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Embryo - Live Im Wendland CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.21 | 5 ratings

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3 stars Think globally, act locally ...

This is the final motto documented in the booklet by Francis Althoff, the spokesman of 'Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg'. And Christian Burchard, EMBRYO's all-time member since the beginning in 1969, put this into praxis immediately when asked for a concert in Gorleben. The band even cancelled another gig in order to come to North Germany on the 6th of November in 2005 to support the resistance against the nuclear plants.

EMBRYO is known for playing jazz rock and fusion music particularly - first of all with improvised jam sessions when playing live. And this is combined with political statements here and there and an experimental approach trying to implement influences from other countries - mostly of the eastern european, north african and asian regions. In the 1970s they extensively toured in Turkey for example and Roman Bunka became a prolific saz player. Or the early collaborations with Charlie Mariano are to mention who plays exotic instruments like the bamboo flute or the indian nagaswaram.

The recent years saw EMBRYO changing to a world music band more and more collaborating with famous musicians and institutions all over the world, for example the Karnataka College of Percussion in India. The 'Live im Wendland' concert, released by the Schneeball label, is proving that progress - but also astonishing - they surprise with some excellent jazzy rocking parts - nearly played in the same way I can remember from the 70s. This evening was captured by Otfried 'Otty' Hermann, who sadly died in May 2006 because of a car accident. The recordings were buried on his computer and rediscovered after some time had passed by. It must have been a long performance by the way - most of the songs are faded out and at the end you can hear the band announcing a break!

The opening Rog De Quadamuna from 'Embryos Reise' is the only one I was aware of before listening the first time. They are starting with a relaxed flow, somewhat exotic in a folklore mood. Santour, xylophon, oud, flute and percussion are meandering along equivalently and you immediately feel like being shifted to another continent. With Bechirträume they are getting groovy when changing to a different equipment. Valentin Altenberger plays a jazzy bass furthermore, Lothar Stahl changes to the drums, David Drudis occupies the guitar now with a jazz rock style and Christian Burchard the vibraphone. Cairo is offered with some krautrock feelings and lets you think you hear Captain Beefheart with his band acting on the stage. Mik Quantius' vocal performance is very unusual and funny at once. After listening for several rounds this weird track is my favourite so far.

Sofiagroove is a great jazz rock jam with a slight canterbury flavour. Two guitars are on board this time where Drudis comes near to the style of Roman Bunka - impressing. Quantius is on the top here with his mysterious alienated contributions. The next two songs are coming close to the latter and finally Weg mit dem Müll must be completely improvised, evolved especially for this occasion where they return to the style of the beginning.

With an interesting mix of ethno world music and jazz rock EMBRYO is crossing the nearly 40 years lasting history with surprising facility on this evening. I'm quite sure you haven't heard something like that before. When you're getting involved after some time you won't miss this one in your collection - 3.5 stars.

Rivertree | 3/5 |


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