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2 stars Emptidi's debut album is containing mainly quite simple psychedelic folk and the dominant instrument used in most of the songs is acoustic guitar. First five songs are really not that much interesting for a Prog fan since they remind pretty much to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. Let the joint go 'round is the first one sounding a bit different in the vein of early Jefferson Airplane. Yvonne's dream is a more quiet one sounding slightly strange. Brids on a graveyard is reminiscent to Hoelderlin in some way and quite nice. I'd say the best one so far together with the final Flute Piece which is the first one they're presenting other instruments like kazoo, bouzouki and very well played flute.

Their second album is supposed to be their better work providing some keyboards as well. I still have to try to find that one. Their debut is just a collector's item I would say and not of any interest for Prog fans.

Report this review (#36305)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Emtidi rised from the Kraut / folk scene with a rather peaceful, primitive, simplistic charming album. This first effort is exclusively played on various acoustic instruments (essentially guitars and flute). Consequently we can hear pleasant folk / dreamy tunes. Not banal well played and structured but not very original and revolutionary. This Teutonic pastoral music contains a certain dose of emotional, introspect, delicate expressions that can make you relaxed. A calm, pleasant folk music but hard to say that it is a prog rock item. However a good start before their impressive "Saat".
Report this review (#39133)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The music on this album resembles mostly American hippie folk music which was popular at the 1960's. The more famous icons of this genre like Peter, Paul & Mary have probably been influences for these performers, but this stuff is slighly more amateurish when compared to the material of more professionally produced recordings of their innovators. However, sometimes rawness can be an interesting characteristics also. "Emtidi" is still an enjoyable album for a folk fan, but this record doesn't have very progressive music elements (experimentalism, innovations, emphasized spiritual insight) in it in. The simple compositions have some good melodies, but there are also some weak moments included, so I do not consider this the most classy "guitar and singer" material I have managed to hear yet on my path of musical exploration. Also most of the psychedelic elements here are only related to the non-musical aspects of folk scene, like themes in the lyrics etc. The first five songs (maybe the A-side of the LP?) are less innovative as the rest of the tracks, which have hits of Indian-style music with raga influences, as for examples "Let The Joint Go 'round" and the longer instrumental number at the end of the record titled "Flutepiece". "Birds on a graveyard" is a very good instrumental tune, worth of mentioning too. I wonder if the first songs are their early material, or have the first side have been wished to be more accessible? As for a German act, they sing and pronounce English quite well. The recording quality isn't exceptional, and there is lots of analog hiss audible on the background. Their following album sounded much more innovative, but the fans of psyhcedelic folk and German underground scene might want to check this out.
Report this review (#81149)
Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Just like listening to this album and this band can come out of an interesting search down a rock 'n' stuff obscure store, down the more dusted and old-stocked albums sections (true, the second album Saat can be more top-shelved, it's much better than the debut), the album itself is purely an interesting listen, with some calm progressive features and a bit of biased mix, always good to sense, feel or radically attach.

Emtidi mixes, generally, a folk consistent craft with a sum of various impressions, going from symphonic easy/too easy affections, psychedelic impressive nuances or drops, even some krautrock derange, most rare to hear, and a general good disposition towards the separate blend of composition, instrumentality, vocals-dominance and lyricalness. Sadly from this partially good partially unreachable debut comes the fact that all those mentioned styles aren't the best, the strongest or the most intricately played in the entire genre: the progressive radical involvement, in such an early time, is complicated enough, as to show Emtidi in both a relaxing and pointless spotlight. Not to gravely emphase the second word, nevertheless to decisively mark that Emtidi could have been a better prog musical program.

The album is strangled by the work and persisting value of only two artists, who play an eclectic range of instruments and do get to express even more than that. Maik Hirschfeldt, though credited for mainly traditional instruments, makes the wondrous precision of an acoustic guitar special sound, of a relatively complex instrumentality or of a chain of effects, proper for folk, prog or otherwise nothing so pointed-out at all. Dolly Holmes is essential by her vocals (which combine the good affection of chanting, small effects and crystal lyrical vitality essences, but also lowers down to ballads and swings, familiar with Renaissance and Annie Haslam's sound-charm), but can only please, though not distinctively, her part of instrument perdition, mixing more unusual ones with the same guitar cocktail.

Finally this folk/psychedelic album isn't fantastic, but peaceful and in a peace of prog satiety. Good melodies attract small moments of poignant ethnicism or folk clever accents. The drift, though, sticks to being a charm cast, a progressive outtake, a fragmented sense. The first part, though under all manners gaining in beauty sung and melody-personalization, suffers the most; casual, crispy at most, chestful gentle at best. The second part, highlighting Space Age's sudden improvisation of strange sounds, more sequenced instrumentality or a bright cosmic flare, and Flutepiece, as a strong and exciting explosion of flute play and sound-movement, can be something good for fans or for a worthy artistic inclination. Counting all the efforts and the delicate composition, but facing a popular, easy, even adverse from major folk or truthful psychedelic orientations, Emtidi is rather pale, early recorded, fascinatingly missed and smooched.

I think this is only for fans (folk and psych, most confidently). With Saat, the picture changes.

Report this review (#129609)
Posted Saturday, July 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars If you’ve ever wondered what Bob Dylan would sound like with a kazoo backing him up, just hunt down this record and check out “No Turn Back”. German Maik Hirschfeldt, who does a fairly decent job of parroting Dylan’s intonation and (sic) articulation on this album is backed by kazoo on that song by Dolly Holmes, a Canadian and the other half of this odd early seventies folk duo. This is their first album, and is even more obscure than their second and final, the sometimes praised ‘Saat’ (but not by me).

This record was first released in 1970 on the Thorofon label, a company better known for their classical music catalog. You won’t find a copy of that anywhere; and the 1995 CD from the dubious Germanophon label is a poor copy from the vinyl from what I’ve read. Wah-Wah Records issued a vinyl copy from the master tapes in 2007, and that’s probably the only one that can be found anymore. Not that I’d recommend going to too much trouble to do so – this is an unexceptional recording and not even as interesting as their slightly more approachable Krautfolk follow-up ‘Saat’.

There are no drums, bass or electric instruments here, and in fact the duo recorded it with nothing more than a couple of acoustic guitars, occasional flute, a bouzouki and the aforementioned kazoo which seems to only appear on “No Turn Back”. The guitar playing is fairly generic acoustic folk stuff, with a bent note or tempo shift here and there just to let you know the two musicians are capable of a bit more than simple strumming. The flute is almost imperceptible when it does appear and really barely counts as an instrument as a result (except on the closing “Flutepiece”). And the bouzouki blends with the 12-string acoustic to the point where neither is distinguished from the other.

The most interesting thing about this album is how distinctly different the front and back sides are. The first five tracks are not much more than simple hippy folk that was so prevalent in that era that there are likely hundreds of forgotten, similar albums who are even more lost to time than this one. The back side, on the other hand, branches out just enough to make the ‘acid folk’ label seem appropriate. The title of “Let the joint go ‘round” speaks for itself, a five minute disjointed acoustic guitar jam with half-discernable vocals and the overall feel of a mellow buzz on a slow afternoon. “Yvonne's Dream” is more of the same although shorter, and here I almost get the impression the two artists are poking a bit of fun at the genre.

The back side of the record is also mostly instrumental, including a very pleasant if unoriginal acoustic guitar solo on “Birds on a Graveyard”, and a sort of folk freak-out bouzouki-and-flute extended play called “Flutepiece” that makes it clearly apparent these two were tripping and recording at the same time. It was 1970 after all.

This isn’t anything close to a masterpiece, but it may be of mild interest to serious progressive and acid folk fans. I’m going to round up my assessment (2.6 stars) to the next even number and call it three, but with only a tepid recommendation. Don’t spend your money on this one unless you are the sort of person that listens to bands like Höelderlin, It’s a Beautiful Day or the Ghost.


Report this review (#183149)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permalink

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