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I remember my jaw dropping when this huge bundle of album reviews dropped into my inbox from Andy Garibaldi. Of course, they were each deserving of their own page and separate listing but there were so many of them and time is so short. As I read through them again just now, I wanted to right the wrong but if I couldn’t find the time as a single man, how would I find the time as a married Dad-to-be with a dog? Anyway, they were all released as part of the same series of reissues, so there is a connecting thread.


CLUSTER: Cluster II - Remastered CD

Unbelievably, this was recorded in January 1972. 32 years later it is every bit as fresh and innovative, totally unique and still an amazing listening experience. This duo used an arsenal of keyboards, guitars, percussives and electronics to produce an album that still remains both unique and challenging, yet one of the most accessible albums of non-melodic, non-rhythmic music. But it is the actual sound pattern created that give the album its worthy legendary status as a flowing set of textures and layers sound clearly electronic, guitars in the middle of the churning mass of electronic keyboard layers, the effect particularly awesome on the 13 mins of 'Im Suden'.

'Plas' opens the album with 6 mins of pulsing, shuddering layers that ring, drone and boom as the composition follows a compulsive musical path. 'Fur Die Katz' achieves a soaring, cascading, echoed, droning set of textures that achieves in 3 mins what most similar bands today can't get together on a whole album. The comes the monumental, close to 15 mins of 'Live In Der Fabrik' which isn't live but is a firmly studio-based piece that covers such a new musical ground with its pulsing, echoed, dense, fluid, multi-layered, droning and flowing landscapes of electronics, percussives and beyond, phased, treated, echoed, modelled and shaped to create a track that is a veritable cauldron of constantly flowing electronics and guitars, sounding totally unlike anything other than brief snatches of early Kraftwerk, Neu, Cosmic Jokers and Faust, with the Cluster process firmly in control.

Thereafter, we have 5 eerie minutes of organ and electronics, again droning and shimmering like you've never heard before, ending the album with a brief and scary set of prepared samples and sound effects, booming piano chords, dense electronics and pulsing layers of sound. A classic. The new remaster makes the whole thing sound better than ever before, with a clarity that leads you to a lot of subtleties previously unheard in the mix, completed with a new booklet with new photos and liner notes, digi-pak format and you have an unrivalled unique album from the German Electronic heyday.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

CLUSTER: Zuckerzeit - Remastered CD

The previous album in 1972 had hardly featured a rhythm amongst its groundbreaking Krautrock electronic compositions, which meant that when this came out in 1974, it came as something of a shock to the system. Gone were all the drones and electronic explorations - in its place the duo had, in their own inimitable way, introduced rhythm machines, and produced an album that was nearer to the delights of Kraftwerk's 'Ralf & Florian' than any other album had been up to that point.

Add to that some influence from the first couple of Neu albums, make it all electronic, take a few of the tracks into some typically strange musical dimensions, and you have this album - now remastered and allowing you to hear things in the mix that you never realised were there, bringing with it, a whole new look to its contents. In many ways, it's quite a sedate album, some of the tracks proving to be more melodic than others while all of them featured the shuffling, early Kraftwerk-like rhythms of their own lightweight dimensions. Not exactly my favourite album of theirs, but the remastering certainly makes a difference and definitely makes it more enjoyable than it was. Oh yes - it comes as a digipak with an extensive booklet featuring all-new photos and sleevenotes from Asmus Tietchens.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

ELECTRIC SANDWICH: Electric Sandwich - Remaster CD

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 remaster certainly playing a vital part in this.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

EMBRYO: Steig'aus - Remaster CD

An album from the Krautrock archives whose release has largely gone unnoticed which is sad, because it is one of the finest, essentially proggy jazz-rock albums to come out of the German '70's revolution. Featuring a line-up that concentrated on mellotrons,. kybds, guitars, bass and percussion, this opens with the brilliant 'Radio Marrakesch/Orient Express' with some fantastic playing of great emotional quality from the musicians, conjuring a train ride across open, sunny, hot Indian plains, with some great melodic passages from the band as a whole and some wondrous mellotron colorations along the way. Then comes the relaxed beauty of the kybds dominated 'Dreaming Girls' with its gorgeous piano and violin work. Finally the 'Call' suite which gives space to all the musicians without any actual solo showcasing, but a flowing set of melodies and rhythms with sterling work from the kybds, perc, violin and bass. Overall, one of the best melodic fusion albums with proggy overtones, to emanate from the '70's and guaranteed to find a place in the heart of most fusion fans who want their music to be less guitar-based and highly spiced.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

EROC: Eroc -Remastered + Bonus Tracks CD

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 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 (Dead Earnest)

FAUST: So Far - Brain Label Remaster - CD

For all its incantations, this is the first time that this seminal work from 1972 has been issued in a completely remastered form - and it sounds simply awesome. 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 sound is now crystal clear so you can hear every subtlety, every beat and the effect is dramatic. 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 slidce 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, and now in its remastered state, you're hearing things in the piece that you've not before witnessed with such clarity, making the track even more mesmerising than it was before - 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 headbending 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 (Dead Earnest)

GURU GURU: Guru Guru (4th) Remaster CD

In many ways, the last of the classic quartet of albums from the seventies that made this band such a legend. The remaster is nothing short of jaw-dropping as you hear the material with a clarity you just never realised existed, all of which makes the enjoyment of this album like listening to it for the first time - the thrill is inescapable. 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 thanks to the incredible remaster that's going 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 - and let's see the previous three given this remaster treatment - because they are even better!

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

HARMONIA: Musik Von Harmonia - Remastered CD

From 1974, the same year as Cluster's 'Zuckerzeit' album, this marked the debut recording of the supertrio consisting of ex-Neu/Kraftwerk guitarist Michael Rother working with the duo that was Cluster, and the results definitely reflect Rother's presence and influence on the group, as the, largely still rhythmic, compositions are altogether a lot more consistent and musically satisfying than the Cluster album - more varied and with a more solid rhythmic base. Opening with a sprightly yet cohesive 'Watussi' as the electronic drum rhythms and synths plus textures swirl and drive, the album moves into the much spacier realms of the near eleven minute track 'Sehr kosmisch' with a sea of space drones more akin to the more cosmic moments of the 'Cluster II' album, as textures, layers and drifts all come and go over a seriously slow, eventually fading, drum rhythm, the mood changing halfway through when the emergence of a much stronger, driving rhythm under the swirling electronics, takes us slap bang into the heart of Neu and La Dusseldorf territory, and overall a track that, particularly in its newly remastered state, sounds simply phenomenal.

After this, a sextet of tracks between three and a half, and five minutes in length, mostly follow the same musical trail as the opener, if anything, more powerful as the guitars and electronics and drum machines entwine to form a glorious sea of sound that is pure Teutonic Electronic Krautrock incarnate - just witness the fabulous 'Sonnenschein' for proof of this, then follow that with the pure Neu/Dusseldorf styled 'Dino', travel through the first two albums-era Kraftwerk-styled drones that make up 'Ohrwurm', immerse yourself in the slowly flowing warmth that is the early Rother-meets-Roedelius styled 'Ahoil', drive into the 'Zuckerzeit'-with-Rother delights of 'Veterano' and end the album with the distant cosmic melodic foggy explorations of 'Hausmusik'. All this, sounding better than ever, and now housed in a digi-pak with new booklet and previously unpublished photos - can't go wrong, really.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

HARMONIA: Deluxe Remastered CD

First, I've done a sound comparison to the original, and this beats the crap out of it - with crystalline clarity, everything a lot sharper and allowing you to hear much more of the detail within the music, this is decidedly the definitive release for this album, and it also comes as a digipak, with its own, extensive, new booklet featuring new photos from the sessions.

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. Overall, the new remaster brings out everything that this album is - and makes it positively timeless in the process.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

JANE: III - Remaster CD

Third album in and a band showing that, so far, no album could typify the band - after the debut with stinging guitars and surging organ, from around 1972, through the rather short but more molten production that was 'Here We Are', came this classic of the Krautrock era and a band now more concerned with guitars, as the quartet of two guitarists, bass and drums provide a quite magical brew of mid-seventies rock as on the Germans could do at the time - in other words, inventive and free of the normal influences, carving out a niche of their own, bluesy to a degree, but in no way really comparable with anyone else. Opening with the best track on the album in the form of the nine minute 'Comin' Again', where that shimmering guitar riff that carries the song along, still sounds so awesome to this day, while the remastered sound brings so much more to the music than you ever really heard from the, now stale-sounding, original. After this, 8 other songs reveal some corking Krautrock songs and instrumental work on tracks averaging around five minutes a-piece, as the German equivalent, to a degree, of Groundhogs, mostly let rip on some outstanding tracks. As seventies rock, that is more rock than metal, goes, this is still a gem.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

NOVALIS: Novalis Remaster + Bonus Track CD

When you look back on things, it's no wonder that this band ended up never getting the recognition they deserved - their first album, 'Banished Bridge' was hailed as a classic when even at the time, it was as weak as dishwater and a major disappointment. Thus, when the second album came along, and as good as a completely new style emerged, many were already wary. Yet, this second album can justifiably be hailed as a truly brilliant example of seventies prog-rock. Largely instrumental, the band had found their compositional feet, and produced an album that was strong and purposeful, full of great synths, keys and electric guitar work throughout.

Now newly remastered, the sound quality is nothing short of astounding, as the music positively leaps out of the speakers at you, so clear, so strong and so magnificently seventies. Even the, few, German lyrics on the two eight and nine minute songs on the album sound totally in keeping with the music, and it's the music that carries this album along. Rooted in the seventies greats such as Camel & Genesis, it actually has a power and style more its own, probably more akin to a mix of Beggars Opera, Pulsar and similar. Throughoutt he album, the band are asolid and strong, the work from the electric guitars, synth and organ being nothing short of jaw-dropping, as the band deliver a red-hot slice of prog-rock with classic Krautrock touches that simply goes sailing up into the heavens and never looks back. If you want a seriously undiscovered seventies prog-rock classic in your collection, then you simply have to own this album, newly remastered in digi-pak with extensive booklet and new phoros/sleeve-notes - oh yes, the bonus track. There's a ten minute live version of the instrumental 'Impressionen' from 1975 (the studio album emanating from that year too) and the power it exudes would light up half of Manchester, as the band take the guitar-organ-led excursion into seriously red-hot circles. Quite stunning!!!

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

OS MUNDI: 43 Minuten -Remastered CD

Continuing the Brain label series of remastered CD's from the early seventies, we come to this forgotten album, which, in terms of its standing in the world of Kraut-fusion, can be considered as somewhat of a "lost gem". Firmly in the area of jazz-rock, it nevertheless has that all-important early seventies feel to it, right down to the, thankfully few, inane vocals. But it's instrumentally where this band shines featuring variously lead instruments as sax, swirling flute, violin, electric guitar, with bass and drums driving it all ahead. The trademark seventies approaches are all there, but the remaster has brought out a vibrancy in this album, that it never before witnessed. Anyone into this era of early seventies Krautrock in all its forms, will derive a lot of pleasure from this fusion-meets-early Mythos styled album.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

SPERRMULL: Sperrmull - Remastered CD

A Brain-label classic - you know, the one with the orange cover - and the sort of song-based "Krautrock" that, to many, was at the opposite end of what they called the "classic Krautrock" fence. The opener is what you'd call a "seventies stomper" with almost McGuinness-Flint style rhythms, a Chicory Tip style synth solo, Supertramp-style electric piano and a naggingly infectious song in that annoying yet fascinating seventies fashion. Stunner!! Just to confuse you, next up is a near seven minute track called No Freak Out' which is not at all true to its word, and is!! It's a sort of early Duul II (not too early) style corker with distinctly Karrer/Weinzierl tendencies, an organ solo that's fuzzed to death in classic Krautrock style and a scything guitar solo that couldn't be anything else other than seventies - all just fantastic stuff, with the few vocals at the beginning and end being just perfunctory to the instrumental attack yet wholly in keeping with the era and flavour.

The six minute 'Rising Up' is an organ-led song that, once again, couldn't be anything other than seventies Kraut-era, as the pounding upfront bass and searing guitar join the song and that trademark Kraut-style split-stereo guitar and Jon Lord-esque organ duelling ensues. A nine minute 'Right Now' goes even further and features some red-hot soloing in that classic fashion while the four minute 'Land Of The Rocking Sun' and the final Man-esque rocker 'Pat Casey' see out an album that, if taken for what it is, represents an era's sounds and songs that can never really be re-created, and to my ears, comes out as both nostalgic, while at the same time, immensely enjoyable, if anything way more so than I thought at the time - yes folks, nostalgia really IS what it used to be.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)

YATHA SIDHRA: A Meditation Mass CD

From the days when the Europeans were crossing genres like a greyhound on speed, comes this gem of a psychedelic-Kraut-electronic crossover album from 1974, which exudes such wondrously heady atmospheres, it's the musical equivalent of burning joss stix. A four-part single composition, the track opens with lilting bass, slowly cascading, chiming guitars, bongos, soaring flute and gently rhythmic drumkit. The accent is on melody and atmosphere as the sheer feel of the seventies and echoes of hippies in front of open log fires or smoke-filled rooms enshrouded in patterned cloth and candles, are evoked with the spirituality of a religious homage. This opening track, at nearly eighteen minutes, the longest part of the composition, slowly winds, flows and soars its way through an ever changing landscape, the distant chiming guitars and undulating bongo rhythms acting as heart and rhythm, while the flute, assorted distant effects and, eventually, chanting vocal, maintain a musical spell that has you well and truly hooked.

I don't normally like something that features flute heavily, but the feel and atmosphere of this part has remained a favourite of mine for 30+ years and still sounds timeless to this day. A more solid sounding three minute part two with flute and electric piano taking the lead over a way cool jazzy bassline and drum work, lead you into the twelve minute third section, this time with a distinctly Floydian bass line over the slightly more strident bongos, while the flute climbs ever higher on some fantastic lead work, shortly overtaken with phased guitars to provide yet another gem of a texture as the drums, percussion and bass take a now more directly rhythmic route as the whole mix becomes heavily phased to magical extent, the pure essence of the seventies, shining through. The pace quickens and the guitars and phased effects carry on to just short of eight minutes when it all decelerates and the sound of electric bass and rippling electric piano bring you back to earth, before another Floyd-like, slow bassline starts to move forward above which the flute soars sinuously once again and the drums slowly re-enter, once again now providing a similarly heady atmosphere to what started it all off, and this languid sea of slowly moving yet ever changing melodies and layers delivers the goods to both head and heart. The final seven minute part four, reprises and continues the sounds and feel of part one, taking the album to a positively sublime ending. Consider yourself thoroughly cleansed and spiritually awakened. A gem.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest)


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