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Code III - Planet of Man CD (album) cover

PLANET OF MAN

Code III

 

Krautrock

3.61 | 27 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This obscure relic, apparently intended as some sort of demonstration disc, takes the listener on a cosmic voyage to the beginning of Time itself, reconstructed in a barely organized jumble of music, poetry, and amateur theatrics. It likely would be totally forgotten by now without the participation of KLAUS SCHULZE, but the Progressive Electronic trailblazer was just a hired hand for these sessions (and only as a drummer), his presence unable to salvage what must have been a very odd novelty even in the 1970s.

A possible concept is suggested by the cover reproduction of the NASA Pioneer plaque, launched into space as a greeting to any potential interstellar neighbors. The opening minutes of the album likewise recall the sound of a deep space probe adrift between the stars, but the awesome ambiance is interrupted by some portentous overlapping male/female narration, sounding like a Michael Moorcock paraphrase of the Book of Genesis.

What follows is an unexpected and very lovely episode of unplugged acid folk: a musical evocation of Eden by way of PINK FLOYD's "Grantchester Meadows", complete with birdsong. It's easily the highlight of the entire journey, and all the more charming when compared to the clunky symbolism heard afterward in "Dawn of an Era".

Here the music gives way to a cacophony of animal shouts, campfire chanting, and clumsy percussion...or maybe it's someone pounding nails into pressure-treated 2x4 lumber? The effect is not unlike an early RESIDENTS album (minus the humor), or a discarded outtake from the notorious AMON DÜÜL freakfest of "Psychedelic Underground", after the LSD wore off.

Some desultory Space Rock finally emerges during the 25-plus minute "Countdown-Phoenix Rising", with Schulze's metronomic drumming counting time beneath a foreground of ethereal Middle Eastern vocalizing. And the album returns in the end to the same idyllic melody heard earlier, but with more electronic emphasis in the reprise, providing artificial but not unwelcome closure to a very haphazard LP.

Listening to the album today is like watching an old, low-budget film with your eyes closed (or blindfolded): be prepared for more sound effects and dialogue than actual music. The world of Krautrock is dotted with unknown gems and hidden treasures, but some rarities are better left that way.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |

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