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Satin Whale

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Satin Whale Desert Places album cover
4.01 | 73 ratings | 8 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Desert Places (6:48)
2. Seasons Of Life (6:41)
3. Remember (9:38)
4. I Often Wondered (7:15)
5. Perception (12:56)

Total Time : (43:18)

Line-up / Musicians

- Dieter Roesberg / guitars, alto saxophone, flute, lead vocals
- Gerald Dellmann / organ, piano, vibes
- Thomas Brück / bass, vocals
- Horst Schättgen / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Manfred Boecker, Wolfgang Niedecken

LP Brain ‎- brain 1049 (1974, Germany)

CD Lumpy Gravy Records ‎- LGR 105 (2015, France)

Thanks to alucard for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy SATIN WHALE Desert Places Music

SATIN WHALE Desert Places ratings distribution

(73 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (5%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

SATIN WHALE Desert Places reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
4 stars First album by this rather late Krautrock band was undoubtedly their very best one. Actually the only point of criticism one could quote is the fact that it might have sounded already a bit dated in its year of release. Being much in the vein of early Tull, Iron Butterfly, Cream or The Doors the tracks presented here are a wonderful demonstration of this early Art Rock or Proto-Prog style. The title song is the one reminding the most to Tull with a soaring flute and heavy organ. It's a very powerful and grooving one with a sort of psychedelic blues guitar play that's bringing Cream back to mind. "Seasons Of Life" is even in a stronger psychedelic vein, kinda The Doors meet Cream or Iron Butterfly, very groovin' stuff as well. This record doesn't let your foot stand still only for one second. Though it might be not considered as that much progressive for the year of 1974 "Desert Places" was nevertheless a brilliant album in organ driven Art Rock typical for beginning seventies.

Probably not essential for any prog collector in general, but highly recommended for fans of jammin' and groovin' early 70s psychedelic blues rock!

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars Satin Whale was one of those bands that never managed to transcend the 1970s, and because their sound was less original than their more adventurous Krautrock cousins they merit barely a footnote in Prog Rock history.

Which is a shame, because not every German band needed to be as seditious as CAN (to cite the obvious example: both groups hailed from the same vicinity of Cologne). To their credit, Satin Whale would later riff all over the Hebrew folk song "Hava Nagila" on their 1978 live album "Whalecome", which I suppose might be considered almost a daring act in a country notorious for its anti-Semitism, especially when juxtaposed against the old minstrel tune "Camptown Races" (dooh-dah, dooh-da, so forth).

But that would be years later. The band's debut album in 1974 was a hard-hitting, heavy rock effort driven by the blazing guitar of Dieter Roesberg and the Hammond organ grunge of Gerald Dellman, with some breathy flute for added variety. Comparisons to early JETHRO TULL wouldn't be out of order, but any similarity is most likely coincidental.

On its own merits the album is surprisingly vital, perhaps too light on memorable melodies but full of muscular jamming, with the best moments reserved for when the singer takes a back seat and the music is pushed to center stage, as in the 13-minute album closer "Perception". The English language titles and lyrics don't lend it any distinction, however, and the band certainly doesn't sound very German, perhaps the key to their enormous success in their native country at the time. But that anonymity of style works against them in the long run: they might be just about anyone (except maybe Tull).

More than two years have passed since anyone reviewed a Satin Whale record on these pages. It might be another two years before the next review. They were always a band more comfortable in the present tense, following current fashions instead of setting new trends. But that doesn't mean they need to be completely dismissed, and this album in particular is well worth another listen.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Found in 1971, German band Satin Whale originated from the Cologne area with Thomas Brueck on bass, Gerald Dellmann on keyboards, Horst Schöffgen on drums and Dieter Roesberg on multiple instruments and vocals.The rumors say that they started as an all instrumental group, before adding vocals in their repertoire, then signed with the legendary Brain label and released their debut ''Desert Places'' in 1974.

Despite heading to the mid-70's, Satin Whale played a typical, old-fashioned Kraut/Progressive Rock, a bit like TOMMOROW'S GIFT or EILIFF, with also references to the British scene, mostly because of the English lyrics and the evident bluesy influences.On their debut album they present a rich and energetic Progressive Rock with long tracks, characterized by the extended instrumental themes, the good interplays, the dynamic jams and the powerful rhythmic parts.Their music is based on the strong rhythm guitars, the jazzy rhythm section, the sharp riffs and the constant use of Hammond organ in quite a psychedelic mood.There are also some JETHRO TULL-eque flute bits and more discreet Classical inspirations in some preludes or the use of harsichord, but the main force of the release remain the abstract jamming sessions, the Hard Rock parts and the solid solos on guitars and organ.Surely there are a few sudden surprises to be found in the album, which is heavily influenced by the German monsters of the recent past.But the band delivers some good breaks and ''Desert places'' contains plenty of shifting climates to satisfy the Prog listener.

Consistent and well-performed Kraut Rock with decent performances and lots of psychedelic moments in a Hard Rock enviroment.Not outstanding, but definitely rewarding.There is also another vinyl release out from 1979, again on the Brain label, featuring a different cover.Recommended.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars I found an original green Brain/Metronome LP pressing at a Eugene, Oregon record store. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! So I snatched it because it was sold at a rather cheap prince ($20), only to find out copies go for ten times that much, or even more so. This isn't the 2010 reprint, as that was apparently pressed on 180g vinyl, this looks like your typical '70s standard weight, probably 120g, plus it looks to have the usual wear and tear of a 1974 LP. I have heard of Satin Whale for ages (since about 2002) and glad to have bought this.

This is probably the closest to Krautrock they have ever did, but don't expect the experimentation of Can, Faust, Amon Duul II, early Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Agitation Free, etc. Here they often go in the Jethro Tull vein, but often go for extended jams, lots of nice guitar and organ soloing. The vocals are OK, nothing to write home, but at least not bad. Much of the album follows this same path, some short vocal passages, extended instrumental passages. One gripe could be, given its 1974 origins, that this album sounds rather behind the times and sounds more like a 1971 or '72 recording, but then you can say the same thing of Eloy's Floating or even Mythos' Dreamlab. But then from hearing my share of 1974 recordings, I came to the conclusion that the year, musically, seemed to have one foot in the early '70s (the guitar/Hammond organ approach was still commonplace) and the mid '70s (synthesizers were starting to play a bigger role). It's obvious that the Satin Whale was a bit behind the times for synths, as they still didn't use one, or more likely couldn't afford one (of course, they used synths on later albums like As a Keepsake). I don't let the "behind the times" sound bother me, it fits comfortably with your other prog albums released a bit earlier. This album gets a lot of praise in the prog community, and for good reason. It's too bad this was never properly reissued. It did received a bootleg reissue on CD on Germanophon, but it would do so much better had Repertoire been able to get their hands on it (after all, that label had reissued many great titles from the Brain label, it's probably either they can't get the rights to it, or the band members are embarrassed and don't want a reissue, just like Kraftwerk did with anything pre-Autobahn). I'm glad to own a turntable and the original LP, and lucky to find at a real decent price. Great stuff I can highly recommend!

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars I wish I had this album back when I was younger it suits my tastes perfectly. Great vocals, tons of instrumental sections and especially that bluesy guitar that I could listen to endlessly. T2 might be a good comparison with those great guitar led songs. The bass player/ vocalist had a part in the writing all the songs. Should mention that the organ is prominent with the bass and we also get flute and sax, more of the former and both played by the talented guitarist!. They thank Klaus Schulze in the liner notes. Vocals are in English by the way and there's not an average song on here it's all pretty incredible to my ears. Only the cover art is average in my opinion.

"Deseret Places" opens with flute but it kicks into gear very quickly. A calm before 1 1/2 minutes then it kicks in again with organ leading this time. Soon it's the guitar leading the way. Vocals after 3 minutes as it settles some. man this is good. The flute is back after 4 minutes as the vocals stop. Pulsating organ then the vocals return after 5 minutes.

"Seasons Of Life" opens with multi-vocals as guitar, drums, bass and organ join in. Nice prominent bass here then the guitar leads as we get an instrumental section. It settles as the vocals return as these contrasts continue. A change in sound after 3 minutes. man that organ sounds amazing in this instrumental section. The guitar starts to lead before 5 minutes then the organ before the vocals return before 6 minutes.

"Remember" opens with guitar before piano and outbursts of power take over. The guitar then leads with bass, drums and organ supporting. A calm before 1 1/2 minutes with bluesy guitar as the vocals join in. It kicks in before 3 minutes as the vocals stop. Contrasts continue. Fantastic! The organ leads after 4 minutes then the guitar takes over and he's lighting it up. It settles some but then the guitar is back lighting it up. The organ takes the lead around 7 1/2 minutes before the guitar returns late. A melancholic tune.

"I Often Wonder" is where I hear the sax for the first time. Bass, drums and organ help out before the organ leads as the sax steps aside. The guitar and organ trade off 2 minutes in then we get vocals before 4 minutes. Nice. The guitar starts to solo after 4 1/2 minutes as the vocals stop. Vocals are back as contrasts continue.

"Perception" is the almost 13 minute closer. It opens with bass, keys and light guitar. A nice change before kicking in with the guitar leading. Vocals follow. I like that driving rhythm 3 1/2 minutes in as the vocals step aside and the organ plays over top. Piano after 5 1/2 minutes as the organ stops. It turns jazzy, well at least the bass is jazzy before 7 minutes as the guitar solos. The organ is back trading off with the guitar before 8 minutes. Sax 9 1/2 minutes in then it settles some before 11 minutes as the organ runs. It picks up with guitar before 12 minutes then calms down to the end.

My only experience with SATIN WHALE previously was with their 1978 live album which was more Symphonic and I'm not a fan of it. Apparently they went into that style with the followup to this one. I'll stick with this beauty.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I was fortunate enough to see 'Satin Whale live in 1974 during an extended period spent in Germany. At the time, they had just released 'Desert Places' and were touring it extensively in Europe while in support of Barclay James Harvest. It would be the first time I ever witnessed a support ac ... (read more)

Report this review (#2532516) | Posted by Prog Is Not Dead | Tuesday, April 6, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is unkwnown, but it should not! I was impressed when I first listened to Desert Places. This German band deserves more attention from the progarchives members. I would say this album is more a prog folk than prog related or krautrock and I could note the influence of Ian Anderson in many son ... (read more)

Report this review (#262488) | Posted by zedumar | Monday, January 25, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Satin Whale's Desert Places was a fantastic heavy-prog effort, performing a mix of blues, hard rock and slight jazz, tempered by a stunning guitar, killer swirling organ and hard driven bass and drum. I can find a couple of influences by British and American Rock bands, but their German ascent r ... (read more)

Report this review (#163327) | Posted by ELDOPOP | Thursday, March 6, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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