Album of the week – Caravan “In the land of grey and pink”, Decca

Another one of my all time favs: Caravan’s 1971 output with a little strange title (with suiting cute cover artwork). It contains the longest Caravan title: almost 23min of perfekt band work “Nine feet underground”.  Great synthie-work, nice voice (Richard Sinclair – i like his warm voice very much), fantastic playing together of the whole band. One of the greatest tracks on earth. One may find the so called Canterburysound also in all other titles with relaxed, smooth music with partly funny lyrics (see “golf girl”) and intensive jamming parts. Also “winter wine” is a gem starting with nice voice, and moving on with powerful mellotrone supported by great drumwork (Richard Coughlan).

A must have album, definitelly. It has been rated to be the best Canterbury record of all times and used to be very famous – although the chart success was rather negligible. Unfortunatelly, it seems to be forgotten completely nowadays.

14 of 15 points

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Album of the week – Klaatu “Hope”, Phantom Rec.

When Klaatu (CAN) published their second album “Hope” in 1977 the rumour was in full swing. A journalist had it started when he firstly announced Klaatu to be at least a remain of the Beatles members. Later, a radio station in Canada fell for the idea and broadcasted some of the “facts” – Klaatu is the reincarnation of the Beatles.  Of course the band itself as well as the record company did the hell to stop these rumours, since the the selling volume increased immediately.

The good thing was: Suddenly the band had the admission (and the money) by the record company to rework their second album to bring it to perfection. Which, good for us, worked. “Hope” appeared to be a brilliant piece of music, situated somewhere between Supertramp, Queen, ELO and – surprise – the Beatles. It’s a cenceptual album, telling the story of a disappeared planet and it’s inhabitants and the only remaining person of this nation: a lighthouse keeper.

The three musicians are supported by the London Symphony Orchestra, especially in the second half of the album. The album starts with “We’re off you know” which is, imho, the most beatlesque song. It then turns into “Madman”, which is a little harder, think of Rush! With the beautiful “Around the universe in eighty days” the smoother tune returns. “Long live Politzania” starts somewhat weird, telling us the story of the nation, turning into a musically up and down, with great orchestration. It then turns into the choir improved “The loneliest of creatures”, introducing the light house keeper, followed by the instrumental “Prelude”. “So said the lighthouse keeper” is a rather sad song, a beautiful gem. Last but not least, the moral of the story follows , “Hope”, which is in my opinion the weak point of the album. Altogether it is a very atmospherical album.

If you are familiar with the above mentioned groups, surely “Hope” will suit you very well. Artrock at it’s best.

P.S.: Note the great cover artwork by Ted Jones!

13 of 15 points

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Album of the week – Beardfish “The sane day”

If some crazy music is coming from a distinct region in the world it must be Scandinavia (unless it’s Frank Zappa). Beardfish’s second album (yes second: first one used to be Från en plats du ej kan se) appeared to be a double album full of crazy, funny, stupid, weird and moreover great music. Tales from another world (“i met creatures that would make your toes curl// men with two heads just as men with no head ” and “cruising like a fungus through time”  – hu?) as well as a sad (and stupid) love story (“if you come back to me, i promise, we will go out to a fancy restaurant […] I will never beg for sex”) can be found here. Music is mostly borrowed from the 1970’s, but without copying, amalgamated with some fresh sounds, making it a very independent, jazzy, outstanding piece of music, which is just fun listening to. The thing i love also is the fact that Beardfish obviously are putting much time in their arrangements, one might always find some new tiny detailes in some hidden corner of their music. Just fantastic. Be prepared for a wild rollercoaster of musical entertainment! But: get used to the voice and style of singer and mastermind Rikard Sjöblom, which is kinda weird (just suiting the music). By the way: Beardfish published the longest track I’ve ever heard: 35min. More on that probably later.

13 of 15 points

(poll: shall i post an album with evaluation of below 10 points – just for diversion? 🙂 )

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Album of some past week – Slut “Lookbook”, Virgin

While scouring my CD-collection for examples to annoy you with, I was really surprised about the amount of german bands (nonetheless english lyrics). Slut being one of my all time favourites from the moment I saw the video of  “Andy” on MTV (VIVA?) in 2001 (don’t try to find it on youtube – too much sluts out there). This is – again – a very atmospheric album using lots of electronica, in difference to other albums published by the band so far, leaving much space for falling into rather quiet parts.  But also without disclaiming parts of raucous guitars, which used to be more common for Slut. It’s difficult to point out one of the musicians for extremely good playing, it’s just the interaction that works really well and the minimalistic arrangements plus beautiful lyrics. Want an example: “Mr. Blake decided not to go, but in fact it was his wife, who told him so”. I do know a lot of Mr. Blakes, so do you? At least worth mentioning is Christian Neuburger’s warm and gentle voice, which I like very much and really suits the music. Buy and enjoy!

14 of 15 points

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Album of the week – Frumpy “2”, Philips Records

Wow, this MUST be the most awesome music from Germany ever published. Or, as one of my mates took it: “Fetzt wie Sau” (kicks ass). The album starts with an powerfull e-guitar riff, supported by bass guitar and keyboards, only to calm down just a few seconds further, when Inga Rumpf with her incredible (male-like?) voice starts singing.  After five minutes the flashed listener is thrown into a battle of Hammond organ vs. bass vs. drums until the guitar again cuts in with somewhat gilmouresk sound returning back to Inga Rumpf’s voice. This piece itself is a true masterpiece. But no time to relax, “How the gipsy was born” starts with hammond organ and throws the listener back into the battle, this time two guitars in the duel. Speaking of guitars: nowadays noone knows Rainer Baumann, who is the lead guitarist on this record, but i would not be surprised if anyone had written “Baumann is god” on the great Berlin Wall. The whole album is like this. Powerful Hammond, powerful bass, powerful drums, powerful Inga Rumpf, godlike guitar work all interwoven with slower parts, giving some time to rest. Good stuff!

Progressive Rock at its best. Krautrock. From Germany, I still don’t get it 🙂 But, unfortunately, it is obviously the most forgotten part of (prog)rock history…

15 of 15 points (the child in me wants to give 16)

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Album of last week – Chick Corea “Return to forever”, ECM

Chick Corea, Return to foreverDue to the request from many sides (most frequently by my beloved wife), I’m posting Chick Corea’s outstanding record as album of the (last) week. This is, again, for me rather untypicall music, being classified as jazzrock/fusion, which is a pretty rare style in my collection – unfortunatelly.

What makes this record that special? First it’s the fantastic work by one of the most talented jazz-pianists of all times, offering great sounds from his spacy E-Piano and mini moog with repetitive loops and great melodies. That and the angelic voice by singer Flora Plurim gives the whole album an atmosphere which one hardly can resist. Most remarkable track on the album “Some time ago/La Fiesta” starts with improvisation, reflecting the roots of the mostly brazilian musicians, culminating in beautiful melodies and fantastic vocals. Orgasm for the ears, lasting 23 minutes. Even the more pop-orientated piece “What game shall we play today?” is a gem. All over the record Joe Farrell gives a pretty impressive performance on sax/flute, as well as all involved musicians.

I really don’t understand, why this record is obviously completely faded out of sight. It is definitely an album for the lonesome island (probably the artwork is aimed exactly on this theme!)

14 of 15 points

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Album of the week – Keimzeit “Nachtvorstellung”

I was thinking a lot of how to start my new category and I went for Keimzeit which is rather an unusal album for me. Unusal because of four facts:

  1. it’s live (I love the rather clinical, clear and clean sound of a studio album)
  2. it’s german (more or less the only band in my CD collection)
  3. it’s a double album (always the problem: feeding the player with which CD? In most cases too much.)
  4. it’s not from the 70’s 🙂

Why do I find it worth starting with “Nachtvorstellung” ? Well, to keep it briefly: it’s fun! One can easily hear the fun the band has which is transfused directly to the highly pleased listeners. Talking about the band, it’s, as usual, guitars, bass, drums, piano plus a brass-section, which is fantastic and kicks ass! And, to run the risk of falling for blasphemy i’d like to put Ulrich Sende on lead guitar in a row with the great guitarists of the world. Fantastic weeping noises, fast as well as slow solos, great duets (mostly with piano or sax) and loooong numbers. Good stuff. Andreas Sperling at the keys also gives a pretty fantastic performance.

There are a number of songs which are far behind the 5min-limit, culminating in great 15min lasting “Flugzeuge” (including massive improvisation). Some more highlights: “Die Achse”, “Nah Neh Nah”, “Schmetterlinge”, “Singapur”, “Kintopp”  to mention a few.

Strongly recommended, even for non-germans!

13 of 15 points

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