zaterdag 23 oktober 2010

A.R. & Machines - 1971 - Die Grüne Reise

A.R. & Machines
Die Grüne Reise

01. I Am (Happy Adventures For Sense, Mind And Inclination)
02. Staion 1: Globus (In The Same Boat)
03. Station 2: Beautiful Babylon
04. I'll Be Your Singer You Be My Song
05. Station 3: Body (A Book's Blues)
06. Station 4: As If I Have Seen All This Before
07. Cosmic Vibration (An Afternoon Concert)
08. Come On People
09. Truth And Probability (A Lexicon For Self-knowledge)

- Achim Reichel / guitar, vocals
- Frank Dostal / lyrics
- Dicky Tarrach / drums
- Hans Lampe / percussion (2) 

Producer, composer and musician from Hamburg (Germany), Achim Reichel is a key figure in the explosion of krautrock. Reichel was first a founder member of "The Rattles" at the beginning of the 60's. In 1968 he formed the "Wonderland band" with the drummer Frank Dostal. Late 60's he launched his first solo musical project called A.R and the machines. Musically it provides a supreme sonic musical voyage turned to cycled psychedelic guitar playing with lot of echoes and delay. The first album was published in 1971 in collaboration with Frank Dostal. The album presents an ambitious collection of spacey rock jams featuring a lot of electronic effects and arrangements. This album prefigures "acid" trips of krautrock guitar / minimal electronic explorers like Manuel Gottsching. The guitar freakouts and the weird imagination of the first effort continue to prevail in the following inspired, confused and various Die Grune Reise, A.R. IV, Autovision (generally a mix between guitar soudscapes and psych pop orientated songs). Reichel decided to abandon the project after 5 studio albums. Today A.R and the machines remains a high class standard of hypnotic space-echo guitar inventions.

 Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey) is a fantastic debut released in 1971, a great year for both Krautrock and Prog Rock. This was my second album by A.R. and the Machines, and by no means a disappointment after the celestial bliss that is Echo. After hearing the first two albums by them, I was convinced that Krautrock is much more than just "experimental, random noises" like I once thought it was. A.R. and the Machines are my favorite Krautrock band at the moment, and although I'm still relatively new to the genre, this is saying a lot because many of the other, more popular, bands are excellent as well.

Such a shame this band isn't more popular, which is one reason I'm reviewing them. All their albums are in desperate need of CD reissues, since they are only available in this format as bootlegs or as expensive, out of print, issues from other countries. Of course, LP would be the best option, but they're hard to find and pricey.

Like Echo and the rest of their discography, Die Grune Reise is structured around the echo guitar playing of Achim Reichel. If you like guitar-driven Krautrock, this is the album for you! It is sung mostly in English, with a bit of German thrown in. I really enjoy Achim Reichel's voice, especially in A.R. and the Machines. Like Echo, there is quite a bit of vocal experimentation in this album, but it is never overbearing. Somewhat accessible compared to Echo, and perhaps one of the more accessible Kraut albums I've heard thus far. Don't get me wrong, this is still a challenging album that will require a few listens to sink in, just not to the extent of other Krautrock. I'm not sure how popular this album was in Germany, but a single was made out of "I'll be Your Singer, You' be my Song / Come on People" which are both catchy, but still great.

There isn't anything negative about this album, I'm just not going to give it a full 5 stars like Echo because the debut isn't quite as dynamic. Still, it's a 4.5 star album that is definitely an "Excellent addition to any prog music collection" mainly for fans of '70s spacey and psychedelic music with an emphasis on guitar. If you are a fan of Krautrock album, Die Grune Reise is a must, as is everything else by this band.

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