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Bröselmaschine - Bröselmaschine CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.88 | 82 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Germany was a nation rich in new sounds that seeped out of the 60s and exploded onto the scene in the 70s. While most of the world was going gaga for the sounds emanating from England, the Teutonic tribes were busy forging their own cosmic freakery in the form of Krautrock and other highly experimental astral traveling soundtracks. So why didn't anyone tell the band BRÖSELMASCHINE? Well, i guess they just didn't get that memo. While it's not unheard of for continental bands to have a sound fetish with their favorite proggers across the channel with the most notorious examples emerging from the UK's own Canterbury Scene that drifted to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and even Italy, what is quite surprising is that this Duisburg quintet seemed to forget, well for the most part that they were even German! Oh! And the name was a German word that was constructed from a cannabis shredder and the sound of a motorcycle. Oh those 60s.

While the band was forged from the ashes of a prior folk band called Les Autres, which proved that these musicians had a clear identity crisis from the beginning, they did at least conjure up a German band name, song titles and even a little Deutsch sung now and again but what's most amazing of all is that this band is a clear doppelgänger for England's Fairport Convention however no matter how hard they tried, the psychedelic Kraut that was permeating the homeland still found its way into the mix and thus the band BRÖSELMASCHINE should be thought of perhaps the most English sounding of the Kraut-folk bands that emerged simultaneously with bands like Can, Amon Duul II and Tangerine Dream. The band officially formed in 1969 with the lineup of Jenni Schücker (vocals, flute, bells), Peter Bursch (vocals, acoustic guitar, sitar, flute), Willi Kissmer (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, zither), Lutz Ringer (bass, Metallophone) and Mike Hellbach (congas, tabla, spoons, Mellotron.)

This lineup only lasted four years before disbanding (other reformations would occur) and it was this sole eponymously titled album that was released in 1971 but what a brilliantly fun and warm album it is! The album is a bit of a head scratcher as it presents itself as a German release with tracks like "Gedanken" (thoughts), "Schmetterling" (butterfly) and "Gitarrenstuck" (guitar piece) but overall this is perhaps the most de-Germanized band that i have ever heard from the land of BMW and Beck's. If someone were to play this for me during an English folk marathon i would guess that this was an early version of the Pentagle or Fairport Convention before they had to get serious and drop all the freaky shit but nope, this is truly a one-of-a-kind album that exhibits all those Anglo-fantasies run amok with a bit of all that 70s Germanic freakery oozing in between the cracks. The results of this weirdness is tastier than a freshly baked basket of pretzels at a beer garden! And i'm talking Oktoberfest quality.

While squeaking into the world of Krautrock by a smidge, this is perhaps the band that exhibits the folkiest extremes with lush acoustic guitar passages, lazy atmospheric embellishments and sedate nonchalant strolls through the folky forays into Epping forest . The album is well balanced with two vocalists who alternate, harmonize and pacify the soul. Jenni Schücker provides the divine feminine as her delicate accent-free grace is complemented with Will Kissmer's more pronounced tenor grounding. The first few tracks will have you convinced you have been slipped a tea-sipping group of Brits as they nail the English sound perfectly and even rocks out, er, well folks out rather a traditional English folk song in the form of "Lassie" which has me searching for Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny in the credits. Nope, they ain't there! OK, it's apparent we've found the best British folk band that the UK never had, but wait! "Gitarrenstück" is a game changer. Yeah, all those softly strummed acoustic guitars still take you to rancho relaxo while the wordless vocals become ethereal and haunting but the short track changes the tone.

"The Old Man's Song" takes a complete 180 and the few rock elements of the album begin to shine through. Well, rock may be a misnomer. It's more like funky wah-wah guitar echoes, Indo-raga drumming with a little extra oomf but BRÖSELMASCHINE gets cold feet and retreats to the safety of the folk scene only they seemed to have morphed from Fairport to Spyro Gyra! Wow, this band is trippy without all the drugged out effects. Kissimer then feels free to unleash some guitar solos against the cyclical strumming loops beyond. OK, i said this was an English folk fetish album but then this band gets all weird by the end. Yeah, "Schmetterling" decided it was time to go to India and bust out all the Indo-raga moves complete with sitar, tablas and ample blessings from the proper guru du jour no doubt. Add a few zithers, Matallophones and flutes and you got one cosmic vibe groovin' on and best of all Jenni Schücker busts out her native tongue with a narration in German! The track jams on for almost ten minutes. I guess someone spiked the tea at the Renaissance fair.

After the freakout, the kids got all silly with "Nossa Bova" which is another lengthy jam session. Part acoustic folk, part hangover of Indo-raga and part Kraut-whatever, BRÖSELMASCHINE really gets cerebral with heady flute runs, acoustic guitar bliss and a nice mix of unorthodox percussion that implements the congas with a touch of spoon charm. Perhaps the mellowest track on board, the spoonerism insinuated by the title sadly contains no traces of bossa nova. The album ends as if a completely different band was performing and that's probably what makes BRÖSELMASCHINE's debut so memorable. While lacking in a uniform display of one style or another, the incremental changes actually pay off quite well and while perhaps not quite as masterful as some of the primo examples of freak folk mustered up by the kings of freakery a la Comus or Jan Dukes de Grey, BRÖSELMASCHINE nevertheless offers an interesting slice of cross-cultural elements existing in a rather warped continuum which gives this album a charm all its own. All the tracks are deliciously addictive right away since melodic constructs rule the roost. Unfortunately this lineup wouldn't last too long and future albums are basically different bands but this debut is defiantly one for the psych folk crowds not to be missed.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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