Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Amon Düül II - Tanz Der Lemminge [Aka: Dance Of The Lemmings] CD (album) cover

TANZ DER LEMMINGE [AKA: DANCE OF THE LEMMINGS]

Amon Düül II

Krautrock


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars After the double Yeti album, AD II had an extremely succesful year that made them forget about part of their tribe/Kommune (the other AD group to be more precise) moving to Berlin, one would've expected the group to calm down a bit but their third album was again a double lp, still released on the liberty label. With the Serfas disappearing from the scene and Anderson gone to Hawkwind (replaced by veteran jazzer Lothar Meid), ADII has to rebuild once more... With Yeti named album of the year of 70 in Jan 71, the next month sees the follow up Tanz Der Lemminge (Dance Of The Lemmings) and its double madness again. With another wildartwork covering the front sleeve, a spacecraft on the the inner gatefold and and a druidic forest scene on the back cover, the album left much to the imagination of its audience. Actually the album is made of three sidelong projects from Karrer, Weinzierland Rogner, the last side being a communal side

The first side of disc 1 is a 4-movement sidelong epic (lasting some16 minutes) called March Of The Roaring 70's where the group appears in top form, ready to exploit the ground broken with pallus and Yeti, and indeed the wild psych they dealt us in Yeti is at least matched on this first side. Wriiten by Chris Karrer, the track is an excellent progressive space folk track. The flipside is occupied by Weinzerl's 7-movement Restless Skylight/Transistor Child suite, which is extremely wide in its scope ranging from Indian (guesting is futurePopol Vuh sitarman al Grommer) to a devillish and ever-changing soundscape, including a mellotron.and

The album's second disc is opened by Rogner's Chamsin Soundtrack (for a seldom seen film), filled with completely spaced out ambiances created by a sliding growling organ lines and echoed guitars answers. While this track might be faaaaar out, it stands out also as a bit too spaced out for repeated listenings and since it takes on a full side of the album's seciond disc..... Its flipside is a confused affair, filled with a succession of short tracks that seem somewhat linked together. With these three "shorter " tracks, we return to the screaming full psych that had been lacking us since the start (there was a bit of it during Weinzerl's suite), but Chewingum Telegram is a bit short, but sounding like some Quicksilver Messenger Service on strong dope... More crunchy guitars on Melted Moonlight, but here the recording sound shoddy and the whole thing lacking tightness. Closing the album is the medium-sized (for this album anyway with its almost 8 minutes) Toxological Whispering, an excellent Agitation Floyd track

The group will escape a fire in a club (Keks in Cologne) where they were in concert, but two fans died and all their uninsured equipment is lost. Liberty records will drop them like a dirty rag, and with an English and French during the following summer, AD II is facing xcomplete bankrupcy. In November that year, they will sign to United Artiste and play with an enlarged rhythm section including future Popol Vuh member Fichelscher. While the logical successor of Yeti, TDL is only partly succesful (like its two predecessor), but here the second disk lacks real strength and aim. A real step downwards, IMHO, but TDL holds its share of unconditional fans.

Report this review (#27764)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
corbet
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Fans predisposed to the sprawling psychedelic explorations of ADII's first three albums will often cite this one as their best. I find no reason to argue! Although I enjoy all phases of ADII's career equally (and my personal favorite album is ever changing), when you really need to blast off into space, you cannot beat Tanz der Lemminge. This album is literally an EXPLOSION of music, all over the map, all completely mind warping: you have guitar jams that seem to emanate from the eternal ("Toxicological Whispering"); extended, otherworldy sonic explorations ("Chamsin Soundtrack..."); structured suites full of strong dynamic shifts and haunting timbres ("Syntelman's March of the Roaring Seventies"); completely off the wall riff-based numbers with wacky vocals and brain-bending sound effects (all throughout "Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child...")... I actually cannot describe all this music! It takes a long time before you even begin REMEMBERING anything of what you heard on this album, if you listen to it all in one sitting. Fans of German psychedelic music, or totally spaced out music in general, you absolutely must own this album. One of the greatest achievements by this most daring and original band!
Report this review (#27765)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Outside of Germany, this album is known as "Dance of the Lemmings". This third album finds these Krautrock pioneers at the top of their game, as far as experimentation goes. And this album, like its predecessor, Yeti, was originally released as a double LP set. The first two sides of "Tanz..." consists of bizarre music, consisting of vocals, jams, and bizarre effects. The third side consist of nothing but spacy experimental effects that sound a whole lot like Alpha Centauri-era TANGERINE DREAM (who were their contemporaries, after all). This stuff would fit find on Rolf Ulrich Kaiser's Ohr label (the label TD, ASH RA TEMPEL, the original AMON DÜÜL with their album Para Dieswierts Düül, and others recorded for), although released on United Artists in America and presumably Liberty in Germany.

Then the final side simply consists of lengthy guitar-jams. The only thing preventing me for giving this album a five star is the occasional excess baggage brought on by the fact this is a double album meaning the band ended up losing a bit of direction in places. But still, if you enjoy CAN's "Tago Mago" but wondered how that album might be like if that band didn't rely so much on grooves and went for a more musical, psychedelic direction, this is a great album to try. For the rest of you, still a recommended album for the adventurous listener.

Report this review (#27766)
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What an achievement! I wouldn't have thought Amon Düül II could have outdone Yeti, but the follow-up Tanz Der Lemminge is even more wonderous! The classic line-up of Chris Karrer, Renate Krause, Peter Leopold, Falk Rogner and John Weinzierl certainly deserve far more credit than they ever got for their individual musicianship, and I believe that this is the ultimate Kraut rock album. Do check it out!

This album's first song may be called March Of The Roaring Seventies, but it's very much rooted in the 60s. Dominated by some great acoustic guitar playing and an overwhelming hippie vibe, the song becomes an acoutic progressive folk jam after the 6 minute-mark (but not before some of tose heavily accented German male vocals make their mark!). It should appeal to any one who likes Pink Floyd and Comus and has a strangely dark, incredible improvised feel to it, yet is too good to be improvised. Around about the 9:30 mark, the vocals come back but it's still a stomping acoustic rock song. I swear by the end there's even diversity and angularity to win over a Gentle Giant fan and yet even bluesy jamming to get a Grateful Dead fan going. What a song!

Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child is another heavy blues jam affair with an odd mix of electronic sound effects to keep a listener on his/her toes. There's a repeated ascending riff which leads to a sparse stoner jam with sitar leading the way, eventually vocals over a heavenly choir. Around the 7 minute mark it threatens to become a Zeppelinseque rocker, but that dies out as some of the great violin playing that coloured Yeti makes its presence felt on this record. It slows down into another spaced out section, with the delightful acoustic guitar work returning. I don't know what to say about this sort of eclectic genius!

The Marilyn Monroe Memorial Church follows on from the second half on the Yeti album in that it is pure atmospheric exprimentation. It is also one of the most brilliant examples I can cite of improvised music. The sort of unearthly vibes this group could create when the need arose is quite astounding. With washes of sound, tinkling piano, crashing drums, ominous bass and a seemingly ever present organ. a stellar soundscape is created. It's no joke to keep this kind of thing going for nearly 18 minutes and not bore your audience (and maybe even yourselves!). This would be a real treat to those who enjoyed the live half of Pink Floyd's Ummagumma.

After the three epics you might not have much energy left, but if you do then this album concludes with some bite-size Amon Duul jams for you ... the psychedelic blues-rock of Chewinggum Telegram, the Zappa-esque Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight (which still fits in a few distinct sections) and Toxicological Whispering which closes the album out with more duelling lead guitars. Tanz Der Lemminge is not flawless (oddly enough, the blues rock on the shorter songs was what started to bore me!) but I think it is essential psychedelic progressive music. ... 82% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#27772)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Progbear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The band were in a bit of a shambles by this point; old members long gone, new ones in, some old ones only half-there. Renate Knaup only sings on one song, and under an assumed name at that, to give you a bit of a clue. For all that, it's a surprise this album's as good as it is. Actually, it allowed for the greatest amount of pure, flowing creativity of any of their releases. In short, it's quintessential Krautrock.

Each side of the original LP offered a different conception of the band. "Syntelman's March Of The Roaring Seventies" is as close to "conventional" prog as they've come, with folkish layered guitars and Mellotron. "Restless-skylight-transistor-child" isn't a suite so much as a collection of songs, riffs, electronic effects and musical ideas strung together through the magic of tape-editing. It's their "anything goes" side, from the monstrously distorted guitar rock of "Overheated Tiara" to the sitar/Mellotron mayhem of "A Short Stop At The Transsylvanian Brain Surgery". They even manage to find room for a touching duet between Renate and new bass-player Lothar Meid...and then cap it all off-appropriately-with "H. G. Wells' Take-off", a showpiece for guest performer Rolf Zacher, performing some truly bizarre avant-garde expressionistic vocalizations.

Disc Two of the original vinyl release was music used as the soundtrack for Veit Relin's film CHAMSIN. "The Marilyn Monroe Memorial Church" finds our intrepid travellers heading for deep space. Probably more like "Yeti" than "Phallus Dei" in that it's totally unstructured improvisation, but it remains compelling due to the incomparable mood established with the piece. The album closes with a trio of spacy guitar-rockers.

One of the touchstone Krautrock releases. Highly recommended to all aural adventurers.

Report this review (#44650)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Amon Düül II seems to have a very particular sound. According to statistics, this album is their best so I think this original band deserves to be added in any prog collection with this album (that's why I put 4 stars), in spite of some obvious defects.

The main quality of this album is the funny atmosphere and diversity set in beginning and lasting until the more difficult part called "Chamsin Soundtrack". Each huge part being divided in many smaller parts, it adds dynamics to the whole. There are plenty of good riffs with special effects on the guitar or on the voice, but keeping in background a soft "acoustic" texture. These varied themes keep the listener awake and curious, even if there is a lack of emotions and passion, much of it being due to the lack of personnality and technique in the singer's voice and the lack of sense in the lyrics.

After this good first part comes a break with the 18-minute long instrumental improvisation on the beginning of "Chamsin soudtrack". This is obviously too long, and has little musical interest, but it adds a touch of "calm" or at least gives a very different atmosphere compared to the rest.

Back to fun then and "Chewing-gum telegram" awakes us with its aggressive guitar riff. The last two pieces are more atmospheric. It lacks some memorable ending, while the introduction was quite a success.

Report this review (#46330)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is usually hailed as a peak of Amon Duul II and it surely is a very good effort. However, I must say that apart from the excellent first disc with "Syntelman's March Of The Roaring Twenties..." and "Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child..." , which are the highlights of early Kraut-rock exploration (check the first FAUST album and you will see some mutual ideas), the remaining second disc is purely instrumental experiment that can be interesting to true fans only. Had they sticked to the regular single album with first two long jams, this would have been undoubtedly a masterpiece. But this way, I can only partially recommend it to brave listeners, for example to those who can enjoy the early noisy TANGERINE DREAM albums. 3,5 stars!
Report this review (#50690)
Posted Saturday, October 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars AMON DUUL II were just one of those bands that I have had a huge addiction to my whole music life (well since I first heard them anyway) and "Tanz Der Lemminge" (Dance Of The Lemmings) represents my personal favourite album of theirs. This was the 3rd album released by the commune of frenzied cosmic voyagers and offers a true milestone in progressive-psychedelic rock. Sonically drawing parallels to the early-PINK FLOYD space-folk vibe and mixing in elixirs of heavy folk-like inspired psychedelia. This album is really a dark and freaked out psychedelic mess of free-form songs that filter through many different genres and moods. Originally "Tanz" was released as a double vinyl album but has been carefully re-mastered by GROBSCHNITT's "Eroc" and offers fantastic newly revamped sound reproduction. No fan of Krautrock can be without this recording and is absolutely 100% essential !
Report this review (#57214)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I feel compelled to agree with James Unger that this work represents an absolute milestone in progressive psychedelic music. The band is in the grips of an overwhelming psychedelic possession culminating in this, their finest and most challenging recording. The musicianship is akin to an urgent and neuron shattering explosion through inner space. To me, this might be the pinnacle of kraut rock, pillaging the celestial spheres with manic textures and sonic explorations. Whereas a band like Pink Floyd would let their psychedelic explorations evolve as a natural consequence of a particular mood or setting, Amon Duul II at their peak were a more furious band where someone might have the impression that they had completely succumbed to the mind altering substance and were flailing and writhing in their drug induced torture. Simply an astounding performance!
Report this review (#57223)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I'm almost ashamed to admit it. Me, a self-styled connoisseur of German Prog, with sterling Krautrock credentials dating all the way back to High School (never mind how long ago that was), but who until the summer of 2005 had never (and I blush to even write this) heard the music of Amon Düül. Well, better late than never, I suppose. And in retrospect I couldn't have chosen a better introduction. This is an album that was years ahead of its time in 1971, and 35 years later is still waiting for the rest of us to catch up.

So then: what's the jury's verdict, after having deliberated for close to sixteen months now?

At first exposure you might hear a distinct resemblance to the post-modern pranksters of FAUST, kindred spirits with a similar disregard for the rock 'n' roll rulebook. But this particular Düül (Mark II in a long and very confusing history) was less inclined to the same sort of willful chaos, or was at least better skilled at organizing their anarchy.

And it's a far more polished effort when compared to the primordial freakout of their earlier "Yeti" (my second trek into the Amon Düül soundworld). With this album the band made a small but important step forward from post-'60s hippie flotsam to early '70s Prog Rock sophistication.

The symmetry of the original double LP (one disc composed, the other entirely improvised) is lost on CD, of course. But listening to the entire package in a single, uninterrupted sitting is an awesome experience not soon forgotten. The 'song' half of the album is, for the most part, lighter and more playful, with most of the selections clocking in at less than two minutes (so much for the usual accusations of overblown Prog pretensions). The shorter format may have been out of step with Prog conventions of the time, but don't worry: all the pieces are loosely collated into arbitrary, epic mini-suites, each one titled with more than a touch of Dada absurdity: "Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child", and so forth.

The improvisations, paradoxically, are more controlled and coherent, and a lot louder too. At 18+ minutes "The Marilyn Monroe-Memorial Church" is the obvious highlight, building slowly from ominous freeform rumbling to a brain-bursting apocalypse of percussion and noise. It's a certified kosmische classic, followed by three shorter, guitar-heavy jams, returning the music closer to its counter-culture garage band roots.

Both halves of the album together add up to a quirky and subversive musical artifact: one part Prog, one part psychedelia, and all of it quintessential Krautrock. Here's one (belated) fan who regrets not having heard the group sooner, but who is nonetheless grateful to have discovered them even this late in the day.

[Trivia note: the handsomely packaged 2001 Repertoire Records CD re-release was restored and re-mastered by Grobschnitt's own Joachim Ehrig, alias EROC.]

Report this review (#105170)
Posted Monday, January 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Author's Note: Most of what I've said in this review, I agree with. I would just like to point out that of the four ADII albums I know, (this one, Phallus Dei, Wolf City, and Yeti) this is the weakest. I have revised the rating to 3 stars (read 3.5), but I still recommend it just as highly. I have merely changed my rating system for albums. Thank you. IPOF 05/08/07

It's not delivery, it's Amon Duul II.

CAN have, for quite a while, been my favorite band. Recently, however, two bands, both of whom I have known either longer than or just about as long as CAN have emerged as competitors for this title. These two are Magma and Amon Duul II, and of the two, Amon Duul is the closest to catching up (though Magma certainly isn't far behind). Why is this? Well, first off, there are three albums I find to be the epitome of what music ought to be. The first is Tago Mago by CAN, the second Yeti by Amon Duul II, and the third Mekanik Destructiw Kommandoh by Magma. These three albums are amazing beyond belief, perfect down to their very cores, and deserving of just about every bit of praise it's possible to heap upon them. But it's more than that. Each of these bands have displayed remarkable consistency, releasing many great albums in a row. CAN gave us Delay 1968, Monster Movie, Soundtracks, Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi, Future Days, and (this last one is slightly weaker than the others) Soon Over Babaluma before they started fading away (though Landed is a decent release). Magma gave us 1001° Centigrades, Mekanik Destructiw Kommandoh, Kohntarkosz, Wurdah Itah (technically a Christian Vander solo album), and Udu Wudu. And Amon Duul II presents us with Phallus Dei, Yeti, Tanz Der Lemminge, and Wolf City (between these last two was released Carnival in Babylon, which I'm not yet familiar with).

Apparently, this album is the most highly regarded Amon Duul II among the average prog rocker, but I think otherwise, mainly because, as I said earlier, Yeti is one of the three greatest albums I have ever heard. That said, this album comes somewhat close to Yeti's heights, and is right up there with Wolf City and Phallus Dei (both of which are also phenomenal releases). It's a bit surprising just how good this album is, given that it was released at a time of mini-crisis for the band, but great it is. Like its predecessor, Yeti, Tanz Der Lemminge is a double album, and, again like Yeti, it is one of the best double albums I know. The first disc is a "regular" (in the sense that anything they did up until Wolf City can be called regular) studio album, composed of two sidelong tracks. The second disc, however, as seems to be a Krautrock tradition, is the experimental of the two, composed entirely of improvisations. I call this a tradition because, if we look at the three Krautrock double albums I know, Tago Mago, Yeti, and Tanz Der Lemminge, we find that each one of them contains a "normal" first disc, pushing the experimentations (whether they be Aumgn and Peking O, Yeti/Yeti Talks to Yogi and Sandoz in the Rain, or The Marylin Monroe Memorial Church, Toxological Whisperings, and co) to disc two. I certainly cannot blame these bands for doing it this way, because it has worked with one hundred percent accuracy so far.

Like with Yeti (and Phallus Dei and Wolf City), every track on Tanz Der Lemminge is a winner, even if it took me longer to come around to it than it did for any other Amon Duul II album. With Yeti, my first Amon Duul II experience, it took about two tries to "get" it. With Wolf City and Phallus Dei, I fell in love on first listen. Tanz Der Lemminge, however, left me feeling rather underwhelmed the first few listens, and it was only after I had let it sit for several months that I came to truly love it. As far as I am concerned, however, it doesn't matter how long it takes me to come around to an album so long as, in the end, the album brings me the kind of joy this one has. This is one of those rare albums (though in Amon Duul II's case, I can hardly call it rare, seeing as how they released at least four of them) that is truly something special, and that undeniably deserves a spot in every music collection, not just progressive rock, but all music.

The album opens with Syntelman's March of the Roaring Seventies, and roar it does for nearly sixteen mouthwatering minutes. It stands as one of the band's closest links to standard progressive rock a la Genesis and Yes, though it is really nothing much like them. Instead, it forges an identity of its own, distinctly Amon Duul II, but still new, different, and exciting. There's little more I can ask for in a song. It features the band's classic ranting lyrics (dwelling on various social and political issues from a left-wing point of view). I'm not sure why, actually, but I've always loved Amon Duul II's lyrics. They're not particularly poetic, but they are true, and more importantly, they are unique (just like the music). Or maybe it's just the German accent. Behind these lyrics are subtle guitar textures and wonderful drumming, two things you can always count on from Amon Duul II, only done differently than usual here (but done just as well). Again, it almost sounds like Yes here at times, but, and get this, Yes wasn't doing this style music at this time. Perhaps they were influenced by one of Germany's biggest bands (both in importance and size)? This is one of Amon Duul II's very best songs, and a perfect album opener (something Amon Duul II were great at - Soap Shop Rock, Surrounded By the Stars, and, of course, this song standing as three of the greatest album openers I know). It's split up into several sections, as you might expect from a traditional progressive rock epic (something this most definitely is NOT), and each is just as good as the last. It never gets boring, never repetitive, never derivative, and simply never bad. It's just fifteen minutes and fifty-one seconds of sheer perfection.

Restless Skylight - Transistor Child is the second and final song on disc one, and is the second longest Amon Duul II song, if I'm not mistaken (behind only the Phallus Dei improvisation of their debut). It opens with some addictive guitar, before changing (with the help of sound effects) to a section that displays all that Amon Duul II stands for. Great drumming, blistering guitar, psychedelic tinges left and right, and pure Krautrock. These first few minutes set the tone for the song, not in terms of sound, but in terms of composition. What we see for all nineteen and a half minutes is a medley of sorts of a variety of shorter songs brought together through the use of sound effects and studio technology. There's one part in the middle that really strikes me, that I can best describe as "crunchy." Crunchy and quite tasty. A restless song, but not overtly so. Restless Skylight - Transistor Child is a second amazing song, though I slightly prefer (and very slightly at that) Syntelman's March of the Roaring Seventies.

We now come to the highlight of the album, the sidelong improvisation, The Marylin Monroe Memorial Church. Amon Duul II improvisations are always great (Phallus Dei and Yeti in particular), and this one is right up with those two. It is a slow building track, but it is done perfectly. I find it incredible that this group of musicians could, time and time again, jam for twenty or so minutes and come up with a masterpiece, but that's what they do. They seemed to have endless ideas, and even without any communication they were able to perfectly express them. For that reason, I prefer their improvisational tracks above all else. In fact, I'd go so far as to call Amon Duul II the greatest jam band to have ever walked this earth.

After three amazing sidelong pieces, you might reasonably expect that the final three songs, all under ten minutes, might not live up to the expectations the first three songs set, but that is in no way the case. Chewing Gum Telegram showcases some crunchy blues-rock done in the unique Amon Duul II style, and is a classic example of the phrase, "short and sweet." Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight features four and a half minutes more of the same, only slightly different and somehow much better. The closing experimental section is particularly impressive. It is Toxological Whisperings, however, that really shows just how good Amon Duul II was, and is at least as good as the first three tracks on the album, if not better. The dueling lead guitars, the subtle bass, the wonderful drumming, it all comes together to give us almost eight minutes of perfection.

In short, this is an essential album for all fans of music. I can't quite call it a five star masterpiece at the moment, but that may change with future listens. What I can say for sure is that this is one of the greatest albums in my collection, and that no progressive rock lover can truly call his or her collection complete without it. Yes, it's strange. Yes, it can be off-putting. But at the same time, I have to ask, what good music isn't? Music is another form of media, just like books. Why do we read books? For enjoyment, yes, but also to be challenged. Why do we listen to music? For the exact same reasons. It doesn't matter whether the music challenges you or the lyrics challenge you, the point is that the best music challenges you in some way. In the case of Amon Duul II, both the music and the lyrics challenge your pre-established beliefs, both those pertaining to music and to politics. This is an essential album according to every ruler, and there is no excuse for NOT getting it.

Report this review (#112370)
Posted Friday, February 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Extra terrestrial's, Marylyn Monroe and a Transylvanian brain surgeon. but not a lemming in sight

I find Amon Duul II to be a frustrating band. Their "Live in London" album, which sold in significant quantities in the UK due to a budget price, indicated that they had originality and talent in no short measure. Having investigated further though, I find that their studio albums are alarmingly inconsistent, ranging from simplistic pop based songs to overlong, self indulgent improvisations. Outside Germany, this the band's third album bears the title "Dance of the lemmings" (I had to update the site to show this as it took me a while to find it under its German language name!).

The album's opening track "Syntelman's march of the roaring seventies" is a three part piece running to 16 minutes, and occupying the whole of the first side of this double LP. There are similarities with Hawkwind's "In search of space" from the same era, in the pounding rhythms and spacey sounds. The music varies from such psychedelic influences to acoustic, folk like phases which are reminiscent of albums such as Jethro Tull's "Thick as a brick". While the instrumental passages are frequent, they tend to reflect the overall tightness of the suite, with little of the improvisation which blighted the previous "Yeti".

Side two is occupied by the seven part "Restless skylight-Transistor-Child" which is notable for containing the most imaginative titles of the album. These include "A short stop at the Transylvanian brain surgery", "Dehypnotised toothpaste", and "Race from here to your ears". Needless to say the lyrics, which may be in English but are impenetrable nonetheless, bear no relation to the titles. According to John Weinzierl, the theme of the piece is an extra-terrestrial view of human life. Unusually, the track features sitar and choir type vocals working together, offering an ear catching counterpoint to the less structured section which follows. Improvised electric violin also makes an appearance, backed by a heavy electronic back beat. This suite is the most diverse of the four sides, and therefore the most demanding. The highlight is the "Race from here to your ears" section, a softer section with female vocal accompaniment and phasing. I do feel though that the "Live in London" version is much the superior. Strangely, the lyrics here mention "Syntelman", whose name is included in the tittle of the first suite.

There appears to be some confusion over whether the whole of the second album is the "Chamsin soundtrack", or just side three. The LP sleeve would appear to imply that sides three and four are both covered by this title. At the time of the album's release, the obscure film for which the music was intended had not been released, appearing in Germany a year later. The music did however win a German soundtrack award! The third side of the LP is occupied by the singularly titled "The Marylin Monroe- memorial- church" (complete with hyphens as shown), which runs to 18 minutes. This piece has more in common with the "Yeti" improvisations than the rest of the album. While it is mildly appealing, with floating early Pink Floyd like sounds, it is probably best regarded as soundtrack music and left at that.

Three separate tracks occupy side four. "Chewinggum telegram" probably contains the hardest rock on the album, the driving guitar once again being reminiscent of Hawkwind. "Stumbling over melted moonlight" continues very much in the same vein, with the closing "Toxological whispering" completing the trio of instrumentals in slightly slower guitar fusion style.

For me, this is easily the best of the Amon Duul 2 studio albums I have heard. OK, so it does ramble a bit at times, especially on side 3, but in general the music is focused and well performed. Incidentally, the album title also appears to bear no relation to anything on the album.

Report this review (#136487)
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars If you want to check out this amazing band you can't go wrong with any of their first three studio albums.This was released as a double album originally just like the "Yeti" album that came out before it. This double album had three side long suites with the final side (my favourite) being made up of three songs.The edition I have was remastered by Eroc at The Ranch. As usual he did an amazing job.The pictures in the liner notes of the band are priceless.The centerfold is especially cool as we are looking out the front window of a spaceship.

The first side is called "Syntelman's March Of The Roaring Seventies", it begins with "In The Glassgarden" a short song that is quite spacey until we start to get a beat. "Pull Down Your Mask" features acoustic guitar, bass, vocals, drums, electric guitar and violin. There is a dreamy, uplifting section that comes and goes during this song. "Prayer To Silence" is just over a minute of acoustic guitar and percussion. The final track of side one is "Telephonecomplex", it begins with organ, drums and guitar.The acoustic guitar sounds incredible.Vocals after 2 minutes.The bass is prominant, and the lyrics and vibe are psychedelic. The mood changes several times. Some nice piano arrives along with some aggressive guitar. Nice. Side two is called "Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child". It begins with "Landing In A Ditch" which is basically the same guitar melody playing over and over for about a minute. The next song "Dehypnotized Toothpaste" is the same style but with a different melody. "A Short Stop At The Transssylvanian Brain-Surgery" features sitar, guitar, vocals and drums that build. Dissonant sounds to end it. "Race From Here To Your Ears" is divided into three parts. "a) Little Tornadoes" has some amazing guitar in it. Where have you been ! The psychedelic vocals echo. "b)Overheated Tiara" has more fantastic guitar as violin comes in. "c)The Flyweighted Five" has a bit of a HAWKWIND feel to it to begin with. Good guitar and spacey sounds. "Riding On A Cloud" is a reserved song with gentle guitar, bass and vocals. "Paralized Paradise" is a really good song. It features acoustic guitar, speaking, bass and electric guitar 2 minutes in. "H.G.Wells Take Off" has some crazy vocals along with a heavy sound including bass.

The second album was titled "Chamsin Soundtrack", it began with the side long suite called "The Marilyn Monroe-Memorial-Church (Impro.)". This is very experimental and spacey. I feel like i'm lost in space listening to this 18 minute track. We get some marching style drums 9 minutes in and piano after 11 minutes and late. In between (14 min.) we get some loud and great drumming.This song is a trip. The final side starts with "Chewinggum Telegram" which really rocks out with drums and guitar.The guitar is outstanding. "Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight" opens with a heavy sound that builds.This is amazing ! I really like the way the guitar plays over top of the drum melody.The same style is on the final track called "Toxicological Whispering". More fantastic guitar ! What a way to end this incredible journey. I think this is my favourite AMON DUUL II record.

Report this review (#143756)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another double album for Amon Duul II another masterpice of krautrock and prog, and thiere highest regarded album by many, not hard to see why, toghter with Yeti this is my favorite Amon album and a real masterwork, you culd almost say that Amon duul II was the Mars Volta of its time or that the mars votla is the amon duul ii of our time in that thiere albums where very long and loaded with amazing music and in my opinion thiere styles are not realy that far away from eachothers both played a type of psycedelic space rock that culd easily blow your mind, okay the bands dont sound anything alike but the style is as i said not that far way from eachother much imporvistion and much intrumentla playing with wierd vocals. So if the mars volta whuld yust slow down litle they might end up sounding like this maybe. Anyway this is toghter with yeti and Tago mago by Can probobly my favorite krautrock album its made up by 3 long pieces and 3 shorter instrumentals the first 2 long epics are the best Syntelman's March of the Roaring Seventies and Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child very good psycedliec space rock with lots of stuff goin on and alot acustic playing surprisinlgy mixed with the heavier guitars of old. The Marilyn Monroe-memorial-church is an improvistaion, pretty spooky and in places very cool and wierd, sounding not to far way from Tangerine dream. The 3 ending songs or instrumentals since theres no vocals are the most stright hard rocking stuff on the album and very nice, great riffs reapeted over and over like your typical krautrock and adictive basslines. Well this was my first amon duul II album and it was a grand start, maybe a bit too much to take in if your new to this type of music maybe the debute is the best place to start but this is essential krautrock that you must have. A masterpiece of progressive music, 5 stars.
Report this review (#161761)
Posted Thursday, February 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Such a wonderfully strange album, chaotic psychedelic folkish krautrock, with a jamming 'heavy' feel to the songs. I don't know if I like it better than Yeti, certainly the Chamsin soundtrack The Marilyn Monroe memorial church is a bit to much out there to stay interesting through the 18 minute ride. with the rest there's more distinct segments in the suites, so that gives more structure to what's going on. The best part of the album for me is Chewing Gum Telegram, Stumbling and Whispering, those have some powerfull guitar riffing and are quite concrete songs in there own weird way. A great band, and this album is quintessential Krautrock IMO.
Report this review (#163557)
Posted Sunday, March 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amon Duul II - Tanz der Lemminge

This is third album from Amon Duul II and it's different from previous two albums. Yeti was great, and this... This is even bigger.

I was bought on the first listen. The Marilyn Monroe Memorial Church is the best song from this artist in my opinion, experimentation is on greater level than Yeti (much greater but in the same time different) and everything is... Well, quite astounding. First two songs are masterpieces, and slightly weaker are 3 last short songs.

If Yeti had the rating of five, this has too. Masterpiece of progressive music without doubt.

Bast song: Marilyn Monroe Memorial Church

Report this review (#185730)
Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Amon duul 11s tanz der lemminge is anther amon duul 11 album which i love but dont like as much as yeti,but still this is a amon duul 11 album everyone should have as its a good listen my favorite sopngs on this album are riding on a cloud,paralized paradise,the marilyn munroememorial church,but all the other songs are good its just i like the ones ive mentioned the best,tanz der lemminge is more acoustic than the other amon duul 11 albums which isnt bad but i prefer them in the league of yeti etc,this was the 4th amon duul 11 album i bought[i bought this with carnival in babylon],i got addicted to amon duul 11 after yeti and wanted everything by them,this is i hear the ultimate krautrock album was an achievement which most duul fans love the best,i dont think its the best by duul but its an album you should own if you like amon duul 11,as its music which is different and a little different for amon duul 11 i think but get this and you shouldnt be disappointed,i give it 4 stars.
Report this review (#204378)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Truth
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars I'm not a big fan of krautrock at all, in fact I only listen to Faust and Amon Duul II at the moment, but this album caught my attention. It starts off with the acoustic-guitar dominated song Syntelmans March of the Roaring Seventies which with it's Dylan-esque lyrics and folk-rock/krautrock sound totally amazes me.

"After a long introduction you can hear the story which happend during the roaring seventies. In July, people sweat in the sun sitting feet-by-feet watching the big game."

The next song, Restless Skylight Transistor Child, is a lot heavier and more krautrock but is still pretty good. The Marilyn Monroe Memorial Church is one of my favorite improvisations, a type of music which I don't care much for. The last three songs sound pretty close to the same to me but they are all good and you have to love the title Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight! This is probably the best krautrock album ever!

Report this review (#212467)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars To a certain extent, Amon Düül II have woken up from the psychedelic daze of their first two albums here. They put more focus on vocals, story-telling and song writing, and while the music is still weird and unusual, the entrancing jammy vibe of the preceding albums is lost.

What we get instead is an album that, if you're hungry for a reference, isn't far removed from Zappa or Captain Beefheart. But it lacks the skill and bite of those grandmaster of anarchistic crank-rock. There are occasional flashes of inspiration but generally it sounds too sought after and deliberately artsy. Also the album's mix doesn't help, the drums are mixed so much to the background that you can hardly hear them. As a result, the songs sound disjointed and flat. A real turn-off for me.

There are only few tracks later on in the album that manage to move me. The short but intense Riding On A Cloud does the trick, as do the hypnotizing closing tracks. The highlight of the album would be the long noise experimentation of The Marilyn Monroe Memorial Church, abstract music, with a free organic flow and that typical 'cosmic' spooky ambience. It blows anything that preceded out of the park and makes the album relevant all by itself. Strong enough to grant 3 stars instead of 2 to the album as a whole.

Tanz Der Lemminge isn't the easiest Amon Düül II album to get into and I'm a bit surprised it's seen as the best albums by the fanbase. There are some great pieces here but I find it too uneven, concept-oriented and indulgent. Especially the songwiritng and production of the first half hour doesn't deliver.

Report this review (#271951)
Posted Sunday, March 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars At first, I thought that the "Dance Of The Lemmings" had reached the highest point in Krautrock. At first this album could be considered a masterpiece, because of some peculiar moments and interesting melodies, not to forget great arrangements. But after a few listens, it isn't as well constructed as it initially appeared, or at least this is my impression. In many moments it can easily be catchy and quite interesting while in other moments it can easily bore.

The style sounds just like typical Krautrock: an original sense of melody, a little childish and weird, some spacey moments, hypnotic and entrancing, as well as some hard rock/ garage rock explosions, and some avant garde and jazz touches.

"Syntelman's March..." is the opener, a fifteen minute track that has many of the characteristics mentioned earlier, even though it bores most of the time. "Restless Skylight" is the nineteen minute epic masterpiece, where we can admire the talent of the band, which with this song reaches his highest peak. Gorgeous in some moments, spacey in others, great melodies in other, free jazz and bizzarness mixed together most of the time. The rest is forgettable, especially the 18 minute The Marilyn Monroe..., very flat and repetitive, which tries to repeat Can's "aumg" in some points, while in others Faust and Neu!.

To sum up, a good album, not really essential though. This is my first AD II album, and I'm really looking forward to listen to "Phallus Dei", which I think I'll like more. Let's hope So!

Report this review (#282484)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Tanz Der Lemminge, Amon Duul II's third studio album, shows another stage in the band's constant motion. Gradually moving towards a more tightly structured approach on an album like Wolf City, Tanz Der Lemminge might feel slightly more accesible than earlier releases, though at the same time it probably is Amon Duul II's most complex album. In fact, the band didn't perform all the pieces of this album on the subsequent tour for this particular reason.

Most notable to the new sound of the band are some changes in the line-up. The most unfortunate exclusion to me is Renate Knaup, only having a short guest vocal performance. Bassist Lothar Meid however, is an excellent new addition to the band and proves to play an important part in Amon Duul II's distinctive sound with his open style of bass playing. The music itself is ambitious, featuring two epic suites and an improvisational soundtrack for some obscure film. Opening the album is "Syntelman's March Of The Roaring Seventies", a very distinctive Amon Duul II piece, having a psychedelic feel with folky tendencies. It's a highly complicated piece, featuring very frequent changes, lots of instrumental passages, and an overall rich and layered feel.

What's marking the progression of Amon Duul II's sound even more so is "Restless Skyline- Transistor-Child", which is rather a collection of riffs and short songs than your typical suite. The individual parts here vary from ethnic and mellotron driven to fierce and heavy riffs. With some of the transitions between parts being very unexpected and sudden, I can imagine "Restless Skyline-Transistor-Child" might sound a bit incoherent to some. However, I myself enjoy its somewhat loose approach. The improvisational pieces that cover up the second disc vary from the heavy rock of "Chewinggum Telegram" and "Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight" to the atmospheric cosmic journey that is "The Marilyn Monroe-Memorial- Church", taking you to Jupiter and back again in only 18 minutes.

Ultimately, I find Tanz Der Lemminge to be a brilliant album and perhaps even the very best in Amon Duul II's career. It might not attract everybody, but I would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy improvisation, psychedelica and an open sound including broad influences. I consider Tanz Der Lemminge to be a masterpiece without a doubt.

Report this review (#284173)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is the point where it all came together for Amon Duul II - where the songwriting finally caught up with the band's always-impressive improvisational capabilities. Like the previous album, this consists of one disc of composed tracks and another of improvisations, but it doesn't feel like a double album - far from sprawling out, it's over all too soon! Standout suites include the dizzying, zeitgeist-capturing March of the Roaring Seventies opens the album in fine form, with lyrics as sinister as they are surreal and music which is packed with psychedelic foreboding, and the improvisational Marilyn Monroe Memorial Church, on which the spirit of Pink Floyd's A Saucerful of Secrets - an album which seems to have had an absolutely massive influence on the early Krautrock scene - can be discerned once again. But then, there's a swathe of other influences at work as well as the band's own unique character on display. More densely-packed with musical ideas and talented musicianship than any previous Amon Duul album, this may just be their finest work.
Report this review (#476996)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars Amon Duul II's triumphant journey into altered states of consciousness. Amon Duul II are impossible to ignore when it comes to Krautrock and this album is perhaps the band at the peak of their powers. The fractured state of the band that were in disarray at the time with many members heading out the door and new ones jumping on board, perhaps is reflected in the disjoined music. This is a lot easier to take than a lot of Krautrock though as it is accessible in many ways, compositions of actual songs mixed with improvisational material should satiate the palette of most progheads. The high rating of the album is well deserved as the album is somewhat of a legend these days. 'Syntelman's March of the Roaring Seventies' is a glorious epic circus of estranged vocals, percussion shifts and acoustic augmentations. It really builds up into an instrumental that reminds me of early Pink Floyd. The guitar work is virtuoso and I particularly like the sustained keyboard notes that are ominous and threatening. The music breaks into sections but still flows organically along on a cadence or intonation of modulated rhythms. The vocals are terrific with some downright bizarre lyrics; "and suddenly come from everywhere snakes and rats and big fat cats" and "witches, offering to me a foolscap but the spell they could not say, what they got was apparent flesh from the master." At times it sounds as if Syd Barrett is being channelled. There is a fabulous wah wah lead solo akin to Hawkwind's spacey style, and the percussion is crashing cymbals and chaotic pentameter to the end.

Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child is a 19:33 epic with a cool guitar riff repeated over with a drone at first. It changes several times during it's epic structure, with some awesome riffs and mesmirising musicianship. The next section is almost a straight rock feel but the guitars sound unusual and out of tune or playing wrong notes, but it works to send the listener's ear off kilter. The Indian Sitar makes an entrance here with some bubbling effects. Vocals eventually come in with some existentialist LSD psychobabble; "save them a pocketful of laughter, Mona Lisa, do you see the people crying, do the speedway, do the highway." The lyrics seem improvised as much as the music, but it is a more a general feeling that is desired here, a spacey escapism from the burden of 70s culture and all the trash that was going on and the hyper changes. The counter culture was a target audience here, and it delivered with well executed acid induced rock. The track transfixes at intervals and holds interest with broken up ideas that are listed on the album sleeve, such as Landing In A Ditch, Dehypnotized Toothpaste, A Short Stop St, The Transylvanian Brain Surgery, Race From Here To Your Ears, and other weird ideas. Unless you really concentrate on the times it is almost impossible to recognise where each part starts and ends but it is certainly an innovative approach with definitive breaks in style. The keyboards provide a shimmering soundscape of cosmic ambience. The heavier rock guitar sound that locks in at 11:30 is perhaps my favourite moment, almost sounding like a spacier Led Zeppelin or Free. The 70s sound of the distorted guitar is always an ear pleaser, never overbearing but dirty riffing and played with attitude, a similar style to 70s obscurities Fuzzy Duck, Buffalo, Leaf Hound or Incredible Hog.

The Marilyn Monroe-Memorial-Church is another epic clocking 18 minutes and once again highly improvisational and dissonant, perhaps moreso than previous tracks. It is not the multi movement suite perhaps of the previous epic but it still has a lot of innovative ideas going on. I must admit this one is as hard to take as some of the psychotronic sonic violence of Ash Ra Temple's meditative album. It certainly breaks up the accessible tracks and is best heard in context of the whole album as it is totally different and not a clear indication of the album's overall content. If the whole album were like this it may have proven to be a very weary slog to get through for the average listener, although it sounds like early Can, a band that has a cult following. This music is akin to a space crawl through the cosmic netherverse and of course has extreme LSD connotations and psychedelic connections.

Then we get a trilogy of shorter songs; Chewing Gum Telegram (a great rocker with tons of chaotic drumming and chugging guitar), Stumbling over Melted Moonlight (another guitar driven freak out), and Toxicological Whispering (a strange guitar fusion closer), that is actually 7:48, but short by Amon Duul II's standards. It is an excellent album certainly and, along with Ash Ra Temple, perhaps one of the strangest and most influential of the embryonic 70s.

Report this review (#548638)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars My first foray into the world of the Amon Duuls.

This is the third album from this German band and a highly rated one too. Which I can understand. I am an outsider coming into Krautrock and I find a lot of interesting things here.

The music is based on and developed from the more experiemental stuff The Beatles did at Revolver. The Indian influences and the more basic melody lines is there. The added on elements are the very strong hypnotic spaced out rock here with loops and added sound effects. The music on this album has a very strong avant-garde element too.

The sound is vintage 1970s and very good. So is the vocalist. The rest of the instrumentations sounds good to me too. I also very much like this jazzy rhythms here. This album has a lot going for it. It is sorely missing some really killer tracks though. It is a very good album with a lot of interesting details, but it really does not click that well with me. I am though a very happy owner of this album. I reserve my right to up this review up to a four star later on, but it is only a three and a halfer for me at this stage.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#565322)
Posted Thursday, November 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I swear I would have given this album a five had it not been for the embarrassing lyrics on the entire record. I also have strong reservations about 'Stumbling Over the Melted Moonlight' and the lengthy 'Chamsin Soundtrack.' Plus, I do not like the idea of a musician or a group of musicians stitching several things together and pretending that the whole thing is coherent. Maybe they weren't really pretending; after all, they were raised on the works of the "greats" of classical music. Nonetheless, I'm not a big fan of symphonies that don't flow well. But let's subject this album to the Cartesian approach of scrutinizing things in nature, i.e. slowly and carefully.

The opener is my second favorite on the whole record. It has some sweet keyboard work. I don't really care much for the chord progressions played on that "choir organ" (I suppose that's the choir Mellotron) as well as the work on the actual organ. I just like the sounds of the instruments. How in the world did the keyboardist make a chord on the organ quickly morph into another chord (7:44-7:50)? Oh, I think I know. But this is some five-star winning material here. But here is a problem. As it was mentioned before, I really hate the lyrical work. How prog is that? "What they've got was the parrot (parent?) flesh from the pa-asta-a-a-a-a-a-a-a" (11:51-11:58.) It makes me want to say things I'm not supposed to say in my reviews. Oh, well. If today isn't going to suck, then one of the reasons for that is that I'm not going to let myself suck. But there's other good news to this track: John Weinzierl saves it with his delicious and frenetic guitar work and, on an occasion, lets a pianist take a turn with a corny solo, which, actually, works for me.

The following track is my biggest favorite because it has Weinzierl almost everywhere. He is an apt guitarist indeed. His stuff just makes me think: "OK, looks like I don't know how to improvise or write a decent guitar solo, but how do dudes like him do that?" In fact, if I come up with a lick, it will be likely to have John's philosophy in it. Plus, "The Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child" has some frigged out experiments on it. This really reminds me of Yes: freaking experiments and rich keyboard timbres with some technical electric guitar work and slick production. The end of it all is a must-hear. Every progger should hear it at least once in his life or, maybe, more than once.

Each one of the other tracks on the album has smaller value than any of the first two tracks on it. I can't remember anything from 'Chamsin Soundtrack' except for (someone's) dormant electric organ part and the berserk drum work of Peter Leopold, where the latter is one of the most powerful moments on the entire record. 'Chewing Gum Telegram' is a nice groovy track with Weinzierl and Leopold really running the voodoo down. 'Stumbling Over the Melted Moonlight' has a ridiculous bass riff in which the melody and the rhythm just don't work together very well. On the other hand, you have Weinzierl, who, along with Lothar Meid, jams on through to the other side till you hear Peter Leopold's "treated" drums backed up with something that sounds like a rough draft of Cluster's 'Fotschi Tong'. A journey to The Limbo indeed. Finally, 'Toxicological Whispering' sounds like a track where Weinzierl was given some room to indulge himself in playing and dubbing on various guitar parts, some of which make sense. I heard a couple of riffs that were preceded and followed by pointless guitar lines that give me this impression as if the guy was influenced by The Grateful Dead. There is nothing special about this track, but I really do like the guitar tone and those riffs.

Ratings/comments:

'Syntelman's March of the Roaring Seventies' - ****

'Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child' - *****

'Chamsin Sountrack/The Marilyn Monroe Memorial Church' - ***

'Chewing Gum Telegram' (those Germans probably thought that it rhymes) - ****

'Stumbling Over the Melted Moonlight' - ***

'Toxicological Whispering' - ***

Stamp: "I like it."

Report this review (#613887)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
HolyMoly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Retired Admin
5 stars Great grandmas! Twenty years since I got this, and it still evokes and occupies a strange and distant subterranean horror fantasy world every time I put it on.

Calling this stuff "prog" can be misleading; it's not really about complexity, and definitely doesn't have any classical music influences, even though it works in long-form pieces that are undoubtedly difficult to play. But not difficult for THEM to play, if you catch my drift. They're just a strange sounding band, and nothing they or anyone since done since really sounds the same. Even the Amon Duul II live album from a couple of years later doesn't even really sound like this, even though many of its pieces are played.

Calling this stuff "Kraut Rock" is a little misleading too. It is most definitely German, and immediately identifiable as such (not least for the singers' accents), but it doesn't really subscribe to the stereotypical "Kraut rock" motive, which is robotic repetition (Can, Neu!, Faust, and Kraftwerk all shared this trait, but not Amon Duul).

Oddly enough, it's probably closest in style to West Coast psychedelia, of the darkest sort. The very earliest Mothers of Invention albums are a pretty close comparison, although there was no clear-cut leader like Frank Zappa in this group. Their strangeness was a collective one, with collaboration and shared ideas fleshed out throughout the schizophrenic forest of this album. Humor is apparent in the song titles (pretty much nonsense), but parody and social comment really aren't concerns of these guys either. None of Zappa's "eyebrows" (his word for those little touches he applied to pieces to provide tangential information or non-verbal comment) are present here, just wild whimsy shaped into tight (though lengthy) song structures. No jamming for jamming's sake (like the Airplane or the Dead), but jamming in rehearsal helped provide the band with many of the musical themes. From there, they add other strange touches and tie them together into strange, segmented multi-epics for a "mind-blowing experience, mang".

Sides one, two, and three each have a single extended piece. The fourth side feels like an appendix, a depository for discarded jam material not used in the other pieces. But it too has a strange, travelogue feel to it.

Dude... there's a sitar playing on side two right now... what is it about sitars that takes me to a creepy cobweb room in my brain, to play hide and seek with my consciousness, to taunt the uvula with vibrations of that haunted middle ground between Fear and Ecstasy...

No drugs were taken for this review. It's all the music's fault.

Report this review (#747334)
Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The international breakthrough of an important Krautrock band, not surprisingly given many full ratings here. For me it wasn't very great listening experience. Maybe the debut Phallus Dei (1969) had more crazy charm, and I'm missing Renate Knaup's vocal contributions. This is band's third album, preceded by Yeti (1970), another double vinyl of single CD length like this one. Three vinyl-side long epics plus three shorter tracks. Psychedelic, yes. Mindblowing? Naah. The second epic is rather fragmented, with hilarious subtitles such as 'Dehynotized Toothpaste' and 'A Short Stop at the Transylvanian Brain Surgery'. The over-the-top lunacy could be more strongly present in the music too. Sparse vocal parts are mostly in English - if it matters anything, as they don't make much sense anyway. Why the album title is in German while track titles are in English?

'The Marilyn Monroe-Memorial-Church' is a strange title and somehow quite unfitting to the most Kosmiche track, unless it tries to have the devout tone of the atonal piece, more or less in the mode of early Tangerine Dream (though less exciting in sounds). The shorter tracks are more guitar-oriented and don't add anything crucial. Good guitar playing on 'Toxicological Whispering'. All in all, this is most likely an album that gets better with each listening but at first may be a slight disappointment against the classic status. But I'm not sure if I'm willing to see the trouble to possibly enjoy it more. Until that, three stars is enough.

Report this review (#781982)
Posted Wednesday, July 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
LearsFool
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars The magnum opus of a vast and great discography, and one of my most played records, "Tanz der Lemminge" edges out as the pinnacle of Amon Duul II's career, and as such is one of the thirteen greatest krautrock albums. The course of the album goes through two suites, a side long improv jam, and a few spare tracks, all excellent. "Syntelman's March of The Roaring Seventies" is the best side, with a wonderful mix of really rocking krautrock, acoustic interludes, electronic effects, surreal lyrics, and wild experimentation. It is the truly perfect and most widely liked part of the opus. "Restless-Skylight-Transistor-Child" is the strangest side, with the formula for the first side taken to particularly crazed and experimental heights, and the rock rocks harder. "The Marilyn Monroe Memorial Church" is the jam, a whole side of improv through electronics and light rock apparently made for an obscure film. It is relaxing, and enjoyable both as that and as a trip. The final side is three chaff tracks that are still excellent, a final hurrah of rock. Everything is well played, well thought out, deliciously complex and varied. This album is just wonderful and mind blowing in equal, massive measure. A must listen for all prog rock fans.
Report this review (#1322482)
Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
Modrigue
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Acidman's Dance of the Crazy Seventies

Last AMON DÜÜL II's album featuring long compositions, "Tanz Der Lemminge" marks the end of first half of the band's first period, considered by many as their best. Reusing the musical style of its predecessor, the thundering "Yeti", the tracks are less rock and impacting, there are no immediately catchy songs. Instead, the music is more complex and features more early electronic technologies used to create eerie atmospheres. Neither very danceable, nor in relation with the lemmings, the content is on par with the the cover art: an esoteric superposition of different elements hard to describe. In fact, this may be the darkest, most spacey and elaborated opus conceived by AMON DÜÜL II. Like the previous double-album, "Tanz Der Lemminge" is divided in two parts: the first half consists in (nearly) structured compositions, whereas the second half is improvisational.

With its bizarre introduction, the hallucinogenic "Syntelman's March Of The Roaring Seventies" can be described as a long mystical folk-rock containing different melodies and LSD ambiances. A bit harsh to follow, but includes quite good stuff. In the same vein, "Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child" is my favorite composition of the record. A weird collage of various short heavy, spacey, indian and other experimental pieces, with abrupt transitions. Even if this track is not very coherent, it possesses nice moments and unexpected surprises. The final quarter is the best.

Now begins the so-called "Chamsin Soundtrack" suite, entirely improvisational. As you may have guessed, "The Marylin Monroe-Memorial-Church" has little to do with the American actress. It is rather a dark ambient, cosmic and mysterious long journey, like a crossing of PINK FLOYD's early experimental pieces and TANGERINE DREAM's "Zeit", but the AMON DÜÜL II way. This will make discover a new spacey face of the band, proving (again) their creativity and variety concerning the addressed musical styles. One of the highlight of the record! Listen in the dark for maximum effect. Back to Earth with the small instrumental hard-krautrock "Chewinggum Telegram", more usual but however cool. The oppressive heavy "Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight" is also very effective! "Toxicological Whispering" concludes the trip on a space rock journey into stars.

Compared to the seminal "Yeti", the tracks are less structured and the transitions more abrupt. Difficult to digest the first time and lacking a bit of unity, "Tanz Der Lemminge" is however part of these albums that may take time to appreciate, and in which you can rediscover something new at each new listen. The dance of the little animals protects a little treasure of musical creativity. If the 1970 opus made you travel around the world, this one will make you explore unknown galaxies, or the depths of your mind. You decide.

Least accessible release of AMON DÜÜL II's early discography, this is definitely not the disc to start with. If you're new to the band, be sure to listen to "Yeti" and "Phallus Dei" first (in this order) to fully appreciate the music. Once said, "Tanz Der Lemminge" is essential for the fans and for adventurer psychedelic / space rock lovers in need of madness!

After this album, the Germans' compositions will become shorter and more concise, but this does not necessarily means less interesting...

Report this review (#1566758)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Through the trials and tribulations that life has to offer comes a vast wealth of inspiration and karmic balance and thus the members of AMON DÜÜL II were collecting their just dessert after having a series of setbacks. One of the most terrifying events was at the Keks Club in Cologne, Germany in 1971 when a fire not only destroyed all of their musical gear but snuffed out four youths in attendance and then soon thereafter their new equipment was ripped off which lacking any insurance and not totally paid, ended up bankrupting the band as royalties for their previous two records were garnished to pay off creditors. As can be expected, such incidents create extreme tensions with members of a fledgling band simply trying to make their way in the cult recesses of the music scene and as a result bassist Dave Anderson was the first to bail and immediately hooked up with Hawkwind while founding member Chris Karrer (violin, guitars) would take off to join Embryo. Meanwhile Renate Knaup who never really left the band, only contributed when she felt like it and pretty much sitting this one out with the exception of the one teeny weeny track "Riding On A Cloud" which she clearly was and found that more interesting. Likewise Falk Rogner stuck around on a part-time basis and as a result organ playing duties are shared.

Such was the rotating door lifestyle of 70s commune life yet all the turmoil resulted in a very different creation process for TANZ DER LEMMINGE than "Yeti" which only came out a year before but sounds light years away in sound and overall feel. No longer were Anderson's signature bass playing style present as Lothar Meid took the helm and had a completely different artistic direction. However, despite all the odds stacked against them, the collective commune that had garnered much attention with their first two albums retreated to the eye of the hurricane and reformed, took a deep breath and still managed to release their second double album in a two year timespan. The very first startling thing you will notice when putting on their third album is how very, very different it sounds compared with the previous two. But despite it all, it wasn't only a bloody miracle that it was created at all but actually stands up as one of the band's most varied, creative and ambitious releases of their entire career. This album came out just months after their series of catastrophes under the German title TANZ DER LEMMINGE but was released in the US as DANCE OF THE LEMMINGS. It also found a repackaging in Italy where it was retitled VIAGGIO IN UN SOGNO ("Journey Into A Dream"), however like all great classic albums that stand the test of time it has been faithfully returned to its original and rather fitting title for modern reissues.

The evolving aspects from "Yeti" to TANZ DER LEMMINGE also reflect the turbulence of early 1970s Germany as idealistic hippie and leftist values turned to full-fledged violent revolutionary attempts to use terrorism in order to protest the state apparatus. The Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof Gang) shook the entire country to its core and inevitably the arts and musical culture were equally affected. While "Phallus Dei" and "Yeti" were more free flowing and psychedelic rock oriented with a sense of naive innocence running through their course, TANZ DER LEMMINGE is not only more sophisticated in the musical sense but runs the gamut of the emotional spectrum equally as if the band just like the land in which they resided was facing the most uncertain of futures and in the process were throwing any zany idea possible at the wall to see what would stick. The result of this nosedive into the world of fastidious experimentation resulted in a sprawler of a concept album that contains four progressive rock suites with each offering completely different moods and objectives. While these grails convene to take the listener on a wild roller coaster ride of musical diversity, they all coalesce into a larger sense of creating a surreal and psychedelic narrative of the era.

SUITE ONE: "Syntelman's March Of The Roaring Seventies (15:50)

Anyone expecting a repeat of "Yeti's" heavy psych almost proto-metal approach is immediately disappointed as the first suite or side A on the original vinyl begins with a lysergic swirl of Tangerine Dream meets Klaus Schulze electronica whizzing about but quickly fizzles out and morphs into a more familiar groovy bass line however sans heavy guitar distortion and instead replaced by an acoustic guitar performance that could win over Bob Dylan refugees after he went electric. These folky riffs then alternate consummately with classical strumming talents would make Segovia proud with an intermittent violin that upon first impression made me think of a Teutonic version of Comus who coincidently released their landmark "First Utterance" the very same year. The suite continues the Comus (or perhaps some Jethro Tull-ishness as well) references on the third part of the suite "Prayer To Silence" as it unleashes jangly acoustic folk guitar in erratic time signatures with tribal bongo drumming. Suddenly it changes once again into an organ drenched melancholy that has a fast bass hook and bluesy guitar come and go and create ever increasing tempos that finally find Karrer's vocals join in to musically articulate tall tales of surrealistic lyrical content that leads up to some sort of occult text with references to alien worlds thus offering a more lysergic and imaginative whimsy that could possibly have been influenced by David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and the inevitable consciousness shift of the moon landing.

SUITE TWO: "Restless Skylight - Transistor-Child" (19:33)

Begins as some crazed drug fueled attempt at a blues song and sort of reminds me of a Captain Beefheart riff before completely disappearing and replaced by spaced out footsteps on an alien vessel or something and then like most tracks imperceptibly transitions with this going into the Zappa-esque "Dehypnotized Toothpaste" that not only brings the early avant-rocker's humor to mind but also the quirky jazz-fusion musical madness as well. "A Short Stop At The Transylvanian Brain-Surgery" reverts back to a totally spaced out guitar run with mellotron wails simulating an alien chorus and a sultry sitar dancing like a Bollywood actress around the main rhythm. The three parts to "Race From Here To Your Ears" take a voyage far away to another galaxy as heavy psych guitars find their inner Hendrix and Cream inspired riffs that slowly ignite in a peace pipe while the waif of intoxicating smoke unleashes Chris Karrer's most uninhibited vocal performance as he wails like a madman as tripped out lyrics about everything from little tornadoes and the art of curry, the Bank of Babylon and lion summer's find their way into the theme. I am still totally perplexed by any attempt of meaning of it all. The madness ensues with frantic guitar rhythms, screechy violins and drone bass lines that bedazzle and hypnotize simultaneously as it ends with the evocative "H.G. Well's Take Off."

SUITE THREE: "Chamsin Soundtrack" (33:05)

Pull out your tickets and take the most mind expanding excursion on the album with "The Marilyn Monroe-Memorial-Church" which takes a long 18 minute and 5 second journey and worships all things "Saucerful Of Secrets" which is arguably the Floydian birth pangs of all things Krautrock and improvises a massive psychedelic improvisational attack of the senses that slowly drift in and out of frequency with fuzzed out guitars swirling in and out of stereo through a maddening maze of bluesy guitar riffs, bouncy bass and orgies of keyboards straight out of Berlin School progressive electronic abductions into the twilight zone. After "behaving" for the prior album parts, this monstrous track meanders through the musical universe where notes collide and fuse together as if they were in primeval pools of plasma going through phase changes and then garnering enough nuclear power to transport themselves into other dimensions. Sounds come and go like random schools of jellyfish suddenly thrown off course due to tidal uncertainties and cosmic interferences. And then in complete contrast, the album ends on a heavier hard psych note with the complete freefall over the cliffs with the dancing lemmings which ends Mr Toad's Wild Adventure with the appropriately titled "Toxicological Whispering."

TANZ DER LEMMINGE is most certainly a more thoughtful and provocative album than what came before and will require ample periods of uninterrupted attention with plenty of after time rumination. Upon first listen i was actually disappointed with this album, big time, as i was expecting a clearcut continuation of "Yeti." While i may have put this back on the shelf for a while, it had planted its seeds and summoned my nonjudgmental return. Upon reflection and ample listening time i have fallen under its hypnotic spell as it mesmerizes my restlessness while stimulating my creative cranial cortex. The diversity of sounds, tones, styles and twisted tales of the imagined or not comes off as a playful nerdy paradise of sounds that slinks and swirls in every foreseeable direction of the sonic palette while earning an A+ for tenacity on the trip-o-meter. No you don't need drugs to enjoy this but then again, maybe you do. You without doubt need patience and above all a very open mind. This is certainly a grower as it strives for a 10 on the progometer but really only scaling up to a 9. For 1971 this is some pretty daring stuff. It far outreaches other Krautrock contemporaries. While Can and Faust were limiting their respective sounds to a certain niche market, AMON DÜÜL II were taking the rock approach to the jazzy stellar other worlds of Sun Ra and his Magic Arkestra as if they were abducted by alien beings and implanted with creativity chips. Man, that commune idea really worked for these guys at the time but like all good parties it must come to and end and such is the case with the highest peak of their career as the following albums incrementally became tamer and commercial. TANZ DER LEMMINGE, however was and remains one of the highest peaks of the early Krautrock world.

Report this review (#1675391)
Posted Monday, January 2, 2017 | Review Permalink

AMON DÜÜL II Tanz Der Lemminge [Aka: Dance Of The Lemmings] ratings only


chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of AMON DÜÜL II Tanz Der Lemminge [Aka: Dance Of The Lemmings]


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives