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A.R. & Machines - AR3 [Aka: A. R. III] CD (album) cover

AR3 [AKA: A. R. III]

A.R. & Machines


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4 stars More Musick for the Brain

A.R. 3 was released shortly after the masterpiece double LP, Echo. In this album, Achim Reichel was in the middle of his progressive rock phase and very much at the top of his game musically speaking.

Compared to the previous two albums, A.R. 3 is generally jazzier and less experimental. Like always, it features the phenominal echo-styled guitar work of Achim Reichel, with the help of some other talented musicians. If this album wasn't made in Germany and entirely instrumental, one could easily mistake it as a "psychedelic/space rock" album, because it's made up of mostly kosmiche, spacey jams. It's the occassional vocal chants and keyboards which give it a nice Krautrock flavor. "The Owners of the World" is an extremely catchy song that could have easily become a radio hit during the '70s. Although this song is very out of place, it's still great nonetheless.

A.R. 3 doesn't quite live up after the high standards set from the band's first two albums, but I still deeply adore it. What prevents this album from getting a perfect five stars is because it isn't as innovative as their previous works, and just not as exciting overall. That's being said in a very nitpicky, review-like mindset, however, for normal, listening standards this is a superb album with no major flaws.

4.25 stars on my scale, indeed an "excellent addition to any prog music collection." Especially recommended for fans of spacey and psychedelic music, and essential to Krautrock enthusiasts. I recommend discovering A.R. and the Machines chronologically, but you really can't go wrong with any of the first three albums (which is all I have at the moment). Another great journey, happy listening...

Report this review (#124946)
Posted Thursday, June 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is A.R. & MACHINES third album and like the last one there are a lot of guests helping Achim Reichel out. I count 10 actually including Okko Bekker a Dutchman who was born and lived in Germany at the time. He plays sitar, tablas and other ethnic instruments. Certainly compared to the debut this is much less dynamic and innovative. It's like Achim decided to turn from those psychedelic and experimental sounds to more of an even keel with a prominant ethnic vibe. POPOL VUH came to mind at times. I'm going to use the English song titles for this review.

"Why Peter Is Only On Holiday" opens with this rhythm that builds before settling down 1 1/2 minutes in as sounds come and go. No melody really when it calms down. Echo guitar starts to lead and bass helps out 3 1/2 minutes in. Percussion a minute later. I like this. It's building again after 5 1/2 minutes. "Tarzan's Adventures In The Summer Sale" opens with guitar and drums. Sax is prominant after 1 1/2 minutes. Lots of percussion too. Intense sound 2 1/2 minutes in. This is great ! "10 Years Life Imprisonment" is pastoral to open before it kicks in after a minute. Lots of percussion and echo guitar. Vocals after 2 minutes followed by some excellent guitar 3 minutes in and later before 5 1/2 minutes. Some prominant bass here too. It builds to an intense sound 6 minutes in then settles late and blends into "The Frost-Giant's Daughter". Drums, vocals and guitar join in.

"The Owners Of The World" really does seem out of place. It's quite commercial sounding with vocals being the focus. "Today It Is Warmer Than Outside" features some organ and echo guitar. It kicks in after a minute. Nice. It blends into "In German We Call It Conscience-Bites".Vocals around a minute. This is catchy stuff. "(I...Me Like I ...You)" is a short but cool tune. We get some organ, sax, electric guitar and even a rattle after 1 1/2 minutes. "Everybody Goes To Goa" opens with spacey winds as vocal expressions and a beat come in. A change as sitar eventually becomes prominant 2 1/2 minutes in. The sounds get louder as tablas help out. This is very ethnic sounding.

I must admit i've struggeled with my rating here. I just can't bring myself to give it 4 stars even though there are some real highlights here. Just not enough of them I suppose.

Report this review (#241937)
Posted Monday, September 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
3 stars On AR3 Achim Reichel led his A.R. & MACHINES band into a jazzier straight forward almost pop song realm. The head-in-the-clouds trippiness from the first two albums has been suppressed to the point that the echo guitars and other sound embellishments have been tamed and only act as a subordinating sound for the songs. The songs on this third release are merely ok and I have a hard time getting into this one. The vocal tracks really rub me the wrong way. Did anyone practice or was this just thrown together in the wee hours of the night? There are some nice tracks that evoke the spirit of the first two albums but overall in every way this album is inferior to what came before and the two that come after.

The horn backup is a nice touch and it's not the idea of how to direct the band that is the problem, it's the execution. Luckily these ideas would come to fruition on the next album "A.R. IV" which I would recommend over this one any day. However, as a fan of this sound I am more than happy to give this a spin every now and again because it does signify a major shift in the band's approach to their music. As always there are countless musicians helping out and the woven tapestry of sound is a pleasant one but unless you are a major fan as I am you will probably be more interested in "Die Grüne Reise (The Green Journey)," "Echo" or "A.R. IV."

Report this review (#1273619)
Posted Tuesday, September 9, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars The innovative echo-guitar of Achim Reichel could only be spun so far before the novelty grew thin. And on his third AR&M record he crossed that invisible threshold separating true exploration from aimless jamming.

The album restored the more song-based, psychedelic pop of "Die Grüne Reise" (his thrilling 1971 debut), but this time without the same stable underpinning of purpose. There's a conspicuous lack of direction over the LP's two sides, making it sound like a collection of random outtakes and studio rehearsals, spliced neatly together. The music comes to life only during the occasional hypnotic groove, most of which are perversely allowed to evaporate just as they reach cruising speed.

Apparently the guitarist made his point too well on his previous albums, and ran out of new things to say. That exhilarating sense of weightless flight was gone, leaving Reichel and his Machines in temporary freefall before deploying a belated parachute in "A.R. IV".

Report this review (#1597568)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2016 | Review Permalink

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