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Amon Düül II - Tanz Der Lemminge [Aka: Dance Of The Lemmings] CD (album) cover


Amon Düül II



4.08 | 349 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I'm almost ashamed to admit it. Me, a self-styled connoisseur of German Prog, with sterling Krautrock credentials dating all the way back to High School (never mind how long ago that was), but who until the summer of 2005 had never (and I blush to even write this) heard the music of Amon Düül. Well, better late than never, I suppose. And in retrospect I couldn't have chosen a better introduction. This is an album that was years ahead of its time in 1971, and 35 years later is still waiting for the rest of us to catch up.

So then: what's the jury's verdict, after having deliberated for close to sixteen months now?

At first exposure you might hear a distinct resemblance to the post-modern pranksters of FAUST, kindred spirits with a similar disregard for the rock 'n' roll rulebook. But this particular Düül (Mark II in a long and very confusing history) was less inclined to the same sort of willful chaos, or was at least better skilled at organizing their anarchy.

And it's a far more polished effort when compared to the primordial freakout of their earlier "Yeti" (my second trek into the Amon Düül soundworld). With this album the band made a small but important step forward from post-'60s hippie flotsam to early '70s Prog Rock sophistication.

The symmetry of the original double LP (one disc composed, the other entirely improvised) is lost on CD, of course. But listening to the entire package in a single, uninterrupted sitting is an awesome experience not soon forgotten. The 'song' half of the album is, for the most part, lighter and more playful, with most of the selections clocking in at less than two minutes (so much for the usual accusations of overblown Prog pretensions). The shorter format may have been out of step with Prog conventions of the time, but don't worry: all the pieces are loosely collated into arbitrary, epic mini-suites, each one titled with more than a touch of Dada absurdity: "Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child", and so forth.

The improvisations, paradoxically, are more controlled and coherent, and a lot louder too. At 18+ minutes "The Marilyn Monroe-Memorial Church" is the obvious highlight, building slowly from ominous freeform rumbling to a brain-bursting apocalypse of percussion and noise. It's a certified kosmische classic, followed by three shorter, guitar-heavy jams, returning the music closer to its counter-culture garage band roots.

Both halves of the album together add up to a quirky and subversive musical artifact: one part Prog, one part psychedelia, and all of it quintessential Krautrock. Here's one (belated) fan who regrets not having heard the group sooner, but who is nonetheless grateful to have discovered them even this late in the day.

[Trivia note: the handsomely packaged 2001 Repertoire Records CD re-release was restored and re-mastered by Grobschnitt's own Joachim Ehrig, alias EROC.]

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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