Cosmic Jokers – Planeten Sit-In

planeten
The criminally under-rated Cosmic Jokers project is often the subject of scorn and derision, perhaps because of their more jam-based structure as opposed to the song forms of many of their contemporaries. Perhaps it is because of the ambiguous legality of it all and the seeming lack of awareness of the participants owing to the producers handing out mind-altering drugs in heavy supply.

None the less, “Planeten Sit-In” remains a wild piece of space-rock. Klaus Shculze wigging the electronics for all their worth whilst members of Wallenstein rock out with Ash Ra Tempel whilst in higher states of mind. The resulting jams may not showcase the artists at their most proficient but they certainly show them at their wildest and most primal. Tribal drums, spooky electronics, deep bass and weird acapellas. Schulzian electronics regularly loom high in the mix and there is an even a moment of piano towards the end of “Loving Frequencies” that makes me think of Brian Eno with Cluster.

The track listing could be considered a bit misleading with none of the “tracks” being very long and are all segued. Unless you are listening on CD or computer files whilst watching the track display change, you would not know that “Raumschiff Galaxy Startlet” had ended and “The Planet Of Communication” (itself only 47 seconds) had begun. Oh, and that segues right into the 35 second “Electronenzirkus”. Perhaps the different song titles are used to mark out the different sources. Knowing the methods of uber-kosmik producer Rolf Ulrich-Kaiser, this album will be a psychedelic Frankenstein’s monster stitched together from different jam parts. The only pause is for the end of side one which concludes with the aforementioned “Loving Frequencies”

Over to side two and “Electronic News” is nothing short of an amazing trip, like Stockhausen at a rave, all weird dark electronics hanging out with throbbing pulses that mulch the mind. It yields to the ritualistic rock of “Intergalactic Radio Guri Broadcasting”. Someone is singing far away from the microphone and quite clearly off their face in a major way. The rhythm starts to evolve into a groove and with Schulze on electronic overdrive it verges on proto-disco/techno. A brief 41 second all electronic interlude gives way to “Interstellar Rock: Kosmische Musik” which is the sort of psychedelic space drone rock you’d associate with someone like White Hills.

Another 46 second Schulzian interval and we are onto the climactic “Der Planet Des Stemenmadchens” which at over 8 minutes is far and away the longest song on here. Primal rock rhythms reminiscent of Cromagnon and plenty of Schulzey electronic wiggins. It goes all sci-fi, like an instrumental version of The White Noise. The odd thing is the track very slowly fades away, melting the record out rather than going out with a bang. It leaves the listener a little underwhelmed at the end of listening which may in part account for the albums lukewarm reputation but whimpering climax aside, this is a great album.
planetenrear

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2 Responses to Cosmic Jokers – Planeten Sit-In

  1. Chris says:

    I think all the Cosmic Jokers stuff is heavily underrated with the exception of Gilles Zeitschiff, which is hard to take serious without being stoned :) But especially for the first one Kaiser did a great job I think… Thanks for the review.

  2. kdm says:

    Underrated? At the time these albums came out, the musicians themselves were just laughing at them. Besides, they were not generally asked if they want all this music released in this silly packaging and with the silly promotion. At time of playing there was no mention of an album session. And any overdubs, cuttings and mixing by Dierks, Kaiser & Gille was also done without asking. The German press at the time of release also just made jokes about this stuff. These albums was breaking Kaiser’s neck. For good reason.
    Edgar Froese had already sued Kaiser before any release, not to use HIS part of the sessions. Schulze also sued Kaiser because of this and he also won (but to late to hinder the release). Even the judge mentioned in his final judgement the silliness of these recordings and the absurd promotion for them.
    And, right: Gille was just painful; a result of certain drugs. Before she was a silent young girl in the background. But then she went crazy (there is no other word for it).

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