Krautrock

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Post by prancinghorse » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:40 am

after having dealt with one of the most sought after pieces of Krautrock in my first review I now want to introduce you to something easier to obtain (at least on my side of the „big pond“).

Wallenstein – Blitzkrieg

Released on
  • - Pilz / BASF 20 29064-6 in 1972
Re-issues on
  • - Pilz / Pop-Import 20 29064-6 in ???
    - Pilz / Zyx 20 29064-6 in 1983
    - Think Progressive TPLP 1.812.040 in 1999
    and there are more re-issues around I am sure
Originals demand an investment of approx. 40 Euros with re-issues being available for around 10 Euros on occasion. Originals and the Pop-Import reissue look almost identical, they even carry the Pilz Catalogue no. and can only be identified by a small Pop-Import logo [if I recall that right the logo is on the lower right hand corner of the inner of the gate-fold sleeve]. So if you are bidding on one on ebay it might not hurt to ask the seller whether there is a Pop Import logo somewhere on the sleeve.
There are various CD releases available, the first ones that spring to my mind are on Ohr (obviously not the “classical” Ohr label) and Spalax

Line up for this album (their debut by the way):
  • - Jürgen Dollase (Keyboards, Mellotron, Lead Vocals)
    - Harald Großkopf (Drums, Percussion)
    - Bill Barone (Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Vocals)
    - Jerry Berkers (Bass, Lead Vocals)
A truly international line up with two Germans (Jürgen and Harald), one US guy (Bill) and one Dutch (Jerry) – so you see Krautrock is not solely a German domain ;-)

Vocals are in English language on two tracks, the two long tracks are instrumental

I do not know where the album was recorded but as Dieter Dierks was the producer (together with Wallenstein) I would assume that it was at Dierks Studio in Stommeln again – for sure you can easily identify the “masters fingerprint” during “Lunetic” where Dierks did the phasing..

“Lunetic” is the opening track for this album and it starts with a furiously played keyboard quickly joined by the guitar (Bill by the way plays a typical Kraut-guitar, completely over-amped) – those two instruments play then for some time changing the lead part on occasion. A third don the alley the music relaxes a bit meaning it gets slower but the playing of the two instruments continues. After some time the original tempo resumes and lasts until the song ends after stunning 12 minutes. “The Theme” starts slower then the opening track mainly driven by the piano (or is it a piano sounding keybord?) which is then joined by guitar and a flavour of Mellotron – again the instruments play with each other which is some kind of “repeating motto” for the entire album and clearly shows that Dollase got some kind of classical musical education (the sound lines he is setting up sound “classical” to me). This is actually the first track which contains vocals (lead vocals here Jürgen Dollase) and to be honest he does not prove that he is a outstanding singer (same applies btw to Jerry Berkers who sings lead vocals on track 4). “Manhattan project” is the starter of the B side and from my perspective the best title on the album. The main driver for this overall slower song are piano and keyboard who are supported by a “Krauty” guitar and some more usage of the Mellotron, unluckily the guitar play is a bit too far in the background (a criticism mentioned also in contemporary reviews of that album). The album ends with the second song containing vocals “Audiences” – that track starts of like a classical Rock song and then suddenly changes direction into a more “proggy” way, this mainly due to the way piano and percussion are used.

Blitzkrieg is a very impressive debut by one of the longer lasting Krautrockbands. Blitzkrieg was btw supposed to be the band name until they group found out there is another combo from the UK using that name so they changed to Wallenstein. This album was followed by three more albums which can be considered Krautrock: “”Mother Universe” (still in the real Krautrock vain and the title track being another Kraut Classic), “Cosmic Century” and “Stories, Songs & Symphonies” which both tend more towards a classical direction. In 1978 Dollase fired all musicians and assembled a “new” Wallenstein which focussed on commercial successful but music wise non-challenging chart music and in 1982 the band finally vanished..
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"How can I kiss your lips at night, when you chew my a-- out all day long." - Terry Paul Nelson aka terryquasi (July 14th 1947 - July 11th 2009)

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Post by metrognome » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:15 pm

Well done, Peter. I remember not really liking the Wallenstein I heard on a mix tape many years ago, but I think it was from one of the later albums.

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Post by prancinghorse » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:28 pm

I would bet that somebody put "Charlene" on that mixed tape Scott - their biggest hit but far away from being Krautrock, is is cheesy pop music instead
"How can I kiss your lips at night, when you chew my a-- out all day long." - Terry Paul Nelson aka terryquasi (July 14th 1947 - July 11th 2009)

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Post by CactusCowboy » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:26 am

Peter,

Thanks for the interesting reviews!

I've got a few records by German rock bands that I like a lot (Tangerine Dream, Scorpions, Can, etc....). It's helpful to read about some of the lesser known (to me at least) bands.

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Post by prancinghorse » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:50 pm

The Krautrock reviews up to now follow a development path from more hardrock oriented Krautrock over Krautrock with some “classical attitude” towards symphonic Krautrock – the album I want to introduce you to is a symphonic masterpiece in my eyes..

Schicke Führs Fröhling – Symphonic Pictures

Released on
  • - Brain 60.010 (Green Brain Label) in Spring 1976 – second last Green Brain ever
Re-issues on
  • - Brain 60.010 (Golden Brain Label) in 1976 (I think in Autumn but I am not sure here)
The different label variations of Brain are shown here

There is one CD release of this one around that I am aware of and this is on “Laser’s Edge” label. Additionally there is a CD available which is called “The Collected Works” on Nordseerecords, this one contains all three albums SFF released.

For an Krautrock album of this musical quality the required investment to buy one is comparable low: Green Brain originals are in the area of 25 to 30 Euros and the Golden Brain re-issue goes for 10 to 15 Euros.

Line-up for this album (their debut by the way):
  • - Eduard Schicke (Drums, Percussion, Synthesizer [Moog], Metallophone, Xylophone)
    - Gerhard Führs (Grand Piano, Synthesizer [Moog], Clavinet, Mellotron, Strings ensemble, Bassett)
    - Heinz Fröhling (Bass, Guitar, Mellotron)
The album was again recorded at Dierks Studio in Stommeln and with this album Dieter Dierks delivered one of his production masterpieces.

The opening track “Tao” sets the mood for the rest of the album and introduces the listener to warm and overflowing soundscapes. The elegant guitar playing by Heinz Fröhling and the symphonic excursions of keyboarder Gerd Führs complement each other perfectly. The precise drumming and diversified percussion by Eduard Schicke adds to the fascination. “Solution” is a short track which displays a fine cooperation of Synthesizers, xylophone and clavinet and leads to the most “German” track of the album. “Dialog” starts as a mellotron drenched prog instrumental which then move to more hard kraut rock style part with “aggressive” guitar play. “Sundrops” again features a lot of clavinet and is some kind of precursor for the masterpiece of this album. “Pictures” is a sidelong track which is driven by a powerful bass guitar and precise drumming on the basis of an enormous mellotron carpet (generated by two mellotrons joining each other). The mellotron has rarely been used to this extend and with this perfection in prog history. During this track you will detect quieter parts (identified by grand piano play and the heavy usage of the string ensemble) which tempt you to begin dreaming. If that track during play sounds familiar to you: Swedish band Änglagård ripped off many of the themes for “their” song “Jordrök” in 1992.

Schicke Führs Fröhling released two more albums: “Sunburst” (Brain 0060.068, 1977) and “Ticket to everywhere” (Brain 0060.173, 1978). Sunburst followed their debut with some moderate Jazzrock influence whereas the last album was a disappointment, here they were playing with electronic gimmicks and even included some elements of disco music. The band disbanded in 1978 with Schicke joining Hölderlin (another Krautrock band) and Führs and Fröhling continuing as a duo. Unluckily they left their musical roots and moved from rock structures towards meditative sounds.

The debut of the three guys is a true masterpiece – if I were asked to choose one instrumental record for the famous island I would either choose Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” or Schicke Führs Fröhling’s “Symphonic Pictures”.
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"How can I kiss your lips at night, when you chew my a-- out all day long." - Terry Paul Nelson aka terryquasi (July 14th 1947 - July 11th 2009)

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Post by metrognome » Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:44 pm

Excellent! Ironically, I am watching a copy of this on Ebay right now. I have Sunburst (see Metrognome's prog picks -- somewhere near the begining of the thread) and like it ok, but I think this one sounds like it would be more interesting.

Very surprised you mentioned Anglagard, Peter. You know more about the outer reaches of prog rock than I might have guessed!

For what it's worth, the Lasers Edge CD issue is also all three albums on 2 CDs, if I remember correctly. I think that's OOP, but I am not sure. Lasers Edge is still around though.

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Post by prancinghorse » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:55 am

The Nordsee Records release is still available (the label is run btw by Heinz Fröhling's wife Ckaudia)
"How can I kiss your lips at night, when you chew my a-- out all day long." - Terry Paul Nelson aka terryquasi (July 14th 1947 - July 11th 2009)

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Post by metrognome » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:20 pm

Peter, if you take requests, I'd be interested in seeing what you have to say about Annexus Quam, Embryo, Agitation Free, Broselmaschine, Guru Guru, Kin Ping Meh, Kraan, Dzyan, Ougenweide, etc. 8)

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Post by prancinghorse » Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:30 pm

Scott,

I am already in the process of writing a review for a Dzyan album - Annexus Quam, Embryo, Bröselmaschine and Guru Guru are on my list as well. Kin Ping Meh I will leave for dkurtis :wink:
"How can I kiss your lips at night, when you chew my a-- out all day long." - Terry Paul Nelson aka terryquasi (July 14th 1947 - July 11th 2009)

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Post by metrognome » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:00 pm

Cool! Can't wait!

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