniquely Mythos, with the heavy guitars acting as a foil to Stephan's myriads of synthesizers. But luck was not on his side, on QUASAR Mythos had become Stephan Kaske solo (with a guest drummer here) playing a more lightweight Kraftwerk type twist on the Mythos sound. GRAND PRIX took another step down. Unheard of for a decade, Stephan surfaced again later as the purveyor of synthi-pop and library music releases, playing synthesizer hits, some of his own music and also classical adaptations. He still however proudly displays the old Mythos covers on his studio wall! After leaving Mythos, Sven Dohrow and Ronny Schreinzer formed the electro-pop duo The Twins!
Stephan Kaske (guitars, sitar, flute, synthesizer, vocals), Harald Weiße (bass, acoustic guitar, effects), Thomas Hildebrand (drums, percussion)
LP Ohr OMM 556019 (1972)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58.016 (1975)
STRANGE GUYS (7-28/11/77)
LP Venus V78 MY-F1003 (1978)
LP Venus V79 MY-B 1012 (1979) «also released as a picture disc»
LP Sky 046 (1980)
GRAND PRIX (5-7/81)
LP Sky 066 (1981)
A much travelled jazz-fusion pianist, who besides proliferating as a session musician on others albums, also made some nice easy going fusion of his own, ably aided by and notable for featuring other top German jazz musicians.
Michael Naura (piano, accordion), + Wolfgang Schlüter (vibes), Eberhard Weber (bass), Joe Nay (drums)
LP Spiegelei 28 522-1U (1972)
LP ECM 1053 (1975)
An obscure Swiss progressive, who were strongly inspired by the likes of Genesis, Pink Floyd, Eloy, et al. They were quite powerful, with symphonic touches, but as with other Swiss groups of the era like Irrwisch or Flame Dream, Nautilus had little originality.
Urs Lerch (bass), Dieter Ruf (guitars, vocals), Peter Fibich (drums), Ralph Stucki (keyboards, vocals), Christian Bauer (guitars, vocals)
20,000 MILES UNDER THE SEA
LP Turicaphon NLP 7801 (Switzerland, 1978)
LP Musk MP 801 (Switzerland, 1980)
A free-form improvising rock band, in the nether regions of weirdest cosmic Tangerine Dream, The Nazgul were the most experimental of the bands on the Pyramid label.
Frodo (drums, percussion), Gandalf (percussion, moog, organ, electric piano, bass), Pippin (percussion, guitar, trumpet)
LP Pyramid PYR 008 (?)
An obscure, yet legendary heavy and psychedelic underground band, whose only LP was released privately, instantly becoming obscure and collectable, not least because of its title, meaning "Tips For Committing Suicide". Also, aptly the music was dark, outer-edge bleak rock, with acid guitars and distinctly psychedelic wailing angst ridden German vocals. A kind of dark sinister Frumpy turned garage band, even stranger than the occasionally comparable Ainigma. During their four year history some of Necronomicon's concerts were documented on tape as well as sessions for an aborted second album. Together with TIPS ZUM SELBSTMORD these recordings were released as the lavishly over-the-top four LP hard-bound book set VIER KAPITEL, which charts the development of the band to a more melodic styled progressive by the mid-70's. The only shame is that none of Necronomicon's output is what one could call hi-fi, yet despite this, the brilliance of their music always shines through.
Harald Bernhard (drums), Norbert Breuer (guitar, vocals), Fistus Dickmann (organ, synthesizer, vocals), Bernhard Hocks (bass, vocals), Walter Sturm (guitar, vocals)
TIPS ZUM SELBSTMORD (2/72)
LP Best Prehodi F 60.634 (1972)
VIER KAPITEL (1971-74)
4LP Little Wing of Refugees LW 1010-13 (1990)
Initially, this was the working name of Peter Frohmader's solo work. Later it was adopted as the name for his live band, and now is the name of his label. To avoid confusion, all Peter Frohmader and Nekropolis' information is in the Peter Frohmader entry.
Nektar were not actually a German band, in fact all the musicians were British! Yet, they were adopted into the Krautrock scene due to their unusual history. The story starts in 1964 with Derek Moore, on tour with Beast in Europe, meeting Ron Howden. Ron was living in Germany, and suggested they have a jam when Beast got to Hamburg. Meanwhile the band MI5, with Allan "Taff" Freeman and Allan Murdoch, had moved base to Germany due to lack of interest in England. MI5 became the quartet of Taff, Allan, Derek and Ron for a short while. When Allan Murdoch left to join Message, in came Roye Albrighton, an old friend who had also joined in on that early jam session, and in late 1968 Nektar was born. Nektar quoted their influences as Vanilla Fudge, King Crimson and The Beatles, yet what was revealed on their debut LP sounded more like a hybrid of Pink Floyd and Man. Attempts to get record contracts in England and America resulted in nothing but problems. One American manager signed them up, recorded an album, but then did nothing. They had promises of British and American tours, but nothing happened. So, Nektar decided to stay in Germany, settling in the town of Seeheim, and sought a contract with a German label. Bellaphon already had Nektar's friends Message on the roster, and had just taken over the progressive label Bacillus, and they saw Nektar as being their Pink Floyd or Hawkwind.
In the summer 1971, Nektar eventually managed to record the album they'd been working on for over two years, the sci-fi concept opus JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EYE. An extraordinary album, firstly sounding more 1968 than 1971, with lots of tripped-out guitar and organ gymnastics, with the surreal story told in song and music. As much legend as the music at this time was Nektar's light show, said to out do even Pink Floyd's, handled by the bands fifth member Mick Brockett. As great as their debut was, a more up to date progressive style was what Nektar needed, and it took well over a year to come up with A TAB IN THE OCEAN resulting in the definitive Nektar style. But, even better was the double ...SOUNDS LIKE THIS, a totally live in studio album, which saw them becoming like a hard-rock, space-rocking hybrid of Man and Message. Not surprisingly, Nektar had been touring with Man in Germany, and then returned to Britain with them for a tour. This resulted in a contract in the UK with United Artists. Their first album specially recorded for the British market REMEMBER THE FUTURE was a mite mellow and a disappointment, seemingly their attempt to emulate Pink Floyd's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON success. But, try as they did to gain greater success outside Germany after this, despite seeking the aid of Hawkwind's Robert Calvert on DOWN TO EARTH, the more they alienated their British audience. Seemingly they found their market in America, after their final European album RECYCLED, another sci-fi opus, which partly saw a return to form. The New York concerts documented on two double albums marked the end of an era for Nektar. Relocating to the USA, without Roye Albrighton (who had joined Snowball), resulted in the drab and uninspired MAGIC IS A CHILD, and then with Roye and Allan attempting to resurrect Nektar with MAN IN THE MOON, they'd lost the Nektar style entirely.
Allan Freeman (Mellotron, pianos, organ, vocals), Roye Albrighton (guitars, vocals), Derek Moore (Mellotron, bass, vocals), Ron Howden (drums, percussion)
JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EYE (6-8/71)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19064 (1971)
A TAB IN THE OCEAN (10/72)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19118 (1972), United Artists UAG 29499 (UK, 1973)
...SOUNDS LIKE THIS (2/73)
2LP Bacillus BDA 7501 (1973), United Artists UAD 60041/42 (UK, 1973)
REMEMBER THE FUTURE (8/73)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19164 (1973), United Artists UAG 29545 (UK, 1974)
SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON ROUNDHOUSE (11/73+3/74)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19182 (1974)
DOWN TO EARTH (3-4/74)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19190 (1974), United Artists UAG 29680 (UK, 1974)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19219 (1975), Decca SKL-R 5250 (UK, 1977)
LIVE IN NEW YORK (1977)
2LP Bacillus BLS 5557 (1977)
MAGIC IS A CHILD (3-8/77)
LP Polydor PD-1-6115 (USA, 1977), Bacillus BAC 2050 (1978)
MORE LIVE IN NEW YORK (1977)
2LP Bacillus BAC 2058 (1978)
MAN IN THE MOON
LP Ariola 202 215 (1980)
A short-lived late-70's hard rock supergroup, who as far as we know only recorded two tracks. Admittedly, even these tracks weren't so successful, which is strange for such a talented group featuring Michael Bundt from Nine Days Wonder, Steve Robinson and Martin Roscoe from Twenty Sixty Six & Then.
Michael Bundt (bass), Steve Robinson (keyboards), Martin Roscoe (drums), Hubert Stütz (guitar), + Michael Pozz (vocals)
> ROCK OFFERS
The highly innovative and influential Neu! originate from an early incarnation of Kraftwerk. Klaus Dinger was featured on their debut, however Michael Rother joined shortly after that from Spirit Of Sound, and unfortunately there's no officially released document of Rother with Kraftwerk. It's quite obvious why the duo split away from Kraftwerk, as evidence their debut was very different to what Kraftwerk went on to, with Rother's multi-layered, fuzzed, wailing and shrieking guitars, spurred on by Dinger's metronomic drums and abstract percussives. International recognition of Neu! spread quite rapidly, and the UK release of their eponymous debut sported cover notes by Mr Hawkwind Dave Brock no less! DIE 2 adopted a similar style of music on side 1, but - as the story goes - they had run out of money before recording side 2, so resourcefully they included the single "Super/Neuschnee" as well as versions at wrong speeds, and some totally manipulated and cut-up adaptations of other works, complete with mock scratches and jumps. Indeed, this was Neu! at their most controversial and perplexing! For concerts around this time, numerous musicians aided them, including Andreas Hohmann (former Kraftwerk and Ibliss drummer), Uli Trepte (ex-Guru Guru), Eberhard Kranemann (aka Fritz Müller), and also two drummers who were to become permanent members: Thomas Dinger and Hans Lampe.
Michael Rother was also working with Cluster as the trio Harmonia, and also produced Cluster's third album ZUCKERZEIT. Meanwhile, Klaus Dinger established his own short-lived label Dingerland releasing an album by the surprisingly dreadful Lilac Angels, and formed the band La Düsseldorf.
After a gap of almost two years, Neu! reformed as a quartet to record a new album, and although featuring many of the Neu! trademarks it also took bold steps into the new-wave (before such music was known to exist) as well as featuring some softer guitar fronted instrumental music. As such NEU! 75 previewed both the debut albums of La Düsseldorf and Michael Rother that followed.
The much later NEU! 4 originates from 80's sessions that were never originally intended for release. Akin to much of Klaus Dinger's work since Neu! in other bands, it is mostly reworks of old ideas and is of little merit. The recently issued '72 LIVE was recorded in Düsseldorf, and is a raw document of Neu! live, complete with guitar tune-ups and false starts! See also Die Engel Des Herrn.
Klaus Dinger (Japanbanjo, drums, guitar, vocals), Michael Rother (guitars, basses)
Essentially, as history has taught us, Guru Guru has become synonymous as being Mani Neumeier and band. Yet, at odd times during his career, he has wanted to do music that is not really Guru Guru. First off was MANI UND SEINE FREUNDE, a big session album with friends from Kraan, Karthago, Cluster, past and future Guru Guru musicians, and others, notably Conny Plank giving us an early taste of those twangy guitar licks, and jazzer Gerd Dudek. Very much a fun album, in parallel to Ax Genrich's HIGHDELBERG project but much better.
Kraan's Peter Wolbrandt returned again (with a couple of other musicians hiding behind pseudonyms) on the Kraan and new-wave spiced NEUE ABENTEUER (1983). The more recent PRIVAT (1992) is the result of years of research into various forms of percussion based music, and covers an astonishing range of styles, proving Mani to still be amongst the most imaginative of drummers. Mani is also involved in the radical project Tiere Der Nacht, who have released two albums.
Mani Neumeier (drums, percussion, piano, effects, vocals),
+ Sepp Jandrisits (acoustic guitar), Jogi Karpenkiel (bass), Hellmut Hattler (bass, choir), Peter Wolbrandt (guitar, vocals), Jan Fride (percussion), Ingo Bischof (electric piano, Moog, choir), Tommy Goldschmidt (percussion), Meobi Moebius (synthesizer), Achim Roedelius (organ), Gerd Dudek (tenor sax, flute), Champion Jack Dupree (piano, vocals), Christa Fast (voice), Ax Genrich (guitar),
Conny Plank (guitar, voice)
MANI UND SEINE FREUNDE(4/75)
One of the better German Genesis inspired bands to emerge in the late-70's. Barely original, but very competent with lengthy tracks featuring poetic Gabriel style vocals and synthesized symphonic arrangements highlighted by guitar, synthesizer and flute solos.
Thomas Neuroth (keyboards), Klaus Mayer (flute, synthesizer), Roger Weiler (guitars), Frédéric Joos (lead vocals, acoustic guitars), Rainer Zimmer (bass, vocals), Hans-Peter Schwarz (drums), + Hermann Rarebell (drums)
Austrian Klaus Weiss (former Friedrich Gulda musician and leader of his own orchestra) moved to Munich in the early-70's. Himself a drummer, he became fascinated with the possibility of creating a drum orchestra out of the wealth of Munich drummers, thus Niagara was born featuring percussionists from all backgrounds. With just one track per side the debut NIAGARA offered an energetic and highly charged percussion music combining rock, jazz and African cultures into a most complex music. Obviously, such an album was destined to very limited appeal and thus further Niagara offerings featured other instruments turning Niagara into a percussive fronted fusion band, in the realms of Embryo and Passport, but with a much bigger jazz-groove sound.
Klaus Weiss (drums, tympani, bells), Cotch Black (percussion), Keith Forsey (drums, percussion), Juan Romero (bells, maracas), Udo Lindenberg (drums, percussion), + Daniel Fichelscher (congas), George Green (drums)
LP United Artists UAS 29232 (1971)
LP Finger 2960 102 (1973)
Largely undocumented, the history of Night Sun comes out of the melting pot of bands from the Mannheim area, interconnected with the likes of Kin Ping Meh and Twenty Sixty Six & Then. Many musicians passed through the band during their three year existence, including ex-British army servicemen based in Germany. Not surprisingly, Night Sun had a very British heavy style, with Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin influences, spiced up by Teutonic fusion and psychedelic touches. They only recorded the one album. Bruno Schaab went on to Guru Guru, and Knut Rössler stepped into his oeuvre in the jazz-rock band Chameleon.
Walter Kirchgässner (guitar), Bruno Schaab (vocals, bass), Ulrich Staudt (drums), Knut Rössler (organ, piano, sax, trumpet, trombone)
LP Zebra 2949 004 (1972)
The former lead-singer of Ton Steine Scherben, Nikel Pallat also recorded his own album, with the aid of Munju members and other musicians. Surprisingly, as Ton Steine Scherben had been progressing, and Munju were one of the most creative bands around at the time, the album NIKEL'S SPUK was remarkably dull satirical sounding pop-rock in German, which probably explains why it is so obscure!
Peter Haas (keyboards), Karla Kassimir (choir), Dieter Kaudel (guitars, choir), Fred Lamberson (sax), Nikel Pallat (vocals), Thomas Römer (drums, percussion), Wolfgang Salomon (bass)
Nine Days Wonder
Eccentric and unique vocalist Walter Seyffer had fronted numerous bands during the 60's. Establishing Nine Days Wonder in February 1970, he got together an unlikely collection of musicians: a German (Henning), an Austrian (Mutschlechner), an Irishman (Earle) and an Englishman (Roscoe), to create a bizarre and fascinating rock fusion showing distinct Zappa and Canterbury influences. Comparable to Supersister or Moving Gelatine Plates, Nine Days Wonder were radical, innovative and unpredictable. Their debut LP featured what was really only four tracks of excep-tionally complex music featuring highly powered instrumentals, diversions into jazz fusion, high experimentation, and above all some of the most fascinating and eccentric songs on record. The vocal piece "Morning Spirit" has to be heard to be believed!
It's hardly surprising that the original Nine Days Wonder didn't last long, and thus searching for a new band Walter met up with Michael Bundt's group Medusa, who agreed to join up and become a new incarnation of Nine Days Wonder. Paradoxically WE NEVER LOST CONTROL was very tame compared to the previous album, without the jazzy elements and instead being more richly textured and mellow progressive rock with hard-rock touches. ONLY THE DANCERS rectified some of the former album's shortcomings with a return to Seyffer's eccentric and bizarre lyrics in a more dramatic rock with longer tracks.
As with most good rock bands, Nine Days Wonder caused their own fateful end by attempting to go commercial - a tactic that generally backfires - and SONNET TO BILLY FROST was a disaster! Michael Bundt went on to form mainstream rock bands Nerve and Marilyn, and later established a solo career as a synthesist.
Walter Seyffer (vocals, drums, percussion, effects), John Earle (vocals, tenor/soprano saxes, flute, guitar), Rolf Henning (guitar, piano), Karl Mutschlechner (bass), Martin Roscoe (drums), + Martin Lill (viola da gamba)
NINE DAYS WONDER(1/71)
WE NEVER LOST CONTROL(7/73)
ONLY THE DANCERS(9/74)
SONNET TO BILLY FROST
LP Bacillus BLPS 19234 (1975)
Amongst the most obscure of Krautrock bands, due to being so early and on an unlikely label. In their early days they were fronted by guitarist/vocalist Michael Winzkowski (who went on to Epsilon), but apart from that, nothing is known of their history, except that winds player Christian Felke also guested later with Epsilon. Nosferatu's sole eponymous album was housed in a sinister bizarre cover, that perfectly captured the dark edge of their music, being a Krautrock fusion betwixt Xhol Caravan, Message and Out Of Focus, hinting at British bands like Gravy Train or Jade Warrior. For 1970, they were pioneers, unusual in how Michael Thierfelder's vocals are often sung across the music, which so often tends to surge out into space, fronted by the dual solo instruments of guitar and sax.
Michael "Mick" Thierfelder (vocals), Christian Felke (sax, flute), Michael "Mike" Kessler (bass), Reinhard "Tammy" Grohé (organ), Michael "Xner" Meixner (guitar), Byally Braumann (drums)
LP Vogue LDVS 17178 (1970)
Based on their live album, Novaks Kapelle were one of the wildest and inventive rock bands from Austria. It almost seemed as though they'd stolen themes from the Groundhogs SPLIT, adding Teutonic hard-rock and Captain Beefheart touches, putting incredible energy into the resulting concoction. As their history is unknown, we've no idea if the following discography is at all complete on not.
Paul Braunsteiner (guitar), Walla Mauritz (vocals, sax, harmonica), Erwin Novak (drums), Harry Stojka (guitars), Paeter Travnicek (bass)
MLP Pan 28959 (Austria, 1977)
LP Ariola 205 784 (Austria, 1978)
Formed in late 1971, the Hamburg band Novalis took their name from an 18th Century poet, and aptly they created a rock music of poetic, lyrical and instrumental beauty. In their early days, Novalis started with a repertoire of King Crimson and Pink Floyd numbers. A year on, and with a set of their own songs, Jochen Petersen discovered Novalis in concert, and was so impressed that he promptly got them a contract with Brain and went on to produce their debut. BANISHED BRIDGE notably showed their King Crimson influences, with Jürgen Wenzel's fragile English lyrics in a dreamy laid-back progressive rock, fleshed out with acoustic guitars and keyboards (most dominantly Mellotron). But, following a 30 day European tour (along with Jane and Emergency) organised by Brain, and also an extensive German tour, such a schedule proved too much for Jürgen, and a second album by this line-up was abandoned during recording.
So, after a year off the music scene, in early 1975, Achim Reichel rediscovered Novalis, yet by this time they were playing a very different music, with two lead guitarists, and a great wealth of synthesizers and keyboards. Via Achim's Gorilla Musik they were again signed to Brain, and to signify the change in style, the second album was left untitled. Largely instrumental, with a richly crafted instrumentation, Novalis came up with a very influential new form of progressive rock, and a song-style that many a DDR band later tried to emulate, with strongly poetic German lyrics, blending folk and classical elements into a very complexly crafted rock music. This new Novalis was even more successful than the original, yet Carlo Karges (originally with Tomorrow's Gift) didn't stay long, and for a while Novalis continued as a quartet. This slimmed-down band recorded SOMMERABEND which continued in a similar vein, apart from being notably spacious and classical, with synthesizers even more to the fore. Documenting this era, with the addition of Fred Mühböck, was the ridiculously
crammed-in 63 minute live KONZERTE LP from their spring 1977 tour. The same line-up, but with an even richer palette of instruments, made the majestic and all the more symphonic BRANDUNG, with an even more subtle classical and folky concoction of underlying influences, partly returning to the dreamy feel of their debut.
To make it through to the late-70's without compromising, Novalis were certainly lucky, yet heralded by an odd Hipgnosis cover, VIELLEICHT BIST DU EIN CLOWN? featured a much less adventurous concoction. Moving to Achim Reichel's Ahorn label, with its motto "Rock in Deutsch", it obviously meant a music with more focus on lyrics was inevitable. FLOSSENENGEL, took on a hint more Pink Floyd influence, as well as introducing rock-ballads, and although a fine album, it was the start of the end. Admittedly Novalis went on about five years too long, though through to the end they still retained their own identity.
Lutz Rahn also recorded a solo synthesizer album in 1978, and has continued in the music industry as a producer. Hartwig Biereichel has worked in production, notably for Metronome in the late-70's.
Heino Schünzel (bass), Jürgen Wenzel (vocals, acoustic guitar), Lutz Rahn (organ, piano, Mellotron, synthesizer), Hartwig Biereichel (drums, percussion)
> BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN
> BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN II
VIELLEICHT BIST DU EIN CLOWN?(9/78)
LP Ahorn 6.23980 (1979)
Since the early-60's, Ralf Nowy had been active on the jazz scene, and he'd also been a successful arranger for many top German pop singers. However, inspired by the burgeoning Krautrock scene he established his own supergroup The Ralf Nowy Group, with many top musicians from the Munich scene. LUCIFER'S DREAM was therefore a big melting pot of almost everything from psychedelic pop onto big band jazz, a complex musical suite with a great deal of invention. After a lengthy gap, during which Ralf Nowy had been working with the Berlin Philharmonic, he formed a new incarnation of his band under the guise of Nowy. ESCALATION, and its follow-up NOWY 2, both further developed his wide ranging fusion on a slightly jazzier and accessible level.
Ralf Nowy (flutes, alto sax, oboe), Gary Unwin (bass), Paul Vincent (guitars), Keith Forsey (drums), + Lothar Meid (bass), Sylvester Levay (pianos), Don Anderson (pianos), Andy Marx (guitars), Bernie Prock (percussion), Al Gromer (sitar), Liz van Neienhoff (sitar), Sankha Chatterjee (tablas)
LP Global 26.015-8U (1973)
LP Atlantic ATL 40556 (1974)
LP Atlantic ATL 50205 (1975)
With one foot set firmly in the early-70's Octopus drew on new technology to present a very polished brand of heavy progressive rock. With a female lead vocalist they often come across a bit like Curved Air (but without the classical edge) on both THE BOAT OF THOUGHTS and AN OCEAN OF ROCKS, with good chunky rhythmic structures, plenty of instrumentals and nice synthesized arrangements. Shamefully their third, RUBBER ANGEL, saw them betray their public, presenting a funky styled pop-rock with no redeeming merits. The fourth I've never heard, and don't think I want to!
Pit Hensel (guitars), Werner Littau (keyboards), Jennifer Hensel (vocals), Frank Eule (drums), Claus D. Kniemeyer (bass)
THE BOAT OF THOUGHTS(1976)
AN OCEAN OF ROCKS(12-17/1/78)
HART AM RAND
LP Rockport RO 003 (1981)
Formed as Honest Truth in the late-60's, changing name in 1971 (after moving to Würzburg) when Jeff Beer took over the group. Odin's sole LP featured a basic rock style with some experimentation, hints of Deep Purple (probably due to half the band being English), and also featured a cover of Quatermass' "Gemini". Odin were admittedly rather ordinary. They disbanded in April 1974.
Stuart Fordham (drums, percussion), Ray Brown (bass, vocals), Jeff Beer (keyboards, percussion, vibes, vocals), Rob Terstall (guitar, vocals)
A later progressive fusion and rock band called Odin (from Hamburg), these featured Bernd Wippich (ex-Randy Pie), and were in the vein of Blonker, Karat, late Novalis, etc. Some recordings appeared on a GERMAN ROCK SZENE (Timewind DB 50139) sampler, though no album is known. Info now known - and it's not so great!
Okko Bekker is nowadays best known for his work as producer and assistant with Asmus Tietchens, and as a much travelled session sitar player and multi-instrumentalist. But, back in 1971 he made this amusing album sounding like a hybrid of Ananda Shankar and those cheesy "synth goes classic" type of albums.
Okko Bekker (sitar, tabla, Moog), Simon Alcott (Moog), Herb Geller (flute), Peter Hesslein (guitar)
SITAR & ELECTRONICS
LP BASF 20 21117-7 (1971)
A kind of jazz-rock twist on the Novalis type sound, Oktagon were an unusual hybrid of styles, heading towards Passport or RMO on one hand, moving to complexly lyrical progressions on the other. No historical information is known on Oktagon, except that they changed into Zara-Thustra, and would seem to be from the Munich region, due to the Passport connections.
Berthold Weindorf (sax), Litschie Herdlicka (bass), Hermann Weindorf (keyboards, vocals), Wesley Plass (guitar), Curt Cress (drums), Harry Buckl (percussion)
LP Weryton 1001 (1980)
LP Jupiter 6.25027 (1982)
A polit-rock band in the uniquely German tradition, akin to Floh De Cologne, Lokomotive Kreuzberg, Checkpoint Charlie, et al., but with a larger sound, male and female vocals, and a technical progressive edge often close to Grobschnitt musically. Their most ambitious moment was the double album concept work DIE PARISER KOMMUNE, a musical chronicle of the French revolution, handled in a most imaginative manner, from bizarre theatre through to lengthy symphonic progressive tracks. An obscure yet fascinating band.
Kalla Wefel (bass, guitars, vocals), Peter Robert (organ, synthesizer, string ensemble, spinet), Karl-F. Dörwald (vocals, flute, percussion), Klaus-Peter Harbort (drums, percussion), Hans-Werner Schwarz (guitar, percussion), + Birger Holm (choir), Axel Ratsch (percussion, choir), Philippe Ressing (choir)
LP Trikont US-0024 (1976)
DIE PARISER KOMMUNE(7/77)
HIMMEL AUF ERDEN!
LP Eigelstein ES 2006 (1979)
Amongst the earliest of Berlin bands playing their own material, The Ones are of most importance as the roots of Tangerine Dream. On their sole single, a light piece of psychedelia with the spirit of Syd Barrett and The Electric Prunes, the only certain members known are Mick Auerbach, Edgar Froese, and lead singer Charlie Prince. The identity of the others: Detlef and Wilfried, seem to be lost.
Lady Greengrass / Love Of Mine(1966)
A light Soft Machine cum Eberhard Weber styled fusion, with the accent on mood and ever-present soloing, from one of many bands featuring ex-Brainstorm drummer Joachim Koinzer.
Hans Jürgen von der Burchard (bass, guitars, percussion), Thomas Jehle (pianos, synthesizer, percussion), Helmut Schramm (alto/soprano saxes, flute, percussion), Joachim Koinzer (drums, percussion)
Not to be confused with the German pop band of the same name, these were a typical mainstream 80's progressive, akin to Novalis circa AUGENBLICKE, song structured with lively keyboards.
A bit of guess-work here! A Berlin band called Opus existed at this time with the line-up of: Horst Henning (guitar, piano, vocals), Norbert Takmann (bass, vocals), Manfred Krabbe (guitar, vocals), Thomas Rönnfeldt (drums). They were reputed to be of this style (i.e. symphonic) and working on an album in 1983. Their next project was titled "Opus 4", so maybe they are the same band?
LP Peak 8381 (1983)
Little is known about the origins of Orange Peel, though on their debut single the band featured Michael Winzkowski (also of Nosferatu and Epsilon), and they proved quite seminal, with Heinrich Mohn later following Winzkowski to Epsilon, Peter Bischof moving on to Emergency, and Curt Cress becoming amongst the most prolific of drummers. Orange Peel's LP was amongst the most psychedelic of heavy progressive albums, not least side one's opus "You Can't Change Them All", a veritable masterwork of heavy riffing organ rock, kind of Egg and Pink Floyd jamming Krautrock style, featuring vast guitar excursions, and Peter Bischof's gutsy blues vocals. And then there's "We Still Try To Change" encompassing half of the second side, which trips out beyond the realms of side one's opus, like a crazed Arzachel, close to Os Mundi at their freakiest. The odd track out is an unusual arrangement of "Tobacco Road".
H. Peter Bischof (vocals, percussion), Curt Cress (drums, percussion), H. Leslie Link (guitar), Heinrich Mohn (bass), Ralph Wiltheiss (organ)
I Got No Time / Searching For A Place To Hide
7" Admiral AD 1136 (1969)
LP Bellaphon BLPS 19036 (1970)
A highly original experimental ethnic jazz fusion band, who cross genres with amazing ease. The vast part of their work is in the realms of Oregon or Codona, with the focus on European jazz styles, against ethnic musics, with the spice and character of Embryo. Notably they play a much jazzier and moody music than most of their contemporaries, with much in the way of rambling noodling, focusing on Georg Lawall's multi-instrumental talents.
Georg Lawall (guitars, sitar, percussion), Erik Erker (bass), Gert Kilian (congas, bongos, timbales, drums, voice)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.606 (1979)
LP Spiegelei INT 145.613 (1980)
LP Fusion 8020 (1985)
Often quoted as being the first Kraftwerk album, Organisation's TONE FLOAT (which only gained LP release in the UK) was a most innovative album: heavily percussive and filled out with spacious organ and flute, it's a melting pot of ideas - the very essence of Krautrock - full of invention, not rock, nor jazz, but certainly cosmic, weird and fascinating music, full of atmosphere and still surprisingly fresh. Hinting at Kraftwerk's "Ruckzack" and the later Ibliss, TONE FLOAT is pure magic.
Ralf Hutter (organ), Basil Hammoudi (glockenspiel, congas, gong, musical box, bongos, voice), Florian Schneider (flutes, bell, triangle, tambourine, violin), Butch Hauf (bass, shaky tube, bells, plastic hammer), Fred Monicks (drums, bongos, maracas, cowbell, tambourine)
LP RCA Victor SF 8111 (UK, 1970)
Os Mundi have been quoted as Berlin's first "rock big band" with a line-up that could swell to a dozen. They grew out of a beat group called the Safebreakers (1962-66) and as Os Mundi since 1969, they became friends of Agitation, sharing a rehearsal room at
Paul-Linke-Ufer in Berlin-Kreuzberg. In these early days jam sessions took place with Manuel Göttsching (later of Ash Ra Tempel), Buddy Mandler, Ludolf Kuchenbuch (both from the original Os Mundi) and Michael Günther (from Agitation), among others. This association meant Os Mundi's music changed considerably.
Their debut LATIN MASS was notably inspired by 60's American bands, and especially the Electric Prunes' MASS IN F MINOR, though from a very psychedelic Krautrock angle, with the Latin lyrics against a music more like a hybrid of Amon Düül II, Tangerine Dream's ELECTRONIC MEDITATION and Spooky Tooth. Intense and radical rock music indeed! Almost entirely different in style was 43 MINUTEN, reputedly showing Udo Arndt's liking for Chicago. If so, they twisted the inspiration in such a way, like Thirsty Moon, becoming a distinctly Teutonic rock-fusion, with all manner of invention and surprises.
Os Mundi apparently recorded a third album which remains unreleased. In their later years, other musicians, such as Ute Kannenberg (vocals), Wolfram Jacob (percussion), Bernhard Arndt (piano) and Klaus Henrichs (alto sax, clarinet) passed through the band. By 1974 Os Mundi had changed into the ill-fated and short-lived Tequila Sunrise. Udo Arndt is now a top recording engineer and producer, as is Christoph Busse, and Ute Kannenberg is a jazz presenter on radio.
Dietrich Markgraf (sax, flute), Udo Arndt (guitar, vocals, organ, piano, percussion), Buddy Mandler (drums, congas, bongos, vocals), Christoph Busse (drums, guitar, vocals, percussion), Andreas Villain (bass), Mikro Rilling (cello, vocals, percussion), + Conny Plank (guitar)
LP Metronome MLP 15.381 (1970)
Probably the most commercially successful of German folk-rock bands, Ougenweide originated circa 1971 in Hamburg. Their name came from the pet name of medieval lyricist Walther von der Vogelweide, whose texts were sometimes used in their music. From the start through to the end, Ougenweide had a stable nucleus of four: Olaf Casalich, Jürgen Isenbart, Frank Wulff and Stefan Wulff. Also there in the early days were one Michael Steinbeck and female singer Brigitte Blunck. Ougenweide were fortunate to have a big helping hand from Achim Reichel, who signed them up to his Zebra Records. Not that Ougenweide didn't deserve success, their blend of German folk musics, the medieval and the modern, despite an obvious nod to Pentangle, was really most original.
After their debut Minne Graw joined as vocalist, her richly intoned German lyric added even more spice to their sound. Ougenweide lasted for several years, issuing numerous album and built a large repertoire of original and traditional pieces, which are best experienced on their live double UNGEZWUNGEN, with its extended versions and improvisations. Every Ougenweide album we've encountered (all up to FRYHEIT) is typical of this creative band, in that they are always pushing on with new ideas, and invention in arrangement, both in song and instrumental.
Olaf Casalich (vocals, drums, percussion), Renee Kollmorgen (vocals, percussion), Frank Wulff (guitar, bass, flutes, mandolin, lute, bouzouki, sitar, choir), Stefan Wulff (basses, organ, harmonium, percussion, guitar, choir), Jürgen Isenbart (percussion, drums, choir), Wolfgang von Henko (guitars, vocals), + Brigitte Blunck (vocals, percussion), Achim Reichel (kettle drum, bass, flute)
LP Zebra 2949 009 (1973)
ALL DEI WEIL ICH MAG
LP Polydor 2371 517 (1974)
LP Polydor 2371 700 (1976)
LP Polydor 2371 714 (1977)
LP Polydor 2437 576 (1978)
LP Polydor 2413 120 (1979)
LP Polydor 2372 034 (1980)
NOCH ABER IST APRIL
LP Polydor 2372 094 (1981)
Out Of Focus
Existing for ten years or so, Out Of Focus were amongst the finest of German rock fusion bands. Formed in late 1968 in Munich, they rapidly established a stylish and refined blend of rock and jazz, that drew in psychedelic overtones and also a profound
socio-political awareness in Moran Neumüller's songs. The early albums exhibited that unique character of Krautrock (akin to Xhol, Thirsty Moon, etc.) with pure invention in a music that transcends boundaries, taking the rock song beyond its normal format with extended instrumentals featuring an abundance of solos and surprises. I would argue that Out Of Focus started excellent, and got even better with each album. Probably the finest of all their albums was the monumental double FOUR LETTER MONDAY AFTERNOON, almost certainly a dedication to Soft Machine's revolutionary double THIRD, it similarly had mainly instrumental and lengthy tracks, although the first LP is a little more down to earth, the unprecedented surprise is the extended suite that encompassed the whole of the second LP! It seems amazing that a band were able to start off with a masterpiece and better it with each subsequent album, yet that's what Out Of Focus did!
It's a shame that Kuckuck withdrew its interest in Krautrock in the mid-70's, as it left Out Of Focus without the chance of a contract elsewhere. There were plans for a release with the April/Schneeball collective in 1975, in fact an album was recorded, yet all that eventually emerged was one track on a festival LP, by which time they had changed into a more conventional jazz-rock band, featuring only one original member: Remigius Drechsler (who subsequently went on to Embryo).
Remigius Drechsler (guitars), Hennes Hering (organ, piano), Moran Neumüller (tenor sax, flute, vocals), Klaus Spöri (drums), Stephan Wischeu (bass)
WAKE UP (10-12/70)
LP Kuckuck 2375 006 (1970)
OUT OF FOCUS (7-23/6/71)
LP Kuckuck 2375 010 (1971)
FOUR LETTER MONDAY AFTERNOON (17-28/7/72)
2LP Kuckuck 2640 101 (1972)
> UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
Much touted obscure early-70's Swiss band, with touches of Procol Harum, obviously inspired by the US West Coast sound too, and thus very dated. Only one member actually seems to be of German Swiss origin, and we know nothing of their history. Contrary to the hype on collector's lists, FORGET YOUR DREAM! is pleasant psychedelia, but it's not at all the remarkable album it's been hyped-up to be.
Chris Meyer (vocals), Mark Treuthardt (guitars, bass), Diego Lecci (drums), Roger Page (keyboards)
FORGET YOUR DREAM! (7/71)
LP Splendid ? (1972)
A lightweight symphonic edged rock band, comparable to the US "pomp rock" bands of the era, like Kansas or Styx. Very lyrical and with simple song structures, they were at least as good as many so-called "neo-progressives" today.
Ulrich "Urmel" Streber (bass, vocals), Mike Maier (guitars), Tommy Müller (guitars, flute, vocals), Thommy Schuster (drums, percussion, lead vocals), Till Maurer (keyboards)
LP Bieber TSB 504 (1977)
One of the lesser-known mid to late-70's progressives, Pancake were an odd band in that, not only was each album they released by a virtually different band, but that each was also very different musically! We know virtually nothing of their history, except that their original drummer went on to Anyone's Daughter. Their debut ROXY ELEPHANT, was more typical of the German and British progressive style of the era, with the focus on multiple guitars, dynamics, with rock songs, ballads, hard-rock edged yet also afire with space-rocking instrumental breaks. With only guitarist Walter Negele continuing from hereon, the only notable characteristic carried through to later albums was his delicately lyrical guitar style. Coinciding with the Blubber Lips reissue of ROXY ELEPHANT, the three years gap up to OUT OF THE ASHES moved on to rock-pastures new. In essence, it took a step on from the dreamiest moments of Jane and Novalis, but mostly came across like a Teutonic twist on the early Pulsar sound, which resulted in a superb symphonic progressive. For the third album it was almost all change time again (though this time the drummer stayed too!) and a move to a harder edged progressive rock fronted by female vocals. In many ways, NO ILLUSIONS sounds like a hybrid of Eloy and Dutch legends Earth & Fire no less. Pancake were a fine band throughout, though in essence, they were three different bands!
Günther Konopik (drums, congas, percussion, vocals), Walter Negele (guitars), Tommy Metzger (guitar, vocals), Werner Bauer (bass, triangle, vocals), Hampy Nerlich (vocals)
ROXY ELEPHANT (1975)
LP private release 33.009 (1975)
OUT OF THE ASHES
LP Blubber Lips bl 801 (1978)
NO ILLUSIONS (10/79)
LP Blubber Lips bl 809 (1979)
One of the earliest DDR bands, Panta Rhei were obviously influenced by the Czech scene of bands like Modry Efekt, Flamengo and Jazz Q, and the Anglo-American brass-rock style of Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, and such-like. A band that worked basically in two veins, one when fronting female singer Veronika Fischer (more recently a successful soloist) with straighter rock and soul ballads, the other when letting go with some great jazzy psychedelia. Their album is schizophrenic to say the least! The nucleus of the band: Herbert Dreilich, Henning Protzmann and Ulrich Swillms went on to form Karat.
Veronika Fischer (vocals), Herbert Dreilich (guitar, vocals), Henning Protzmann (bass, vocals), Ulrich Swillms (piano, organ), Frank Hille (drums), Bernd Richter (trumpet), Ralph Stolle (trombone), Joachim Schmauch (alto sax, flute), Rudolf Ulbricht (tenor sax, flute)
featured on: HALLO, NR. 1, 5, 1/75
LP Amiga ? (DDR, 1973)
A largely polito-Kraut underground rock band from Ahrensburg, formed in 1972, in Ton Steine Scherben, Tobogan or Lokomotive Kreuzberg vein, with rock 'n' roll edges too - but no folk!
Klaus "Julle" Ahrens (bass, guitar, vocals), Gregor Ahrens (drums), Olaf Lietzen (drums), Klaus Schulz (lead guitar, vocals), Gert Lange (guitar, vocals), + Manne Rürup (synthesizer), Richard Borowski (bongos)
WIR WOLLEN ALLES
LP private release 2667 (1974)
A curious band from Bremen, Parzival originally consisted of the trio: Walter Quintus, Lothar Siems and Thomas Oliver. Quintus was an accomplished classically trained musician, a sound explorer who had tried his hand at many things, the other two had worked in various pop and fusion bands during the 60's. The music they created between them was an unusual combination of German folk, classical and medieval musics, with a rich instrumentation and rock aesthetics. Particularly exciting on LEGEND were two lengthy mantric excursions co-composed with Conny Plank, close to the style of the Third Ear Band or Radio Noisz Ensemble. The later BA-ROCK (the title is a play on words) combined both the baroque and rock on a more commercial level, and thus being more song based was far less exciting. Several years after their dissolution Walter Quintus reappeared on the scene as a studio engineer with CMP Records, working with the likes of Dark, Joachim Kühn, David Torn, Mark Nauseef, Trilok Gurtu, etc.
Lothar Siems (guitar, vocals), Walter Quintus (violin, bass, organ, piano), Thomas Oliver (drums, vocals, percussion), + Joachim Reichold (cello), Matthias Müller-Menckens (flute, piano), Hans Jaspers (viola)
LP Teldec SLE 14635-P (1971)
One Day / Souls Married To The Wind
7" Teldec ? (1972)
LP Teldec SLE 14685-P (1973)
Passport was actually the name of a Klaus Doldinger group album, issued in 1971, that proved so popular that in reality Passport became the name of the band and Doldinger the album title! Klaus had tried numerous different types of music before this, but his most successful in progressive realms was Motherhood. Actually Motherhood had a good name, as they gave birth to two bands: Hallelujah (Forsey and Vincent) and Passport (the rest of the band, with Amon Düül II cohorts Kübler and Jackson).
MPS Records Joachim Ernst Berendt was fascinated at how Passport "combined the best rock talents on the German scene" as a jazz fusion band. It's easy to see why it proved so popular at the time, as the Munich music scene was booming with weird musics, and the Passport approach with its strong melodic context and powerful arrangements, added up to a more widely accessible music. Extremely early for featuring synthesizer, with Jimmy Jackson's haunting keyboards, and excellent use of winds, it's one heck of a powerful fusion. Klaus had come up with, a winning combination, yet by the time of SECOND Klaus' accomplices were a different band, notably so English musicians John Mealing and Bryan Spring who never stayed around long. Then, on HAND MADE came Frank Roberts before joining Isotope. This era saw a move to music reminiscent of Soft Machine and Nucleus, with a new Passport style growing out of it gradually, as a stable quartet of all-German musicians was established on LOOKING THRU. Defined by powerful rhythmic structures, Doldinger's unique sax style, a wealth of keyboards and synthesizers, and Curt Cress' superb drumming, Passport continued to progress and develop for the next three years, with two more excellent studio albums, and also two very varied concert documents with Passport augmented by famous jazz friends. IGUACU, recorded in Brazil, was the last album by this incarnation, but didn't really work as a Passport album being diluted by too many Latino and ethnic touches. Obviously the band thought so too, and all left to work on other projects. Again, a new Passport was born, starting with the highly synthesized ATARAXIA, but thereafter something went radically wrong, the rot set in, as soul and pop songs ate into the music. In all fairness, Klaus should have called it a day with IGUACU, and established a band under a different name. But, like most bands, a marketable name meant a string of mediocre albums throughout the 80's. A shame when one considers how creative the era of 1971 to 1976 was.
Klaus Doldinger (tenor/alto saxes, Moog, electric piano), Olaf Kübler (tenor sax, flute), Jimmy Jackson (organ), Udo Lindenberg (drums), Lothar Meid (bass)
LP Atlantic ATL 40299 (1971)
LP Atlantic ATL 40417 (1972)
LP Atlantic ATL 40483 (1973)
LOOKING THRU (10/73)
LP Atlantic ATL 50024 (1973)
DOLDINGER JUBILEE CONCERT (16/10/73)
LP Atlantic ATL 50070 (1974)
featured on: JOURNEY INTO SPACE (16/10/73)
2LP WEA 68013 (1975)
LP Atlantic ATL 50111 (1975)
DOLDINGER JUBILEE '75 (28-29/8/75)
LP Atlantic ATL 50186 (1975)
INFINITY MACHINE (1/76)
LP Atlantic ATL 50254 (1976)
LP Atlantic ATL 50341 (1977)
LP Atlantic ATL 50456 (1978)
Amongst the most legendary of Austrian underground bands, but with a virtually undocumented history, Paternoster originated from Vienna, and existed for only two years in the early-70's, disbanding after the release of just one album. Paternoster were heavy, but their complex progressive blend was patently of the Krautrock ilk. Fronted by a most unusual vocalist, with an equally bizarre use of song, their music drew on that trippy Pink Floyd style. Akin to Gila, Virus, and Jane on occasions, the Paternoster style blended heavy classical motifs, psychedelic flights into the cosmos, and much more. The result is, that every track amounts to a lively potpourri of surprises.
Gerhart Walenta (drums), Gerhard Walter (guitar, vocals), Franz Wippel (organ, vocals), Heimo Wisser (bass)
LP CBS 64958 (Austria, 1972)
Originating as a group of friends at Marburg University in 1971, they were originally known as Juma, whilst playing a five month residency at a club in Wiesbaden. Changing concept, with radical ideas for a music that combined all sorts of conflicting elements they later decided on the name Pell Mell when signing to Bacillus. Consistent from their inception, Pell Mell lacked one essential thing: a guitarist. So they asked Andy Kirnberger (of the local band Frame) to work with them on a part-time basis. Thomas Schmitt is quoted as saying, that what they wanted to play was "a synthesis of pop music, jazz and the works of the old masters" yet what they came up with was more than that.
MARBURG saw a unique combination of psychedelic and progressive sounds, complex and lyrical, with subtle classical touches handled in a manner rivalling the best Italians of the era. A unique touch was the two lead vocalists, each with a distinctly different style, drawing comparisons with Gentle Giant. And, the music was really quite avant-garde for classical-rock, not least so the closing opus "Alone" which moves on to the realms of PHALLUS DEI era Amon Düül II. Expanding the line-up, with an extra keyboard player, gave Thomas Schmidt more room with his violin, and FROM THE NEW WORLD saw them move to directly adapting classical works, not least a lengthy and radical rock rewrite of the "New World Symphony", hinting at instrumental Curved Air. After two albums on two different labels, Pell Mell were left in the cold for some time. By the time of RHAPSODY, some serious changes had happened, they'd become a virtual orchestra, now with three vocalists! It's classical rock as high art, no doubt. Yet, it's strange that virtually the same band went on to make the vastly inferior ONLY A STAR. Though, all good things have to come to an end. In the late-70's a few musicians from Pell Mell established their own record label PM Records, to release music by local Marburg talent. Pell Mell changed concept and became Skyrider. Later, Thomas Schmidt tried to resurrect the Pell Mell concept solo, by re-working their earlier "Moldau Suite" opus.
Thomas Schmidt (vocals, violin, flute, Mellotron), Otto Pusch (piano, organ), Rudolf Schön (vocals, percussion), Jörg Götzfried (bass), Mitch Kniesmeijer (drums), + Andy Kirnberger (guitar)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19090 (1972)
FROM THE NEW WORLD
LP Philips 6305 193 (1973)
LP Venus VB 76-1 PM a/b (1976)
ONLY A STAR (1976-77)
LP Venus V78 PM-F 1006 (1978)
LP Cain CL 5821 (1982)
Underground blues band from Bavaria.
Hans-Peter Krohn (guitar, flute, vocals), Herbert Strickner (bass), Axel Wellhoener (drums), + Michael Watjen (acoustic guitar)
DIE VERTREIBUNG DER BÖSEN GEISTER AUS DEM PENTAGON
MC German Blues & Underground GBUC 27-22007 (1970)
When they started, rumours were that Phantom Band were actually Can in disguise. But, no this wasn't so. They were a new band formed by Jaki Liebezeit and Rosko Gee (both ex-Can) along with musicians from the new-wave experimental band Dunkelziffer. Phantom Band initially created a funky Can-like jazzy fusion, a logical extension of latter-day Can. After Gee's departure they moved on to more art-rock realms combining both Can elements and the metronomic rock rhythms that Jaki had developed when working with Michael Rother. Arguably their finest was the haphazard and trendy NOWHERE.
Jaki Liebezeit (drums, percussion), Olek Gelba (percussion), Helmut Zerlett (keyboards), Dominik von Senger (guitar), Rosko Gee (bass, vocals), + Holger Czukay (horns)
PHANTOM BAND (1979-80)
LP Sky 048 (1980)
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
LP Sky 065 (1981)
LP Spoon 017 (1984)
Dave Pike Set
The American vibes player Dave Pike saw that there was a far more creative new jazz scene happening in Germany in the late-60's. So, he relocated to Munich and established the Dave Pike Set, together with three top German jazz musicians, notably the creative guitarist Volker Kriegel. With influences ranging from Frank Zappa to Miles Davis, much of the Dave Pike Set's output is well worth the attention of psychedelic jazz aficionados.
Dave Pike (vibes), Volker Kriegel (guitar, sitar, bass), Johann Anton Rettenbacher (bass, cello), Peter Baumeister (drums, percussion)
LP MPS 15253 (1969)
featured on: OSSIACH LIVE
LP BASF 21 20739-0 (1972)
LP BASF 21 20881-8 (1972)
LP BASF 21 21541-5 (1973)
These were formed by ex-members of the psychedelic band Talix, and that's about all we know about them! Pinguin are amongst the most mysterious of bands, yet their sole album is a Krautrock classic, dark and sinister, in the realms of Drosselbart and Eulenspygel. Pinguin blended all sorts of unlikely elements into a rock music that trips out and flies off at tangents, topped by superbly gothic German vocals.
Markus Schaub (guitar, percussion, vocals), K.D. Blahak (drums), Volker Plitz (organ, percussion), Joe Voggenthaler (guitar, percussion), Elmar Kast (sax, flute, percussion), Klaus Gebauer (vocals), Tom Wohlert (basses, bongo)
DER GROßE ROTE VOGEL (11/71)
LP Zebra 2949 001 (1972)
An impromptu session band featuring Lucifer's Friend musicians, of the psychedelic party budget label exploitation type, marketed alongside the likes of Animated Egg, Blue Phantom, et al. The exact line-up of the band is unknown. The IN SYNTHESIZER SOUND album was in fact, not synth music at all, but instrumental classical rock in The Nice and Ekseption vein, but with a deliberately catchy up-beat accessible style. Another such Lucifer's Friend connected project was Electric Food.
LP Europa E 456 (1971)
IN SYNTHESIZER SOUND
LP Europa E 1011 (1973)
Der Plan were arguably the most outlandish band to emerge out of the Düsseldorf new-wave underground. Though, having said that, their debut EP was a radical raw industrial offering which didn't really hint at what was to come, sounding like a distorted punk Faust meets Throbbing Gristle. After this, Robert Görl went on to Deutsch-Amerikanischen Freundschaft, and the rest of the band continued in a new direction, adopting a mad-cap industrial twist on The Residents' sound, but in German! GERI REIG was quite a remarkable album, being diverse and creative, with songs that are fun even to those that don't understand German, combined with a most avant-garde approach to rock music. Becoming more caught up in satire, NORMALETTE SURPRISE came closer to the
tongue-in-cheek Residents' DUCK STAB type sound. Later albums, however, paled somewhat as the music took a back seat to ever more silly songs. Their synthesist Pyrolator (Kurt Dahlke) also pursued a parallel solo career, of which later albums also featured Der Plan members.
Robert Görl (drums), Pyrolator (synthesizer), Frank Fenstermacher (guitar, vocals), Moritz Reichelt (vocals, guitar)
7" EP Art Attack AAP 001 (1979)
GERI REIG (11/79-1/80)
LP Warning WR 003 (1980)
Da Vorne Steht Ne Ampel / Rot-Grün-Tot
7" Warning WR 005 (1980)
MLP Das Buro WR 007 (1981)
Fix Planet bonus single
7" Ata Tak WR 008 (1981)
DIE LETZTE RACHE
LP Ata Tak WR 017 (1983)
2x7" Ata Tak WR 023 (1984)
An obscure one-off project by a duo of multi-instrumentalists, making unusual atmospheric music in the realms of early Cluster and Harmonia, though notably less intensive than Cluster's early excursions. Typically Teutonic, with the accent on blending the abstract and melodic, Planes were remarkably creative and had a unique style of their own.
Gregor Curten (organ, synthesizer, guitar), Anselm Rogmans (vocals, tapes, organ, synthesizer)
LP private release CN 501 (1974)
Taking their name from the Quiche Mayan Indians' equivalent of the Bible, Popol Vuh existed since February 1969 as the earliest of synth bands. Always the leader, Florian Fricke was a man of concept and vision, he'd studied classical piano from the age of 15, worked as a music critic, as a film maker, established a seminal Munich jazz-rock combo that also included Manfred Eicher (later, the boss of ECM) and Eberhard Schoener. The rest of the original Popol Vuh consisted of artist and ethnic percussionist Holger Trülzsch, and studio engineer Frank Fiedler. They were an unusual band by anyone's standards, yet after making a soundtrack for a TV film, Liberty Records showed keen interest and signed them up. The sound of the early Popol Vuh was, to say the least, unprecedented. Dominated by Moog synthesizer, it's a music of twittering and rippling waves, oozing spooky sound patterns, given all the more mystery by the tablas and other hand percussion. Whereas AFFENSTUNDE came across as dark and unmelodic, the following IN DEN GÄRTEN PHARAOS stepped either side, the title track moving from the murkiness of AFFENSTUNDE to a light breezy fusion, and "Vuh" contrasting as an over-the-top excursion for church organ and crashing cymbals that builds to breathtaking intensity. It's strange that this was released on Pilz, at a time when Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser tried to present it as a folk label. Maybe he knew what Florian was planning?
It was all-change time for Popol Vuh, out with the synthesizer and in with a new concept, but not before Florian guested on Tangerine Dream's ZEIT, and also built up an archive of other recordings. Whilst making films, Florian had built up a friendship with director Werner Herzog, who asked if Popol Vuh could score the film "Aguirre" that he was working on. Though, by the time Herzog had finished his opus, Popol Vuh had gone through several changes! First was the deeply religious, gothic folk of HOSIANNA MANTRA and SELIGPREISUNGEN (one on Pilz and the other on Kosmische Musik, though such Popol Vuh music is not really cosmic), both featuring Florian delicately playing the piano, with gentle glissando guitar from Gila's Conny Veit, oboe from Between's Robert Eliscu, and tamboura by Klaus Wiese. During this period, Popol Vuh also existed as the reformed Gila, with Daniel Fichelscher (from Amon Düül II) then becoming an integral part of Popol Vuh. Also involved was Korean female singer Djong Yun, though on SELIGPREISUNGEN Florian handled the lead vocals, in a rather dark and sombre manner, in contrast to Djong's more angelic style on HOSIANNA MANTRA.
Due to Daniel Fichelscher's multi-instrumental talents, he and Florian became the nucleus of Popol Vuh hereon, with EINSJÄGER & SIEBENJÄGER presenting the definitive sound Popol Vuh were to work from for the next few years. The album then released as the "Aguirre" soundtrack drew from recordings covering all this era, with a lengthy cosmic electronic opus covering the second side. Most memorable from the film however, is the opening "Aguirre I" with its huge Mellotron choirs. Also in 1974 Florian appeared as the blind pianist in Herzog's "The Enigma Of Kasper Hauser" in which he plays a solo version of the Popol Vuh piece "Agnus Dei".
After Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser's cosmic empire collapsed, moving to a major label meant a change of focus again, more rock based and with shorter tracks. Still religious, DAS HOHLIED SALOMOS used Biblical texts for its songs, and with the addition of Renate Knaup on LETZTE TAGE - LETZTE NÄCHTE Popol Vuh had moved very close to the heavy Krautrock style of Amon Düül II of a couple of years earlier. Then, in came another Amon Düül II associate: Al Gromer, and a new facet of Popol Vuh emerged, even recording a whole album of Indian music as YOGA. Subsequent releases on Brain (and Egg) tended to blend all these aspects, going through a purely instrumental phase, until Djong and Renate returned in 1979. During this era Popol Vuh had scored a number of Herzog films, though the albums billed as HERTZ AUS GLAS and NOSFERATU were not really soundtrack albums. This is some of the finest music to emerge from Germany in the mid to late-70's, full of innovation, and mostly the vehicle of the extremely talented Daniel Fichelscher. At the same time as recording SEI STILLE, WISSE ICH BIN Renate and Danny were also working on the VORTEX Amon Düül II reformation. Popol Vuh's first step into the 80's couldn't have been more different than Amon Düül II's however, being a very dark and percussive affair, with strange growling voices, like an unholy mystical ceremony. Hereon further albums tended to mellow somewhat, as Popol Vuh became ever more an occasional and infrequent recording band. Arguably AGAPE-AGAPE was really the end of the classic era of Popol Vuh refining the SEI STILLE, WISSE ICH BIN style, as the following SPIRIT OF PEACE did little more than re-run old ideas, in a sedate almost mournful mostly vocal music.
Florian Fricke (Moog), Holger Trülzsch (percussion), Frank Fiedler (synthesizer-mixdown)
LP Liberty LBS 83460 (1971)
IN DEN GÄRTEN PHARAOS (1972)
LP Pilz 20 21276-9 (1972)
HOSIANNA MANTRA (1972)
LP Pilz 20 29143-1 (1973)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58.009 (1974)
EINSJÄGER & SIEBENJÄGER (5/74)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58.017 (1975)
MUSIC FROM THE FILM AGUIRRE (1972-74)
LP Cosmic Music 840.103 (France, 1976)
DAS HOHLIED SALOMOS (2/75)
LP United Artists UAS 29781 (1975)
LETZTE TAGE - LETZTE NÄCHTE
LP United Artists UAS 29916 (1976)
LP PDU Pld.SQ 6066 (Italy, 1976)
COEUR DE VERRE
LP Egg 900.536 (France, 1977)
ON THE WAY TO A LITTLE WAY/NOSFERATU
LP Egg 900.573 (France, 1978)
BRÜDER DES SCHATTENS - SÖHNE DES LICHTS (8/78)
LP Brain 60.167 (1978)
DIE NACHT DER SEELE (15/3-1/8/79)
LP Brain 60.242 (1979)
SEI STILL, WISSE ICH BIN (1980-81)
LP IC KS 80.007 (1981)
AGAPE-AGAPE, LOVE-LOVE (6-10/82)
LP Uniton U 015 (Norway, 1983)
SPIRIT OF PEACE
LP Cicada C 001 (Norway, 1985)
Obscure hard-rock band, reminds of Wishbone Ash & Cream.
FOUND MY WAY
LP private release (1976)
An obscure heavy rock band from Ulm, later featuring Helmut Binzer of Metropolis. Little else is known about them. Prof. Wolfff had an aggressive heavy rock style with lots of psychedelic and progressive touches, fronted by guitars and organ, typical of the era they had a very German sound, akin to Ainigma, Frumpy and early Jane. They only made the one LP. Fritz Herrmann is also known as Friedrich Glorian. More info: http://www.myspace.com/profwolfff
Klaus Peter Schweitzer (guitar, electric piano, vocals), Romi Schickle (organ), Mondo Zech (bass, vocals), Michael Sametinger (drums), Fritz Herrmann (lead guitar, vocals, harmonica)
PROF. WOLFFF (10/71)
LP Metronome MLP 15422 (1972)
As Wonderland Band had moved on to more experimental realms, it seemed that Achim Reichel wanted to keep active on the commercial scene too, and thus decided to try going back to basics, with a band of former Rattles and Wonderland members. But, instead of playing 60's beat music, Propeller played a song-based heavy rock along similar lines to Lucifer's Friend.
Achim Reichel (guitar, bass, vocals), Herbert Hildebrandt (guitar, bass, vocals), Dicky Tarrach (drums), + Peter Hesslein (guitar), Peter Wede (piano, organ)
LET US LIVE TOGETHER
LP Philips 6305 114 (1971)
Apache Woman / Devil's Symphony
7" Philips 6003 145 (1971)
A typically German jazz-rock band, drawing on the Bavarian school of Missus Beastly, Passport, Munju, et al., but also taking a more progressive rock angle with Kraan touches. They only made one album, and nothing is known of their history, except that Matthias Frey later became prolific with his own band and solo projects.
Bodo Feldmann (bass, voice), Matthias Frey (keyboards, synthesizer, voice), Robert Jahn (drums, percussion, voice), Wilfried Kunkler (tenor sax, horns, percussion, voice), Volkmar Zimmermann (guitars, voice)
LP Bacillus BAC 2049 (1977)
Originally one of the most progressive pop bands around, many of their early recordings are extraordinary and often really radical, featuring all sorts of musics sandwiched together - and they even used bagpipes! They helped to develop the uniquely DDR rock sound, and became an inspiration for second generation bands like Reform, Magdeburg, etc. But, unfortunately, pushed by the DDR authorities as the safe face of progressive rock, their resulting success lead to their downfall, becoming rather bland copyists of Western trends. Much of their best work can be heard on the HALLO series or early singles.
Peter Meyer (keyboards, flute, sax), Dieter Birr (guitar, vocals), Dieter Hertrampf (guitar, vocals), Harry Jeske (bass, drums), Gunther Wosylus (drums)
featured on: HALLO, NR. 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12
LP Amiga 8 55 348 (1973)
LP Amiga 8 55 404 (1974)
featured on: HALLO 1/75
LP Amiga 8 55 454 (1975)
The pseudonym of Kurt Dahlke, founder of Ata Tak Records, record producer, musician and computer programmer. Originally he was a member of D-A-F, and then he helped form Der Plan (a band who have existed in parallel to his solo work) in 1980. Pyrolator's first solo INLAND was a highly experimental effort of varied synthesizer and avant-garde music, still surprisingly fresh and original today, covering in itself almost as wide a range of music as Asmus Tietchens has in the past decade! Further albums have combined musics closer to Der Plan, D-A-F and The Residents, generally featuring many guests; that is excepting the unusual collage and tape experiments of HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC, which is amongst the first sampling music albums.
LP Warning WR 002 (1979)
LP Ata Tak WR 10 (1981)
LP Ata Tak WR 026 (1984)
HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC (1984)
LP Ata Tak WR 030 (1985)
Credited to: A.K. Klosowski & Pyrolator
LP Ata Tak WR 042 (1987)
P205 were of that typical mid-70's brand of German rock, a hint of Jane or Harlis, but with rather mediocre musicianship. Odd moments do shine on P205, but they were nothing special. For those liking a more basic rough edged rock music.
Konny Hempel (guitar), Wolfgang Burkhard (keyboards), Edwin Lotter (drums), Werner Weiss (vocals)
VIVAT PROGRESSIO PEREAT MUNDUS
LP Brutkasten 850 007 (1978)
MC ? (?)
The keyboardist from Novalis. He recorded only one solo, in the manner of instrumental Patrick Moraz, but with a touch of Teutonic synth-sequencer styling too. It was rather tame and uninspired when compared to his extraordinary musicianship in Novalis, and is only of minor interest.
SOLO TRIP (1978)
LP Strand 6.23663 (1979)
One of the better progressives of the mid-70's, Ramses had a good start with their debut LA LEYLA getting help from Klaus Hess (of Jane) as producer. Ramses were part of the new Eurorock front, with an accessible Anglo-American influenced style, and no doubt their Yes spiced symphonic progression on the Jane sound gained them almost instant notoriety. For their second album, Ramses pulled out all the stops, with a heavily produced, synthesized and spacious brand of progressive rock. ETERNITY RISE saw a vast development in complexity of composition, moving another step closer towards the likes of Yes or Starcastle. The much later LIGHT FANTASTIC is really best forgotten, as it relates hardly at all to the early albums, being rather straight song based rock, and more in common with neo-progressives.
Winfried Langhorst (keyboards, vocals), Hans D. Klinkhammer (bass), Norbert Langhorst (guitars), Herbert Natho (vocals), Reinhard Schröter (drums, percussion)
LA LEYLA (9-10/75)
LP Sky 002 (1976)
ETERNITY RISE (7-8/78)
LP Sky 020 (1978)
LIGHT FANTASTIC (4-5/81)
LP Sky 060 (1981)
Mostly originating as ex-members of the pop group the Rattles, and then the rock 'n' soul band Randy Pie & Family, the musicians in Randy Pie were also involved in the experimental rock albums of early Rattles musician Achim Reichel. Bassist Manfred Thiers had come from the hard-rock progressive band Gash. Surprisingly, whereas most supergroups are ill-fated, Randy Pie not only made one rather good progressive album (their debut), but also managed to continue on, and gain commercial success on (at least) four more pop oriented albums. Blending bluesy and jazzy styles into a dynamic and varied progressive, their debut contained much excellent typically German rock, sounding like a potpourri of Hamburg bands. After the not too bad HIGHWAY DRIVER, Randy Pie continued with further albums, each getting closer to pop music. Most Randy Pie members have gone on to other projects since (see the cross-reference index), though little has been of interest.
Dicky Tarrach (drums), Manfred Thiers (bass, vocals), Werner Becker (keyboards, vocals), Bernd Wippich (guitar, vocals), + Rainer Baumann (guitar)
RANDY PIE (8-9/73)
LP Zebra 2949 015 (1974)
LP Polydor 2371 555 (1975)
A hard-rock trio in the Anglo-American style, somewhere between Status Quo and Scorpions. Formed in 1972 in Hamburg, they were latecomers to the scene, and on large were indistinguishable from hoards of others.
Luigi de Luca (guitar), Peter Braun (bass), Holger Tempel (drums)
LP Polydor 2371 251 (1972)
Real Ax Band
A collection of Embryo affiliates venturing on to pastures new, with a highly derivative fusion fronted by Maria Archer's jazzy vocals. These presented a more accessible music than most Schneeball jazz-based bands, drawing on Latino, Afro and funk. However, the results were a patchy and rather untogether album.
Maria Archer (vocals), Dieter Miekautsch (piano, organ, vocals), Heinz-Otto Gwiasda (guitar, vocals, flute), Christopher Mache (bass, vocals), Marlon Klein (drums, congas)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1976
NICHT STEHENBLEIBEN, MOVE YOUR ASS IN TIME
LP April 2009 (1977)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
Amongst the late-70's wave of DDR progressives, Reform were as much inspired by the Heavy Metal Deep Purple sound as they were Pink Floyd, twisting such influences in to the archetypal East German type sound. Initially, the space-rock angle resulted in a number of interesting tracks on their debut, though the metal edge took over on later albums. Their albums 1982 onwards are of no real interest.
Stephan Trepte (vocals, keyboards), Jörg Blankenburg (guitar), Werner Kunze (keyboards, guitar), Jörg Dobbersch (bass), Peter Piele (drums)
LP Amiga 8 55 690 (DDR, 1979)
LP Amiga 8 55 899 (DDR, 1981)
Because of his background, outside Germany, Achim Reichel is one of the most overlooked of key figures in Krautrock history. An original member of the Rattles in 1963, he decided to move on after touring as support to The Beatles in 1966, and formed his own beat group Wonderland. Nothing remarkable yet, as these were also a rather straight pop outfit. 1969 was the catalyst, first playing support to The Nice and Deep Purple, and then meeting Ravi Shankar, and there was a lot of new talent on the Hamburg scene.
Wonderland became Wonderland Band, in 1970, with a totally different concept, amounting to a most unique psychedelic album. I suggest you check the Wonderland Band entry for more info, though it was this album, and Achim's discovery of the echo guitar, that gave birth to a phenomenal series of albums under the working title of "Achim Reichel & Machines". Joining Achim was fellow Wonderland member, their lead singer Frank Dorstal as song writer, and a selection of some of the finest musicians on the Hamburg scene, for a series of albums that are nothing less than remarkable. Other projects from this era were Propeller and Libido.
After playing a major gig at Hamburg's Musikhalle in May 1970, Achim jamming with the likes of Ritchie Blackmore, Graham Bond and Pete Brown, first off was the unprecedented DIE GRÜNE REISE, with its off-beat rock 'n' roll and psychedelia, taking the listener on a sonic journey of dazzling diversity, textures and innovation unheard of in 1971, not least so the ending, which is amongst the weirdest, most fascinating, wildly tripped-out things I've ever heard! But, that was only the start, venturing further into the cosmos was the grand opus ECHO, a double album of echo trips, echoed echoes, spiralling guitars, rock and psychedelic trips beyond Ash Ra Tempel, again ending up in the realms of total weirdness! Simple description isn't possible. Being such a popular and successful musician had its advantages, though I doubt many Wonderland fans would have warmed to ECHO, and next Achim set up his own label Zebra. In fact this was the first of a series of ventures, later including Gorilla Musik and Ahorn Records. The next albums in this series were billed on the front covers as AR 3 and AR IV. AR 3 took the eccentric song format and guitar gymnastics of DIE GRÜNE REISE to more progressive realms, whereas AR IV amounted to huge side-long jam sessions. The later ERHOLUNG continued this style, but on a much more cosmic and jazzy level, where Achim's guitar notably becoming very Günter Schickert-like, with Jochen Petersen proving to be amongst the most cosmic of sax players around! AUTOVISION marked the end of this creative era which, for the most part, is actually a collection of solo guitar experiments, with a few group tracks.
After this, Achim returned to the pop world, disillusioned with the state of the progressive music scene in Germany. He has since proven to be a man of many talents, as singer, producer, and has also become quite a successful actor.
Achim Reichel, + Dicky Tarrach, Hans Lampe, Bernhard Zinngrebe
DIE GRÜNE REISE (1970)
LP Polydor 2371 128 (1971)
2LP Polydor 2633 002 (1972)
LP Zebra 2949 006 (1972)
LP Zebra 2949 008 (1973)
AR 5 - AUTOVISION
LP Zebra 2949 016 (1974)
LP Brain 1068 (1975)
Release Music Orchestra
Borne out of the great Tomorrow's Gift via a complex transition that included the bands Release Group (also featuring Uli Trepte), Kickbit Information and Dennis, Release Music Orchestra (known as RMO for short) took a logical step from the Tomorrow's Gift masterpiece GOODBYE FUTURE being the same talented keyboards, bass and drums trio, supplemented by talented winds player Norbert Jacobsen. Documenting their first concert tour LIFE revealed an even closer association with the Canterbury type sound than later Tomorrow's Gift, with those Egg and Soft Machine complexities and avant-garde attitude, mixed into a lively fusion, with lots of Krautrock magic and their own unique style. A purely inventive instrumental music that is much more than jazz-rock! But, having said that, the following album GARUDA did step more towards jazz-rock, yet was still eclectic and exceptionally inventive, notably because of the prestigious guests, and the curious inclusion of solo interludes: "Zwischenspiel", by each musician. Margit Haberland, an experimental vocalist, was even more prominent on the slick fusion styled GET THE BALL, an album that was more like a hybrid of East European jazz-rock styles and dreamy German progressive styles. Latterly, without Margit, further releases paled somewhat, yet they were still much in demand at festivals, playing a fine jazz-rock fronted by Manne Rürup's unique keyboard style. He has since moved on to working as a film music composer. Other former RMO members formed Es.
Norbert Jacobsen (clarinet, piano, vocals), Bernd Kiefer (bass, vocals), Zabba Lindner (drums, xylophone), Manne Rürup (keyboards, vocals)
LP Brain 1056 (1974)
LP Brain 1072 (1975)
GET THE BALL
LP Brain 1083 (1976)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
BEYOND THE LIMIT (9/77)
LP Brain 60.115 (1978)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN II
LP Brain 60.194 (1979)
These were one of the earliest European ensembles working in the field of systemic music, in the realms of Philip Glass or Steve Reich. For the era, they were quite creative and prequelled the likes of Soft Verdict and Regular Music, and were also a good deal more avant-garde than most. Very little is known about them, and their sole LP is very obscure.
Loretta Zien (vocals), Simone Weiss (violin), Christiane Zanger (cello), Jochen Arp (flute, clarinets, soprano sax), Bill Zien (marimba, vibes), Michael Wehr (keyboards), Klaus Arp (keyboards)
LP private release 66.22815-01 (1976)
A pseudonym/project-name for various different Klaus Schulze group albums. On the first three releases, the only other constant was Michael Shrieve. TIME ACTOR was really Arthur Brown's show, further developing his work with Klaus on a more composed level. TONWELLE combined Ashra with Schulze's own TRANCEFER style. MEGATONE sounded more like a jam session. The odd album out though, was the fourth Richard Wahnfried MIDITATION, which is mostly based on old recordings of Klaus Schulze and Steve Joliffe. More recently, as just Wahnfried, Klaus has used this guise to present his venture into techno music.
Arthur Brown (vocals), Vincent Crane (keyboards), Klaus Schulze (synthesizers, pianett, clavinet, vocoder, Mellotron), Michael Shrieve (rhythmical advice), Wolfgang Tiepold (cello)
TIME ACTOR (1979)
LP IC 58.031 (1979)
LP IC KS 80.006 (1981)
PLAYS MEGATONE (1984)
LP InTeam ID 20.006 (1984), Thunderbolt THBL 031 (UK, 1986)
LP InTeam ID 20.009 (1986)
A little known, but important key figure in Düsseldorf music history, the multi-instrumentalist and synthesist, Wolfgang Riechmann originated from the obscure Spirit Of Sound, and later joined Streetmark, changing their sound considerably. After this, he recorded one solo album, the corny titled WUNDERBAR, which sounded like a synthi hybrid of bouncy Kraftwerk and La Düsseldorf, with some more atmospheric touches. Shortly after the LP's release (in August 1978) Wolfgang was stabbed during a pub brawl and died.
Wolfgang Riechmann (vocals, violin, guitar, electric piano, bass, synthesizers, sequencer), + Hans Schweiß (drums)
LP Sky 017 (1978)
A surprising one-off project from a collection of unlikely Austrian musicians, featuring Richard Schoenherz (former pop musician and latter-day new-age jazzer) in a fully fledged symphonic rock opus featuring both The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The Vienna Academy Chamber Choir, that ranges from relaxed ballads through to hard-rock.
Richard Schoenherz (keyboards, vocals), Manuel Rigoni (drums, percussion), + Kurt Hauenstein (bass, vocals), Harry Stojka (guitars), Achim Buchstab (vocals), Johan Daansen (guitars), Peter Wolf (synthesizer)
2LP Bacillus BRO 8501 (1975)
Hans-Joachim Roedelius is long established on the German new-music scene as a pioneer of electronic and ambient musics. He grew up in what was to become East Berlin, as the son of teachers and church musicians, and thus learnt the finer arts of the church organ. Not until he was in his mid-30's, in 1967, did he decide to leave that background and become involved in the flourishing Berlin underground. He became involved in the groups Noises and Plus/Minus (notorious for their renditions of Stockhausen works), helped establish the Zodiak Club (with Conrad Schnitzler) and worked in numerous other projects. In 1969 the free-electronic group Kluster was formed (with Schnitzler and Moebius) later becoming Cluster. This is a long and complex history you can read about elsewhere in this book! All the time, however, besides working with Cluster, Harmonia, Brian Eno, and on various session projects, Roedelius was also regularly experimenting on his own with organs and various devices, in his small home studio. Some of his favourites of these early experiments were later released as the SELBSTPORTRAIT series of LP's, and showed a fascination in both ambient and romantic classical musics, and notably nods to Satie and Debussy.
The first solo Roedelius release however, was not so much a Roedelius album, but more of a Roedelius & Plank album, a weirdly concocted hybrid of Cluster styles, industrial and cosmic Krautrock, and much more. A radical and innovative album, but unfortunately it was a style he wouldn't develop further. The French release JARDIN AU FOU set the trend for other 70's releases, being moody and light, with an odd quirkiness, taken on to medieval realms with LUSTWANDEL. Though much of what Roedelius released during the 80's was light and easy going, often verging on light classical and jazz musics, he hadn't let up on experimenting. This darker side to his talent was first proven with the really weird DER OHRENSPIEGEL, and the more recent THEATRE WORKS (a historical anthology of unreleased soundtrack recordings) and the strangest of all these SINFONIA CONTEMPORA NO. 1, which explores sound creation and sampling unlike anything else I've heard. This move to more experimental musics again, also lead to the reformation of Cluster. At 60, Roedelius has become amongst the most wide ranging and prolific talents on the new-music scene. No matter what your taste in new-music is, Roedelius has done it, with musics ranging from lightweight jazz and classical, via electronic ambient, and psychedelic rock, onto pure avant-garde weirdness.
DURCH DIE WÜSTE (5/76+1/78)
LP Sky 014 (1978)
JARDIN AU FOU (4+7/78)
LP Egg 90.291 (France, 1978)
LP Sky 028 (1979)
SELBSTPORTRAIT VOL. II (1973-79)
LP Sky 040 (1980)
SELBSTPORTRAIT VOL. III (1973-79)
LP Sky 044 (1980)
AUF LEISEN SOHLEN
MC Transmitter TC 18 (1981)
LP Sky 058 (1981)
WENN DER SÜDWIND WEHT (1980)
LP Sky 064 (1981)
OFFENE TÜREN (1980)
LP Sky 072 (1981)
FLIEG VOGEL FLIEGE (5/82)
LP Sky 078 (1982)
WASSER IM WIND (1981-82)
LP Schallter 204 686 (Austria, 1982)
GESCHENK DES AUGENBLICKS "GIFT OF THE MOMENT" (1983)
LP Editions EG EGED 34 (UK, 1984)
WIE DAS WISPERN DES WINDES... "LIKE THE WHISPERING OF THE WIND" (1983-85)
LP Cicada C 004 (Norway, 1986)
LP Venture VE 4 (UK, 1987)
LP Amadeo 831 627 (Austria, 1987)
BASTIONEN DER LIEBE "FORTRESS OF LOVE"
LP Venture VE 42 (UK, 1989)
Originating with the band Spirit Of Sound, Michael Rother spent a short time with Kraftwerk before establishing with fellow Kraftwerk member Klaus Dinger, the dynamic duo Neu! Michael also worked in the band Harmonia, with Cluster musicians. As a soloist, Michael's output has never quite lived up to what most people expected. A talented guitarist and explorative musician, yet even his debut FLAMMENDE HERZEN sounded like a diluted Neu! Though notable for Jaki Liebezeit's precision drumming, and exceptional quality production, it was the start of a trend that ended up with later albums becoming very mellow. Amusingly, one could say some ended up sounding like Hank Marvin interpreting Neu! The recent CD reissues all include remixes and new tracks as bonus material and attempt to promote Michael Rother as the father of techno!
Michael Rother (guitars, electric piano, bass, synthesizer, organ, electronic percussion), + Jaki Liebezeit (drums)
FLAMMENDE HERZEN (6-9/76)
LP Sky 007 (1977)
LP Sky 013 (1978)
LP Sky 033 (1979)
LP Polydor 2372 111 (1981)
LP Polydor 815 469 (1983)
SÜSSHERZ UND TIEFENSCHÄRFE (11/84-2/85)
LP Polydor 825 619 (1985)
LP Polydor 833 685 (1988)
An obscure lightweight brass-rock band, notably inspired by Chicago, though generally closer to the Emergency sound. Only of marginal interest.
Jean-Pierre Wuttke (tenor/alto saxes), Bernd Heil (guitar, bass, vocals), Ralph Bloch (drums), Gustav Csik (organ, tenor sax), Laszlo Juhasz (trumpet, bass), Kurt Weil (trombone, vibes)
LP Harvest 1C 062-29 438 (1972)
Listen People / Like How You Say It
7" Harvest 1C 006-30 373 (1972)
DOWN TO EARTH (1/73)
LP Harvest 1C 062-29 483 (1973)
Four members of this band (Detlev Nottrodt, James Thurow, Ronnie Libal and Günter Klinger) went on to form the legendary Eulenspygel (with three other musicians). As Royal Servants, who featured a vocalist who sang in English, they reputedly played a mixture of psych-pop and longer more progressive tracks.
James Thurow (guitars), Detlev Nottrodt (vocals, guitars), Manfred Maier (vocals), Ronald Libal (bass), Reinhard Hetzinger (organ), Günter Klinger (drums)
Burning Region / Help Me Please
7" Juke Box JB 1 (1969)
Still I Belong / The Blues Comin' My Way
7" Royal Corporation RC 1003 (1970)
LP Elite Special PLPS 301 30 (1970)
Debuting at the "Pop & Jazz Festival" in Bilzen in Autumn 1969, Rufus Zuphall (from the Northern German town of Aachen, next to the Dutch border) had a lot of influences at play in their music: Teutonic folk, Dutch psychedelia, a notable nod to Jethro Tull with much flute and dynamics, and a great deal of innovation of their own. Their self-produced debut WEISS DER TEUFEL is considered one of the underground classics of the Krautrock era, a mostly instrumental, live and vibrant excursion full of raw energy and riddled with surprises. PHALLOBST saw Rufus Zuphall succumbing to Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser's whim to turn Pilz into a folk label, and features an excellent version of the folk standard "Portland Town", alongside some rivetingly complex progressive numbers. AVALON AND ON is a posthumous release comprising of PHALLOBST, an LP of archive recordings (including demos for an aborted third LP), two LP's documenting their concert in Aachen (17 June 1972) from their farewell tour, and a single by Günter Krause.
Klaus Gülden (flutes, percussion), Günter Krause (guitars, vocals), Helmut Lieblang (bass), Udo Dahmen (drums, tablas), + Erich Engels (percussion)
WEISS DER TEUFEL (1969)
LP Good-Will 10001 (1971)
LP Pilz 20 21099-5 (1971)
AVALON AND ON (1970-72)
4LP+7" Little Wing of Refugees LW 1037-41 (1994)
These were an obscure Impromptu project of Christian Burchard and Roman Bunka (both of Embryo), working with ethnic musicologist Keith Wells, experimenting with fusing Asian musics into other genres. Only documented by a cassette and a couple of live recordings, Sadja were the initial push that moved the Embryo style onto pastures new, into ethnic music more than rock.
Kenneth Wells (sarod), Roman Bunka (saz, oud), Christian Burchard (marimba)
MC Munich East Cassettes No.1 (1974)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
Previously known as Subject Esq., it seems they changed name to Sahara to get out of a redundant contract with CBS. Personnel wise, the only difference in Sahara was a new keyboardist (Hennes Hering from Out Of Focus), and a full-time lead guitarist. With a proliferation of multi-instrumentalists, a mass of keyboards and various wind instruments, it was no surprise that the album SUNRISE should be quite different. In fact, it's an odd album! Two of the tracks on side 1 do develop the Subject Esq. sound on a more progressive and classical rock spiced front (they sandwich a duff country number, that's best forgotten). But it's the instrumental 27 minute "Sunrise" suite that's the most extraordinary, a winding excursion that ranges from Camel to The Cosmic Jokers, from Pink Floyd to Pulsar, from... you get the idea?! It's a cosmic fan's nirvana. Over a year and a half on, a few minor personnel changes, including Holger Brandt from Missing Link, and a much more distinctive sound developed. As witnessed on FOR ALL THE CLOWNS, really it was back to Subject Esq., with an overdose of progressive influences, notably Focus, Caravan and Yes, and a potpourri of other styles. The results were a very complex and sophisticated progressive, and an album that is still very fresh and surprising. It's a shame that after this Sahara disbanded.
Hennes Hering (keyboards), Michael Hofmann (woodwinds, Moog, Mellotron, vocals), Alex Pittwohn (harmonica, tenor sax, vocals), Harry Rosenkind (drums, percussion), Stefan Wissnet (bass, vocals), Nick Woodland (guitars)
LP Pan 87.306-IT (1974), Dawn DNLS 3068 (UK, 1975)
FOR ALL THE CLOWNS (8/75)
LP Ariola 89377 OT (1976)
A collection of Munich musicians fronted by ex-Amon Düül II vocalist/percussionist Christian "Shrat" Thiele. The original band produced a music with trippy Amon Düül II and Hawkwind stylings, and is especially notable for the stunning improvised side-long work "Anotherwaytoseeimprovisation". Shrat's vocals, only heard rarely in Amon Düül II, come across as most strange, adding a unique touch to a highly derivative blend of Krautrock styles. The later incarnation of the band were more of a supergroup, with other Amon Düül II and Gila musicians, but musically they offered a rather bland mainstream rock. Their album is of historical interest only.
Klaus Götzner (drums), Walter Bratengeier (guitar), Eckart Voggenreiter (bass), Shrat (vocals, congas), + Bob Eliscu (oboe, flute), Jürgen Benz (sax)
LP Brain 1020 (1972)
HUNGRY FOR LOVE (6-7/74)
LP Warner Bros 56074 (1974)
Originating from lower Saxony, the musicians of Sand were like many Berlin bands, being people drawn there by the unique possibilities Berlin had to offer. An early incarnation, as a five piece band, were known as P.O.T. (Part Of Time) who toured extensively, and settled for a while in Cologne, but never released anything. So, as a trio (without the bassist or drummer) Sand were formed in 1972 when they moved base to Berlin. Inspired by the spirit of the scene in Berlin, they went out of their way to be as original as they could.
Sand only made the one album: GOLEM, which has remained a little-known obscurity, due to being issued as one of the special projects organised for the Kunstkopf demonstration series on Delta-Acustic. Notable for being produced by Klaus Schulze, and also the unique creation of combining cosmic synthesizer, folk and rock musics, sans drums or any conventional instrumental structures, GOLEM is a mystical album rich with the creative spirit of the era. A little hint of Pink Floyd here and there, and obvious Schulze influence, are the only references I could quote as pointers. A really trippy album, with swirling string-synthesizers, cosmic electronics, beyond the nether regions of cosmic Witthüser+Westrupp. Magic!
Ludwig Papenberg (guitars, organ, drums, choir), Hannes Vester (vocals, VCS3), Ulrich Papenberg (bass, percussion, choir), + Christian von der Schulenburg (electric piano)
LP Delta-Acustic 25-128-1 (1974)
A late addition to the first wave of Krautrock, Satin Whale were influenced by many of the bands that had preceded them: Jane, Sahara, Os Mundi, et al., blending powerful rock ballads with dramatic instrumentals that featured classical and jazz elements, and a notable comparison with Camel in the use of keyboards and flute. Their debut on Brain featured lengthy tracks with surging instrumentals and quite an individual song style. Moving to Nova, subsequent albums followed this tradition in their own unique style, although LOST MANKIND is the only other studio album that comes close to DESERT PLACES, be it all the more highly produced. The double live WHALECOME is also notable, as it showcased much of their best material, and presented later songs with much more spontaneity and invention, not least though it also presents a lengthy and stunning rock arrangement of "Hava Nagila". Excepting the film soundtrack album DIE FAUST IN DER TASCHE, the later albums are more mainstream song oriented rock.
Thomas Brück (bass, vocals), Horst Schättgen (drums, vocals), Dieter Roesberg (guitars, flutes, alto sax, lead vocals), Gerald Dellmann (organ, piano, vibes)
LP Brain 1049 (1974)
LOST MANKIND (1/75)
LP Nova 6.22248 (1975)
AS A KEEPSAKE (10-12/76)
LP Nova 6.22969 (1977)
2LP Nova 6.28449 (1978)
A WHALE OF A TIME (6-7/78)
LP Nova 6.23602 (1978)
DIE FAUST IN DER TASCHE (9/78)
LP Nova 6.23715 (1979)
DON'T STOP THE SHOW (8-11/80)
LP Polydor 2417 139 (1981)
Originating from the Oldenburg group Spektakel, and brainchild of classical keyboardist Gerhard Führs, SFF offered a unique twist on the instrumental musics of King Crimson, ELP, Refugee, et al., combining elements of all into an elaborately crafted and complex rock, full of dynamics and a veritable overdose of keyboards. Their debut SYMPHONIC PICTURES was at the very leading edge of art-rock and, along with its slightly less bombastic successor SUNBURST, is now acclaimed as a classic of 70's classical rock. The side-long Mellotron driven "Pictures" could exceed 30 minutes at concerts, being a spectacular suite of interlinked themes in the manner of Clearlight's equally great opus "Clearlight Symphony". As Schicke became involved in other projects (Hoelderlin for instance) the other musicians continued as the duo of Führs Fröhling. The third SFF album offered a lighter synthesized rock style, and though it had its moments, TICKET TO EVERYWHERE had only a trace of the glory of their earlier albums.
Eduard Schicke (drums, percussion, Moog, metallophon), Gerhard Führs (piano, Moog, clavinet, Mellotron, string ensemble), Heinz Fröhling (bass, guitar, Mellotron)
LP Brain 60.010 (1976)
LP Brain 60.068 (1977)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN II
TICKET TO EVERYWHERE
LP Brain 60.173 (1978)
A pioneer of the echo-guitar, a multi-instrumental talent and innovator of his own unique echo-rock, Günter has been long active on the Berlin scene, from the 60's in free-jazz, then fronting many bands, and also playing in concert with Klaus Schulze. He's one of the most prolific, yet least known of Krautrock musicians. His debut LP, the groundbreaking SAMTVOGEL (originally self-produced and promptly reissued on Brain) treated the guitar as a mass multi-channel sequencer, with layer upon layer of surging cycling melodies and rhythms, spiralling on in a most complex and carefully crafted manner. A kind of cosmic Krautrock with a dark otherworldly feel. ÜBERFÄLLIG (aptly titled, meaning "Overdue") appeared several years later, this time featuring the aid of a drummer, and a more forceful rock oriented music with a rhythmic structure recalling Can, but with lots of dancing entangled guitar sequences in ever-changing waves of dazzling complexity. Around this time Günter was also involved in the more Ash Ra Tempel-like trio GAM, as well as composing music for theatre productions, some of which he had accompanied live on stage. A third solo, KINDER DER WILDNIS has only been documented as a cassette release, and features a much wider range of styles in shorter tracks with quite a few songs, a more eclectic and distinctly Teutonic blend than his earlier albums. Günter has been involved in further theatre productions as well as the bands No Zen Orchestra and Ziguri Ego Zoo. He remains one of the few currently active and innovative musicians from the 70's. SOMNAMBUL documents over a decade of recent solo work, and shows the wealth of new ideas he continues to come up with.
LP private release SCH 33003 (1974), Brain 1080 (1975)
LP Sky 032 (1979)
Toncollage Zu Dem Film: In Den Zeichen Vom Sabine
7" private release 25882 (1982)
KINDER DER WILDNIS (1983)
MC YHR 031 (UK, 1983), Auricle AMC 009 (UK, 1985)
Uve Schikora Gruppe
An obscure DDR band, who took a step on from pop music, blending in psychedelia and Krautrock, to make something quite unique. Beyond Die Puhdys, quaintly dated, yet with the raw edge of invention, and hints of Nosferatu and Xhol in the instrumentals. It shows that, had history been different, bands like this may have blossomed like their Western counterparts.
Uve Schikora (vocals, soprano sax, piano, organ), Michael Schubert (vocals, 12-string guitar), Bernd Müller (organ), Jürgen Matkiowitz (guitar), Jurgen Diessner (bass), Reiner Miehatsch (drums), + Frank Schöbel (vocals)
LP Amiga 855 290 (DDR, 1972)
An important figure as a producer for the Ohr label and an aid in establishing April Records. He also had a mobile studio and specialised in recording festivals. He engineered the L.S. Bearforce album too! As a soloist, however, Julius amounted to little more than a protest singer with no appeal whatsoever to non-German ears. Okay, his lyrics may be poignant and scathing, they sound so, but musically (despite the impressive guest list on ARISTOTELES) his solo work is very dull!
Julius Schittenhelm (vocals, guitars), + Christian Burchard (drums, marimba, organ, percussion, pianett), Uwe Müllrich (bass, percussion), Friedemann Josch (flute, soprano sax), Burkard Schmidl (synthesizer, piano), Jofrey P.R. Ramos (percussion)
LP April 0004 (1976)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
LP Schneeball 0021 (1979)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
LP Schneeball 0031 (1982)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PAPENBURG 1983
A jazz fusion vibes player, in the vein of Dave Pike. His Wolfgang Schlüter Combo album HANGOVER is notable for the Brave New World connections of Lucas Lindholm and John O'Brien-Docker (as producer), yet is rather easy listening moody jazz-fusion with Leszek Zadlo's saxes as the main solo instruments and Schlüter's cool vibes a close second.
Rob Franken (keyboards), Lucas Lindholm (basses), Axel Riel (drums), Wolfgang Schlüter (vibes), Jan Tolf (guitar), Leszek Zadlo (soprano/tenor saxes, flute)
LP Peer International PIL 9038 (1977)
An Austrian band, who started as folk but later evolved into a complex theatrical progressive, with Sparifankal and Floh De Cologne touches, moving onto progressive rock-opera.
Beatrix Neundlinger (flutes, vocals), Erich Meixner (bass, accordion, sax, piano, vocals), Georg Herrnstadt (piano, synthesizer, organ, vocals), Willi Resetarits (drums, percussion, harmonica, vocals), Herbert Tampier (guitars, mandolin, bass, vocals)
LIEDER FÜRS LEBEN
LP Antagon ALP 3205 (1975)
LP Antagon ALP 3208 (1977)
3LP Antagon ALP 3213/1-3 (1977)
LP Antagon ALP 3230 (1978)
LP Eigelstein 2012/Extraplatte 18 (1981)
DIE LETZTE WELT (1982)
2LP Eigelstein 6.28612 (1982)
Wolfgang was Passport's bassist/guitarist during the early to mid-70's. As with most musicians in Passport, he yearned to push further, and thus went on to front his own version of the band (sans Doldinger). Wolfgang, however, never had that leadership quality to make a really strong musical statement, and although his music was pleasant jazz-rock, typical of the Munich scene, it was hardly distinctive or memorable. Wolfhound later became the name of Wolfgang Schmid's band, however their style was light soul-rock-jazz stepping on from the lighter parts of his debut, and thus are of even less interest!
Wolfgang Schmid (guitars, bass, vocals), + Kristian Schultze (organ, piano, clavinet, synthesizer), Peter Ponger (electric piano), Leszek Zadlo (flute), Curt Cress (drums, percussion)
LP Atlantic ATL 50132 (1975)
Formerly an academically trained musician, experienced in the worlds of classical and ethnic musics, and also studies with the likes of John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez and Luciano Berio, Irmin Schmidt has proven to be a creative and very talented musician. A long-standing bastion of Can, as keyboard player and occasional multi-instrumentalist, Irmin's solo career started with a series of soundtrack commissions documented on two FILMMUSIK LP's, which combined fiery Can style instrumental rock music, as well as unusual counterpoints between synthesizers and saxophone, folky diversions, and also venturing into unusual classical spiced realms. On later albums Irmin also took up vocals, and much of his later output depends on whether you like Irmin's vocals or song-style. On such albums, he can be found creating a peculiar concoction of Can-like music mixed with pop, weird jazz, and all sorts of other musics. All such albums (including various soundtracks) are most certainly an acquired taste. Collaborator, Swiss multi-instrumentalist Bruno Spoerri, involved in some of this soundtrack work, also worked with Irmin on the highly influential electronic space-music and ethnic disco concoction, presented as by the duo Toy Planet (see entry elsewhere).
Irmin Schmidt (synthesizers, keyboards), + Max Lässer (guitars), Peter Keiser (bass), Walter Keiser (drums, cymbals), Bruno Spoerri (tenor sax), Michael Karoli (guitar)
LP Spoon 003 (1980)
FILMMUSIK, VOL. 2 (1980-81)
LP Spoon 013 (1982)
LP Teldec 6.25687 (1983)
FILMMUSIK, VOL. 3 & 4 (1982-83)
2LP Spoon 018/19 (1984)
12" Virgin 602 047 (1985)
MUSK AT DUSK (1986)
LP WEA 242 010-1 (1987)
FILMMUSIK, VOL. 5: REPORTER
LP Virgin 209 919 (1989)
Richard Schneider Jr.
A rock guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, whose most interesting work was on his second album. A bit of speculation here, but remarkably, on the cover picture of FATA MORGANA Richard Schneider Jr. looks a lot like Can's Michael Karoli, and his guitar style is so similar too. Maybe it's coincidence? Though the backing band are Dunkelziffer and Phantom Band musicians, and the music runs from Pink Floyd cum Eloy territory on to Can SAW DELIGHT realms.
Richard Schneider Jr. (guitars, synthesizers, percussion, vocals, baritone sax, flutes, piano), + Helmut Zerlett (synthesizer, pianos, drums), Wolfgang Maus (bass), Jaki Liebezeit (drums, congas), Helmut Schneider (synthesizer), Stefan Krachten (drums)
LP Harvest 1C 064-32 562 (1977)
LP Harvest 1C 064-46 009 (1980)
Often quoted as the father of the Berlin Underground, Conrad Schnitzler actually originated from Düsseldorf, and only became involved in the Berlin scene in 1967 when he was 30. In these early days, Con had a fascination for chance music, for electronic devices. Famous for establishing the Zodiak Club, the birthplace of Kluster, it was also a regular gigging and jamming place for all sorts of people, like the musicians from Agitation and Tangerine Dream. Here the prototype Kluster were formed, and also it lead to Con joining Tangerine Dream for their debut album ELECTRONIC MEDITATION. Rock music though wasn't really Conrad's oeuvre, so Kluster were established proper, and then later he formed the live session band Eruption.
But, Con saw his role as a sonic artist, carving and fragmenting sound rather than playing music with melodic form. So, he went on to experiment solo, using Kluster sound sources for the album SCHWARZ (commissioned by the Block gallery as a sound installation) and thereafter experimenting further with the new electronic gadgets and synthesizers that came onto the market. The other two thirds of Kluster continued without him, as Cluster, whilst Con explored his own musical ideas. Isolated from the music scene, Con took on his music as a way of life, constantly experimenting and recording. He was also often commissioned for performances at festivals and galleries. At this time he developed unique forms of concert performance, in which several cassettes were used at random together with live electronics, thus still adhering to his earlier passion for chance music. His first proper solo LP, housed in a plain red cover, and known a ROT, presented a vast sounding and very dark synthesizer music, full of rasping a twittering sounds, industrial electronics full of power - buzzing electricity - enough to fry the senses! Whereas red meant hot and angry, the blue album BLAU that followed, was cool and flowing, with more modulated tones, glissando guitar, and a quite ethereal air. Still weird, but with an underlying melodic context.
Con's big break was when later ex-Tangerine Dream member Peter Baumann, produced an album for release on the international market, recorded at Peter's Paragon studio. It gained release on Egg in France, and on licensed labels in many countries, and presented a refined but powerful electronic music, that pulsed and buzzed with amazing invention. A big success for such weird and creative music, hereon the Conrad Schnitzler release overload happened! And, aside from solo work, he went on to collaborate with the new generation of experimental Berlin bands, like Rollkomanndo, Aussenminister, and others, as well as with his son Gregor, and later the Berlin Express trio with Peter Baumann. Con also became a novel institution in Berlin, giving bizarre street concerts, aided by customised electronics and a helmet fitted with a loudspeaker horn! Of the proliferation of LP releases that continued through to the mid-80's, CONAL is one of the most arresting and strange, GELB (an archive recording from 1974) showed that Con had also delved into more cosmic synthesizer, GRUNE revealed more stark sounds from the CON album era, going even darker on CONTROL. Collaborations with Wolfgang Seidel (aka Wolf Sequenzer) were billed as by Consequenz, and offered a more rhythmic and playful twist on the usual Con sound, though not as playful as the electro-pop of CON 3! And in contrast were the abstract recordings of Con-Hertz. For over 25 years Conrad Schnitzler has been an innovator, and creator of some astonishingly powerful electronic music.
LP Block KS 1001 (1971)
LP Block KS 1002 (1972)
MC private release (1973)
LP Block KS 1003 (1973)
THE RED CASSETTE
MC private release (1974)
THE BLACK CASSETTE
MC private release (1974)
LP Egg 90.184 (France, 1978), Paragon 66052 (1978)
Auf Dem Schwarzen Kanal
12" EP RCA 5908 (1980)
LP private release CT 1001 (1981)
LP Sky 061 (1981)
CONRAD & SOHN
LP Gregor S. GS 1001 (1981)
Credited to: Conrad & Gregor Schnitzler
LP Uniton 002 (Norway, 1981)
LP DYS 04 (USA, 1981)
LP Block EB 110 (1981)
LP Block EB 111 (1981)
MC Transmitter TC 42 (1981)
CONTEXT - KOMPOSITION FÜR SECHS CASSETTEN
6MC Block (1981)
LP Gregor S. GS 1002 (1982)
featured on: BERLINER IN BERLIN
6MC Transmitter TC 93-98 (1982) «features 12 unreleased albums: T1 through to T12»
CON 33/83 UND 35/83 (1983)
2MC Transmitter TC 113/114 (1983)
featured on: INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIP
CON 1.7.84 (1/7/84)
LP private release CON 84 (1984) #222
featured on: THREE MINUTE SYMPHONY
2LP X-Tract XX 002 (UK, 1984)
featured on: SOUNDS COSMODEL
LP Atelier Peyotl #apsp (Japan, 1984)
CON '84 (1984)
2MC Transmitter TC 124/125 (1984)
featured on: TRANSATLANTIC OVERDUB
LP Fabprod. 5 (Holland, 1985)
2MC Transmitter TC 133/134 (1985)
LP Idiosyncratics 1-86-103 (USA, 1986)
MC private release KK 014 (1986)
CON '86 (1986)
2MC Cintas Esplendor Geometrico EGK 015 (Spain, 1987)
MICON IN ITALIA (1986)
LP Auf Dem Nil DMM 003 R (Italy, 1987)
Credited to: Conrad Schnitzler & Michael Otto
MC private release (USA, 1986)
Credited to: GenCon (Gen Ken & Conrad Schnitzler)
LP Discos Esplendor Geometrico EG 009 (Spain, 1987)
BLACK BOX 1987
2MC private release (1987) #30
MC GenCon GEC 06 (USA, 1987)
CONDITIONS OF THE GAS GIANT
MC Birdo'Pray BC-045 (USA, 1987)
featured on: NO BORDERS
LP Generations Unlimited GU-LP 01 (USA, 1988)
MC Generations Unlimited MCS1 (USA, 1988)
Credited to: Conrad Schnitzler & Michael Chocholak
MC GenCon SOP 185 (USA, 1988)
Credited to: GenCon (Gen Ken & Conrad Schnitzler)
NEW DRAMATIC ELECTRONIC MUSIC (1987)
LP Generations Unlimited GC-LP 02 (USA, 1988)
Credited to: GenCon (Gen Ken & Conrad Schnitzler)
JANUAR-DEZEMBER 1988 (1-12/88)
12MC Generations Unlimited CS 1-12 (USA, 1988-89)
LP Urlo Panseri Editore UR-Ri (Italy, 1990)
Credited to: Conrad Schnitzler & Giancarlo Toniuti
JANUAR-DEZEMBER 1989 (1-12/89)
12MC Generations Unlimited CS 13-24 (USA, 1989-90)
A classically trained musician, born in Stuttgart, who has been involved in all manner of musics, from orchestral through to pop and jazz, as well as working in the avant-garde, Eberhard Schoener is a musician impossible to classify. He was in a jazz band with Popol Vuh's Florian Fricke in the 60's, and has never stayed still since! In the early-70's he established his own orchestra, which is probably best known for collaborations with rock groups, notably Deep Purple's Jon Lord, on the album WINDOWS. And, also of note here, was a symphonic collaboration with Tangerine Dream in the mid-80's. Most importantly however, Eberhard Schoener is hailed as the first German musician to own a "Big Moog" system, and was also amongst the first musicians to do an album of purely synthesizer music. The spacious and tranquil MEDITATION had a very similar feel to some of Tangerine Dream's ZEIT, with just one track per side of gently oozing synthesizer tones. Another innovation was the unique fusion of Gamelan music, synthesizers and drums, on the extraordinary BALI-AGÚNG. Strangely, Eberhard Schoener found himself getting together as a backing band what would become The Police! Yes, the pop band. But, before this, THE BOOK and TRANCE-FORMATION albums both featured Andy Summers playing some beautiful guitar. After this, Eberhard got caught up in a series of David Parsons Project type albums, hybrids of pop, rock-opera, and more experimental musics. As a result, the Harvest albums, from FLASHBACK onwards get rapidly worse during the 80's. Still, Eberhard has continued to diversify, he recorded a unique atmospheric album using digital synthesis and sampling called SKY MUSIC/MOUNTAIN MUSIC, has worked with Tangerine Dream, produced music for film, and more recently issued a sequel to BALI-AGÚNG called BALI SYMPHONY.
LP Ariola 87131 (1973)
LP Harvest 1C 062-29 647 (1976)
LP Ariola 28.706 (1977)
LP Harvest 1C 064-32 526 (1977)
LP Harvest 1C 064-32 839 (1978)
LP Harvest 1C 064-45 234 (1979)
SKY MUSIC/MOUNTAIN MUSIC (10/83-2/84)
LP Kuckuck 071 (1984)
LP IDE Musik 261-484-1 (1990)
These were an oddball political cabaret and rock group, who were formed by Uli Hundt in 1976. They were unusual, in that they crossed punk energy with the eccentric humour (akin to Nina Hagen Band) and techno-progressive sound of Grobschnitt. From their more angry sounding origins, akin to Ton Steine Scherben, they in a way became the Lokomotive Kreuzberg of the 80's. In 1981 Uli left the band to go solo.
Uli Hundt (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Gerd Beracz (guitar, vocals), Richard Herten (drums, percussion), Didi Maaz (piano), Peter Michels (congas, bongo, flute), Rich Schwab (bass, vocals, percussion),
+ Heribert Leuchter (sax)
SENSATIONELL - AUF FREIEM FUSS
LP Zarah Zylinder ZZ 14610 (1977)
ANARCHIE IN GERMONEY
LP Zarah Zylinder ZZ 16412 (1978)
LIVE IN TOKYO (1980)
LP Trikont US 0073 (1980)
DEUTSCHLAND, DEUTSCHLAND (1981)
LP Trikont US 0095 (1981)
WIR LIEBEN DAS LAND
LP EMI 1C 064-65 066 (1983)
One of the most original synthesists to emerge in the late-70's, who despite having obvious Klaus Schulze influences, went on to develop a style of his own that influenced a scene of more melodic synth-sequencer musics. His use of classical styled melodies and lively sequences was later taken up and developed further by Mergener & Weisser, after Robert Schroeder had moved on to less interesting commercial styled synth musics on PARADISE.
HARMONIC ASCENDANT (1979)
LP IC 58.087 (1979)
FLOATING MUSIC (8/80)
LP IC KS 80.001 (1980)
LP IC KS 80.016 (1981)
GALAXIE CYGNUS-A (1982)
LP IC KS 80.021 (1982)
Skywalker / Space Detective
12" IC KS 45/80.029 (1983)
LP IC KS 80.029 (1983)
Galactic Floor / Black Out (1984)
12" Racket RRK 45/15015
COMPUTER VOICE (7-9/84)
LP Racket RRK 15025 (1984)
BRAIN VOYAGER (7-8/85)
LP Racket RRK 15030 (1985)
LP Racket RRK 15033 (1986)
LP Racket RRK 15041 (1988)
Arguably amongst the most influential of musicians on the German scene, Klaus Schulze has always been a radical and adventurous musician. An important force behind everything from the Berlin Krautrock and cosmic front, through to new-age and the current techno wave. Berlin born and bred, he grew up always fascinated with music, at the early age of 15 he was playing the guitar in school bands playing pop music. By 1967 he had his own band Psy Free. At this time he was studying at the Berlin Technical University, and attended seminars on experimental composition with the likes of Ligeti, Dahlhaus and Winkel, and it is most obvious that the serious avant-garde front in the mid-60s had a big impact. By 1968 Klaus was experimenting with organ and devices, creating extraordinary cosmic music. In 1969 Edgar Froese asked Klaus if he could fill in for an absent drummer in Tangerine Dream. Shortly after, he joined the band proper. Conrad Schnitzler completed the trio, who went on to record the radical ELECTRONIC MEDITATION. Klaus didn't stay in Tangerine Dream long though, and joined another band as drummer: the Steeple Chase Bluesband, who promptly became Ash Ra Tempel. After recording an album and playing numerous concerts, Klaus left Ash Ra Tempel to concentrate on solo work.
Many of Klaus' early experiments with organs and electronic gadgetry can now be experienced via the 10 CD set HISTORIC EDITION, which puts into context the radical ideas Klaus had for a new music. His debut solo IRRLICHT, drew on these ideas, and with the aid of a small orchestra, a 4-track tape recorder, organ, guitar, percussion and electronic gadgetry, Klaus went on to produce a cosmic classic without synthesizers, a touch of Terry Riley maybe, and remarkable use of tapes, hurtling into the nether regions of infinity. Klaus hadn't given up as a drummer, fortunately, as he's amongst the most expressive of drummers, and in 1972 he recorded a 30 minute drum solo "Totemfeuer" for a ballet production, which he also used as a concert backing tape. He also played drums on Sergius Golowin's LORD KRISHNA VON GOLOKA and again played with Ash Ra Tempel on JOIN INN.
His second solo, the double CYBORG, with one vast sprawling and spacious piece per side, again used orchestra tapes, along with organ, VCS3 synthesizer, and was an even more esoteric music of pulsing twittering electronics, Mellotron-like orchestra, and shimmering organ. The Walter Wegmüller and Cosmic Jokers' albums fit in around here, and also Klaus filled in on a short French tour with Tangerine Dream. With a greatly expanded instrumentation, Klaus' innovation gathered speed. PICTURE MUSIC was a radical departure, featuring percussion, sequencers, melodies, and unusual synthesizer soloing. Also at this time was the multi-instrumental duo Timewind, work with engineer Manfred Schunke using the new "Kunstkopf" artificial head recording system, notably Code III's PLANET OF MAN and Sand's GOLEM, and Klaus' next solo BLACKDANCE which revealed Klaus' training as a classical guitarist, it also had ethnic percussives and string synthesizers.
Klaus was busy touring at this time, and his next album TIMEWIND was a refinement of his live improvisations, with two very long cosmic dreamscapes, each almost half an hour long! With a whole orchestra of keyboards, at the hands of a technophile with passion, a new music was born. Klaus also worked on the recordings of Japanese space-rockers Far East Family Band, played concerts with echo-guitar wizard Günter Schickert, and later got involved in the Stomu Yamash'ta "Go" project. MOONDAWN saw Klaus reunited with ex-Wallenstein and Cosmic Jokers drummer Harald Grosskopf, taking Klaus' synth-sequencer music firmly into the "rock" idiom. 1976-77 was a busy time for Klaus, with at least 60 concerts, and in 1977 three LP's were issued! Two resulted from the soundtrack to Lasse Braum's "porno" movie "Body Love". These complimentary albums featured a blend of the styles found on both TIMEWIND and MOONDAWN, both featured versions of "Stardancer" with Grosskopf on drums, shorter ambient/cosmic drifts, and side-long works that combined both above aspects with uniquely Schulze sequencer lines and dazzlingly complex layers of synthesizers. And there's also the ultimate cosmic classic MIRAGE, a side-step from TIMEWIND with one spacious opus per side, each a timeless gem: "Velvet Voyage" with its sonic clouds growing slowly, gaining musical direction, restrained to the point where every new sound, pattern or musical nuance is magical, and "Crystal Lake" with fragile crystalline sequences and arpeggios, a dance on the misty waters of a lake at dawn.
The double "X" drew on all that had gone before. Again Klaus sought the aid of an orchestra, but this time in a much more classical manner. Harald Grosskopf featured on a few tracks. In all, it was Klaus' most serious and ambitious album. This classical edge was even stronger on the A-side of DUNE, though in stark contrast the other side "Shadows Of Ignorance" featured English vocalist Arthur Brown, a dab hand at lyric improvisation.
Klaus Schulze solos in the 80's were kicked off by ...LIVE... which captured four different facets of the late-70s Schulze live sound, and Klaus' digital debut DIG IT. In concert Klaus had been working again with Ash Ra Tempel leader Manuel Göttsching, and later with new-found friend Rainer Bloss. After the sedate TRANCEFER, came the double AUDENTITY, notable for "Sebastian In Traum", a revolutionary, and weird excursion. The late-80's saw a lull in creativity, save for Richard Wahnfried MIDITATION and the timeless BABEL (recorded with Andreas Grosser), Klaus had on large seemed to have lost much of his talent for invention. Returning to the live scene, the momentous concert in Dresden (then in the DDR) was organised in August 1989, documented as a double CD. Klaus had realised that with only digital technology he couldn't achieve what he wanted, and so, there was the return of his old favourites like the now virtually museum piece the EMS Synthi A! Klaus continued to surprise with the bizarre, almost musique-concrete music of BEYOND RECALL, and a whole series of concert recordings have been released since, as well as studio albums covering all sorts of musical avenues. But most phenomenal are the two 10 CD sets SILVER EDITION and the even more remarkable HISTORIC EDITION, which go to prove how much of a revolutionary Klaus is!
LP Ohr OMM 556.022 (1972)
featured on: KOSMISCHE MUSIK (7/72)
2LP Kosmische Musik KM 2/58.005 (1973)
LP Brain 1051 (1974), Caroline CA 2003 (UK, 1974)
PICTURE MUSIC (1973)
LP Brain 1067 (1975)
LP Brain 1075 (1975), Caroline CA 2006 (UK, 1975)
LP Brain 1088 (1976)
LP Brain 60.040 (1977), Island ILPS 9461 (UK, 1977)
BODY LOVE (1976)
LP Metronome 60.047 (1977)
BODY LOVE, VOL. 2 (1976-77)
LP Metronome 60.097 (1977)
2LP Brain 80.023-2 (1978)
LP Brain 60.225 (1979)
2LP Brain 80.048 (1980)
DIG IT (5-9/80)
LP Brain 60.353 (1980)
LP IC KS 80.014 (1981), DJM DJF 20579 (UK, 1981)
2LP IC KS 80.025/26 (1983)
DZIEKUJE POLAND (7/83)
2LP IC KS 80.040/41 (1983), Muza SX 2259/60 (Poland, 1983)
LP InTeam ID 20.001 (1984)
Credited to: Ernst Fuchs, Klaus Schulze & Rainer Bloss
DRIVE INN (9/83)
LP InTeam ID 20.002 (1984), Thunderbolt THBL 2.028 (UK, 1986)
Credited to: Klaus Schulze & Rainer Bloss
LP InTeam ID 20.003 (1984), Thunderbolt THBL 2.027 (UK, 1986)
12" Brain 881.812-1 (1985)
LP Brain 827 673 (1985)
LP Brain 831 206-1 (1986), Thunderbolt THBL 039 (UK, 1986)
LP Virgin 208 748 (1987), Venture VE 5 (UK, 1987)
Credited to: Klaus Schulze & Andreas Grosser
2LP Brain 835 158-1 (1988), Thunderbolt THBL 2.061 (UK, 1988)
MIDITERRANEAN PADS (1989)
LP Brain 841 864-1 (1990), Thunderbolt THBL 081 (UK, 1990)
Irene Schweizer Trio
Most importantly listed here, as the roots of Guru Guru. The Irene Schweizer Trio hardly hinted at what Uli and Mani were to get up to with their own band, although the JAZZ MEETS INDIA album is a fine example of Indo-jazz fusion. Irene has been most prolific in jazz and new-music since, continuing work with her trio, in impromptu duo's, and various other formations including The Feminist Improvising Group.
Irene Schweizer (piano), Uli Trepte (bass), Mani Neumeier (drums)
JAZZ MEETS INDIA
LP Saba SB 15142 (1967)
EARLY TAPES (1967)
LP FMP 0590 (1978)
Probably the most famous of all Hannover bands, originating in 1965 as a beat group and latterly becoming a popular Heavy Metal band in the late-70's. But, don't just skip by this because you were stung by one of their later albums, as in their early days Scorpions had a different kind of sting in their tail! Yes, in the early-70's, the Scorpions were very different. With the honour of issuing the first Brain album: LONESOME CROW, they proved to be an exceptionally gifted band fronted by two very different guitarists. A varied album, of mostly psychedelic hard-rock tracks, unusual ballads, it's a creative and very progressive album, topped off by an amazing spaced-out experimental finalé, a mostly instrumental extravaganza, which touches onto Guru Guru freakiness. A peak that they never reached again. Moving to RCA, FLY TO THE RAINBOW also had much excellent progressive hard-rock, with Hendrix inspired guitarist Uli Roth stepping in to replace Michael Schenker who had joined the British band UFO. But, subsequently, after the passable IN TRANCE, the Scorpions became ever more mainstream Heavy Metal, and increasingly dull. So ignore anything not listed here! Uli Roth later formed the similar (but superior) Electric Sun.
Michael Schenker (lead guitar), Klaus Meine (vocals), Rudolf Schenker (guitar), Wolfgang Dziony (drums), Lothar Heimberg (bass)
LONESOME CROW (1971)
LP Brain 1001 (1972)
FLY TO THE RAINBOW
LP RCA 2621 407 (1974), RCA RS 1023 (UK, 1976)
LP RCA 2621 575 (1975), RCA RS 1039 (UK, 1976)
A hard-rock trio who recorded the one LP before changing name to Tiger B. Smith. Their style was basic, and surprisingly ordinary for an album of that era, notably inspired by anything like Jimi Hendrix, Atomic Rooster, Status Quo, and such like.
Karl-Heinz Traut (drums), Holger Schmidt (guitar, vocals), Claus Meinhardt (bass, vocals)
LP Metronome MLP 15409 (1971)
Aptly named, as being part of the second German progressive movement along with bands like Anyone's Daughter, Amenophis, Rousseau, et al., drawing on the finer points of earlier-70's progressives and adding a style all of their own. On their debut, BLIND MAN'S MIRROR, they layered a potpourri of influences into a very technically complex symphonic and folky rock style, very sophisticated and intricate with lots of instrumental breaks, featuring keyboards, guitars, even jazzy breaks counterpointing with classical motifs, with a song style that was lyrically deft and poignant. The much later MOVEMENTS, was vastly different, and was much more straight-forward in comparison. It was still a very sophisticated progressive, but the focus had changed, with lots of synthesizers and keyboards, and a more intricate lyrical song style. Here many more references can be detected like Eloy, Pancake, Novalis, yet the style is uniquely that of Second Movement.
Harald Kesselhack (vocals), Siggi Zeidler (keyboards), Thomas Möckl (guitars), Manni Greiner (basses), Matthias Helk (drums), Manni Bierbach (flute, sax)
BLIND MAN'S MIRROR (4/76)
LP Castle CAS 1003 (1976)
LP Rockport RO 008 (1981)
An obscure Berlin supergroup featuring ex-Agitation Free and Lied Des Teufels members, though playing a rather uncharacteristic music for a German band, notably influenced by American West Coast bands like the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service, with multiple guitars and a slight jazzy bent.
Michael Sauber (tenor/soprano saxes, flute), Bernie Schumacher (tenor sax), Jörg Hahnfeld (bass, acoustic guitar), Dietmar Burmeister (drums, percussion), Lothar Muschinski (vocals, guitar), Klaus Pankau (guitars, vocals)
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU (3-6/74)
LP Delta-Acustic 25-126-1 (1974)
featured on: SÜß UND SAUER
The duo of Eckart and Wolf-J. Seesselberg, playing electronic music of great creativity and invention. Certainly ahead of their time, even before Conrad Schnitzler moved into this area, their sonic creations were writhing, bubbling, twittering, gyrating spectaculars, industrial and dark avant-garde synth music, that even today is weird and refreshingly different.
SYNTHETIK 1. (1973)
LP Seesselberg S1 (1973)
Peter K. Seiler
Peter started working with electronic music techniques in 1972, establishing his own jazz fusion group (along with Ronald Brand, Gerd Köthe, etc.), who blended Dauner-like jazz with experimental synth music. The results were documented on KEYBOARDS AND FRIENDS, an obscure yet quite remarkable album. Later, along with some of these musicians, Peter went on to form the ELP styled progressive rock band Tritonus. He formed several other rock and synth bands in the late-70's and early-80's, including collaborations with Michael Bundt (see Sirius), and also as composer of film and documentary scores. Latterly, as a synthesist in his own right, he signed to IC, slotting easily into their image of "new instrumental music" combining classical influences with soft new-age and rock elements, varied but without any distinctive style.
KEYBOARDS AND FRIENDS
LP RBM 5004 (1973)
FLYING FRAMES (1983-86)
LP IC KS 80.057 (1986)
LP IC KS 80.069 (1987)
Symphonic and melodic hard-rock band with techno touches, akin to mid-70's style Birth Control. Drummer Jim McGillivray was in between having left Epitaph and joining Eloy, there are comparisons musically here to both bands. In fact Serene aren't original at all, but do perform a competent brand of progressive rock with wide appeal.
Peter Wolk (vocals), Achim Kirschning (keyboards), Berny Töberg (guitars), Lothar Heimberg (bass), Jim McGillivray (drums)
LP Lava TCH 81001 (1979)
Like many young bands, Shaa Khan were formed as a student group playing the music of their heroes, and in 1970 their staple repertoire was built on a diet of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin numbers. Via a trek into jazz-rock, and then after supporting the likes of Earth & Fire, UFO and Nektar, the 1976 incarnation had gained a complex and lyrical progressive rock style comparable to Grobschnitt, Gentle Giant and Druid. With dual lead vocalists and inventive instrumental work, their debut THE WORLD WILL END ON FRIDAY was a fine example of the genre, and a surprisingly fresh album stepping on from Grobschnitt's JUMBO. The oddly titled second album ANYTHING WRONG? followed a more conventional rock format and hinted at their later move towards pop music, yet was still a fine release that should appeal those liking lyrically complex progressive rock.
Roland Soltysiak (guitars), Jochen Gutermuth (bass), Horst Schlechtriemen (keyboards, choir), Walter Kaulhausen (drums, choir), Heiner Waldmann (vocals, acoustic guitar), Klaus Grandt (vocals, percussion)
THE WORLD WILL END ON FRIDAY (8/77)
LP Sky 015 (1978)
ANYTHING WRONG? (1-2/79)
LP Sky 025 (1979)
Someone Calling / Running
7" Bacillus ? (1981)
The Shiver were very much a mystery band, until recently, when all was revealed. They were Swiss, and were the roots of Island, via another band called Deaf. Their sole self-produced album, which sported a sinister H.R. Giger cover, contained a wide range of psychedelic and progressive styles. Crudely recorded, and often shoddily played, it would seem to be an anthology recorded over a long period. The Shiver were nonetheless constantly surprising. A curious point is that the track "Hey Mr. Holy Man", a version of "Dies Irae", is very close to the version by Golgatha!
Dany Rühle (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Jelly Pastorini (organ, piano), Mario Conza (bass, flute, vocals), Roger Maurer (drums, vocals), Peter Robinson (lead vocals)
featured on: 1ST SCHWEIZ RHYTHM & BLUES FESTIVAL
LP Jeklin ? (1968)
LP Maris 20501 (Switzerland, 1969)
From the Stuttgart region, Siddhartha's origins go back to 1971, as a few students friends hatched the idea of creating a blend of psychedelic and art-rock musics. In 1973 they became Siddhartha (taking their name from a Hermann Hesse novel) as a part time band whilst continuing studies at university. Siddhartha had an unusual style, with strong nods in a Pink Floyd cosmic direction, yet featuring violin, almost punky song writing along with symphonic and folky instrumental touches, they had a style of their own, but it wasn't easy to describe! Try as they did, they couldn't find a record company interested in their odd music, and thus they issued WELTSCHMERZ as a 400 copy pressing. The band continued until late 1977, but never got to release any other music.
Martin Mörike (organ, piano, vocals), Klaus Hermann (drums), Gerhard Kraus (violin, vocals), Eberhard Müller (guitar), Klaus Scharff (drums),
+ Gabi Popmanith (vocals), Iris Rothermel (flute), Lothar Mattlinger (tuba)
LP private release (1975)
An extremely unusual heavy Krautrock trio, who had a totally unconventional and schizophrenic approach to composition. We don't know anything about them, except for their excellent sole album 4 TIMES SOUND RAZING, which contains four very different tracks. Notably close to early Guru Guru at times, yet with a bizarre vocalist, they cover a lot of ground, from cosmic blues through to weird hard-rock, Gomorrha and The Groundhogs, and beyond.
Werner Klug (bass), Peter Behrens (drums, percussion), Hajo Teschner (guitars, vocals)
4 TIMES SOUND RAZING (4-5/71)
LP Philips 6305 095 (1971)
An obscure Munich hippy folk and ethnic combo who took hints from Hapshash & The Coloured Coat, Amon Düül, Lava and the like. Their music was rather amateurishly produced, yet had a charm and strange edge to it. Neither album is at all consistent, nor of a particular style.
Manuela Freifrau von Perfall (percussion), Heinrich "Tiny" Stricker (vocals, shenai), Thom Argauner (acoustic guitars, vocals), Wolfgang Görner (bass), + Bernd "Buddy" Beier (drums), Klaus Bartl (acoustic guitar), Mao (flute), Ali Schollenbruch (guitar)
LP private release (1970)
featured on: RELEASE
LP German Blues & Underground 1558025 (1972)
A Munich jazz-fusion big band, fronted by Peter Trunk (a veteran of the Frankfurt jazz scene apparently) and in fact an international band of exceptional talent. Peter Trunk's aim was to twist the rock format into something different by using jazz instruments and jazz improvisation. Not an original concept, compare Niagara's S.U.B., From, Sunbirds, et al., all are comparable. This album however, is what persuaded Curt Cress to move from rock to jazz, in that he saw jazz-fusion as opening many new possibilities.
Manfred Schoof (trumpet), Shake Keane (flugelhorn), Jiggs Whigham (trombone), Jasper van't Hof (keyboards), Siegfried Schwab (guitar), Curt Cress (drums), Joe Nay (drums, percussion), Peter Trunk (bass)
SINCERELY P.T. (1973)
LP Spiegelei/Aamok 28578-3U (1973)
An unlikely collection of musicians (ex-Rattles, Embryo and Between), whose debut album was very British styled rock, a touch jazzy and bluesy, not unlike Titus Groan, early Colosseum, Mogul Thrash, Aquila, et al., though probably not as progressive.
Hannes Beckmann (violin, bass, percussion, vocals), Abu Dram (drums, percussion, vocals), Alfred Jones (guitar, percussion, vocals), Peter Holzwig (pianos, organ, percussion, vocals), Ralph P. Fischer (bass, percussion, vocals), Cotch Black (percussion, vocals)
RIGHT ON BROTHER (8/72)
LP Philips 6305 163 (1972)
LP Amayana A 4506
TANGO DES FRIEDENS (9-10/81)
LP PTA 333-0202 (1981)
An obscure early band of little merit, except if you like the folky Grateful Dead or lighter Quicksilver type sound.
LP CBS 64697 (1971)
Sleepy Tom-Tom / Raindrops
7" Philips 6003 249 (1972)
Motorcycle Mama / Your Lovin' Man
7" Philips 6003 362 (1973)
A talented heavy classical rock duo formed aptly in 1969. Armin Stöwe, obviously a Keith Emerson disciple, also coincidentally had a rough and powerful voice akin to Lee Jackson (also of The Nice), and on his keyboards he ably took on the role of organist, bassist and soloist (even on the live album). Sixty Nine though were not at all copyist, they had a style that took aggressive blues rock, added classical and avant-garde elements for original results. Both albums are essential for fans of the genre.
Armin Stöwe (organ, piano, synthesizer, guitar, vocals), Roland Schupp (drums, percussion)
CIRCLE OF THE CRAYFISH
LP Philips 6305 164 (1973)
2LP Philips 6623 046 (1974)
These were a rather out-of-time cheesy synthi-pop group, that will especially appeal to Perry & Kingsley fans. Not for Krautrock collectors at all, excepting the album's closing track which is a cosmic rock opus!
LP Hansa International 87 758
Skyline were typically Euro jazz-rock (based on their live recordings), with all sorts of influences, though not typically German. Especially so, with hints of Scandinavian, French and Canterbury styles, they come across as a vibrant potpourri of styles. Their LP is also reputed to be good, although we're yet to find out just how good.
Reinhard Glowatzke (guitar), Udo Lummer (guitar), Michael Stickdorn (drums), Werner Vogt (bass, vocals), + Raimund Fuhrig (congas)
LOUISE FOR ONE NIGHT
LP private release (1976)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1976
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1977
An international band based in Germany, who were really peripheral to the scene (not German per se, and not a proper band as such), they were also notable for their association with Faust. Dagmar came from an avant-garde background, and had earlier worked in the pre-Frumpy band The City Preachers as well as I.D. Company. Together with non-German's Peter Blegvad and Anthony Moore (who also made solos at this time in Wümme), the trio made an offbeat music drawing on the styles of Brecht and Eisler (akin to Amon Düül II circa HIJACK though less progressive) blending in pop and folk. Later, Slapp Happy moved to Britain and joined up with Henry Cow recording two albums together: DESPERATE STRAIGHTS (Virgin V2024) in 1974 and IN PRAISE OF LEARNING (Virgin V2027) in 1975, which in turn eventually lead to the formation of the Art Bears. All three Slapp Happy members have since followed solo careers.
Peter Blegvad (vocals, guitar, sax), Anthony Moore (guitar, keyboards), Dagmar Krause (vocals), + Günter Wüsthoff (saxes), Werner Diermaier (drums), Jean-Hervé Peron (bass)
LP Polydor 2310 204 (1972)
ACNALBASAC NOOM (1973)
LP Recommended RR 5 (UK, 1980)
LP Virgin V2014 (UK, 1974)
An odd supergroup, that saw three jazz-fusion musicians (two of them ex-Passport) move back to progressive rock realms, fronted by former Nektar member Roye Albrighton. The blend of styles was interesting, sounding like a hybrid of Karthago and Nektar, though not totally successful. After Roye returned to Nektar, the band continued with further albums, moving to soul-rock realms of embarrassing commerciality!
Curt Cress (drums, percussion), Dave King (bass, synthesizer), Kristian Schultze (keyboards), Roye Albrighton (vocals, guitar)
LP Atlantic ATL 50463 (1978)
COLD HEAT (1978-79)
LP WEA 58036 (1979)
FOLLOW THE WHITE LINE
LP WEA 58104 (1980)
One of the multitude of mainstream rock bands attempting to be progressive, but instead (despite some musical high points) they never quite managed to get away from the Anglo-American clichés. Enough said!
Gerhard Eismann (guitar), Werner Eismann (bass, vocals), Michael Walter (drums), Robert L. Langstroff (guitar, vocals), Eleonore Wittekindt (keyboards)
A COLOUR FROM A RAINBOW
LP private release (1978)
LP PM Records PM 181 (1981)
Since leaving Guru Guru, Uli Trepte was involved with many bands and projects, eventually establishing his ideal band: Spacebox, a raw energetic blending of free-rock, psychedelic, jazz and a good dose of Trepte's own eccentric weirdness. See Uli Trepte entry for more in depth background. Aptly packaged in a corrugated box, the first Spacebox album sounded like Guru Guru and Embryo jamming at 1,000 Watts in a tiny cellar, an angry distorted fusion totally out of character with the era. All this fronted by a fuzzed vocals and lots of strangeness, Spacebox made a lot of young punk bands seem timid! With much of the violence out of his system, and a gap of five years, Uli decided to push the instrumental side to the fore on KICK UP, which refined the Spacebox style, with a sound closer to the early psychedelic Embryo. In between these two LP's Lotus Schmidt had fronted his own band L.S. Bearforce, whose music was similar, but totally instrumental.
Uli Trepte (bass, vocals, Spacebox), Jürgen Renner (drums), Julius Golombeck (guitar), Edgar Hofmann (soprano sax, flute, violin)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PORTA WESTVLOTHICA 1978
LP Spacebox SP 1 (1981) #1000
KICK UP (9/83)
LP Spacebox SP 2 (1984)
A Bavarian political folk-rock and traditional folk-theatre band, Sparifankal had a very unusual and lyrical style. They were the odd band out on the April/Schneeball roster, and their albums were only barely within the musical scope of this book. The early recordings featured as bonus material on the CD of BAYERN-ROCK are of most interest, in that these reveal their underground psychedelic roots, proving their status as part of Krautrock history. Later, however, Sparifankal became less and less interesting, as they moved ever on to doing short protest songs in the ancient Bayern language.
Carl-Ludwig Reichert (guitar, vocals, harmonica), Florian Laber (bass, vocals), Günther Sonderwald (drums, triangle), Jan Dosch (bass, guitar, ocarina, vocals), Tillmann Obermaier (vocals, dulcimer, guitar)
LP April 0000 (1976)
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN VLOTHO 1976
LP Schneeball 0018 (1978)
2LP Schneeball 0029 (1981)
Now, here's a band that have always puzzled me. They made what has become a highly rated hard-rock album, yet SPERRMÜLL doesn't really warrant its reputation. Why? Well, although it does contain some excellent freaky Krautrock, notably "No Freak Out" which contrary to its title is a superb kind of Hendrixy-Hawkwind type mixture, much of the album, however, is rather straight in comparison. Lyrically Sperrmüll were only a step above pop music, and even sounded like Status Quo on a couple of numbers! Obviously the hype behind Sperrmüll is from those with more conventional hard-rock tastes. It's a good album, but not an essential Brain classic.
Helmut Krieg (guitars, mandolin, vocals), Harald Kaiser (bass, vocals), Reinhold Breuer (drums, percussion), Peter Schneider (organ, electric piano, synthesizer)
LP Brain 1026 (1973)
Hyper heavy blues rock trio who unfortunately never managed to record an album, just two versions of their composition "Crashville". A short-lived and seminal band, featuring Frumpy's guitarist Rainer Baumann, and the much travelled drummer Zabba Lindner.
Andreas Smietana (bass, lead vocals), Wolfgang Lindner (drums, percussion, vocals), Rainer Baumann (guitar, vocals)
featured on: POP & BLUES FESTIVAL '70
featured on: LOVE & PEACE
A Swiss jazz musician, principally a saxophonist, who has worked in all sorts of musics, and ventured on to becoming one of that nations' pioneers in synth musics. He came to international attention, via his work with Can's Irmin Schmidt, and notably the Toy Planet project. His output has been sporadic and diverse, and quite possibly the listing of albums here is far from complete. He is also a member of the band Container.
Bruno Spoerri (synthesizers, vocoders, sequencers, rhythm box)
THE SOUND OF THE U.F.O'S... (3/78)
LP Gold 11058 (Switzerland, 1978)
Credited to: Bruno Spoerri & Reto Weber
VOICE OF TAURUS (7/77+3/78)
LP Gold LP 11061 (Switzerland, 1978)
LP Meteor MOR 32027 (Switzerland, 1983)
Credited to: Bruno Spoerri & Betha Sarasin
Established as the oldest of all DDR rock bands, originally as "Combo" an amateur group from the city Meissen. No doubt originally inspired by the likes of the Moody Blues and Procol Harum, along with classical and folk influences, Stern-Combo Meissen had always been very big on keyboards and developing a very large symphonic sound, and at one time the group contained three keyboard players. Still, it took a long while before they got an album released, but such a long apprenticeship lead to a band with a highly original sound. In fact, Stern-Combo Meissen can be seen as establishing what was to become the characteristic sound of DDR progressive rock: a symphonic yet hard-edged complex rock with poetic German lyric, often close to the sound of Novalis and later Anyone's Daughter. Their debut was a fresh and surprising album recorded live in concert, most varied, it hinted at several avenues that the band could take, and especially memorable is a highly original version of Mussorgksy's "A Night On Bare Mountain". Further albums refined their style, especially so the symphonic rock opus WEISSES GOLD, which is largely instrumental and highly complex, and their greatest work the space-rock flight REISE ZUM MITTLEPUNKT DES MENSCHEN, which is amongst the high-points of DDR progressive rock, with vast instrumentals and complexities comparable to classics of the Italian scene. Typically, as with most DDR bands in the 80's, subsequent albums saw a rapid decline, however with Stern-Combo Meissen this was mostly due to a gradual yet total change in line-up.
Lothar Kramer (keyboards), Norbert Jäger (vocals, percussion, keyboards), Reinhard Fißler (vocals), Martin Schreier (drums), Bernd Fiedler (bass), Thomas Kurzhals (keyboards)
STERN-COMBO MEISSEN (20-21/5/77)
LP Amiga 8 55 567 (DDR, 1977)
LP Amiga 8 55 636 (DDR, 1978)
DER WEITE WEG (1979)
LP Amiga 8 55 652 (DDR, 1979)
REISE ZUM MITTLEPUNKT DES MENSCHEN
LP Amiga 8 55 811 (DDR, 1980)
An attempt by Gille Lettmann (Aka Sternenmädchen or Starmaiden) to tell the story of Timothy Leary and The Cosmic Jokers, to music, as a unique sonic documentary. The resultant album, made considerable use of Klaus Schulze organ and electronics tapes, and pillaged the archives of the Kaiser labels, with extracts from various albums. Together with texts from Timothy Leary, Brian Barritt, and others, the results are a fascinating sonic trip, with lots of weird happenings, and deft mixing by Dieter Dierks.
Gille Lettmann (narration), Klaus Schulze (organ, electronics)
GILLES ZEITSCHIFF (1973)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58.012 (1974) «with huge poster»
Hamburg rock singer. Only his debut TEUFLISH is of any interest to rock collectors, notably due to the fine supporting cast of musicians. His later pop albums are of no interest whatsoever.
Kiev Stingl (vocals, guitar), + Achim Reichel (guitars), Jean-Jacques Kravetz (piano, organ), Dicky Tarrach (drums, percussion), Tissy Thiers (bass), Stefan Wulff (harmonica)
LP Philips 6305 244 (1975)
Only barely of interest, due to featuring the original Streetmark singer Georg Buschmann. In their early days, Straight Shooter sounded a little like Streetmark, but were much straighter and song-based, with a hard-rock edge. Their best LP was their second MY TIME - YOUR TIME. On later records, after those below (there's at least four more), they moved to metal and then techno-pop musics.
Georg Buschmann (vocals), Günther Striepling (guitar), Hans Plankert (keyboards), Roland Haase (bass), Peter Kegler (drums, percussion)
LP Sky 018 (1978)
MY TIME - YOUR TIME
LP Sky 034 (1979)
A very variable progressive band from the Düsseldorf region, with a sketchy history, not least in that on NORDLAND (which is reputed to be their debut) the lyrics refer to it as being their second album! However no earlier album is known. At this time Streetmark were fronted by gruff aspiring Heavy Metal vocalist Georg Buschmann, who tended to get in the way somewhat, in what was a complex keyboard progressive with unique rhythmic structures. NORDLAND was a varied album, with many excellent instrumental excursions. After Buschmann went on to Straight Shooter, they were then joined by vocalist/synthesist Wolfgang Riechmann on EILEEN. His background in electronic music changed the Streetmark sound dramatically, moving to a spacey progressive, with lengthy surging instrumentals. A fresh and innovative album which they were unable to follow afterwards without Riechmann. On DRY Streetmark were down to a trio, with Dorothea Raukes in control as multi-synthesizer/keyboard operator and vocalist. A nice, but more commercial offering, with good use of male and female vocal harmonies. Highly synthesized, yet mellow, almost sounding like The Carpenters on one track, it also hinted at the more commercial style SKY RACER was to follow.
Dorothea Raukes (keyboards), Thomas Schreiber (guitars), Georg Buschmann (vocals), Wolfgang Westphal (bass), Hans Schweiß (drums)
LP Sky 003 (1975)
LP Sky 011 (1977)
LP Sky 023 (1979)
SKY RACER (7-8/80)
LP Sky 050 (1980)
An obscure Jean-Luc Ponty type jazz-fusion, done in the German style. Of uncertain origin, Strinx were really much more jazz than anything else, and their sole album is lively and tuneful, with much experimentation, but only of slight interest.
Wolfgang Kliegel (violin, clavinet, harp, percussion), Werner Geck (piano), Meinhold Puhl (bass), Thomas Gross (drums, percussion)
TALK TO THE WIND
LP Spiegelei 28.538-5U (1973)
An obscure progressive band of whom we know very little, except for a moderately interesting self-produced album. Definitely in the spirit of Krautrock, but with a more mellow late-70's feel, the album SUNDIAL mixed a variety of styles into a lyrical hard-rock, pepped up by many unusual touches and a psychedelic edge.
Hans-Jürgen Hofmann (vocals, pianos, organ, string ensemble, Moog, guitar), Peter Fengler (bass, bass pedals, vocals), Uwe Leicht (drums, rototoms, cymbals), Rainer Houda (guitars), Thomas Möckl (guitar)
LP Proxima 1107 (1978)
Formed in Munich in early 1969, originating from various local beat groups, Sub chose their name due to their affinity with the underground scene that was proliferating at the time. Though, unlike Amon Düül's brand of underground music, Sub were much more inspired by American psychedelia, notably Vanilla Fudge, and British bands like Traffic, Egg and Soft Machine. They had a heavy riffing psychedelic style, an excellent lead vocalist, and knew how to jam and freak out. Strangely, fed up with waiting for a contract, an employee of Sub's management, made off with the tapes of their album, getting it released in Italy. Masquerading as a live album, complete with overdubbed audience sounds, SUB IN CONCERT was still a fine album, showcasing a style of music that's little-heard from Germany. Only about a thousand were pressed, and in Germany they were still stuck with apathetic reactions. Sub split in 1971.
Klaus Kätel (guitar), Christian Wilhelm (vocals), Peter Stimmel (bass), Johannes Vester (keyboards), Lutz Ludwig (drums)
Ma-mari-huana / Off
7" Rex Records 2027 (1970) «without audience overdubs»
SUB IN CONCERT (1970)
LP Help ZSLH 55023 (Italy, 1970)
Part of the history of, and really virtually the same band as the later Sahara, Subject Esq. played a complex progressive with fusion elements, some classical influences and superb musicianship. Comparable to many other bands of the era, like Alquin, Thirsty Moon, Camel, etc., with a similar type of complexity and inventiveness to the bands from the Canterbury scene. Subject Esq. also had many unique touches of their own, with unusual use of vocals, time signatures, and especially in having a wide range of solo instruments, all of which are given plenty of room in the lengthy instrumental sections.
Michael Hofmann (flute, alto sax, vocals), Alex Pittwohn (mouth harp, 12-string guitar, vocals), Harry Rosenkind (drums, percussion), Peter Stadler (keyboards), Stefan Wissnet (bass, vocals), + Paul Vincent (guitars), Franz Loffler (viola)
SUBJECT ESQ. (2-3/72)
LP Epic EPC S 64998 (1972)
One of the many international Munich fusion bands, these were a veritable supergroup. On their debut SUNBIRDS they made a dreamy, yet powerful fusion with an abundance of solos, extensively featuring Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine, feeling like a spacey Embryo cum Miles Davis. The later ZAGARA is said to more easy going mainstream fusion.
Ferdinand Povel (flutes), Philip Catherine (guitar), Fritz Pauer (electric piano, organ), Jimmy Woode (basses), Klaus Weiss (drums, cymbals), + Juan Romero (percussion)
LP BASF 20 21110-2 (1971)
LP Finger 2396 101 (1972)
An international band based in Germany, and also very popular in Holland. Sweet Smoke were all Americans, yet their hippy fusion was very much in keeping with the Krautrock scene. JUST A POKE, with its most obvious psychedelic cover art, offered two side-long tracks with complex percussive base, flowing musical structure hinting at the likes of Quicksilver Messenger Service, Quintessence and many a Krautrock band of the era, particularly due to Conny Plank's characteristic recording style. DARKNESS TO LIGHT, whilst being even closer to Quintessence with its hippy/ethnic stylings, was less successful and quite patchy. LIVE returned to the fusion side of their debut, with long tracks and also a touch of Santana styling. Where Sweet Smoke came from and disappeared to remains a mystery.
Andy Dershin (bass, percussion), Jay Dorfman (percussion, drums), Marvin Kaminowitz (guitar, vocals, percussion), Michael Paris (tenor sax, recorder, vocals, percussion), Steve Rosenstein (guitar, vocals, percussion)
JUST A POKE
LP Columbia 1C 062-28 886 (1970)
DARKNESS TO LIGHT (10-11/72)
LP Harvest 1C 062-29 471 (1973)
LP Harvest 1C 062-29 513 (1974)
Tangerine Dream could be quoted as one of the most important of Krautrock bands, and as creators and popularists of many new forms of music. Because of this, they have been extremely seminal and influential, and left a wealth of excellent music behind them, covering almost everything from psychedelic rock through to new-age. The history of Tangerine Dream is a long one, and this version is abridged. Reputedly Tangerine Dream were the first Berlin underground band to get a record contract. The band at this time (late 1969) was: Edgar Froese, with Klaus Schulze (from Psy Free) and Conrad Schnitzler (founder of the Zodiac Club, and member of Kluster). The album they made for the new enterprising Ohr Records: ELECTRONIC MEDITATION, expressed in its title the idea of a new electronic music, though apart from electronic gadgetry like effects pedals and delays, the instrumentation used was basically that of a rock group. The album though was quite extraordinary in its invention and daring, being raw and intensive, bordering on the avant-garde. An instrumental rock potpourri, with wild guitars, lots of strange effects, swirling organ, and notably strong shades of instrumental Pink Floyd. Otherwise, one of the finest examples of underground psychedelic rock in overdrive! Even before the release of the album Klaus and Conrad had left the band and gone on to work with Agitation Free members in the Eruption project. Klaus then went on to Ash Ra Tempel, and both he and Conrad have since established themselves as highly prolific soloists. Eventually Agitation Free's drummer Chris Franke ended up joining Tangerine Dream.
As evidenced by its title, the second album ALPHA CENTAURI, was the start of Tangerine Dream's cosmic phase. Chris had brought his knowledge of working with electronics from Agitation Free, becoming much more than just a drummer, and especially so with the use of massively processed organ and primitive synthesizers, they moved on to a much more ethereal deep-space music, still with shades of Pink Floyd, but also further developing their own style. The single "Ultima Thule" was the end of one chapter, in that it was the last Tangerine Dream number to present them as a rock band for several years, a fantastic single of surging spacey rock, comparable in sound to ROCKSESSION era Embryo, with rattling drums and Mellotron. In total contrast to all that had gone before, the following album ZEIT had no rock structure whatsoever, a vast double album with one track per side, based around echo and glissando guitars, organ and synthesizers. During the recording of this, Steve Schroyder left to join Ash Ra Tempel, and was replaced by Peter Baumann, who was more-or-less a consistent member for the next five years. Florian Fricke (from Popol Vuh) can be heard playing Moog, and amongst the featured string quartet was Hölderlin's Jochen Grumbcow. ZEIT (meaning "Time") is aptly a timeless and ethereal masterpiece, notably avant-garde and near-on atonal, with very little in the way of melody, otherwise cosmic music in its most refined form. ATEM, their final release for Ohr Records, saw a return to the feel of ALPHA CENTAURI in many ways.
The big break came when they were signed by Virgin Records in England in early 1974. Backed by huge amounts of publicity, by the time of their first UK tour in Autumn '74, it's reputed that their Virgin debut PHAEDRA had sold more than 100,000 copies. Here, many of the characteristics of what was to become known as "synth music" were established, the use of repetitive rhythms and sequences, atmospherics with dense arrays of reverb, arpeggios and cyclical webs of sound. PHAEDRA and its more atmospheric sequel RUBYCON are still landmark albums of extraordinary innovation. RICOCHET, compiled from various concert recordings at cathedrals in France and England, established a much stronger melodic focus, with much use of sequential and rhythmic structures, and a new distinctive Edgar Froese guitar style. As further evidenced on the studio album STRATOSFEAR, the film soundtrack SORCERER, and the document of their debut North America tour ENCORE, this period is what many synthesizer fans call "classic era TD". But it was also the end of an era. Steve Jolliffe then replaced Peter Baumann, a talented English multi-instrumentalist (he'd been in TD in 1969) and also added was drummer Klaus Krieger. CYCLONE was the first Tangerine Dream album to include actual songs (sung by Steve), and was much more a progressive rock album than synth music, notably close at times to the Eloy or Jane of the era, but with lengthy space-rock drives. The following album FORCE MAJEURE, without Jolliffe (and thus totally instrumental), took another step on, with a more sequential and rhythmic base, with lengthy surging passages that are a great foil for Edgar's fluid guitar playing.
The next era of Tangerine Dream had Edgar and Chris joined by keyboardist Johannes Schmoelling (late 1979 to early 1985), and saw a considerable mellowing in style. This version of Tangerine Dream continued to innovate and develop, but increasingly with the accent on composition and melody, as opposed to the daring and improvisation that was the key to the old Tangerine Dream sound. Catchy tunes and up-beat rhythms moved to the fore, and increasingly old ideas would be reworked with new arrangements. But after this, moving ever more into extensive work in composing film soundtracks, with the accent on short melodic and rhythmic tracks, the Tangerine Dream sound became increasingly one-dimensional and clichéd. Paul Haslinger did little to redress the decline in creativity, except a slight return to form on his debut with them UNDERWATER SUNLIGHT, and the video score CANYON DREAMS. Eventually even Chris Franke left, taking his distinctive way of creating rhythms with him.
Edgar Froese (guitars, organ, piano, broken glass), Klaus Schulze (drums, whip, metal rods), Conny Schnitzler (cello, violin, guitar)
ELECTRONIC MEDITATION (10/69)
LP Ohr OMM 56 004 (1970)
7" Ohr OS 57.006 (1971)
ALPHA CENTAURI (1/71)
LP Ohr OMM 56 012 (1971) «gatefold sleeve»
featured on: OSSIACH LIVE
2LP Ohr OMM 2/56 021 (1972), Virgin VD2503 (UK, 1976)
LP Ohr OMM 556 031 (1973) «gatefold sleeve»
LP Virgin 87761 XOT (1974), Virgin V2010 (UK, 1974)
featured on: V (6/74)
2LP Virgin VD 2502 (UK, 1975)
LP Virgin 88754 XOT (1975), Virgin V2025 (UK, 1975)
LP Virgin 89679 XOT (1975), Virgin V2044 (UK, 1975)
LP Virgin 28146 XOT (1976), Virgin V2068 (UK, 1976)
LP MCA 62085 (1977), MCA MCF 2806 (UK, 1977)
2LP Virgin 25495 XT (1977), Virgin VD2506 (UK, 1977)
LP Virgin V2097 (UK, 1978), Virgin 25843 XOT (1978)
FORCE MAJEURE (8-9/78)
LP Virgin V2111 (UK, 1979), Virgin 200 347-320 (1979)
LP Virgin 202 169-320 (1980), Virgin V2147 (UK, 1980)
4LP Virgin 301 407-445 (1980), Virgin VBOX 2 (UK, 1980) «compilation with 3 unique tracks»
LP Amiga 8 55 819 (DDR, 1981)
LP Elektra 5E251 (USA, 1981) «1 track different to other releases»
LP Virgin 203 998-320 (1981), Virgin V2212 (UK, 1981)
WHITE EAGLE (1/82)
LP Virgin 204 563-320 (1982), Virgin V2226 (UK, 1982)
Das Mädchen Auf Der Treppe / Flock / Katja / Speed
12" EP Virgin 600 651-213 (1982)
LOGOS LIVE (6/11/82)
LP Virgin 205 230-320 (1983), Virgin V2257 (UK, 1982)
Daydream / Moorland
7" Virgin 105 271-100 (1983)
LP Virgin 205 801-270 (1983), Virgin V2292 (UK, 1983)
2LP Jive 6.28638 (1984), Jive HIP 22 (UK, 1984)
LP MCA MCF 3233 (UK, 1984)
LP Heavy Metal World Wide HMI XP 29 (UK, 1984)
LP Varèse Sarabande STV 81207 (USA, 1984)
LP Virgin 207 212-620 (1985)
LE PARC (1-2/85)
LP Jive 6.26135 (1985), Jive HIP 26 (UK, 1985)
featured on: LEGEND
LP MCA 6165 (USA, 1986)
GREEN DESERT (8/73+1984)
LP Relativity 88561-8072-1 (USA, 1986), Jive HOP 226 (UK, 1989)
UNDERWATER SUNLIGHT (4/86)
LP Jive 6.26377 (1986), Jive HIP 40 (UK, 1986)
LP Jive 6.26475 (1987), Jive HIP 47 (UK, 1987)
featured on: THREE O'CLOCK HIGH
LP Varèse Sarabande STV 81339 (USA, 1987)
LP Varèse Sarabande STV 81345 (USA, 1988), Silva Screen FILM 026 (UK, 1988)
LP Edelton EDL 2504-1 (1988), Silva Screen FILM 027 (UK, 1988)
LP Jive 6.26825 (1988), Jive HIP 62 (UK, 1988)
OPTICAL RACE (4-5/88)
LP Private Music 209 557-630 (1989)
LP Private Music 210 016-630 (1989)
LILY ON THE BEACH (7-8/89)
LP Private Music 210 103-630 (1989)
LP Hansa 210 440-630 (1989)
LP Private Music 211 105-630 (1990)
It would seem as if Tanned Leather were a deliberate attempt to emulate the softer folky acts on British Harvest. In fact, Tanned Leather did sound English. Their music was soft and lyrical, with a few stand-out tracks on their debut, but they were similarly patchy like their British counterparts Forest or Battered Ornaments. In between their two albums, Andy Marx worked with the band Cherubin, and also worked as a soloist. The reformation album SADDLE SOAP was vastly inferior to the earlier album.
Rainer Pietsch (basses, organ, harmonica, piano, vibes, vocals), Alf Gardner (vocals, tambourine), Andy Marx (guitars, banjo, vocals), Herbert Ihle (vocals, percussion, organ), Dicky Mudde (guitars, tambourine, vocals), Jim Cannon (drums, percussion, vocals)
CHILD OF NEVER ENDING LOVE
LP Harvest 1C 062-29 440 (1972)
LP EMI 1C 062-29 651 (1976)
A Swiss hard-rock band fronted by English vocalist Mark Storace, who under the guidance of Dieter Dierks recorded two albums in the typical early-70's British rock style, with a little in the way of progressive touches. Latterly they changed into the Heavy Metal band Krokus.
Mark Storace (vocals, percussion), Turo Paschayan (bass, 12-string guitar, vocals), Armand Volker (vocals, guitars), Philippe Keinholz (keyboards, vocals), Roli Eggli (drums, percussion)
LP Vertigo 6360 617 (1974)
LP Vertigo 6360 626 (1975)
LP Vertigo 6360 637 (1976)
Technical Space Composers Crew
Inspired by his studies with Karlheinz Stockhausen, fascination with radios, electronics and multi-tracking studio and collage techniques, Holger Czukay together with one Rolf Dammers created an electronic masterpiece with CANAXIS V, close to Stockhausen's own "Telemusic" in atmosphere, yet with ethnic elements and a spacious electronic sound. Obviously it would have been right over the heads of rock collectors at the time, but quite rightly it's now hailed as a masterpiece of contemporary new-music.
CANAXIS V (1968)
LP Music Factory SRS 002 (1969)
At times these come across as almost post new-wave gothic, that kind of mysterious Dead Can Dance sound (often with female voice), but with a psychedelic edge. Very different and moody for a 70's band, though they could be heavy and aggressive too.
Poseidon (vocals), Pauline Fund (vocals, tambourine), Zeus B. Held (organ, Moog, Mellotron), Heinz Kramer (guitar), Rolf Föller (guitar), Joachim Weiss (bass), Otto Bretnacher (drums)
LP Pyramid ? (?)
An obscure band, Tetragon originated from Osnabrück in Northern Germany from the Brian Auger inspired Blues Limited. Later, after discovering The Nice, they changed their style and became the organ fronted trio Trikolon, and upon becoming a quartet they changed name to Tetragon! After having toured with their Dutch heroes Ekseption, it's not surprising that Tetragon moved to an ever-more complex classical rock with extensive use of rearranged Bach and other classical themes. The deliberate accent on their blues and psychedelic roots, guaranteed a unique twist on the genre, though on their sole album NATURE one can detect much The Nice, Egg and Dutch progressive stylisms. An unknown classic.
Hendrik Schaper (organ, clavinet, cembalo, piano, vocals), Jürgen Jaehner (guitars), Rolf Rettberg (bass), Joachim Luhrmann (drums)
LP Soma SM 1 (1971)
A band with unusual origins, Think were actually formed by three Hungarians (who had been touring with the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra in Germany) who decided they preferred the "free" West. Upon meeting the producer of Menga Records the idea for a band was formulated. Bizarrely, the group existed only as long as the recording sessions, yet the results were quite an exceptional album that fused together radically different cultures into a complex progressive rock featuring flute, violin and guitars in a richly folk and classical intoned style, hinting at Pell Mell and Eden yet original with an atmospheric beauty. We've no idea what happened to the musicians afterwards!
Rodrigo Ramor (vocals, percussion), Frank Voigt (flute, effects), Gerd Pohl (guitars, vocals), Ricky Ramor (bass), Fried Wördehoff (drums, percussion), Kajo Sandrik (violin, viola, piano, organ, percussion, effects)
LP Menga MEL 3301 (1973)
From the swelling jazz-rock ranks of the mid-70's, the Dutch rooted Third Eye were undoubtedly one of the better bands. Their debut THIRD EYE presents a symphonic fusion album with nice spacious arrangements making good use of synthesizer, piano and Mellotron. CONEXION moved further to the mainstream of German jazz-rock, with winds replacing keyboards as the lead instrument. More recently, Third Eye has become the vehicle of Ali Haurand and anyone he cares to play with, generally all non-Germans, such as British and American jazzers Alan Skidmore, Kenny Wheeler, Tony Levin, etc. A number of albums from such collaborations have also been released. Frank Köllges later appeared working in the new-wave, with Die Krupps and Härte 10.
Jan Huydts (electric piano, synthesizers, Mellotron), Alfred Haurand (bass, percussion), Frank Köllges (drums, Mellotron, piano), Steve Boston (percussion)
THIRD EYE (1/76)
LP Ring 01004 (1976)
LP Ring 01030 (1977)
Always essentially the project of the Drogies brothers, Thirsty Moon came into being in September 1971 as the amalgamation of D.R.P. (Drogies Rock Project) and Shakespears (apparently a jazz-soul band), resulting in a very big group (seven to eight members) performing complex rock that used unusual jazz structures as its base. Obviously influenced by the likes of Colosseum, the Chicago brass-rock scene and earlier German bands like Xhol and Organisation, Thirsty Moon created a music with great dynamics, use of heavy and spacious structures, unconventional songs and arrangements, and above all amazing musicianship. Both their debut and, the curiously titled, YOU'LL NEVER COME BACK offer some of the finest Krautrock. Both tripping out with percussively intensive Krautrock tripping, bizarre songs, and ventures into the cosmos, beyond jazz-fusion, beyond everything. Notably, on the second side of YOU'LL NEVER COME BACK, the feel is very close to Kollektiv. Hereafter the Thirsty Moon story becomes a mite sketchy. Harald Konietzko went to France, reappearing in Germany in the late-70's with La Düsseldorf. It would seem that BLITZ could be solely the Drogies brothers. It's an instrumental rock album based mostly around multi-percussives and guitars, and although more commercially styled, it still had many of the distinctive Thirsty Moon trademarks. The later albums pale into insignificance after this, with a more pop-styled rock of little musical invention. Only a couple of tracks on A REAL GOOD TIME can be deemed of interest. Treat these later releases with caution!
Norbert Drogies (drums, percussion), Michael Kobs (electric piano), Erwin Noack (congas, percussion), Willi Pape (soprano/tenor saxes, clarinet, flute, percussion), Harald Konietzko (bass, 12-string guitar, percussion, vocals), Jürgen Drogies (guitar, percussion), Hans-Werner Ranwig (organ, percussion, vocals)
LP Brain 1021 (1972)
YOU'LL NEVER COME BACK (7/73)
LP Brain 1041 (1973)
LP Brain 1079 (1976)
A REAL GOOD TIME
LP Brain 60.009 (1976)
I'll Sing Your Song / Caught
7" Boccaccio BO 45446 (1977)
LP Sky 053 (1981)
A classical and jazz-rock progressive, notably with influences as wide-ranging as Blodwyn Pig and Curved Air, all blending into a sound uniquely their own, with the distinct spirit of Krautrock. They later evolved into Altona.
Rainer von Gosen (bass), Werner von Gosen (guitar), Arno Bredehöft (drums), Wolfgang Minnemann (organ), Wolfgang Buhre (tenor/soprano saxes), Karl Heinz Blumenberg (vocals)
featured on: POP & BLUES FESTIVAL '70
featured on: LOVE & PEACE
THRICE MICE (11-12/70)
LP Philips 6305 104 (1971)
Originating from the Werdohl (near Dortmund) area, out of local bands Fine Art and Nostradamus, Tibet existed as a live band since 1972. Though they often toured as support to acts like Embryo and Out Of Focus in their early days, their musical affinity was much more Yes, ELP or Pink Floyd. Working for so many years as a live band, meant that by the time of their album, they'd developed a very different style. They'd become a complex and sophisticated spacey progressive with classical keyboard leanings, typical of other mid-70's bands like Jane, Novalis, or Pancake. A unique characteristic was their unusual angelic sounding singer. They only made the one self-produced album.
Klaus Werthmann (lead vocals), Deff Ballin (keyboards, percussion), Dieter Kumpakischkis (keyboards), Karl-Heinz Hamann (bass, percussion), Fred Teske (drums, percussion, guitars, vocals), Jürgen Krutzsch (guitars, percussion)
LP Bellaphon BBS 2581 (1978)
Active in music, on the Hamburg scene since the early-60's, Asmus Tietchens has tried his hand at almost everything, including 60's beat and psychedelic bands The Rondos and The King George Men. Though, much of this history is undocumented. But, it wasn't until the mid-70's that Asmus began to make a name for himself. Asmus' earliest known album credits date back to a guest appearance on the album by Cluster & Eno, he and Okko Bekker were also involved in the cosmic-industrial supersession Liliental, along with Conny Plank, Dieter Moebius and others. A sound explorer and synth musician, Asmus Tietchens had long been a friend of Okko Bekker who's worked as sound engineer on many of his solos. Notably, Asmus' early solo work was strongly influenced by such radical pioneering electronic and ambient styles, yet he also leaned towards classical and avant-garde musics. An air of Satie and Debussy, along with an inscrutable humorous edge have often lead to comparisons with The Residents and ZNR on his early Sky releases. Though, really, Asmus' vision was far more bleak, especially so on his solo debut NACHTSTÜCKE and the MUSIK... series of cassettes. Since his departure from the Sky label, Asmus has pursued much more avant-garde areas in music, covering a range of styles that runs from pure serious classical avant-garde through atmospheric industrial realms, and elsewhere, even onto gothic instrumental music. In fact, sometimes he has combined all these styles together! More recently Asmus has paralleled the music of Zoviet France and The Hafler Trio, but on large with much more invention and artistic pazazz. Indeed, Asmus has continued to innovate and surprise through to the present day, both as a soloist and in collaboration with other musicians, being one of the most prolific and consistently surprising musicians around. (Note: the following discography does not include any cassette compilation contributions!)
LP Egg 91.040 (France, 1980)
LP Sky 057 (1981)
MUSIK AUS DER GRAUZONE
MC YHR 019 (UK, 1981), Auricle AMC 024 (UK, 1987)
LP Sky 070 (1982)
MUSIK IM SCHATTEN
MC Aeon (USA, 1982), Auricle AMC 034 (UK, 1988)
IN DIE NACHT
LP Sky 077 (1982)
MUSIK AN DER GRENZE
MC YHR 024 (UK, 1982), Auricle AMC 025 (UK, 1987)
LP Sky 087 (1983)
MUSIK UNTER TAGE
MC Aeon (USA, 1983)
FORMEN LETZTER HAUSMUSIK
LP United Dairies UD 014 (UK, 1984)
featured on: THREE MINUTE SYMPHONY
2LP Xtract XX 002 (UK, 1984)
LP A-Mission PRO 18:4 (UK, 1985)
MC ADN 10 (Italy, 1985)
Credited to: Club Of Rome
featured on: OHRENSAUSEN
WATCHING THE BURNING BRIDE
LP Hamster HAM 16 (UK, 1986)
Credited to: Asmus Tietchens & Terry Burrows
GEBOREN, UM ZU DIENEN
LP Discos Esplendor Geometrico EG-003 (Spain, 1986)
ZWINGBURGEN DES HEDONISMUS
MLP Multimood MRC-003 (Sweden, 1987)
featured on: FREEDOM IN A VACUUM
LP Freedom in a Vacuum VACLP 1 (Canada, 1987)
AUF FREUDE AM ELEND
LP Dom US LP 02 (USA, 1988)
LP Discos Esplendor Geometrico EG-011 (Spain, 1988)
featured on: CIGURI
LP Odd Size OS 01 (France, 1988)
MC Korm Plastics KP 1188 (Holland, 1988)
featured on: FACE TO FACE, VOL. 1
LP Odd Size OS 04 (France, 1988)
LP+7" Dom V 77-05+V 7-09 (1988)
Credited to: Asmus Tietchens & Okko Bekker
LP Hamster HAM 25 (UK, 1989)
featured on: ARCANA COELESTIA
LP Multimood MRC-007 (Sweden, 1989)
LP Multimood MRC-008 (Sweden, 1989)
LP Discos Esplendor Geometrico EGD 018 (Spain, 1989)
LP Dradomel 03 (1992)
Credited to: Asmus Tietchens & C.V. Liquidsky
Tiger B. Smith
Formerly known as Second Life, Tiger B. Smith were one of the more mainstream of early German 70's bands, though much more interesting than their previous incarnation. Although TIGER ROCK did get dangerously close to Status Quo and normal British blues rock, it did have one moment of brilliance in the freaky psychedelic tinged "To Hell" which closes side two. Despite a talented guest list, the follow-up WE'RE THE TIGER BUNCH was rather drab and ordinary rock, with only a few progressive moments counterpointing more pop-styled tracks. Members of Tiger B. Smith later went onto the pop-rock bands Straßenjungs and King-Kong.
Holger Schmidt (guitar, vocals, harmonica), Claus Meinhardt (bass), Karl-Heinz Traut (drums)
TIGER ROCK (12/72)
LP Vertigo 6360 610 (1973) «with large poster»
WE'RE THE TIGER BUNCH (1974)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19176Q (1974)
Morning Bird / Anna Sheffield
7" Bacillus BF 18373 (1974)
Swiss hard-rock band formed by members of the original Brainticket, Toad's history is obscure and largely undocumented. Their debut is said to be in the realms of Dies Irae, being heavy, bluesy and experimental. However, despite getting a British release, we've never managed to locate a copy. Their second album TOMORROW BLUE was surprisingly straight hard-rock, akin to Sperrmüll, with Hendrix, Status Quo and R 'n' B influences. Their original lead singer Benjamin Jäger went on to Island.
Vittorio Vergeat (guitars), Cosimo Lampis (drums), Werner Froehlich (bass), Benj Jäger (vocals)
Stay / Animals World
7" Hallelujah NIL ? (Switzerland, 1971)
LP Hallelujah X 616 (Switzerland, 1971), Bellaphon BLPS 19047 (1971), RCA Victor 8241 (UK, 1972)
Fly / No Need
7" Hallelujah NIL 9054 (Switzerland, 1972)
LP Hallelujah X 626 (Switzerland, 1972)
I Saw Her Standing Here / Green Ham
7" Hallelujah NIL ? (Switzerland, 1971)
LP Frog FRL 36001 (Italy, 1975)
A veritable supergroup of top pop and rock musicians from Hamburg (many of whom had played with Achim Reichel), To Be were surprisingly a jazz-rock band who played a bright instrumental music with Latino touches akin to Santana, and used guitar and piano as solo instruments.
Lemmy Lembrecht (drums, percussion), Peter Franken (percussion, drums), Peter Weihe (guitar), Rolf Köhler (bass), Claus-Robert Kruse (keyboards)
TO BE (11/76)
LP Brain 60.053 (1977)
featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN II
LP Maske Musik MMG 640.010 (1982)
A progressive cum polit-rock group, a mixture of styles ranging from techno to humorous Bonzo Dog style. The German vocals lend a feeling of Lokomotive Kreuzberg, but their song style and arrangements are generally quite straight and unadventurous. Much more suited to German ears than mine!
Frank Hopmann (guitar, vocals), Dieter Berndt (drums), Rainer Brune (piano, organ, Moog), Werner Rödiger (bass, vocals)
LP Elephant NB 056 (1977)
LP Cain CL 5811 (1981)
As with many bands of the era, Tomorrow's Gift started as a cover's band, playing the music of their favourite Anglo-American acts. On early live recordings you can hear how these songs evolved into their own music, with songs like "Indian Rope Man" and "Season Of The Witch" becoming LP side-long pieces on the festival albums POP & BLUES FESTIVAL '70 and LOVE & PEACE which showed influences of Vanilla Fudge and many a British 60's blues-rock act. By the time of their debut (a double album), which documented several months of original compositions, Tomorrow's Gift had evolved and become much more original. Akin to Frumpy they blended songs into much longer works, with lengthy instrumental improvisations, and as the album progresses, each side moves on to more experimental realms. Shortly after recording this however, the band disintegrated whilst touring as support to Spooky Tooth.
A new Tomorrow's Gift, featuring keyboardist Manne Rürup and bassist Bernd Keifer (from the original band) with Wolfgang Lindner (from Sphinx Tush) on drums, took the most radical ideas from where the original band had left off. The album GOODBYE FUTURE proved to be one of the most creative and unique of Krautrock albums, relying heavily on clavichord, Mellotron and bass guitar to create a range of instrumental textures that are often unbelievably complex, spurred on by the devilishly creative percussion of "Zabba" Lindner. A trio, creative in the manner of classic Egg, and largely instrumental, aided extensively by the ever creative Conny Plank.
Latterly, Tomorrow's Gift disbanded, and went through several transformations becoming Release Gruppe with ex-Guru Guru Uli Trepte and then Release Music Orchestra. Also Manne worked in the band Dennis and with Achim Reichel, and Zabba worked on a multi-percussion project with ex-Frumpy and Dennis drummer Carsten Bohn.
Ellen Meier (vocals), Carlo Karges (guitar, percussion), Olaf Casalich (drums), Manfred Rürup (organ), Wolfgang Trescher (flute), Bernd Kiefer (bass)
featured on: POP & BLUES FESTIVAL '70
featured on: LOVE & PEACE
TOMORROW'S GIFT (1970)
2LP +Plus+ 1+2 (1971)
GOODBYE FUTURE (1972)
LP Spiegelei/Aamok 28515-5U (1973)
Ton Steine Scherben
Mentors of the cliché "agit-rock", Ton Steine Scherben took their roots from American 60's punk like the Velvet Underground and The Stooges, added a touch of heavy blues and a strong dose of German angst. Presenting their raw aggressive rock frequently at free festivals in the late-60's, none of the German labels would touch them. WARUM GEHT ES MIR SO DRECKIG? was privately issued and contains some of the most anguished, lyrically venomous, raw rock to come out of Germany. Toning down their act a little, KEINE MACHT FÜR NIEMAND put them on a more accessible footing, less intense it also included a few excellent more experimental tracks showing that they could do much more than insult or aurally assault people, they could produce high quality rock too. Their finest moment, as far as we are concerned, was WENN DIE NACHT AM TIEFSTEN, which saw them develop on an even more progressive level, with diversions to
Zappa-esque humour, and several experimental moments: most especially the long suite encompassing side 4.
Alongside these activities Ton Steine Scherben have constantly worked as support or backing band to a number of radical theatre and political cabaret acts (including Brühwarm, Kollektiv Rote Rübe and Hofmann's Comic Teater). The recorded results of these collaborations are generally quite odd, and not easy listening for non-German ears.
Ralph Möbius (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Ralph Steitz (guitar), Wolfgang Seidel (drums), Kai Sichtermann (bass)
Macht Kaputt Was Euch Kaputt Macht Streiken
7" private release TP 1001 (1970)
WARUM GEHT ES MIR SO DRECKIG?
LP Volksmund TSS 1 (1971)
KEINE MACHT FÜR NIEMAND
2LP Volksmund TSS 2 (1972) «corrugated box, with booklet»
WENN DIE NACHT AM TIEFSTEN (5/74-4/75)
2LP Volksmund TSS 3/L 49 (1975) «poster cover, with inserts»
2LP Volksmund DVP 001 (1981)
LP Volksmund DVP 999 (1983)
IN BERLIN 1984 (6/84)
LP Volksmund DVP 013 (1984)
A talented and revolutionary bassist, Uli grew up through free-jazz in the 60's, working with the likes of the Irene Schweizer Trio, Wolfgang Dauner, and then founding the most innovative of acid-rock/underground power trios: Guru Guru. Feeling left out and dissatisfied with the direction Guru Guru were moving in, he decided to leave and form his own band. Moving away from Berlin, he formed his own band along with Embryo stalwarts and other top musicians. Sessions for a release on Brain were recorded (surfacing as one side of an album in the late-80's) and he also worked with the Release Gruppe. Uli then went on to work live with Neu! and Faust (with whom he toured Britain), and for six months or so as support to the likes of Daevid Allen and Lol Coxhill. Developing an array of gadgets he called the "Spacebox", this eventually led to the formation of a band with this name and two albums. Since then little has been heard from Uli. He did record PHENOTYPE, an album of bass guitar works, for United Dairies in the late-80's, but this only surfaced as a cassette. He since also spent some time in New York, where he discovered American blues, which changed his attitude about music. Sessions from 1989 and 1990 resulted in the album JAZZ MODALITIES, which is an odd relaxed jazzy twist on the Spacebox type sound, though largely instrumental, proving Uli still has what it takes to be original! More recently, Uli is again in Berlin and has plans for a new album.
Uli Trepte (bass, vocals, cassettes, percussion), + Roman Bunka (guitar, vocals, percussion), Christian Burchard (drums, marimba, piano, percussion), Carsten Bohn (drums, percussion), Willi Pape (sax, flute, percussion), Rosy Rosy (vocals, percussion)
LP United Dairies UD 024 (UK, 1986)
Note: 1/2 of this album is HOT ON SPOT by Guru Guru
Highly acclaimed winners at the Nachwuchs Pop '78 music festival, the Bremen band Tri Atma managed to secure a contract with RCA and gain international marketing. A remarkable feat really, as Tri Atma played a most unusual fusion of jazz and ethnic musics, very much towards the likes of what Between and Embryo were doing at the same time (who were shunned by the major labels) but with even stronger Eastern roots. Their debut TRI ATMA presented a mainly acoustic brand of ethnic fusion, very percussive and full of vitality, whereas MIGHTY LOTUS brought in a lot of electric instruments and more variety, and the use of authentic-sounding Asian-Indian vocals adds yet another dimension. INSTEAD OF DRUGS is their most accomplished work, with the addition of multi-keyboards/synthesizers and a lot of rock awareness, a new vitality is felt as well as a greater dimension in the arrangements. After this they lost any cohesive style. Gyan Nishabda on SEHNSUCHT UND EINKLANG is actually Klaus Netzle and his light synthetic style was at odds with Tri Atma music, and subsequent albums offered a techno ethnic dance music. Since Tri Atma's demise, the various musicians have been quite prolific. Whilst Asim has gone back to his ethnic roots, others have moved on. Jens Fischer has since done some interesting solo work, and especially worth checking out is his AUMAKAÚ. He is also featured on fellow Tri Atma cohort Achim Gieseler's unusual ethnic electronic excursion L'AIR, LA TERRE from 1990.
Asim Saha (tablas, nal, dholok, percussion), Herbert Koschmieder (flute, sax, xylophone, tamboura), Jens Fischer (guitars), Manfred Flathe (sitar, surbahar, guitars)
featured on: POP NACHWUCHS-FESTIVAL '78
LP RCA PL 28347 (1979)
MIGHTY LOTUS (7/80)
LP RCA PL 28402 (1980)
INSTEAD OF DRUGS
LP RCA PL 70678 (1981)
SEHNSUCHT UND EINKLANG
LP Erdenklang 6.25315 (1982)
Arguably the German ELP, with a Greg Lake clone vocalist, and in Peter K. Seiler an aspiring Keith Emerson soundalike keyboardist, Tritonus made a highly derivative classical rock on their debut LP. BETWEEN THE UNIVERSES showed much more imagination featuring a lengthy cosmic synth-sequencer track "Mars Detection" (hinting at Seiler's later work with Michael Bundt) and also a grand conceptual side-long symphonic rock suite. Also, for a touch more originality, Kin Ping Meh vocalist Geff Harrison is featured on one track. Tritonus existed until 1979 when they split due to apathy from record companies. Peter K. Seiler now works solo and records for the IC label.
Peter K. Seiler (organs, Moog, pianos, Mellotron, celeste), Ronald J.D. Brand (bass, vocals, guitars, percussion), Charlie Jöst (drums, percussion),
Kite / The Way Of Spending Time
7" RBM 7002 (1973)
LP BASF 17 22384-1 (1975)
BETWEEN THE UNIVERSES (3-7/76)
LP BASF 20 22946-7 (1976)
The Trojan Horse Race / Timewinds Of Life
7" Acanta AC 13078 (1976)
Originally a classical rock trio, Triumvirat were most obviously inspired by The Nice and ELP, but it has to be said that although some aspects of the Triumvirat sound bordered on plagiarism they did also have their own sound. With a penchant for elaborate concepts, featuring lengthy complex suites, and a song style that was totally unlike ELP, especially so on the LP's featuring Helmut Koellen as lead vocalist, the early albums are amongst the finest examples of highly produced German rock. Latterly, with the return of original bassist Dirk Frangenberg and a constantly changing line-up (becoming a quartet) the albums after OLD LOVES DIE HARD (which was dedicated to Helmut Koellen who had recently died) saw the start of a steady decline to lightweight pop music. More recently Jürgen Fritz has been active as a soloist, doing classical adaptations on synthesizers, and ambitious operas.
Hans Pape (bass, vocals), Hans Bathelt (drums, percussion), Hans-Jürgen Fritz (organ, pianos, synthesizer, percussion, vocals)
Be Home For Tea / Broken Mirror
7" Harvest 1C 006-29 976 (1972)
MEDITERRANEAN TALES (1/72)
LP Harvest 1C 064-29 441 (1972)
Ride In The Night / Sing Me A Song
7" Harvest 1C 006-30 407 (1973)
ILLUSIONS ON A DOUBLE DIMPLE (6-10/73)
LP Harvest 1C 062-29 491 (1974)
Dancer's Delight / Timothy (1973)
7" Harvest 1C 006-30 484 (1974)
LP Harvest 1C 062-29 567 (1975)
Take A Break Today / The Capital Of Power [Live]
7" Harvest 1C 006-31 609 (1976)
OLD LOVES DIE HARD (1-4/76)
LP Horzu 1C 062-29 622 (1976)
LP Harvest 1C 064-32 466 (1977)
Credited to: New Triumvirat
A LA CARTE
LP Harvest 1C 064-45 184 (1978)
RUSSIAN ROULETTE (9-12/79)
LP Harvest 1C 064-45 834 (1980)
An obscure mid-70's band, playing a soft symphonic progressive typical of the era, often compared to bands like Novalis and Epidaurus.
Elmar Wegmann (guitar, flute, vocals), Klaus Pannewig (drums, bells, vocals), Wilhelm Weischer (bass), Peter Savelsberg (organ, Mellotron, electric piano)
POINT OF ERUPTION
LP Förderturm T-5476 (1976)
Twenty Sixty Six & Then
When Twenty Sixty Six & Then started, they were veritably a supergroup who didn't yet know it! Their lead singer Geff Harrison had decided to stay in Germany after leaving an early incarnation of Beggar's Opera (he also worked with I Drive), he and guitarist Gagey Mrozeck went on to Kin Ping Meh, Konstantin Bommarius went to Abacus and then Karthago, Veit Marvos went to Emergency, Dieter Bauer joined Aera, and Steve Robinson later joined forces with Michael Bundt and others. During their brief year or so existence, Twenty Sixty Six & Then made one of the most touted of heavy psychedelic Krautrock albums, REFLECTIONS ON THE FUTURE took Krautrock stylisms and hard-rock, added some Zappa touches, riffing aggression of the heavy Bacillus-label bands, and even some off-the-wall electronics. The REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST release features other studio sessions featuring longer or radically different versions of tracks from the album, along with other unreleased works. REFLECTIONS! compiles the best of their oeuvre onto one disc.
Veit Marvos (organ, pianos, Mellotron, percussion, vocals), Steve Robinson (organ, electric piano, vibes, synthesizer, Mellotron, vocals), Geff Harrison (vocals), Gagey Mrozeck (guitars, vocals), Dieter Bauer (bass), Konstantin Bommarius (drums), + Dieter Dierks, Pete Bender, Rainer Marz
REFLECTIONS ON THE FUTURE (1972)
LP United Artists UAS 29314 (1972)
REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST (5/71-3/72)
11/2LP Second Battle SBT 001 (1991)
Heavy/melodic prog band, typical of the era, comparable to Harlis or Bullfrog (both on the Sky label), with a mixture of hard-rock, progressive and Hendrix edges. Although they recorded an LP in 1975 it wasn't released until 2000.
Volkar Kramarz (guitar, vocals), Ulrich Hülder (keyboards), Jürgen Bieler (bass, vocals), Roland Glässer (drums)
Country Waltz / Last Night In Verona #1
7" New Blood NLA 1176 (1976)
As A Kid / Kiss Me And Say Goodbye
7" New Blood NPA 3177 (1977)
Tyburn Tall originated from a 60's beat band called The Screamers, eventually changing style when becoming influenced by the likes of The Nice, Colosseum, and other bands that they toured with, like Frumpy and Renaissance, they drew in a wide variety of complex classical and hard-rock influences into their music. Their only album was privately released in an edition of only 200 copies and was thus virtually unknown until the CD reissue, which also contains live recordings of two Colosseum numbers.
Stefan Kowa (bass, vocals), Hanns Dechant (drums, percussion), Klaus Fresenius (vocals), Werner Gallo (guitar), Reinhard Magin (organ, piano, vocals)
TYBURN TALL (1972)
LP Lutz Kern 0001-2 (1972)
An unusual mid-70's progressive with folky and psychedelic touches, instrumentally close to Floh De Cologne and Eulenspygel, yet surprisingly instrumental for having three vocalists! Typical of releases on Kerston they were very Teutonic with a very cosmic style and lots of invention. An obscurity that definitely deserves a CD reissue!
Michael Scherf (vocals), Ulrike Schempp (vocals), Susanne Schempp (vocals), Det Fonfara (guitar), Achim Bosch (bass), Günter Klinger (drums)
Suzie Steno / Rachenzucke
7" Big Six (1974)
LP Kerston 65025 (1975)
It seems that even in 1973 Amon Düül II still wanted to do double albums! But, instead of making WOLF CITY into a double, somehow this side-line project came in to being, fronted by three musicians who had earlier worked together in Passport (on their debut LP). Although since reissued as an Amon Düül II album, Utopia was in fact a different much jazzier and bluesier offering, focusing on Jimmy Jackson and Olaf Kübler's jazz origins, and more on Lothar Meid's songs. The results (featuring in common slightly different versions of "Deutsch Nepal") were yin and yang of each other, if you know what I mean!
Lothar Meid (bass, vocals, Mellotron), Jimmy Jackson (pianos, organs, marimba), Olaf Kübler (saxes, flute, Moog, gong), + Keith Forsey (drums), Andy Marx (guitars), Renate Knaup (vocals), Ralph Basten (vocals), Daniel Fichelscher (drums, congas), John Weinzierl (guitars), Joe Quick (guitar), Norman Tolbert (congas), Rolf Zacher (voice), George Green (drums), Falk-U. Rogner (organ), Siegfried Schwab (guitar), Peter Kramper (Moog), Joe Nay (drums), George Brown (drums), Edgar Hofmann (soprano sax), Chris Karrer (violin, soprano sax), Christian Schultze (electric piano)
LP United Artists UAS 29483 (1973), United Artists UAG 29483 (UK)
The Vampires' Sound Incorporation
An obscure 60's psychedelic exploitation band, notable for featuring Siggi Schwab, aptly playing a music is of that eccentric Wolfgang Dauner OIMELS style, yet so much more chic and clichéd. As Schwab went on to work with Dauner, no doubt this is where much the eccentric psychedelia came from! A recent CD issue, a film soundtrack called THE SEXODELIC DANCE PARTY, also features The Vampires' Sound Incorporation recordings, along with other cheesy jazz and psychedelic pop.
Manfred Hubler, Siegfried Schwab & Jurgen Wentorf (drums, bass, sitar, trumpet, trombone, organ, piano, guitar, harp, flute), + Los Capuzinos (vocals)
PSYCHEDELIC DANCE PARTY (1968)
LP Mercury International 134 615 MSY (1969)
Belgian born Joel Vandroogenbroeck has been very much a wanderer, establishing a jazz career in Germany in the 60's, creating the phenomenal Brainticket, and then moving on to Italy and Switzerland. Over the years he's been nothing, if not seminal, influential, and very prolific. Aside from Brainticket he did much work in Italy as a session musician, and since the late-70's he's been travelling the world researching ancient and obscure musical cultures. An unlikely outlet for much of this work was the library label Coloursound from Munich. Strangest of these works was the dark and disturbing BIOMECHANOID, inspired by and sporting a H. R. Giger "Biomechanoid" painting. The MEDITATIONS albums ventured beyond Brainticket's CELESTIAL OCEAN on a more atmospheric level, whereas INDUSTRIAL RETROSPECT recalled the Brainticket of the era, namely ADVENTURE and VOYAGE. His ethnic studies resulted in albums like BIRTH OF EARTH, LOST CONTINENTS, MESOPOTAMIA EGYPT, etc., and there's also the medieval styled MIDDLE AGES. As evidence that Joel hadn't lost his jazz roots, there was also the fusion project simply named "Joel".
LP Coloursound CS 1
MEDITATIONS VOL. 1
LP Coloursound CS 3
MEDITATIONS VOL. 2
LP Coloursound CS 4
BIRTH OF EARTH
LP Coloursound CS 7
LP Coloursound CS 8
LP Coloursound CS 13
LP Coloursound CS 22
LP Coloursound CS 43
SOUTH EAST ASIA
LP Coloursound CS 46
After his first successful project as leader: Hallelujah, and when not busy with other projects, Paul Vincent (a German, by the way, despite his name) also tried out sessions with local Munich musicians. His solo debut MAKIN' OUR OWN SWEET MUSIC (not VINCENT as previously detailed) despite being a similar cast to Niagara's S.U.B. album, was a very patchy affair, bridging pop through to progressive realms, only really redeemable for two tracks.
Paul Vincent (guitars, tambourine, vocals, harp, oboe), + Keith Forsey (drums, congas), Gary Unwin (bass), Martin Harrison (drums, tambourine), Sylvester Levay (pianos, harmonium, saxes), Angelika Tiefenböck (choir), Helga Amper (choir), Monerl (choir), Ralf Nowy (saxes), Munich Opera Choir
MAKIN' OUR OWN SWEET MUSIC (1/73)
LP Ariola 86672 (1973)
FLIEGENDER ROCK & ROLL ZIRKUS
LP Ariola 88752 (1975)
LP Philips 6435 152 (1982)
A classic obscurity, Vinegar played a psychedelic spiced rock, in the realms of Tractor or Elias Hulk, but with a very Teutonic sound, lots of instrumentals and guitar textures akin to Gomorrha. An unknown gem from an obscure and innovative band.
Bernhard Liesegang (bass, vocals), Rolf Zwirner (guitar, violin), Wolfgang Grahn (drums), Ralf Modrow (organ, vocals), Dagmar Dormagen (vocals, flute), Jochen Biemann (guitar)
LP Phonofoly WP 710101 (1971)
A not so distinctive, yet very lively jazz-rock band, Virgo were closer in style to many American bands of the era, with the accent on rhythm, texture and an abundance of solos, with an up-front catchy melodic style. The mainstay of the band was keyboardist Henryk Darlowski, who in the early days gave the front seat to the sax player, though from LUTELLO on he added synthesizer to his output, and a guitarist was also featured. All their albums are interesting, though with little in the way of individual style or experimentation.
Bobby Stern (soprano/tenor saxes, percussion), Henryk Darlowski (piano), Reinhard Glöder (bass), Lothar Scharf (drums, percussion)
LP Vertigo 6360 624 (1975)
LP Bacillus BAC 2047 (1976)
LP Bacillus BAC 2053 (1978)
LP Bacillus BAC 2065 (1979)
Originating from Bielefeld in Northern Germany, Virus were one of those legendary Krautrock bands that took the Pink Floyd type of space-rock sound onto new uncharted realms. Virus' debut REVELATION was aptly titled, being full of invention and surprises within long tracks that sported extensive guitar work-outs, swirling organ, free riffing and lots of interactive musical interplay, no less so that on the very free adaptation of "Paint it Black" and a most astonishing diversion on a "Saucerful Of Secrets" theme! But, like Gila or Tangerine Dream, Virus were by no means plagiarists, what they did was to venture beyond such influences and come up with a style all of their own, resulting in a powerful cosmic excursion that's largely instrumental and full of surprises. Certainly an album of revelations! A few Virus members meanwhile formed the hard-rock psychedelic band Weed. But, as to who exactly were the band on THOUGHTS, there's no documentation whatsoever. Reputedly featured is the very unfeminine sounding female vocalist Elga Blask. And the music had changed somewhat to, to a more hard-rock and blues style, akin to more song oriented Frumpy but with a wild psychedelic edge, with lyrics about drugs and paranoia, much closer to Pilz label-mates Dies Irae. A justly legendary band.
Reinhold Spiegelfeld (bass), Bernd Hohmann (flute, vocals), J. Dieter Krahe (organ), Wolfgang Rieke (drums), Werner Monka (guitar)
LP BASF CRC 015 (1971)
LP Pilz 20 21102-9 (1971)
featured on: HEAVY CHRISTMAS
An obscure international Munich band (relatively unknown until recently), Vita Nova were fronted by guitarist and multi-instrumental Polish born talent Eddy Marron and Hungarian keyboard player Sylvester Levay. They played a complex fusion of classical rock and fusion styles, and aptly in keeping with their name all the lyrics were in Latin. Hints of Eddy Marron's later work in Dzyan can be felt, along with strong psychedelic touches, hints of Pink Floyd, Egg, Arzachel and the likes of many early Italian bands. After also moving in to jazz, and also becoming a member of Nowy, Sylvester Levay has since become a top soundtrack composer in Hollywood!
Eddy "Ugly-Ugly" Marron (guitars, bass, zaz, lead vocals), Sylvester "Lysy" Levay (organ, piano, clavinet, percussion, vocals), Christian von Hoffmann (drums, percussion, vocals)
VITA NOVA (2/71)
LP Life LS 5010 (Austria, 1971)
Adelbert von Deyen
One of the first synthesists to seriously attempt to emulate the pioneering work of Klaus Schulze. With much more limited resources and with great enthusiasm he created some fine examples of cosmic synth music. His debut STERNZEIT was his answer to CYBORG era Klaus Schulze, with two side-long tracks, each a semi-static swirling and gliding mass featuring string synthesizer to the fore. NORDBORG offered two contrasting, less Schulzian bleak musicscapes. But, arguably most accomplished was ATMOSPHERE, which rolled these many facets and more into a complex music combining rhythm and atmospherics. It's especially notable for the 33 minute suite that covered 1˝ sides! For no apparent reason, or maybe he was fed up with being called a "Schulze clone", further Adelbert von Deyen releases offered very different musics. The first big change was ECLIPSE, a most obvious dedication to Pink Floyd's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, complete with Roger Waters style songs. PLANETARY was the finest of this later era with a varied set of sequential and melodic tracks. Little of his later output has much to commend it, as all such LP's are collections of short melodic/rhythmic synth tracks, with little originality or character.
Adelbert von Deyen (synthesizer, organ, string-orchestra, electric piano, guitar)
LP Sky 019 (1978)
LP Sky 029 (1979)
LP Sky 041 (1980)
LP Sky 062 (1981)
LP Sky 076 (1982)
LP Sky 082 (1983)
Credited to: von Deyen/Schuetz
featured on: UMSONST UND DRAUSSEN PAPENBURG 1983
LP Sky 097 (1985)
LP Sky 122 (1987)
Waldron Jackson Weber Braceful
A typical ECM one-off session project featuring an international cast of top musicians then involved with Embryo and Wolfgang Dauner's Et Cetera. An alternative version of "The Call" can be heard on Embryo's STEIG AUS and acts as a good indicator to the music here. With just one track per side, this is ever inventive, flowing fusion with rich keyboard textures and omnipresent soloing. The spirit of Krautrock fusion, yet only one musician is German!
Mal Waldron (electric piano), Jimmy Jackson (organ), Eberhard Weber (bass, cello), Fred Braceful (drums)
THE CALL (1/2/71)
LP Japo 60001 (1971)
Formed in Mönchengladbach by classically trained art student Jürgen Dollase in autumn 1971 as Blitzkrieg, with an international cast of: American Bill Barone, Dutchman Jerry Berkers, and local friend Harald Grosskopf. After only a couple of concerts, they were quickly spotted and eagerly signed up by Pilz. But, there proved to be a problem, also touring Germany at the time was a British band called Blitzkrieg, so a change of name was needed. They decided on Wallenstein, a notorious character of the Thirty Years War.
Remarkable for a band that had only existed a month or so, Wallenstein's debut album BLITZKRIEG certainly lived up to its title, a power-drive of psychedelic classical rock, overloaded with energy. The opening track "Lunatic" has the energy of High Tide crossed with the complexity of the finest Italian classical rock. Not unlike Mythos' Stephan Kaske, Jürgen Dollase had a similarly strong accented Peter Hammill style of singing, which lead to Wallenstein often being quoted as a German classical twist on Van Der Graaf Generator, but there was more to Wallenstein than that! With MOTHER UNIVERSE, it was big mood-change time, as
Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser attempted to mould Wallenstein as a folk band (a strange idea) and so Jerry Berkers took the reigns for much of the album. It added up to a weird concoction that drew in many styles, sometimes comparable to Dutch legend Supersister. An awkward album, and thus it takes a little effort to really appreciate it.
Without Berkers, Wallenstein again returned to the control of Dollase, with a return to classical rock, but not heavy as on BLITZKRIEG, as Kaiser now wanted them to play cosmic music! You see, Jürgen Dollase and Harald Grosskopf had been jamming with Klaus Schulze and Manuel Göttsching for what became The Cosmic Jokers series. The influence of this obviously rubbed off, and so, Wallenstein becoming cosmic, meant a shift to Pink Floyd stylisms. Mix this with the symphonic blend of Jürgen's keyboards and newcomer Joachim Reiser's violin, and a new Wallenstein sound resulted. COSMIC CENTURY was quite a remarkable album, and it set the trend for STORIES, SONGS & SYMPHONIES, credited to "The Symphonic Rock Orchestra Wallenstein" which developed this style on a lighter footing. Away from Kaiser's guidance however, Wallenstein soon started to pale, not least so, because the only member to continue on with Dollase was the new bassist Jürgen Pluta. NO MORE LOVE offered a heavier rock style, still with some uniquely Wallenstein touches, but lacking the creativity that made the earlier albums special. Being with RCA obviously wasn't such a bright move either, as a Sting styled vocalist was drafted in and subsequent albums were basically pop music.
Bill Barone (guitars, vocals), Harald Grosskopf (drums, percussion), Jürgen Dollase (keyboards, vocals), Jerry Berkers (bass, vocals)
LP Pilz 20 29064-6 (1972)
MOTHER UNIVERSE (5-6/72)
LP Pilz 20 29113-8 (1972)
COSMIC CENTURY (9/73)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58.006 (1973)
STORIES, SONGS & SYMPHONIES (1974)
LP Kosmische Musik KM 58.014 (1975)
NO MORE LOVE
LP RCA PL 30010 (1977)
LP RCA PL 30045 (1978)
BLUE EYED BOYS (1979)
LP RCA PL 30061 (1979)
LP Harvest 1C 064-45 932 (1980)
LP Harvest 1C 064-46 307 (1981)
Strongly inspired by the likes of Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, etc., the Berlin band Walpurgis hit blues rock and West Coast American styles against space music reasonably successfully. On their sole album QUEEN OF SABA, they opened with the aptly titled "Disappointment". But, from thereon, despite a cranky vocalist, it gets better and better, and the guest appearance of Jürgen Dollase (of Wallenstein) fills the sound out nicely, later taking the music on to Ash Ra Tempel and Agitation Free realms.
Ryszard Kalemba (guitar), George Früchtenicht (bass), Jan Sundermeyer (congas, flute), Jerzy Sokolowski (guitar, vocals), Manfred Stadelmann (drums, vocals), + Jürgen Dollase (keyboards)
QUEEN OF SABA (5-6/72)
LP Ohr OMM 556 023 (1972)
Die Walter H.C. Meier Pumpe
Rock and skiffle band featuring: Walter Westrupp, with Frank Baier (ukulele, guitar), Herribert Horstig (guitar), Wulf Meier (drums, washboard) and Bernd Roland (bass). Only of historical interest.
LP Der Andere Song 25795 (1975)
...PUMPT DEN SKIFFLE AUS DEM BODEN
LP Songbird 1C 062-31140 (1976)
Not at all typical of 80's progressives, possibly because they originated from a former incarnation of themselves documented in 1971, and then worked under the guise of Galaxy. Waniyetula sounded more like mid-70's Gentle Giant or Birth Control, making a lively interactive progressive with complex songs and arrangements. The only clue to the 80's identity is the production quality and some of the instrumentation.
Heinz Kühne (guitar, flute, mouth harp, vocals), Thomas Goerdten (drums), Hermann Beckert (bass)
featured on: CONCERT '71
A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM
LP Klangkunst KK 2811-018-12 (1983)
Nowadays, the Stuttgart born multi-instrumentalist Eberhard Weber, is best known as a talented jazz bassist, and as the creator of a most individual brand of atmospheric fusion. But, that's but one aspect of Eberhard's talents! With an apprenticeship as part of the nucleus of Wolfgang Dauner's bands in the late-60's, Eberhard proved to be a most talented multi-instrumentalist. Yet, it still seems that he surprised almost everyone, really breaking out as a highly individual talent on his debut as front man: THE COLOURS OF CHLOË. This is a richly textured and atmospheric fusion album, featuring a superb cast of musicians (including Rainer Brüninghaus from Eiliff and Peter Giger of Dzyan) and a music that bridged classic and jazz forms, in a dramatic yet cosmic sedate fusion. In jazz circles THE COLOURS OF CHLOË gained enormous critical acclaim and won numerous awards. And, such success meant that the band became known as Eberhard Weber's Colours! Becoming a star meant Eberhard was much sought after as the musician to work with! For a while at least, Eberhard became most prolific, working with the likes of Gary Burton, Volker Kriegel, Jan Garbarek, Pat Metheny, Kolbe & Illenberger, and later also as a member of Wolfgang Dauner's United Jazz+Rock Ensemble. Colours' second album YELLOW FIELDS was another superbly crafted fusion opus, though subsequent albums paled somewhat. As a soloist, his output has been more sporadic, working with an orchestra, and odd impromptu projects with unlikely musicians. CHORUS saw a diversion to more experimental music again, pushing the limits of what is possible with the bass as a solo instrument. Eberhard has also, in more recent times, dabbled with synthesizers, together with guitar and bass, and has recorded numerous (but as yet unreleased on disc) film soundtracks.
Eberhard Weber (bass, cello, ocarina, choir), + Rainer Brüninghaus (piano, synthesizer), Peter Giger (drums, percussion), Ralf Hübner (drums), Ack van Rooyen (flugelhorn), Gisela Schäuble (choir), Cellos of the Südfunk Symphony Orchestra
THE COLOURS OF CHLOË (12/73)
LP ECM 1042 (1974)
featured on: 1. NEW JAZZ FESTIVAL, HAMBURG '75 (8/6/75)
LP Polydor 2371 618 (1975)
Credited to: Eberhard Weber "Colours"
COLOURS - YELLOW FIELDS (9/75)
LP ECM 1066 (1976)
THE FOLLOWING MORNING (8/76)
LP ECM 1084 (1976)
COLOURS - SILENT FEET (11/77)
LP ECM 1107 (1978)
FLUID RUSTLE (1/79)
LP ECM 1137 (1979)
COLOURS - LITTLE MOVEMENTS (7/80)
LP ECM 1186 (1980)
LATER THAT EVENING (3/82)
LP ECM 1231 (1982)
LP ECM 1288 (1985)
LP ECM 1374 (1989)
Billing themselves as "Alp-agit aus Östereich", Weckers Uhrwerk are, as you may expect, a political rock combo, Agit-rock done Austrian style! Akin to the likes of Lokomotive Kreuzberg, Checkpoint Charlie, or even when most inspired, touches of Floh De Cologne can be heard. However, with a new-wave element, being very lyrical (and Austrian German is hard to follow, if at all) and inconsistent flow, their only known album is not that exceptional.
LP Trikont US-0033 (1977)
Formed by Virus members: Reinhold Spiegelfeld, Bernd Hohmann and Werner Monka, Weed were quite a shock really, and remarkably different especially considering that their LP was recorded only two months after Virus' REVELATION. Weed weren't psychedelic or cosmic, no they were very British sounding
hard-rock, boogie edged and gutsy, straddling the ground between Status Quo and Guru Guru, and with no distinctive style. Aside from the amusing cover, Weed should be ranked alongside the likes of Sperrmüll, Reaction, or Tiger B. Smith, as the very British sounding side of Krautrock. They only existed for a year. Notes: Bernd Hohmann later went solo under the guise of "Molle" (the credit of Werner Monka as "Molle" on the Virus REVELATION cover is incorrect). Both Bernd and Werner were later members of Kotten Blues Band. Other Weed members: Reinhold Spiegelfeld and Reiner Schnelle also played in Amon Düül II on their British tour in 1972.
Reinhold Spiegelfeld (bass), Bernd Hohmann (flute, vocals), Werner Monka (guitar), Reiner Schnelle (keyboards), Peet Becker (drums)
LP Philips 6305 096 (1971)
Walter Wegmüller was a well-known figure in the late-60's, as a mystic, artist, and as an eccentric and gifted talent. One of the group of Swiss friends that included Sergius Golowin and H.R. Giger, befriended by Timothy Leary whilst he was stuck in Switzerland in the early-70's. Reputedly, Timothy hatched the idea of a musical interpretation of Walter Wegmüller's new set of Tarot cards, and a concept centred on the trump cards was soon formulated. The band were an expanded amalgam of Wallenstein and Ash Ra Tempel musicians. TAROT is amongst the most remarkable projects in Krautrock, covering the whole range of cosmic music, and aptly elaborately packaged in a box with numerous cards and inserts. The first three sides cover a wide range of moods, with folky touches, strange electronic diversions and fiery space-rock drives, fronted by guitars, synthesizers and Mellotron. The fourth side is encompassed by a single suite that surges beyond Ash Ra Tempel, previewing the sound of The Cosmic Jokers. Throughout, Walter is our guide, narrating in a most imaginative manner his visions of the Tarot, in a weirdly accented German. At one of the Tarot sessions, Ash Ra Tempel's JOIN INN was also recorded, whilst the dynamic trio were waiting for the rest of the musicians to turn up!
Walter Wegmüller (voice), Jerry Berkers (bass), Jürgen Dollase (keyboards), Hartmut Enke (bass), Manuel Göttsching (guitar), Harald Grosskopf (drums), Klaus Schulze (drums, electronics), Walter Westrupp (winds), + Dieter Dierks (choir), Rosi Müller (choir)
2LP Die Kosmischen Kuriere KK 2/58.003 (1973) «box set»
An experimental percussionist, who has tried his hand at many different types of music. His origins are from classical music, the field to which he has returned in recent times. But, to us, he's best known for his remarkably creative ECM release TROMMELGEFLÜSTER, which is generically unclassifiable, in that it combines drums, percussion and electronics in a highly creative avant-garde mixture of styles ranging fragile oriental styles through to really powerful drums. Nothing is normal with TROMMELGEFLÜSTER, which is why it's so fascinating. Later releases have seen a change of focus entirely, working in the realms of systemic and neo-classical musics.
LP Schott T 207 (1980)
Klaus' roots go back to the early days of Popol Vuh, appearing on their HOSIANNA MANTRA and SELIGPREISUNGEN albums. What his early origins are apart from that we don't know. He's an acknowledged ethno-musicologist and has recorded innumerable albums of sound meditation scored for different ethnic instruments. Admittedly, as with the vast majority of Michael Vetter's output, many of these albums are to say the least, tediously one-dimensional. Whole albums of droning Tibetan singing bowls can really numb the senses! His most interesting albums are those featuring a wide range of instruments.
MC Aquamarin 5023
MC Aquamarin 5025
MC Aquamarin 5026
MC Aquamarin 5027
Originating as a beat group in the mid-60's, playing mainly at US air bases in Southern Germany. By 1969 (and after many name and personnel changes) they'd become the art-rock band Chromosom, heavily influenced by the American West Coast sound. After the addition of Bernd "Steve" Leistner on vocals, and the new name Wind, they recorded their debut album for the new progressive arm of the budget label Miller, namely +Plus+. SEASONS offered a richly textured progressive rock, lyrical yet also very musically involved, and certainly very Anglo-American inspired (hints of Vanilla Fudge notably), but with that German oddness typical of such bands. Their poetic and complexly crafted songs were filled with extensive instrumentals and unusual diversions. In recent years it's become hailed as a classic. Although only a year later, MORNING was a vastly inferior, rather straight rock 'n' soul album with short songs and little musical involvement. Only a couple of tracks shone at all. Without gaining the commercial success that was obviously planned for, the band split in 1973. Lucky Schmidt unsuccessfully tried to resurrect the band in mid 1974, and thereafter went on to work with Aera.
Steve Leistner (vocals, harmonica, flute, percussion), Thomas Leidenberger (guitars, vocals), Andreas Büeler (bass, vocals), Lucian Büeler (organ, piano, vocals, percussion), Lucky Schmidt (drums, percussion, vibes, clavinet, piano), + Jochen Petersen (flute)
LP +Plus+ 3 (1971)
LP CBS 65007 (1972)
Josephine / Puppet Master
7" CBS 1303 (1973)
The group Wired was actually the project of one Karl-Heinz Böttner (an avant-garde composer who had studied with Maurizio Kagel) commissioned by the WDR in 1969. Also involved was Canadian Mike Lewis (based in Germany since studying in Munich, and working in many German projects, like his own Moosknukkl Groovband), and Michael Ranta (an American, whose credits include working in Stockhausen's ensemble). The original recording was a 140 minute improvisation, expertly handled by Conny Plank doing a Stockhausen type job at the mixing desk, which was edited down to album length in 1973. The resultant LP is a cosmic classic, recalling Tangerine Dream (a hybrid of ELECTRONIC MEDITATION through to ZEIT textures, sans the drums) and early Cluster, but with the spirit of serious avant-garde too - very spooky, meandering and timeless. The only problem is that it can only be purchased in a box set with two free-jazz type albums (by New Phonic Art and Iskra 1903) as FREE IMPROVISATION (Deutsche Grammophon 2740 105).
Karl-Heinz Böttner (guitars, vocals, ocarinas, flexaton, zither, bass), Mike Lewis (organ, vocals, drums), Michael Ranta (drums, plucked string instruments, vocals), Conny Plank (electronics)
LP Deutsche Grammophon 2563 300 (1974)
Apparently, Witthüser+Westrupp came into being at the Essen "Podium" folk club where Walter Westrupp worked as a DJ. Bernd Witthüser was already known as a protest singer, Westrupp was playing in a skiffle band, and when the two met they realised there was a magical chemistry between them. They busked and played in local clubs creating their own unique repertoire. Although working as a duo since 1969, their debut was released under Bernd Witthüser's name, as it contained music composed by him, with lyrics taken from the writings of politically minded poets and novelists, like Novalis, Heine and Brösel. It's of little interest, unless you like more normal German folk that is. As a proper duo the Witthüser+Westrupp sound came on in leaps and bounds, their music was pure innovation, drawing on Westrupp's classical background, and enthusiasm from Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, Witthüser+Westrupp became the cosmic buskers! With some of the finest session musicians in Germany, they went on to record three of the most original progressive folk-rock albums of the early-70's. TRIPS+TRÄUME is, excepting a couple of shorter catchy folk songs, a very cosmic affair, with long spacious tracks oozing out atmosphere, like ancient folk diversions from Ash Ra Tempel. The next two albums on the Pilz label developed the sound on an even richer more complex level with massed keyboards, a little more rock, more guitars and even choirs, many of the guests being from Wallenstein. After disbanding, both musicians went onto other folk and political bands: Baier Westrupp, Die Walter H.C. Meier Pumpe, etc. A double live album of Witthüser+Westrupp was also issued.
Bernd Witthüser (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Walter Westrupp (trombone, drums, trumpet, washboard, cymbals, ukulele, xylophone, flute, harmonica)
LIEDER VON VAMPIREN, NONEN UND TOTEN (3/70)
LP Ohr OMM 56 002 (1970)
Einst Kommt Die Nacht / Wer Schwimmt Dort
7" Ohr OS 57 002 (1970)
LP Ohr OMM 56016 (1971)
DER JESUS PILZ (8/71)
LP Pilz 20 21098-7 (1971)
BAUER PLATH (6-7/72)
LP Pilz 20 29115-4 (1972)
Bauer Plath / Das Lied Der Liebe
7" Pilz 05 19134-0 (1972)
LIVE *68-*73 (1973)
2LP Kosmische Musik KM 2/58.004 (1973)
As Wonderland, these were originally a 60's beat group formed by ex-Rattles musicians Achim Reichel and Frank Dorstal. A single's band (though there is an album MOSCOW - Bear Tracks BTS 943 400 - which documents their entire works), they played a creative pop music, but of little interest as far as Krautrock is concerned. Later, as "Wonderland Band" the music changed entirely to a notably Zappa inspired progressive, with elements of satire. Musically WONDERLAND BAND NO. 1 also rode close to the introspective moments of ATOM HEART MOTHER era Pink Floyd and strangely also there's a hint of early Jade Warrior. Fronted by those uniquely eclectic Dorstal songs that were later to be developed on Reichel's "AR+Machines" series of albums, it all amounted to a uniquely odd and highly creative album. This was Achim's first Krautrock exercise, the start of a highly creative adventure.
Frank Dorstal (vocals), Achim Reichel (guitar, vocals), Claus-Robert Kruse (vocals, guitar, organ), Ralle Oberpichler (vocals), Helmuth Franke (guitar), Ladi Geissler (guitar), Bernd Steffanowski (guitar), Kalle Trapp (guitar, bass), Hans-Uwe Reimers (piano), Benny Bendorf (bass), Hans Hartmann (bass), Sten-H. Lineberg (bass), Peter Franken (drums), Joe Nay (drums), Barry Reeves (drums), Dicky Tarrach (drums), Walter Rudolph (kettle drums), Max Lindner (xylophone, chimes), Bernhard Gediga (trumpets), Peter Kallensee (trumpet), Ernst Möhlheinrich (trumpet), Walter Preu (trumpet), Heinz Fadle (trombone), Hermann Henrich (trombone), Friedrich Rohde (trombone), Wiegand Schneiderbach (trombone)
LP Polydor 2371 125 (1971)
Rock 'n Roll People / King Of America
7" Polydor 2041 197 (1972)
Vehicle for Munich folk singer Pete Bender and friends, with a few progressive elements. The debut LP being light rock with much Mellotron and folky touches hints slightly at British groups like Spring or Cirkus, whereas IN PRISON covers a wider range of styles and is notable for "Indian Wardance".
Pete Bender (vocals, piano, organ, Mellotron), Rainer Marz (guitar, bass, vocals, percussion), Jürgen Ermisch (guitar, clavinet, vocals, percussion), Bernd Billhardt (drums)
LP Bacillus 6494 010 (1971)
IN PRISON (1971-72)
LP Bacillus BLPS 19079 (1972)
Indian Wardance / I'm Wheeping
7" Bacillus BF 18066 (1972)
The history of Xhol is not that well documented. Though we do know that they originated in the mid-60's as Soul Caravan, a Motown inspired rock 'n' soul band, who in 1967 recorded GET IN HIGH (CBS 63268). In early 1969 they re-emerged as Xhol Caravan with a single in the vein of SHADES OF DEEP PURPLE, still soul-edged but much more progressive. Though, it never hinted at all at the album that was to follow a few months later. ELECTRIP was one hell of a remarkable album, especially for the 60's, an electric sax and organ fronted fusion with a great deal of invention and energy, hinting at later records by Nosferatu, Faust, et al. Remarkable throughout!
Whether Xhol existed much beyond this, we don't know. The latest recording we know of, dates from July 1970, and that's the live album HAU-RUK, which follows on a more esoteric level, overtly trippy in feel with one lengthy improvisation per side, the cosmic Annexus Quam like "Breit" and the psychedelic blues "Schaukel". Confusingly MOTHERF#@KERS GmbH & CO KG proclaimed on the cover to be "2 years old" placing it in-between ELECTRIP and HAU-RUK. Obviously a collection of archive recordings: a few snippets of Soul Caravan can be heard in the opening "Radio" as well as a short slice of ELECTRIP, a Faust-like opening to a very varied album, with its superb lengthy organ piece "Orgelsolo", spaced-out flute lead instrumentals and a lengthy psychedelic blues number "Love Potion 25". Xhol are certainly amongst the most mysterious Krautrock bands. Hansi Fischer later went on to Embryo, Klaus Briest turned up again in Dennis, and Tim Belbe recently resurfaced in the 80's underground band M.T. Wizard.
Tim Belbe (tenor sax), Hansi Fischer (flute, soprano/alto saxes), Öcki Brevern (organ, electric piano, tuba), Klaus Briest (bass), Peter Meisel (toilet flush), Skip Vanwych (drums)
Planet Earth / So Down
7" Hansa 14 371 AT (1969)
LP Hansa 80 099 IU (1969)
LP Ohr OMM 56 014 (1971)
MOTHERF#@KERS GmbH & CO KG
LP Ohr OMM 556.024 (1972)
The Fichter brothers from Freiburg, had been playing in various groups together since the mid-60's. Their first professional band was the rock and soul combo Lea Gamble which they formed with two American ex-service men. Later they formed Brontosaurus, together with French bassist Jean-Michel Boivert and flautist Peter Elbracht. Apparently at this time they sounded like a hard-rock twist on Jethro Tull. In early 1973 Brontosaurus began to work on a new ambitious opus, a suite called "A Meditation Mass". In concert, they caught the attention of Achim Reichel, who managed to get a contract for them via his Gorilla Music for an LP release on Brain. There was one concession, the name Brontosaurus no longer fitted the type of music they were making, so a new mystical name was chosen: Yatha Sidhra. A MEDITATION MASS is actually one of the most magical albums ever made, a single cosmic suite, with ethnic and jazzy touches, pure cosmic Krautrock which really trips-out. I've often quoted it as my favourite all-time album, due to its uniqueness, that it has never dated, and is so charged. Few albums hold that same quality. Flutes, guitars and electronics are the basis of the music, which floats, ebbs and grows and occasionally breaks out with real energy. A step on from the realms of Kollektiv or instrumental Thirsty Moon. It's a shame really that Yatha Sidhra only made the one album, though later the Fichter brothers did form a new band named Dreamworld.
Rolf Fichter (Moog, flute, vibes, electric piano, guitar, vocals), Klaus Fichter (drums, percussion), Matthias Nicolai (guitar, bass), + Peter Elbracht (flute)
A MEDITATION MASS (1973)
LP Brain 1045 (1974) «first pressing: die-cut wallet gatefold cover»
Self promoted as "funky rock-jazz" or "rock-n-soul", this band definitely under-sold themselves based on the evidence of "Heerklotz" (on LIVE NÜRNBERGER SZENE 76) which is good progressive rock-jazz in the vein of Creative Rock.
Dieter Baum (organ, clavinet), Willi Haselbek (trombone), Werner Hirschmann (saxes), Helmut Reizammer (bass), Uli Weißbrod (drums, vocals, percussion), Armin Wolfermann (guitar)
Out Along The Highway / Tango Blackout
7" private release SYD 030 AB (1976)
featured on: LIVE NÜRNBERGER SZENE 76
An obscure early Hamburg progressive, drawing on a wide range of German hard-rock and British late-60's styles. Typical of music from the Hamburg scene, they often resembled Frumpy with the strong organ presence, and like early Tomorrow's Gift they also had that Vanilla Fudge feel, though mostly there's a notable Atomic Rooster edge. Not a particularly adventurous band, but for what they did they did it well!
Ernst Zerzner (lead vocals), Wolfgang Reimer (guitar, vocals, percussion), Michael Just (bass, vocals), Klaus Werner (organ), Wolfgang Behrmann (drums, percussion)
LP Metronome MLP 15.421 (1971)
This was one of the first lost relics of Krautrock to be unearthed. Zippo Zetterlink was the band lead by an obscure character from the late-60's/early-70's Hamburg underground scene, one Wolfgang Orschakowski. At the time of course, no one would release such an album of demented psychedelic cosmic blues! So, in the late-70's Wolfgang released an album himself, documenting some of his remarkable lost music. With live recordings from the Blow Up club in Munich circa 1969, a festival in the Hamburg Melle Park in summer 1971, and some studio jams. Mostly, the side long title track in particular, it's stoned Ash Ra Tempel style jamming, though much more crude and demented. There are a couple of short blues songs too, one interesting, one less-so. It amounts to a unique vision into the Hamburg psychedelic underground, and an unknown Krautrock relic.
Wolfgang Orschakowski (guitar, vocals, radio), + Klasse (bass), Samy (congas), Helena (organ), unknown (drums)
IN THE POOR SUN (1969-71)
LP Orschakowski ZAS 1+2 (1979)
A majestic and sophisticated progressive rock band with lots of keyboards, a strong energy in a dreamy Faithful Breath-like style. Highly derivative, yet also quite original. We don't know anything about their history.
Ulrich Herter (vocals, guitars, synthesizer), Heinrich Winter (vocals, guitars, clavinet), Mathias Zumbroich (piano, organs, synthesizers, Mellotron, sax), Udo Kreuss (bass), Berthold Mayer (drums, percussion)
RIDING ON A TEAR
LP Jupiter 25.231 OT (1977)
Amongst the oddest of releases from the Krautrock era was Zweistein's over-the-top triple album of avant-garde free-form rock, folk and noise. Apparently Zweistein was one Jacques Dorian, aided by his wife and children, and studio engineer Peter Kramper. Sounding like it's recorded in a sewer, it was a bit of a mess really, though an interesting mess! Studio filters, delay and echo devices are used to excess, and the results often sound more like the product of some underground new-wave band in the 80's than a 1970 release! The single is obviously not that sort of thing, but is presumably just acoustic folk songs. A version of "A Very Simple Song" also appears on the album.
I'm A Melody Maker / A Very Simple Song
7" Philips 6003 106 (1970)
3LP Philips 6630 002 (1970)
An obscure 70's progressive, Zyma (on their LP) had what seemed like a very Canterbury influenced jazz-rock style, with hints of Soft Machine and Isotope. No historical information known.
Bodo Brandl (bass), Dorle Ferber (vocals, violin), Günter Hornung (organ, electric piano, synthesizer), Udo Kübler (drums, vocals), Tim Pfau (guitar, vocals)
featured on: PROTON 1 (1974)
LP Z Productions 0381978 (1978)
BRAVE NEW WORLD
LP private release 151079 (1979)
Note: 14/07/2007 - After some 3 or 4 years of this being on the UT web-site, one Albert Müller was the first to notice that I'd somehow missed-out artists between Nektar and Pacific Sound. A big serious ooops! This is now corrected. Thanks Albert.