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Embryo - Opal CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.80 | 93 ratings

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4 stars Welcome to one of Germany's finest. Embryo is a Münich-based Krautrock band that was formed around drummer Christian Burchard after parting ways with Amon Düül II in 1969. The band went through a lot of different line-ups. Actually, from the gang gathered for this debut, only saxophone player Edgar Hofmann would be a longstanding companion for Burchard.

Opal is the most kraut-y album in the entire Embryo catalogue, featuring loosely flowing psychedelic rock music with lots of jazz influences. On the songs where the psychedelic elements prevail (such as the first two), the bands reminds a lot of Amon Düül II's Phallus Dei, not in the least due to the hazy vocals and the importance of the violin ("motocello") in the sound. From Revolution onwards the saxophone starts taking the lead and it provides a jazzier angle, not unlike Nucleus' old albums. But due to the stellar psych-blues guitars of future Ten Years After guitarist John Kelly, this still remains a rock album above anything else.

The original album was quite short but the CD re-issue adds interesting bonus material from earlier 1969 recordings. You Better have some Fun blends in perfectly with the album. The 26 minutes free improvisation Läuft presents a totally different side of the band, not dissimilar from the wilder Ash Ra Temple material, but with saxophones leading instead of guitars. The inventive and intuitive playing of Burchard is very similar to Schulze's drumming with ART.

It's impossible pointing out favorites here. All tracks are quite brilliant, regardless whether the kraut psychedelicca, the brass-rock of the free-jazz influences take precedence. Maybe the opener and People from out the Space could deserve the highest praise. It's an essential Krautrock album and a unique title in Embryo's impressive discography. With the next album the band would venture into much more jazz-rock and world oriented directions. 4.5 stars

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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