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Amon Düül II


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Amon Düül II Carnival in Babylon album cover
3.54 | 206 ratings | 15 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. C.I.D. in Uruk (5:30)
2. All the Years 'Round (7:20)
3. Shimmering Sand (6:33)
4. Kronwinkl 12 (3:52)
5. Tables Are Turned (3:34)
6. Hawknose Harlequin (9:48)

Total Time 36:37

Bonus tracks on 2000 remaster:
7. Light (3:50)
8. Between the Eyes (2:28)
9. All the Years Round (4:11)
10. Castaneda Da Dream (7:46)

Bonus tracks on 2002 remaster:
7. Light (3:47)
8. Lemmingmania (2:57)
9. Between the Eyes (2:24)
10. All the Years 'Round (single version) (4:10)

Bonus tracks on 2007 reissue and 2009 remaster:
7. Skylight (9:50)
8. Tatzelwurmloch (17:45)

Line-up / Musicians

- Renate Knaup / vocals
- John Weinzierl / acoustic (12-string) & electric guitars, vocals
- Chris Karrer / acoustic & electric guitars, violin, soprano sax, vocals
- Karl-Heinz Hausmann / Farfisa organ, keyboards, electronics
- Lothar Meid / bass, vocals
- Danny Fichelscher / drums, congas
- Peter Leopold / drums, tambourine

- Joy Alaska / backing vocals
- Olaf Kübler / soprano sax, co-producer
- Falk Rogner / organ

Releases information

Artwork: Falk Rogner

LP United Artists - UAG 29327 (1972, UK)
LP United Artists - UAS 29 327 (1972, France)
LP United Artists - UAS-5586 (1972, US)

CD Mantra Records - MANTRA 063 (1991, France)
CD Captain Trip Records - CTCD-033 (1996, Japan)
CD Gammarock Records - GRR 83 802 (2000, Germany) Remastered with 4 bonus tracks
CD Repertoire Records - REP 4986 (2002, Germany) Restored & remastered by Eroc w/ 4 bonus tracks
CD Revisited Records - REV 078 (2007, Germany) With 2 bonus tracks
CD Belle Antique BELLE 091492 (2009, Japan) Remastered by Tohru Ohta with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy AMON DÜÜL II Carnival in Babylon Music

AMON DÜÜL II Carnival in Babylon ratings distribution

(206 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

AMON DÜÜL II Carnival in Babylon reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 3.5 stars really, but I rounded it upwards to four!!!

As ADII continued their usual chaotic way with constantly shifting line-ups (including the returning of a few older members), the group's sound naturally kept on changing. CIB is indeed the logical continuation of TDL, but in all logic, CIB belongs to ADII's second era/trilogy, while TDL can be linked to the group's first period/trilogy. Indeed the musical emphasis is now shifted on much tighter songs (all things relative, this remainig ADII) which are noticeably shorter and only two of them above the 7-mins mark. Graced with a carnival paper exotic bird over a setting sunset, the inside gatefold sporting a group shot in somekind of botanical gardens, but clearly inclined to represent some tropical forest under the Equator or other (as the title indicates). The for-now septet (quintet on the pictures and at release time with a UK tour on hand) also included guest Rogner (who signs all the lyrics, too) and saxman Kübler; the group recording the album in late 71 (intended originally as a double album) in their Munich hometown.

As hinted by the title and artwork, this album delivers at times an exotic feel through some ethnic folk tracks: All The Year Rounds & Tables Are Turned are both Knaup-sung and making me think of the Yeti folk tracks lost on that album. Some other tracks, like In Uruk are still hovering the psychedelic 60's and some superb descending lines over a quite-intriguing guitar solo ending the track. The longer-but-trimmed Hawknose Harlequin and the bass-driven and organ-underlined Shimmering Sands are two of the albums most memorable tracks, while Kronwikl is the album's better known track and also sporting a good bass line.

Although I've only ever seen or heard the Mantra label release of this album (and to be honest I've checked the Captain Trips version), I'm sure there are more recent releases offering some bonus tracks, most probably an extention of Harlequin, trimmed from 40 to 10 minutes to fit in the single lp or more of the same. If this album doesn't seem to click in directly, you might want to try the previous Lemminos and the next Wolf City and you'll find the Carnival does sit quite well between thes two albums

Review by corbet
4 stars This is a terribly underrated album. The problem with a band like Amon Duul II is that their sound and approach changed very radically as their career progressed, which means that you will have fans from all sides of the fence each harshly criticizing what they think to be the "bad albums" -- that are actually awesome -- which simply happened to have departed from their particular range of taste. This album (the band's fourth) is a completely different affair than the three that preceded it, in that it begins to focus more on songwriting, vocal work, and a degree of cohesion; as opposed to turning all the amplifiers up to 11 and freaking out for entire album sides (which is equally delightful, of course). So, naturally, all the stoned "early ADII fans" hear Carnival for the first time, and come away saying ridiculous things like, "It's a pop album! There's no improvisation! They've lost it!" This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, it's on THIS album that ADII's lead guitarist (John Weinzierl?) really comes into his own, and proceeds to rip it up gloriously all over each and every track! The ten minute epic "Hawknose Harlequin" is one of my absolute favorite ADII songs, with a lengthy instrumental outro section that contains some of the most delectable guitar jamming I've ever heard. What's more, the "raw" sound quality of their previous releases has been replaced by a pristine, gorgeous sonic atmosphere replete with vocal harmonies (Vocal harmonies? ADII?!?), shimmering keyboards, washed-out sound effects, and tone-perfect guitar breaks (at times reminiscent of Hendrix's prettier moments). Needless to say, I adore this album (and it's follow-up "Wolf City") equally as much as I do the drugged-out insanity best represented on the first three releases, and at various points in time, Carnival in Babylon has actually been my *favorite* ADII album. So, when you've "freaked out" enough for one day listening to their earlier stuff, check this one out and prepare for one of the most perfectly chilled-out musical gems to ever come out of Germany.
Review by loserboy
4 stars There is something truly memorizing in the earlier works of AMON DUUL II who managed to release some fantastic early 70's albums. Literally wedged somewhere between the darker psychedelic 60's and the progressive underground German 70's AMON DUUL II emerged as the genre pioneers. "Carnival In Babylon" is a very trippy and evocative album full of allusions to PINK FLOYD and HAWKWIND and a ton of originality. I flip this album personally interchangeably with "Wolf City" and really find this to be the musical companion. As you would expect this album is full of creativity and progressive originality and if you listen real carefully you will hear things you have not ever before. I always said that AMON DUUL II is a band you have to acquire a taste for. I guess I have ... A FANTASTIC ALBUM.
Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Huummm...this album smells flowers, peace and drugs influences. The folk side of the band is very suitable in these stoned epic / short rock suites. The long improvised, psychedelic instrumentals are properly neglected in favour of rather peaceful ballads sung by the lovely lady vocalist Renate Knaupp. Dominated by delicious musical parts of the two guitarists and gentle vocal melodies, this album deserves a good mark in Amon Duul II career, showing to the public an other side of their music, less experimental and complex but a nice and efficient psych/ folk rock music.
Review by Progbear
4 stars Quite possibly the most underrated Amon Düül 2 album. By this point the band were in a near constant state of flux-Renate Knaup was back full-time, but organist/electronics technician Falk Rogner was more or less on sabbatical, replaced on most of this by Karl-Heinz Hausmann.

For whatever reason, this sounds rather more like a typical prog-rock album than anything that came before it. Remember "Syntelman's March of the Roaring 70's"? Imagine a whole album like that, and you'll begin to get an idea what this one is like. Certainly a stronger emphasis on folkish guitarwork and vocal melodies than previous albums. Originally, this too was slated to be a double, with the obviously edited "Hawknose Harlequin" apparently trimmed down from its original length: 35 minutes!

None of this album is bad, despite what some folks might have told you about it. "All The Years Round" is one of Renate's most lovely showpieces. "Kronwinkl 12" offers an off-kilter 9/4 rhythm. Both feature some superb guitarwork, as do "C.I.D. In Uruk" and the haunting "Shimmering Sand".

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Wow.. not many reviews for this.. especially from the collab end. So lets toss some love on a generally .. yep... underrated album.

Carnival in Babylon signified a marked shift in ADII's sound and a real departure in comparison the wild sonic explorations of inner and outer space that marked the Phallus Dei, Yeti, Tanz der Lemminge trilogy. Where as those albums were heavily psychedelic, rife with gloomy gothic atmospherics. This album continued what Tanz hinted at ..which was a more streamlined sound with more concise song structures. Gone were the double (Lp) albums filled out with jams and improvisations. This a bite sized slice of ADII. A bridge between what had been with the trilogy.. and what was to come.. what I consider their masterpiece with Wolf City. I got their albums.. all of them.. in one mass search and destroy mission and to be honest.. this album didn't grab me out of the gate like some others did. However over the last couple of weeks I have been reaching for this album more and more.... have come to find in particular that one of the songs is really working it's way up my list of favorites from the group. The album is a bit of a grower. If you check it out and seem a bit underwhelmed, especially if you are a fan of other more 'acclaimed' albums, stick with it and it might just grow on you as well. It is a bridge between Tanz Der Lemminge and Wolf City and their vastly different styles....and that makes it a very very interesting album. It also helps that it is a damn good one as well.

The album kicks off with C.I.D. In Uruk which to be honest.. over the last couple of weeks has really really grabbed me hard. Something that didn't happen on first listens for some reason. All kinds of musical elements packed into five and half minutes. The mesmerizing vibraphone intro... the hypnotic backing vocals. Love the cascading melody of the backing vocals with Leopold's drumming. Great bass fills by Lothar. Great harmony section with Renate's incredible voice dominating as it should. The great CRIME of all prog had to be the under-use of her throughout large stretches of ADII's early career. The use of the organ in a slight psychedelic section after the harmonized vocals was completely unexpected and just took the song to a new place. A couple of tasteful guitar solos by Weinzierl. I suspect that in time this song may just overtake Archangel's Thunderbird as my favorite ADII track. A hell of a lot of great stuff packed into a concise song. Great stuff.

As if the first track wasn't enough to sprout a good ol' musical woody.. we have the second track. All The Years 'Round were they give Renate some space to show off her powerful, expressive voice. The song shifts from pastoral to driving and aggressive several times. Great guitar solo in the 4th section there which takes on through to the end of the song. Great stuff. Shimmering Sand is up next which some great guitar licks by Weinzierl who really shined on this album. Not much to the song itself but some nice guitar playing. Though I did like the tempo shift half way through. The song has a vaguely ethnic feel to it. Not bad by any stretch by not really all that memorable. Next up is probably the best known track on the album Kronwinkl 12. More great guitar licks from Weinzierl on this. Love the background vocal harmonies on this one. A rather straightforward song that would have been at home on Wolf City. There are little remains of the the trilogy here. Much more refined and focused.. yet still powerful and fiery. Tables Are Turned comes up next with a nice acoustic guitar intro, here you here Karrer's violin adding nice sonic touches with congo drums helping to fill out the sound and the vocals on this are wonderful with lots of harmonies and a great display for Renate to show her range. A short but sweet diversion from the typical electric guitar heavy sound of ADII. To close the album we have the nearly 10 minute Hawknose Harlequin which if Kronwinkl 12 could have fit on Wolf City.. this one could have fit on Yeti. An eerie ominous extended exploration into the depths of space.. inner or outer? take your choice.. just enjoy the ride. GREAT guitar work on this and Karrer's violin work will raise the hair on your neck. Pure gold.

As far as ranking the album. Going for 3 stars for the site... not the first album you should get Amon Duul II for that I suggest the already reviewed Yeti or the soon to be reviewed Wolf City. However this still might work well as a good introduction to the group.. being as I said. a bit of a bridge between styles and phases of the group. For me personally... this album has really begun to click for me..but still would rank it as a 3 star. The first and last tracks though are IMO as good as anything they did. Good album.. not the best.. but a quick glance of this groups album ratings should show.. they really didn't do a bad one through Vive La Trance. Recomended.

Michael (aka micky)

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This album must have been a shock to AMON DUUL II fans back when it was released in 1972. Gone were the side long experimental tracks, having been replaced by more conventional song structures. Yet this is still very much what i'd call hippie music. It's trippy, folky and often 60's sounding. I really like the sound of this record. I even like the vocals as they suit the music perfectly. Speaking of vocals, Renate takes a much greater role vocally on this one.

"C.I.D. In Urik" opens with what sounds like vibraphone and violin. It becomes sixties sounding once the vocal melodies arrive. Male vocals before a minute that take turns with the vocal melodies throughout. A laid back guitar solo comes in around 2 1/2 minutes. Female vocals 3 minutes in followed by male vocals. I like the more aggressive guitar solo 4 1/2 minutes in. There is some good bass in this song that comes and goes. Excellent track. "All The Years 'Round" features Renate on vocals.This track is mellow and laid back reminding me of PINK FLOYD. It picks up before 2 minutes but calms right back down a minute later. This contrast continues. Cool song. Some dark sounding guitar 5 minutes in becomes louder as it continues to the end of the song. "Shimmering Sand" opens with gentle guitar and bass. The guitar becomes more prominant, then the male vocals arrive. Female vocals follow. Organ joins in as well. Spoken vocals after 3 minutes and sax. The guitar is outstanding in this one. The organ is also great as the tempo picks up 5 1/2 minutes in.

"Kronwinkl 12" has almost a reggae flavour to it. The guitar is raw sounding. Nice. Vocals join in. Ripping guitar solo after 3 minutes. "Tables Are Turned" has a 60's flavour like the first track as Renate sings. Lots of percussion in this one. "Hawknose Harlequin" is my favourite. I mean this is Krautrock ! Trippy with male vocals that bring CAN to mind. We get this intense atmosphere 3 1/2 minutes in that becomes haunting. The guitar rises out of this climate a minute later and takes over. Such beautiful guitar melodies. The song pretty much stops and starts again 7 minutes in with more prominant guitar and bass to the end of the song. Great tune. My version has 2 bonus tracks. "Skylight" and "Tatzelwurmloch" the first one in my opinion is better than the songs on this album. I think that's the first time i've said that about a bonus track, but it's true in this case. The first bonus song is almost 10 minutes and the second one almost 18 minutes. Both are instrumentals and the first one has some absolutely amazing drumming on it. Love this track.

So this is a solid 4 star record for me, despite their change in direction I think it all works.

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars Right! Here we go. This is my first ever review on the archive. I always admired Krautrock bands singing Deutschen sprechen. It sounds so much more authentic. This album however is really hit and miss. Germans singing in English are like nails down a chalkboard to my brain. The first track 'CID in Uruk' is by far and away the best track. There's some really odd Renate Knaup (I assume it's her) choral vocals on this. Brilliant and unusual first track. This is a great little tune. It's a pity the others don't match up. On the other tracks her voice is as flat as a pancake. I love their first three albums but this takes a bit of getting used to. Listenable certainly - but Amon Düül were going through big changes here. And as for Chris Karrer's vocals - they're as wobbly as a big lime table jelly. Not too impressive at all. I would suggest you start with their earlier albums. The problem with pro- 1973 Amon Duul is that they tried too hard. Everything sounds pre-planned and scored . That's not what they were all about. It's not a bad album. It's quite nice actually. But it shouldn't be nice if they'd done it properly. It's all a bit pedestrian to me.
Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The preceding TDL had already hinted at diminishing mushroom abuse in the Amon Düül studios. On CIB they have almost entirely given up on all things psychedelic and tried to create a flower power folk album. But apparently they were still doped enough to hit and miss some of the notes they intended to sing.

I wouldn't have minded the style change had they done the effort to show some more enthusiasm for the material. Also Renate's vocals disappoint me here. Too hippie for me probably. The folk-songwriting and the performance is rather sloppy, but it's not an entire disaster. A few songs manage to get some groove going. Kronwinkl 12, Hawknose Harlequin and the bonus Between The Eyes are more psychedelic then the folk around them and are reasonably cool, if somehow ill-fitting on the record. But they don't meet the standards of the previous Amon Düül II albums.

When it comes to the true folk songs, CID and the bonus track Light are the best. Not in the least because Renate doesn't sing on them, but also because they manage to merge the woolly folk songwriting with Amon Düül II's usual psychedelic style. Still, this must have sounded very aged in 1972 already.

Regardless whether you consider it as a folk or a kraut album, it's far below what I've heard in both fields. For determined fans only.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have to say I prefer the following "Wolf City" over "Carnival in Babylon".

Well, the latter is not a bad album (although a bit uneven) and has plenty to offer as, for example, the memorable opener "C.I.D. in Uruk" and the wonderful highlight "All the Years Round" with its dynamic shift and more accessible female vocal parts (with even delicate passages) by singer Renate Knaup.

The general mood of the record is almost like the band was sunken in the mist and is not as dramatic as the band's earlier records. Nevertheless, it is dark and creepy enough to satisfy any lover of Van der Graaf Generator.

Review by Modrigue
3 stars Last early Amon Düül II album to acquire

After the psychedelic experimentations of the first three opuses, "Carnival In Babylon" marks a small rupture in the krautrockers' career. Less complex and adventurous than before, the compositions are now shorter and more accessible, but remains pleasant and quite original for the average musical listener. However a question comes to mind: Spirit of AMON DÜÜL II, are you (still) here?

Since the first note, you can perceive the change. Is this a GONG track? "C.I.D. In Uruk" is a pleasant folk song, with a slight mystical feel, however a bit repetitive. Then comes the soft rock "All The Years Round", more nervous and featuring Renate Knaup's particular singing. The heavy finale is very nice. On the contrary, "Shimmering Sand" tries to reuse the collage recipe from "Tanz der Lemminge", but lacks musical direction and is rather forgettable. The last minutes are pleasant though.

The pop rock piece "Kronwinkl 12" is not very interesting either. The weakest passage of the disc. Here you can have a preview of what AMON DÜÜL II will become in the mid-seventies... Nonetheless, the original spirit of the band can be heard in "Tables Are Turned", a cool psychedelic jam with a little middle-eastern and Indian atmosphere. The ender "Hawknose Harlekin" is also an improvisation, more space rock-oriented, featuring strange keyboards and floating guitars.

"Carnival In Babylon" is undoubtedly the weakest album of the debut period of AMON DÜÜL II, from 1969 to 1973 (the best one). Although uneven, containing a few wobbly songs and far less adventurous music than the first three opuses, the overall result remains enjoyable and quite unconventional. The attaching personality of the musicians is still present... for now. In conclusion, this record is not essential, but nonetheless pleasant, possesses its own charm and should not be skipped in the Germans' discography.

After then listen, we may wonder if the accessible music formula is adapted to this unique band or if they have just lost a piece of their creativity? Don't leave now, these questions will be answered the same year, in the next album...

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars And every Krautrock freak, sorta dramatic Krautrock has got started via AMON DÜÜL II's dreamy, trippy soundscape.

This beautiful / flowery creation "Carnival In Babylon" released in 1972 cannot make the audience feel solid and inorganic like one of their early masterpieces "Yeti" but impressive gorgeous melody / percussion gems can be heard here there and everywhere. Not so complicated nor freakout is their melody line itself but filled with effective percussive psychedelia and dramatic / systemic key changes amongst paragraphs ... this should be drive us crazy into trance.

Soft and smooth combination of female voices and elegant melody lines cannot be heard even via late 60s psychedelic pop. This atmosphere would be considered not appropriate nor acceptable as an authentic Krautrock. However, their German psychedelic initiative should not there but plenty of hidden, subtle psychedelic flavour and taste ... that might be a kind of strategy for kicking the audience into a psychedelic trip without (or a tad with) hallucinogenic agents.

Strongly reminded me of a similar stream like "Hosianna Mantra" released in the same year by POPOL VUH, and strictly notified me eccentric trippy phrase drivin' be not all for Krautrock. Pop, catchy melody lines based upon well-matured, well-calculated subliminal material flooded with ethnicity, tribalism, and colourful percussive sound effects. Such an incredible mixture of sound could be created as one fantastic period in the progressive rock scene, let me say.

Review by friso
3 stars Amon Duul II is a band I love because I just can't get my head around their songwriting and way of thinking. "Carnival in Babylon" is said to be a more straight-forward song-based album, but it's still very vague when it comes to sound and format of the songs. On this album the band seems to have taken an interest in the English folk-rock of the late sixties. Songs like' All Years 'Round', 'Tables are Turned' and in a lesser way opening track 'C.I.D in Uruk' all sound like a heavily drugged up version of Fairport Convention. I love that band and I'm loving this. The short song 'Kronwinkl' is a nice little progressive rock cut, albeit a bit directionless. Which - by the way - applies to all songs on this album. Ending track 'Hawknose Harlequin' is a spacey jam band track that sound like early Pink Floyd. The last track to mention is 'Shimmering Sand' which sounds like a moody psychedelic track, but fails to impress due to poor performances of every-one involved. Listening to the album I wonder if the obscuring sound of the production enhances the music, or if perhaps a remix & remaster could result in a miraculous re-emergence of its hidden beauty. Follow-up album (and one my all-time favorites) 'Wolf City' would show some similarities in sound. Carnival in Babylon is however way more stretched-out, laid-back and folky, missing out on the fierce moments that would define their finest moments. Still, I find myself listening a lot to this album. It incites the drive to 'get it', whereas that just might be impossible. The pristine folk influences combined with the totally drug-out performances & sound are beautifully beyond comprehension. Three and a halve stars for that I guess. And I must say, I love the artwork and the inner sleeve photo of the band in a purple garden.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Carnival in babylon is just brilliant i think as every song is definatly worth having on the cd i got its got bonus tracks on and there light[a good heavy acoustic track] and lemminmania[brilliant] between the eyes [which i think is pointles [putting this on the cd a ... (read more)

Report this review (#204379) | Posted by davidsporle | Thursday, February 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Munich Hippies Come Of Age For everyone who missed the sixties who still want to grow up to be a hippie, Amon Duul II's Carnival In Babylon in all it's psychedelic surreal exaltations, was Amon Duul II's last true dose of tripping hippie vibes. A faction of a Munich hippie commune that origin ... (read more)

Report this review (#191607) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Wednesday, December 3, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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