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Amon Düül II - Made in Germany CD (album) cover


Amon Düül II


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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars Weird stuff from a band with a great past. There are still glimmers from their early brilliance , but this goes in every direction and sounds sometimes like german music-hall as the Marlene Dietrich-like cover alludes to. Krautoma (they knew self-derision) and Loosey Girls are the highlights here.
Report this review (#27848)
Posted Thursday, March 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This lp is often spoken of as one of the worst by the legendary krautrock band AMON DUUL II.But,I feel that the critics have been a bit to harsh in judging this release. This was the first album by these guys (and girl) that I ever ran across.Curious and not sure what to expect I played the lp and was surprised by the range and styles displayed by the band.The music here is of a more pop sound.FM radio friendly krautrock?I now know that this lp is a U.S. release which contains about half of the material of the German version of this one.All in all,still a good lp.The trick is to not try and compare it to other AMON DULL II releases.Some of the early lps are brimming over which churning pyschedelic sounds.Many sound more British than German.This sounds German.Favorite cuts include LOOSEY GIRLS,METROPOLIS and MR. KRAUT'S JINX.
Report this review (#44733)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Condensed 48-minute version of the original double album, made for the British and North American markets. It didn't break them in the English-speaking world (obviously the intent of this release), but it sounds surprisingly complete as an album for what's essentially a paring down of a larger work.

The track order, naturally, has been all shuffled around and it sounds even more mainstream than the longer version. Still, it works somehow and it's valid. I discovered this music in this format, so I still have fond memories of this release.

A couple of technical notes: the track entitled "Gala Gnome" is actually "Three-Eyed Overdrive" on the double album. Weird. Also, the humourous (yet controversial) "interview" that preceded "La Krautoma" is left off of this version.

Report this review (#44748)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Here we have a streamlined version of Amon Duul 2's ambitious double album `Made In Germany', reducing the track listing from 20 to 12 numbers and mostly focusing on the more accessible and/or song-based tracks. The intent was to break the band into the English-speaking market, and although Seventies music listeners were known to be more adventurous, I really don't understand the logic here. Despite these tracks being more straightforward, there's nothing here that would attract the ears of new listeners or fans of Top 40 chart music of the time. The poppier tracks are a little too `strange', or they're not even catchy enough to suggest something that would have bothered the charts. It's certainly not a bad album, although it's a world away from the defining sonically experimental earlier work of the band. Heck, even the double LP with the added instrumental passages doesn't achieve much better results.

`Dreams' makes for a snappy attention-getting opener that appeared much later on the 2 LP version near the tail end. It's a fiery waltz with a stirring violin solo in the middle, and I really dig the lines `I've been wearing fancy beads, and trying to plant the seeds, but I didn't see the light `til I saw you. Dreams are our connection!' The dueling male/female vocals of the energetic `Ludwig' initially start off like Jefferson Airplane, before an overly peppy and comical chorus almost brings the thing undone. The drum attack assault over grand orchestral strings and acoustic guitar provide a bit more interest for adventurous prog listeners. `The King's Chocolate Waltz' is better, a slow- tempo unwinding electronic pulse over acid-fried folk guitar and somber organ that certainly sounds closer to their earlier albums, and probably could have easily found a home on `Wolf City'. `Blue Grotto' is a laid-back dreamy chill out with gentle shuffling percussion, thick punchy bass and shimmering guitar over a sexy cooing vocal from Renate. The incorrectly listed `5.5.55' (a trimmed version of `Gala Gnome') is a strutting 70's rocker with some wailing electric guitar-work but also an obtrusive horn section. `Emigrant Song' is a country rocker that jumps around in tempo with some nice electric piano.

The first melodic part of `La Krautoma' is cool, although I'm sure much of the melody is ripped straight from that `Darling, save the last dance for me' song, so thankfully the second half tears into some menacing brooding jamming like the good Duul days of old, all scuzzy electronics, dirty electric guitar noise and whirlwind drum soloing. `Metropolis' is a cheery mid tempo catchy pop/rocker from Renate, nicely played but nothing more, and the female chorus vocals are pretty dated. The incorrectly listed `Gala Gnome' (actually `Three Eyed Overdrive' on the double LP version) is a brief murky electronic experiment, while `Loosey Girls' is a grand orchestrated ballad sung by Robby that successfully balances wistful reflection and sadly dark drama well, topped off with a moving trumpet/sax/brass solo in the middle. `Top Of The Mud' is a raucous hip-swiveling boogie with darting flute and swirling Moog, but fortunately the best is saved until last on this version. `Mr Krauts Jinx' has a nice dreamy atmosphere and a wistful weary vocal from Robby, while the band works through everything from uneasy acoustic passages, glistening electric piano ambience, tense orchestration and frantic drumming, with a dark breakneck rock-out jam in the finale, totally unhinged and probably the closest we get to a proper glimpse of that classic Duul sound.

Giving it a few repeated fresh spins leaves me of two minds, just as the full double version does in a different way. The material here works perfectly fine as a single album, actually quite cohesive with just enough extended instrumental moments to keep the more commercial and straight-forward pieces from dominating completely. Besides, the extra instrumental pieces on the double LP version didn't really offer too much excitement. The playing is still superb here, although it's a little sad to hear the band reigned in so much around accessible melodies to stop them showing their real worth. It's kind of hard to recommend, and new fans should of course check out their earlier epic works such as `Tanz der Lemminge', `Yeti' or `Wolf City' well before this, and even `Vive La Trance' did the accessible pop/rock thing in a more interesting and bent fashion than anything on here. So, not exactly scraping the bottom of the barrel, and certainly not a case of the band simply repeating themselves, just that it sees them head in a direction progressive/Krautrock fans won't find a lot of interest in, despite being very well written and performed.

The double LP version gets the 3 stars, so this can only realistically deserve 2 and a half.

Report this review (#1041111)
Posted Saturday, September 21, 2013 | Review Permalink

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