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BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE

Gila

Krautrock


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Steve Hegede
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Depending on your mood, krautrock can sound either dated or absolutely infectious. GILA falls somewhere between the two. "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" was released in 1973. The biggest problem that I had with the album, at first, was that it sounded too psychedelic, and thus dated, for a 1973 release. The music seemed to have more in common with early AMON DÜÜL II than what was going on with rock music at the time. Once I got over that fact, I was soon treated to some of the prettiest psychedelic ever made. The music here emphasizes 12-string acoustic guitar, but the vocal harmonies really makes this band stand out. I'm reminded of vocal harmonies used by many of San Francisco's psychedelic bands during the late 60s; but GILA sound much more European (although they sing in English). The vocals are done using a combination of male and female vocals. Once in a while, I'm even reminded of the Dutch band EATH AND FIRE. The album talks about the abuse of American-Indians by white settlers, yet never comes off as a political statement. So those of you who might be turned-off by political albums have nothing to worry about. Along with the lush guitar and vocals, the listener is also treated to piano by Florian Fricke. In all it's a recipe for dream-like psychedelic music. For those of you looking for prog/psych with American-Indian influences, several songs feature native American rhythms, and chanting. Overall, if you're looking for lovely psychedelic music from continental Europe, you found it.

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Send comments to Steve Hegede (BETA) | Report this review (#28855)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
philippe
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" is a concept album about the destruction of the american indians during the mythic Amerian West. Florian Frike of Popol Vuh plays the keyboards accompanied by Conny Veit on the guitars. Here the Space rock tinged with psychedelic effects slightly leaves the place to touching folk-pop songs (dominated by ethereal female vocals). This one looks like more to a Popol Vuh album at their most acoustic moments. Easy and pleasant listening.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#28854)
Posted Sunday, April 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really. I'd like to disagree on the two previous reviews . If Gila's first album was a psych masterpiece (and very left-wing political too ) and I have not heard their second live album (it is full of non-studio tracks ) , this one is much more progressive. Their left wing beliefs again surfaced here as denoucing the Indian massacre of Wounded Knee in 73 . US citizens should know that about half of the european youths sided with the Indians when playing CowBoys and Indians in their childhood and this sympathy still lives strongly in our adulthood.

This album is surely strongly inspired by Jefferson Airplane ( Now there is a band every proghead should get into - great vocals interplay , fabulous bassist Jack Casady and guitar wonderboy Jorma Kaukkonen - the Airplane , not the Starship ) but very prog (as was the Jeff Airplane) and they haded a rather cute female vocalist and enrolled Fricke on KB (from Popol Vuh - not my cup of tea but should also be on this site). Overall the view is rather naive and as one listens to Buffalos Are Coming , I'm not sure they ever met AmerIndians. I have two of them as friends (remnants from my Canadian youth ) one Cree- Seneca and one Cheyene and was invited on their reserves and their chants were very different than the last part of the Buffalos Coming. Aside from this , do not be afraid to hunt this down (Garden Of Delights Label is well distributed) , and get a good listen to Gila's fist and this one : you will not become a left wing activist but you might be more sensible to the Native American's cause. It needs it .

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#28856)
Posted Wednesday, July 07, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another obscure masterpiece of progressive-folk from the Germans. Differing from their earlier LP's in that it jettisoned the space-rock sound for a more song-based guitar-led sound this is Conny Veit's greatest achievement. Let's remember he was still only what? 18 when he wrote this. OK he did have Popol Vuh acting as his back-up band but still for someone so young this is a great achievement. As noted this is basically "Seligpreissung"- era Popol Vuh with the addition of a femail vocalist. Opener "This Morning" is delightful - another great European anglo=saxon-type folk sound, with aocustic guitar and piano crashes so invigorating they are akin to bathing in a Swiss alps waterfall, crystal clear guitar playin gby the best young guitarist Germany had to offer - Bury My Heart - sounds incredibly modern alos - certain tracks could be Kid A era Radiohead in action and this was 1973!!! Sode One is full of acoustic strumming and piano arpeggio's that occupy the saem heavenly ascendent trajectory as prime Popol Vuh. The penultimate track has a guitar figure so effective - a crystalinne Gilmour sound played with real verve and spiritual delight - that it is upsetting that it is so short - lasting only a few bars - before the paino's crash back in and the whole things slows down. This is PURE UNADULTERATED MUSIC FOR THE SOUL - Utter sublime brilliance very rarely equalled.

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Send comments to mandrake2 (BETA) | Report this review (#28858)
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
oliverstoned
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3.5 stars

This Gila concept album is dedicated to the Indian American's extermination. Strongly Popol vuh influenced thanks to Florian Fricke's presence (playing mellotron and grand piano). Conny Veit plays guitar, flute, vibraphone and moog while Sabine Merbach is on vocals.

It's not space rock here, but rather psyche folk. The first piece ("this morning") is beautiful, ethereal but dynamic and positive, with beautiful spiritual lyrics, related to man's harmony with nature. The second one, ("In a sacred manner") is in the same vein, with lyrics still related to spiritual life ("In a sacred manner I live, to the heavens i gaze"). These two pieces features excellent guitar, nice breaks with aerial vibraphone flights and glittering cymbals. The album also features world/tribal influences and vocals, like in the dark and intriguing "Little smoke".

Overall, certainly not a masterpiece, but another genuine german psyche folk album.

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Send comments to oliverstoned (BETA) | Report this review (#73630)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Band members of Gila's first line-up lived together in a flat-sharing community which was the case as well with some other Krautrock bands like AD making it much easier for them to communicate with each other. In 1972 Conny Veit decided to work closer together with Popol Vuh based in Munich and therefore Gila 1 broke apart. Making two albums with them in 1972/73 he found as well Florian Fricke there and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Fichelscher of AD II to form a new reincarnation of the band. His girl-friend Sabine Merbach on vocals completed the line-up and inspired by the book written by Dee Brown they recorded this album here. The new sound of Gila was very much in the Popol Vuh vein with ethnic touches packed in complex textures featuring several guitars. In fact "Bury My Heart." could be almost considered a PV album, except that Conny Veits's compositions replaced Florian Fricke's. It's quite obvious that as the book it was dealing with the decimation and oppression of the North American Indians by the European immigrants, exemplified by one of the last and worst massacres in the year of 1868. In his own words according to the CD booklet Conny Veit "was moved by the simplicity and poetic power of the American Indian lyrics which had been included in the Dee Brown's book and I decided to set them to music anew because in my view the original American Indian music definitely didn't come up to the quality of these texts". Unlike with their debut which had been more or less without any lyrics they had to use here tight arrangements mixing them with improvised parts, a procedure that resembled that of Indian ragas. With classically trained keyboardist Florian Fricke (he visited a conservatory being a disciple of Hindemith) Veit found the perfect supplement for his own talents and as well Fichelscher's high skills on drums and bass and Sabine Merbach with her pleasant vocals contributed a lot to this excellent outcome. The seven beautiful tracks of this album are dominated by a folksy and more acoustic mood mainly created by the use of 12-string guitar and grand piano with some occasional flute. Combined with the highly poetic lyrics these intense soundscapes generate a merely haunting atmosphere. Two of the tracks, "Young Coyote" and "Little Smoke" are all instrumental and presented by Conny Veit solo on guitar. Highlight is certainly the more dramatic piece "The Buffalo Are Coming" with great percussion but all the tracks are actually excellent. The added CD bonus is an earlier recorded song which isn't that bad but not on par with the ones of the main album.

Finally I just can say that Gila's second (and unfortunately last) studio output should be considered an excellent addition to any Prog collection and I'd highly recommend it to all fans of progressive folk music.

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#103762)
Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
3 stars Where should my heart be buried?

Conny Veit reformed the band GILA with two members of Popol Vuh and released this album in 1973. 'Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee' is astonishing, very different to the forerunner. The album consists of music which is oriented at american psych and folk but sounds unique nevertheless, a concept album with a story about the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 where the indian natives suffered a heavy defeat. I don't know if another german band ever tried to work out such a theme in this way - very curageous and GILA is successful though.

This is not really krautrock on the other hand but they offer seven songs with beautiful melodies. Somewhat unplugged music dominated by acoustic guitar, male/female vocal harmonies, piano (Florian Fricke) but also with some original indian percussion and dance rhythms. All the other instuments, drums, Mellotron and electric guitar, are used sparingly. The band provides a very melancholic mood with meandering melodies, compact and matured.

Excellent psychedelic and folk pregnant music with Black Kettle's Ballad and The Buffalo are Coming as the highlights - 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Rivertree (BETA) | Report this review (#156375)
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The first incarnation of GILA had disbanded after Conny Veit had moved to Munich to work with POPOL VUH (having been invited by Florian Fricke). After they had finished the "Hosianna Mantra" record Conny began to think about reforming GILA. What he missed was playing live, and POPOL VUH was primarily a studio band. Florian offered his services(piano & mellotron) while drummer Daniel Ficheischer(POPOL VUH & AMON DUUL II) also wanted in. Conny was very much satisfied with GILA being a trio except he didn't have a lot of confidence in his vocals. He was taking lessons but decided to ask his singer girlfriend Sabine Merbach to help out in that regard. So yes you could say this GILA record really was a POPOL VUH album except that Conny Veit's compositions replaced Florian Fricke's. It should be noted that the only time this band performed any of this material was on a cultural TV program.They disbanded not long after with Fricke and Ficheischer going back to the POPOL VUH project while Conny joined AMON DUUL II during their tour of France in the winter of 1973/1974.

Later that year he joined GURU GURU for a short time. At this time Veit was heavily into reading books and the one book that really came alive lyrically for him was a Dee Brown book called "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee". He decided that this GILA record would be based on this book about the real life tragedy of one of the worst and last massacre of Native Americans in 1868 by white european immigrants. Conny also says that on the first GILA record as well as the live one they concentrated on improvisations, whereas this record he used tight arrangements in setting the texts to music, and then mixed them with improvised parts. There are some excellent pictures of Veit, Ficheischer and Fricke in the liner notes but none is better then the picture on the back cover of the band looking so deeply sad, like they had just witnessed the massacre themselves.

Side one of the original album(first 4 tracks) looks at the life the natives lived before the massacre. The music is lush, dreamy and beautiful. The lyrics are very expressive of the freedom they enjoyed. On "This Morning" we get words like "This morning I woke up, I opened my eyes.This morning I woke up, I looked out the window, I saw the birds flying high to the sky ah..." also "Think i'm going to take a walk outside, colours and flowers, the wind was blowing through my hair ah..." Dual vocals on this one and Conny is playing his 12 string and also some mournful electric guitar. Florian plays piano. "In A Sacred Manner" again features meaningful lyrics like "In a sacred manner I live, to the heavens I gaze. In a sacred manner I live, my horses are many." It ends lyrically with "Oh I live, oh I live, oh I live." The mellotron from Florian is beautiful while Conny sings solo and plays both his 12 string and electric guitar again. Florian is on the grand piano again while Daniel plays drums and bass on this one.

"Sundance Chant" lyrically looks at a young native man and says "Look at the young man" while Conny's electric guitar plays. Later "Can't you see him he is feeling good, cause his sweetheart is watching him." Just words about people living their lives as they have for centuries. Some well timed clapping in this one as well. "Young Coyote" is an instrumental of Veit's solo 12 string guitar throughout. His playing reminds me of Page. "The Buffalo Are Coming" is an incredible song instrumentally. The piano early is joined by electric guitar and mellotron. Drums are prominant 1 1/2 minutes in. Great sound. Piano is back 2 minutes with guitar. Flute before 3 minutes. More excellent electric guitar later then some chanting about the buffalo coming. "Black Kettle's Ballad" looks at the aftermath of the massacre, as if it's just happened. Acoustic guitar, electric guitar, flute, drums, piano and vocals. "Little Smoke" is the closing instrumental. A sad song with mellotron and slowly played acoustic guitar and piano. Drums become prominant after 3 minutes, then electric guitar. Piano ends it.

The biggest compliment I can give the music here is that it is as meaningful as the title of the book and record.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#173383)
Posted Monday, June 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Only thing I knew about this band before listening was the keyboard player Florian Fricke, who's Popol Vuh soundtracks for the Werner Herzog records are known to me in some extent. I also detect both early 1970's and German Krautrock scene as promising starting points.

The sound of this record does not try to replicate American Indian folk music excluding few moments, more likely it is based on the American folk/rock sound of the white man. The record begins with a positive, peaceful & spiritual feeling, flowing music which acoustic guitar and piano drives. Strong male/female vocal harmonies bring a human touch to the sound. We get some Mellotrons painting a strong vision over subtle electric guitar solo, and also some amplified rock phases and waving mantra-like sequences. Maybe if Neil Young would have done prog it might have sounded something like this. Also Florian's piano sounds often familiar; Fast chords running in still a peaceful manner, supported by guitar and other musical instruments.

My version did not have the bonus track, so I can't evaluate do they bring much extra value to the record. From the Kraut repertoire this is an accessible choice, maybe not pleasing all space heads, but still quite fine record. It did not create a huge sensation to me though. In addition I got quite immersed to Popol Vuh's records later, and stuck to those more ethereal sonic psalms myself.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#230670)
Posted Sunday, August 09, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars With only Conny Veit remaining from the original Gila line-up, this album is a complete departure from the previous Gila albums. With a female vocalist and with Florian Fricke from Popol Vuh this rather sounds like a Popol Vuh album then like the Floydian blues-psych jams that Gila had done before.

In the instrumental parts there are still traces of the band's psychedelic roots but due to the vocals and the more acoustic sound this is a folk album before anything else. At its strongest moments it marries Popol Vuh to Sandy Denny. But there are also some mellow pop-folk tracks here that might be better fit for folk fans then for me. Despite the good instrumental backbone, a song like Sundance Chant does little for me.

After this album, Florian Fricke would take Conny Veit and Fichelser (formerly from Amon Düül II) along with him to Popol Vuh and Gila ceased to exist. 3.5 stars

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#384603)
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Gila guitarist Conny Veit's new boss Florian Fricke (from Veit's day job in Popol Vuh) sits in on the recording of this last album from a briefly reunited Gila. It's certainly an odd little proposition - with more in common with psychedelia-tinged Americana than Krautrock - but an uninspiring production job combined with a lack of focus (despite the concept) yields a boring listen that doesn't much sound either like Gila's previous work or like Veit's excellent collaborations with Fricke over in Popol Vuh. The Gila project would go dormant after this brief sputtering into life, and I can't say a whole lot was lost - especially since this entire lineup (bar the vocalist) ended up making wonderful music together as Popol Vuh anyway.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#507403)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink

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