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Hanuman (Lied des Teufels) - Hanuman CD (album) cover

HANUMAN

Hanuman (Lied des Teufels)

 

Krautrock

3.90 | 21 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars HANUMAN is a German band from Berlin that released this one album under this moniker that is taken from the name of the Hindu god who was a devotee of the god Rama in the Hindu epic Ramayama before changing their name to Lied Des Teufels (Song Of The Devil) for their second release. The band was formed in 1971 and soon released this album on the Kuckuck Label which hosted other totally obscure Krautrock bands including one of the few more known ones Out Of Focus. The band consisted of founder Peter Barth (flute, sax, vocals),Jörg Hahnfeld (bass), Thomas Holm (drums) and Wolf-Rüdiger Uhlig (organ, piano, vocals). Uhlig was fresh out of the heavy prog Murphy Blend which married progressive rock with the jazz and blues sensibilities of the other members.

The wide spectrum of Krautrock is unfathomable encompassing everything from the totally lysergically spaced out like the musical meltdowns of early Guru Guru and Amon Düül II to the jazz-rock hybrids of bands like Embryo. Bands like HANUMAN borrowed a little bit from all the camps but primarily focus on highly melodic developments with a few freak outs interspersed within some of the tracks. The album begins with highly rhythmic percussion bringing Can to mind however it is also drenched with heavy organ runs and beautiful flute accompaniments. The dramatic vocals are sung exclusively in the German language adding a somewhat alienating feel for non-speakers to the album for the time when most European bands except the Italians were jumping like lemmings into the English speaking world to extend international exposure.

The music is complex but very easy on the ears and fairly easy to follow drawing comparisons to Van Der Graaf Generator but never delving into the complexities that VDGG achieved but still very much in the offbeat camp. HANUMAN does however change up the styles by drenching the listener with time sig changes and alternations of instrumental duties where different parts drop out to let others steal the show for a while. There is a strong jamming vibe to the album where every little melodic development is allowed to fulfill its potential before moving on to something new. Three of the tracks are well over nine minutes long so this is progressive rock in the truest sense encompassing many aspects of jazz-fusion, Krautrock, heavy rock as well as a sense of the eclectic without ever tipping the scales totally in that direction.

This is an album that has grown on me. It's true that Peter Barth's vocals sung in German can be an acquired taste and that the band didn't exactly reinvent the Krautrock genre or anything of the sort but what they did master quite tastefully is mixing and melding different aspects of the genre into their own vision. The music changes it up often by having jazz-rock sections, heavy rockin' segments, beautiful piano runs reminding me of Italian groups of the early 70s, freak outs and rhythmic spastic sections that bring Can to mind all the while finding room to mix in Doors type keyboards parts, Out Of Focus type horn parts and nicely composed song structures. While not quite an unabashed masterpiece it does present itself to be more than a worthy redeemer of excellent listening. It has only grown on me and i hope this can dig its way out from under the huddle of heavyweights that are piled upon it. After this release Uhlig would leave the band and they changed their name to Lied Des Teufels for their second album.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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