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Hoelderlin - Hoelderlin CD (album) cover

HOELDERLIN

Hoelderlin

 

Prog Folk

4.03 | 86 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Some three years after having recorded a stunning folk prog album Holderlin's Traum, the group took three years to record and release their second album to label Pilz and Ohr going broke. Only in early 75, did the group (with a slightly rearranged name) finally got around to this excellent second album (on the collectible Spiegelei label), although fairly different-sounding and with their female singer De Ruig now gone.

The sound had definitely slid from a prog folk one to a more conventional symphonic tone, not far from Genesis (this similarity was not helped by the fact that they will sing in English from now on), but their music was not derivative. Although this album is rather a far cry from the hippy idealism of the debut, the group still has the same dedication to make excellent music, not least helped by multi-instrumentalist that allows for such instrument as flute, cello, violin to spice-up the sextet's music, with two guest on woodwinds and the ever indispensable Conny Plank at the production helm. If I say the sound is quite different, the progressive folk influences are still quite present at times. Too bad the artwork is quite amateur (done by guitarist Christian Grumbkow as will the two following album's artwork also), but his brother Joachim is also the main songwriter.

From the opening instrumental track (a head-twisting drama-filled scorcher and finishing in a duel with a symphonic orchestra) to the closing Honeypot (almost 9-min mini-epÓc), side 1 of the vinyl is a very impressive show of great songwriting close to what the British masters were doing at the time, greatly helped with an excellent production job. Stuck in between is a shorter track bringing you a more muscular Genesis-type of prog with credible Gabriel-like vocals, but this is never overpowering, but not accidental either.

The second side is filled by an almost-sidelong epic, the 17-min+ Death-Watch-Beetle, but preceeded by a short sweet catchy Nurnberg. Building from a slow crescendo, the track takes its own time to come to its centrepiece, taking meanderings with piano and violin duos, but the singing is maybe at its weakest (at least at the start of this track, but the English lyrics are dispensed with very correct delivery, even if it is obvious they are not native speakers), but the tracks is a never ending tempo change, thanks to the inventive drumming of Bruchman. Almost grandiose, but not perfect: some obvious flaws appear.

Although a departure from their debut album, Hoelderlin (with its pair of brothers - Kaseberg and Grumbkow) hit right on the button with this superb confirmation of their talents. Warmly recommended.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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