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AUF DER BAHN ZUM URANUS

Ga

Krautrock


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Eetu Pellonp
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is a great example of a good German underground music from the 1970's. Their music is trippy and euphoric, not being extremely surrealistic nor abstract, but more blues-oriented with good rhythmic drives. The guitar melodies are quite free, and though they obey the logics of simplified western classical music or blues rock scales, they do not repeat basic passages in a boring way.

The first track of this album is "Uranus", which begins with quiet sounds, leading to a sermon spoken in German. I must admit hat I didn't get the message complete, as my German is too rusty, but I guess it might be about the Voyager probe which was heading to these distant gas giants at the 1970's. The music turns from the cosmic soundscape as hard and hazy acid blues with neat Jimi Hendrix styled guitars. In the verse is also presented a great trademark of this band: the good vocal choruses, which I really enjoy. Then there's some more preaching and voyaging between Uranus and Earth, but sadly the end of the song reveals the only feature that slightly annoyed me in this album; Many of their songs don't end properly, but they are faded out. I understood this album was recorded in quite critical conditions, and perhaps this solution is here present partly due that. Following "Bossa Rustical" is an instrumental tune, starting with Spanish folk-styled acoustic guitar, which drums and bass soon accompany. Then a second guitar emerges, and the song begins to grow, but suddenly alas disappears back to the void. Luckily, after this the album begins to get again a better grip, "Tanz Mit Dem Mond" begins with dramatic acoustic pianos and guitars with the amplified band blowing behind them. This makes a very pleasant sound field, which is enriched with beautiful melodies done by several echoed vocal layers. Following "Mutter Erde" has very good singing again in it, and the melodies change neatly from minor to major moods and vice-versa. There's a great psychedelic groove in the rhythm, and the track ends with wonderful dynamics, being one of the biggest highlights here for me. Fifth track is a mystic and calm trance like song, called "Welt Im Dunkel". There's some kind of worshipping going on, remotely resembling the masses of Black Widow's early works. The last track "Ga" (Gaia) has a wonderful start with bluesy strikes from the rhythm section, which mingle with Cream sounding guitars, and the band blasts out a great hippie jam. There's some funny wordless singing and flutes added, which paint the hazy summer fields where the beatniks can be imagined jumping, running and loving without barriers. This track resembles a bit of "Weiss Der Teufel" of Rufus Zuphall, sharing same kind of melodies, blues influences, country of origin and the era of production. The guitarist of Ga is a very good player indeed, I have come to this belief after many years of listening.

The album is little unbalanced, but also original and pure, and enriched with nice underground styled covers. If you like krautrock, psychedelia and blues based hippie jamming, you should hunt this to your collection certainly. Those who are allergic to fade-outs have to forget this album, I had that neurosis earlier but luckily partially healed from it. Those who want that the records are more or less produced should maybe listen this carefully through before buying it. This might be a bit difficult especially as for the original pressing, as it should be a quite rare album. You should find it still from a specialized music dealers and auctions and as both CD and vinyl reissues.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonp (BETA) | Report this review (#49853)
Posted Monday, October 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

One of the most spacey-psychey German album you'll find, this album was one of the most expensive and sought-after vinyl until its first Cd reissue in the Ohrwalsch label in the early 90's. I believe the Garden Of Delights label reissued this recently most likely with bonus material. This qintet emerged from Saarland (between Luxembourg and Alsace) and presented themselves as the standard prog quartet plus a percussionist. Their first album is graced with a strange floral erotic artwork and was relatively long for the time (easily over 50-mins).

On The Way To Uranus (the English translation of the album's title) is a very fitting name to describe the music on the record. Indeed the rock developed is plenty cosmic- spacey-psychey, but not overly complex, a bit amateurish but with high dramatics. By the time this album came out, it must've been a bit of an anachronism, which might explain why so few albums sold (the rest of the stock was destroyed), even if most progheads will find plenty of most everything he loves. The album is hardly flawless either as it holds too many fade outs (and not just at the end of songs), but also nave songwriting (not always a minus as is the case here) and weaker production.

Right from the opening title track, you are plunged into deep space rituals, prayers and masses, multi-voiced choirs, wild searing guitars, haunting and languid organ layers and the whole shebang, completed by full-Flamenco drama (Bossa Rustical) weird German lyrics (one tracks is called Dance With His Mouth, I gather) ans for an apotheosis, the splendid eponymous track Gaa, which was deformed from Gaia, the ancient Greek goddess of Earth. Only one track sticks out like a sore thumb: Mutter Erde, which is more of a standard song with strong Moody Blues accents.

This is definitely not for everyone, but it holds some of the most delicious psych-space ambiances around and it should please most progheads.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#114374)
Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Usually, the krautrock artists are rather unmelodious and cold. On the other hand, Gaa here demonstrate a nonconformist tendency: we feel an overall sensitive music full of melancholy, passion and sadness. The visceral folk & hard rock styles involved should remind the listener pathetic bands of the Woodstock era. It lies between the early Scorpions, Shaa Khan and Jimi Hendrix with some early psychedelic Pink Floyd elements. The difference here is that the German lead & backing vocals give a much colder character to the music. Unlike typical krautrock bands, Gaa are more down to earth, avoiding to produce experimental echoed drums & percussions and alienating vocal patterns, like Can or Faust. Definitely, "Auf Der Bahn Zum Uranus" is a catchy album, quite pleasant to listen. If one considers it a ktrautrock album, then it is my favorite one so far! I find more hard rock, folk, psychedelic and bluesy elements than krautrock ones: the krautrock element may occur because of the strong German lead & backing vocals. As keyboards, there are mainly floating psychedelic organ and piano. The bass is quite bottom, and the rhythm is rather slow.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#123019)
Posted Monday, May 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I love how this album sounds. This is trippy and laid back psychedelic music with German vocals, guitar and organ standing out. The band named themselves after the goddess of earth (that's her on the album cover) while the album's title means "On the road to Uranus" (haha).

"Uranus" opens with acoustic guitar and bass that slowly rise up as spoken words and synths join in. It's building. Drums and electric guitar after 2 minutes. Nice. Vocals follow. It then settles with floating organ and vocal melodies. Spoken words 7 minutes in and then it kicks back in before 8 minutes and the guitar sounds great. "Bossa Rustical" is an instrumental that opens with strummed acoustic guitar before electric guitar, congas and drums join in. Back to acoustic guitar only followed by a bass solo before we get a full sound. "Tanz Mit Dem Mond" opens with acoustic guitar then piano and bass take over as reserved vocals join in. It kicks in around 3 minutes with prominant guitar. It settles again as themes are repeated. Check out the guitar to end it.

"Mutter Erde" has a catchy uptempo intro with vocals, it settles before 1 1/2 minutes. Contrasts continue. Check out the organ runs 3 1/2 minutes in. Vocal melodies before 6 minutes include some yelling. Lots of fun. "Welt Im Dunkel" settles with organ quickly then drums and guitar join in. It's still fairly laid back as vocal melodies join in then vocals. The tasteful guitar sounds great after 4 1/2 minutes, more vocal melodies follow. It kicks into gear after 6 minutes to end it. "Gaa" has a good drum / guitar intro before the main melody arrives around a minute. Some flute in this song. Vocal melodies join in as well. This is great ! Guitar 3 1/2 minutes in before it settles with bass. Acoustic guitar and a spacey soundscape take over including flute. It's building again. The drumming and guitar are impressive.

Nothing revolutionary here but this is my kind of music. They call it Krautrock and it's outstanding !

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#219206)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Auf Der Bahn Zum Uranus" is a typical example of german underground progressive spece rock of the 70's, with more emphasis in the underground element. Lack of prefessionalism (compared to other similar bands in the same scene) is the only weak point in this album, though it gives more passion to the album. The psychedelic elements are dominating in many album tracks with a bluesy feel in some, like the last song of side B ("Ga") or even occult, like in "Welt Im Dunkel". My favourite album track is the opener, "Uranus", which is structured on a space atmosphere with an excellent use of acoustic guitar (not only in this one). My opinion is 4/5, but I don't think it is essential for any prog fan. Thus, 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to DeKay (BETA) | Report this review (#299471)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Ga is one of those typical German obscurities from the 70s, a band that was still lingering in the 60s and that brought the kind of heavy acid rock mixed in with 60s pop, trippy jams and pastoral elements that you might expect from a 1969 record rather then from a 1974. As such it's a bit of an awkward listen, a psych retro album from 1974. Why not.

The opener is one of the most interesting tracks, featuring lots of fuzzy reverbed guitars and vocals, and with a quiet acoustic middle section that reminds of bands like DOM or MYTHOS. The song ends with a 60s pop chorus, reminding of German 'schlager'. Be it with lots of reverb... After a shorter folksy tune, 'Tanz Mit dem Mond' features more psych-schlager and pastoral vibes. Nice one.

Side 2 starts with the disappointing 'Mutter Erde', a 60s pop song with some heavy rock riffs and - if still needed mention - lots of reverb. Too 60s and clich for me. The remaining two songs pick up the momentum again. 'Welt Im Dunkel' is a delightful mellow ballad and 'GAA' an energetic jammy rocking wake-up call that is the most kraut-y thing next to the opener that you will find on this album.

Overall a nice album that has enough going to have reached a sort of small 'cult' status. But I wouldn't recommend it unless you really like the music of the 60s, both its pop and its trippy side. 3 stars.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#505333)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A curiously uninvolving slab of cosmic krautrock, Gaa's one-and-only album is a genuine oddity, an album that mixes elements of early Pink Floyd, Jane and Jefferson Airplane with that eccentric teutonic touch that colours so much of the countries early-seventies underground musical produce. Imagine Jane were actually a bunch of tripped-out hippies, or, simply, just crossed with those commune-dwelling psych-rockers Amon Dull II and you get the idea, though a strong folk undercurrent occasionally struggles to be heard. Klaus Schulze-style whooshes-and-washes - low-budget style - also waft around at the album's edges, though the dominant forces here are still the occasionally-treated guitar and fuzz-toned organ. Some consider 'Auf Der Bahn Zum Uranus' to be something of a cult classic, though that's missing the point. Rather experimental in nature, this inconsistent album smacks of a group unsure of what exactly it is they are trying to achieve, and therefore must be put down as a semi-interesting failure. Alternately timid, tepid and tedious, though with a fairly strong progressive streak that hints at talented creators, Gaa's sole contribution to the space-rock genre simply defies any concrete categorisation, with criticism in the face of such indecision seemingly superfluous. Pointedly, 'Auf Der Bahn Zum Uranus' has built up something of a reputation in the 21st century CD reissue arena, and maybe that shows there is something to this album only hardcore fans can really decipher. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#636421)
Posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Auf Der Bahn Zum Uranus. The interesting debut album from this original german progressive rock band called GA. A valuable and rare item. Their music is trippy, rhythmic and psychedelic. The instruments and performance are very well done. The recording quality and the jam solos will satisfy you krautrock fan looking for something new. Well, I am used to stabilish a strong line with the album art while listening to the music. The first time I have seen this album the character in the cover reminds me of Gally/Alita from the Gunnm Battle Angel Alita japanese cyberpunk series. Face to face with the album, there's nothing to do with Alita, but this first impression makes me think of sci-fi, trash, underground pubs and bizarre elements while I am tripping with my music, looking at this strange album cover. My musical experiences with this album are great, I think this is a good and underrated album, achieving the cult status.

The bad point are the vocals. Sometimes are very boring for me, mainly in the first track, Uranus. GA has a small catalogue, featuring only two obscure recordings (unfortunatelly, their second album isn't that cool...), and this one is the one for who wants to check them out. Not a must, but if you have a chance to try this spacey job, don't waste your time.

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Send comments to VOTOMS (BETA) | Report this review (#1037438)
Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Named after the ancient Greek word for the goddess of Earth, this German group from Saarland came in life in 1973 from friends and ex-The Phantoms bandmates Helmut Heisel (guitar), Peter Beil (bass) and Stefan Doerr (drums).The line-up was expanded with the addition of Guenter Lackes (keyboards), Werner Frey (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Werner Jungmann (congas), but soon after Heisel decided to leave Gaa.Anyway, they were discovered in one of their first gigs by the leader of Kerston label Alfred Kersten, who initially supported the group, but finally he found little time and space in his studio in the viilage of Forst near Stuttgart for the band.The recording sessions were eventually finished and Gaa's debut ''Auf der bahn zum Uranus'' was released in 1974.

As Kraut Rock was very popular around the time, it is pretty strange why Kersten lost his initial interest in Gaa, who's sound was full of nice surprises, especially in the long opener ''Uranus'', a beautiful piece, crossing MYTHOS-like obscure narrations, Psych/Space Rock with mid-70's ELOY touches and Classical-drenched soft organs with a LE ORME attitude.The rest of the album is more in a typical Kraut Rock style, combined with strong psychedelic flavors and supporting the powerful electric guitars and the muddy rhythm section with mellow piano lines and plenty of acoustic guitars.For the most of its part ''Auf der bahn zum Uranus'' walks on a Heavy Rock path with bombastic grooves, crunchy Hammond organ and sharp, old-fashioned electrified instrumentals with breaks into more atmospheric, vocal-led passages.A few bluesy influences are also present, as in the ''Welt im dunkel'', which sounds like how ELOY would sound a couple of years later, based on hypnotic keyboards and choir-type of wordless voices supporting Frey's lead vocals, or the closing ''Gaa'', which surprisingly contains some nice hard-styled flutes wrapped in an energetic jamming atmosphere, akin to RUFUS ZUPHALL.

The original vinyl was pressed in only 300 copies as a result of Kesner's fading interest in the group, making it one of the rarest Kraut Rock albums around.Fortunately it has been reissued several times both on CD and vinyl, giving the chance to fans of the style to taste another worthy addition of the endless Kraut Rock list.Recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1046566)
Posted Saturday, September 28, 2013 | Review Permalink

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