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Amon Düül II - Tanz Der Lemminge [Aka: Dance Of The Lemmings] CD (album) cover

TANZ DER LEMMINGE [AKA: DANCE OF THE LEMMINGS]

Amon Düül II

 

Krautrock

4.09 | 315 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Amon Duul II's triumphant journey into altered states of consciousness. Amon Duul II are impossible to ignore when it comes to Krautrock and this album is perhaps the band at the peak of their powers. The fractured state of the band that were in disarray at the time with many members heading out the door and new ones jumping on board, perhaps is reflected in the disjoined music. This is a lot easier to take than a lot of Krautrock though as it is accessible in many ways, compositions of actual songs mixed with improvisational material should satiate the palette of most progheads. The high rating of the album is well deserved as the album is somewhat of a legend these days. 'Syntelman's March of the Roaring Seventies' is a glorious epic circus of estranged vocals, percussion shifts and acoustic augmentations. It really builds up into an instrumental that reminds me of early Pink Floyd. The guitar work is virtuoso and I particularly like the sustained keyboard notes that are ominous and threatening. The music breaks into sections but still flows organically along on a cadence or intonation of modulated rhythms. The vocals are terrific with some downright bizarre lyrics; "and suddenly come from everywhere snakes and rats and big fat cats" and "witches, offering to me a foolscap but the spell they could not say, what they got was apparent flesh from the master." At times it sounds as if Syd Barrett is being channelled. There is a fabulous wah wah lead solo akin to Hawkwind's spacey style, and the percussion is crashing cymbals and chaotic pentameter to the end.

Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child is a 19:33 epic with a cool guitar riff repeated over with a drone at first. It changes several times during it's epic structure, with some awesome riffs and mesmirising musicianship. The next section is almost a straight rock feel but the guitars sound unusual and out of tune or playing wrong notes, but it works to send the listener's ear off kilter. The Indian Sitar makes an entrance here with some bubbling effects. Vocals eventually come in with some existentialist LSD psychobabble; "save them a pocketful of laughter, Mona Lisa, do you see the people crying, do the speedway, do the highway." The lyrics seem improvised as much as the music, but it is a more a general feeling that is desired here, a spacey escapism from the burden of 70s culture and all the trash that was going on and the hyper changes. The counter culture was a target audience here, and it delivered with well executed acid induced rock. The track transfixes at intervals and holds interest with broken up ideas that are listed on the album sleeve, such as Landing In A Ditch, Dehypnotized Toothpaste, A Short Stop St, The Transylvanian Brain Surgery, Race From Here To Your Ears, and other weird ideas. Unless you really concentrate on the times it is almost impossible to recognise where each part starts and ends but it is certainly an innovative approach with definitive breaks in style. The keyboards provide a shimmering soundscape of cosmic ambience. The heavier rock guitar sound that locks in at 11:30 is perhaps my favourite moment, almost sounding like a spacier Led Zeppelin or Free. The 70s sound of the distorted guitar is always an ear pleaser, never overbearing but dirty riffing and played with attitude, a similar style to 70s obscurities Fuzzy Duck, Buffalo, Leaf Hound or Incredible Hog.

The Marilyn Monroe-Memorial-Church is another epic clocking 18 minutes and once again highly improvisational and dissonant, perhaps moreso than previous tracks. It is not the multi movement suite perhaps of the previous epic but it still has a lot of innovative ideas going on. I must admit this one is as hard to take as some of the psychotronic sonic violence of Ash Ra Temple's meditative album. It certainly breaks up the accessible tracks and is best heard in context of the whole album as it is totally different and not a clear indication of the album's overall content. If the whole album were like this it may have proven to be a very weary slog to get through for the average listener, although it sounds like early Can, a band that has a cult following. This music is akin to a space crawl through the cosmic netherverse and of course has extreme LSD connotations and psychedelic connections.

Then we get a trilogy of shorter songs; Chewing Gum Telegram (a great rocker with tons of chaotic drumming and chugging guitar), Stumbling over Melted Moonlight (another guitar driven freak out), and Toxicological Whispering (a strange guitar fusion closer), that is actually 7:48, but short by Amon Duul II's standards. It is an excellent album certainly and, along with Ash Ra Temple, perhaps one of the strangest and most influential of the embryonic 70s.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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