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Amon Düül II - Bee As Such [Aka: Düülirium] CD (album) cover

BEE AS SUCH [AKA: DÜÜLIRIUM]

Amon Düül II

Krautrock


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Guldbamsen
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Retired Admin
3 stars Black hole night nurse

Wow - just WOW!! How is it even possible for an album made by one of Krautrock's finest to be this neglected - completely overlooked? This has got to be one of the best kept secrets inside the world of progressive music. Sure, the fact that Bee as Such only is available as a download off of the band's website, and that it hasn't even received a proper art work as of yet - and baby we're talking 2012 now - it has been 3 years for crying out loud!!! -Maybe just maybe that has something to do with the remarkable obscurity surrounding the release, but whatever the reasons may be, and whatever the intentions behind all of this hush hush - keep it on the down low big boy, it certainly doesn't complement the music found within. From this Danes' perspective, it is a crying shame.

The purpose of the album, back in April of 2009 when Renate Knaup, John Weinzierl, Lothar Meid, Chris Karrer, Danny Fichelscher, Jan Kahler and Gerard Carbonell entered the Dreamscape studios, was to remove themselves from the past and the Krautrock that had formed them - focusing entirely on making music for the new millennium. That may all very well have been their intentions, but the fact of the matter is that with an all-star cast like that - including some inspiring and psychedelic twin guitar serenades like fiery phoenixes, we were never going to get anything less than a solid and highly esoteric Krautrock album - Amon Düül ll style!

Renate sounds as witchy and foreboding as ever - reminding me of some ancient sea nymph luring men of the big blue oceans out on long strenuous ordeals just to wind up in the embrace of this poisonous female. John Weinzierl's playing is just like I remember it to be - high and mighty - constantly playing around with a loose notion of what he wants - relying on the instrument itself to make up the rest of the story as the music slowly unfolds and reveals its deepest and darkest secrets. Multi-instrumentalist Chris Karrer still sports an undying love of quirky instillations, and the way he approaches any given instrument is a thing of beauty. Come violins come saxophone - he is truly your man - AND he plays a mean guitar as well. Then we've got Lothar Meid who sits in the middle of the proceedings like a big fat Buddha - relegating warm and fuzzy blasts off his unique bass. He is a building block in himself. In short: Every band member is in top form, and whether the aforementioned idea of making music for the millennium ignited something special or these old warhorses just clicked and made music untethered and in the spirit of the moment - or it indeed was a combination of the both, still remains to be revealed, but the outcome sure is thrilling and rocking.

Comprised of 4 tracks one could be led into thinking that Bee as Such is but a brief exercise in music, but with a closing cut lasting some 26 wonderful minutes - you'd be wrong. It lasts nearly an hour. Every tune leading up to this monster of a closer take different routes - wandering freely around in pelting rock gymnastics, pseudo folk aspirations and teutonic gulps of towering Krautrock. If anything, I think this album has everything to do with the past. Albums such as Yeti and Tanz der Lemminge are timeless. They don't fit into boxes - and they certainly aren't ancient artefacts that speak about a once lost generation of musicians that dared to go outside of the confines of modern music. NO - it is infinitely more than that! It was and still is about the music and what it achieves in that fleeting moment, when it reaches your ears. It can literally become the whole world - speak for the whole world - and in sentences you understand with body and mind - only fuller and more intensely. Bee as Such has fragments of this. It dares to be something that is as modern and hip as a bicycle, but that doesn't change its usage and the way we are able to cherish it. I ride my bike every day, I'll have you know!

This is not the past, the present or the future, but it is some sort of hybrid of the three. It is Krautrock - and a damn fine example of it too. My only plea is that they release this little chameleon as a tangible entity. Something I can hold and lick - and something I can stare at, whenever I dream myself away on those German starry night skies with dark and sombre blues and blacks engulfing me, as if a black hole picked me up in its arms and cradled me to the gentle bobbing of Amon Düül ll.

Report this review (#768930)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
3 stars Don't know how it comes that they announce this album to be the first one since 28 years? Since 'Vortex' yes, but 'Nada Moonshine' from 1995 seems to be a valuable band album too methinks. Okay, never mind, probably they disregard it for personal reasons. Recorded in April 2009 at the Dreamscape Studios in Munich this one consists of four recordings, where the first three seem to be excerpts from way more extended sessions apparently. Originally it was planned to release this stuff on vinyl and CD too, but 'til today even the official cover art is missing, notified to be Falk Rogner's task on their official website.

One can argue if this is typical kraut rock as such, and their current style is not very close to what they've created in the 1970's. Though it's surely original and experimental, provided with some glowing avantgarde appeal. This predominantly due to the weird, unusual multilingual vocals and recitatives performed by Chris Karrer and Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz. While the instrumental skills are still proper, this truely is amounting to the sensation here. The opening garagey Mambo La Libertad cannot catch me really, the following German menace Du Kommst Ins Heim shows Karrer playing his violin in a clean manner, a very ambitious song I must say, and you are faced with some improvised vocal acrobatics which are simply ... provoking? ... amazing?

For me it's the Psychedelic Suite which attracts attention basically, improvisation is the name of the game - and this comes closer to what I associate with Amon Düül 2. I mean the initial crawling behaviour decorated with violin and wonderful psychedelic guitars which are nicely swirling around. Renate alternates between German and English language, very expressive, I can smell the spirit. Somewhere in between this even sounds like they are losing control completely. What a blame though, aren't they experienced musicians? So what, all happens with intent, you know.

Currently only available per download from their website 'Bee As Such' is a very special attempt, not for everyone's taste - as for that they simply remain true to their principles. It only remains for me to add that the production is professionally recorded, technically flawless. And yes ... they still can stand on the stage! If you are looking for something really off the beaten path, check this out - 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#882834)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Comeback albums aren't normally as haphazard as this belated effort by one of Krautrock's essential forefathers: recorded in 2009; offered as a digital download under the name "Bee as Such" in 2010; and four years later finally given a legitimate CD release, with a better title and actual sleeve art...everything except a credible performance, sadly.

In truth the music by itself is fine, and doesn't show a trace of anachronism. All of it was clearly improvised in the studio, but in a more groovy modern fashion than the embryonic freakouts of "Phallus Dei" et al. A cheap comparison could be made to the valedictory CAN album "Rite Time" (1989), a likewise late-in-the-day reunion with a similar (but more successful) vibe, also curiously delayed in post-production.

Maybe the new Düül album should have been considered as a strictly instrumental project. The musical rapport was still there, and surprisingly vital after so many years away. But the vocals by old comrades Renate Knaup and Chris Karrer are - to put it delicately - a calamity: hoarse, abrasive, and fatally off-key.

Krautrock has always been full of eccentric singers able to exploit their amateur lack of training (think of Can's Malcolm Mooney, or Damo Suzuki). But there's a big difference between non-professional and plain bad, and that line was emphatically crossed here. I'm reminded of Timothy Leary's cringe-worthy performance on the notorious ASH RA TEMPEL train wreck "Seven Up", something no sane listener ever needs to be reminded of.

The fingernails-on-chalkboard effect reaches its nadir throughout the 26-minute "Back to the Rules/Walking in the Park" (aka "Psychedelic Suite", on the "Bee as Such" version). Here, the attempts at improvising a freeform vocal accompaniment to an already exploratory jam stand out like a mangled (i.e. more than simply sore) thumb.

Needless to say, the new album is no "Yeti"...despite some abominable moments. It's reassuring to know the old-timers still have a pulse, but this session wasn't worth the long wait. Better late than never? Don't be too sure...

Report this review (#1649334)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2016 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It's pretty awesome that this band is still making music after all of these years. And the fact that that Krautrock spirit is still alive and well in their music only adds to my admiration for this legendary band. They released this as a digital download only back in 2009 and called "Bee As Such" then it got a physical release in 2014 and they called it "Duulirium" after the title of a bonus track on a "Wolf City" re-issue. Renate and Chris share the vocal duties often on the same track while I would also mention the many intricate sounds found on this recording.

"On The Highway(Mambo Le Liberta)" features sparse sounds throughout and I really like the tone of the guitar. Vocals join in sounding rough like Captain Beefheart. Renate joins in vocally around 2 1/2 minutes. There's a little more intensity after 6 1/2 minutes with the guitar and vocals in particular but the song never does really breakout. "Du Kommst Ins Heim" opens with Renate's vocal melodies along with a beat, violin and some experimental sounds. Lots of intricate and sparse sounds then we get some silly and strange vocals before 5 1/2 minutes. "Standing In The Shadow" starts out with percussion, bass and odd sounds before the male vocals arrive a minute in. Renate starts singing after 2 minutes as the song becomes catchy. Male vocals too as they trade off and also sing together.

"Back To The Rules/ Walk To The Park" is the 26 minute closer and the only reason I'm not giving this a higher rating. For such a long song this does little for me. This is very sparse with percussion to start as faint vocal melodies arrive around 2 minutes in. Renate starts to sing in a relaxed manner. The song seems to come to life 7 minutes in and violin joins in around 9 minutes. More vocals join in at 10 1/2 minutes then there is silence before those sparse sounds return. A catchy beat with guitar and vocals arrives after 12 minutes. Vocal melodies and guitar 17 1/2 minutes in as it continues to be sparse sounding until around the 20 minute mark when fast paced spoken male vocals kick in with guitar, bass and drums. Some nice guitar late.

While this was better than I thought it would be I can't rate this higher than 3 stars.

Report this review (#1649765)
Posted Sunday, November 27, 2016 | Review Permalink

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