Embryo – “No Place To Go” (1973)

Band : Embryo (Musical collective from Munich, Germany, founded in 1969 by Christian Burchard and Edgar Hofmann)

Country Of Origin : Germany

Members :

Christian Burchard (vibraphone, hammer dulcimer, percussion, vocals, marimba, drums, 1969-2018), Edgar Hofmann (saxophone, flute, violin, 1969-79, 1985-89), Lothar Meid (bass, 1971), Jimmy Jackson(organ, 1971), Ralph Fischer (bass, 1969-73), Dieter Miekautsch (piano, clavinet, 1972-75), Dieter Serfas (drums, percussion, 1986-present), Wolfgang Paap (drums, 1971), Ingo Schmidt (saxophone, 1971), John Kelly (guitar, 1969-72), Charlie Mariano (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, flute, bamboo flute, nagasuram, 1972-77), Roman Bunka (guitar, saz, vocals, percussion, bass, oud, 1972-80, 1988-96), Hans Fischer (flute, percussion, vocals, 1971), Jörg Evers (bass, 1971-72), Dave King (bass, 1972-73), Uwe Müllrich (bass, 1974-80), Maria Archer (vocals, percussion, 1975), Michael Wehmeyer(percussion, vocals, keyboards, 1983-84, 2002-present), Butze Fischer (drums, percussion, 1977-?), Friedemann Josch (flute, 1983-84), Julius Golombeck (guitar, percussion, oud, vocals, 1985-96), Gerald Luciano (bass, 1985), Lamidi Ayankunle (drums, vocals, 1986-?), Rabiu Ayandokun (drums, 1986-?), Marque Lowenthal (piano, 1988), Paolo Cardoso (bass, 1988), Paramashivam Pilai (vocals, tavil, 1988-?), Nie Xizhi (erhu, muyü, sheng, gaohu, 1995-present), Chris Karrer (oud, 1995-present), Lothar Stahl (drums, marimba), Jens Pollheide, Mik Quantius

Related Artists :

Amon Düül II, Checkpoint Charlie, Dissidenten, Mikrokosmos, Missus Beastly, Moira, Sadja

Track : “No Place To Go” (A1, written by Charlie Mariano, Christian Burchard, Dieter Miekautsch, Roman Bunka)

Album : “We Keep On” (Band’s sixth studio album)

Label : BASF (20 21865-1)

Date/Year Of Release : 1973

Category/Music Genres : Jazz Rock, Krautrock, Progressive Rock, Germany, 1970s (Tracks)

Embryo – “No Place To Go”

Video on YouTube

The track is included on the album “We Keep On”, 1973 (A1, opening track)

“We Keep On” album (LP BASF Systems BC 21865 / CD Disconforme Records 1936 (1999) includes two lengthy bonus tracks “Ticket to India” and “Flute, Saz and Marimba” with different order of the tracks).

Embryo – “We Keep On” Full Album Video on YouTube 

Embryo – “We Keep On” Full Album Audio Playlist on Spotify

Album cover photo (front)

Album photo (A’ Side)

Image result for embryo we keep on basf

Track-list

01. Abdul Malek (Roman Bunka, Christian Burchard) – 3:15
02. Don’t Come Tomorrow (Christian Burchard) – 3:48
03. Ehna, Ehna, Abu Lele (Roman Bunka, Christian Burchard) – 8:43
04. Hackbrett-Dance (Charlie Mariano, Christian Burchard) – 3:54
05. No Place To Go (Christian Burchard) – 12:27
06. Flute And Saz (Roman Bunka, Charlie Mariano, Christian Burchard) – 5:57
Total Time: 38:09
Bonuses:
07. Ticket To India (Christian Burchard) – 15:49
08. Flute, Saz And Marimba (Christian Burchard) – 8:35

Line-up 

– Roman Bunka / guitar, saxophone, vocals, percussion, bass (6)
– Christian Burchard / drums, vocals, percussion, marimba, vibes, hackbrett, Mellotron
– Charlie Mariano / alto & soprano saxes, flute, nagasuram, bamboo flute
– Dieter Miekautsch / acoustic & electric pianos, bass piano on the clavinet

Credits

Design – Holger Matthies

Lacquer Cut By – PF

Liner Notes – Rainer Blome

Liner Notes [Translation] – Mary McGlory

Producer – Embryo (3)

Producer, Photography By [Portraits] – Othmar Schreckeneder

Written-By – Mariano (tracks: A1 to B2, B4), Burchard, Miekautsch (tracks: A1, B1, B4), Bunka (tracks: A1 to B1, B3, B4)

Information about the band

Musical collective from Munich (Germany), founded in 1969 by Christian Burchard and Edgar Hofmann. Considered as one of the most important German jazz-rock bands during the 1970s.
In 1981, Uve Müllrich and Michael Wehmeyer left Embryo to form “Embryo’s Dissidenten” who soon became Dissidenten.
Embryo have continued for over 40 years with Christian Burchard always in charge and an ever changing international cast of musicians including talents from North Africa, India, China, etc., as well as occasionally featuring top jazz names like Mal Waldron and Charlie Mariano and luminaries of the Krautrock scene (source : “Discogs”).

EMBRYO (not to be confused with Italian and Swedish death metal bands of the same name) are a musical collective from Munich who, lead by former R&B and jazz organist Christian Burchard, boast the participation of some 400+ musicians since their beginnings in 1970. Over the years, the band went from classic space rock to jazz fusion, then Burchard soon started travelling the world and recording LPs with African bands and Middle Eastern musicians. They are still going strong and their 30 or so albums cover a wide spectrum of styles, but the constant remains a blend of Krautrock, fusion and ethnic music.

Of particular interest to progsters are four of their earlier albums: “Rache” (heavy, JETHRO TULL inspired), “Steig Aus” (for some warmer, jazzy prog), “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” (lots of ethnic influences) and “We Keep On” (a convincing blend of rock, ethnic and jazz). For fans who have already acquired the taste, “Zack Glück” (’80) is pleasantly quirky and more focussed than the rest of their repertoire; “Reise” (’79) is noteworthy for some interesting Indian fusion tracks; and “Opal” (’70), their very first, is considered their psychedelic masterpiece. For some samplers of more recent material, the album “Ni Hau” (’96), featuring music from China and Mongolia, and the double live cd “Istanboul-Casablanca – Tour 98” are particularly recommended.

If you’re into Krautrock and are a wee bit curious to see what a jazzy FAUST, AMON DÜÜL II or GURU GURU sounds like, you could start with any of the first four albums mentioned above (source : “Progarchives”).

One of the most original and innovative Krautrock bands, Embryo fused traditional ethnic music with their own jazzy space rock style. Over an existence spanning decades, during which Christian Burchard became the only consistent member, the group traveled the world, playing with hundreds of different musicians and releasing over 20 records.

Originally a jazzy space rock band, Embryo were formed in 1969 in Munich, Germany, by former R&B and jazz organist Christian Burchard (vibraphone, hammer dulcimer, percussion, marimba), Edgar Hofmann (saxophone), Lothar Meid (bass), Jimmy Jackson (organ), Dieter Serfas (drums, percussion), Wolfgang Paap (drums), Ingo Schmidt(saxophone), and John Kelly (guitar). However, the lineup was already different by the time sessions for their debut album began. The resulting record, Opal (1970), is considered Embryo’s masterpiece of their early, more psychedelic sound. By the time of Embryo’s Rache (1971), the group was already adding ethnic touches to its music.

In 1972, the same year they played at the Olympic Games in Munich, Embryo were invited by the Goethe Institute to tour Northern Africa and Portugal. In Morocco, the band was fascinated by the different tonal scales used by Moroccan musicians, profoundly shaping the group’s music to come. In 1973, the band was joined by saxophonist Charlie Mariano and guitarist Roman Bunka, who were both influential in moving Embryo toward their genre-blending mixture of space rock and ethnic sounds. We Keep On, released in 1973, was the most successful album in the group’s career.

However, after Surfin’ (1974) and Bad Heads & Bad Cats (1975), Burchard decided Embryo were moving in too commercial a direction and led them on an eight-month excursion to India, where they met local musicians. Shobha Gurtu, an Indian singer the bandmembers met during their travels, would later record an album with them, 1979’s Apo Calypso. Embryo also set up their own record label, Schneeball, with the rock band Checkpoint Charlie during this time, releasing such albums as 1979’s Embryo’s Reise and 1982’s La Blama Sparozzi – Zwischenzonen on the imprint. Embryo also took off on a two-year journey through the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, during which the band’s bus broke down in Tehran near the end of the Iranian Revolution in 1981; this musical expedition was captured by the documentary film Vagabunden-Karawane. After touring Asia, the Middle East, and Egypt during the early ’80s, Embryo released their first studio album in seven years, Zack Gluck, in 1984. The band then toured Africa and became involved with Nigeria’s Yoruba Dun Dun Ensemble.

However, after internal conflicts, Embryo split up. Burchard continued under the Embryo name with new musicians while a new group, Embryo’s Dissidenten, was formed. Embryo continued to release both new and archival recordings into the 21st century, including 2006’s Embryonnck, a collaboration with the No-Neck Blues Band. However, Burchard suffered a stroke in 2016, which effectively ended his career as a musician, and his daughter Marja took over leadership of the group. Christian Burcharddied in January 2018 at the age of 71 (source : “All Music”).

Embryo is a musical collective from Munich which has been active since 1969, although its story started in the mid-1950s in Hof where Christian Burchard and Dieter Serfas met for the first time at the age of 10. It was one of the most important German jazz-rock bands during the 1970s and has also been described as “the most eclectic of the Krautrock bands.”

History

In 1969 the band was founded by multi instrumentalist Christian Burchard (drums, vibraphone, santur, keyboard) and Edgar Hofmann (saxophone, flutes). To date more than 400 musicians have played with the collective, some, such as Charlie Mariano, Trilok Gurtu, Ramesh Shotham, Marty Cook, Yuri Parfenov, Allan Praskin, X.Nie, Nick McCarthy, Monty Waters and Mal Waldron, have played on multiple occasions. Longtime members are Edgar Hofmann (sax, violin), Dieter Serfas (drums), Roman Bunka (guitar, oud), Uve Müllrich (bass), Michael Wehmeyer (keyboard), Chris Karrer (guitar, oud, violin, sax), Lothar Stahl (marimba, drums), and Jens Polheide (bass, flute).

With Ton Steine Scherben, they were founders of the first German independent label Schneeball in 1976.

In 1979 the band started a nine-month tour to India by bus which is documented in the movie “Vagabunden Karawane”. Embryo developed from jazzy Krautrock to a world music band which is able to merge different styles and trends. Many of their albums originated during collective journeys on 4 continents. The band played many festivals around the globe: in India (Mumbai Jazz 1979), England (Reading 1973), Nigeria (Port Harcourt Jazz 1987), Japan (Wakayama 1991) to name a few. In July 2008, Embryo was awarded the German World Music Award RUTH 2008 at the TFF Rudolstadt Festival.

In 1981, Müllrich and Wehmeyer left Embryo to form “Embryo’s Dissidenten” who soon became Dissidenten.

On the road to Marokko in March 2016 Christian Burchard had a stroke. Since then Marja Burchard (drums, vibraphone, vocals, trombone, keyboard), daughter of Christian Burchard, who grew up with the band, is leading Embryo.

On January 17, 2018 Christian Burchard passed away in Munich. He was 71 years old (source : “Revolvy”/”Wikipedia”).

Discography 

Discography

1970: Opal (Ohr)

1971: Embryo’s Rache (United Artists)

1972: Father Son and Holy Ghosts (United Artists)

1972: Steig aus (Brain, a.k.a. This Is Embryo), featuring Mal Waldron

1973: Rocksession (Brain), featuring Mal Waldron

1973: We Keep On (BASF), featuring Charlie Mariano

1975: Surfin (Buk), featuring Charlie Mariano

1976: Bad Heads and Bad Cats (April), featuring Charlie Mariano

1977: Live (April), featuring Charlie Mariano

1977: Apo Calypso (April), featuring Trilok Gurtu and Shobha Gurtu on one track

1979: Embryo’s Reise (Schneeball/Indigo)

1980: Embryo / Karnataka College of Percussion / Charlie Mariano – Life (Schneeball)

1980: Anthology (Materiali Sonori, compilation reissued on CD as Every Day Is Okay in1992)

1982: La blama sparozzi / Zwischenzonen (Schneeball)

1984: Zack Glück (Materiali Sonori)

1985: Embryo & Yoruba Dun Dun Orchestra Feat. Muraina Oyelami (Schneeball)

1985: Africa (Materiali Sonori)

1989: Turn Peace (Schneeball), featuring Mal Waldron

1994: Ibn Battuta (Schneeball/Indigo), featuring Marty Cook on one track

1996: Ni Hau (Schneeball/Indigo), featuring Xizhi Nie

1998: Live in Berlin (Schneeball)

1999: Istanbul–Casablanca Tour 1998 (Schneeball/Indigo), featuring Alan Praskin

1999: Invisible Documents (Disconforme)

2000: One Night in Barcelona (Recorded at the Joan Miró Foundation) (Disconforme),featuring Yuri Parfenov

2001: Live 2000, Vol. 1 (Schneeball)

2001: Live 2001, Vol. 2 (Schneeball)

2003: Bremen 1971 (Garden of Delights)

2003: Hallo Mik (Schneeball/Indigo, live recordings)

2006: Embryonnck with the No-Neck Blues Band(Schneeball/Staubgold/Sound@One)

2006: News (Ultimate)

2007: Live im Wendland (Schneeball), anti-nuclear solidarity concert 2005 in Gorleben

2007: For Eva , 1967 recording featuring Mal Waldron

2008: Freedom in Music , featuring X. Nie

2008: Live at Burg Herzberg Festival 2007 (Trip in Time)

2008: Wiesbaden 1972 (Garden of Delights)

2010: Embryo 40 (Trikont/Indigo, compilation)

2011: Memory Lane, Vols. 1-3 (Download only), featuring Mal Waldron

2016: It Do (Trikont/Indigo, compilation)

External links 

Embryo Band’s Homepage

Embryo Band’s Page on Facebook

Embryo Band’s Page on Spotify

Embryo Band’s Page on Last Fm

Charlie Mariano Tribute Page

Embryo Album Reviews on Gnosis2000.Net

Embryo Band’s Documentary on IMDb

Embryo – “We Keep On” Full Album Download Link on Rock & Roll Archives

Embryo – “We Keep On” Full Album Download Link on 7Digital

Embryo – “We Keep On” Full Album on Google Play

Embryo – “We Keep On” Full Albun on Apple Music

 

 

 

Ambient, Electronic, Fusion, Jazz Rock, Krautrock, Minimal, New Age, World Music, Multinational, 1970s (Tracks) Between – “Samum”

Between – “Samum” Video on YouTube

Category/Music Genres :

Ambient/Electronic/Fusion/Jazz Rock/Krautrock/Minimal/New Age/World Music Multinational 1970s (Tracks) 

Band :

Between (Multinational, Argentina, Germany, U.S.A.) based in München, Bayern, Germany

Also known as :

Between the Chairs, Gruppe Between

Track :

“Samum” (written by Roberto Détrée, Peter Michael Hamer) B3 track (closing track) included on the album “And The Waters Opened” 

Album :

“And The Waters Opened”  released on Vertigo Records ( 6360 612) in 1973

Image result for between and the waters opened

Between – “And The Waters Opened”  Full Album Audio Playlist on Spotify

Between – “And The Waters Opened”  Full Album Video on YouTube

Line-up/Credits :

Roberto Détrée / guitar, cello, harp
Peter Michael Hamel / keyboards, vocals
Robert Eliscu / oboe, oboe d’Amore
Cottrell Black / percussion

With:
Duru Omson / bamboo flute, percussion & voice (1,5,6)
Walter Bachauer (“Fabian Arkas”) / electronics (3)

Cover [Cover Design] – Guntram Holdgrün

Producer, Engineer – Ulrich Kraus

Track-List :

1. And The Waters Opened (10:51)
2. Uroboros (5:33)
3. Syn (5:52)
4. Devotion (3:43)
5. Happy Stage (11:14)
6. Samum (5:36)

Total Time: 42:49

Bonus tracks on 2006 remaster:
1. Journey To The Ixtland (4:30)

8. Kalenda Maya (3:01)
9. Former Times (2:20)

Tracks 1, 8 & 9 are previously unreleased bonus tracks, recorded April 4 1976
Eine Produktion des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Information about the album/band/track :

Founded in Munich, Germany in 1970 (as Between The Chairs) – Ceased activity around 1980

Peter Michael Hamel founded Between, an international band specialised in improvisational / « ethnic » rock music. The name Between comes from the fact that Hamel’s music is originaly “in-between”, always making a combination between “popular music” and “serious music”. The classical musician Robert Eliscu (born American), responsible of oboe parts in POPOL VUH can be considered as the major member of the musical tribe next to Peter Michael Hamel. With a small community of six members, BETWEEN recorded its first album “Einstieg” in 1971. It directly announces the musical orientation to come, timeless ethnic rock compositions, mixing together several acoustic instruments (bongo, flute.) to folk and jazz. “And the waters openened” recorded in 1973 carries on improvisations and acoustic exploration, played in a rather “spacey” rock atmosphere, sometimes closed to krautrock, weird flavour. “Dharana” (1974) is seen as a classic album and marks a new step in the launch of “world” music. It contains long epic, acoustic pieces with a few minimalist, oriental accents. “Hesse Between Music” (1975) is a concept album, always improvised, featuring Indian scales and recitation. During and after BETWEEN’s career, the front man Peter Michael Hamel has developed the possibilities of spiritual effects of music on mind thanks to a great variety of solo albums in search of East meets West.

Between was named Between because the music they made was sitting between the chairs back then and was reaching far beyond genre borders or the traditional segregation of E- and U-Musik (E for “ernst” / serious, U für “unterhaltende” / entertaining). This difference may be still alive in some highbrow dinosaur’s brain and was (sometimes still is) made to separate the so called popular (i.e. proletarian) from the bourgeois culture. Alas, today’s situation is more comfortable (and difficult to a certain extend). But, this is a review for a record not a sociology seminar talking Bourdieu’s “Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste” or something like that. (But, well, while I’m at it: go read it, it’s worth it!)

So, Between was Peter Michael Hamel’s brainchild who is a German composer and music theorist (whose records are all great!). Born out of friendship with a few international friends who had a background either in classical or pop music (to stress that distinction again). “And The Waters Opened” was their second record, released in 1973 and it’s heavily influenced by the music of Carl Orff. (Listen to Robert Eliscu’s oboe – which can also be heard on a lot of Popol Vuh records –and if you’re familiar with some of Orff’s music you’ll be reminded instantly). Another reference to how Between sounds may be found in Bobby Beausoleil’s Orkustra which also can be seen as sort of a synthesis between a symphonic orchestra and a psychedelic band.

But even though Between is about overcoming musical (and also social borders) the music is far from freak-out jams. Between is not about provoking utter chaos – Between is about reaching out for a universal harmony in the act of making music. It is – to a certain extend – a sonic utopia.

There are parts of the music that are improvised but most of it was written down before and is executed with modest but nonetheless masterful musicianship. The compositions take cues from the aforementioned Carl Orff, but also from Indian Classical Music, from the Spiritual Jazz and some of the Minimal Music that was around at that time and of course there’s a good portion of Psychedelia thrown in. Every second recorded sounds organic and you can bet that a lot of thought was put into it. And it is in fact a certain compositional rigour that prevents the music from becoming world-music-kitsch or pointless fusion-music: The music you hear is not just about the intended harmony – the music IS the realization of that harmony.

So, you don’t trust me, you think I’m exaggerating here? No problem, get some Between and trust your ears! Be it the wonderful title track or the following “Uroboros” or be it one of the other compositions: this is joyful and refreshing music. The instrumentation’s colourful and the general vibe is uplifting and –well, yeah – it’s just great to have some music around that is full of positive energy without being besmirched with esoteric blurb. It makes you feel good without having to leave your mind at home! A great achievement, if you ask me.

Photos about the album/band/track ;

Between – “And The Waters Opened” Album cover photo (front)

Image result for between and the waters opened

Between – “And The Waters Opened” Album  photo

Image result for between and the waters opened

Links about the album/band/track :

Between Band’s Page on Discogs

Between Band’s Page on Rate Your Music

Between Band’s Page on Spotify

Between – “And The Waters Opened” Full Album Download Link on Juno Download

 

 

 

Fusion, Jazz Rock, Krautrock, Progressive, Psychedelic Rock Germany 1970s (Tracks) Out Of Focus – “See How A White Negro Flies”

 

Out Of Focus – “See How A White Negro Flies” Video on YouTube

Out Of Focus – “Wake Up” Album Playlist on Spotify

Category/Music Genres :

Fusion/Jazz Rock/Krautrock/Progressive/Psychedelic Rock Germany 1970s (Tracks)

Band / Country of Origin :

OUT OF FOCUS 2

Out Of Focus (Munich, Germany)

Track :

“See How A White Negro Flies” (written by Out Of Focus), A1 track (opening track) included on the album “Wake Up”

Album :

OUT OF FOCUS WAKE UP 1

Released on Kuckuck Records ( 2375 006) in 1971, recorded in Union-Studio München, 27 to 31 October and 5 to 7 December 1970.

Line-up/Credits :

Remigius Drechsler / guitar
Hennes Hering / keyboards
Moran Neumüller / vocals, saxes
Klaus Spöri / drums
Stefan Wisheu / bass

Recorded At – Union Studios, Munich

Printed By – Gerhard Kaiser GmbH

Manufactured By – Deutsche Grammophon

Composed By, Arranged By – Out Of Focus

Design [Cover] – Concept Data

Engineer – Mack (2), Thomas Klemt

Illustration – Ch. Ruthenberg

Photography By – Matthias Porst

Producer – Jonas Porst

Track-List :

1. See how a white negro flies (5:48)
2. God saved the queen, cried Jesus (7:28)
3. Hey John (9:35)
4. No name (3:06)
5. World’s end (9:55)
6. Dark, darker (11:37)

Information about the album/band/track :

OUT OF FOCUS 4

Wake Up! was originally recorded and released in 1970 by a band that seemingly lacked the wherewithal to manage such a thing. A practised and experienced live outfit that had made a name for itself in and around Munich, the members of Out Of Focus hit the studio for the first time having procured label support from Eckart Rahn’s Kuckuck which had established itself the year before. However, the band was usually stoned and their live set featured prolonged jams that could see them playing for 3 hours. The discipline and rigour of the studio presented a challenge to the band who had to be made aware of the need for accuracy, tuning and brevity. “It took them a bit of adjustment,” remembers Rahn.
Nevertheless, there was a genuine desire to allow the band their artistic freedom and capture something of the socially conscious, psychedelic, and slightly surreal live experience that had made them a popular act in the first place. So they had two long weekends to track the album and, on listening to it, it has that cohesive, driven quality that often comes from the exquisite pressure of time.
Opening with See How A White Negro Flies, we get an immediate sense of the musical direction this album is going to take. A heavy, plodding, psychedelic groove supported by a spectacular ‘walking’ bass motif combines tightly with Klaus Spφri’s energetic and busy drumming while Remigius Drechsler pulls off a riff that would turn Ennio Morricone green. Drechsler’s guitar work is a highlight of the album and the band’s overall sound. He combines spastic thrashing rhythm work with electrifying, fuzzed and distorted lead work as well as dealing in clean picked box-riffs and gently strummed atmospherics. You get a real sense of this range in God Save The Queen Cried Jesus which cycles through vivid shades and phases led as much by Moran Neumόller’s wonderfully dynamic flute work as his off-the-wall, impassioned and theatrical vocal delivery. Neumόller’s declamatory squawking is something of an acquired taste however, often sounding too much like a hangover from ‘60s American protest music, although occasionally, he sounds passingly like Jim Morrison.
Hey John is an extended jam on a rising and descending chord pattern held dramatically and melodically in tow by Neumόller’s flute. Again Spφri’s athletic drumming is powerfully supported at every turn with fluid and intuitive bass runs while Hennes Hering (organs, piano) and Neumόller interject lengthy improvisational solos over the shifting weight and changing light of the band’s delicately calculated soft/loud dynamic. No Name has a similar feel in its brief, shouty moment and is perhaps remarkable in that it predates by some 7 or 8 years the raucous, New Wave aggro of early Ian Dury And The Blockheads.
Out Of Focus’ strength lies firmly in their instrumental endeavours. With the two closing tracks being longer than ten minutes each, there’s plenty of scope for the improvisatory excursions that have served them well throughout the album. There’s little development of the formula, just energetic, occasionally frenetic shaping of the dynamics. It’s raw and vivid, but I’m not getting much out of it by the end, just roach burn.
This is a fairly convincing debut that mashes several strands of the underground scene from the late ‘60s into a blend of Traffic, The Doors, early (Saucerful Of Secrets) Floyd with the hard rock of The Edgar Broughton Band and Atomic Rooster. Having said that, Out Of Focus are resolutely their own band with their own sound and their own take on the underground music scene of their day. It has an immediate appeal, made all the more attractive by Ben Wiseman’s excellent remaster.
Out of Focus was one of the many creative groups that arose from Germany in the early ’70s. Its inventive take on fusion laid the groundwork for their three LPs released a year apart from each other. The first record was excellent and each successive album got even better. Out of Focus began in Munich, Germany, in late 1968 with Drechsler, Hering, Neumuller, Spori, and Wisheu. Very much a product of those times, the group combined jazz, folk, blues, psychedelic, and progressive rock, as well as political and social awareness as often exemplified by Neumuller’s lyrics. They quickly developed their style and from 1969 onward, they toured constantly, gigging all over Germany and opening for Amon Düül II, Nektar, Ginger Baker, Kraan, Kraftwerk, and Embryo, among others. By mid-1970, the Kuckuck label signed them. After several months in their practice room to work on their chops, they recorded material between October and December and by the end of the year, their debut, Wake Up, was released. In June 1971, the group recorded a second album for Kuckuck that came out later that year. This eponymous second album contained less rock riffing as the band branched further into jazz, improvisation, and experimentation. Out of Focus went back into the studio in the summer of 1972 to record Four Letter Monday Afternoon, an even more experimental double album with much longer tracks, including the 50-minute “Huchen-55,” which took up the entire second record. The group on this record was expanded to an 11-piece with the temporary addition of Dechant, Schmid-Neuhaus, Polivka, Breuer, Thatcher, and Langhans. Kuckuck pressured the group for a hit single. Both the unruly behavior of the group and the dislike the owner of Kuckuck had toward Four Letter caused Out of Focus to be dropped by the label soon after that record came out. At the beginning of 1973, the group and their wives moved 30 miles out of Munich to the countryside. By now, Hering had left the group and Schmid-Neuhaus and new member Gohringer had joined. Without a new label, they began pre-production work on a fourth album between March and May 1974, but these recordings were not released until much later, on the album Not Too Late. By 1975, the group started to fall apart as the various musicians drifted away. By the time they performed at the 1978 Unsont & Draussen festival, Drechsler was the only remaining original member and their music was far more straight-ahead jazz. A year later, Drechsler joined Embryo and Out of Focus disbanded.

Review by Sean Trane, progarchives.com

If you ever read Asbjornssen’s Cosmic Dreams at Play, you will know how high esteem he holds this band. His article finishes this way: WHAT AN AWESOME GROUP THEY WERE! I cannot say it any better as the three albums they made in their prime were all drastically different from each other yet so unmistakably OOF (much like Floyd did all of their albums so different, yet all so FLOYD). Their music is absolutely theirs and sound like nothing else and although they are Germans, I hesitate to call it Krautrock or as some call it Krautjazz.
They develop a strange mix of psyched-out rock with a good sense of jazz rock (although not quite as much in this debut album), add a good dose of flute/sax dominated prog rock and give themselves a maximum space for instrumental interplay even if Moran’s voice holds an important role (and is an acquired taste in the same way that Peter Hammill or Roger Chapman are an acquired taste) with some non-sensical lyrics laying out their hippy ideals. With an abstract artwork this debut album (released on the legendary Kuckuck label) is aptly named Wake Up, even if the goal is to send you into dreamy trip, the music is raw, just the way the Germans liked it, reminiscent of their crosstown colleagues of Amon Duul II.

Right from the first repetitive note of Drechsler’s guitar, soon underlined by Herring’s organ and Moran Neumuller’s flute, in the opening White Negro, you just know you’re flying in a wonderful universe where time seems to be a very random dimension and the dreamy soundscapes are an invitation to tripping around the universe. The tougher-sounding God Save The Queen is more of rougher guitar-lead early 70’s UK proto-prog ala EBB or BechKendel, but the middle section (recorded a bit too low) shared between the folky flute and the organ is a great counter-point using the full dynamics contrasting with the return of the opening section. Hey John is an almost 10-min wild flute-lead jam that can sound like Deep Purple’s Mandrake Root in the middle.

The flipside jumps at your throat with the short but powerful No Name track that could easily be called You’re Wasting Time, and even if there are obvious flaws in recording levels, this track is most likely to also claim the album’s title, Wake Up! World’s end is a fairly doomy track that still trails a bit of 60’s into it, sometimes reminding of Floyd (Herring’s organ and Spori’s drumming sound like early Floyd circa Saucerful Of Secrets), while Moran’s flute is more reminiscent of Traffic’s Chris Wood and the guitar reminding us a bit of Krieger in The Doors’ epic track The End. Ending the album is the lengthy Dark Darker track, which is a bit disjointed in its psyched-out moods especially Moran’s flute racing up and down the ladder of sanity. This is one track where the group shows an excellent aptitude at light improvisation that lead to wild jamming, a thing that we would see much more of in the next three albums. Again the raw sound gives the impression that this record could’ve easily been recorded live in the Anglo-Saxon world, with only the approximate accent of Moran giving a hint otherwise. The closing section is a hard-driving Atomic Rooster-like heavy prog.

As with most German band singing in English, the vocals are not perfect but this is very minor as the texts (lyrics) are easily understood and are of a very social/political nature that they could also be classified in German only category Polit-rock (never thought you’d read about such a category, Uh? 😉 This IMHO only adds to the quality of the music and does not make it dated just for that reason. Technically absolutely brilliant (D-E A + HCH). Just by the weird song titles, one can see that this band is heavy, I mean HHHEEEAAAVVVYYY, man!!

 

Photos about the album/band/track :
Out Of Focus – “Wake Up” Album cover photo (front)
OUT OF FOCUS WAKE UP 1
Out Of Focus – “Wake Up” Album cover photo (back)
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Out Of Focus – “Wake Up” Album photo  (A’ Side)
Out Of Focus Photo
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OUT OF FOCUS 2
OUT OF FOCUS 3
OUT OF FOCUS 4
OUT OF FOCUS 5 (2)
Links about the album/band/track :