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A.R. & Machines - Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey) CD (album) cover

DIE GRUNE REISE (THE GREEN JOURNEY)

A.R. & Machines

Krautrock


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4 stars it's indeed strange why a magnificent musician like Achim Reichel has been kept from the archives so long. Indeed, I have met A.R & Machines' albums by chance (all 6 were lumped into a 2 mp3 CD's, which I bought my eyes closed from my dealer! you see, he's no wrong in finding rare and awesome material:) )

not much to say to describe this wonderful music from Germany. This is pure embryonic stage Krautrock, with obvious influences from the psychedelic movement of '60's in Europe (and a touch of blues, in the self-evident track...) . The only act I can compare A.R. is obviously Manuel Göttsching (not the initial Ash Ra Tempel period). Achim Reichel's guitar style is almost a copycat of Göttsching's trademark sound as introduced in his '74 masterpiece, Inventions for Electric Guitar. In fact, thinking of the release order of albums from both parties, it's difficult to imagine who copied who... (and let's not forget Gunter Schickert here)

as with many debuts, the music is mainly a foretaste of what is to come, and what makes this album outstanding is its success in holding all the elements together. I mean, A.R didn't create his masterpiece the moment he launched, but here we find more than a promising debut. And this promises were to be fulfilled sonner than you might expect. Check out the next one...

in itself, the album makes a great addition to any serious Krautrock fan's collection, and it's more than a decent piece for any other prog-rock fan.

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Send comments to Bilek (BETA) | Report this review (#87293)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Happy Adventures for Sense, Mind, and Inclination

Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey) is a fantastic debut released in 1971, a great year for both Krautrock and Prog Rock. This was my second album by A.R. and the Machines, and by no means a disappointment after the celestial bliss that is Echo. After hearing the first two albums by them, I was convinced that Krautrock is much more than just "experimental, random noises" like I once thought it was. A.R. and the Machines are my favorite Krautrock band at the moment, and although I'm still relatively new to the genre, this is saying a lot because many of the other, more popular, bands are excellent as well.

Such a shame this band doesn't receive more attention, which is one reason I'm reviewing them. All their albums are in desperate need of CD reissues, since they are only available in this format as bootlegs or as expensive, out of print, issues from other countries. Of course, LP would be the best option, but they're hard to find and pricey.

Like Echo and the rest of their discography, Die Grune Reise is structured around the echo guitar playing of Achim Reichel. If you like guitar-driven Krautrock, this is the album for you! It is sung mostly in English, with a bit of German thrown in. I really enjoy Achim Reichel's voice, especially in A.R. and the Machines. Like Echo, there is quite a bit of vocal experimentation in this album, but it is never overbearing. Somewhat accessible compared to Echo, and perhaps one of the more accessible Kraut albums I've heard thus far. Don't get me wrong, this is still a challenging album that will require a few listens to sink in, just not to the extent of other Krautrock. I'm not sure how popular this album was in Germany, but a single was made out of "I'll be Your Singer, You' be my Song / Come on People" which are both catchy, but still great.

There isn't anything negative about this album, I'm just not going to give it a full 5 stars like Echo because the debut isn't quite as dynamic. Still, it's a 4.5 star album that is definitely an "Excellent addition to any prog music collection" mainly for fans of '70s spacey and psychedelic music with an emphasis on guitar. If you are a fan of Krautrock album, Die Grune Reise is a must, as is everything else by this band.

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Send comments to Mikerinos (BETA) | Report this review (#124372)
Posted Saturday, June 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars. A.R. & MACHINES is the solo project of one Achim Reichel. The A.R. are of course his initials while the MACHINES are those elctronics and tape recorders he used to create this psychedelic sound.This album was released in 1971 and the press at that time roasted him for it. Achim you see had been this teen idol who was very well known in Germany. He was the founder and guitarist of the most popular Beat band in that country called THE RATTLERS. He grew tired though of strumming his guitar to this simple 4/4 beat and was looking for something more challenging. It would be like one of the Jonas brothers deciding to make this experimental, Psychedelic Prog album. No matter how good it was you know he would be ridiculed for this non-commercial nonsense. Right ? Well all these magazines that trashed Achim's debut album would later apologize as it was soon accepted that this was a tripped out masterpiece. He became known for the guitar echo which he came upon by complete accident. "I was just trying something out with my guitar, when out of the blue the Akai X-3300 began to repeat endless cascades of guitar echoes. My guitar suddenly sounded like ten". He found his new direction. I've known about this band for years but until recently have been unable to find any of his recording. I have the EROC remastered version from 2007. The title of this album means "The Green Journey". Julian Cope would call this record "...the final result of a kind of higher awareness..." Brian Eno said this was his main source for inspiration for his "Another Green World" album. And how about that album cover !

I'm going to use the English song titles. "Globe" opens with strange sounds then this catchy beat takes over.The song continues to change. Lots of electronics 2 1/2 minutes in. Great sound. "In The Same Boat" opens with this guitar riff as drums then vocals join in.It turns very psychedelic a minute in then that riff and beat returns. "Beautiful Babylon" sounds so cool to start out. Drums before a minute. It's all about the electronics before 3 minutes. It's laid back late. "I'll Be Your Singer-You'll Be My Song" is a short tune with vocals, strummed guitar and percussion. Psychedelic stuff. "Body" features percussion along with vocal and other sounds.

"A Book's Blues" is bluesy with a beat, vocals and guitar. "As If I Had Seen All This Before" has a very freaky intro with cool vocal expressions that are manipulated. Electronics and a beat take over as guitar and drums join in. Great sound. It's crazy psychedelic 3 1/2 minutes in. The beat returns then it's far out again. "Cosmic Vibration" sounds so good the way the guitar echoes. What a trip this song is. "Come On People" is led by vocals and drums. Vocal melodies and clapping join in. "Truth And Probability" is the perfect drug track. It made me laugh and wonder and I wasn't even high. The sounds echo and check out the vocal expressions that are manipulated. Just hilarious at times. Insanity !

A Krautrock classic !

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#241170)
Posted Thursday, September 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Moderator / Psych Team
4 stars In this album is a very mysterious feeling for such an eccentric and warped sound construction.

Suppose Achim might produce this anti-mainstream work with his strong intention to turn his back onto popular sound and style around 1970. The most important point upon his first work as A.R. & MACHINES is, that every pop phrase and style all around the album should NOT be straight or honest, but sometimes very quirky, sometimes very violent, aggressive, and sometimes very lazy and powerless (maybe intentionally). We can understand the concordance itself by listening to the first few "gorgeously sound-scattered" tracks. Even some ethnic and danceable percussive shots backwards can sound very cynical, not strict. Some heavy style standing between these percussive phrases can give me not comfort but palpitation, uniquely. His simple lyrics and lazy crazy voices can kick my empty heart to impress magnificently. Through his whole stage on this vinyl (or CD), his hot and dry material like air over desert may notify me what the real Krautrock should be.

Indeed there are lots of albums called as something of Krautrock textbooks, but I do consider we can add this intentionally whacked out (namely, wonderful or fantastic in our scene!) work as an atypical Kraut but a heavy Kraut-magma, into this subgenre library. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to DamoXt7942 (BETA) | Report this review (#284301)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A.R. & Machines (or Achim Reichel) debut album is not just a classic kraut rock. Chronologically placed somewhere between early genre's works, this album is a strange, hypnotic and repetitive combination of guitar loops, unusual drumming and pop-elements. Heavily psychedelic, this work are more similar to some Brian Eno early works, but has nothing too much in common with many later classic kraut rock jazzy works.

Having similar aesthetics, this album sounds quite different even from genre colleagues of the same time. Some moments remind me Can though. And I believe that this album's diversity is its strong point. You can find there plenty of styles and sounds, from r,n,b to danceable pop moments, but everything - under deep sauce of psychedelia.

For me it was not what I expected to hear, and it took some time and many spins just to accept this work. Then, I could recommend it to everyone searching on kraut rock roots, or for fans of "different" early psychedelic prog as well.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#289214)
Posted Monday, July 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Die Grune Reise (aka The Green Journey) really is a great trip. As soon as I listened to the sample available here on PA I knew this was an album I needed to check out, so I did just that. Couldn't be happier with my decision, except if the rest of his albums were still obtainable so that I could hear more. This album is full to the brim (and beyond) with echoing/multitracked guitars, along with some percussion and vocals here and there, and it's really a unique album thus far in my collection. The combination of elements displayed here by Reichel is a lot of fun - we've got technical ability, playfulness, the bizarre, and maybe just a little bit of insanity. It's a great example of just how psychedelic and "out there" some Krautrock can get, and a good introduction into the less well known side of things.

The DVD which came with my edition is pretty great as well - a movie to go along with the music, which is fittingly bizarre and (more often than not, for me) incredibly confusing. Not confusing in a bad way, though.

For fans of bizarre, psychedelic trips - listen to the sample track graciously provided here on PA, and hopefully you'll be interested in this insane Krautrock masterpiece.

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Send comments to SaltyJon (BETA) | Report this review (#293312)
Posted Tuesday, August 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Rock 'n' Psych Blues Roll. Achim Reichel's debut is a fascinating early krautrock album that is often based on simple blues-rock grooves that get gradually decomposed into chaotic lunacy. Layers of sonic experimentation and delayed guitar effects are applied to achieve an amazing trip through the wonderful world of Kraut-rock.

If one feeling prevails after listening to this album it's that of an artist having the time of his life with new and self-made technologies. In other words, it's not an album you should play if you want to hear advanced levels of symphonic song composition, but it's one where you need to tune in to the creativity of Reichel's childlike fantasy world. The last 12 minute track Truth and Probability mainly consist of crazy vocal experimentation that is both hilarious and hard to get into. Space-cake might help I guess.

Die Grüne Reise is a fascinating experimental R'n'R trip. An excellent kraut album and a masterpiece of fun.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#305202)
Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars The A.R. stands for Achim Reichel, who was a member of "the German Beatles" The Rattles. Machines refers to gadgets he uses to alter the sound. Just him on guitar and vocals with a drummer and a percussionist. I'm not exactly sure what the gadgets are he's using(Echoplex? Ring modulator?). Generally there is a echo type effect throughout where you hear a guitar or vocal sound in one channel and then hear it again within a second in the other channel. Occasionally the guitar is altered to almost sound like a synthesizer. The cover of this album is similar to Guru Guru's Hinten. I prefer this one because I rather look at a woman's lips than a man's ass.

"In The Same Boat" has a typical eatly '70s hard rock riff. "Beautiful Babylon" you can listen to on PA. It's one of the better songs. Some synth-like guitar effects at the start. Nice guitar playing with bongos. Later drums and guitar in a slower tempo. "I'll Be Your Singer, You Be My Song" is the first song with vocals. A folk-rock type song. "A Book's Blues" is truth in adverstising. A straight blues song.

"As If I Have Seen All This Before" is the best song. Good guitar throughout with bongos. Later bongos stop and then drums. More synth-like guitar effects. The drums stop then some blues- rock guitar and the drums come back. More synth-like guitar effects. "Cosmic Vibration" has interesting guitar and percussion starting in the middle with more synth-like guitar effects. "Come On, People" is a hippie singalong.

The last and longest song "Truth And Probability" is the only track where the effects are more important than the music. It's a very trippy song but it doesn't hold up on repeated listens. Overall this is an interesting album but there is a lot of better Krautrock out there. 3 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#341891)
Posted Friday, December 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is definitely Krautrock but unlike most contemporaries that were distancing themselves from the blues and rock influences of the 60s, A.R. & MACHINES fully utilized a blues based guitar sound on this album. What makes this so trippy is that they added guitar loops, effects and feedback like there's no tomorrow. It can sound like a very accessible sound one moment and then suddenly burst into extremely trippy worlds where the only thing that's for sure is that echos and feedback are plentiful, but all with an underlying catchiness.

Achim Reichel (A.R.) started out in Germany quite innocently as a pop-star in the beat group The Rattles in the 60s and actually played alongside The Beatles at a few points. They were successful on the charts in several countries and were the first German group to ever hit the charts in the US. After many years of doing the pop thing, Achim opted for something different. Something very different. Taking with him the pop sensibilities of his past, he added a healthy dose of surreality and trippiness making this debut as A.R. & THE MACHINES one strange bird.

This was an instant classic for me as I love the combo effect of the accessible and the strangeness. The highlight for me is the final cut Wahrheit Und Wahrscheinlichkeit (Truth And Probabilty) which has to be THE most tripped out piece of music ever. It is all echo all the time with Mr Reichel basically yelping out whatever strikes his fancy at the moment with the occasional guitar breaking in for a little break. This fantastic album satisfies my innermost psychedelic needs time and time again. One of the most tripped out albums in existence!

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Send comments to siLLy puPPy (BETA) | Report this review (#1070290)
Posted Friday, November 01, 2013 | Review Permalink

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