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Amon Düül - Paradieswärts Düül CD (album) cover


Amon Düül



3.10 | 53 ratings

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3 stars A very loose translation of the title "Paradieswärts Düül" might be "We're Bound For Glory". And the vehicle of choice for the journey, in counterculture Munich circa 1970, was a radical communal lifestyle and, presumably, a lot of psychotropic drugs. It may not have been the best answer to the lingering reactionism of post-Nazi Germany. But at least the music was worthwhile, in retrospect more so than the movement itself.

Unlike the more dedicated musicians of Amon Düül II, the first incarnation of the band (actually more of a disorganized collective) was strictly an amateur project, on this album playing a haphazard assortment of flutes, bongo drums and acoustic guitars (I'm surprised the lineup on these pages doesn't list 'cannabis' as a primary instrument). After two very noisy free-form LPs the unexpected pastoral gentleness - more Krautfolk than Krautrock - might have been a conscious reaction against the urban guerilla warfare of the Baader- Meinhof gang: fellow travelers in the same Munich commune and early fans of the band.

How else to explain the meandering 17-minute mantra "Love is Peace", really just a three- minute exercise in Flower Power stretched to fill an entire side of vinyl. Or the grammatically- challenged "Snow Your Thirst and Sun Your Open Mouth", the title to which is evidence of either a failed German-English translation or a fried brain stem. The two best songs here weren't even on the original album: "Eternal Flow" and "Paramechanical World", a pair of haunting, minimal Krautballads first released as a 7-inch single and nicely positioned here as a bonus coda.

The musical skills of the ersatz group were never more than rudimentary, and worked better that way. At the start of a musical decade that would increasingly become a celebration of sometimes empty virtuosity and thematic overkill, the disarming innocence of the playing on this album remains the melodic equivalent of a breath of fresh air.

Well, maybe not entirely fresh. The album is very much a product of its era, and hearing it for the first time more than forty years later is like inhaling a lungful of secondhand pot: a mildly stimulating diversion at best, but high times to an old square like me.

It would take a more generous pair of ears to award "Paradieswärts Düül" anything more than three solid stars (for the music alone...give the album five stars for the integrity of its hippie idealism). And while it certainly casts a unique and peculiar spell, I'm not really tempted to explore any deeper into the anarchic rituals of earlier Amon Düül albums like the notorious 1969 freak out of "Psychedelic Underground". Pardon the lousy pun, but I think I'll quit while I'm a Head.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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