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Hoelderlin Hoelderlin album cover
4.04 | 110 ratings | 9 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Schwebebahn (7:12)
2. I Love My Dog (5:38)
3. Honeypot (8:48)
4. Nürnberg (3:00)
5. Deathwatchbeetle (17:32)

Total Time: 42:10

Bonus Track on 2007 remaster:
6. Deathwatchbeetle (Live 1974) (14:44)

Line-up / Musicians

- Christian Grumbkow / acoustic & electric guitars
- Joachim Käseberg / guitar, stagesound
- Joachim Grumbkow / piano, organ, flute, Hohner String Vox, Hohner clavinet, Mellotron, vocals (4,5)
- Christoph Noppeney / viola, acoustic guitar, vocals (2,3,5)
- Peter Käseberg / bass
- Michael Bruchmann / drums, percussion

- Bernd "Zeus" Held / alto sax (2)
- Norbert Jacobson / clarinet (3)
- Conny Planck / voice & synthetizers help (5), engineer

Releases information

Artwork: Christian Grumbkow

LP Spiegelei ‎- 26 511-6 U (1975, Germany)

CD Music Is Intelligence ‎- WMMS 041 (1994, Germany)
CD EMI ‎- 0946 3 85380 2 8 (2007, Germany) Remastered by Jens Müller-Koslowski with 1 bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy HOELDERLIN Hoelderlin Music

HOELDERLIN Hoelderlin ratings distribution

(110 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HOELDERLIN Hoelderlin reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Some three years after having recorded a stunning folk prog album Holderlin's Traum, the group took three years to record and release their second album to label Pilz and Ohr going broke. Only in early 75, did the group (with a slightly rearranged name) finally got around to this excellent second album (on the collectible Spiegelei label), although fairly different-sounding and with their female singer De Ruig now gone.

The sound had definitely slid from a prog folk one to a more conventional symphonic tone, not far from Genesis (this similarity was not helped by the fact that they will sing in English from now on), but their music was not derivative. Although this album is rather a far cry from the hippy idealism of the debut, the group still has the same dedication to make excellent music, not least helped by multi-instrumentalist that allows for such instrument as flute, cello, violin to spice-up the sextet's music, with two guest on woodwinds and the ever indispensable Conny Plank at the production helm. If I say the sound is quite different, the progressive folk influences are still quite present at times. Too bad the artwork is quite amateur (done by guitarist Christian Grumbkow as will the two following album's artwork also), but his brother Joachim is also the main songwriter.

From the opening instrumental track (a head-twisting drama-filled scorcher and finishing in a duel with a symphonic orchestra) to the closing Honeypot (almost 9-min mini-epîc), side 1 of the vinyl is a very impressive show of great songwriting close to what the British masters were doing at the time, greatly helped with an excellent production job. Stuck in between is a shorter track bringing you a more muscular Genesis-type of prog with credible Gabriel-like vocals, but this is never overpowering, but not accidental either.

The second side is filled by an almost-sidelong epic, the 17-min+ Death-Watch-Beetle, but preceeded by a short sweet catchy Nurnberg. Building from a slow crescendo, the track takes its own time to come to its centrepiece, taking meanderings with piano and violin duos, but the singing is maybe at its weakest (at least at the start of this track, but the English lyrics are dispensed with very correct delivery, even if it is obvious they are not native speakers), but the tracks is a never ending tempo change, thanks to the inventive drumming of Bruchman. Almost grandiose, but not perfect: some obvious flaws appear.

Although a departure from their debut album, Hoelderlin (with its pair of brothers - Kaseberg and Grumbkow) hit right on the button with this superb confirmation of their talents. Warmly recommended.

Review by loserboy
4 stars This is truly one of the greatest German prog recordings to ever come from the basement of the legendary producer Connie Plank. HÖELDERLIN employ a wide range of moods ranging from heavy psychedelic to child-like nursery time melodies. Although this recording never really settles down on 1 theme, it does work well in it's entirety. HÖELDERLIN create deep dark Mellotron filled passages which are surrounded by guitar, bass and drum interplay. Every song is very carefully crafted and has an almost humorous component to them. Vocals and in English and are very well done with some nice harmonies. The big hitter for me here is the 20 Minutes epic "Death Watch Beetle" which has some of the most captivating progressive rock moments I have ever heard. HÖELDERLIN has a very strong underground German feel to it and stands in my mind as one of the pinnacle progressive rock recordings of all time. A real jem!!!
Review by Matti
4 stars Surprisingly I'm only the third reviewer... This is the second album by the German band that was named after the Romantic era poet. The German-language debut Hoelderlins Traum (1972) was more folky and featured female vocalist Nanny de Ruig. She left the group as she preferred focusing on her private life. During the following three years Hoelderlin - with a new line-up - kept on performing and shifted towards symphonic prog. This resulting album is an excellent, warm-hearted amalgam of various musical climates.

The instrumental opener 'schwebebahn' is named after the monorail of Wuppertal city and it nicely reflects its speed. Mellotron and viola bring KING CRIMSON in mind. The next two songs are a cross between dynamic prog and acoustic folk rock with some flute. Christoph Noppeney sounds a lot like Dave Cousins of STRAWBS and he sings as if he was telling stories (a bit like Peter Gabriel in Genesis). The piano-led ballad 'Nürnberg' is sung by more delicate Joachim Grumbkow.

The fine album is crowned by 17½-minute 'Deathwatchbeetle', a controlled yet complex prog composition full of art music elements in the arrangement. If the five tracks were just a bit more memorable, I wouldn't hesitate giving five stars. Very, very recommended!

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars At the end of 1973 Nanny de Ruig left Hoelderlin, but the band had already a major success with over 80 concerts in Germany, that continued the next year with a more 50 tour dates along the country.Hoelderlin even appeared in few occasions on TV programs and at the fall of 74' they signed a new contract with Spiegelei.Guitarist Joachim Käseberg (brother of Peter Käseberg) joins the band, which starts to work on texts by Bertolt Brecht, Erich Fried, and H.C. Artmann.The new album, entitled simply ''Hoelderlin'' and indicating a fresh start for the band, was recorded at Conny Planck's Studio in early 75' with guest appearances by Zeus B. Held on sax, Conny Planck on additional vocals and synths and Norbert Jacobsen of Release Music Orchestra fame on clarinet.It was released eventually during the spring of the same year.

This second effort shows the band shifting towards more British-styled Prog realms in a very attractive mix with hints from the Kraut Rock scene.The opening instrumental ''Schwebebahn'' shows clear KING CRIMSON influences, led by the dramatic violin exercises of Noppeney and the huge Mellotron washes of Grumbcow, delivered alongside Ethnic percussions and a quasi-improvised groove.''I love my dog'' shows touches of early GENESIS with acoustic guitars and flutes in evidence.The lyrics are now delivered exclusively in English, while the track ends in a Space/Fusion way with a great sax solo by Zeus B. Held and powerful, spacey synths and vocals.''Honeypot'' sounds like a mix of the opening tracks.Lots of acoustic guitars, improvised rhythmic passages, Classical influences on piano and violins and light Mellotron moves combine for another good composition.

The flipside opens with an almost ripoff of GENESIS tunes, the short but beautiful ''Nürnberg'', based on the PETER GABRIEL-esque vocals of Grumbcow, his lovely piano themes and the acoustic crescendo of his brother Christian.The 17-min. opus ''Deathwatchbeetle'' is not only the longest but also the best composition of the album.Split between Classic British Prog and Teutonic Prog Folk ala compatriots EDEN, it offers the listener series of beautiful moments.From the mournful violin textures to the great dual piano/organ runs, this piece follows delicate symphonic arrangements with Grumbcow singing again with a GABRIEL-esque color and the music alternating between obcure Kraut Rock groovy themes with soaring violins and synths and melodic, Classical interludes with evident GENESIS and RENAISSANCE touches, full of acoustic tunes and elegant piano, Mellotron and organ textures.The powerful closing with the grandiose orchestral mood is simply amazing.

Smart move by the Germans.They made their sound richer, incorpopating Classical, Folk and Psych inspirations in a very tight wat.After all, it is very hard to mix succesfully GENESIS delicate music with nods from Kraut Rock and the frenetic performances of KING CRIMSON.Absolutely satisfying and highly recommended.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hoelderlin is a much vaunted German prog-folk act that took their music seriously enough to take it into resolute symphonic environments. The finest talent on display here IMHO is the incredible Michael Bruchmann, a percussion stylist who could give the legendary Mike Giles a run for his money, riffling terrific rhythmic barrages at breakneck speed and Teutonic precision. Just following his work is joy enough to hunt down this album. Two sets of brothers man the team, the Käseberg lads (Peter on bass and Joachim on guitar) and the Grumpkow boys Joachim on keys and Joachim on acoustic and electric guitars. Another cool feature is the splendid viola work by lead vocalist Christoph Noppeney.

The masterful instrumental "Schwebebahn" starts out with highly infectious mellotron swaths sliced by inspired viola surges recalling vivid King Crimson influences, especially the thrilling percussion onslaught that defines the Bruford/Muir cooperative. This workout would fit very nicely on either Larks Tongues in Aspic, Starless & Bible Black and Red.

"I Love my Dog" tips the scales in a completely opposite direction, a pure, lightweight folk song about a pet canine, a heady mix of Jethro Tull (the flute), The Strawbs (the vocals) and Cat Stevens (the sound). The instrumental breaks are all very spacy and intense, creating a wonderful sense of contrast, revealing a delirious desire to go beyond the norm and progress. Zeus B. Held's fabulous sax solo illustrates this yearning with conviction, and another future famed producer in Conny Plank supervises the pristine sound.

The divine "Honeypot" keeps the mood pastoral, a pleasant vale lush with green fields of sustenance, sparkling piano, a slow building whirlwind tornado propelled by the ultra-busy rhythm section, the prominent mellotron squalls and the ebb and flow of contrasting sonic weather patterns. Guest Norbert Jacobson intervenes on a brief clarinet cameo. This is perhaps my favorite piece here, a crafty composition full of wonder and amazement.

"Nürnberg" is sweet and delicate, short and hummable, highlighted by both Grumpkows on their respective instruments. As cute as this pice is, it only serves to introduce the epic tour de force that closes out the album, the sweltering 17+ minute "Death Watch Beetle", a perfect osmosis of what Hoelderlin does best, all the ingredients falling into place, conjuring up detailed images of intense serenity and storytelling of the highest order. The viola gets a long and thorough workout, ably assisted by the seductive acoustic guitars. The delicate piano work is concert hall quality, a truly impressive performance, as both vocalist share the microphone, though it must be stated that the accent is quite light and will not detract from the music being presented. Need I repeat the sensational work by drummer Bruchmann? Okay, I will, then!

The cover is one of my all-time favorites, honestly one of the reasons that compelled me to hunt this one down in the first place.

4 Volkswagen

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars German band Hoelderlin (initially known as Hölderlin) released perhaps one of the defining Mellotron albums of the vintage prog era with their 1972 debut `Hölderlin's Traum'. A mix of acid- folk and almost raga-rock flavours with dreamy female vocals, it holds a special status all it's own. But despite the acclaim that album receives, a slightly altered version of that early band went on to release several worthy albums under the name Hoelderlin, and no more is that instantly evident than the self-titled album. `Hoelderlin' from 1975 saw the band heading in more of a symphonic and romantic prog direction with an exquisite selection of instruments, frequently driven by violin and piano. The whimsical humour of Fruupp and regal splendour of Genesis sometimes come to mind when hearing this work, and despite featuring charmingly German accented English vocals, it's the lengthy instrumental passages that hold the most magic.

There's an unnerving King Crimson-like quality to album opener `Schwebabahn'. A doomy and eerie instrumental driven by searing violin, slinking bass and manic relentless percussion, the piece reaches hair-pulling intensity once the bristling Mellotron arrives, and there's even a little touch of classical drama too. The amusingly titled "I Love My Dog" follows, and, sure enough, it's an ode to man's best friend, a sprightly and foot-tapping warm acoustic folk ballad. Only those with hearts made of stone will fail to crack a smile upon hearing this jaunty number, Christoph Noppeney's heartfelt vocal, electric piano, murmuring bass, flute giving it an instant Jethro Tull-like feel. A few moments of well-placed electric distortion and a lively saxophone in the second half bring just a strange touch of unease. `Honeypot' is a dazzling mini epic that shines with symphonic sophistication and lush pastoral atmospheres. Delicate and pretty one second with moments of sweeping darker drama the next, it's dominated by Joachim Grumbkow's piano that alternates between breezy, jazzy passages and confronting and unsettling moments, with the whole piece about to spiral out of control by the end.

Joachim takes the lead vocal for the shorter interlude `Nurnberg', a sweet and brief acoustic guitar/piano ballad that opens the second side. With a stirring melody and fragile prettiness, the band shows perfect restraint for this little wonder. Then we reach the showcase of an already perfect album, the 18 minute symphonic epic `Deathwatchbeetle'. With lengthy and frequent tasteful instrumental stretches full of dashing moods and thrilling emotions, this extended closer is storytelling fantasy prog at it's very best, whimsical and exhilarating with light and darker moments all perfectly balanced. Intimidating piano stabs, rattling military drumming, droning horns, organ pomp, spacy synth implosions, reflective Mellotron fanfare pomp, swooning violin swoons and nimble-fingered guitar runs, with Peter Kaseberg's bass almost singing in delight throughout. Symphonic prog simply doesn't come any more grand than this.

Now available as part of a series of lovely CD reissues that cover their first several albums, be on the lookout for the remastered disc of this one that adds a dirtier sounding yet no less impressive live performance of `Deathwatchbeetle' from 1974. Hugely captivating, displaying supreme taste and talented musical skill throughout, `Hoelderlin' is an essential title for symphonic prog lovers. Also, if you're a fan of the first album, don't ignore this one and their next few, or you'll be missing out on some essential Seventies prog albums!

Four and a half stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This review has been a long time coming. Having been a fan of this German band's debut for many years it's about time I talked about the self titled followup. Interesting enough this was released in 1975 some 3 years after the debut even though it was ready to go a couple of years earlier, legal issues caused the delay. The female singer from the debut has left and the band has changed from being mainly a Folk band to making an album that really splits the Folk and Symphonic sub-genres down the middle. More mellotron on this self titled album as well. Tough for me to pick one over the other to be honest. I like the cover art on both as well.

"Schwebebahn" is the opening instrumental that they would open many a concert with. Solemn piano to start with drum rolls but soon the viola is soloing over top. So good! Mellotron after a minute as the tempo picks up, guitar too! A calm before 2 minutes but it picks again with percussion and bass then it builds. The drums are active with percussion as the viola comes in over top again along with the mellotron. It ends like it began. What an opener with tons of mellotron in that Symphonic style.

"I love My Dog" is a folky piece with some guest alto sax. Acoustic guitar, flute and more to start as relaxed male vocals join in. A song about man's best friend. I love dogs! It picks up after a minute with drums, flute and acoustic guitar leading. Vocals and that folky sound are back after 2 minutes. Contrasts continue. Great sound 3 1/2 minutes in with those soaring vocals. A sax solo after 4 minutes continues to the end.

"Honeypot" is another folky tune with almost spoken vocals as he tells us the story. This is cool. Acoustic guitar and flute to start as those vocals join in. Some passion before 2 1/2 minutes with the instrumental work as the vocals step aside. The violin starts to light it up and the mellotron joins in as well. I like the intensity after 4 1/2 minutes. It calms back down around 6 1/2 minutes with violin, piano and more. Vocals are back before 8 minutes and there's humour in those words.

"Nurnberg" has a real GENESIS vibe to it even the vocals somewhat. Piano, a beat and acoustic guitar help out on this folky piece.

"Deathwatchbeetle" is the side long closer clocking in at 17 1/2 minutes. Interesting that Conny Plank helps out with the synths and vocals here. Yes it gets a little experimental during those sections Plank helps out on not surprisingly, giving us a taste of that Krautrock spirit. It's catchy with piano, drums and more before settling in as bass and synths help out. A calm with piano only then the viola joins in. Vocals before 2 1/2 minutes as it picks up again. It settles again as the tempo continues to shift. Some organ after 7 minutes and more depth of sound before 8 1/2 minutes. Great section that goes on and on. Vocals return 11 minutes in as it settles back again. Some dramatic sounds(Plank) 13 minutes in. It starts to settle down before 14 minutes then vocals return and a Symphonic sound takes over. Mellotron! How uplifting is this before 15 minutes. Oh my! Some theatrical vocal expression(Plank) and sounds late as it winds down. Suddenly at 16 minutes it kicks in again with vocals for a big finish.

I haven't hear any of their music beyond this but I highly recommend the first two albums.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Hoelderlin was a Folk-Prog band from Germany founded in 1970 by brothers Joachim (Keyboards/Vocals) and Christian (Guitar) von Grumbkow with Nanny de Ruig, to whom Christian was married. After the release of their debut "Hölderlins Traum" in 1972, Nanny left the band, and they went 3 years before re ... (read more)

Report this review (#2921672) | Posted by AJ Junior | Thursday, May 4, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the best albums I have heard in years, The music is so colourful. On one hand the band can play really mellotron heavy prog with big parts on viola with heavy drumming and bass, and on the other hand the band plays beautiful acoustic parts (guitar, piano). For a german band the vocals a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1892091) | Posted by Kingsnake | Thursday, March 8, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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