8 Days In April - The Hamburg Scene (1972)
This album started life as a solo release by Jean Jacques Kravetz, then the keyboard player for Frumpy, titled simply "Kravetz". Not a real catchy name, so it's understandable that this was repackaged as "8 Days In April"! It was basically Kravetz fronting the Udo Lindenberg band, and Lindenberg wrote the lyrics and some of the music. The brilliant Inga Rumpf is on board for one tune doing the vocals for "I'd Like To Be A Child Again", a great jazzy ballad. This is a real tasty slab of laid-back keyboard-driven progressive rock, with some fantastic guitar playing courtesy of Thomas Kretzschmer. I really like this record, as you can probably tell from the name of the blog!
Aera - Humanum Est (1974)
Aera was a very capable, occasionally excellent, German band that specialized in largely instrumental music that straddled the fence between jazz-rock and progressive rock. Their debut LP, Humanum Est, leans more toward the progressive rock end of the spectrum. It features the riff-based compositions of guitarist Muck Groh, who was previously in Ihre Kinder - a progressive folk-rock band. Listening to this LP, it's not hard to fathom Groh's involvement in folk music: he's fond of his twelve string, and his intricate leads and solos on that instrument bring Dan Ar Bras to mind. On the electric 6-string, he leans toward a Jeff Beck / Janne Schaffer sort of approach - he's not really a jazz guitarist, but an accomplished soloist in a creative blues-rock vein. The bulk of Aera's jazz influence at this point could be credited to the band's other main soloist, soprano saxophonist / flutist Klaus Kreuzeder - he's quite good. (New Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock)
Brainstorm - Smile A While (1972)
Brainstorm were a German Canterbury band …that’s right kids …a German Canterbury band offering very complex songs dripping with fusion flute and saxophones performances. I would not recommend this album to anyone who does not love fusion as this album is pretty heavy in its core fusion delivery. Brainstorm takes dimensions of Soft Machine and whips in elements of Caravan, John Coltrane and National Health. “Smile A While” was their first release under the name of Brainstorm but they were originally know as “Fashion Pink” . This album is full of dynamic and inventive jazz influenced progressive rock and membership in the band includes the zany Guru Guru band member Roland Schaeffer.
Gäa - Auf Der Bahn Zum Uranus (1973)
Auf der Bahn zum Uranus (On the Road to Uranus) was the only album put out by this German quintet during the life of the band. Gäa creates very trippy psychedelic style of music with lots of swirling organ and long, acid-drenched guitar leads. All five members sing so the lyrical passages tend to have lots of vocal harmonies and sound somewhat like the '67 West Coast psychedelic scene but the instrumental sections are pure "krautrock." They are quite a bit bluesier than most other German bands of this ilk and certainly not as out there as Ash Ra Tempel or Agitation Free. Maybe that's why they only made it to Uranus! There is a fair amount of acoustic guitar, piano, organ and also some flute and congas but generally the music is identified by the electric guitar solos typical of the German undergound scene of the early '70s. If you are a fan of this scene, you'll want this album as part of your collection.
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Grobschnitt - Grobschnitt (1972)
The Grobschnitt sound was a bit more mainstream when compared to other big name groups from the genre, but nonetheless it was original and creative and incorporated some masterful musicianship. Their debut album kicks off with 'Symphony', a track of epic proportions containing a mock chorus, a string quartet, a Santana-esque Latin sound, jamming guitars, two percussionists and some cosmic electronic radio waves. A large section of this track is a jam session in D-minor, the key which they would later take to unparalleled cosmic heights during 'Solar Music'. The track 'Wonderful Music' is a soft classical track with some great flute and acoustic guitar work which is somewhat out of place, but nonetheless essential listening. Picking up where 'Symphony' left off, 'Sun Trip' is another epic track which begins with a sinister German narration underscored by a haunting guitar arpeggio and wind sound effects. Next, the song turns into a progressive rocker with a driving guitar and drum which give way to some varied lead-guitar work. The track even includes a slow middle section which borders on space rock. This album should appeal greatly to fans of progressive rock as well as fans of lead-guitar. The extended tracks give the band enough room to explore the rythm while also allowing the various instruments time to make their impact. As a bonus, the Repertiore CD contains a live recording of 'Symphony' under its German title 'Die Sinfonie'. This track is interesting as it shows the progress which the band made with the track in less than a year. (krautrockgroup.com)
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High Wheel - 1910 (1993)
Wolfgang Hierl - the creative mastermind and responsible for most of High Wheel's music and lyrics studied classical guitar and flute at the Richard Strauß Konservatorium in Munich. Born in 1971, he and Erich Kogler (double-bass and piano (both classical) in 1988 decided to quit a local progressive-trash-metal band called "The Hammers." They were looking for something with more melody. After Hierl's six week trip to America (armed only with a backpack, a copy of "The Lord Of The Rings" and one of Däniken´s new editions about UFOs in old India), the impression of his visit as well as the interesting theories of Erich v. Däniken inspired the writing process for the song- "High Wheel in the sky" (part one as it was called later).
Back in Germany the "New H. Project" was founded and rehearsed on Wolfgang's new ideas, but the sound didn't happen until drummer-Uli Jenne (studied modern drum set at the "drummer's focus" in Munich) came onboard. Uli, along with his talent has supplies the rehearsal locations and sundries. Knowing each other for several years the three discovered a common sense of music, humor and life in general - and the idea to form "High Wheel" came in 1989. Within a few weeks a full two hour set was composed, arranged and rehearsed - and presented live on stage.
To properly play live, the group enlisted Andreas `Lobi' Lobinger, who studied electrical engineering at the Technical University in Munich, was a friend from high school and an accordion-player. During 1991 and after a few rehearsals and a free keyboard (bought by the band), Lobi eased into the groups sessions and a band was born.
In 1993, the group released `1910' - a Paleo-SETI story about an extraterrestrial civilization visiting the Earth in ancient ages, a stunning example of early 90's German progrock.
A talented German heavy classical rock duo, a keyboardist and a drummer, formed aptly in 1969. Armin Stöwe, obviously a Keith Emerson disciple, and probably a Brian Auger fan ably took on the role of organist, bassist and soloist. 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. (The Crack In The Cosmic Egg)
A one-shot by three Germans who were probably obsessed with "The Lord Of The Rings"! They are identified in the artwork only as Frodo, Gandalf and Pippin. The four tracks have titles taken from the book also. I will admit without shame that I have never read the book or seen any of the movies so I don't really know how well these guys capture the mood that they obviously are going for, but this slice of Teutonic electronica is very dark sounding and spooky.
All Led Zeppelin fans need to download this one! The material on this bootleg was recorded in 1968, before Led Zep even took that name. The first two cuts are soundboard recordings from Tivoli Gardens in Stockholm, and the last seven tracks are from an excellent audience recording from the Marquee in London.
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Raymond And Peter - Shut Up, Little Man!
Don't download this one unless your sense of humor is a little, ah, twisted. OK sick. You will either think this is hilarious or you will be horrified by the fact that some people think this is funny. The story is that in the mid 80's a couple of hipsters rented a cheap apartment in a run-down building in the Haight-Ashbury. They soon found that only a thin wall separated them from a couple of middle-aged raging alcoholic roommates whose near constant battles could be heard throughout the entire building. Peter was possibly gay, and Raymond was a virulent homophobe. Anyway our young hipsters started recording the nightly fights with an eye towards getting their neighbors evicted, but then began to see the drunken pair as cheap entertainment. They bought better recording equipment, and even started inviting friends over to listen to the fights! Some years back a few of my friends and I became obsessed with this CD, and could spend drunken hours talking to each other in Raymond and Peter quotes, doubling over in laughter at lines we'd heard a hundred times already. Don't let this happen to you.
OK that's it then. Later!