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A.R. & Machines - The Art Of German Psychedelic 1970-74 CD (album) cover


A.R. & Machines


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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars As the early 70s slowly gave way to a new era, many of the psychedelic and progressive acts of the day had to figure out how to adapt to the changing music world around them. Achim Reichel was no stranger to change. Having emerged as a pop star in 1960s Germany, he left his popular beat band The Rattles behind to join the ranks of the lysergic tripping music that would become known as Krautrock to the rest of the world. After five studio albums and another live with his band known as A.R. & MACHINES, Reichel ultimately came to the conclusion that his days were numbered with such lofty ambitiousness in sonic form and once again moved on into new musical territories that would lead him into traditional German folk music. As hard as he tried to bury the past and leave it behind, eventually the fanbase he had hoped to evoke during the MACHINES heyday had finally come to roost in the era of the internet and world wide communications. This realization hit him hard when a 20 year old girl in the 21st century was touting how cool an album called "Die Grüne Reise" was and that it is quite popular amongst her friends.

Lo and behold the band known as A.R & MACHINES emerges again, not delivering a brand new album of material (well, we can hope) but as a stunning 10 CD box set of the band's entire output with craploads of unreleased material and a 96 page hardcover book narrating the entire history of the Achim Reichel's ascent into the world of kosmische Krautrock and the journey that he with his band embarked upon during a short five year stint between 1970 and 1974. Finally in 2017, the complete works under the title THE ART OF GERMAN PSYCHEDELIC 1970-74 hits the market and let me tell you, this is exactly how a band should release its entire output. Everything about this one is outstanding including the artwork, artist liner notes that narrate the band's history in a diary type format (in both German and English) and the beautifully fully remastered discography of all the bands work including four CDs of unreleased and remixed material. While much of this material has been hard to come by in legitimately released formats, this one is fully sanctioned by Reichel himself who had his hand in its creation. Oh, and the box is the size of an LP as is the book inside. Another LP sized book contains the 10 CDs in slots and all is decked out with amazingl psychedelic colors like the early 70s never ended!

CD1: Die Grüne Reise. This one appears exactly as it did in the original pressing only it is completely remastered.

CD2: Echo. This too is the original double album in its entirely and remastered to modern day splendor.

CD3: AR3. Also a faithful presentation of the original album in remastered form.

CD4: A.R.IV. The "Vita" and "Acqua" suites find new life in the totally remastered forms and this disc also includes "Live In Studio" bonus tracks.

CD5: Autovision. The remastered version of the album in its entirety.

CD6: Erholung. The first official release of this rare live album in its entirety meaning it contains the extra two tracks deleted from the original release of this 1973 concert in Krefeld.

CD7: The Cologne Concert. In 1973 the band was asked to play in the local series "Nachtmusik in WDR (Night Music in WDR), a radio station that was famous for recording acts of the day. This one contains two lengthy tracks that showed the band in their full power.

CD8: Transformation. Remixes. This one contains modern day electronic remixes of some of the band's material. Startlingly different as the complex percussive drive of old has been replaced by electronic beats and atmospheres. Some of this actually sounds more like Buckethead's electronica meets rock albums than A.R & MACHINES. This is a worthy experiment but probably my least favorite aspect of this box as it sounds like it's trying to hard to fit into the modern world.

CD9: 14 Pieces For Guitar And Echo Chamber. Having survived countless moves over the years, Reichel located his huge stash of practice tapes from which he painstakingly sifted through to find the best material to include as unadulterated bonus material. This is basically Reichel playing around with his guitar loop echoes and creating the most tripped out melodies allowed. Perhaps a bit too much for a single listen but definitely excellent for unreleased bonus material.

CD10: Virtual Journey. DJ Aspects. Despite the title of this one, it's not like the remix CD but rather indicates Reichel getting his feet wet in the world of modern day technology and creating a few new musical numbers in the spirt of the old but with the modern day luxury of recording standards. This one sounds exactly like what you would expect from the classic period yet does indeed have subtle production techniques employed to bring it into a new millennium.

THE ART OF GERMAN PSYCHEDELIC 1970-74 is a must if you are an A.R. & MACHINES fan whether you own all of the original albums or not. The remastering is impeccable and breaths new life into timeless classics. The extra material, while not OMG essential is definitely an interesting supplemental supply of behind the scenes and unreleased Krautrock magic. This is one of the best box set releases i've ever seen for an artist from the golden era of progressive rock with stunning artwork, extraordinarily detailed historical dialogue and of course, beautifully restored music magic. This one is highly recommended and the only legit way to obtain some of the original albums.

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Posted Friday, January 12, 2018 | Review Permalink

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