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Ego on the Rocks - Acid in Wounderland  CD (album) cover


Ego on the Rocks

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars Early ELOY members Jurgen Rosenthal (also ex-SCORPIONS) and Detlev Schmidtchen combined talents in 1979 in what I consider simply to be an amazing album all the way through. Rosenthal & Schmidtchen broke ways with Frank Bornemann and ELOY after recording "Silent Cries & Mighty Echoes" and immediately began writing and recording what they considered more "creative" and "progressive" music. "Acid In Wounderland" is full of great space atmospheres combined with loads of loop and tape effects, acid like guitar solos, bass trance like grooves and loads of electronic keyboard accents. Without a question this album will take your brain into the wonderful world of deep space. The fine folks at Second Battle have found an additonal 35 minutes of unreleased EGO which includes a wickedly wonderful 20 min epic space journey called "Once In Africa". I can not say enough about this album and will recommend this to all lovers of electronic space psychedelia. Buying this album is a better value than going to see another one of those "lovie - dovie" Tom Cruise flicks.
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Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars It took a while, but this is starting to grow on me. There is a lot of sampling that really doesn't help make this record better, in fact I believe the opposite is true. Samples from movies and other sounds that I have no idea what they are, and spoken words (literary quotes and a poem recited) that again takes away from the music instead of enhancing it.

The first track really reminds me of THE TALKING HEADS, there is an 80's feel to it. The second song is a highlight with some great drumming from the former Eloy drummer as synths carry on.The third song "Erected Error" reminds me of the OZRIC TENTACLES (similer sound from the rhythm section).

"Asylum" has an Alan Parsons vibe with some crazy synths to end it. Some nice guitar on "Civilization Song 1". And of the bonus tracks "Losers And Finders" is another highlight, but the best song by far is the final one "Once In Africa I" clocking in at just under 20 miutes with Pink Floyd written all over it. Great spacy synths and some scorching guitar, it's a beauty ! It's also the closest they would get to sounding like their old band Eloy.

Worth 3 stars certainly for the last track alone, but overall I can't rate it any higher then that.

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Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars The former Eloy members that made up this "band" played a significant role in Eloy's most popular albums; in particular Jurgen Rosenthal was responsible for the concept of "Ocean", widely regarded as their best. Frank Bornemann claimed that it was their large egos which caused them to splinter from the group, which might have contributed to the chosen name. While I believe Eloy produced some of their best albums following the split, this one is no dud.

The style is not really Eloy-ish but more kraut rock with spacey tendencies. I hear Amon Duul II and Kraftwerk for instance, as well as some Hawkwind, such as on the strong opener "01. 7 to 7 or 999 to 99 Hope". Lots of spoken parts and sound effects introduce and interrupt the material and would have been best dispensed with, but perhaps had an important meaning for the writers. For that reason, and because of the percussive keyboard instrumentation on some songs, such as "Godbluff", I am reminded of Jon and Vangelis "Friends of Mr Cairo", but this came first, so I am probably missing a common ancestor. Certainly those sounds also have a very electronic Tangerine Dream like quality, and the album also heralds the 1980s tendency to minimally emotive vocals surrounded by washes of synthesizers, but thankfully here real drums are used. "Asylum" grafts some intelligent pop onto the formula. Ego in the Rocks is keyboard dominated, but the guitars offer strong support with little flash, probably best illustrated on "Hazard". The highly techno synthesized approach is several levels removed from Eloy and as such sounds more dated that the material of the mother group.

Unfortunately, although I have a CD copy, it does not contain bonus tracks so my assessment is based only on the original album, which I find to be a flawed but enjoyable work that can be enjoyed straight up.

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Posted Thursday, September 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ego on the rocks is one of the forgotten bands from late '70's from german scene. Featuring - Detlev Schmidtchen / vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass, from Eloy and Jürgen Rosenthal drums from Eloy and Scorpions. I'm agree with previous reviewers that this album is definetly a grower, it took me more then 4 spins to fully apreciated this album. The music is quite good and but offers some truly great moments combining elements from Eloy (Silent cry and mighty echoues era), those spacey moments of the highest calibre and some electronica arrangements not far from Tangerine Dream or Krafwerk. I might say it sounds like Eloy in a new clothes. The album original release in 1979 and re issued on CD at Jupiter records in 1993 and Second Battle in 1997, have 6 bonus tracks (the jupiter re issue doesn't have those bonuses) who are lenghty then the entire album with the excellent final track Once in Africa 1 full of Pink Floyd and Eloy atmosphere. So overall a good album for sure, I like it, in places are some spoken words in german and english but fits very well in the atmosphere of the album. The band had a metheoric career, and soon after because of poor sales and problems between musicians split up in 1981. Still a pleasent album to my ears with some fantastic pieces like Erected Error - full of Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream moments, those beginnings of the '80's synthesisers sounds are all here, and Godbluff. I will give for sure 3 stars, for this album, who needs a better view, nothing groundbreaking here but pleasent most of the time.
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Posted Monday, February 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a quite ambitious attempt by drummer and lyricist Juergen Rosenthal and keyboarder and guitarist Detlev Schmidtchen, both of which had just left Eloy (or "were left"; pretty clearly the split was not on good terms). The original album (ending with "Civilisation Song 1") has all the songs connected and is meant to be appreciated as a whole, with all the voice recordings becoming part of a bigger, mysterious but somewhat philosophical concept. There is no clear "story" behind this but the lyrics together with the voices, many of which are quotes from authors certainly give qite a bit food for thought without restricting the imagination of the listener too much. The band has come under fire in the majority of the reviews for distracting from the music by this approach, but for me personally this works very well and makes me listen to the lyrics and thinking about the quotes, although I normally tend to ignore lyrics. I am fluent in both German and English, which obviously helps; without German you miss about a third. Still, the voices and other noise snippets are also fine as integral part of the sound for me.

The music mixes several elements. Both Schmidtchen and Rosenthal use their trademark Eloy sounds for drums and keyboards and particularly some of the keyboard work evoke Eloy. Schmidtchen moves also in a more electronic/spacey direction, using some Tangerine Dream-style sequencers. There are some straight and atmospheric instrumentals (though these come with recorded voices besides further sound samples), some complexity and experiments in the longer songs, and actually three or four examples of surprisingly catchy songwriting.

Rosenthal plays straighter than in most of his Eloy work, fitting for the time, but in any case he is a great, groovy and very characteristic drummer and both the drums and the keyboards are really strong, well played, original and tasteful. You've got to like some early 80s synthesizer sound, though. Generally there is more emphasis on sounds and atmospheres than on twists and turns in the songwriting, which is in a middle ground between grandiose 70s prog and decluttered (though still interesting) 80s new wave/electronic but there is much variation on the overall album between songs so that it still is a multi-faceted experience.

The bonus tracks fall clearly behind and are not integrated in the overall concept; they are partly interesting, partly experimental and partly annoying and although I liked listening to some parts of them, they are not on a par with the regular album; this includes the elsewhere celebrated "Once in Africa 1", which I find rather aimless and too long. Also their production is substandard, they were probably not originally meant as an end product. The simpler bonus songs are not on a par with their counterparts "Asylum" or "Erected Error" from the original LP either. The bonuses don't hurt though, it's just more music and one can skip it, of course.

This is a very interesting and rewarding work, although it suffers somewhat from the thin non-singers voice of Schmidtchen, who does most of the vocals, and from the fact that Schmidtchen is by far not as good as guitarist and bass player as he is as keyboarder. With a top notch bass player and singer I'd have rated this 4.5, as things are it's 3.5 rounded up.

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Posted Saturday, February 20, 2016 | Review Permalink

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