zondag 28 november 2010

Utopia (Amon Düül II) - 1973 - Utopia

Utopia (Amon Düül II)

01. What You Gonna Do (6:37)
02. The Wolf-Man Jack Show (5:05)
03. Alice (3:06)
04. Las Vegas (4:25)
05. Deutsch Nepal (3:08)
06. Utopia No. 1 (4:00)
07. Nasi Goreng (5:33)
08. Jazz-Kiste (5:30)

 - Lothar Meid / bass, vocals
- Olaf Kübler / saxophon
- Kristian Schultze / keyboards
- Jimmy Jackson / organ
- Joe Nay / guitar

guest musicians:
- Chris Karrer / guitar
- John Weinzierl / guitar
- Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz / vocals

 In 1973 AMON DÜÜL split up over a quarrel that included threats with revolvers and knives. One half set off to record "Wolf City", the other half formed Utopia with a few other musicians. During the recording sessions of "Wolf City" and "Utopia" though the members of AMON DÜÜL II made peace again, which ended with the whole AMON DÜÜL II gang playing on both records. Nevertheless Utopia should be seen as a completely independent project (although their only album was re-issued under the name AMON DÜÜL II for commercial reasons in the 80s).

 So, the myth says that during the "Wolf City" sessions (or after that) the band split into two sections due to quarrels, leaving Olaf Kübler and Lothar Meid alone to record a separate project under the name "UTOPIA". But in the meantime, they all made peace again so the remaining members of AMON DUUL II tribe participated in the making of this album. Original LP bears the title "Utopia" only, while the re-issued CD format added the name of AMON DUUL II, probably for commercial reasons because this one and only album of UTOPIA project would be otherwise doomed for oblivion.
It is sort of by-product of the "transition phase" of AMON DUUL II towards more guitar-oriented conventional rock structures of "Vive la Trance", but it still retains (not only in the cover art) certain "Gothic" and dark elements of "Wolf City"- notable is the reprise of the Teutonic satire "Deutsch Nepal" from that album (with slightly different and weaker German vocal). "What You Gonna Do" is a nice folksy-rock attempt sung by Renate, while "Alice" with "romantic" piano and drunken male vocal sounds like taken from some bluesy Tom Waits record. "Las Vegas" is a quite catchy with repetitive acoustic guitars and sax-driven hypnotic instrumental jam, while the title track is a perfect example of Kraut-rock; processed voices, Mellotrons, electronic effects, jazzy guitar jams, strong and diverse percussion, groovy bass and overall psycho/space feeling. The final track, as its title suggests, is a pure and quite excellent jazz-rock loaded with electric piano, mighty percussion and a solo part that can be a processed guitar, or sax or trumpet, or synth... I wouldn't know since I am no tech expert. It is perhaps an influence from their cousin-band EMBRYO.
This fine album is strongly recommended to prog-listeners and I hope this review of mine will not remain as the only one for a long time.

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