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Amon Düül II - Yeti CD (album) cover


Amon Düül II



4.11 | 443 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars A conspicuous hole in my music library was recently plugged by the belated discovery of Amon Düül II, pioneering Krautrockers who in the 1970s operated not too far from the controlled anarchy of CAN or FAUST. After falling under the spell last year of their 1971 epic "Tanz der Lemminge", it was only a short hop to this formidable beast, a cult favorite when first released in 1970, and still able to shred your headphones when played at the proper volume (i.e. loud).

Unlike their later, more refined efforts, this embryonic recording showcases the more urgent sound of a band with strong ties to the European counterculture barricades of 1968. The music is almost raw in spots, but not without a certain primitive beauty, moving from the dreamy psychedelia of "She Came Through the Chimney" (complete with bongo drums and more than a whiff of cannabis) to the feedback-soaked power of "Archangel Thunderbird", on which the strident upper-octave singing anticipates Johnny Rotten's angry vulpine growl by more than half a decade.

Elsewhere the album is very much a product of its time: spaced-out one-chord guitar jams with pounding drums and thrashing cymbals, ghostly violins in Middle Eastern echo chambers, and the amps all cranked to maximum distortion. For lack of a better comparison (always the cheapest form of criticism, to be sure) think of a shotgun marriage between "Space Ritual" HAWKWIND and the more cosmic digressions of early PINK FLOYD, circa "Ummagumma".

It's worth noting that the original 1970 release was a double-LP, with the entire second disc (the last three tracks on the CD) improvised in the studio. But good luck trying to find any significant difference between the songs and the jams. There's a sometimes astonishing uniformity of style throughout the album, to a point where the composed portions sound no less spontaneous than the unrehearsed playing.

That sort of creative balance was of course not uncommon in the early '70s (especially in Germany). But its absence from too much of what passes for popular music these days is what makes a band like Amon Düül, and an album like "Yeti", even more valuable a generation later.

And, for all you aging, unreformed vinyl junkies, here's the final aesthetic icing on a still tasty cake: the 2006 Revisited Records CD re-issue has been packaged to make the compact disc resemble a little LP, grooves and all..!

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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