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3 stars Better late than never, I suppose, but this live-in-the-studio novelty was too long overdue, released almost forty years after it was recorded. Dzyan never achieved anything more than cult stardom, at best. But to fans this belated addition to their slim discography will provide a fascinating slice of audio anthropology: the missing link between the band's jazzy 1972 debut and the blossoming Krautrock of their "Time Machine" and "Electric Silence" albums (the latter title currently the Number Ten rated Krautrock album on this site).

The prevailing style was still the Canterbury Fusion of that first LP, with Gerd Ehrmann's frenetic saxophone the primary instrument on most tracks, and percussionist Jochen Leuschner providing the bluesy lead vocals. But the ace up their collective sleeve was new guitarist Eddy Marron, recently enlisted but already making an impact, even in a relative supporting role.

Under his galvanizing influence the music was beginning to show a harder edge, in tracks like "Steel's Electric": an obvious signpost toward the MAHAVISHNU intensity of the "Time Machine" sessions. Listening to Marron's absolutely torrid solo at the end of "Dragonsong" (a holdover song from the first album) it's easy to imagine the jaws of his bandmates falling to the studio floor in flabbergasted awe, as the guitarist shredded his fretboard into ragged tatters.

In this track and elsewhere you can hear the later, psychedelicized Dzyan trying to break free of its Jazz Rock shell, especially when Marron begins strumming his beloved Turkish saz, in the song of the same name. The more exploratory instrumental jams show their age best, and the band itself no doubt felt the same. After this rehearsal 'concert' the way ahead must have seemed clear: ditch the singer and the sax, and continue as a trio (but with a more sympathetic drummer).

The title track is an odd droning entr'acte from bassist Reinhard Karwatky (recording date unknown), and the incomplete "Celestial City" is the only selection actually performed on stage. It was included here as a bonus track, but really the entire album is a welcome bonus, 38-years late but worth the wait.

Report this review (#926795)
Posted Friday, March 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This was a posthumous release originally recorded live in studio back in 1972 but not released until 2010. I was a little nervous about this one only because I found the 1972 debut to be a little hit and miss for my tastes and this live recording came between that one and the followup "Time Machine" which I really like. And while the syle here may be more like the debut this one is a winner folks. Already since the debut the band has a new drummer and lead guitarist on this live recording. Not a bad thing though as the great Eddy Marron plays lead guitar on here, and he would also play on their next studio album "Time Machine". Interesting that the lead vocalist and sax player would also leave before "Time Machine" was recorded. I should also mention that only one track on here can be found on their studio albums making this a must for DZYAN fans.

"Resurrection" is the almost 10 minute opener. Lots of dark atmosphere to start on this one as sounds come and go. Some heavy outbursts a minute in including sax. The song finally kicks into gear before 3 1/2 minutes as the tempo picks up. Vocals around 4 minutes for the first time. Love the instrumental section before 5 1/2 minutes as the guitar starts to let it rip. Nice heavy rhythm section here too. This lasts for just over a minute then the vocals return. Atmosphere ends it. A good tune but my least favourite of the bunch. "Dragonsong" is the only track on here found on another album by them (debut) . Killer intrumental work as the vocals come in. Great sound ! This is the longest tune at 11 1/2 minutes. Love the sax playing over top when the vocals stop. Vocals are back after 4 1/2 minutes. Excellent guitar work 6 1/2 minutes in as Eddy lights it up for an extended period. A drum solo follows before 8 1/2 minutes. The music kicks back in a minute later. Big finish on this one. "Mandala-Transmigration" is a short two minute piece that is very atmospheric with no melody.

"Steel's Electric" is a jazzy offering with intricate drum work and lots of sax leads. Crunchy bass lines too on this one. The guitar comes to the spotlight before 4 minutes and Eddy is fantastic as usual. An awesome instrumental. "Daddy Groove" is laid back as the sax rips it up over top. Vocals follow in a bluesy style. The vocals give way to another hair raising solo from Eddy that starts before 4 minutes and continues until after 5 1/2 minutes when the vocals return. The vocals get pretty passionate at times. Another great track. "Saz" has a distinct Eastern sound to it with trippy percussion as well. Vocals 5 1/2 minutes in. A groovy track. "Celestial City" is also from 1972 but a live recording from an open-air concert. The sound isn't as good but it's fine. Love when it kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes and Eddy plays at the speed of light. The drummer is trying to keep up with him and the bass player too. Too much !

A solid 4 stars and well worth getting for those into jazzy / psychedlia.

Report this review (#1031314)
Posted Monday, September 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars After all these years, I finally got this obscurity. I never quite understood its origin, and then from this board and others, realized that it is, just what it says it is - a live, in the studio, pre the first album "Dzyan." Sort of a trial run.

Well, for me, this is just fabulous, as it exposes the future nicely and brings us a true picture of what made Dzyan so magical and mysterious. The odd singing, that fits perfectly. The spacey feel, yet no keyboards. And that sax, wow, I just love sax when it's mixed like this into rock music (VDGG the best.)

I would love to have seen this being recorded, as it's quite professional for a "warm up" to their first release, and although spontaneous, not in anyway, unprofessional.

Real musicians creating accessible, experimental space / fusion / rock. Bravo.

Report this review (#2287492)
Posted Saturday, December 14, 2019 | Review Permalink

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