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Grobschnitt Solar Music - Live album cover
4.59 | 227 ratings | 35 reviews | 67% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Solar Music I (4:26)
2. Food Sicore (3:51)
3. Solar Music II (6:01)
4. Mühlheim Special (12:08)
5. Otto Pankrock (7:25)
6. Golden Mist (10:22)
7. Solar Music III (9:59)

Total Time 54:12

Bonus tracks on 1998 release:
8. The Missing 13 Minutes (13:08)
9. Vanishing Towards the East (0:35)

Line-up / Musicians

- Stefan Danielak (Wildschwein) / lead vocals, guitar
- Gerd-Otto Kühn (Lupo) / guitar, backing vocals
- Volker Kahrs (Mist) / keyboards, vocals
- Wolfgang Jäger (Popo) / bass
- Joachim Ehrig (Eroc) / drums, synth, vocals

Releases information

LP Brain - 0060.139 (1978)
CD Repertoire PMS 7096WP (1998) with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy GROBSCHNITT Solar Music - Live Music

GROBSCHNITT Solar Music - Live ratings distribution

(227 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(67%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (8%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

GROBSCHNITT Solar Music - Live reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars Of all the live albums in my personal collection I would have to rank GROBSCHNITT's "Solar Music - Live" as one of the all time classics. I have adored this album for years and was happy to hear that EROC of the band had re-mastered the original recording adding an extra 13 mins void off of the earlier CD pressings. "Solar Music - Live" rests on its own as yet another one of GROBSCHNITT's greatest moments and is a fantastic voyage into the heart of the sun. The concert essentially runs as 1 long piece of music offering great guitar, bass and keyboard interplay. Although "Solar Music" does appear on the studio album "Ballermann" it is live where we get to hear the theatrics and the pure energy GROBSCHNITT were able to muster up. Keyboard work is highly atmospheric and paves a great path for the magical electrical guitar work present on this album. This is another essential album that one must have in their collection.
Review by corbet
3 stars Mainly instrumental live set in the space-rock vein. Fans of Steve Hillage's solo work, or early Pink Floyd, you will love this music on first hearing and it will become one of your favorites. The only potential roadblock I can see for some people would be the vocals, which are very, ah, "German"... but that's only a few minutes of the whole album, so you shouldn't let it get in the way, and the "singing" (if you can call it that) is in fact awesome and occasionally dead-on hilarious. Once the pure music begins, it doesn't let up until the final seconds. Check out the fifth track "Otto Pankrock" which is where they really hit their stride: searing dual guitar workouts, cosmic synths and keys, endlessly stomping rhythm section grooves... all the necessary good stuff. In any case, this is without a doubt one of the great live albums, so soak it up and enjoy.
Review by The Prognaut
5 stars A progressive rock milestone. "Solar Music" evokes such a perfect harmony between strong lyrics and heavy repertoires of long drum solos. Strongly recommended for those prog rock fans who are intrepid and restless when it comes to discover new horizons within the 70's lost worlds of prog. A must have! It isn't only the live version of their previous works, it is a whole different experience beyond that. The power and passion of this miraculous exercise made music, is simply incomparable to anything regarding not only the prog scene of the 70's, but the nowadays prog, turning this 9 pieces set, into the greatest live recording of Progressive Rock. You won't believe the magnetism, the interaction and the charisma this German band's got prepared for your, it is useless to resist the charm, you will get sucked in the world of GROBSCHNITT. The remastered CD edition contains previously unreleased material (under license of EROC, of course): "The Missing 13 Minutes", a very spacial, moody melody. If you get to listen to this album, I also recommend other GROBSCHNITT's symphonic art works such as "Rock Pommel's Land" and "Ballermann".
Review by Sean Trane
5 stars Well for my 1200th review, I had to make it a five stars, so I delayed my review until now. And what an album this one is! A live one at that and probably one of the five best ever. Grobschnitt was always more of a live band than a studio one, and one of my few regrets is that I never got to see them in concert. I really hope someday, a DVD will come out of this album or that era in general because they must've put many prog bands to shame and even Alice Cooper's Nightmares would've respected this. The leader is the tall, lanky (Zappa-looking ) figure of Eroc, who wrote most of the lyrics.

The grand thing about this album is that most of the tracks appearing on this live album are released for the first time and they are top-notch! This true for all tracks except the three Solar Music tracks and even then, there is major changes compared to the studio version. The ambiances and electronic doodlings on Food Sicore evoking whale love-calls is simply ghastly melting so well in the atmospheres of the group. Grandiose but much more to come. Mulheim Special is a very strong track and the writing is oh so inspired. Otto Pankrock is really the band melting into one single soul! Golden Mist is more of a jam (all of those tracks were subject to slight jamming as this is a important characteristic of the band: improvisation) and slightly less interesting but let's wait for that DVD!. Of course, what to say of Solar Music itself. This Oeuvre was really the centre part of their concert and could last up to one hour (the studio version was around 33 min over two vinyls).

Grobschnitt in concert is much more at ease than in the studio and had their own sound. Much acclaimed Jumbo and Rockpommel's Land albums were sounding much like Yes or Genesis would but live these guys sounded like themselves, only the KB player reminding you sometimes of P F 's Rick Wright. The bonus track called The Missing 13 Minutes where they chose to jam for the presentation of the different band members allowing them to do a solo (more of it you mean) and is not really that essential for fans to feel obligated to buy the new version. But this should never be ground for not getting this absolutely superb album, which is definitely a deserted garden pleasure with the stereo blasting it away LOUD and proud.

Get this you progheads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Review by Proghead
4 stars This more like it for me. The previous GROBSCHNITT, "Rockpommel's Land" I am seriously divided over. I do like the fact it's a very solid, well-produced and well- performed album, but I have a real difficult time stomaching the lyrics about a kid named Ernie and a giant magical bird named Mariboo, which I thought was a bit infantile for me. Luckily their following album is nothing like that. "Solar Music - Live" was basically a live rendition of the second disc from "Ballermann" (their second album). The album itself is divided in to seven movements ("Solar Music I", "Food Sicore", "Solar Music II", "Mülheim Special", "Otto Pankrock", "Golden Mist" and "Solar Music III"). One major difference is this is almost twice as long. Having not heard the original from 1974, I can't tell you what are add-ons, what has been altered, and what are the original themes. What I do know is this piece has been a live staple for the band, and it's certainly gone through a lot through the years, and this version was recorded in April 1978. It's quite strange to see a band record a live album dedicated to just one piece (just try to imagine JETHRO TULL releasing a live version of "Thick as a Brick", which I think was included on a recent CD reissue of that album as a bonus cut), most live albums, as you know basically has the band playing the hits (that is, if the band had any hits, which these lesser-known prog rock bands generally didn't have) and fan favorites, add on extra guitar and drum solos the originals didn't have so each band member can stroke their egos. But it was wise to see GROBSCHNITT released "Solar Music - Live".

At first listen, I didn't get it, I don't expect many of you to get it at first, it require several listens. This album is largely instrumental, and if you been put off by Stefan Danielak (Wildschwein) and his singing, you'll be happy to know he only does a couple minutes of singing near the beginning. Other than that, it's largely guitar that dominates, although some keyboards do suface (like the Minimoog, Elka Rhapsody, Hammond organ, electric piano, even a little Mellotron). Many of the guitar solos have a strong PINK FLOYD feel to it, and in fact this is the GROBSCHNITT album I most highly recommend to PINK FLOYD fans (whereas the likes of "Rockpommel's Land" and "Jumbo" I'd recommend for YES fans). Every now and then, the band inserts their Germanic sense of humor, and even martial music is included here and there. Prog rock after 1975 has been often frequently criticized for being overly dependant on synthesizers (many times I don't personally have a problem with that, after all, one of my favorites is ELOY's "Ocean", which is very synth-based), for those put off by the over-dependace on synthesizers from prog rock of this era will be glad to know that the keyboards here are toned down in favor of guitar on "Solar Music - Live".

Knowing that this is 1978, prog rock was on the decline thanks to the rise of punk and disco, it's nice to see GROBSCHNITT put out such a wonderful album in that era, but then I noticed that the German prog scene continued making many great albums even at the end of the '70s and beginning of the '80s.

After several listens, I am totally sold on this album, this is one album I'd even recommend to those who are not a GROBSCHNITT fan. Great stuff..!

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars Have you ever seen Falwty Towers' episode The Germans with that hilarious act from John Cleese when he asks for Colditz Salad and when he starts to act like a Nazi? Well, Germans can have humor too, even when the subject is the Second World War! This can be heard on this live album, in my opinion the best work from Grobschnitt. All songs are splendid renditions featuring lots of extras. The strong points from this band are the build-ups, the tension between the mellow and heavy parts and the excellent play on the guitar ('Lupo' knows how to rock), the keyboards (beautiful analogue sound with a wide range of instruments from 'Mist') and the drums ('Eroc' is the driving force). The music is powerful, alternating and captivating, this is one of the absolute higlights of the German progrock history. Especially the three parts from the 'magnum opus' "Solar Music" are 'wunderbar'! A MUST!!
Review by Carl floyd fan
5 stars I love krautrock and I am so happy I found out about the genre. Through this genre I have learned of ardo dombec, kraan and many others that I can't get enough of. But one of my favorite cds is this one. It is beautiful with amazing instrumental passages. Not to many vocals here, in fact I only remember a line or two. It is a very easy going cd, very spacey and not hard to lose track of time when listening to this cd. Def. check it out! 4.75 stars
Review by Progbear
5 stars it's rare that I consider a live release a favourite, but this is a striking exception. We thought we'd heard the last of "Solar Music" when they come out, several years later, with this unforgettable live version. This is one of the few live albums that not only captures the essence of a piece, but makes the listener feel like he/she is actually THERE in the concert hall, experiencing it. How they managed it, I don't know, but it's an absolute wonder to behold.

Not merely cosmic music, the band imparts their trademark comedy to the piece (we poor non-Germanophones are missing out on some of this) as well as dense symphonic textures to some parts. As the piece is pretty much entirely instrumental, Wildschwein duels with Lupo on guitar, making for absolute musical fireworks throughout. But everyone in the band is given the chance to shine. It really is a remarkable piece of work.

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Do you hear solar music?

Solar Music is space/psychedelic/symphonic rock par excellence during 55 minutes - originally a part of the 'Ballermann' album. Without a doubt a cornerstone of progressive rock music. I was happy to see them live some years before this performance was recorded and I will never forget this experience. This suite has been the highlight of every gig they gave for many years. In every case consisting of extended music and theater improvisations with a lot of jokes. You are searching for an example? Food sicore - please read this backwards!

Solar Music I works like a warmup with great vocals by Willi Wildschwein (Stefan Danielak). They are playing a waltz as celebrating a wedding and then are gliding into the space section Food sicore with the wellknown computer voice asking 'Do you hear solar music?'. With Solar Music II the suite really starts with psychedelic guitars and a lot of samples growing to the main theme after some minutes. Mülheim Special and Otto Pankrock are representing the best sections - jamming pur with german spoken words, also played backwards. This are more rocking parts controlled by the two guitars from Wildschwein and Lupo (Gerd Kühn).

And then finally the keyboard is coming up with Golden Mist dominated by Mist (Volker Kahrs), Popo (Wolfgang Jäger) and Eroc (Joachim H. Ehrig). This song is very groovy and jazzy. Solar Music III - the final countdown of the suite - is not so inspiring as the parts before. The missing 13 minutes they use just as a piece for the presentation of the band members at the end of the performance in Mülheim. This is a nice groover but not very essential.

In the end Solar Music works only fully completely if you are also able to watch their outstanding stage presence with masks, costumes and fireworks. So I'm sure a DVD from this concert would be a real masterpiece.

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Set The Controls...

An iffy opening to this above average Krautrock offering, replete with audience participation builds to a superb soundscape, for a live act - that even beats many studio recordings from some bands - with a lovely rich and sonorous bass sound, a drum sound that's crisp but lacks midrange, vocals that keep dropping off the soundboard (maybe intentionally) and wierd "noises off", and clean, well-balanced and direct guitar tones.

Spatial Awareness

There's a very spontaneous feel to these compositions that casts them in the Krautrock mould very firmly, but the pitfall of live improvisation is falling into monotony, which unfortunately happens many times on this album.

Although Grobschnitt manage to dig themselves out of these holes reasonably well, the continuity is badly affected, and the actual structuring of the compositions doesn't help either - there is little or no flow from one track to another, and the whole product feels rather hiccupped in places and directionless in others.

Burning Up

The whole atmosphere hearkens back to Pink Floyd's Solar masterpiece "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", with similar minor key flavours overlaid with pentatonic scale solos that show their Gilmour inspirations frequently, with almost note- for-note quotations from "Animals" thrown in for good measure.

The playing is good and tight though, and when Grobschnitt enter a groove they work it well to produce a captivating sound that is drenched in psychedelia - it's so tight, in fact, that one might suspect that they took the recording into the studio to "tidy up" some of the parts...

Feel the Heat

Since this is largely improvisation, analysis would be somewhat pointless - but there is a great deal to enjoy here if you appreciate improvisation-based music that doesn't sound like a 1960s throwback - which this most certainly does not: There's a quite wonderful andn humourous surprise lurking in the middle of "Mühlheim Special", even if it is followed up with a riff that Hawkwind probably considered at one point in the early 1970s but rejected.

The keyboards in "Otto Panckrock" are notable, with Rick Wright flavours, and melody lines that clearly inspired Marillion's Mark Kelly, but overall, this track is a bit of a waste of space.

Crash and Burn

The overall soundscape is a very narrow Space Rock style of sound, except for some nice diffences in keyboard voices and synthesiser effects that are quite distinct from the usual tone and frequency generators you normally hear.

The time signature does not vary from 4/4, rhythmically, all the ideas have come from Pink Floyd or Hawkwind, and melodically speaking, there are few surprises - everything wanders up and down the scales as you would expect in this genre.

The bass is fairly notable, and reminds me very much of Marillion's Peter Trewavas in places, but despite the accuracy and great flow in the playing, the tendency is to follow the root notes, rather than suggest inversions or modes, and even basic ideas of interest like the use of pedals (the musical variety or the Taurus variety!) are not used.

This evidence is presented to indicate just why I do not consider this a Prog Rock album of the upper tiers - or even part of the Prog Rock genre.

Sunspot Summary

There is much to like, and many well structured and carefully composed delights within these grooves, and a lot of fresh-sounding and surprisingly well-produced space-rock improv, but there's also an awful lot of aimless noodling and directionless twaddle with nothing much to say or add - except for padding.

Overall, a nice addition to anyone's Prog Rock collection - but non-essential.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars If your into Krautrock or guitar driven spacerock, have I got a record for you ! Although it shows 9 songs on the back of the cd it really is one song with no breaks, and it's performed live. Each song blends into the other. They gave song titles only to give some structure and so that radio dj's would be able to play parts of this album on the radio.The negatives for me are the silliness to open the record, as well as part way through "Mulheim Special". And also the introduction of the band members to the audience that takes 3 minutes. These are negatives for me only because all the monologue is in German which I don't understand so it's lost on me.These are very small complaints though. This is pretty much all instrumental and I can't get enough of this.

"Solar Music I" opens with a lot of craziness, but they soon show how talented they are. These guys can play ! Organ, drums, keys and guitar get the show started, but it's 2 minutes into "Food Sicore" where the band takes us into space. Psychedelic guitars as the drums pound away and were flying. "Solar Music II" is pastoral, with birds singing and the guitar playing slowly. A dog starts to bark as synths come in, as well as a monster sounding vocal. The sound gets really atmospheric with a nice guitar melody as drums build to a beautiful hypnotic groove. Nice. The guitars get aggressive as the sound becomes even more amazing. "Mulheim Special" features some splendid drumming from Eroc as the guitar grinds out some good melodies. More amazing guitar solos follow including some scorching melodies. 4 minutes in the soundscape is heavenly including some mellotron. There is some more silliness after 5 minutes but I don't understand. Some great psychedelic guitar later.

"Otto Panrock" continues with the mesmerizing melody. Some screaming guitar and organ.The guitar is so amazing ! "Golden Mist" features some more great drumming from Eroc and lots of spacey synths including mellotron. There is some accordian in this one as well as an out of the blue statement "Would you like to sit on your bum on the surface of the sun ?" The organ work and drumming is great ! "Solar Music III" continues the lighter melody for 2 minutes followed by some psychedelic, scorching guitar melodies. It then becomes mellow to "The Missing 13 Minutes" where it becomes uptempo with lots of organ and guitar. Another change as light drums and keys provide a jazzy sound as the band is introduced while they keep playing.

This is so close to 5 stars for me but not quite. I may change it to 5 one day though we'll see. Highly recommended anyway. 4.5 stars.

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Seminal live document from the German progressive heavy rockers of Grobschnitt. It features absolutely gorgeous, Hammond organ / guitar dominated epic compositions, including brilliant, aggressive, emotive vocals. "Solar music" is a surprising heavy compositions with furious guitar riffs, brilliant, aggressive, emotive vocals. It carries on with a nice transition to the pleasant spaced out and melodic "Food Sicore" with its delicate guitar harmonies. "Solar music II" starts within a delicate, fragile atmosphere made of floating guitar lines, then it goes into progressive freakouts, a really adventurous listening with pretty rocking guitar solos. In the direct continuation, "Mulheim Special" is utterly heavy and progressive, exclusively instrumental with sumptuous keyboards, guitar solos. really improvised stuff and surely the best moment of the album. "Otto Pankrock" expands the sound into an almost heavy symphonic rock madness. "Solar III" reaches the listener into an other "galaxy, including lots of guitar breaks and crazy Hammond organs. Incredible sense of dynamics, exploring proggy, technical, instrumental playing. Clearly the best Brobschnitt in term of variations, atmospheres and technical capacities of musicians on stage.
Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

Am i crazy saying something like that? reading what other reviewers wrote, i may not as SOLAR MUSIC-LIVE is considered by all people who have listened to it as one of the greatest prog achievements ever recorded. There is fantastic music to be heard here, believe me! All the elements that make a succeessful prog are present : creativity, weirdness, experimentations, space jamming, beauty, ultimate musicianship, melody, long epics, and very important power. This album is sheer power!

This is GROBSCHNITT being GROBSCHNITT again!! a weird kraut spacey-guitar driven powerful band at the height of its creative peak. SOLAR MUSIC -LIVE of course is a rendition of the studio version of BALLERMAN, but it is also much more. The original version lasted 34 mns. This live edition from 1978 contains almost 70mns of solar follies. Better than that, a new remastered CD of this concert was released a few years ago with an extra 13mns bringing the album to over 80mns of joy.

SOLAR MUSIC has nothing to do with their last 2 Genesis-clones albums JUMBO and ROCKPOMMELS ISLAND. The dogs have been freed from their leashes and can now run free and let their frustrations of the past behind and just play now their instincts freely. There are 7 tracks on the live edition, but there is no need at looking at them one by one. SOLAR MUSIC has to be heard as one gigantic epic as there is no musical breaks between the tracks. This is one continuous space journey, better this is the space odyssey of prog music.

By space music, i don't mean ''cosmic music'' a la TANGERINE DREAM or KLAUS SCHULZE, yes there are dreamy parts where you feel like you are on a inter-galaxy trip with beautiful mellotron, organ and other synths played divinely by MIST like on the sixth track ....GOLDEN MIST, but GROBSCHNITT is first a rock band with a powerful rythm section. EROC the drummer is sublime on this record with a very subtle performance adding nice sound textures in the background. HIM and POPO the bassist make sure the performance don't get too sleepy as they boost the other players especially LUPO the lead guitarist and singer WILDSCHWEIN who also plays guitar.

For the ones who have some issues with the vocals of WILDSHWEIN, SOLAR MUSIC is good news as well as it is mostly an instrumental album with only a few --weird--outbursts from their singer here and there but it flows well with the context of the music. But the real hero here is guitarist LUPO who uses SOLAR FIRE as a platform to show off his various skills. His guitar playing can go on some different moods within the same song from melancholic to spacey to rocking, all done masterfully. This guitarist has nothing to learn from anybody else: he can play everything and he is the engine that pulls SOLAR FIRE to reach the musical heaven of prog.

You like maybe space jamming from GONG or HAWKWIND, SOLAR FIRE is well beyond that as the themes are well better composed leaving a lot of room for nice harmonies and very melodic lines. This is a space oddyssey of beauty going from melancholic athmospheres to furious jamming, but everything always remains under control even if the musicians can freely explore and enrich each theme of SOLAR FIRE with tasteful playing.

GROBSCHNITT was well know for its 4 hour- long concert antics with lavish pyrotechnics, theatrical plays involving the roadies, all the musicians wearing masks . SOLAR MUSIC was the perfect music for this environment and all the lucky people who had attended those concerts will tell you it was kind of a unique experience.

EROC the drummer has released lately 5 double-cds -no less-of the story of SOLAR MUSIC with different concerts featuring this masterpiece. I guess fans who like SOLAR MUSIC can't get enough of it!

SOLAR MUSIC is a unique piece of prog history, this is definitely very difficult to compare with something else. This is just one of those magical albums which make the listener appreciate the greatness of prog music. Not too many have this strength. This is not necessarily easy listening as it will take a few listenings before being able to appreciate all the riches of SOLAR MUSIC.

Remember!There is no serious prog collection without SOLAR FIRE!80mns of happiness guaranteed!


Review by kenethlevine
4 stars This is one of the rare prog live albums that out-rocks those of most standard rock bands, a spacey symphonic progressive album that is largely guitar oriented, thanks to the dual axes of Stefan Danielak and Gerd Kühn help achieve this result. The bass of Wolfgang Jäger and Eroc's drums also serve as backbone to one of the best jam sessions in history, and the fact that every note seems to be planned does not take away from the effort one iota. Nothing in "Rockpommel's Land" could prepare us for what is here.

While we have to put up with the "histrierocs" before things really get going, it's worth the wait. The meat of the album, tracks 2 thru 6 are all top notch, containing an appealing contrast of insanity and contemplation, accent on insanity, but my favourite track is actually "Golden Mist", perhaps because its keyboard orientation contrasts so drastically with everything else. Within those glorious 11 minutes, we are showered with all manner of keyboards, but especially electric piano and mellotrons/string synths that build to a spine tingling crescendo in the last minute before giving way to accordion!

While the last track and the bonus are less interesting and prevent a 5 star rating, this is still a classic of 1970s symphonic and a pinnacle of sorts for the movement. Even 30 years after exploding onto the scene, Solar Music Live is still hot.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars Here we are.

I was completely blown out with "Solar Music" from their second album "Ballermann" and I was thrilled to listen to this "Solar Live".

Actually it holds bits and bites of the original studio track (which lasted for over thirty three minutes), spread out over the entire album.

But it does not really matter. It can be considered as the vital lead for this live recording which consists of seven pieces (plus two bonus tracks on the CD edition) put together without any breaks. I can't really tell which are my favourite parts from this excellent live offering (except the first two ones which are nothing more than a good warming-up). But "Solar Music II & III", "Muehlheim Special" (a long jam named so because the concert took place in this German town) and "Golden Mist" stand out.

The music from this live album is extremely strong and if ever you tend to like crying guitars sustained by an exceptional drumming, a powerful bass playing, and lots of atmospheric keyboards parts; this album is tailor-made to your ears.

There will be lots of different versions of "Solar Music" which I will cover later on as I work chronologically. Some of them appealing me even more than this one.

The "Santana" guitar style that could be noticed on their debut is again present during "Otto Pankrock", just after the pleasant and spacey break. These sounds (the "Santana" ones, I mean) are so much part of my flesh and bones for well over than thirty-five years now that I am just voiceless when I hear such brilliant music.

The keyboards on "Golden Mist" are fully "ASOS" oriented. It is the most spacey section of the whole and the drumming reminds me sometimes to the one featured on "Set The Controls.". A brilliant trip in the far solar system.

Each time I listen to a "Grobschnitt" album now, I am thinking deeply of my friend Febus (he knows why) and I dedicate this review to him.

I will rate this album with four stars (nine out of ten actually). Just a bit short for the masterpiece status although "Solar Music III" is really exceptional.

Review by friso
5 stars Grobschnitt is a German progressive rock band from the seventies that wasn't quite psychedelic enough to be considered a krautrock group, though the band shares some comedic and hardrock traits with a band like Guru Guru. After a latin (hard)rock influenced debut and a double LP 'Ballerman' with two sides filled with space rock (Solar Music parts 1 & 2) the band would grow towards a symphonic prog group on records like 'Jumbo' and - my favorite - 'Rockpommel's Land' (from 1977). On this live-set released on 1978 the band returned to its 'Solar Music' suite which has some predestined structure (chord patterns, melodies, rhythms), but could be lengthened with extended jamming - which the band would continue to do for the rest of their career. Hence 'The History of Solar Music' releases. On this 1978 release the band has an amazing sound, with double heavy metal guitars (in the vain of UFO) and beautiful broad-sounding synths. The opening track with vocals is a bid of a dud - I guess it was a vehicle for some stage act - but the rest of the album is 45 minutes of uninterrupted instrumental light-hearted (symphonic) space rock goodness. Of all progressive live albums of the seventies this album is often mentioned as one of the very best, and I find that notation to be very agreeable. With a perfect recording sound (also on the original LP), some strong mood switches (excitement, danger, melancholy, relaxing), great twin-guitar interplay and a well planned overal structure this live-set is sure to make a good impression. Sadly this would prove to be the last strong release of the band fore decades to come.
Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album purchase came about by a complete chance on my part since I new nothing about Grobschnitt at time. The only thing I did know was that this live release had somewhat of of a following here on Prog Archives and that was good enough for me!

Wow, just wow. I really can't find any better words to describe this experience. I honestly never imagined that I would love a live album this much. Add the fact that both this material and the band behind it were completely unknown to me at the time only amazes me even more. Solar Music - Live is as great as a live gig put on an album will ever get. The music is very much alive all throughout the show and shape-shifts with the jam-like instrumental arrangements of these skilled musicians. This is not a technically advanced performance and none of the musicians steal the show from one another. There is a rare sense of harmony here that just can't be put down into words and instead simply has to be experienced first-hand.

There is really no point to talk about the individual moments or some specific arrangements that enhance this album because that is really not what this album is about. I always look at this release as one long 54+ minute track, which is clearly what Grobschnitt were going for here. I later went back and revisited the original studio version of Solar Music on Ballermann, purely for curiosity reasons. Even if that composition was just as recognizable, the magic just wasn't there. So if you only will check out one Grobschnitt release then make sure it's this one!

***** star songs: Solar Music I (4:23) Food Sicore (3:51) Mühlheim Special (12:07) Solar Music III (9:57)

**** star songs: Solar Music II (6:01) Otto Pankrock (7:25) Golden Mist (10:21)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Grobschnitt was a live band above anything else. Their stageshows lasted for hours on end and the Solar Music suite was mandatory item in the set. The track first appeared on Ballerman but the live version captured here is at least twice as long, with lots of extra improvised and composed parts added on.

For Grobschnitt skeptics, I should start by advertising that the focus is entirely on the music here. Wildschwein throws in the occasional vocal but he never shifts the focus away from the music as he did on Jumbo and Rockpommel. A second difference with Grobschnitts studio albums is that the music is much more relaxed, with lots of free-form and improvised parts creating a spacious atmosphere that should appeal to space-rock and kraut fans. But the sound also remains fluent and melodious enough for symphonic fans. In fact, this piece sounds much like something Pink Floyd could have performed in the years following Meddle, when their space-rock experimentation became more melodious and polished.

This album is very different from any other Grobschnitt output. It has a much larger Floydian influence then their usual Yes meets Genesis sound. Their closest related studio album would be Ballerman from which the original piece stems. I have a personal preference for their debut but this is the kind of album I have in mind when I think of 4 stars! Mandatory listening.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Wow! Normally, I don't like live albums, but this is something extraordinary: an album that captures the electric energy of a particular night; an album that successfully conveys the tremendous exchange between the performers and their audience, the way in which the band hits their groove, is a the top of their game, and how the audience fuels their transcendent performance. And the music is GREAT! It's mesmerizing, it's inviting, it's fresh and unexpected, it's theatric and yet hypnotic. I love the vocalist's histrionics and eccentricities. I love the guitar playing. I love being swept into the music and being held there for the length of the recording. I love that the songs all bleed one into the next. And this is a great recording that doesn't feel as if it's been glossed over or tampered with in the mixing/production process. Definitely one of the best live albums I've ever heard. And, besides, a masterpiece in performance art and musical content. This is AWESOME music! Top notch composition, performance, and collaboration.
Review by stefro
5 stars First appearing on their self-titled debut as 'Sun Trip', the lengthy, multi-part, space-rock epic 'Solar Music Suite' has long been Grobschnitt's signature tune, with the group regularly finishing off their legendary live shows with versions that could last well-in-excess of sixty minutes. Of course, over the years, the song has been chopped and changed, with the rough-hewn psychedelic prog of 'Sun Trip' mutating into the definitive, thirty-three-minute long 'Solar Music Parts 1 & 2' that appears on the 1974 studio release 'Ballermann'. Follow- up albums 'Jumbo' and the internationally-successful 'Rockpommel's Land' would avoid the piece altogether, as both of these albums would find the group developing their lush, keyboard-dominated, trademark symphonic style, yet all the while 'Solar Music' was slowly taking on a life of it's own within the paradigms of the live arena. The group were, by now, using the piece as the encore cherry that topped every single cake-of-a-gig they played, and soon the idea to base an entire album around the composition surfaced. The resultant album, 1978's jaw-droppingly good 'Solar Music Live', finally came about after the group performed an outrageously energetic set in the town of Mulheim during late 1977. Grobschnitt were still featuring a slight deviation on their 'classic' line-up at this time, with Stefan Danielak(guitars, vocals), Eroc(drums), Mist(keyboards), Wildschwein(guitars, vocals) and Popo(bass) all performing with extraordinary energy and gusto in front of an enthusiastic audience of hardcore fans. The 1970s would be the most productive of times for this criminally-ignored(outside of Germany and Central Europe at least) teutonic five- piece, with their strong progressive albums of the era(see above) some of the finest examples of the European side of the genre. 'Solar Music Live' is seen by many as the group's finest - and final - album, before the advent of punk, new wave and the 1980s all conspired to see the group shirk away from their Yes-and-Genesis-inspired style and embrace a much more heavy rock-based, commercially-viable sound that eschewed international aspirations and English vocals in favour of concentrating their efforts on their homeland and pioneering the use of German lyrics and vocals in German rock music. The highlights of a Grobschnitt show during the late-seventies was always the latter stages(hence this album), with the group's backstage team lighting a giant fire as 'Solar Music' began to reach it's apex, thus adding a spectacular visual element to to the event. As they were reaching the end of their peculiar but highly-original progressive phase, the group seem to be galvanised. The music itself is pure, unadulterated progressive rock, with strong symphonic overtones and the kind of authentic, indulgent and hard rocking dynamic that can only really be found in the live arena. Despite the fact that this album is made up of just one long song, it does actually sound like an album proper. Each section of 'Solar Music' has been stretched out and fattened up, with each member given free reign to solo over the thick, funky, rock-steady bass-playing of Popo and the incredible percussive skills of Eroc. The 'Solar Music' version here is based more-or-less on the two-parter that closes the studio album 'Ballermann', though whilst the 'Ballerman' version builds slowly-and- carefully to a powerful creschendo, the live effort lets rip pretty early on with the spectacular 'Otto Pankrock' finishing off several glistening minutes of carefully-played synths and keyboards courtesy of Mist. The final, spine-tingling denouement follows a similar path from the album version - yet more screeching guitar solo's - yet adds some scintillating keyboard effects that takes the music into hither unexpected synth-rock directions. A live album it is, but in 'Solar Music Live' you have one of the defining live albums of the progressive rock era. The musicianship is, simply put, unbelievably assured, and the album as whole never fails to impress, whether it be in the slower, psych-rock sections or the blistering hard-rock blow-outs that takes Grobschnitt's rock dynamic into areas of highly- defined symphonic rock that showcase the group's live prowess. The gig used for this album must have been something pretty special, and those who were there were damn lucky to have witnessed such an event. Grobschnitt may have failed to breakthrough to England and the USA during their mid-to-late-seventies peak - their curious brand of 'Ballermann' and 'Rockpommel's Land' are also great albums; 'Solar Music Live', however, is simply sensational. Highly recommended.
Review by Warthur
4 stars Possibly Grobschnitt's best album, Solar Music Live is the definitive record of the band's space rock epic - originally unveiled on Ballermann, and expanded greatly over the course of Grobschnitt's gigging career to become the centrepiece of their concerts. Greatly dialling back the abrasive sense of humour showcased on their studio albums, and amping up their Pink Floyd-inspired space rock (with A Saucerful of Secrets and the live disc of Ummagumma being a particular touchstone), Grobschnitt present a fabulous show, replete with pulsing drum rhythms and synthesisers, wailing Gilmour-like guitar, and mysterious recorded voices. Do you hear Solar Music? Well, if you do, you're better off hearing it here.
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A double live album that has become a milestone in space rock.

"Solar Music - Live" is the live performance of the Grobschnitt's incredible double album "Ballerman", at least it is the last album of that 1976 album. The band are renowned for their vivacious high theatrics and art rock pyrotechnics with fireworks, sparks, masks and costumes. This stage act fits in perfectly with the astonishing space rock of 'Solar Music'. There's no live album in the universe like this. The band are a zany bunch of geniuses consisting of the lead guitar prowess of Stefan Danielak (Wildschwein) and Gerd-Otto Kühn (Lupo), the keyboard wizardry of Volker Kahrs (Mist), the machine like rhythms of bassist Bernhard Uhlemann (Bär) and the manic percussion of Joachim Ehrig (Eroc). The sound they generate together is incredible, totally original in feel and ultimately satisfying, with huge time changes, dramatic shifts in mood, and a whimsical sense of humour.

The colossal space suite that turned Grobschnitt into prog legends is given a reimagining treatment with extra sections, more weirdness and extended soloing. One can even hear backstage noise and messing about in the silent parts. 'Solar Music' is the magnum opus that the band lived off in live performaces and it remains their quintessential triumph. It is a 55 minute space odyssey with high frequency synths sounding like "Fireball XL5"'s space effects at times. It is one long piece of music and yet broken into segments that blend seamlessly together. It begins with a great melodic guitar and pulsating rhythm, the same as heard on "Ballerman". The tune is so memorable that it always grabs me immediately and I am hooked. The lead guitar just takes off into the stratosphere. It just wraps itself around my cerebral cortex and transports me to Planet X.

Then the psychedelic vocals come in acapella and they sound spiteful and dangerous. The German accent is strong and there is definitely a sense of humour coming through. Grobschnitt have fun in this first section. The sig slows and speeds up at random it seems. The loud blasts of guitar and frenetic drumming are astounding. The spacey effects enter soon and are like Hawkwind, with very powerful sonic vibrations. The echoing flange guitars and galactic synth swirls are an everpresent force swirling and cascading with swooshes and with Alien sounds. The slowed down deep toned robotic mantra of "do you.. hear.. solar.. music?" comes in similar to "Ballerman": but it is more menacing and threatening, slowed to a deep rumble. It somehow reminds me of Kraftwerk's 'Musique Non Stop'.

A hypnotic rhythm locks in with motorik Krautrock rhythms over ethereal synthscapes. This is genuine space rock and it encompasses many moods, and as the piece progresses there is the sound of birds twittering, and a dog barks a few times. The synths begins to really take off like a space ship traveling through the solar system. A pounding buildup of powerful drums and bass begins to roar through the soundscape. It is released into glorious Hammond and a blistering lead break. The lead work of duel guitarists Wildschwein and Lupo is mesmirising. It feels like an improvised break jamming with the rhythms but they are so precise and vibrant they hit every note perfectly and it is captivating to be held under their spell. The tempo changes to a different faster feel, and some brilliant percussion accents are added. The reverb guitar tones are dynamic and very psychedelic with arpeggios and string bends. It really sounds like early Hawkwind.

Spacey chimes blend into the jamming session, with eerie star gazing soundscapes. Solar galactic screaming effects are overpowering. The organic music floats on a cluster of stars and is breath taking, shifting from darkness to light with effervescent mellotron and fiery lead guitar. The manic laughter is rather disconcerting and then we hear "do you heeeeeeeeaaaar solar music? do you heeeeeeeeaaaar solar music?" The synths become penetrating with a synergy of laser effects, and intergalactic resonances with sunburst power. It really is spaced up to the stratosphere. There is an amazing extended wah-wah solo by Lupo. The band are virtuoso and operate within a vacuum of spacey textures jamming off one groove and then they know how to release the tension so appropriately, breaking from hypnotic rhythms of bass and drums to provide uplifting soaring instrumental solos. The extended soloing is hypnotising and it is finally given over to a keyboard solo with Mist having a chance to shine. The tension is released with a bit of hysterical banter "Would you like to sit on your bum on the surface of the sun?" and then there is a roar of volcanic erupting sound that explodes for a moment and then another solo of guitar and keyboards draws thing to a peaceful resolution. The peaceful synth and guitar melody at the end is an excellent way to end after all the chaos and spaciness previously. The keyboard sounds way better that the sound on "Ballerman", which incidentally sounded like a midi file or an 8bit soundtrack to a Nintendo cartridge game. The crowd roar at the end and cry out that they want more of Grobschnitt and who can blame them?

This is an extraordinary concert performance, perhaps one of the alltime greatest live albums along with Deep Purple's "Made In Japan", Hawkwind's "Space Ritual", ELP's "Welcome Back My Friends to the Show that Never Ends", Yes' "Yesssongs" and some of Magma's and King Crimson's live albums. The best parts of the album include 'Solar Music I', 'Food Sicore', 'Mühlheim Special' and 'Solar Music III' that are all mandatory for space rock cadets. It is a milestone in space rock and has a drawing power unlike anything I have heard. Yeah, I definitely do hear Solar Music!

Review by Neu!mann
5 stars First a personal note: I'm not sure why I waited so long to review Grobschnitt's celebrated 1978 live album, a fixture in my own music library for over three decades (and counting). It might have simply been an act of courtesy, extended to an unmistakable classic obviously not in need of yet another cheerleader. Pardon the clumsy metaphor, but why bother even trying to gild an already five-star, 14-karat lily?

On the other hand, it's a hard album to over-praise. The live Solar Music marked a creative zenith not only for this hardworking German group, but arguably also for Progressive Rock itself in the waning days of its influence and popularity. At a time when most Prog Rockers were already showing symptoms of terminal decadence and redundancy, this unlikely band of Teutonic extroverts managed to organize all their conflicting musical impulses - psychedelia, symphonic rock, vaudeville humor - into an epic 55-minutes of near- miraculous showmanship, actually the second half of a single evening's performance (and what a gig that must have been!)

By this stage in their shifting musical evolution the obvious point of reference was post- "Dark Side of the Moon" Pink Floyd (that barking dog in the distant background of "Solar Music II" recalls an almost identical sound effect from the "Animals" album, released one year earlier). But the comparison needs to be flipped: this is what Pink Floyd should have sounded like in 1978, reaching for the same local star they once set their controls toward, instead of building that clunky, godawful wall.

And unlike the Floyd there's a welcome element of humor in the space rock of Grobschnitt. Note the (deliberate?) false start at about the three-minute mark here, just before the band settles into the first of many killer one-chord jams. And the irrepressible percussionist / clown Joachim Ehrig (alias Eroc) has his finest moment on record when, during an ominous pause in the music, he poses the immortal question, "...would you like to sit on your bum, on the surface...of the sun??" (cue the maniacal shriek and frantic drum roll, please)

Even without the missing visual cues (costumes, props, alarming pyrotechnics during an indoor performance) it's a remarkably sustained piece of music, revised and reworked through constant practice on stage and in the studio until it became a part of the band's collective DNA (see the 1974 album "Ballerman" for a more earthbound version of the same cosmic voyage). The whole thing builds to a fever pitch before resolving itself in a coda of unexpected grace and beauty; later releases (not my Metronome CD, sadly) even include a thirteen-minute encore.

It's difficult to believe a small percentage of Progarchive reviewers rate the album as non- essential, or worse: for collectors only. "Solar Music Live" is one of the pinnacles of the European Prog Rock experience, and in my own collection remains in steady rotation after more than thirty years of ownership, first on vinyl, then on audio cassette (after foolishly selling the LP in my post-punk immaturity), and finally on compact disc, where the complete performance can finally be enjoyed without that abrupt interruption between Sides One and Two. And isn't longevity always the first mark of a true masterpiece?

Review by Modrigue
5 stars I hear Solar Music

First live album from GROBSCHNITT, "Solar Music Live" is a just one of the shiniest star in the space rock galaxy! Apart from their recent previous releases such as "Rockpommel's Land" and "Jumbo", more symphonic oriented, this record shows the spacey side of the band by extending the "Solar Music" suite from "Ballermann" from 30 to 50 minutes. Let's go straight to the point: this record offers everything a space rock fan could wish for, but also makes interesting incursions into neighboring genres: krautrock, psychedelic jam, 70's hard rock, acid-jazz... However, contrarily to other bands playing these styles, the tracks are varied and features numerous changes. The music flows naturally, is quite accessible and never seems boring, repetitive or messy.

"Solar Music Live" also captures GROBSCHNITT's wilderness and musicianship on stage, their concerts could sometimes last 5 hours! These were total performances, with costumes, theatricality, craziness and pyrotechnics. Mainly instrumental, the recording contains only a few sung parts which are mostly spoken words in German, as well as a couple of surprises scattered over the album, showing the band's sense of humor.

Compared to its studio version, the opener "Solar Music I" has additional sci-fi effects, whereas "Food Sicore" is an immediate departure for space. Its bass driven trippy introduction unveils a calmer ambiance after. "Solar Music II" alternates melancholic and mystical passages with strange sounds. The spacey first half of "Mühlheim Special" uses heroic keyboards and guitars, while its futuristic second half exploits wah-wah effects.

The unreal "Otto Pankrock" has a slight funk feel and contains stellar guitar and synthesizer solos. "Golden Mist" may be the strangest passage with its jazzy variations at keyboards and weird symphonic second part. Don't forget this is GROBSCHNITT after all. "Solar Music III" reuses the theme from the original studio version and possesses a cosmic finale. The trip is now over.

"Solar Music Live" surprisingly acquired a huge success in 1978, during the punk and disco explosion. In Germany, progressive rock was still alive in the late 70's, as also shown by their fellow countrymen ELOY with their live opus released the same year. This performance truly is a genuine journey to the sun, attending to the concert back in the days must have an unforgettable experience. The wide palette of musical styles covered in these 50 minutes should interest proggers from different horizons. The ambiances are varied, the sound quality is very good, and the music is neither demonstrative nor redundant, preventing the listener from losing interest.

Every PINK FLOYD or krautrock fan should possess this record. "Solar Music Live" is GROBSCHNITT's best, and simply one of the greatest space and progressive rock live albums ever! More than just solar music, stellar music!

Latest members reviews

5 stars I acquired Rockpommel's Land when I was first getting interested in prog, after I had listened out the Yes and ELP and Genesis albums I could get my hands on. After acquiring Ege Bamyasi and listening that out I decided the Germans were worth investigating. Through those travels I tried Grobsc ... (read more)

Report this review (#1953903) | Posted by WFV | Wednesday, August 1, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars At the beginning of the recording, when I heard okay ladies, ein... I thought: This is going to be an Grobschnitt recording which is far too focused on German humor. But actually, on the rest of the recording, their wasn't that much of it, which makes the whole recording great. Melodies, space-t ... (read more)

Report this review (#194193) | Posted by Foolsdrummer | Thursday, December 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Solar Music - Live" is quite possibly my favorite live album, and one of my favorite prog-rock album ever. This 40-minutes long jam has everything I love in space rock. Basically, this is a live version of Solar Music from studio album Ballermann, with some original parts added and (on some vers ... (read more)

Report this review (#101994) | Posted by Darkael | Thursday, December 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Simply, I can use only one sentence... The BEST progressive rock album ever... The BEST live album ever... Solar Music Live is more than just another progressive rock album, it is, for the fans in special the germans, almost a religion that survived with special versions released over the years. ... (read more)

Report this review (#83311) | Posted by Grobsch | Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I picked up on Grobschnitt in the late 1970's during my time in Germanywith the British Army. I still have the vinyl version of Solar Music Live and one of the reasons I keep a turntable at home is to play this album. Rockpommels Land was good but Solar Music just blew me away. Those guys coul ... (read more)

Report this review (#40068) | Posted by | Saturday, July 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What a trip! Grobschnitt is one of my favourites kraut rock bands and this LP is maybe the peak of Grobschnitt's discography. Raw, powerful, evocative, "Golden Mist" and "Solar Music III" are two unforgettable masterpieces. It's very hard to have an own style when you are classified as a "krau ... (read more)

Report this review (#39954) | Posted by progadicto | Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I bought this album when I was 17 or so, simply because I was intrigued by the cover art... it totally blew me away! I'm 42 now and I still haven't got bored of it ;-) It's the most wonderful rock album ever recorded... I don't think I've ever heard another album by this band (I wouldn't want to ... (read more)

Report this review (#19545) | Posted by | Thursday, February 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great album but getting more interesting and thriller from the middle to the end, the drumer is awesome, the use of two guitars is not noisy but coherent to the music and the golden mist track is a magic space keyboard/organ solo something spiritual and religious like a message from other p ... (read more)

Report this review (#19544) | Posted by | Thursday, July 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Do you hear solar music? Do you hear solar musc? is the musical question being asked here and if this Grobsschnitt live album doesn`t space you right out it`s time to call up NASA and rent a space shuttle. Taken from the second half of a show in Mulhiem, West Germany in 1978 , the album showcas ... (read more)

Report this review (#19539) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Friday, February 13, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars this is one of the best livealbums ever. in fact it contains only one track, over one hour of continuous live-jamming. wonderful. if i ever wanted to be at a concert in the seventies, this would be one of the top choices. be prepared for some far out stuff, the title solar music says it all. this ... (read more)

Report this review (#19538) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Masterpiece! Mostly instrumental, energetic and welodic rock. Many interesting guitar solos. All musicians play with jazzy feeling and rock dash. There are many titles, but in the fact there is one track. One of the best rock live albums ever! ... (read more)

Report this review (#19536) | Posted by | Wednesday, December 10, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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