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Embryo - Opal CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.80 | 93 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Embryo - Opal (1970)

Heavy psychedelic rock, avant-garde, fusion, free-jazz, spoken word, proto-punk... this debut album by German Krautrock outfit Embryo is an eclectic mix of styles. Listed as jazz- rock/fusion, this debut clearly belongs to the Krautrock movement. The wild experimental vision of Embryo is original.

All songs are different, there are many styles in all compositions, the drums are very free, the vocals are wild & strange and the spoken word on 'End of Soul' is really funny. The guitars have a rhythm and blues sound, but there are many experimental passages if you listen carefully. The bass is often frantic and the wind-section gives the music it's avant-garde feel.

Most of the material is instrumental. There are some clear fusion-influences (perhaps from Miles Davis) with wild jazzy sax playing over psychedelic rock chord progressions. Some of the instrumental have a free-jazz feel with seemingly directionless experimentation that can be enjoyed after repeated listening. The drums/percussion are in the spotlights during most composition. I can't say I like everything (for instance the frantic drumming on You don't know what's happening), but it's a brave vision and many ideas are really good. The energetic approach of drummer Christian Burchard is an essential part of the sound of the band.

An eclectic mix, but what is the result? A mysterious jazz-rock/psychedelic record that at first sounded like avant-garde to me. Every spin I understand more of this strange formula, resulting in appreciation for their brave vision. The recording is good and really helps Embryo to get a spacey atmosphere at times.

Conclusion. A good krautrock record, that is said to be important for the genre. Easily overlooked because of Embryo being (rightfully so) place in the jazz-rock/fusion sub-cat. Recommended to fans of psychedelic music, fusion (with a focus on experimentation) and avant-garde. Three and a halve stars, rounded up because of the wild & free experimentation that results in an original record.

friso | 4/5 |


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