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Cannabis India - SWF Session 1973 CD (album) cover


Cannabis India


Symphonic Prog

3.56 | 32 ratings

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4 stars Playing like a lost basement recording of ELP circa 1971, this high-energy power trio pumped out shameless ersatz classical rock and recorded one brief set in 1973 at Germany's Sudwestfunk radio facilities, preserved and finally released in 2009 on Long Hair. Cannabis India was loosely part of Dusseldorf's Wuppertal scene and was led by child piano prodigy (and Keith Emerson devotee) Oliver Petry, backed by the fierce performance of drummer Rudiger Braune and noted bassist Dirk Fleck.

The band had a brief career but developed a reputation locally as a strong live act, and that immediacy comes pouring through on SWF Session 1973, an all-instrumental sample of four cuts including a version of Beethoven's 9th. We're battered open by Petry's machine gun riffing for 'Hand of the King': mean, dynamic, and very cool, Rudiger Braune Keith Mooning his way through it all and the masterful intonation of Dirk Fleck's Fender bass. Many good changes in this 7+ minute chunk of fugue flash, followed by doubly-long 'Lapis' where the Tarkus quotes are most present. Though frankly, CI was probably doing the sort of pure instrumental organ rock that many ELP fans quietly wished their favorite band would indulge more in. No deep lyrics, gonzo improvisations or lovelorn ballads here, just three hungry players with a taste for this new sound in popular music. 'Revolver' is a Gothic dungeon in the great North German school tradition, and the massive 'Beethoven's 9th' is a very fine interpretation.

Cannabis India will remind of any number of other bands during their time and yet don't really play like anyone else. There is an urgency to these cuts that trumps most of their bigger peers and we're fortunate this old relic has survived and been uncovered. Recommended to lovers of the golden age. Two good tracks from Petry's later group Universe are included.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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