As parts 20 to 25 of my Krautrock Odyssey, I concentrated on the first 6 albums by the loony rocking political Guru Guru clan, beginning with their cosmic improvised opus, ‘U F O’; followed by Hinten.
‘U F O’
The term ‘free-jazz’ evokes a certain recoil of horror in some members of the public, even a vast majority of musicians find their expression turns sour at the prospect of this, often, derided and un-mercilessly mocked musical genre.
Of course it has encouraged and spawned enough trite or rebarbative individuals to create disparaging works of utter bullshit, but it’s also proved a rich breeding ground for, unarguably, some of the late 60’s and early 70’s most gifted and far-sighted players.
Germany’s very own rich and versatile jazz scene especially knocked out its far share of trailblazers, of which most of our Krautrockers can be traced back to starting out with, either serving apprenticeships with seasoned jazz creatives and established combos or learning their craft under the tutelage of Stockhausen, before embarking on a voyage of discovery through the spectacle of both psychedelica, electronica and rock.
Essentially if you played a free-form version of jazz, it usually meant you’d already done your homework and had mastered the fundamentals. I mean to improvise takes talent, and at times luck, it also demands concentration or at least a confidence, a confidence that allows the rest of the group to instantly click when our protagonist drifts off on some solo trip, without even so much as a nod to his colleagues.
Mani Neumeier, an award winning musician from Munich, and Uli Trepte, outstanding double bass player from Kostanz, both imbued all the more healthier aspects of free-jazz. Originally hooking up with the Swiss pianist and feminist activist Irène Schweizer, to perform as a, mostly acoustic, avant-garde trio during the mid 60’s.
They recorded a critically acclaimed album of spontaneous compositions together, whilst also working with a whole host of other far-out jazz acts.
Trepte in particular mixed in the company of such luminaries as Yusef Lateef, Gato Barbieri and Barney Wilson, to name just a few.
By 1968 both musical partners had become seduced by the sounds emanating from across the Atlantic, the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa instantly turned them on. They also looked to the UK and picked up on The Who, Rolling Stones and early Pink Floyd, recognising a sort of common musical kinship with these sonic explorers; though they would mistranslate to a point when producing their own unique version of these groups music.
After all, this new generation wanted to wash their hands of the establishment and create a brand new culture, a new musical ascetic, which began at year zero. Yes they would entwine the heritage of certain genres and ape the Yanks and Brits, but bastardize these influences in such a way as that they became almost unrecognisable to the listener.
It was in Zurich that both men decided to form their own group, which they first christened The Guru Guru Groove.
Trepte swapped over the double bass for the electric version as if to make a statement of intent!
It was rock all the way now!
Neumeirer incorporated gongs and other paraphernalia onto his drum kit, taking on a more thrashed out style of playing, that took on the wild rolls of Moon and the inventiveness of Ginger Baker to create one of the best drum sounds of all time – I’m deadly serious.
A chance meeting with the poet Hans Sachs – named after his rather more famous predecessor, the 16th century Lutheran friendly mastersinger and playwright held in esteem throughout German literature – led to him joining the new set-up, with Sachs reading aloud prose and passages over a whigged-out improvised maelstrom backing.
The first inauguration in front of a real audience, took place in August of 68 at the Holy Hill Festival in Heidelberg, followed by an impromptu performance on September 29th at the International Song Tage in Essen.
These invigorating shows included a lot of political rhetoric, with the trio now being integral advocates of the Socialist German Student Union, whose members included Ulrike Meinhof – one half of the fateful Baader Meinhoff group – and leading spokesman Rudi Dutschke – the catalyst and rallying figure of the movement, who infamously survived an assassination attempt that same year.
This youth wing of the Social Democratic Party, was founded after WWII, and demanded a re-structuring of both German society and the German mind-set. They proposed a more tolerant and alternative lifestyle, one that opposed the Vietnam war, Nuclear weapons and the continuing influence of former Nazi party members, who still held powerful positions in government – it must be pointed out of course that the rebuilding of West Germany inevitably had to use the experience and expertise of even the most unsavoury characters, just look at the Iraq war, where former members of the old regime became integral to re-structuring the country.
Equal rights for women, the right to abortions and a general shake-up were all key changes they sought to impose, starting off with demonstrations or sit-ins. The right-on jovial optimistic mood rapidly changed as radical members under the growing heavy-handiness of the authorities oppression, pushed to meet violence with violence, leading of course to the forming of such groups as The Red Army Faction.
Our trio performed at various Socialist shin-digs, even playing the odd gig in jails to imprisoned activists, whilst living the commune lifestyle in the wilderness around Odenwald in the Upper Rhine rift valley, knocking back the old drugs and jamming around the camp fire.
By the Spring of 1969, Sachs had decided to pack up his quill and leave, prompting the now reduced group to draft in scenster guitarist Jim Kennedy and shorten their moniker to, the now set in stone, Guru Guru.
During this transformation they rubbed shoulders with fellow Munich exponents of the cosmic craft, such as Amon Düül II and Xhol Caravan – a fine rhythm and blues, free-jazz and psychedelic group, one of the founding fathers of the Krautrock movement.
After causing a wow amongst the heads, our intrepid trio would now look at recording some of their near unadulterated perverse acid-rock, the recent success of both Amon Düül II’s Phallus Dei and Can’s Monster Movie albums, led the way forward – though it must be said the jamming free-spirit would only be tolerated by the labels for so long.
Ohr records – that’s German for ear – signed our trio up in 1970. The label was the brainchild of visionary acidhead nut job Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, a pivotal investigator of the underground scene. Initially a Dutch journalist, he mixed with all the right people, organising the now seminal legendary Essner Sontag Festival and becoming friends with all of West Germanys leading acolytes.
His first partial success involved coaxing Amon Düül I into the studio to make the eponymous album Paradieswarts, then going onto turning troubadour scruffs Witthuser and Westrupp into bona-fide recording artists.
More obscure acts were to come; the likes of Tangerine Dream, Embryo, Klaus Schulze, Ash-Ra Tempal and Popol Vuh all joined the Ohr ranks.
Guru Guru’s recording unfortunately led to the now famous revolving door policy, as Kennedy left, before work even began on the debut album U F O. The genius guitar player Ax Genrich thankfully replaced him, previously a member of the drone rocking Agitation Free – this group would also supply Tangerine Dream with the drummer Christopher Franke – he had served his time on the precipice of inventive fret board trickery, a cosmos out-rider high on the fumes of experimentation, now set to add to lead the charge on the new album.
The band embarked for the Ohr studios in Berlin, handed over to at first to recording engineer Thomas Müller and then overseen by the former chemistry student turned artist now sound engineer, Julius Schittenhelm.
‘U F O’ was a curious album based around five loose improvised themes that celebrated the advent of some extra-terrestrial visitation. With no vocals as such, Neumeier’s own purview expansive drumming keeps the whole thing together, with Genrich attempting speech through his guitar, channelling some unknown spirit along his colourful initiative flourishes and jaw-dropping finger work.
Trepte stonks along in bursts of heavy rock leaning bass playing and belts of evocative Noel Redding instinctive probing, throwing in some jazz scales and ascending runs that drift up to the heavens.
There’s also a whole load of hokum tomfoolery going on, with babbling through contact mics, twiddling with transistor radios and sticking loads of echo unit effects on everything.
If indeed visitors from another world did arrive on Earth, this record would soon send the willies up them.
Some of these tracks transcend into total anarchy, as Neumeier crashes gongs and runs through the full gambit of free-form jazz rolls and hi-hat thumping.
For such a radical opening and emergence on the unsuspecting scene, it was only fair to have an album cover that represented the challenging music inside.
OK, so a close up photo of a classic shaped UFO printed in a redolent Sigmar Polke fashioned manner is what we get – to the point at least.
Inside the gatefold sleeve, our trio line up in front of some industrial monochrome-threatening backdrop; a dystopian future looks immanent, the group all tense and fraught staring at the listener in a scary pose.
Met with some acclaim on release, ‘U F O’ certainly made an impact, maybe even a shock as nothing else quiet matched this otherworldly sound, only the first two Amon Düül II LP’s came close.
Guru Guru had arrived, stamping and bewildering fusion of those jazz routes onto avant-garde rock, doom and Black Sabbath heavy riffage, all played out in a haze of cyclonic effects and creeping distortion.
Guru Guru ‘U F O’ 1970
Recorded in Berlin June 1970
Track List –
1. Stone In (5:43)
2. Girl Call (6:21)
3. Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama (5:59)
1. U F O (10:25)
2. Der LSD- Marsch (8:28)
Ax Genrich – Echo-unit, Effects Pedals and Guitar.
Mani Neumeier – Contact mic, Drums, Percussion and Tapes.
Uli Trepte – Bass, Effects and Transistor radio.
Thomas Müllor – Engineer.
Julius Schittenhelm – Overseer.
Our acid litmus test paper imbued version of a psycho, free-jazz berserk War of the Worlds, opens beneath an incoming storm that rumbles and shakes with brash shimmering cymbals, resonating gongs and exigency strong tom rolls.
Ax Genrich bends notes, arching his back in mock pained gesturing, as he discharges west coast redolent riffs worthy of the titular ‘Stone In’ pronouncement. Uli Trepte dons the bass playing robes of Noel Redding, roaming free of intervention over a rubble terrain, those blessed low octave pogoing rundowns herald forth a welcoming committee for some galactic holidaymakers.
As the linear notes say, this casebook of cosmos-travelling otherworldly jams were intended to prepare listeners for the impending landing of extraterrestrials, though on this evidence I’d have thought any aliens tuning into Munich circa 1970 would have second thoughts.
From the ether a faint warble is heard, fraught Germanic ramblings make for a haunted addition to this creeping intense rocking vista, evocative of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream and a harder than hard edged MC5 on a mission to the Mars quadrant.
Mani Neumeier doubles those cascading resounding rolls and fills, whilst bashing away like a loon on the snare and bass drum, whilst Genrich pleads merciful high-pitched forgiveness for past regrets, almost weeping notes like tears, wailing and flailing in turmoil as the trio really break a sweat.
Slow methodical wisps of oscillating sounding illumine craft from another plain, cloaked by a low bracing hum introduce these E.T’s to our insane band of revolutionary postured rampant noiseniks.
Rattling voracious drums roll into view through the vapour trail, as Trepte’s bass bumbles along peeling off sonic booms of contempt, filled with looming menace on ‘Girl Call’.
Genrich leans heavily on his wah-wah pedal, that axe of his now deep in chattering displays of Hendrix worship – who he emulated better then nearly anyone else, later on record admitting that he tried to create something new only to find out Jimi had already been there.
A chariot of the Gods inspired astro-travelling snaking riffage contains this wild beast of an improvised freak-out track entirely. As like their fellow compatriots of the Muinch scene, Amon Düül II, Guru Guru took on the new cosmological free-form lust for something new, looking beyond our own atmosphere in order to create something brand spanking new, free off the chains of authority.
Swathes of impending chaotic rock and doom make for some clever displays of multiple rhythmic skills, Genrich proceeding like a stalking predator, whilst his cohorts speed away, Trepte skulking, Neumeier permanently on a rotation of crescendos.
Our band are cut short just as their gaining a foothold by the most unconventional cut ever, which launches them unashamedly straight into the last track on side one without even a warning.
Falling into ‘Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama’, prematurely whisked away form the previous track, a barrage of persistent riffing, crashes through your front door, mowing down anything that crosses its path.
An eastern evocative tributary is sprung from Genrich, who arches a twisting tumbling behemoth over a spatial jam, shooting off free-roaming heavy rock displays of lead work.
The tempo quickens, then settles down, then kicks off again, constantly brushing aside the time signature as though it were a minor irritation.
Herculean strides are made, before we land bang in the middle of a bustling market place scene, removing us from the onslaught and placing us in another time.
Quivering abused cello like sounds with spine tingling stretched out guitar strings greet us on side 2, the ‘U F O’ title perfectly describing the next 10 minutes of inter-dimensional hocus-pocus.
Very low tones imbued in terror meet Stockhausen-esque ephemeral touches of encircling whirls and Foley atmospherics.
Disturbing ungodly voices lost in the piercing ascending debris alongside Genrich’s plectrum scratching antics add to the general mysterious mood.
To all intents and purposes this could all be a signal for invasion or an avant-garde rendition of The Day The Earth Stood Still, in an electric kool-aid stupor haze style.
Clashes and crashes of percussion met by great strokes of the gong battle it out, as our visiting interlopers turn into the four horsemen, sending down chaotic lightning bolts of metallic shifting instrumental nonsense, like a hundred pieces of car suspension parts and manifolds dropping out of the sky at once.
More a sound-piece then a improvised jam, ‘U F O’ sounds like an early experiment, the sort that would later be used by Can on ‘Aumgn’ or ‘Quantum Physics’. This drawn out ghostly excursion chills your very bones, shimmering into an aquatic finish worthy of Neu!
More of those lunar landscape ascetics are adhered to on the final epic track ‘Der LSD- Marsch’ – the glue is in the title – which begins with encroaching postured ambience and more swirling dripping futuristic apparatus sounds.
Trepte stumbles around, emerging from some eerie gloomy smog, where Genrich is building lightly touched textures of bow stroked indolent guitar.
Probing basslines now shift the tempo, as alarms go off and everything suddenly gets louder, turning into a Hawkwind like space-jam, recorded in a scout hut without an audience. Stirring feats of energetic drumming from Neumerier smash through the malaise, and both Genrich and Trepte bellow displays of head down zoned-out mischievous accompaniment.
The jazz free-form homework comes in handy, as they mash a darker Colusseum with The Fugs to create a psychotic maelstrom of serious prey stalking heavy rock.
Slowly our intrepid crew fall back down to the grey world below, bringing this majestic opiscule omnivorous composition to a grand finale, landing comfortably on some soft grass, man, fading out rather timidly. But fear not, our cosmic esteemed trio will be back once again for more ground cracking adventures.
A certain gesture of barefaced cheek is flashed in front of our eyes on Guru Guru’s follow up album to ‘U F O’.
Hinten, which roughly translates, as behind or in the back, has a suitably snapped shot of a bare hairy arse –shot by the African American photographer Harlan Feltus – repeated in quadruple fashion on the sleeve.
Upon this derrière is painted the bands name, with the back cover displaying a monochrome artful unabashed pair of buttocks covered in German scribbling.
To the point you might say, antagonistic maybe, even courting controversy perhaps, this rather unkempt bottom seems wholly apt as a reference to their state of mind.
Differing in some ways to Lennon and Yokos ‘Two Virgins’ laid bare statement, Mani Neumerier and company embark on a partial rude awakening that stirs up the faint heartened and sensitive souls, as well as rattling the status quo.
In one way it evokes the body painted art of the summer of love, a reactionary connection in no doubt to the failed ideals now left dead and languishing in the now corruptible era of Nixon, the failure to halt Vietnam and the continuing bloody battle between the authorities and groups such as Baader Meinhof.
Some commentators may suggest that this is nothing more then a one-fingered salute of defiance, prompting and re-enforcing the barrage of noise found inside the album cover itself.
In some ways ‘Hinten’ does almost slap the listener right around the chops, the four tracks of improvised heavy avant-garde rock certainly batter your eardrums relentlessly.
Carrying on from their efficacious unforgiving debut, this second dose of anarchic mayhem is equally as free roaming and experimental, yet sounds slightly more structured and planned. Dare I say, ‘Hinten’ progresses the sound even further.
It helps of course that German visionary genius Conny Plank took over the reigns, adding an overload of ever more inventive sound techniques to the rich melting pot of production.
Plank had served his apprentice as both a musician in his own rights and as a sound engineer during the 60’s – he was a soundman on film sets at one point, working most notably with Marlene Dietrich.
A shrewd and clever sod, he pioneered the use of multi-tracking, editing, mixing and reverb – years later everyone else cottoned on and re-appropriated his techniques, most famously Eno and Bowie ravaged the best of them for the Berlin period trio of LPs.
As technologically advanced and enthralled as he was, Plank always favoured a live feel for recording, setting the bands up to thrash out ideas.
Harsh sounds in particular were his forte, which came in handy with the noiseniks Guru Guru. At this time Plank was also a leading advocate of the production effects used in both reggae and dub, with a special interest in the work of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.
Guru Guru may not initially sound anyway remotely in tune with these influences, but they are there.
Plank had famously produced the first Ash Ra Tempel album, along with the early Kraftwerk and Cluster LP’s, cementing a reputation as a seer of the future, radically placing him at the forefront of electronic music.
The relationship with our trio would last for a further three albums.
Recording switched from the Ohr labels studios in Berlin to the Star Production facilities in Hamburg, a change of scenery that seemed to suit the band well.
The sessions took place during the month of July in 1971, ready for a release in the autumn of that same year. More exotic instruments and bewildering effects were added to the production including the musingly named zonk machine – a British manufactured fuzz effects pedal of tremendous power and excruciating siren piercing loudness.
Neumerier now took on the mantle of front man, mumbling, singing, pontificate and wax lyrical prose over the extended compositions, either through a contact mic or through some heavy drenched effects.
Each track works and re-works a continuing riff or melody, de-constructing then reappraising, sometimes the main motif.
At other times they hover over the precipice, edging towards a complete breakdown and nearly pushing the limits to the point of collapse.
‘Electric Junk’ the opening opus, declares the trios intentions early on, bombarding the listener with a cannonade of bustling drums, Hendrix style deranged guitar and twisted jazz style bass scales.
A wry tribute, tongue-firmly-in-arse-cheek moment, and homage to Bo Diddly throws up a bemusing psychotic version of rock’n’roll, one that is either meant as a gesture of protest at the regurgitating of the past or as a sweeping away of whatever came before.
But it’s the final cataclysmic ‘Space Ship’ that most listeners will remember. A close cousin to ‘U F O’, it reinstates the bands interplanetary gazing credentials again. This forbidden planet visage soundsacpe and musical journey suitably re-enacts the E.T welcoming committees’ choral surrealism and chaotic inter-dimensional aspiring tones that Guru Guru envisioned would prepare us earthlings for the imminent arrival of aliens.
Just to let you know, they never actually did turn-up.
Curiously in brackets on the actual record label, there is an acknowledgement to Amon Düül, I’ve asked Mani Neumerier why this is on there and he has replied in a rather straight to the point Germanic way “It has nothing to do with amon d.”.
A mystery then why their name appears, maybe one of you good folk could enlighten me, I mean its been mentioned that both bands knew each other and even jammed together, but Neumerier seems surprised too at this acknowledgement.
If you thought the playing was extraordinary on their last LP, then boy you’re in for a surprise. On ‘Hinten’ they power through the full gambit of avant-garde radical dynamics, tossing genres aside willy-nilly and performing breath-taking feats of unadulterated showing off.
Trepte bamboozles and anchors he whole thing, whereas Genrich states his case for rock guitar worship, which runs riot on this album.
Neumerier pulls out a different drum roll at the end of every bar, constantly in perpetual motion as if he’s winding up the days supply of electric for a whole town.
This heavy space-rock outing almost consigns ‘U F O’ to the bin, as it tramps all over their previous outing with authority and ever more gestures of ridiculous improvised playing.
Guru Guru cements their reputation as among the most hardcore of hardcore bands of the Krautrock era.
Ohr Label 1971, recorded in July 1971 at Star Production studios Hamburg.
Track List –
1. Electric Junk (10:58)
2. The Meaning Of Meaning (12:09)
1. Bo Diddly (9:56)
2. Space Ship (11:05)
Ax Genrich – Guitar.
Mani Neumeier – Contact mic, cymbals, drums, gong, kalimba, vocals, zonk machine.
Uli Trepte – Bass and radio.
Conny Plank – Production (with Guru Guru).
Photography – Harlan Feltus.
A vehement cannonade of drums barge their way through, as Mani Neumerier announces the deranged acid freak-out that is ‘Electric Junk’.
Ax Genrich carries on from where he left-off on ‘U F O’ and runs a squawking charged plectrum up and down his much put-upon guitar strings, which beg in ferocious bouts of sharp nails on a blackboard like scrapping.
Our high-spirited astral sonic thugs embark on an 11-minute rock escapist jam, full of baroque classical melody and bounce, like a correction-centre musical workshop led by Focus.
Uli Trepte eases into this disturbed outpouring of LSD tinged malady gone rotten grand opus, bumbling along on smooth jazz rhythms, sporadically pliable, he changes direction at will.
A massive uncompromising barrage of doubled-up bass drum and cataclysmic cymbal shakes extrude our trio towards an outburst of chaos, Neumerier throwing in a series of inaudible gibberish prose’s, that could be as banal as reading out a shopping list or as profound as calling his comrades to scale the breaches.
Bird screeching sustain reaches out from the middle of this diatribe, as Genrich lets the ghost of Hendrix, strung out in the seedier bars of Hamburg, run through his veins and steer this free-wheeling beast into a sea of crashing clashing percussion.
Everything fades to give us some kind of break in transmissions, with subtle attempted calls of nature and harrowing pick-up tinkering.
More silliness is to come in the form of low-emitting vocals via a contact mic and plenty of muffling reverb, Neumerier waffling some incantation or offering his voice as an additional mumbling instrument.
Soon our ambience, of sorts, is pushed out of the way as a monstrous cyclonic drum roll shakes us back into the burning improvised fires of doom.
Whammy bar theatrics and sonic walls of fuzz come unannounced from the dreamy mire, Genrich re-appropriating ‘All Along The Watchtower’, casting it adrift in the midst of a riotous inexorable prophesised rumble.
False stop/starts begin a long final outro, as the band reaches multiple crescendo endings, until deciding that one particular last hurrah would do the trick. In an exhaustible elevin-minute, we’ve already been battered and bruised, dragged from pillar to post in an unforgiving fashion, quick get me some Night Nurse….. hell not just a sip, give me the whole bottle, Lester Bangs style.
Side one’s only other tracks, ‘The Meaning Of Meaning’, sounds already like some enigma or philosophical conceptual statement up for debate. What it actually boils down to is a part atmospheric bewildering soundpiece, part marauding improvised bash, that neither answers any questions of universal significance or poses any theories, in fact it sticks up a menacing two fingers to the audience, bombarding them instead with more sonic escapism.
Starting off all cryptic, before indolently building up, our profoundly titled jamboree lays on thick the emotive stirrings. Neumerier again announces the song title, in barely whispered creeping tones, emerging from some oozing misty waters.
He goes on to enact a kind of spoken word monologue, sounding not too dissimilar to a heavily sedated Arthur Brown.
Major elbow work toms play out a tribal beat, whilst Trepte unleashes some omnipresent bass riffs, working towards a rhythmic chant.
More theatrics abound as Genrich ascends from the primordial soup pushing his foot through a jumble of effects, lumbering over some Deep Purple-esque mogadon induced metal in ridicule.
A cyclone of rolling drums threaten to engulf the whole group, but salvation arrives with Trepte calming down the momentum, allowing Genrich some space to create a series of wah-wah wrestling.
Conny Plank issues the band with all-you-can-eat-fuzz and reverb buffet coupons, encouraging daring feats of ridiculous effects driven carnage.
The lead guitar now sounds like a plague of locusts ravaging Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s rhubarb patch of echo, whilst those drums resonate and pound the earth like Teutonic plates.
Soon the fever returns, as the pace quickens into a cosmic road trip, led entirely by Genrich’s titanic battling solo lead and sly picking riffs.
Plank slowly phases out proceedings, though that far from retiring guitar cuts right through the mix until the very last second. – a epic struggle of intent.
Side two opens with the disturbing homage, turned sour, ‘Bo Diddly’, an electric-kool-aid thrashing out of r’n’b and good old rock’n’roll.
Neumerier neurotically repeats the icons name over a constantly revved-up backbeat that bastardises John Entwhistles ‘Boris The Spider’, as though in mocking triumphant cry he leans over the mic in a glaring sneering pose.
The ceremonial stomp marches on, trampling over the past in an act of indifference.
Arch biting guitar riffs loom large over Trepte’s steady bass, alls fine in the world on his watch – well in the inter-dimensional worlds that Guru Guru inhabits.
Scary vibes spoil the rocking shindig momentarily, with the rhythm section facing off against their guitarist bird-of-prey metamorphosed visionary screams, screams so terrible they tear up the landscape.
Bo Diddly is finally accorded an arcane last rites, the tempo taking a leap of faith and leaping into the great unknown, snaking towards a calmed intricate brief breakdown.
The Mothers of Invention are pushed too far, perfectly summarises this next section, or even better, it sounds like a west coast avant-garde group journeying towards illusions of grandeur, or even better Ten Years After as conducted by Miles Davies.
A nigh on perfect blueprint for radically re-worked rock, because understand this… Guru Guru follows the linage well, even if they seek to dump a large psychotic turd all over it.
The last track on ‘Hinten’ is ‘Space Ship’, a reinstatement of the trios extraterrestrial interests, like Hawkwind’s ‘Space Is Deep’, they embark on an epic acid-rock narrative set to the nebula crossing evocative escapism of free-form music.
Firstly they build up a concomitant swirling ambience, with unidentifiable machine sounds, low un-nerving drones and a load of Morse code signalling – imagine the Dune soundtrack as envisaged by Earth.
Genrich comes crashing in, leading a Flash Gordon pomp march and strut into the main motif themed backing heavy metal beats.
Vocals are whispered, floating around in the swirl of solar winds, neither appropriate nor reverential, yet integral to the free-flowing cause.
This is where Acid Mother Temple picked up the baton, but where Yes dared not tread.
Settling down, we reach some sort of breathing space, a segue way of a kind, disturbing quaking cascades and Trepte’s bendy slides drop us in the opaque discordant swamp.
A reverb-tastic soundscape arises from the sound desk of Plank, the theme tune for some east European avant-garde planetary seeking animation, penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Burbles and bumbles emanate forthwith, waiting for Mani and his flare signal to be set-off for the charge.
Trepte responds with beams of meaty bass runs, thick enough to chew on, as backward tape loops and a chorus of lunatic acid noises threaten to engulf the track. Plank opens the floodgates to all kinds of resonating and oscillating effects that run rampart like escaped rabid animals.
The final anarchic twiddle of the settings turn all the unabashed extravagance of sounds inside and outside themselves, before the abrupt ending sequence suddenly sucks the band into a vacuum, as though they’d suddenly been swallowed up, the music cutting dead.