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Os Mundi - 43 Minuten CD (album) cover


Os Mundi

Eclectic Prog

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars This rather unique group emerging from Berlin, recorded a pair of excellent albums in the early 70's in Germany's difficult context of cold war and left-wing extremists actions, and early international terrorist actions (Munich Olympiads) and in the very near future, the first oil crisis that will cripple Western Europe's economy. Inevitably most young Germans were politicised, and like the vast majority, the members had left wing sympathies, which you will find in their lyrics. Os Mundi's (Latin for birth of the world) was born amidst the Berlin protests and doomed imprisoned future from two teenage bands fusing together and could have a line-up of up to 12 musicians including a three-man wind section and a cellist. This lead to their debut album taking up a catholic mass into rock realm but they decided to sing in Latin. After this rather unique start, the second album might seem less inspired with a title relating to its length and a very bland cover artwork.

This sophomore effort was released on their new label Brain (in the progressive Metronome section) and produced by the inevitable Conrad Plank, but by this time, they were no more than a septet. On this album, Os Mundi created a rather unique jazz-rock, blending rock, jazz, psych, which comes out particularly tight, considering the member's varied background (from classical to free-jazz and beat groups) and influences. Stuck between Colosseum, Chicago, Santana and Weather Report, the songwriting comes mostly from guitarist Udo Amdt and drummer Christoph Busse (both of which come from the beat/rock world, the later dealing mostly with lyrocs), but the overall feel of the music is very jazzy, with strong political lyrics, which reflects the difficult times. Generally the music is a very pleasant and positive atmosphere, contrasting with the texts, but on the whole, because of the "light" feel, you can easily skip over the lyrics should the content not be "up your alley". Cellos, flutes, sax, fuzz guitar, congas, bongos, ashtrays, organ, telephones contribute to the great music, where there are no weak moments and plenty of enthralling ones (the psych-jazz flute solo in Children's Games sounding like Thijs Van Leer amongst others), makes this album a small early-70's gem.

While the album (mostly recorded on the first take according to the drummer in the booklet) had its success (especially critically), the group never became full professionals. While not absolutely essential in terms of prog historics, Os Mundi is essential to the German scene and exemplifies best the German jazz-krautrock scene, much like Kraan or Annexus Quam, but being better and more accessible than both.

Report this review (#119176)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Second album in quite a classic-confident time, yet the cards were long set in Os Mundi being the kind of artistic, off-classic (a bit), eclectic, and having the mature severity. 43 Minuten, recognizable around the major interest for progressive German rock or for the usual hidden craft of breathing (under) this kind of music. Os Mundi aren't a band of groundbreaking presence or of un-missing temperament, their music actually sums up the concept of "sessions" and "experiences", of "revolution ideas" and "program rock" as much as the two album, both very different in their cause, sound like a progressive typical movement, more or less in the German scene, more or less in the implacable music mundum sign.

The style and the versatile expression of Os Mundi changes a bit, towards more jazz, psych and ordered rock, than towards the massive concept that leads to an expansion of ideas, to an early apostatize of nuance and sound-forms, to a mass ritual of acid and atmospheric music, onto the impression of deep and revolutionary. If Latin Mass could be called one influential kraut-rock persuasion,43 Minuten can't (or, least of all, needs to reorientate towards the pure slides and fragments of psych rock); it chooses a prog rock confident path, but also shares the doused creativity of melody, improvisation, rhythm and minimalistic songwriting; things that don't shape up the album better than its previous request, yet will nevertheless have a good chance at being like and a decent shot at finding a wide open scene of applauded music and effects. The prog characteristic or deterministic way.

Much of the beautiful, arranged, colored or free-felt music here is largely under the impression of melody benevolence, of sense experiment, of jazz and the drifts of that wonderful fusion type, of psych and the heavy smokes that still characterize such an infinitely talented band, of rock and all the simplest of its moves made complicated or complexed (of themselves or of their message), of small folk ornaments. The music's flow is easy and enjoyable, yet the album is made of rough stones and ambivalences - in a tandem of massive feeling or music-written influence, of wild impact or soft-courageous art. Going from unique and reaching the state of being an impossible song-write, 43 Minuten can be imagined from perfect to shining, from moderate to sensitive, from open-lighted to acid (reminiscently). Between the rough edges, most liked is the free-jazz event, going from rock's actual sound being experimental and trend-set to saxophone delirious movements or linguine instrumental heaviness. Psych is yet a movement which combines the mood into a tough mark of illusions and sound-forms, going on the old art habit of finding the spirit within the note and the nuance. Finally I'll recognize even some hard rock essence or such strange characters, such as the vocals from It's All Here having a bit of Wyatt or Children's Game (a very pace-beat composition) having something of Wetton and Crimson groove. An album with lots of inspiration turned into lots of music and dominant essence.

A second (and last, in the classic line of official recordings) creation by Os Mundi, which seems just as good and alive in recommending the band's huge progressive gift. Like I said over at Latin Mass, the art of gravity and dark lust of there is quite differently the art of improvisation and fluid rock in this album. The art you prefer is the gem album Os Mundi created. Generally, I like the "debut ritual"; yet 43 Minuten is in it's right mind a good and full of flavor album.

Report this review (#127081)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars OS MUNDI were one of the first Rock bands to come out of Berlin, Germany. Their debut was really their "Rock" version of the "Classical" catholic mass with Latin lyrics that didn't go over well commercially speaking. For this their second record they changed labels and Conny Plank came in to produce, mix and engineer it. In fact in the liner notes they say: "We also owe a great debt of gratitude to our producer Conny Plank, who...became something like the band's father. His influence is clear for everyone to hear when listening to the songs". They brought in a Free Jazz sax / flute player as well on this one. So we get a blend of Jazz, Rock and Fusion. I have to say that this is a great album. It's hard to believe that this album was recorded in one take.

"A Question Of Decision" was apparently one of their favourites to play live and they would often extend it to 15 minutes. It opens with raw guitar as sax joins in with drums. Vocals before a minute. It settles with percussion before 2 minutes as the vocals stop. Guitar and drums join in as they jam. It kicks in after 5 minutes with flute before settling right down with flute. Vocals and the original melody end it. "Triple" really reminds me of VDGG with the vocals, sax and overall sound when it kicks in. Cello after 2 minutes as it settles.The flute comes and goes.That VDGG section is back late. "Missle" opens with a good beat, cello and prominant guitar. Great sound, vocal melodies too. Cool track. It turns powerful late. "It's All There" is a top three for me. Organ and a beat to open as flute then vocals join in. I just love how this sounds, especially the chorus. Cello comes in later. "Isn't It Beautiful 7/8" is a catchy instrumental with drums, percussion, congas, cello and sax.

"But Reality Will Show" is another top three tune. It really reminds me of LANDBERK to open. It settles before a minute with cello then reserved vocals come in. It's building as vocals become more passionate in this anti-war song. The intro melody returns after 3 minutes. Nice. The guitar slowly and tastefully plays a minute later. The vocals cry out after 5 1/2 minutes. Cello late. What a song ! "Children's Games" is another anti-war tune and my final top three track. It opens heavily with guitar, drums and vocal melodies. Vocals come in as it settles somewhat. The guitar starts to light it up as vocal melodies come and go. Sax before 2 minutes as themes are repeated.They then jam with flute and percussion. The tempo picks up 5 1/2 minutes in then it turns psychedelic before kicking in again. Earlier themes return. "Erstickubungen" is jazzy with lots of flute and drums to open. It settles after 1 1/2 minutes with cello. Kicks back in before 3 minutes with sax then the guitar starts to rip it up. "Fortsetzun Folgt" is a short instrumental with Conny Plank playing some guitar.

I highly recommended this hidden treasure from 1972. My kind of music.

Report this review (#239528)
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This second album by the German Os Mundi appeared at a politically charged time (the terrorist attack during the Olympic Games in Munich, the raising of left wing political fractions, etc...), which is reflected in the lyrics (the singing is in English). Musically speaking, the album is a much eclectic beast that in turns will outline various styles and ideas: kraut rock elements are to be found in the long and repetitive jamming, where a simple bass riff gives the basis for the soloists to bring the tune to new heights; let's note especially the superb flute solo on "Children's Games", backed by some very supportive congas, shakers, cow bell and wah-wah guitar and - as said - the bass riff on which all is built up. Other tunes bring us closer to southern rock, with plain song structures and the necessary vocals going along (the singing treatment in "Children's Games" amazingly reminding of John Wetton in King Crimson). Psychedelism is also present (the beginning and end of "Triple" reminding slightly of early Kevin Ayers with Soft Machine, with their hit "We Did It Again"). It wouldn't be fair not to mention the cello playing of Mikro Rilling, not only adding an extra colour (sometimes together with the flute) but also an unusually bite (for that time). The saxophonist and flutist are throughout infusing a jazz and soul spirit to the music, while the use of odd meters (7/4, 9/4 spotted) or sudden changes of themes will ravish the proggers among you. Add a few ballads, guitars shining evenly in quiet or hot moments, organs here and there .... yes .... a very happy and eclectic album indeed!
Report this review (#516695)
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
4 stars Heritage in bloom

First of all give it up for the most prolific reviewer here on PA, Mellotron Storm for getting me into this album. Heres a big warm internet hug flying through the computer screen all the way from the windswept shores of Denmark. Thanks buddy...

I originally came into the wondrous world of prog through the sounds of the late 60s. Jimi, Doors, Floyd, Lovecraft, Arthur Brown, Stones, The Dead and so forth. All those hippie bands spoke to me about musical freedom and how such a form of expression should never be locked down in boxes. It was the wild guitars, the bobbling hammond organs, the cryptic lyrics and that whole notion of intrinsic musical sorcery - that was indeed what drew me in like a cat to a ball of yarn. The reason Im talking about the 60s, is because of the effect it had on almost everything we dive into on this site - be that in the development of new instruments, or maybe in the way this time in space challenged how we think about the very nature of music. Last thing is perhaps the most important and that is heritage. Much of what happened during the latter part of the 60s was actually what the audience heard like echoing ripples all through the following decade. In another costume, another shape another world.

Os Mundis 43 Minuten is a testimony to this heritage. Whilst some people call this Krautrock, Id stake a couple of fried llamas that it isnt. Not to me anyway... To me this album sounds like 3 different things - like it has 3 musical building blocks, which all through this riveting album act like the foundation for the seemingly easy-flowing rhythmic melody laden gymnastics.

One side of the triangle sounds like Cream. Those breezy relaxing vocals hanging over the sluggishly played guitar riffing. The second side is when the music turns jazzy, and here Im not talking about fusion a la Mahavishnu Orchestra going 500 miles an hour with everybody doing their own thing, no - Im talking about old school slow moving Sunday smooth jazz with clear parallels to the debut of Jethro Tull. Its obvious in the manner in which the flute is handled, but even more so felt in the whole ambiance of the band. Chill out relax mood all over the board, and you can almost picture how every animal in the forest would be inclined to drop by this good natured band, and a brand new Snow White scene suddenly unfolds. Last piece of the puzzle is by far the one with the most sway. Its the dominant part of the music, and luckily so also my favourite of the bunch. This one sounds like a decisively more progressive incarnation of The Pretty Things. I hear a lot of SF Sorrow in this album, - and to tell you the truth, that is a damn fine compliment coming from me. The vocal harmonies along with the organs - then those spiralling rock n roll guitar sprees all wrapped around the familiar booming earthiness of the blues bass incantations calling you from the deepest depths of the music. Yeah theres definitely something there...

This piggys got far more coils and twists to its tail than any of the mentioned bands, but the feel of it harks back to those warm 60s dreamings. This might lead you to think, that 43 Minuten is an unoriginal outing comprised of sonic re-runs and old sneakers, but strangely enough this album is very unique - just as their first one was. Os Mundi are one of the few acts that Ive come across, who masters originality through the spirit and footwork of the artists preceding them. They sound like nothing else. This album is the proof of that, and I recommend everybody whos into the early progressive scene to go have a listen to this fabulous record. Some parts of it are just gorgeously beautiful, like the hauntingly played But Reality Will Show with its slow climaxing orgasms and a sonic palette to it, that just takes me away like a paper cup caught in a hurricane. Swiish!!

If you want a cheap ticket to the beginning of our beloved prog lands, and feel like hitching a ride instead of listening to the mumblings of old geezers in Hawaii shirts, then you should probably start looking for this highly infatuating piece of spine massage.

Report this review (#607541)
Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Heading for a second album, guitarist Udo Arndt apparently had explored the dynamics of Jazz and the rise of Fusion within the German borders and decided that his band should also move to that direction.For this reason the four-man line-up of Os Mundi was expanded to a sextet with the addition of Buddy Mandler on bongos, congas, bell and drums and Mikro Rilling on percussion and cello.The band was signed by the Brain label and the album ''43 minuten'' came out in 1972.Renowned producer Conny Planck also plays the guitar on this effort.

From the more Kraut Psych-styled debut now the band was sounding more like a typical Kraut Fusion group, although they never really quit on writing long, psychedelic instrumental moves with hypnotic edges, smooth grooves and the flute in evidence.In fact ''43 minuten'' sounds pretty balanced between the previous album and the new trend, which finds the group with a sax-dominated style, full of jazzy solos and light improvisations.THIRSTY MOON, KRAAN and PASSPORT are the best comparisons.The guys surely knew how to rock their fans at moments with these superb guitar leads and solos and continuous, metronomic Kraut-flavored rhythms, but they were doing it by throwing in a good dose of Jazz with the sweet sax moves and the slight Ethnic colors, as performed on the various percussions.Their music was very powerful and passionate with occasional organ injections and a heavy amount of changing climates, from doomy and dark deliveries to fiery rhythmic tunes.The addition of jazzy elements made their arrangements quite complex and you should be 100% there to fully appreciate their unclassifiable music.The three semi-long pieces at the end of the album are stunning, full of dramatic atmospheres, irritating guitars and isolated solo executions, a good example of how close Kraut Rock and Jazz were stylistically speaking.

Os Mundi existed with some brief pauses until 1980, but no official albums were actually issued after ''43 minuten''.''Sturmflut'' is a 2007 archival album, released on Garden of Delights and featuring material recorded by the band with different line-ups between 1973-75, this should be a good purchase for fans of the band and the style.

Very good jazzy Kraut Rock.Intense, psychedelic and dynamic with great instrumental variety and tempo variations.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1347471)
Posted Sunday, January 18, 2015 | Review Permalink

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