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Floh De Cologne - Rockoper Profitgeier CD (album) cover

ROCKOPER PROFITGEIER

Floh De Cologne

Krautrock


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Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
2 stars Reflecting the rebellious times ...

FLOH DE COLOGNE represents a german rock section which is provided with a strong political orientation. Their music is not that spectacular (at least for this recordings), mainly used for wrapping the messages I would say. For judging this album it's recommended to go deeper into the lyrics and to be familiar with the german language plus the social situation a little bit.

Starting as an agitprop theater group FLOH DE COLOGNE appeared on the Essener Songtage 1968 which was one of the initial events for the development of krautrock. Obviously they were impressed by other participating rock bands like Zappa's MOTHERS OF INVENTION for example and the emphasis changed to make political rock music afterwards. And therefore in January 1971 FLOH DE COLOGNE put the first german rock opera 'Profitgeier' on the stage.

This album is full of harsh left-wing criticism at the situation in Germany and reflects the social background with the student protests at the end of the 60s and a spirit of optimism which also had an effect on many workers. Unlike other german bands with a political approach like EULENSPYGEL the FLOH DE COLOGNE members didn't make any compromises. 'Profitgeier' is another german description for 'exploiter'. The album back cover for example is provided with invitations to join marxist organisations which especially were oriented at the USSR politics.

Nowadays it's quite astonishing that the band found a financially strong label which released such an album (besides some others). But at that time OHR as a sub-label of Metronome was especially charged to explore bands and artists which were reflecting the rebellious times - headed by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser who supported a lot of new experimental bands and therefore became a key figure for the krautrock genre.

The songs are fading into each other which can be expected for a live presented rock 'opera' whereas this title can only be considered in the widest sense because of a very generic concept. Some applause is to detect here and there which demonstrates the live character. Musically the songs are dominated by rock n' roll, heavy rock and blues - technically good but not very ambitious - even not prog-related though. Maybe one could say pre-kraut with some reasons. Textually interesting parts are alternating with slogans which are way too simple or provocative, often presented as sprechgesang or recitative.

The political lessons are starting with He, hallo Stift whereas 'Stift' is colloquially ment for an apprentice and the song especially deals with the situation of young factory workers. 'Who owns the world?' and other fundamental questions are asked during the following songs. Auf dem Arbeitsmarkt is played in a heavy psych rock mood and musically an outstanding track with excellent guitar work. The last song Wir werden immer mehr, literally translated to 'We are always getting more', expresses a big ambition which finally could not be realized until today.

I know the band since the 70s but never saw them live in opposite to similar acts like the austrian SCHMETTERLINGE with their 'Proletenpassion'. Their orientation at the politically bankrupt USSR, the plain music combined with flat textual substance here and there - this was not a big hit according to my taste.

Recommended to collectors of obscure german rock output who are able to get into the very special german lyrics.

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Send comments to Rivertree (BETA) | Report this review (#169411)
Posted Thursday, May 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Floh De Cologne are one of the lesser known contributors from the German underground movement, commonly known to us as 'Krautrock'. Sure, musically, they share a rough, psychedelic sound not far from AMON DUUL (closer to the original incarnation, as opposed to Duul II), but also features the classic Vox Continental organ sound (associated with THE DOORS) and an eccentric, humourous bent not far away from FRANK ZAPPA, unfortunately though the texts and lyrics are all in German, making it a bit lost on most of us non-German speaking folks. Overall, the 5 musicians present are proficient on their instruments (particularly main organist, Markus Schmidt), but seem to employ an in-band policy of chopping and changing who-plays- what, and they convey their voices with a lot of character - often modifying their expression, depending on what it is they're saying and how the music is structured behind the voices. It's fair to say that the music is somewhat secondary to the texts, but this arrangement strikes me as highly creative, genuine and even fun to listen to. 'Profitgeier' is performed live 11 January, 1971 in Neumunster, and in Windrose-Dumont studio over the following couple of days, hence, there's very little in the way of audience noises and live interaction. Listening to this, I find little in the way of offensiveness or weakness, I really enjoy it - side 2 features some pieces which are extended and serve the band well, especially 'Die Luft gehort denen, die sie atmen' segueing into the 7 min+ title track. This album is quite excellent actually, and highly recommended for all those adventurous Proggers. Krautrock, yeah, where else could you file something this diverse and unique ???

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#282013)
Posted Saturday, May 15, 2010 | Review Permalink

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