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Octopus The Boat Of Thoughts album cover
3.78 | 35 ratings | 5 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The First Flight Of The Owl
2. Kill Your Murderer
3. If You Ask Me
4. The Dejelable Rise Of Glib
5. We Are Loosing Touch
6. The Boat Of Thoughts

Line-up / Musicians

- Pit Hensel / guitars
- Werner Littau / keyboards
- Jennifer Hensel / vocals
- Frank Eule / drums
- Claus D. Kniemeyer / bass

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OCTOPUS The Boat Of Thoughts ratings distribution

(35 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

OCTOPUS The Boat Of Thoughts reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Progbear
4 stars Strong debut album by this German quintet, one of the better items on the Sky label. In the continuum of female-fronted prog bands, this one does follow on in the tradition of Frumpy, Ruphus, Joy Unlimited, Earth & Fire and the like.

Lead vocalist Jennifer Hensel does have a rather gruff alto voice that won't be to all tastes, but which is definitely unique, and which suits the music well. This is high-energy prog with a bit of a hard-rock edge. Instrumentally, this relies on heavy interplay from guitarist Pit Hensel (no relation) and keyboardist Werner Littau. Littau's organ work is the primary force, he also adds lots of spacey Moog synthesizer and a few layers of Mellotron. Of course, the nine-minute title suite is the apex of the music here, but not the only game in town. "The First Flight Of The Owl", "If You Ask Me" and "We're Losing Touch" all feature superb stop-on-a-dime changes.

Incidentally, the line-up provided above is wrong. Winfried Kowallik and Sepp Niemeyer were NOT in the band yet! Pit Hensel is the guitarist on this album, Frank Eule is the drummer.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is one of those albums that I enjoy listening to from time to time. Jennifer's alto vocals remind me a little of Janis Joplin except she's a lot smoother and doesn't strain her vocals at all. This record features mellotron, moog, organ and synths, although for me the guitar steals most of the show.

The first song "The Flight Of The Owl" opens with an amazing 2 1/2 minute instrumental, very CAMEL-like.The same intro comes back to close the song. Love the guitar as bass, drums and synths fill out the sounds in the intro. This is my favourite song on the record. "Kill Your Murderer" is led by organ, drums and mellotron early before the guitar comes in and rips it up.The vocals that follow are excellent and they trade off with the guitar for a while. I like the instrumental interlude 3 minutes in and the guitar solo that goes on and on late. "If You Ask Me" sounds really good early with some nice drum work. Guitar a minute in and vocals before 2 minutes. Organ comes in later. This song isn't as good as the first two.

"The Delayable Rise Of Glib" opens with organ before the vocals come in and become the focus. It's an ok track. "We're Losing Touch" opens with a good beat as synths join in. It gets a little meaner a minute in as guitar arrives. Vocals 2 minutes in then it turns almost jazzy. Guitar and drums end it. Nice. The last track "The Boat Of Thoughts" opens with acoustic guitar with drums pounding in the background.The guitar is replaced with piano, then a nice guitar melody swings through until it is flooded out by a flood of mellotron ! Ah, yes. It changes 6 minutes in to a darker more aggressive flavour. More mellotron later. The first two songs and this title track are my top three.

I notice a few people who have trashed this record on other sites, personally I like their sound and am glad to see the positive reviews here.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An Excellent Classic Prog ALbum!

OCTOPUS is one of gems from the seventies with their far-reaching music composition and style. The sound is probably no stranger at all as the sound represents the seventies era. You can imagine the sound: quite dominant mid range, truncated treble and dry bass. Can you imagine? Hope you get what I mean. Honestly, I love this kind of sound and it influences me on my rating of the album (my big apology on this issue). Simply put, if the music quality is at par excellent between two bands of different eras, I would prefer those created in the seventies than the one created in 2000s. It's not fair actually. But that's what I call with "There is no true value of nearly everything!" so is the case with music review, especially prog. Why prog is so special? I can view it from two angles. One: from the musicians' perspective, prog music is wide and free in terms of chords selection or structure or composition to be chosen by particular band. There are bands who create compositions with nice melody and simple arrangement (eg. neo prog or symphonic prog). There are bands who create compositions with no particular or rigid structures (eg. PHISH in some songs, Gentle Giant). It boils down to "choices" made by prog musician. Two: from listener (like me) point of view, there are many differing opinions / perceptions in interpreting any segment of the music. Having this in mind, how can you expect same rating of particular album? It's hard, my friend. Let's accept different opinions in reviewing prog albums.

The above novel-long write-up brings me to my views with respect to this album by OCTOPUS. The first time I listened to this album, it "clicked" me right away and there was signal submitted by my ears to my brain saying something like: "Mr. Brain, this is the kind of music you have been longing for. Enjoy it!". Oh man .. the stream of music offered by this album is truly mind boggling. "The First Flight Of The Owl" is packed with guitar fills and inventive bass guitar work in blues-rock style, upbeat tempo. Powerful and transparent voice of Jennifer Hensel enters the music brilliantly and her voice reminds me to Babe Ruth's singer. Her voice is not basically my main attention - but the music that accompanies really blew me away! I feel like I'm living in the seventies now. (Hello! This was 76 indeed!).

On top of stunning guitar work and dynamic bass lines, the music is mellotron-drenched as well. "Kill Your Murderer" starts off dynamically with excellent combination of keyboard and guitar. The tempo suddenly changes faster with pulsating keyboards and it is slows down to give vocal' entrance. Guitar solo is stunning, augmented with keyboard / organ. Excellent organ work can also be heard on "The Delayable Rise Of Glib". "We Are Loosing Touch" is a symphonic prog rock with classic rock elements. IT's an excellent track!

This vintage band has in a way influenced MUSE directly or probably indirectly. "The Boat Of Thoughts" proves it well. At approximately minute 3:28 I can hear clearly the pulsating keyboard sound at the back which fits exactly with one of MUSE songs. They are not exactly the same but they are alike. This concluding is probably the most complex arrangements and changing tempo. It's so enjoyable listening to the combination of acoustic guitar and keyboard work.

You may want to discount my overall rating about this underrated album. But for me, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Modrigue
4 stars Before Train of Thoughts by Dream Theater appeared Boat of Thoughs by Octopus... An unknown little gem of Krautrock !

This german band offered an outstanding debut album in many points of view ! The music takes influences from ealy 70's psychdelic epic and symphonic rock pieces, in the vein of the first albums from Eloy and Amon Düül II (in a lighter and more colored way), with many evolutions inside the tracks. Furthermore, Jennifer Hensel's voice sounds a bit like a mixture of Janis Joplin and Klaus Meine of the Scorpions, and is very enchanting.

The record opens with the beautiful floating The First Flight Of The Owl; the listener is directly projected in the sky. Then the melody turns to a more melancholic, but nonetheless superb, musical theme sung by Jennifer, to become an energic rocky tune. Many changements in only 5 minutes ! Kill Your Murderer also fulfils expectations, with its psychedelic overture, its medieval-like melody and its synthetizer sounds ! The next song, If You Ask Me reminds me a lot of Eloy's later epic moments, with variaions in it. The band turns more symphonic with The Delayable Rise Of Glib, a short piece which could have escaped from Selling England by the Pound. Space rock and psychedelism come back in We're Losing Touch, whose accelerations and synthetic experiments will take you by the heart. The album ends with the longest track, the 10 minutes title song, containing many changes of rythms and musical directions.

Boat of Thoughts is one of the best little known record of space rock from Germany. Octopus should appeal Eloy, Amon Düül, Camel, Grobschnitt and Krautrock lovers ! 4,5 stars !

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Octopus were one of the last German bands to play in a really early-70's Heavy Kraut Prog style after 1975.They were formed in 1973 in Frankfurt by guitarist Pit Hensel and bassist Claus Kniemeyer.The band was completed with female singer Jennifer Hensel,keyboardist Werner Littau and drummer Frank Eule.In summer 1975 the bad was supposed to record their debut,but their producer ran out of money.Octopus decided to self-finance ''The Boat of Thoughts'',share it around as a demo,before Sky Records sign them and release it in 1977.

''The First Flight of the Owl'' opens the album in a nice way with strong guitars,complex organ and psychedelic vocals by Jennifer Hensel,much in an early ELOY vein.Same style with ''Kill Your Murderer'',complicated guitars,dated psychedelic haunting organ,good breaks and Jennifer Hensel in full form.''If You Ask Me'' flaws in slow temo,this is Heavy Psychedelic Rock of good quality with obscure moog synth passages and heavy guitar orientation.The short ''The Deleyable Rise of Glib'' is more in a GENESIS vein with BANKS-influenced work on organ and moog synths,even some acoustic guitars are thrown in,but moments of electric explosion are again present. ''We Are Loosing Touch'' shows a return to the previous style,Psych-Kraut-Prog with weird electronic effects,strong guitars,dated organ and a magnificent performance by Jennifer again.The eponymous almost 10-min. composition will close the album.It will open with acoustic guitars and harsichord,before returning to the familiar Heavy-Kraut Rock style,the middle section with the nice guitar soloing and the last notes include even some mellotron.The keyboard work is quite symphonic-oriented with organ on the front,Pit Hensel shines in some long soloing and needless to refer again the decent performance of Jennifer Hensel.

Octopus were certainly a band denying to face the truth of change around progressive music.If you like early-70's Kraut Psych/Prog with strong guitar and keyboard work,or if you are simply fans of ELOY,ANALOGY or even CURVED AIR,this album is a nice listening.Recommended.

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