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Eroc - Eroc Zwei CD (album) cover

EROC ZWEI

Eroc

 

Krautrock

3.46 | 9 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Anyone under the misguided impression that Germans don't have a sense of humor obviously hasn't been listening very closely. What's that you say? You don't recall the deadpan "Showroom Dummies" of KRAFTWERK? Or HOLGER CZUKAY's iconoclastic radio-wave cut-ups (turning even the late Pope John Paul II into an unwitting pop star)? And what about the Dada-Krautrock de-construction follies of FAUST?

Discriminating Progheads with long memories will at least have heard the name Joachim Ehrig, alias EROC, the multi-talented percussionist and resident madman behind the symphonic cabaret act known as GROBSCHNITT. The band was a popular concert attraction throughout the 1970s, famous for blending classic YES and PINK FLOYD influenced Prog Rock with elaborate vaudeville comedy skits, a tradition their pseudonymous drummer would carry into his own solo career as well.

Especially here, in his sophomore effort (or maybe it's only sophomoric?), in retrospect probably the wackiest thing of its kind since Monty Python's "Matching Tie and Hankerchief" album, which you'll remember had two parallel grooves on one side of the original LP, and good luck trying to guess which one the needle would follow.

Over the course of seventeen total tracks (lasting almost 50 minutes, and rivaling the side-long soundscapes of KLAUS SCHULZE for old-style vinyl generosity) EROC delivers a vocal performance that can only be called eccentric (to say the least). He whispers, screams, coughs up phlegm, emotes in high dramatic fashion, conducts a bogus interview, interrupts the music with idle chit-chat and commentary, sings background harmonies sounding not unlike a chorus of Sesame Street muppets, fakes an orgasm (or is it constipation?) and, in one memorable highlight, punctuates a formal poetry recital with a window-rattling belch of truly epic proportions (cue the maniacal laughter: always an EROC trademark).

And did I mention the sound effects? Traffic jams, toilets flushing, tolling bells, sawing wood, orchestral fanfares, machine-gun fire, and even samples of earlier GROBSCHNITTsongs are all part of the overstuffed sonic collage. With all that (and more besides) you'd think there wouldn't be any room left for legitimate music. But EROC backs up his theatrical conceits with a credible range of high-caliber tunes, playing all the instruments himself: keyboards, guitars, kazoos, accordions, warped Oktoberfest flugelhorns, and (of course) drums. There are even a few evocative, quasi- Krautrock interludes, scattered like life preservers throughout the otherwise relentless, broad-as-a-barn-door laff-riot.

Oddly enough, the best way to appreciate the album is without any understanding of German...although it's hard to miss the quotation from KRAFTWERK's "Autobahn", shouted during the song "Der Traum Vom Wald". I suspect a direct translation might be just too idiotic to support repeated listenings, but the language barrier keeps the silliness from becoming too stupid, even when EROC is burping his guts inside out. Some Prog Rockers (too few, on second thought) never did learn when to start sounding pretentious.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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