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Os Mundi

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3 stars Like a few brave others (ELECTRIC PRUNES, SPOOKY TOOTH and EELA CRAIG), German underground band OS MUNDI altered and recorded a lively rock version of a classical latin mass. "Latin Mass" is a very psychedelic Krautrock album combined with Latin lyrics giving the listener something very original and progressive. The end result is a hybrid of lets say AMON DUUL II, TANGERINE DREAM's (aka 'Electronic Meditation') and SPOOKY TOOTH. This album was a tour de force of heavy, powerful guitars and huge vibrating garage organ grinds with an overall dark sinister atmosphere.
Report this review (#52860)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Largely accepted as kraut-rock (in a fresh and early phase of moving from the psychedelic to the acid taste and dandle rough motion), psychedelic (as a trench of concept and a bland of rock over sensations, in the usual psychotic and novelized ways) and rock (by slow motions that will grant a fine progressive impression or a chant beneath the waves and the inner trend), Os Mundi impress artistically and also share a common taste for the ravishing progressive passion, in a mixture that, mostly, is indescribably a great taste and a depth and darkness' more refined search, and stands afterwards as the bits of caprices and melted down orientations that, in classic time, have all the best originality but also dry an exclusive music.

Upon a few other such influences (bands that, enlarged in their century's experiment or chaos) , Os Mundi decided to have a debut of mass improvisation, acid dynamics and irregular means - subtly, this would also count as the more impressive manner of them ever composing and producing a dream and a musical ideal; they never quite gather themselves up anymore, or like so, upon the second album - taking a latin mass ceremony, with all the essential and characteristic elements (something run in the concept, not that sure how well and integrally in the music), and making a rock extravaganza, with moments of art and depression, of sobrieties of cluster and cringe, with music or nude sounds, with a concept vigilance or a mad claustrophobia, down the more spiced psychedelic or the more searched idea of a bombastic dark and humid recording. The idea of a masked profoundness is the only thing not up to the psychedelic smoke or the kraut vogue. Otherwise, the band has a meaningful, old-sound, eclectic and poly-rock arranged art rotation.

The more "choral" and "incanting" pieces prove sensibility and sound harvest, like the Overture, full of glows and organ parallels, merging hard and heavy on ritual-esque and subtle, like Credo being a piece for the hopes of vocals and sound-words, or like Sanctus, made in a typical language, but also blending massively and integrally vibrations of flute and rock-rhythm moody improvisation. The rest of the pieces do expand to more rock and more deloused symbols (for the "latin mass"), exciting by the peculiar and distinct psych, free-jazz, hard rock or tenacious abstract. Kyrie and Agnus Dei are quite the most dark and ambiguous examples, preaching over a dark atmosphere, scabrous (mildly, the really rough or desolating art is never reached in this state) vocals or riffs out of their infinity, in a sinister kind of rock or a very impressive high spirit. There are little mistakes or paranoid moments of interpretation in this album, it can just get a slim and over-droned essence if the taste, quite clearly, would not be to keen on acid rock and concept movement.

In Os Mundi's Latin Mass, the great lead of music perspective and special sound are given by Christoph Burse, less by the arrhythmic verses, but more by the mute taste of sound and color-explosion, and Udo Arndt, through the keyboards and organ addicted mind-drive, something of a sheer taste and caliber, compared to music being an illustration of psychic harms and musical ubiquities. Nevertheless, good (though occasional) woodwind work (either jazzy, or phosphorescently easy) by Dietrich Markgraf and, integrally, a fine interpretation of some special characters and some abyssal daises.

An impressive and marking debut album by Os Mundi, with a rough moment of progressive rock awaking from the psychedelic infinity of expression. Thinking that music should be an art moment or a special significance, this album (and not the more "relaxed" next one) should really be of interest. The other way around, this would be seriously against all the general trend and the moody vibes of rock and psych; having therefore a star off, thanks to pretentiousness and auricular creativity. But it feels better on the first side. Three point five stars.

Report this review (#126973)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Out of the chaos of Berlin, but spared by the wall ignominy, a bunch of local high school kids were playing in rock or beat bands. Soon enough a loose aggregation formed from two of these group. Sometimes playing up to 12, and sometimes down to a quartet, this unit became a few years later Os Mundi (we are the world) and recorded two albums in the very early 70's, but featuring a sextet, even if two of them were credited as guest. OM was more of a project of Udo Arndt (organ, guitar, vocals and main songwriter) with the help of drummer Chris Busse (drums and lyrics) and their first album is somewhat of a masterstroke, pulling the equivalent of The Electric Prunes, Mass In E Minor, with the same psych tendencies, although darker and with Latin lyrics. The album came in 70 on the Metronome label and presented a candlelight artwork

OM managed to sound very professional, even if the album's production is not always so, often reminiscent of Vanilla Fudge with David Byron (UH) vocals, but in the opening Overture sound very Purple-like (as in Black Night meeting Fireball), but overall, OM have their own sound. Plenty of lengthy instrumental interplay of complex rhythms makes this album a gem, but as mentioned before, the raw-atmosphered production can be discouraging a few. But the album ultra psyched and dark is very much still 60's like in terms of vocal filters and other sound effect, and often, we are drawn to think of Vanilla Fudge most often, except that the Latin vocals are not well recorded, especially in Gloria, which cumulates the error of having a double drum solo (good in itself, but out of context), the often-excellent lengthy Credo is evening things out, especially in the Saucerful-era Floyd passage nd Udo's ensuing soaring guitar solo >> easy dramatics, but effective.

The second Credo is obviously taking from where the first part ended, but strikes even more the good cords. The 9-mins Sanctum is upping the ante even more with Markgraf switching from sax to a delicious flute, and this song is evidently close to having us believe in their mysticism, but the improv is taking things a bit far for a successful mass. Too bad the closing anus Dei is the weaker track on anotherwise strong album, though.

While their second album would sound quite different, developing a jazz-rock ala Kraan, early Chicago and Colosseum, Latin mass is certainly a good example of Germany's multi-faceted music scene, and as recommended as it could be, I'm not sure it deserves the essential mention, but it's definitely worth your while should you choose to make the detour by OM's two albums.

Report this review (#157622)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Disclaimer: First of all- If you haven't already, then you NEED TO HEAR THIS ALBUM ON VINYL. It is the best way to hear this type of music. CD's (and YouTube, especially) do not do it proper justice. Music-Lovers; there is no excuse, not even the moderately higher price, to justify not listening to this music the way it sounds best. An inexpensive turntable and vinyl reissue will blow you away. Trust me.

Os Mundi came from Berlin, and they only released two albums. Latin Mass is their masterpiece. Originally released (and still) on the Metronome label, it's literally a (flawlessly performed) Latin Mass of 1970. Unfortunately, I do not have an original pressing of Latin Mass, as of this date, but the reissues are exact replica's of the original vinyl.

First of all; if mass really sounded like this, then I would be in church every Sunday. Unlike the traditionally-ceremonial, and restrained chuch-mass- this Latin Mass is something from another dimension. Mostly heavy, with a few soft breaks here-and-there, and very, very, emotional vocals. From start-to-finish, you have heavily distorted guitar chords, and a garage-sounding-organ playing almost non-stop. There is even a little flute on both sides of the vinyl. But, wait! It gets better! There is also a good amount of psychedelia in the album-from the ironically ominous opening of Overtüre/Kyrie/Gloria-to the brooding, heavy breathing/huffing in Credo1 (lay off the frankincense inhalation, fellas), all the way to the finale of Agnus Dei. This is terrific music.

For what it is, the album is flawless. You can tell that a lot of time, effort and feeling were put into this album. The instruments and the singing/vocals are perfect. Hey-after-all, these are the words of a Latin Mass, so you can't deny the emotional presence here. I'm not saying everyone will like it, but fans of heavy-prog/psych will love this album. If you like this kind of music, and don't have some hangup about the Mass-lyrics, then I can't recommend this album enough. 110% Krautrock, and a Latin Mass has never rocked so hard. Five stars.

Even though there is no official, Vatican-authenticated translation of a Latin Mass in English, I put an accurate translation below, for those interested.

Latin Mass/Songs:

01. Ouvertüre 5:44

02. Kyrie 3:11 Kyrie eleison Lord have mercy

03. Gloria 4:39 Adoramus te. Glorificamus te. Gratias agimus tibi We worship thee. We glorify thee. Thanks we give to thee

propter magnam gloriam tuam. Domine Deus, Rex coelestis, because of great glory thy. Lord God, King of heaven,

Deus Pater omnipotens. Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe. God Father almighty. Lord Son only begotten, Jesus Christ.

Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris. Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of Father.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. Who take away sins of world, have mercy on us.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. Who take away sins of world, receive supplication our.

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis. Who sit at right hand of Father, have mercy on us.

Quoniam tu solus sanctus. Tu solus Dominus. For thou alone holy. Thou alone Lord.

Tu solus altisimus, Jesu Christe. Thou alone most high, Jesus Christ.

Cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen. With Holy Spirit in glory of God Father. Amen.

04. Credo I 7:26 05. Credo II 5:31 Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, I believe in one God, Father almighty,

factorem coeli et terrae, maker of heaven and of earth,

visibilium omnium, et invisibilium. visible of all things, and invisible.

Et in umum Dominum Jesum Christum, And in one Lord Jesus Christ,

Filium Dei unigenitum. Son of God only begotten.

Et ex Patre natum ante omni saecula. And of Father born before all ages.

Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. God from God, light from light, God true from God true.

Genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri, Begotten, not made, of one substance with Father,

per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines, by whom all things made were. Who for us men,

et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. and for our salvation descended from heavens.

Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto And made flesh was of Spirit Holy

ex Maria Virgine. Et homo factus est. of Mary Virgin. And man made was.

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, Crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate,

passus, et sepultus est. suffered, and buried was.

Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas. And he rose third day, according to Scriptures.

Et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris. And he ascended into heaven, he sits at right hand of Father.

Et interum venturus est cum gloria, And again going to come he is with glory,

judicare vivos et mortuos, to judge living and dead,

cujus regni non erit finis. of whose kingdom not will there be end.

Et in Spiritum Sanctum Dominum, et vivificantem, And in Spirit Holy Lord, and lifegiver,

qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. who from Father and Son proceeds.

Qui cum Patre, et Filio simul adoratur Who with Father, and Son together is adored

et conglorificatur, qui locutus est per Prophetas. and glorified, who spoke through Prophets.

Et unam, sanctam, catholicam, et apostolicam Ecclesiam. And one, holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. I confess one baptism for remission of sins.

Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum. And I expect resurrection of dead.

Et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen. And life to come of age. Amen.

06. Sanctus 9:05 Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Holy, Holy, Holy,

Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Lord God of Hosts.

Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua. Full are heaven and earth of glory thy.

Hosanna in excelsis. Hosanna in highest.

07. Agnus Dei 5:57 Agnus Dei, qui tolis peccata mundi, Lamb of God, who take away sins of world,

dona nobis pacem. grant us peace.


Arndt, Udo Busse, Christoph(drums) Mandler, Buddy(percussion, vocals, bongos-was also in Siloah) Markgraf, Dietrich(sax, flute) Rilling, Mikro(cello-was also in Siloah) Villain, Andreas(bass)

Guest musicians: Kalkreuth, David V.(organ) Seidel, Hartmut(bass)

Report this review (#687312)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Having been brought up a good 'kafflick' boy during the 1960s I can just about remember the Latin Mass, or Tridentine Mass to give it its proper name. Since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), and as part of an attempt to modernise, the use of Latin has been restricted and the Church has called for Mass be said in the vernacular. Funnily enough the old service is nowadays enjoying a revival, something that progressives in the modern Church actually see as a backward step.

One other irony of the Latin Mass is that the priest conducts the liturgy facing east and, back in the day, it was to the east that many young Catholics looked in their search for spiritual guidance as they deserted the Church in favour of Hinduism and Buddhism. And of course many of Os Mundi's contemporaries performed eastern-inspired music. So, what prompted this album? What drove Os Mundi to record a Latin Mass in 1970 using the rock idiom? Were they mocking the Church or were they advocating the coexistence of faith and rock?

Well my money's on the musical joke angle, with the Church as the butt of the humour, because Os Mundi raise merry hell with this raw, rag-tag work. That may at once be the album's main pro and con however, since the appeal of the Tridentine Mass, not only to traditionalist Catholics but also to atheists like Carl Jung, was its mysticism. But Os Mundi have replaced the extraordinary spiritual power of the Latin Mass with the dark explosive power of trash-psychedelia. The pace seldom slackens from the very first demonic bars of 'Ouverture', and although this track is an instrumental the Hammond organ carries with it images of bleeding statues and the fiery breath of satirical blasphemy rather than the call for spiritual growth.

It's as if the bonds of Catholic convention have been blasted and torn asunder by an icy Teutonic wind, a wind that has also resulted in a 180-degree turnaround by moving from an intensely Christian to a dynamic pagan ethic. The wild fervour of the 'Kyrie' mantra together with the excitable tribal drums and rabble of voices on the 'Gloria' have an organic unity that is both primitive and earthbound. And the two-part 'Credo' is like a descent into the bowels of Hell on the wings of Death, the return journey propelled by the glorious golden sunburst of a billion candlelights.

The 'Sanctus' precedes the consecration of the Host, the most solemn part of the liturgy where the priest is believed to perform the miracle of transubstantiation and Os Mundi represent this with the free association of a flute freakout. The album then draws to a rather non-dramatic conclusion as the 'Agnus Dei' just melts away quickly and meaninglessly.

Four-and-a-half centuries after Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the Castle Church wall at Wittenberg the Catholic Church recognised the importance of active participation by the congregation through the use of local languages, and it took until more recently for the Catholic laity to finally be allowed to receive the Eucharist, Hussite-fashion, in both kinds. This album isn't without its drawbacks either, in particular the shabby production, but while it may not do anything for the faith it's sure to gain more than a few converts for Os Mundi.

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Posted Friday, July 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars Not typical Krautrock but they definitely have something flavoured like desert or dry fruits, as we can hear via Krautrock.

Very theatrical, dramatic, and enthusiastic "Mass". We cannot always feel such a passion via Krautrock basically (understood that they belong to Eclectic subgenre rather than Krautrock). On the other hand, they launch psychedelic organ-based fuzzy muddy colours in front of them, that can be felt in lots of 60s- or 70s-oldie-goodie psychedelic pop / rock / progressive rock with symphonic spice. Credo suite leans toward this colourful atmosphere, strongly.

Anyway, let me say they can be more appreciated as a psychedelic-flavoured, non-electronic, slightly improvised Krautrock unit, like Eiliff. Their improvisation can be heard in "Sanctus" (especially in the latter part featuring bizarre flute dances and explosive percussion) ... in the same vein like "Eve Of Eternity". Cannot avoid saying they'd played fascinating Krautrock really.

I'm so pleased they got appreciated as an Eclectic progressive rock outfit, as honestly I say. Please listen to the former part (or Side A) of this album, and feel how versatile their playing is, through their dramatic theatrical Musical progression, which make us immersed in Os Mundic world. So happy if you enjoy this creation as a versatile, dramatic Krautrock one. Fantastic indeed.

Report this review (#954910)
Posted Monday, May 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is OS MUNDI's ambitious debut released in 1970 where they sought to convert a Catholic Mass into a dark and heavy psychedelic work with rough production. And don't forget the Latin lyrics, and I like that the vocalist has some character to his voice. It took a few spins but this is an excellent Krautrock record but I still prefer the more jazzy second album "43 Minuten". Besides the usual instruments we also get flute, sax, bongos and cello. The sax and cello seems to get buried in the sound but I'm not complaining.

"Ouverture" hits the ground running with the organ out front. Great sound here when it settles into a groove. A calm 1 1/2 minutes in then some guitar expressions come and go. Nice. I like the way this unfolds and changes yet keeps the same vibe. A dark mood arrives after 3 minutes then back to a brighter mood with guitar after 3 1/2 minutes. It blends into "Kyrie" where vocals join in quickly. This is really good. The vocals are manipulated at times as it becomes experimental. Organ, a beat and more as we get this fairly pleasant sound before 2 minutes.

"Gloria" opens with organ as a beat joins in and more as it builds to a full sound. Vocals too. It settles back around 2 minutes but not for long as it picks back up. A rumbling drum solo after 3 minutes goes on to the end. A bit much. "Credo" is a top three tune and my favourite. A full sound hits us right away with vocals. Catchy stuff with some killer bass lines and organ runs. It turns experimental after a minute and then starts to self-destruct as it were with discordant piano and more. Then this amazing organ melody with bass and drums kicks in. So good! Vocals join in. Amazing sound here. Classic krautrock right here people! Check out the guitar 5 1/2 minutes in as he starts to solo. So much going besides this though. Just a great track.

"Credo II" is a top three and we get some grungy sounding guitar with organ, bass, drums then vocals. It lightens 2 1/2 minutes as the vocals also settle down. I like this. Back to the previous theme before 3 1/2 minutes. "Sanctus" is my final top three song and the longest at over 9 minutes. A vocal statement as it were before the guitar starts to solo with organ, bass and more. A calm with vocals a minute in. A relaxed guitar solo 2 minutes in after the vocals step aside. The flute replaces the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. Sounds like they are improvising a minute later. It settles back as sounds come and go to the end. Interesting stuff.

The previous song blends into "Agnus Dei" where the arrival of the pounding drums signals a change. We get FLOYD- like vocals that pretty much shout the lyrics briefly then we get an almost dead calm. Distorted and insane guitar follows. Vocals are back then it kicks into gear. The organ stands out here and I like how themes are repeated. The guitar is crying out late.

My cd is a re-issue from 2004 on Mason Records but the liner notes are in German unfortunately. Even the pictures inside disappoint because they are so tiny. Great album though.

Report this review (#1740614)
Posted Monday, July 3, 2017 | Review Permalink

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