Another classic slice of R.U.K. madness here as he gets a Czech new age guru to step up to the microphone and talk about Krishna. I always imagined it’s one of those albums probably best appreciated by the non-German speaker and German friends tell me they try to shut out the words and focus on the music. That seems easy enough to me because there is a whole lot to love here about the music.
You get Klaus Schulze doing keyboards and things (including drums), Wallenstein’s rhythm section multi-tasking, Bernd Witthüser on acoustic guitar, Walter Westrupp on everything and Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser on the controls – how could it fail? The chemistry between the line-up, forgive the accidental pun, is catalytic. Whilst Witthüser and Westrupp lend an air of psychedelic folk whimsy, Klaus Schulze could not be less of a hippy if he tried. Whether he is conjuring up cosmic electronics or smashing away at the percussion, he does it with an almost aggressive energy. Add to this the presence of the Wallenstein members, coming from a more traditional rock band, and for all the mystical talk on the top of it, this is not soporific new age music.
The first track “Die Reigen” (which means The Dance) starts off with what sounds like an organ in a great cathedral on another plain filtering through infinity to us. The acoustic guitars begin tentatively and then something starts that sounds like Schulze playing the “choir organ” mellotron he got off Popol Vuh’s Florian Fricke. It’s not long though before they are off.
They keep up a galloping, breakneck intensity for everything from the piano to the acoustic guitar. Even the piano sounds to be getting a hammering. Heck even the flute playing is a bit manic. Glowing words just hang thick in the air, spoken softly with authority. Although he’s clearly just a passenger on the musicians trip, his is not an unpleasant presence and has a nice speaking voice. Even during the minimalist midway breakdown (it is a 19 minute song), there is still an urgent, rattling percussion for most of it until the final breakaway into silence.
“Die Weiße Alm” is a (relatively) shorter track to finish the first side and, unlike the other two, credited as being written by just Golowin and Jürgen Dollase as opposed to the whole gang. Dollase’s acoustic guitar predominates but there is a nice, subtle electronic background, which is why the writing credit seems a little puzzling. It seems especially puzzling, as it sounds like a lost track from Witthüser and Westrupp’s “Trips Und Traume” album. The track is presumably a celebration of Golowin’s Swiss base as while ‘Weiße’ means white (as any beer aficionado knows), an Alm is a very specific term for seasonal mountain pasture in the alps.
All of side two is given over to “Die Hoch-Zeit”. The most common use of that title is for a wedding but the dash in the middle suggests that we should perhaps be taking a more literal, older translation of the words: “High Celebration”. It seems a more apt wording because things get really more way out there on this one.
It somehow sneaks gently in at full tilt with furious guitar strumming, punked-out drumming and whispered madness from the Golowinmeister. It’s one of those rare songs that sounds different every time you play it thanks to the intricate, layered mix. It is impossible to focus on all the song at once so the listener creates a new mix with their attention every time they hear the song
The R.U.K. lays down some heavy effect production on old Sergius’ vocals, reverberating and manipulating them. Someone hammers away at a piano in the most heroically wild manner, like the LSD march of the Valkyries. The percussion and drumming hits a perfect storm. It’s a psychedelic cacophony. Then it all slows down to flicker away in an echo of gentler strumming, weird drones, whispers and flute. I have a Dolby Pro Logic surround sound hi-fi and when I play this LP through it, the surround effect is better than any modern album or even movie. RUK was way ahead of his time.
It’s a wild ending to an album that somehow encapsulates both a primal strength and a cosmic peace to it. I have seen it referred to on the internet as ambient but only a complete chump would call it that. Yet, you would be just as stupid to dismiss it as hippy whimsy. This is the real deal, a fantastic session that hits higher levels without indulgence or nonsense, except possibly for those who can understand what old Sergius Golowin is saying. Just try to ignore the fact that it looks like he’s doing a shit in a field on the cover.