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A.R. & Machines


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A.R. & Machines Echo album cover
4.01 | 80 ratings | 8 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (43:11)
1. Einladung (Invitation) (20:15)
- a) Einladung (Invitation)
- b) Zu Neuen Abenteuern (To New Adventures)
- c) Im Zauberwald Der 7 Sinne (In the Magic Forest of the 7 Senses)
- d) Im Irrgarten Des Geistes (In the Labyrinth of the Mind)
- e) Beim Waltzer Der Triebe (At the Waltz of the Inclinations)
- f) Unter Dem Schwarz-Grün-Roten Banner (Under the Black-Green-Red Banner)
- g) Internationalhymne (International Anthem)
2. Das Echo Der Gegenwart (The Echo of the Presence) (10:01)
- a) Erwachen Am Ufer (Awakening on the Shore)
- b) Vor Dem Haus Am Fuße Des Wachsenden Berges (In Front of the House at the Growing Mountain)
- c) Signale (Signals)
- d) Wissen Ist Frühling Im Herbst (Knowledge Is Spring in Autumn)
- e) Eisen-Laura Mit Der Lyra (Iron-Laura with the Lyra)
3. Das Echo Der Zeit (The Echo of Time) (12:55)
- f) Ich Staune (I Am Astonished)
- g) Auf Dem Schlitten (On the Sledge)
- h) Ins Echo Der Zeit (To the Echo of Time)
- i) Regenbögen Hinab (Down the Rainbows)
- j) Durch Fühlbares, Meßbares Nichts (Through Feelable, Measurable Nothing)
- k) Ewiger Abschied Auf Lila Glut (Eternal Farewell on Lilac Ardour)

Disc 2 (37:27)
4. Das Echo Der Zukunft (The Echo of the Future) (18:02)
- a) Ahnungen (Suspisions)
- b) Beim Tanz Der Elektrischen Winde (At the Dance of the Electrical Winds)
- c) Vor Der Geburt Der Neuen Dimension (Before the Birth of a New Dimension)
- d) Interstellare Kommunikationen (Interstellar Communications)
- e) Das Öffnen Des Großen Torres (The Opening of the Big Gate)
- f) Der Traum Vom Gleichgewicht (The Dream of Balance)
5. Das Echo Der Vergangenheit (The Echo of the Past) (19:25)
- a) Erinnerungen an Übermorgen (Memories of the Day After Tomorrow)
- b) Ad Libido
- c) Ego Lego
- d) Brennt Wie Ein Licht Am Ende Des Tunnels (Burns Like a Light at the End of a Tunnel)

Total Time 80:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Achim Reichel / vocals, instruments & "machines"

- Matti Klatt / vocals
- Conny Plank / vocals, engineer
- Klaus Schulz / vocals
- Helmuth Franke / guitar
- Jochen Petersen / saxophone
- Norbert Jacobsen / clarinet, vocals
- Arthur Carstens / jews harp
- Dicky Tarrach / drums
- Lemmy Lembrecht / drums, percussion
- Hans Lampe / percussion
- Rolf Köhler / percussion
- Kalle Trapp / percussion
- Peter Hecht / orchestral arrangements
- Frank Dostal / lyrics, sounds
- Peter Becker / sounds

Releases information

Artwork: Osterwalder's Office

2xLP Polydor ‎- 2633 003 (1972, Germany)

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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A.R. & MACHINES Echo ratings distribution

(80 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

A.R. & MACHINES Echo reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Discipline, structure, and focus. If that's what you adore about progressive rock, run like hell from A. R. & Machines. If, however, you prize prog's ability to wash over you with waves of weirdness until your astral form winds up light years away from your physical body -- perhaps having forgotten that said body ever existed, you know man, in the really real sense -- then Echo may be the lost classic that you've been waiting for.

This is especially true if your soul happens to respond to the unique conjunction of cosmic forces that resulted in a seemingly infinite universe of obscure vinyl treasures between roughly 1966 and 1977. Germany didn't have a monopoly on spacey pagan psychedelia by any means, but there's enough of a concentration of unrestrained genius in that extended circle to assure that most of us are still rediscovering the many facets of Krautrock at this late date -- and, it must be said, the same probably goes for many of those who made the music to begin with.

I don't know that Achim Reichel (let alone Herr Schultze) ever takes a spare hour and a half to revisit Echo. He may (like the vast majority of my esteemed prog contemporaries and probably the world at large) only think of Echo to dismiss the album as an incoherent and self-indulgent soup of delay effects and cryptobabble. Fair enough, but I've tasted a lot of bad soup, and even more bland soup, and this is neither of those recipes.

For one thing, the music is genuinely but non-specifically evocative -- one of the essential keys to the gate of transcendence, so to speak. It'll put you on the road without really suggesting a direction, but this is no spineless New Age ambient wallpaper; Echo will assert itself on a regular basis to give your mind something unexpected to work with.

The minimalist, minor-key repetitions have the same moody trance-inducing quality of Cluster and Eno, but with an acid rock foundation rather than an ambient synth framework. Einladung (Invitation) is all about guitars and drums.. and water, and drawn-out flange sweeps. If I say the word 'cave', am I forcing my authority on the chaotic freedom of your mind's drift, man?

It's sometimes hauntingly beautiful, too, and surprisingly powerful.

And it gets funky like only Krautrock can, taking all of the acid dance freakout fun of Velvet Underground meets swinging London meets Haight-Ashbury and turning it into a cosmic party cruise attended by Teutonic stewardesses. And then Carlos Castaneda appears, with pre-electric Marc Bolan as his spirit guide, and everything disappears into the forest primeval. And you're STILL only on the second song, Das Echo Der Gegenwart (The Echo Of The Present). Lucky for us, the present was 1972, which was a far more timeless present than our current future, which so much more quickly slips into the past.

If you haven't given up by the point that Das Echo Der Zeit (The Echo Of Time) arrives, you're in for a Throbbing Gristle of a treat. Never has there been such difficulty telling novelty from consistency. Baby voices and more layered, echoed guitars. Native chanting and drumming. Comus enters a chrysalis and emerges as Aphrodite's Child. All of the seats were occupied (by layers of echoing sound).

To be fair, the musicians are pretty tight for all of their looseness, and the sections and transitions possess a lot more dynamic discipline and distinctiveness that it seems. This stands out from a slew of psychedelic-era concept albums that amount to little more than throwing sounds at the wall to see if anything sticks. Speaking of which... I hate to make enemies, but I'd rather hear the 43 minutes of Das Echo Der Zukunft (The Echo Of The Future) once a week for the rest of my life than EVER hear Tubular Bells again.

Das Echo Der Vergangenheit (Echo of the Past) is probably my least favorite, due to the disjointed a cappella / spoken section -- but it may be your MOST favorite, especially if you have a fondness for RIO and / or experimental composers of the Charles Dodge variety. It's certainly not out of character with the rest of the album, at any rate. And the symphonic conclusion threatens to take us out on a surprisingly Alpine soundtrack note, until the shimmering and ringing drones of pure ambient bliss soothe our eternal night of lucid discovery gently back into the sunlit sleep of waking.

Rare, beautiful, weird, and utterly immersive in a very unique way.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Achim Reichel's second album from 1972 is a double released the year after "The Green Journey". This isn't as good in my opinion and despite the fact there are a lot of guests helping out it doesn't feel like it. It's not really that samey and repetitive (although there is that) but it does have the same mood and vibe throughout. It's somewhat spacey with acoustic and electric guitars leading the way with percussion. There are vocals at times including Klaus Schulze of all people. We get clarinet, sax, jew harp, orchestration and samples. "The Green Journey" was love at first listen while this one is less dynamic and more hypnotic and trippy.

We get five long tracks over two albums resulting in over an hour and twenty minutes of music. I'll use the English song titles. "Invitation" opens with sounds that pulse and echo as picked guitar helps out. Strummed guitar joins in before 1 1/2 minutes. It builds some. This is good. A calm 5 1/2 minutes in with liquid sounds, vocal expressions and other psychedelic meanderings. The guitar is back after 6 1/2 minutes as a dark atmosphere comes in. Strings 8 minutes in as orchestral sounds follow. A beat 10 minutes in with eerie spacey sounds. Dissonant sax joins in as the tempo picks up. Guitar too. Great sound before 17 1/2 minutes as the guitar rips it up. It's haunting before 19 minutes as it calms right down.

"The Echo of The Presence" has these mellow sounds that echo as vocal melodies join in and percussion follows. It picks up with strummed guitar and intricate sounds. Vocals before 4 minutes. It settles after 6 minutes as the vocals continue. It's spacey too. Vocals stop around 8 minutes as the sound settles back eventually. Spacey sounds pulse to end it. "The Echo Of Time" opens with children talking and their voices echo then the music takes over with guitar out front. Percussion joins in and vocals arrive after 4 minutes. A change 6 1/2 minutes in as heavier guitar with twittering sounds and drums take over. The guitar starts to solo over top. Strummed guitar follows. A calm with guitar 9 minutes in. It turns spacey and haunting 11 1/2 minutes in with children's voices too.

"The Echo Of The Future" has these sparse sounds that come and go then it starts to pick up before 2 minutes. It settles back before 6 minutes with vocal melodies as the guitars are strummed and picked then it picks back up again. A calm before 7 1/2 minutes as spoken words and vocal melodies take over. The guitars and percussion join in as the vocals continue and then the vocals stop as music continues. A haunting calm before 13 1/2 minutes. "The Echo Of The Past" ends it. This is a bizarre tune as we get lots of vocal expressions where they are the focus. It's especially strange before 6 minutes with all these vocal sounds. It turns spacey late which I like better.

A solid 4 stars and a must for Krautrock fans out there. Listen to the echo.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Krautrock is a strange little subgenre in the world of progressive rock. I am utterly amazed at how varied it is. Bands have distinctly different approaches leading to their strange tripped out worlds. With Can the focus is on the rhythm and percussion, with Agitation Free on the electronic effects and percussion, with Amon Duul II the pummeling bass, hypnotic guitar and crazy vocal antics. Despite all these different strategies the final outcome must be spacey, psychedelic and tripped out. No one achieved that better than A.R. & MACHINES in my opinion. True I have not experienced every single Krautrock band at this point but I have at least sampled quite a few and fully dived into countless others and as of this day no one takes me to Strawberry Fields more than this band led by the former German pop star turned tripmeister extraordinaire.

On the first album "Die grüne Reise - The Green Journey" the band already succeeded in making one of the trippiest albums I had ever heard but they still included some of the pop song structures from the Rattles days and twisted and echoed them into a somewhat familiar trippiness. On ECHO they let all that go and focus on the most surreal soundscapes they can muster up. Many of the same sound effects can be found on this second release. There are echos and feedback, vocal craziness and pleasant melodies, loops and insanity galore, however these five tracks are long sprawling epics that have distinct segments that morph into one another.

The long list of instruments come and go as they please. Often they are on the playground together doing their thing in total unity and then one might just drop out and then another join in. It's all very random but at times very disciplined. Have I mentioned this is turned up to 11 on the trippiness scale? At times this reminds me of proto-psybient like the Shpongle of the 70s. If you like trance inducing soundscapes then check this out. If you can't deal with repetitive almost drone-like at times instruments pummeling notes into strange patterns then you probably should look somewhere else, but I on the other hand find this hypnotizing and finding myself wanting to listen to this while watching "Alice In Wonderland" on a 3-D TV.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The ambitious follow-up to his playful "Die Grüne Reise" (1971) stretched Achim Reichel's echo-guitar technique almost to its breaking point, and might have the same effect on the patience of any listener with a low attention span. The guitarist would later say the debut album represented his "künstlerische pubertät" ("artistic puberty", translating from his own web site). Which would make this one his creative coming of age, marking a dramatic leap to conceptual maturity from the goofy avant-pop exuberance of the first AR&M experiment.

The music this time was allowed more room to breathe, in longer instrumental workouts evolving over each side of the original twin-LP (to date, and somewhat amazingly, never officially released on compact disc). The rock 'n' roll energy of the earlier record was muted here in favor of a richer, more adventurous sound, still urgently rhythmic but enhanced by the occasional lush orchestral arrangement, and by contributions from a small battalion of collaborators, including percussionist Hans 'Flipper' Lampe of LA DÜSSELDORF fame: another link in the six-degree web of Krautrock separation.

Anyone expecting self-restraint or structure is encouraged to look elsewhere. It requires a long habit of passive concentration (not an oxymoron, for Krautrockers) to fully appreciate the slowly unfolding cycles of melodic arpeggios, superficially resembling the knotted synths and sequencers of early Virgin-era TANGERINE DREAM but performed on guitars, with a more human touch. The arrangement of music was tightly controlled throughout, but like all great cosmic voyages expressed a fearless resolve to embrace unknown vistas and infinite horizons.

Each side of vinyl, after the twenty-minute "Einladung" (Invitation), was given a suitably portentous title: "The Echo of the Presence"; "The Echo of the Future", and so forth, all with elaborate sub-chapters hard to pinpoint within the continuous flow of music. But it's the last side of LP2, "The Echo of the Past", that pushes the album close to five-star territory, in another wild, ZAPPA-influenced kitchen-sink collage, hypnotic and hilarious at the same time.

The effect of this final track is like being mesmerized by a clever circus clown, and at first exposure I found myself laughing as hard as I was listening, reminded (in a good way) of THE BEATLES and their notorious "Revolution 9", albeit assembled with discipline and wit.

The same comparison probably crossed Reichel's mind, too. In an unconscious reflection of the album's title, his career to that point had closely 'echoed' the Fab Four, dating back to his stint with The Rattles at the Star-Club in Hamburg. Much like The Beatles during their more exploratory later years, Reichel in his Krautrock prime still had the heart of a pop star, but the head of...well, a Head.

Latest members reviews

2 stars I have been a little reluctant about reviewing this album, because there is a lot of material here. I have listened to it several times, but it doesn't stick with me a whole lot. You might say that it isn't that memorable. This is also my first experience at listening to KrautRock. I can honestly ... (read more)

Report this review (#282382) | Posted by Keetian | Monday, May 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is quite a masterpiece and a very lucky find. This was one of the most rare prog albums i have bought but well worth the search. The only place i could find it was on Doug Larsons imports. AR and machines is similar to Ash Ra Tempel, cosmic jokers, and Tangerine Dream in their style but ... (read more)

Report this review (#155546) | Posted by danriske | Sunday, December 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A True Kraut Meisterwerk Echo was my first taste of A.R. and the Machines as well as one of my introductions to the Krautrock scene. At first listen I was a bit skeptical, since the Kraut samples never did much for me, but after a few spins Echo really started to hit me and I loved it. This ... (read more)

Report this review (#124019) | Posted by Mikerinos | Wednesday, May 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars after a very promising debut, Achim Reichel didn't take his time to bring forward his masterpiece (probably due to the enormous band he was backed up by). Actually the familliar Klaus Schulze name is strage in the line up, because no one has ever witnessed Schulze "singing" on stage or elsewhe ... (read more)

Report this review (#87296) | Posted by Bilek | Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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