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Out Of Focus

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Out Of Focus Out Of Focus album cover
3.95 | 132 ratings | 8 reviews | 45% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. What Can a Poor Boy Do (5:52)
2. It's Your Life (4:31)
3. Whispering (13:34)
4. Blue Sunday Morning (8:20)
5. Fly Bird Fly (5:09)
6. Television Program (11:45)

Total Time: 49:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Remingius Drechsler / guitars, stylophone, tenor saxophone, flutes, voice
- Hennes Hering / organ, piano
- Moran Neumüller / soprano saxophone, vocals
- Klaus Spöri / drums
- Stephen Wishen / bass

Releases information

LP Kuckuck 2375 010 / CD Kuckuck 11010 (1991) / CD Ohrwaschl OW 01 (1992)

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OUT OF FOCUS Out Of Focus ratings distribution

(132 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(45%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

OUT OF FOCUS Out Of Focus reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
3 stars OUT OF FOCUS were a prototypical German underground 70's band whose music is rich in instrumentation and being dominated by the roaring deep analog organ sound with good doses of sax and guitar, and some flute. Many of the songs have a moderate psych/underground feel. Tracks are moderately long, with one 13+ and one 17+ minute tune. Although most of the album is instrumental, when vocals do occur they really become absorbed into the instrumentation and really don't play a significant role. Hard to exactly peg these guys down but I would offer comparisons to DEEP PURPLE, CAMEL, SOFT MACHINE and AMON DUUL. An excellent album and will be fancied by fans of 70's German Krautrock.
Review by Sean Trane
5 stars With an unchanged line-up, OOF focus progressed immensely from their psyched-out prog rock by adding a jazz dimension that will make itself present through Moran's newly developed sax playing. This added dimension will give OOF such a wider spectrum that their excellent debut album will be dwarfed by this monster follow-up. Strangely enough their jazzy impulses show in the Tull (This Was) or TYA (Ten Years After) mode, rather than a complete jazz-rock ala Mahavishnu or brassy rock ala Colosseum or Warm Dust. Charged with an awesome abstract artwork, this baby is again released with the now-legendary Kuckuck label.

The album starts energetically enough with the hard driving What Can a Poor Boy do, but where you expect a flute, Moran pulls out his new sax and blows one mean solo, having us wonder how he mastered it so easily so quickly. Indeed, even in the short stop and go section, he follows no problems and has enough guts to follow it with a last bravado before Wisheu's bass intervention change into a call and response between Drechsler's guitar first, than alternatively organ, sax and guitar before resuming the 100 mph rock driving rhythm. What a minor tour de force!! The absolutely delightful folk-laden (induced by a spellbinding guitar but also an enchanting flute) It's Your Life is an incredible joy to your eardrums, somehow reminding of Traffic's John Barleycorn. The 13-min+ slow-developing Whispering is a combination of explosion of sounds, from a propelling organ and discreet piano, a soaring & searing guitar, an very explorative bass, wild drumming and Moran's new saxophone madness. Again the jazz tonalities are really more in the TYA mode than the pure jazz-rock deal, but the whole thing is damn progressive and once again the band show their impressive talent at light improvisation and the tail end fade out is a pure bit of heaven.

Then flipside starts on the folky Blue Sunday Morning, starting on a mad drum march with a flute-and-organ unison and Moran's sinister voice being the master of ceremony. Behind all this, Drechsler's near satanic guitar arpeggios are what makes the track so spellbinding. The bass picks up late in the track and by that time the song has veered completely psychedelic and the tension is really palpable in the building crescendo leading to the surprisingly absent climax. Nevertheless, another minor tour de force. The next track is a linked up duo starting with Fly Bird Fly and a very Traffic-like flute leading to some superb Greenslade-like organ parts and sweet guitar lines slowly leading into the second part of track Television Program, which is plenty excellent as well and comes the album's apex with the depicting the boredom of the truckload of images breaking the floodgates from the cathode tube into your brains and wondering on the consequences. This last part can be reminiscent of their debut Wake Up album.

This band is a mystery on how they never made it big and they would have, had they been British or American. An absolute find, a must -hear, your musical education cannot be complete without having heard this group (I am slightly exaggerating on the last point but it is for the CAUSE), your life will definitely more complete and fulfilled if you know of them, your sexual impulses will be multiplied by a thousand if you have at least heard of them, you will live to 200 years of age if you are even aware of their existence - I've never been so serious in my life. LISTEN TO THIS, you progheads!!!!!!!!!!

Review by hdfisch
4 stars In my opinion, besides Embryo, Out Of Focus must have been the best and most original band that ever emerged from my home town. Those guys really carried this type of "Krautrock" spirit of musicians playing for their fun and not for any commercial interests. Mentioning the term "Krautrock" though belonging in some way into this particular scene (since they've been also quite drug-inspired obviously) the music they presented here exhibited some blend of psyche folk/blues-rock and jazzy hardrock jammin' not that far away from bands like Colosseum, Nucleus or Soft Machine. Slight comparisons might be drawn as well to country fellows Kraan and Embryo but this band actually had shown a quite unique and self-contained style. The jazz influence wasn't here yet as strong as it would be on their third album and comes most obvious in the great 13+ min track "Whispering". "It's Your Life", "Blue Sunday Morning" and "Fly Bird Fly" are more flute-dominated psyche folk numbers wheras the rest of the tracks reveal superb extended jammin' with awesome sax and organ play. There's not one filler on here and especially the instrumental sections are brilliant. If there are a few points to be substracted from the full score than it's due to the vocal performances by Moran Neumüller which aren't really that great but the instrumental parts are prevailing here anyway. Actually I'd rate both their second and their third album equally with 90 % on the MPV scale! (****1/2 really!)
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I prefer their debut "Wake Up !" to this their self titled follow up, but both are excellent. The Jazz flavour is starting to come into their sound on this one. It will get stronger with later albums. I think their calling card on this album is the way they jam, and check out the cover art ! Very cool.

"What Can A Poor Boy Do(But To Be A Streetfighting Man)" is uptempo with vocals. I was going to mention in my review of their debut that the singer really reminds me of Mick Jagger. That is confirmed throughout this album. A raging sax solo after a minute. An organ solo 2 1/2 minutes in as sax comes back and joins in. A bass solo after 3 minutes as it calms right down. Guitar and organ come and go as sax plays on.Then they just jam. Great tune. "It's Your Life" opens with gentle guitar and reserved vocals. Bass comes in as organ comes and goes. Flute 2 minutes in this laid back tune. Piano before 3 minutes.They just continue to play taking turns. "Whispering" opens with organ and whispered vocals. Sax plays tastefully before drums and guitar arrive a minute in as the sound builds. The sax is prominant after 2 minutes.The guitar takes the lead after 4 minutes as the sound gets louder. This trippy sound goes on and on as they jam. Love the guitar but it takes a backseat after 7 minutes. Sax takes the lead after 9 minutes. The song settles down a minute later to the end.

"Blue Sunday Morning" opens with drums, bass then flute.The flute is a real highlight on this one. Vocals,guitar and organ come in.This sounds so good even if the lyrics are a little out there.You know like Jesus rolling a joint in paradise and wanting to go back to earth because he misses drinking and smoking(which he apparently is doing in heaven anyway). The organ 4 minutes in is fantastic for a minute. Vocals after 5 minutes get passionate with more great bass and powerful organ. "Fly Bird Fly" opens with flute before a full sound, then vocals a minute in. Nice organ work 2 minutes in as bass throbs. Guitar before 3 minutes is tasteful. Cool song. "Television Program" opens with flute like the previous song. Gentle guitar, light drums and bass join in. The vocals arrive 1 1/2 minutes in.The lyrics are meaningful.The sound is building 2 1/2 minutes in. Organ a minute later. It settles down 4 minutes in as vocals are spoken. More tasteful guitar after 5 minutes with organ a minute later. A full sound with sax before 8 minutes.The tempo then picks up with guitar as they jam to the end.

This one doesn't grab me at all like their debut does. Still a 4 star record though as it is very enjoyable throughout.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars OUT OF FOCUS is my most cherished album that I always forget that I actually own. It's a complete shame as it's one of the better jazz-rock albums I have, although the jazz part of Out of Focus is not as easily spotted. There seem to be equal connections to the heavy prog, Krautrock and Cantebury styles here.

Tasteful jamming is the spine of the album; ''Whispering'' and ''Television Programme'' are pristine examples of excellent ''build a crescendo'' jamming. It works particularly well with the latter as the vocal sections get slightly more powerful until the powerful shuffle at the end makes every other moment in the song worthwhile. The album does have its great quiet, laidback moments like ''Fly Bird Fly'' (feelings of Jethro Tull here), and the monster Hammond fueled opener is hard to resist.

Vocally, OUT OF FOCUS is not that strong. ''Blue Sunday Morning'' suffers from a weak Cantebury sound. Taken as a whole, if you love bands like Nucleus and Chicago (or even Amon Duul II), give this album a test run.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Pleasant but not exceptional Krautrock album from this obscure mid-tier group. There's a little more jazz offered on here in comparison to most releases from this scene - and in particular, jazz passed through a decidedly Canterbury-flavoured filter, as can perhaps best be heard on Blue Sunday Morning. However, whilst a mingling of these two styles might be interesting, Out of Focus seems to elect to pass over their more exciting and evocative aspects in favour of concentrating on the blandest possible sides of the subgenres in question, producing an album which is a nice listen but doesn't really stand out from the crowd.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Out of Focus were helped by a good promotion during 1970/71, ''See how a white Negro flies'' was included in Polydor's compilation ''Sounds '71'' and the track ''Blue Sunday morning'' became part of Kuckuck's ''SiebenSiebzig'' compilation.Six months after the release of ''Wake up!'' the Germans visited the Bavaria Studios in München to record a second album, which strangely carried the name of the group as a title.Kuckuck was again the publisher.

While ''Wake up!'' was a typical Kraut Rock album with psychedelic leftovers from the 60's, this one sees the band exploring the more experimental side of Rock music and this is pretty obvious already from the short openers ''What can a poor boy do'' and ''It's your life'', which are dominated by a collection of sounds and sights, containing inspirations from Folk, Blues and Jazz, characterized by frenetic rhythms, nervous sax solos, psychedelic organ runs and calm acoustic textures, not to mention the jazzy piano of the second piece.These work as a nice introduction to the very long ''Whispering'', which sounds like a rougher PASSPORT, featuring extended instrumental jams with a pounding rhythm section, usually overpowered by the furious electric guitar of Drechsler and Neumueller's powerful saxes, leading into experimental, jazzy improvisations and a couple of beautiful sax solos over the hypnotic bass lines of Wiesheu.''Blue Sunday morning'' is another attempt on Kraut Folk Rock by the band with a narcotic electric guitar playing alongside the archaic flutes, before Hering's organ gives life to a dramatic Heavy/Psych Rock cut.Not really fond of THE ROLLING STONES'-like vocals.The 17-min. ''Fly bird fly-Television program'' is more or less a good definition of Kraut Rock with strong psychedelic and Folk influences.Again the vocals are rather weak, but the music is pretty interesting with some great organ runs and sax interventions, Drechsler's guitar solos are absolutely efficient and the piece alternates between smooth and punchy segments with a fantastic ending section in the vein of early ELOY, characterized by tremendous energy and featuring Drechsler, Hering and Neumueller's active battle on individual solos.

Solid Kraut Rock with jazzy influences and nods to Folk Music.Passionate, efficient material, even if it lacks some great moments.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Out of Focus' second is some kind of transitional album. Besides holding improvisational elements in its music, desirable on scene, but probably unsuccessful in obtaining publicity, the band was a little bit more then before oriented to make melodic songs. In comparison to "Wake Up", apart fro ... (read more)

Report this review (#80763) | Posted by cedo | Friday, June 9, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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