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Guru Guru - Känguru CD (album) cover

KÄNGURU

Guru Guru

 

Krautrock

4.07 | 82 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Third studio effort by Guru Guru and the last one with the original trio formation, "KänGuru" is, in my humble opinion, a masterful apex in the history of krautrock, an abrasive masterpiece in the context of 70s experimental rock from Germany. Truth is that this trio had managed to create amazing adventurous music from day one in a perfectly consistent way, only "KänGuru" happens to be a bit less dense than "UFO", more in the vein of the reasonably articulated trips that had shaped the excellence of "Hinten", with a more robust focus on teh development of the musica traves that take place throughout the tracklist. Guru Guru is, by now, generating a profile that gets closer to other most relevant jam-oriented bands in the kraut circle, such as Agitation Free, Amon Düül II and Ash Ra Tempel. 'Oxymoron' kicks off with a powerful bluesy vibe instiled in the main riff. While the jam evolves further, the lead guitar's florusihes, bass's ornaments and drum kit's inventive cadences state that sort of cerebral madness based on jazz-rock, heavy psychedelia Hendrix-style and "Ummagumma" spacey expansions, with some extra industrial sensitivity that makes itself noticeable in a few pulsating passages. Mani's occasional vocal deliveries add some humor to the fold, for good effect, not being really that abundant. As atractive as this opener is, it is in the remaining repertoire that the whole album will meet its highest expresions. 'Immer Lustig' is the album's longest piece, surpassing the 15 minute mark. The track beings with a military march and a burlesque speech, soon shiting toward a harsh blues-rock motif. This one is quite catchy, actually, so the shift to a new motif may take the listener by surprise, but sure the sense of tension has been greatly achieved. This new motif add a touch of funk to the ever-recurring heavy psychedelia: Genrich's guitar is a definitive cornerstone in the band's trippy architecture, including those moments in which it fills a more subtle space. The next motif states a weird mixture of spacey moods and rockabilly phrasing, wrapped in effective lisergic layers. Later on, the section tha tstarts at the 12 ½ minute mark bears a Zeppelin trend, featuring a powerful guitar lead that takes the overall dynamics to a red-hot climax. 'Baby Cake Walk' opens up the album's second half picking up the explosive fireworks of 'Immer Lustig'. The starting heavy jam elaborates brief climaxes along the way, until the 5 minute mark brings a brief interlude dominated by ethereal moods. With this interlude ended, the trio indulges in yet another wild crescendo sustained ona cleverly syncopated rhythm pace: ultimately, the rhythm turns fuller and the band decides to elaborate an exercise on pure frenzy, which doen't hide the previaling sense of organization on the working. Last but not least, 'Ooga Booga' starts with an extroverted mood on a 5/4 tempo, paving the way for a rockier section on 6/8 whose Arabic nuances and exotically driven drumming. Then, a momentum starts to build up on teh basis of multilayered guitar leads that sound equally menacing and magical. By the way, the rhythm duo of Mani and Tripte is also magical. All in all, who knows, maybe this is the absolute peak of Guru Guru. Less sublime and more groovy, the next section lightens things up without losing an inch of power. The last passage is more mysterious, as if displaying a cacophonic portrait of the cosmos' greyish realms until it bursts into an inscrutabe chaos. This distrubing coda is a hell of a way to close down such an incendiary album - "KänGuru" is an absolute kraut gem, a golden testimony of Guru Guru's particular genius.

(This review is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Uli Trepte).

Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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