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Dzyan Dzyan album cover
3.66 | 71 ratings | 9 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Emptiness (9:39)
2. The bud awakes (2:57)
3. The wisdom (10:21)
4. Foghat's work (6:31)
5. Hymn (1:12)
6. Dragonsong (7:31)
7. Things we're looking for (1:52)
8. Back to Earth (4:11)

Total Time: 44:14

Line-up / Musicians

- Jochen Leuschner / lead vocals, congas, percussion
- Harry Krämer / acoustic & electric guitars
- Gerd-Bock Ehrmann / tenor sax
- Reinhard Karwatky / bass, double bass, arranger
- Ludwig Braum / drums, percussion

- Günter Kühlwein / organ & electric piano (2,3,7)

Releases information

Artwork: F. Eberhardt

LP Aronda - AS 10.006 (1972, Germany)

CD Rock Fever Music - RFM 003 (1999, Germany)
CD Long Hair - LHC89 (2010, Germany) Remastered by Jörg Scheuermann

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DZYAN Dzyan ratings distribution

(71 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

DZYAN Dzyan reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by oliverstoned
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The first Dzyan effort is a mainly a jazzrock album inspired by Soft machine. It appears through jazzy parts featuring good saxo, supported by wha wha keyboards à la Embryo/Rocksession. Some experimental cosmic moments, but most of the music is Canterbury-school inspired.

The excellent guitar work is the highlight, thanks to a psychedelic fluent quality which may evoke successively: american psyche genre, Phil Miller and even Fred Frith and Hendrix on "Dragonsong".

The English singing is globally average and reminiscent of Wyatt, another element showing the Soft machine influence. Some vocals parts evoke Henry cow as well.

A promising debut album offering an original blend of genuine psychedelism and canterburyan fusion. Good production resulting in a satisfying sound quality.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Named after the Indian sacred book of creation, this (at first) studio experiment recorded very quickly their first album (within two months of their creation) and it was released on the small Aronda label in April 72. Graced with an impressive artwork, the quintet's album develops an impressive sung jazz-rock that embodied almost every aspects of the genre, but there is a general Canterbury feel pervading through the album.

Dzyan's jazz-rock spectrum ranges from the full-blown early fusion ala Nucleus (the opening Emptiness) to the much rockier Dragonsong, the electronic and cello Hymn and the very vocal Bud Awakes (where the group shows an excellence sense of harmony). The first side of the albums holds two major tracks (one of which is slightly ethnic-sounding and strange: Wisdom) sandwiching a short one and is clearly my favourite. The excellent Fohat's Work (not really Gong here, although the sax.) is maybe the album's most accessible track with clear-cut solos, while Dragonsong has vocals that can resemble Wyatt's in SM's Third or Rock Bottom, but this dramatic piece can be considered like the highlight of the album as Bock's sax reminds of Malherbe and Karwalky's bass lines are driving the track at 100 MPH cruising speed. Comes a short Wyatt-esque interlude and then the album closes on the Rocking Back To Earth, indeed making come back from a great fusion trip as the artwork indicates.

By the time of their second album's recording, the group was completely different, being just a trio with only bassist Karwalki (who was the main writer anyway) left, but the sound of the group remained jazz-rock but veered much more towards experimental jazz mixed with ethnic music. Although this debut album is non-representative of Dzyan, it might just be their most accessible and a good intro to the band. Rounded up to the upper unit to reach the fourth star.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I'm thankful to have a DZYAN record, I just wish I could find the other two as well. I really like this one though, it's good to be able to hear what their sound was like. Apparently their other two records are more jazzy than this one. This was recorded in 2 months and at times it shows, but hey what album doesn't have it's faults.The biggest complaint I have are on the songs that change part way through, there isn't that flow, it's kind of awkward. My other complaint is the album cover. Yikes !

"Emptiness" opens with eerie and haunting sounds with no melody. That changes 2 1/2 minutes in when the vocals come in.This is one of those awkward moments. The song changes again 5 minutes in with percussion and sax leading the way.The guitar replaces the sax before 9 minutes. "The Bud Awakes" is a cool song with relaxing guitar, as well as organ, vocals, drums and vocal melodies. "The Wisdom" opens with sax followed by organ, vocals and percussion. The sax is back as a complete change in sound arrives 3 minutes in. I like the guitar 5 minutes in. The song changes again 6 1/2 minutes in with vocals and an organ solo. Percussion 8 1/2 minutes in as it turns spacey with spoken words to end it.

"Fohat's Work" opens with bass as a vocal melody joins in. Drums, vocals, sax and guitar all take part in this song. "Hymn" is a short song with strange sounds and a vocal melody to end it. "Dragonsong" is a groovy tune with drums, percussion and bass. Vocals come in followed by a sax solo 2 minutes in. The guitar 5 minutes in is great ! "Things We're Looking For" is a short ballad. "Back To Earth" has a spacey intro, and the bass that comes in reminds me of DEEP PURPLE as the guitar plays a good melody.

I really like tracks 2, 4, 6 and 8 the rest are ok. Good album.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dzyan debut album is German answer to Canterbury scene. Atmospheric, nostalgic psychedelic jazz-fusion , with mostly mid-tempo/down-tempo liquid sound.

Musicianship is great, sound recorded at good standard. Plenty of folk elements, many sax soloing are presented. Most recognisable Soft Machine influence is very Wyatt-like vocals. At the same time in places you can hear chamber music influences, or let say Henry Cow-like moments in album's music as well. Organ passages in some songs are very Deep Purple / Uriah Heep music reminding moments. Whole music is very relaxed, but possibly because of that too often compositions sound a bit unfocused.

In all, not essential, but really pleasant and interesting album - kind of German Canterbury release.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dzyan's first is a slightly confusing mishmash of clashing ideas. The band seems unable to make up its mind between heavy rock, 60s pop, Canterbury, avant-garde, kraut and jazz, often even within the course of just one songs. I'd say I'm quite an eclectic person and I can appreciate certain parts here but as a whole this doesn't make any sense.

There are parts that work quite well, such as the jazz-rock improvisation in the second half of "Emptiness". The first part of the track is fairly dated heavy 60s rock. Also the smooth hippie ballad "The Bud Awakes" refers back to the 60s. Nice one. "The Wisdom" returns to the jazz-rock experimentation of the first track. With the ethnic percussion and the psychedelic guitar touches, Dzyan reveal their future direction here. The odd vocals that come in half-way might be an acquired taste, allthough it's nothing that fans of Gong should be afraid of. Also the title of the 4th track ("Fohat's Work") and the weird space-jazz of "Dragonsong" show the Gong inspiration. The closing "Back To Earth" is more kraut-y, with a repetitive groove and strangely distorted guitar soloing.

Of all three albums from Dzyan, this is definitely one to approach with care, as it will surely test every inch of your comfort zone. Recommended for fans of Gong's quirkier moments.

Review by Warthur
4 stars It's categorised here under Krautrock, and I can sort of see the connection with the driving, hypnotic percussion rhythms on some of the tracks, but Dzyan's debut album draws more from contemporary trends in fusion, with the aforementioned rhythms drawing particularly heavy from jazz. It's also one of the more diverse albums from the Krautrock scene - as well as the jazzy influences, there's a bit of space rock here and there (particularly with the droning opening buzz), there's a soft, emotional ballad which takes a left turn into Gentle Giant-like harmonies in Things We're Looking For, and at points (such as on Dragonsong) the band inject a heavy dose of funk into their playing. It's not an absolute classic, but it's a very strong demonstration of the band's versatility; whatever genre they turn their hand to, they're able to create entertaining music in.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Formed during the winter of 1971,Dzyan was a short-lived yet prolific German Psych/Kraut- Rock band coming from the city of Mannheim.Initially they started as a quintet with singer Jochen Leuschner, drummer Ludwig Braum, sax player Gerd Ehrmann, guitarist Harry Kramer and its only consistent member bassist Reinhard Karwatky,who around the same time was helping Electronic band Galactic Explorers on keyboards.Their self-titled debut was released in 1972 on the obscure Swiss label Aronda.

Their sound was quite eclectic for the time,a weird mix of guitar-driven Kraut Rock with plenty of Ethnic inspirations and organ-driven Progressive Rock with jazzy leanings and a fair amount of sax explosions.All these can be heard mainly on the longer tracks,which feature nice organ breaks, jazzy saxes in the vein of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and PASSPORT, complex bass lines, improvisational passages and plenty of ethnic-vibed percussion work,not unlike EMBRYO.There is also some prominent fuzz guitar work to be heard throughout the tracks.Surprisingly for a German band,Dzyan featured an excellent vocalist singing in non- accented English with a couple of fantastic performances.A few tracks show the softer side of the band with strong lyrical moments and an obvious psychedelic edge.

This was a nice entry back then,the album still sounds somewhat fresh even today and gives a good picture of the real Kraut-Rock sound of the 70's with a nice balance between different styles but always with a tendency for jamming and experimentation.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars The German band DZYAN is perhaps more famous for its moniker and how it stands out on Krautrock lists as one of German's first wave Krautrock bands that formed in Mannheim in 1971 by bassist Reinhard Karwatky, saxist Gerd Bock-Ehrmann, guitarist Harry Krämer, drummer Ludwig Braum and lead vocalist and percussionist Jochen Leuschner. The moniker refers to the Book of DZYAN, an ancient Tibetan text that formed the basis for The Secret Doctime which became one of the foundational works of the theosophical teachings of Helena Blavatsky.

DZYAN released three albums in the early 70s beginning with this self-titled debut which appeared in 1972 which featured a completely different lineup than the following two which gives it a unique sound unlike what came after. Karwatky was an academic musician who mastered a large number of instruments and found himself obsessed with the world of esoterica and metaphysics as well as a love of musical styles from around the globe. DZYAN has been referred to as an ethno-Krautrock band in the vein of others such as Agitation Free and Embryo.

Not only unique in the DZYAN canon but also in the world of Krautrock in general, this debut stands out for enlisting many genres of music and throwing them into the melting pot. The psychedelic influences from the 60s and the contemporary Kraut scene are rather blatant but so too are the jazz-rock fusion that other Kraut pioneers such as Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Eiliff and Brainstorm were cooking up. The mood dark and claustrophobic and perfectly set with an eerie electronic opening that ushers in the wonderful of synthesizers and keyboards to create otherworldly mood enhancers for the entire album's run.

After the lengthy industrial sounding intro that would surely must've influenced artists like Throbbing Gristle and Coil, the music joins in which turns out to be a knotty even angular form of progressive rock in the vein of Gentle Giant fortified with wah-wah guitar effects and complex contrapuntal weavings of saxophone, keys, guitars and bass. The shapeshifting "Emptiness" slinks around for nearly 10 minutes with mondo bizarro soundscapes shifting between instrumental angularities to moments that implement wild reach for the stars falsetto vocals. After a few more chameleon tricks the track jams on for awhile in unadulterated jazz-fusion form with a beefy bass groove bopping away, skronky sax squawks like there's no tomorrow and mass quantities of guitar soloing all accompanied by crazed conga percussion!

"The Bud Awakens" takes you somewhere completely new. This time it's a classical guitar intro followed by a melodic folky rock style in the vein of Traffic or mellowed out King Crimson. Jochen Leuschner has a pleasant voice that would've been perfect for all those AOR bands of the 1980s because he can cover a wide range and tends to soar high in the register. It's probably the closest thing that could be released as a single on this album. Next comes "The Wisdom" which gets all hippie dippy with a trippy opening before calling in the church organs and excellent vocal harmonies. Since nothing lasts long on this album it then dramatically shifts to an explosive conga attack with more jazzed out improvisation with plenty of psychedelic sound effects and then shifts many times more. Exceeding the ten minute mark, the lengthiest track on board.

"Foghat's Work" reminds me a lot of what the French zeuhl band Archaïa would eventually sound like with tripped out vocals that raise up and down the scale, well at least the beginning. The rest of the track jumps into vocal driven jazz-rock. "Hymn" starts out with freaky sound effects and then some sort of chamber rock classical track but ends quickly after some haunting vocals. "Dragonsong" shifts gears and gets all jazzy and funky again. The bass cranks out a beefy bantering groove while the guitar struts its funky ass. The vocals offer a bizarre counterpoint and the guitar shows off towards the end. Excellent guitar work for 1972.

"Things We're Looking For" provides another short proggy ballad with Canterbury Scene-ish keyboards. The closing "Back To Earth" starts with trippy electronic sounds but jumps into a fuzzy guitar wah-wah in funk mode while a psychedelic guitar solo oozes around the groove. The track stays focused unlike much of the album but in the end that's what i really love about DZYAN's wild and crazy debut. Despite the eclectic diverse run on this one, somehow things sorta flow naturally. The band manages to capture a groove, escape from its gravitational pull in wild freakery, throw in a few soft ballad moments and capture both bleak and dark moods as well as somewhat inspirational in a spiritual sorta way. Unfortunately this version of DZYAN as a quintet would soon disintegrate and the band never had a chance to play any of these tracks live. DZYAN would be reduced to a trio with only Karwatly remaining and become the ethno-Kraut band that they are more known for. For my personal tastes i find this one scratches my itch perfectly.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Well, it's only taken me forever to find this CD, but man was it worth the wait! This is the beginning of the three real gems in the spacey/fusion/rock format. This is their first album, and not quite as Mahvishnu meets Zaapa meets Space Music as the next two are, but this is really good. Base ... (read more)

Report this review (#60266) | Posted by tmay102436 | Tuesday, December 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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