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4 stars This is a nearly perfect fusion of western and eastern music. It is recommended to everyone who like indian or pakistani music. It has a session character because most of it is improvised. The recordings are made in many different places with many different musicians, but the athmosphere is very unique.
Report this review (#30625)
Posted Thursday, May 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have soft spot for middle eastern influenced music in general,especially when is incorporated by a prog band.Having said that I find unforgiveablethat this album is rewieved by only one person on this site."Embryo's reise",the mighty double lp is probably the best album of middle eastern influenced prog I have ever listened to it.The way Embryo mixes their unique jazz-rock(with emphasis on jazz) with sounds of egzotic instruments is nothing short of breathtaking.Album is recorded during their visit to Afghanistan,Pakistan and India in 1978/79.and represents a pinnacle of explorations of native music roots of aforementioned countries.Schneeball records reissue ommited three songs from original lp due to lost and damaged maser tapes,still album deserves way much more attention than many other purely jazz albums by the band.I urge all real prog lovers to find and explore this album'cause it is a real masterpiece.
Report this review (#75913)
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!

This double album is certainly one of the best attempts to fuse progressive-type rock with ethnic/world music and few have succeeded as well as Embryo's Reise (voyage). Indeed around the departure of the ever-important Roman Bunka from the group, plans had been made to travel from Istanbul to Pakistan and Nepal, while recording their musical encounters with the indigenes found on their paths. The album is not just that, there are also tracks coming from left, right & centre, but overall, that's a fair description of the album's content. Among Embryo's latest recruits were guitarist Drexler (ex-Out Of Focus) and wind player Josch (ex-Missus Beastly) whom were part of the trip. The gatefold vinyl comes with a deliciously illustrated booklet detailing their trip in both German and English texts. I hear the Cd version has that too, but I doubt of the legibility of the format.

Where this album is an important one for progheads is that the track list is abounding of jams between the Embryo members and the local musicians, sometimes resulting to some absolutely stunning jams. Difficult to start describing these jams, but most had a structure for conventional entendre (no free form or voluntarily dissonant). The group was giving improvised multimedia concerts along the way, some including stunning live performance paintings. In either case, I'm sure they brought back hundreds of hours of jams and gave us a small selection here. Some of these jams are actually really successful, mixing perfectly the European (often electric) rock musicians and the often-acoustic local musicians (such as the opening Road To Asia), while others are more ethnic players playing their stuff while Europeans are waiting for a chance to hop on boards. On the other hand there are some openly and wildly saturated guitar rock pieces.

Symbolic of the 70's hippy dream, this road is now highly unlikely to all western or eastern youth as international conflicts have long rendered the road impossible to accomplish safely nowadays. A real must and not only in Embryo's discography.

Report this review (#171952)
Posted Thursday, May 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The first six EMBRYO albums are all classics in my opinion but many add this one to the list and for good reason. Released later (1979) it's a unique album in their catalogue in that it is the product of their (including families) voyage (riese) to Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.They would play with local musicians on their travels and of course record it. Check out the list of guest musicians and especially the names of some of these instruments many of which i've never even heard of. Some great pictures in the liner notes, in fact there was even a film of this whole journey which is difficult to find apparently.This cd version is missing three tracks that the double LP originally had as the master tapes were apparently damaged. Still we get about 72 minutes of music and perhaps the best example i've heard of East meets West when it comes to music. OUT OF FOCUS guitarist Remigius Drexler helps out as does MISSUS BEASTLY's Josch Friedemen on flute.This was recorded between September / 78 and May / 79. I should mention that the RYM site has this rated as the best EMBRYO album followed by "Rocksession" while Gnosis has this rated fifth with "Steig Aus" and "Rocksession" taking the top two places.

"Strasse Nach Asien" or "Road To India" is the best track in my opinion. Flute-like sounds to start then percussion and atmosphere before the drums join in.Guitar and bass follow. I like this ! Vocals before 2 minutes. It settles before 5 1/2 minutes.This is cool too. It picks back up at 7 1/2 minutes with piano, violin and more.

"Lost Scooters" has reserved vocals and a mellow sound.Violin comes in then female vocal melodies. It picks up with male vocals. "Anar Anar" is very Eastern sounding with a flute-like instrument, percussion and a string-like instrument.

"Es Ist Wie's Ist" opens with a conversation including laughing. The music kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes.This is HAWKWIND-like with abrasive guitar and fast paced vocals and drumming. It settles late. "Kurdistan" is all about the beat. Aggressive guitar around a minute. I like it !

"Far East" has percussion and more then vocals before a minute. Spoken words before 3 minutes then the piano joins in.Vocal melodies a minute later. Cool stuff. "Chan Delawar Khan" is my least favourite simply because this sounds like a Middle-Easern song with no Western leanings at all.

"Farid" kicks in with percussion a minute in. Flute and other sounds too. It sounds like vibes after 2 minutes and later. We get a percussion solo after 8 minutes.

"Cello, Cello" reminds me of CAN with that shuffling rhythm. Female vocals come in after 1 1/2 minutes and she really impresses me. "Rog De Quadamuna Achna" is very Middle-Eastern but is catchy. Fast paced percussion comes in at 5 minutes.

"Hymalaya Radio" ends it in a similar manner as the previous track.

Some hits and misses for sure but this really comes off as a voyage to another land where the temps are hot with plenty of desert and camels.

Report this review (#514009)
Posted Saturday, September 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After 2 disappointing releases and right before they would dive into the 80s (and go under in the process), Embryo made one last solid musical statement, a 2LP representing a total mix of all sides of Embryo: fusion, punkish krautrock, jamming, funk, world music and experimentation.

The only version you are likely to get hold of these days is the 1CD release, an issue missing 3 tracks of which the master tapes have gone missing. The flow of the album is quite strange, with some strange jumps between styles, sometimes within one single song such as the bare kraut-punk of 'Er Ist Wie's Ist" that is cut up with a relaxed middle-eastern jam with tablas and flutes. I usually reshuffle the order to be able to start off with the more rocking material and leaving the world music improvisation till the end. Whatever the style they do the quality remains fairly good, but the peaks into excellence are the instrumental tracks such as the world-beat/funk/rock of 'Road to Asia' and the entrancing percussion fired jam of 'Farid'.

A great return to form that ends just slightly under their many excellent releases from the first half of the 70s. 3.5 stars it is. Recommended to fans of percussion and middle-eastern world music traditions especially.

Report this review (#601346)
Posted Monday, January 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The ultimate prog rock journey to Asia

"Reise" is the German word for "Travel", and that's exactly what the album has to offer here: a genuine musical journey... to the East. After the band's average jazz/rock/world releases during the second half of the 70's (last good album being 1973's "We Keep On"), EMBRYO's leader Christian Burchard decided to save his baby and brought with him the other members for a long trip, from Middle-East to India. During their journey, they met various local musicians, played jam sessions and recorded tracks in their company.

Instead of the band's initial jazz/rock/ethnic approach, the music is clearly oriented towards middle-eastern, oriental and Indian styles this time. Most compositions combine these genres with progressive rock (like the great "Kurdistan" and "Farid"), or even punk ("Eis Ist, Wie's Ist"), while others are fully oriental (like the Indian "Chan Delawar Khan" and "Rog de Quadamuna Achna"). As you may expect, the palette of instruments used is very large. The result is astonishing and mesmerizing. This fusion of musical genres was quite original at the time. Furthermore, there are no weak on the record. Such a little treasure will make you travel from desert sands to ancient Asian temples, through mystical lands.

This 1979 opus was the first double album of the band. However, the most common released version nowadays is the single CD edition, which does not include the songs "Paki Funk", "Maharaj" and "Lassie, Lassie", but this does not matter much.

"Embryo's Reise" is one of the finest examples of "world music", presenting a genuine and unique crossing of Occidental and Eastern genres. Even 40 years after, such mastery in mixing these musical ingredients from opposite origins remains still rare. Highly recommended if you enjoy middle-eastern and Indian music! Simply one of the best albums from EMBRYO!

Report this review (#1570882)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2016 | Review Permalink

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