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Guru Guru - Hinten CD (album) cover

HINTEN

Guru Guru

 

Krautrock

3.59 | 55 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Hinten" is the sophomore album by Guru Guru which effectively confirms this power trio as a crucial item for the development of the krautrock movement that by 1971 had already become a melting pot of various sonic offerings converging on a common purpose of augmenting the language of rock and creating a peculiar edge to the avant-garde ideals that were being instilled in popular culture. This album is also famous (and infamous) for the cover photograph: a not too athletic male behind bearing a coarse tattoo that spreads on both buttocks. Well, the idea is clear in its intention to go against the two most recurrent trends in rock album sleeves: either a display of psychedelic figures based on a Modernistic approach or a manifestation of fantastic landscapes and characters where Surrealism and Romanticism unite. Not on this album sleeve, just that "lovingly" ugly image that I've already described and never will describe again. As for the music itself, there is a noticeable contrast between the straightforward atrocity in the cover and the refinement developed as an evolution from the dominantly chaotic ventures in the debut album "UFO". At this point, I must explain the same nuance that many other reviewers before me have done here in PA and other sources: the band maintains its original doses of energy and bizarreness, but in "Hinten", those unequivocal features are handled within a more focused dimension. Indeed, the sound of Mani's drumming happens to be more highlighted in the mix, which means that the band's explorations on free-form psychedelic and experimental jazz-rock give more room to the rhythmic architecture and subsequent variations to show off its inputs to the overall sound. Now, Guru Guru was a paradigmatic power trio in their first three albums, with both "Hinten" and "KänGuru" serving as the ultimate manifestations of this factor. The album kicks off with a Guru Guru undisputed classic, 'Electric Junk'. It starts with a Ten Years After sort of jam, high-spirited and happy-go-lucky, but it won't be long before this rock'n'roll party shifts toward a chaotic display (inc. a drum solo), which in itself is a transition to a different jam, heavier and denser, the track's main body. The Hendrix element that was also influential in Ash Ra Tempel and the electric climaxes of Amon Duul II can be spotted here as well, beyond doubt. 'The Meaning of Meaning' is next, in many ways perpetuating the prior piece's robust framework, but the slower tempo makes up the basis for a more constrained mood. After the 7 minute mark, a tribal drumming resource gets in so the whole band can shift to the track's second section: from the very beginning, it is quite clear that this section is aiming toward the ultimate climax, and indeed, the clever use of gradual intensity does not kill the sense of structure that prevails in the jam's foundation, but man, how wild this is... climatic and significant for all that the rock side of krautrock is about. The album's second half begins with another unquestionable Guru Guru classic ? 'Bo Diddley'. The Hendrixian guitar deliveries and Mani's ever-wild rhythmic demonstrations create a brotherhood of power to which the bass player adds electrifying cadences and sinister textures. 'Space Ship' occupies the album's last 11 minutes, managing to elaborate a superb culmination to it. A monotonous, sharp jam emerges in the first place as if portraying the mystery of otherworldly machineries, ultimately flowing into a disjointed exhibition of psychedelic chaos, very much "Ummagumma"-esque. A few seconds before the 7 minute mark, a new motif starts to build up slowly, which turns out to be a solid yet brief exercise on heavy progressive sonorities. Arguably, here we find the best gitar phrases in the whole album. At the 9 minute mark, the disjointed logic returns, excitingly enriched with reverse tape tricks: these last moments fulfill the very personification of cosmic madness. So, all in all, here is yet another brilliant rock monument that fully justifies Guru Guru's good name in the history of 70's experimental rock (krautrock and others).
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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