Between - Dharana (1974)
This original German band is a world music precursor. A blend of Peter Michael Hamel's repetitive keyboards melodies, of Robert Eliscu's oboe, Roberto Detree's classical acoustic guitar and the multi-percussive colorations of Cotch Black.
On their third album, the band turns to a more tranquil, luminous style, quite different from the solemn, obscure, esoteric and incantatory music of the previous “And the waters opened” album.
“Dharana” develops here an aerial and mellow world jazz fusion, softer and less inspired than their previous album.
The longest piece “Dharana” is the most accomplished, with its slow progression. The spiritual inspiration is strong throughout the album, “Dharana” is the sixth of the eight steps of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga and is linked to a stage of self-trance due to inner silence.
Even if “Dharana” can’t reach the previous album’s intensity, the cleaner sound production contributes to a pleasant aerial feeling and with this album, Between keeps on creating a unique musical universe, a perfect fusion of western and eastern music. (oliverstoned progarchives.com)
A wonderful album that manages to sound a little like Cluster (no surprise, with Moebius and Roedelius on hand), Neu! (member Michael Rother is on board), and even Kraftwerk and Can (hey, it's Germany, after all). It's interesting to hear musicians with a predominantly instrumental background throw some vocals into the mix, along with a sense of humor. I'd have to say that the participants were at their respective creative peaks right about this time. Michael Rother's first few solo albums and Moebius and Plank's "Rastakraut Pasta" and "Material" came out about the same time, and all are among my favorite Krautrock releases. Interesting textures, rhythms and melodies abound, and the sound quality is clear and crisp, unlike Harmonia's debut and some of Cluster's albums. (soundsweird progarchives.con)
Hoelderlin - Hoelderlin (1975)
This is truly one of the greatest German prog recordings to ever come from the basement of the legendary producer Connie Plank. Hoelderlin employs a wide range of moods ranging from heavy psychedelic to child-like nursery time melodies. Although this recording never really settles down on one theme, it does work well in it's entirety. Hoelderlin creates deep dark Mellotron filled passages which are surrounded by guitar, bass and drum interplay. Every song is very carefully crafted and there is an almost humorous component to them. Vocals are in English and are very well done with some nice harmonies. The big hitter for me here is the 20 minute epic "Death Watch Beetle" which has some of the most captivating progressive rock moments I have ever heard. Hoelderlin has a very strong underground German feel to it and stands in my mind as one of the pinnacle progressive rock recordings of all time. A real gem!!! (james unger progarchives.com)
Kopperfield - Tales Untold (1974)
In many ways, Tales Untold contains a fairly typical mid-'70s amalgam of hard and prog rock, but it would be a mistake to suggest it is a mark against the album's merit or a detriment to its enjoyment. In fact, while typical of many of the genre's conventions during the period -- heavily keyboard dominant, weaving guitar lines, an over-the-top rock holler -- it is also a fairly interesting example of said formula, full of nifty band interplay and mostly fine (or at least fine enough) songwriting. From an instrumental standpoint, there is a lot to appreciate about Kopperfield. They were excellent players, especially drummer Tom Curtis and the dual keyboards of Paul Decker and Keith Robinson, which occasionally investigate creepy Ray Manzarek-like territory. The guitar playing, too, is consistently pretty hot. And there are fits and flashes of true songwriting talent. The Gear Fab reissue nearly doubles the length of the original album. The first 11 tracks of the reissue offer the Tales Untold album in its entirety. It ranges from lean, bluesy rock that recalls Free to the lovely anomaly of the title track, which combines folky acoustic textures and harmony leads with psychedelically inclined and classical keyboard motifs. (Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide)
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A totally unknown entity that existed, made one album, and just as quickly disappeared! Lily were in fact not unlike label stablemates Nine Days Wonder and Message, almost like a hybrid of the two. But unlike those multi-national bands Lily were entirely German, and more offbeat in a bizarre Krautrocky sort of way, with oddly composed songs, strangely worded lyrics and such like. An unknown gem. (Crack In The Cosmic Egg)
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A real short album, this is great symphonic prog with vocals in German. A little bit like Eloy maybe, with a strong electric guitar and Hammond organ presence. High point is the sixteen minute "Sonnenwende" suite. Heck that's almost half the album!!
A typically German jazz-rock band, drawing on the Bavarian school of Missus Beastly, Passport, Munju, et al., but also taking a more progressive rock angle with Kraan touches. They only made one album, and nothing is known of their history. Keyboardist Matthias Frey went on to have a solo career.
The Groundhogs - Scratching The Surface (1968)
The Groundhogs' debut album is a long way from the "classic" sound of the better-known Thank Christ for the Bomb/Split/Who Will Save the World? trilogy. Indeed, the mellow classic blues through which the band pursues its nine tracks offer the unsuspecting listener little more than a direct blast from the peak of the British blues boom past. Early Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack, and Savoy Brown all haunted precisely the same corridors as Scratching the Surface, with only the occasional burst of fuzzed Tony McPhee guitar to distinguish the sonics from the rest of the pack. That said, Scratching the Surface ranks among the finest albums to emerge out of that entire period, a moody shuffle that includes an epic recounting of the Chicago classic "Still a Fool" and which matches five solid McPhee originals with a pair of blistering contributions from outgoing harmonica whiz Steve Rye. In fact, his "Early in the Morning" and "You Don't Love Me" might well be the album's best numbers, a discrepancy that puts one in mind of another of the blues boom's hottest acts, Jethro Tull, and just how much they changed once a founding member (Mick Abrahams) departed. Again, if you arrive at Scratching the Surface in search of a fresh "Cherry Red" or "Status People," you'll probably be disappointed. But if you want to hear the blues sluicing straight out of the Southern England Delta, there are precious few better introductions. Includes 4 bonus tracks.
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Third World War - Third World War (1971)
This political underground band played at the "Oz Police Ball" benefit for the Oz obscenity trial with Arthur Brown, Viv Stanshall, Pink Fairies, Egg, Roy Harper and Gnidrolog, but this group was different. They were singing about the rebels, the poor and uneducated people: the working class, the semi-skilled labourers, the yobos and the Hell's Angels. They were able to write excellent, sensitive melodies but in general their music and lyrics were ugly and real - like life itself. No punk band seven years later would have angrier lyrics. Although their first album is essentially raw punk, on tracks like Ascension Day, M.I.5's Alive, Working Class Man, Shepherds Bush Cowboy and Preaching Violence, it does contain two purely acoustic tracks:- Teddy Teeth Goes Sailing and Get Out Of Bed You Dirty Red. Stardom Road Part 2 predates the eighties psychobilly bands!
Probably the most well-known of all Krautrock samplers. Over 70 minutes of obscure psychedelic German rock.
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OK there it is - hope everybody finds something they want! Later.