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Cannabis India - SWF Session 1973 CD (album) cover


Cannabis India

Symphonic Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Playing like a lost basement recording of ELP circa 1971, this high-energy power trio pumped out shameless ersatz classical rock and recorded one brief set in 1973 at Germany's Sudwestfunk radio facilities, preserved and finally released in 2009 on Long Hair. Cannabis India was loosely part of Dusseldorf's Wuppertal scene and was led by child piano prodigy (and Keith Emerson devotee) Oliver Petry, backed by the fierce performance of drummer Rudiger Braune and noted bassist Dirk Fleck.

The band had a brief career but developed a reputation locally as a strong live act, and that immediacy comes pouring through on SWF Session 1973, an all-instrumental sample of four cuts including a version of Beethoven's 9th. We're battered open by Petry's machine gun riffing for 'Hand of the King': mean, dynamic, and very cool, Rudiger Braune Keith Mooning his way through it all and the masterful intonation of Dirk Fleck's Fender bass. Many good changes in this 7+ minute chunk of fugue flash, followed by doubly-long 'Lapis' where the Tarkus quotes are most present. Though frankly, CI was probably doing the sort of pure instrumental organ rock that many ELP fans quietly wished their favorite band would indulge more in. No deep lyrics, gonzo improvisations or lovelorn ballads here, just three hungry players with a taste for this new sound in popular music. 'Revolver' is a Gothic dungeon in the great North German school tradition, and the massive 'Beethoven's 9th' is a very fine interpretation.

Cannabis India will remind of any number of other bands during their time and yet don't really play like anyone else. There is an urgency to these cuts that trumps most of their bigger peers and we're fortunate this old relic has survived and been uncovered. Recommended to lovers of the golden age. Two good tracks from Petry's later group Universe are included.

Report this review (#284778)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars A German version of ELP? Why not?

Cannabis India's "SWF Session 1973" is the one and only album recorded from the Sudwestfunk radio facilities of Germany is a genuine curio that has finally surfaced in 2009 on CD. The immediate influence that can be recognised is Emerson Lake & Palmer, in fact they sound so much like them it is quite astonishing. The keyboard wizardry of Oliver Petry is a key factor and he is a virtuoso of dynamic flawless innovation. 'Hand of the King' begins things with a moody dark textured vibe with sonic imbalances and extreme intricate rhythmic patterns. The attack of the staccato pounding on the Hammond is a delightful sound. I am reminded of "Tarkus" here. The engine room of the bass and drums provide a framework for Petry to revel in. Rudiger Braune is a great drummer and he really knows how to jazz out on these instrumentals. Dirk Fleck plays some awesome basslines and really carries the music into dynamic progressions. 'Lapis' is a 12 minute exploration of light and dark textures with 'Tarkus' motifs and Wakeman-esque flourishes, heck it even rhymes with 'Tarkus', well almost, 'Lapis, Tarkus'. It is not as good as 'Tarkus' but I was still taken back with the intricate fractured rhythms and overall approach. 'Revolver' is shorter at 4 minutes and sounds a lot darker in texture, and it all ends with the magnificent classical interpretation of 'Beethoven's 9th' that is instantly recognizable.

As Universe, Petry is joined by Detlev Krause on guitar, Bernd Frielingsdorf on drums, and Detlev Dalitz on bass. There are two tracks to pad the album out to a decent length, 'Mirror' and 'The Hunt', but this was far from a perfect addition, not as compelling as the CI sessions.

Overall this is a treasure dug up from the gold mines of prog and well worth seeking out.

Report this review (#284796)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars Interesting as one of these long lost, or forgotten projects, Cannabis India (well, weird name to say the least) did something that I'm (again) unable not to compare with one of the main names in Symphonic Prog genre. You know the drill, it's ELP.

ELP were revolutionary, yes, but they had melody and virtuosity. This is only virtuosly done, technically great performed something that reminds classical pieces (but not that much) with obvious dominant instrument - keyboard. It's uncompromising, demanding, but not that much rewarding.

3(-), certainly not my cup of tea. I can admire how well it's done, but it lacks soul, warmth, human feelings. Too cold to be enjoyable.

Report this review (#308103)
Posted Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars A bit of an obscure goodie, this one. This German band was pretty shortlived, this being the only album from this band.

Cannabis India was a Keith Emerson clone with some added Ludwig Van Beethoven adulations too. The instruments was basically tangents. The sound on this album is one hundred percent Keith Emerson adulation. Thankfully, Cannabis India is much more true to the original and adds far more church organs to the sound than the other big Keith Emerson copycat from Germany; The Pink Mice.

The sound here is pretty good with some tasty church organs and melodies. Cannabis India has stolen chunks of ELPs Tarkus though. Parts of this album is like a "spot the Tarkus bit" game. A pretty hilarious game for the whole family, btw. Besides of that, this album is pretty good throughout. I find nothing wrong with it, but I am not overwhelmed positive about it either. It is a cloned piece of music, no less and no more.

3 stars

Report this review (#406598)
Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I lost interest so many times listening to it. Yes there are ELP steals in it, but only very short and more suggestions than actual steals. Then suddenly like a flash of light I changed my mind, this album grew on me in the night, I have a habit of listening on earphones and then drifting off to sleep at night, I awoke half way though and suddenly appreciated the whole thing, brilliant keyboard playing, lovely aggressive Hammond. I really like this now, it is like full on ELP without Greg Lake, which in this case is no big thing, it leaves more room for the Keyboards. Highly recommended to fans of ELP, so much better than Mastermind for example. It even has the mood of the Nice in the Hammond, but the playing is top notch. An excellent addition to any collection
Report this review (#1480760)
Posted Saturday, October 31, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Cannabis India was the Emerson Lake and Palmer German band but, with a powerfull music contribution for a quality band of Germany seventies music. When i listen for the first time this album (the only I now and I think that's realy oni one of this band), I remeber the Deutch Trace and the Germany band Triunvirat, because the keiboard sound. Play Rock with a church organ sound it's great to me, and it's a nice album to listen to nostalgic seventies sound of Progressive Rock. I by the cd version with two bonus tracks and the tho last ones, have a nice guitar arrangement, but the principal instrument of this album is the organ. It's a good album to seventies collectors, obscure, and I give 4 stars because de band deserve.
Report this review (#1508598)
Posted Thursday, January 7, 2016 | Review Permalink

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