zondag 28 november 2010

Amon Düül - 1969 - Psychedelic Underground

Amon Duul 
Psychedelic Underground

01. Ein Wunderhübsches Mädchen Träumt von Sandosa (17:03)
02. Kaskados Minnelied (2:53)
03. Mama Düül und Ihre Sauerkrautband Spielt Auf (2:50)
04. Im Garten Sandosa (7:48)
05. Der Garten Sandosa im Morgentau (8:06)
06. Bitterlings Verwandlung (2:30)

- Angelica Filanda / vocals, percussion
- Helge Filanda / congas, anvil
- Ella Bauer / vocals, percussion
- Rainer Bauer / guitar, vocals
- Ullrich Leopold / bass
- Peter Leopold / drums
- Uschi Obermaier / percussion
- Wolfgang Krischke / piano, percussion

 How can one album be even "Krauter" than Can? Well AD's very first album Can (I know ;-) and this is no small feat. This is probably the most rock'n roll album of all time, should you consider the mentality and atmosphere. Some psychheads will rave on for hours of the Garage bands sprouting in Southern California in the second part of the 60's, or the Detroit proto-punk scene of 68, but obviously those purists tend to disregard anything done in Germany by early pioneers like Amon Düül and Can. So out of Munich came these "eleven adults and two children which are gathered to make all kinds of expressions, also musical" (sic), and the hippy commune eventually broke up into two units, the first is this group that will record only two real sessions, the first being a huge jam that would eventually produced three albums and four discs worth of material, the other being Paradieswarts Düül. The second part, Amon Duul II, will become much more successful, but please see that entry. BTW, Amon Düül's name comes from an Egyptian mythological god (Amon) and a Turkish fictional character Düül.
The least one can say is that AD's sole historic record (the others were posthumous, if memory serves) is that it is a very cringey time for progheads looking for the usual prog clichés. Here, we are light years away from good production, good recording, tight arrangements and virtuosi interplay: what one would have to realize is that both version of AD came from heavy left-wing hippy communes and therefore the group's sound sounds as chaotic as you'd imagine a commune to be back then. Actually the Repertoire CD issue shows a few band pictures with the women in the band proudly showing the kids, and most likely a certain kind of promiscuity. Starting on a 17-mins Sondosa track, where they give the tone of the album, just repeating endlessly a riff, without any kind of musical explorations, except for the hypnotic nature of their "minimalist" approach to their musical universe, the group finishes the album with a three-minutes fast-evolving improv centred around the cello player. There is a bit of space rock ala Hawkwind avant-la-lettre feel throughout this album. BTW: Sondosa is a Spanish-spoof deformation of the Sandoz pharmaceutical labs that first produced the LSD molecule.
On the flipside, Mama Düül is a very percussive 3-mins track that strikes you as complete waste of tape, unless you're into shaman-type of percussion dances. Garten Sandosa is another slowly evolving jam built on repetitive riff, where some bass drones (most likely the cello again) are the main interest. The following Garten Morgantau (also an 8-miun improv) is again featuring cello under very approximate guitar arpeggios, with soft spacey Gilly Smyth-like whispers. Ending the album is Bitterlings Verwandlung another absurd jam stuck with classical (choirs) music sound collage that had never been done until then.
In retrospect, this album as well as others posthumous release from AD, might just be the foundation stone of Germany's awesome scene. In some ways, the strength of AD is that even when the band gets cacophonous and downright chaotic, you can feel the mega line-up remaining as tight as if they were a trio, probably a side effect of their tribal commune instincts. I have a difficult time giving such a badly produced and indulgent record a good rating, but its historical importance cannot be denied and therefore gets an "essential but not that good" rating of three stars.

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