Harmonia – Deluxe

Musically, for those that don’t know, this dates from 1975 and marked the meeting of musical hearts and minds that was the duo Moebius & Roedelius of Cluster alongside ex-Kraftwerk/Neu guitarist, Michael Rother on a second album that was so much more cohesive and powerful than the first. Leading on from the first album, Cluster’s ‘Zuckerzeit’, Rother’s first three solo albums and some of the more languid Neu tracks, this album is dominated by the stunning trio of long tracks that open the album. With extra rhythmic help from Guru Guru’s drummer Mani Neumeier on two of the tracks, these three tracks could have easily been of any of the first three Michael Rother albums, for it is that influence that predominates, the electronics and keys from the Cluster musicians, more forming the icing on the cake or the backdrop to some of THE most stunning and gorgeous, powerful and dynamic, laguid and cohesive, electric guitar work from Rother over the trademark metronomic Can-like rhythmic base, and nearly thirty minutes of pure bliss no matter how many times you play them.

A trio of four-five minute tracks ends the album with more of a ‘Zuckerzeit’ feel to them as the Cluster guys take centre stage with swirling organ, electronic drums, deep bass and lush strings on ‘Notre Dame’, a more La Dusseldorf sounding ‘Gollum’, and ending with the near six minutes of ‘Kekse’, a sedate closer with undulating electro-percussive beats, swirling electronics, slowly flowing melodies and the sound of birds over a coda of lush acoustic guitar. The latest remaster brings out everything that this album is – and makes it positively timeless in the process.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi

Guru Guru – Guru Guru

In many ways, the last of the classic quartet of albums from the seventies that made this band such a legend. There are a couple of three minute songs that serve as tasters for the album’s big three – starting off with the thirteen minute ‘Medley” and Genrich’s guitar work just sizzles as the rhythm section sound like they’re standing next to you.

The opening guitar led section is mind-blowing for all you Krautrock guitar freaks, then, at five minutes in, the band steam into this rock ‘n’ roll medley of ‘Something Else’, ‘Weekend’ and ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ as you are carried away of a searing set of “Kraut-rock ‘n’ roll”. Pure Guru mix of musical genius and humour in the same breath. The twelve mnute ‘Story Of Life’ is one of their trademark spacier tracks, opening with a jazzy section before cruising into this long sea of guitar-dominated, red-hot, cosmic guitar jamming, the band really sounding so spot on.

Finallly the album’s tour-de-force and future live favourite, ‘Der Elektrolurch’, nearly ten minutes of the essence of everything that made this band such a legend – starting sedate, moving into flowing languid, guitar-led jamming-style territory, before the mid-section that really messes with your head with its voice, throbbing bass, speaker-to-speaker guitar effects then that pause…before the band launch into the furnace finale with all guitars, drums and bass blazing. Truly a classic.
Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi

 

Faust – So Far

A legendary and ground-breaking work when it came out, it’s still sounding light years ahead of its time, music from a future too far away to contemplate. The album opens with the mind-bending drumming that leads into the classic ‘It’s A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl’ with the distant electronic-sounding backdrops, the strummed foreground acoustic guitars, the monotone vocal reciting the only line that is the lyric and those drums – wow, those drums – you could imagine local Dundee band The Wildhouse taking on a version of this and turning it supernova.

After that, things go to a more serene level with a gorgeous instrumental and that’s followed by the more symphonic ‘No Harm’, another instrumental with a more expansive sound that then leads into a classic slice of Krautrock with shimmering electric guitars, crunchy drumming , deep bass and what sounds like a treated wind instrument soaring on top, and then it all changes shape completely once again, going into this splintering sea of guitars, bass, drums and effects, another searing slice of ’72 Krautrock instrumental heaven that glows hotter and hotter the more it continues as the sounds and guitars and rhythms just intensify and build over more than ten minutes of absolute genius.

If that wasn’t enough, we then go into the amazing title track, an instrumental revolving around this cyclical rhythm interspersed with a cyclical sax refrain, over which the assorted guitars, electronic treatments and effects laden instruments create what sounds like an infinite set of sonic layers as the whole thing revolves and builds – a simply awesome six minutes. The five minute ‘Mamie Is Blue’ opens with droning electronics, a shuddering electro-percussive shredded rhythm as this massive bass line booms out of the speakers and the whole effect is like some huge factory coming to life as the sounds mass ranks, build, layer, charge, soar and shudder, more and more textures and sonic delights being added as the title is recited against this jaw-dropping sea of sonic head-bending proportions.

The near four minute ‘I’ve Got My Car And My TV’ is a typical slice of Faust playing at being serious and light-hearted with their music as it covers jazz sax, electronic drones, deep bass and an almost throwaway melody from the guitars way down in the mix – but the whole thing sounding just so right!! It couldn’t be done any other way or by any other band. A couple of instrumental snippets lead into the final track, ‘…In The Spirit’ where the band, once again, cover more musical territory with equal amounts of seriousness and “tongue-in-cheek” playing, as normality in the world of Faust becomes your normality – and you know you’re hooked. So, it’s back to the beginning – and relive the experience. Incredible still, one of, if not THE most accessible yet ground-breaking albums they did in the seventies,
and simply timeless.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi

Eroc – Eroc

Yes, THAT Eroc – the drummer for Grobschnitt. So, what’s he doing here? Because his first solo album from the early seventies was a synth music album, that’s why – and a good one too. First off, as is fairly typical of any electronic music that came out of Germany in the early seventies, it doesn’t sound like anyone else, then once you’ve crossed that divide, you find it’s an album full of cosmic soundscaping, delicious melodies, deep expansive bass rivers and lots of twittering, phased, swooshing, cascading, deep, resonant space synths, lead melodies, all wrapped up in a variety of arrangements from languid to dark and powerful.

There’s even some electric guitar in there too – most notably in the six and a half minute ‘Norderland’ where the cyclical chiming guitar line adds to the whole density of the track as it flows its multi-layered, solidly rhythmic way to your heart, full to overflowing with electronics, synths drums, bass, guitars and a production that’s out of this world. Other track are brief glimpses into a world of new electronic music while a track revolving around echoed voices and electronics, ‘Horrorgoll’, is close to the avant-garde Cluster experiments, in nature if not in actual sound, of the time. The recent reissues’ bonus tracks sound more like something off the first Harmonia album, only more twisted and with added layers. With over twenty minutes of extra music, this is an interesting album that has stood the test of time pretty well and remains both a fascinating document of a musician experimenting with new sound productions as well as being immensely enjoyable and extremely varied, throughout.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi

Electric Sandwich – Electric Sandwich

Odd thing was that, when this album came out in 1972, this band actually had more than their fair share of success with this album thanks to an edit of the lead track, the only instrumental on the album, doing things as a single – I remember all the promo material relating to it that sailed through the post as the Brain label proudly proclaimed its success. The track itself, in its album-length long version, over eight minutes, sizzles with on-fire guitar work as the rumbling, rolling drum rhythms and deep bass underpin this superb sea of searing wah-wah and steaming lead electric guitar work that lights up like a beacon, a bit like Frank Marino-meets-Paul Rudolph, and seriously hot stuff.
After this, it’s down to a pretty decent set of bluesy rock songs so typical of the bands of the Krautrock time, all infused with some electrifying guitar work and even, as a set of songs, better than most, with some decent writing it has to be said, and now the tracks have been remastered, the whole thing’s really come to life. The six minute Devil’s Dream’ boasts a fine sax solo while the five minute ‘Nervous Creek’ is right out of the early Blue Cheer/Groundhogs/Savoy Brown way of things only way more psychedelic. The four minute ‘It’s No Use To Run’ is a really strong and steaming mix of psychedelia and blues with a stinging guitar solo that really cuts through. Three further bluesy songs with a decidedly seventies Krautrock feel, complete what is actually a much better sounding album and certainly more enjoyable, than I would have given credit, the recent remaster certainly playing a vital part in this.

review by Andy Garibaldi