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My Solid Ground - My Solid Ground CD (album) cover

MY SOLID GROUND

My Solid Ground

 

Krautrock

3.73 | 64 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars MY SOLID GROUND was the brainchild of a young 14-year old guitarist Bernhard Rendel who had a brief moment in the limelight with his band's one and only album released in 1971 although his success was limited to his native Germany. Originating from Rüsselsheim near Frankfurt am Main, Rendel was blessed to have parents who nurtured his talent and even allowed him to practice his craft at home. HIs parents were so supportive in his efforts of joining in on the burgeoning Krautrock party that they even assisted in organizing the events for their underage son.

Formed in 1968, MY SOLID GROUND was pretty much the solo work of Rendel who provided guitars and vocals and the band went through meany lineup changes before the team of bassist Karl-Heinrich Dörfler, drummer Andreas Würsching and Ingo Werner on organ and piano would record the band's sole eponymously titled album which was released in the autumn of 1971. Although popular in Germany for a short time due to the band appearing on live radio broadcasts as well as winning second place in an amateur competition hosted by Sudwestfunk (SWF) Radio, MY SOLID GROUND has remained one of the more obscure Krautrock bands over the decades at least until the modern era when such bands have found a revived popularity thanks to the wide ranging influence of the internet.

The MY SOLID GROUND album is for all intents and purposes two completely different albums with the first lengthy 13 minute track "Dirty Yellow Mist" providing one of the coolest tripped out psychedelic rock tracks of the whole Krautrock era and the rest of the album featuring shorter guitar driven hard rock songs that sound more out of the English or American scenes than what was going on in Germany's psychedelic scene but nevertheless they are performed so well and capture the essence of the heavy rock verging on proto-metal of the early 70s that despite the recipe for disaster somehow works quite well as the band still incorporated tidbits of psychedelia within the standard rock compositions such as on the heavy psych "The Executioner" which adds plenty of tripped out Krautiness to the mix.

One of the most misleading aspects of this album is the ridiculous album cover which features a cast of cartoon pigs holding up the band on its boldly scripted moniker but despite the rather uninspiring cover art, the music contained within is anything but. More than anything Rendel had a keen ear for tight rhythmic drives, catchy melodic ear worms and a sense of production values that allowed the individual instruments to play well together. While the opening sprawler is right out of the "Saucerful Of Secrets" playbook, the second track "Flash Part IV" jumps into something more akin to Sir Lord Baltimore while "Handful Of Grass" is more of a folk tune with mid-tempo acoustic guitars and piano runs but for the most part MY SOLID GROUND delivered a run of solid guitar heavy rockers.

While the band was supposed to continue on, Rendel had a difficult time keeping members and they dropped out one by one until he returned with a new lineup after moving to Frankfurt and lasted until 1974 but never managed to release a second album. Rendel scrapped the whole rock star dream and went the academic route where he became a music lecturer at Mainz University as well as a producer and composer. With a renewed interest in all things prog in the 21st century, this MY SOLID GROUND album found a second coming with a remastered reissue emerging in 2001 on the Alcinious label which featured the original album as well as an album's worth of extra material that Rendel had produced over the years and in the process almost doubling the album's length. Despite the silly cover art and the stylistic consistency, this one surprised me that i liked it so much.

The strength of this one is clearly the strong melodic hooks that work whether the band is in full-on psychedelic mode or rocking the house with heavy guitar laden heft. The album may be inconsistent in stylistic approach but more than makes up for it in strong material. Don't let the stupid looking album cover detour you from exploring MY SOLID GROUND because it's much more than the ground that's solid here. While the remastered bonus tracks are mostly different mixes and alternate vocal tracks, the original full length version of "Flash" at 25 minutes is a highlight and well worth the time. It mixes the space groove of "Dirty Yellow Mist" with jazzy drumming, classical piano rolls and a faster tempo and in a way summarizes all the disparate styles on board. One straight outa the underground and into timeless classic mode. Perhaps not the absolute highlight of the Krautrock scene of the 70s but one of the better melodic rock ones.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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