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Only of marginal interest. The original band, who were inspired by Pentangle their quote, not ours and European folk musics, played a mixture of all sorts of cultures. They wrapped vibrant songs in a hybrid of folk, Indian music, psychedelic rock and cosmic musics, all fused together to form a delicate spacious folk-fusion of great beauty. The later incarnation made a different type of music, and was less of a proper band and more a vehicle for Bursch's own ego, though Willi Kismer from the original band also carried on through.
Peter Bursch had become celebrated, with books published on his guitar techniques and was eager to show the world, though really neither of these later albums amounted to much. A really eccentric and bizarre political theatre troupe from we presume Hamburg. Bullfrog were a rather heavy-handed hard-rock and melodic progressive from the mid's, notable for their unusual Rod Stewart like gravel-voiced vocalist Gerd Hoch, but with little in the way of a distinctive style or originality.
Really, they sounded British, not at all Krautrock, and only really of interest to hard-rock fans and Sky Records collectors! There was another band could Bullfrog who should not be confused with these. Originally, as a bass guitarist, Michael Bundt started his career as the leader of the band Medusa, an obscure early's progressive who by a strange chain of events transmuted into the second incarnation of Nine Days Wonder.
After leaving Nine Days Wonder, Michael tried on various occasions to get a new band together. One of these was Nerve, but without any success Nerve soon disbanded, and then Michael made a surprising career change into synth music, teaming up with ex-Tritonus keyboardist Peter K.
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Seiler as the duo Sirius. Not content to stay still, his next album NEON was a dodgy diversion into electro-pop, no doubt inspired by the success of Kraftwerk. One of the most celebrated and influential of all Krautrock bands, Can dared to bring the avant-garde to the masses and succeeded. Can certainly had the credentials to do so too, with backgrounds in serious avant-garde studying with Stockhausen and in jazz.
Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt had known each other from their contemporary studies, though it was Holger meeting multi-instrumental talent Michael Karoli that set the formation of the band in motion. Being connected with the arts certainly had its advantages. A matter of days after getting a band together, then named "The Inner Space", they played their first concert at the Schloss Norvenich, near Cologne in June David Johnson an American jazz winds player who had also worked with Stockhausen was a member of the band at this time, and featured on some of the early Can sessions, he also acted as their engineer for a while.
After the addition of black American singer Malcolm Mooney came Can proper, moving to a more straight ahead rock, that many compare to the Velvet Underground. Due to his fascination with electronics as further evidenced on the Technical Space Composers Crew album and his ability to handle the recording equipment, Holger Czukay also became the bands recording engineer.
But, this phase of Can was short-lived, as Malcolm Mooney was forced to leave the band due to ill health. The next lead vocalist to front Can was an unlikely choice, a Japanese busker, one Kenji "Damo" Suzuki. His penchant for vocal experimentation led Can in a very different direction. Next was the greatest of Can albums, the monumental double album TAGO MAGO, which, although starting on safe ground, draws the listener in with a succession of even greater weirdness and invention, not least "Aumgn" with Jaki's manic drums and "Peking O.
Weird and radical innovation, that still sounds bizarre twenty odd years on! In contrast in fact in contrast with each other the other two albums to feature Damo were, on the whole, less extreme: EGE BAMYASI with a collection of mostly shorter accessible songs, though still odd and uniquely Can, unexpectedly breaking-out with the wild avant-garde 10 minute "Soup" on the second side, and FUTURE DAYS which is often quoted as Can's most well-balanced and successful album, with its dreamy cosmic otherworldly atmosphere, understated songs and strong melodic content.
This is the era that brought Can international success, with many tours in Britain and the continent. Here we can hear songs that hint at Holger Czukay's solo project MOVIES, one of Can's most dazzling rock extravaganza's in "Vernal Equinox", and lastly their most esoteric and brooding opus, the aptly entitled free-form avant-garde "Unfinished". However, by the time of their eponymous 70's finale they'd created a formula that worked, all be it safe and easy going compared to the Can of yore.
It's a shame that more of this excellent music isn't officially documented. After this, Can were put on ice for an unspecified period. But, not content to lay the ghost to rest however, a Can reunion was organised in with Malcolm Mooney. In it gained release as RITE TIME, a stylish yet emotionless throwback to the early Can era, understandably it was really "the wrong time" and it made little impact.
Meanwhile the various Can members are still active on the scene, check elsewhere in this book! On the basis of their ROCK OFFERS contribution the only recording that we've heard , these were a typically Teutonic lightweight but majestic progressive, akin to Rousseau or Jane at their softest, a little Pink Floyd-like, with much use of keyboards to flesh-out the sound.
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An obscure heavy Swiss progressive blending British 60's styles with the typically Teutonic 70's hard-rock sound, notably inspired by Deep Purple, along with some more progressive touches. Amateurishly produced, and with little in the way of originality, Cardeilhac are good, but really only of minor interest.
A very English sounding folk-rock band, and largely acoustic, fronted by a talented female vocalist. They had little individual style of their own, recalling the likes of Pentangle or Mellow Candle, with a nice dreamy trippy feel. Often akin to later Release Music Orchestra, and with some notable Return To Forever type stylisms, Chameleon chose an apt name considering the wide range of influences and moods their sole album contained.
Note that the Berlin Chameleon are a different band entirely. Checkpoint Charlie named after the notorious checkpoint in the Berlin Wall have often been acclaimed as the first truly German rock band.
They originated from Karlsruhe, and, as early as , they were performing their own uniquely groundbreaking "Terror Rock" music in German! An extremely radical political rock band, especially so in their early days, Checkpoint Charlie were also innovators along with Floh De Cologne and Ton Steine Scherben of a unique German form of rock, blending all sorts of music into a complex and often aggressive rock music.
Their debut was very extreme, and very difficult to come to grips with, yet later albums saw more refinement instrumentally, with complex progressive rock styles akin to Oktober, Lokomotive Kreuzberg, et al. Throughout, even into the 80's, Checkpoint Charlie have proven to be amongst the most uncompromising of Krautrock bands. These were amongst the most dismissably mainstream of "progressive" rock bands from Munich, typical of the mid's I suppose, with a light progressive edge, in the Audience cum Wishbone Ash type of vein.
Andy Marx was previously with the similar but more folky styled Tanned Leather. Their debut is only of marginal interest, having some enjoyable moments.
We haven't heard the second! Take note of the interesting cast of guests on both of these. These were an obscure heavy progressive, who almost certainly had their roots in the late's, and were definitely inspired by Jimi Hendrix and early British bands, like Back Sabbath, Tractor, et al. Despite the title of their album, Chicken Bones were not at all mundane hard rock, but were highly creative and often moved very close to May Blitz, early UFO or Cargo, but with lots of nice moves and flowery guitar work-outs.
Basic, and gutsy admittedly, Chicken Bones were a lot better than the reputation that preceded them, and their album became quite a sought after obscurity. Chicken Bones existed in various forms for around a decade, afterwards ending up as the vastly inferior more metal oriented Revanche, then eventually disbanding in the 80's. Choice are ex-Epidaurus, in fact they were virtually the same band, though Choice played a much straighter type of rock music, starting progressive akin to Eloy and Epitaph, but becoming rather bland as the album progresses.
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Of very little interest really. More recently they reformed and just to confuse things again as Epidaurus, but this time round with an even blander offering! From Basle, Switzerland, Circus had much success in Europe, with three studio albums and a document of them in concert which we presume to be a bootleg.
Formed in , Circus took time to refine and hone their style, a complex rock with jazz and classical angles, and a rather unique instrumentation. Yes, remarkably, Circus played rock music without any electric guitars or keyboards, instead they used processed bass guitar and wind instruments.
Their debut was a promising first step, though it didn't quite reveal their potential, being a mite too lyrical. MOVIN' ON however, has become regarded as their classic, featuring lengthy tracks, with complex arrangements, dynamics, superb instrumentals and unusually crafted songs. Circus, later transmuted into Blue Motion. Marco Cerletti now makes jazz and ethnic fusion, playing the Chapman Stick.
Fritz Hauser drums, vibes, percussion , Marco Cerletti bass, pedals, string guitar, vocals , Andreas Grieder flutes, tambourine, alto sax, vocals , Roland Frei lead vocals, acoustic guitar, tenor sax. In their early days these were a very inventive and unique band. Refining their sound for some five years, it took until to be able to release anything. Their debut originally untitled was an interesting blend of hard-rock and folky sounds, notable for the esoteric violin fronted side-long suite "Am Fenster", of which an edited single version became a surprise hit in both East and West Germany!
Avoiding the temptation to be controlled by the state or sell-out, the next album contained even more diverse elements, particularly notable is the lengthy "Bulgarian-Rock" which strangely recalls Guru Guru with its complex guitars and unusual rhythmic structures.
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Later, Georgi left the ranks when the rest of the band wanted to follow a more commercial style, and thus the many subsequent albums not listed here lost the originality of his unique compositional style. In essence the later City without Georgi were a different band. Formerly as the trio Kluster see entry elsewhere , after the departure of Conrad Schnitzler, the duo of Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius carried on as Cluster.
Actually, much touted as pioneers, Cluster are often quoted as innovators in ambient music, but in reality they were far more wide ranging, and have been important in the shaping all sorts of modern electronic music genres. As the story goes, only armed with an organ, guitar and some electronic gadgets, Cluster approached Conny Plank with the idea to try and do something different.
Both their debut and second albums are remarkable feats for featuring such basic instrumentation, and the results are as much down to the technical wizardry of Conny as Moebius and Roedelius' instrumental talents.