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Xhol Caravan / Xhol


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Xhol Caravan / Xhol Electrip  album cover
3.44 | 50 ratings | 8 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Electric Fun Fair (6:25)
2. Pop Games (6:56)
3. All Green (7:38)
4. Raise Up High (17:45)
5. Walla Masallah (1:38)

Bonus Tracks:
6. Planet Earth (2:46)
7. So Down (3:29)

Total Time: 46:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Skip van Wyck / drums
- Tim Belbe / saxophone
- Hansi Fischer / saxophone, flute
- Klaus Briest / bass
- Ícki / keyboards

Releases information

LP Hansa 80.098-IU / CD Germanophon 941066 (1995) / CD Garden of Delights GoD 045 (2000)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL Electrip ratings distribution

(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL Electrip reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars Xhol Caravan's 'Electrip' album is a prime example of where music was heading in the late 60's. This particular album opens up with the flush of a toilet (!), and then quickly blasts into some psychey jazz-rock. I own the lovely vinyl re-issue with the first five tracks only, and they jam really hard. The dominating sounds are sax and organ and, the spirit in which the music is delivered, sounds like a cross between early Hawkwind (relentless jamming) and the psychedelic jazz-rock of early Soft Machine. Fans of these styles, and not to forget 'Krautrock', should be impressed with one fine album.
Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Crazy, not very serious, jazzy, psychedelic, mildly original. These are all attributes that come to mind when listening to Xhol Caravan's Electrip. And quite a trip it is. A trip to the minds of the musicians in this German band. Minds that have good ideas, but fail to fulfill them.

The sax and keyboards play in a free jazz like way and sometimes ascend into madness with some weird, insane bits. The drums with their messy, dirty sound, complete the 60's psychedelic sound of this album. This album mixes between the psychedelic traits of several late 60's bands with the jazz-rock qualities of other bands. The result is an interesting sounding album, which has sometimes difficulties in deciding which way to go. They switch from a more traditional 60's psychedelic sound on Electric Fun Fair to a freer jazz tune on Pop games. And even in the same track itself you'll hear this same switch. Most of the stuff is instrumental, except some annoying singing in the long track Raise up high.

While entertaining, this album does not amount to much, and it is a shame. A shame because this band clearly has potential, and they have developed an interesting concept here that combines different two elements, but it works only in the two first tracks and then I lost interest. They do know to play well and create exciting music (like in those two first tracks) and this is what makes me value this album despite its flaws. Overall, a nice album to listen to, reminisce, and enjoy its originality where it is expressed, but not much more than that. 3 stars.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!!

This album is considered the turning point where Soul Caravan will become eventually Xhol, losing the second part to avoid confusion with the Canterbury band. With s superb psychedelic artwork and a title to match it, the album is clearly proof that Soul Caravan was indeed growing into Xhol as part of the members lived in a commune. The term Krautrock was probably first used while talking of this band, and this album might just be the first album presented as such.

Starting on a toilet flush, the opening side is made of extended tracks where the organs and saxes are exchanging/alternating solos on a series of tracks that don't seem tomatter if theyb really exist on their own rather than as a whole. Electric Fun Fair is an extended soloing round circling on a circus-music theme. Slightly superior is Pop Games where Belbe and Fischer's saxes trade licks before drummer Skip (not Spence) and conga-er Rhodes interrupt for some 90 seconds, before the track returns to the original feel. All Green is definitely funkier and jazzier and laid back.

The flipside is more about the unavoidable 17-min Raise Up High's presence (and its rocket start, followed by a raunchy guitar/vocal passage that last pretty well the whole tracks save the atonal improvs that are scattered throughout. The whole thing is a bit sketchy, indulgent, dodgy, repetitive and not always interesting either but on average, it doesn't stand up to the first side, finishing on a harpsichord tinkling. The last Mashalla is a botched-up idea best forgotten

The GOD label reissue joins as bonus both tracks of their preceding single with both sides actually clash with the rest of the album, but has the merit to show further proof of Xhol's passage from soul to psychedelic, but both tracks being still closer to experimental soul (BS&T in Planet Earth and early Colosseum on So Down) than psych. Indeed Electrip is really a product of its time and probably one of the more significant albums of the Krautrock genre. Essential certainly, classic also, but flawless certainly not!!

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Not Xohld on this one...

So I'm idly flicking through my reviews wondering if I've missed any letter of the alphabet, and X stands out - and, luckily for me, I've just acquired a copy of Electrip by Xohl Caravan, the better to increase my knowledge of early Kraut bands.

This isn't the usual stoke up a number, pass the funny pipe and see what drops out stuff - there's a definite method in the madness, and that, sadly, kills a lot of it for me - it's not what I expect from this type of music, and it reduces it to sounding like a bunch of musicians who should know and do much better.

To start with, we have Electric Fun Fair. This begins with a predictable waltz in the style one might associate with a carousel... actually, it appears to randomly start with someone flushing the toilet. I'm afraid I'm not really sold on the humour here, however... the musicians have got the textures right, but the lack of intricacies in the music tell it like it is - and the switch to a 5/4 jazz-rock style improv complete the picture, and it's not really one of a funfair - that's just lip service in the title. Oh, and the 5/4 swing in the jazz improv does make it sound like a variation of Brubeck's famous number, in case you were wondering.

Just when things are getting all too predictable, the music is broken down in a very interesting way - but this sadly gives way to perhaps the cheesiest thing I've ever heard from this musical scene. I know children are often told that the moon is made of cheese - but frankly, cosmic cheese is not for my crackers.

A more rocking groove takes over, and the organ goes off on a raga tip - and the whole descends into a noisy section that is much more like it, but soon returns to the jaunty fairground sound of earlier to bring the piece to a close.

You can tell that the band have thought about it and planned it out in some detail - and to my ears, that's entirely what's wrong with it. I like Kosmische music that really goes off on one, gets deep into the soul of the groove, follows it, tears it apart, layers it up and above all, FEELS where the music is going, rather than attempts to shove it into some pre-ordained and completely de-fleshed skeleton. Maybe that's just me.

Pop Games features a pleasant but slightly irritating ditty on the sax - which fortunately gives way to a pleasant improvisation over a single chord. I say fortunately... however, this drones on somewhat with little direction for a couple of minutes before some tension is built and we change to a pre-composed riff, which is striking in its potential for soundtrack music.

Then, around 2:55, it finally starts to get interesting - a drum solo, or rather, a percussion solo takes over, with small tuned instrument bursts giving a nice avant-garde feel, reminding me of Moonchild in places. This builds into another improvisation riff with a Doors go jazz flavour. The bass and drums get a kind of Ozric Tentacles thing going on, while vibes, sax and keys noodle around creating a spacey, Hawkwind-like texture - a couple of years before Hawkwind took this direction.

Next up is some jazzy funky goodness in All Green (reference to Al Green, perhaps?), which is of considerably better quality than the previous offerings, providing an interesting journey in a space that's mellow, with just enough tension at the edges to provide energy in the Doors-style keys.

A descending riff takes over, but is slightly overdone, then the music is slashed into with more aggressive keys, and a Pink Floyd moment strips the piece back momentarily. The drumming here is interesting, turning the beats upside-down and inside-out in turns, mushing it all up - but again, I feel it's all a bit too drawn out, before the descending riff returns and dissolves into chaos, which is where the piece should have ended - but, as a pattern forms, the band decide to resurrect the first theme and play with it a little bit - but not enough for it to be particularly interesting or warrant a re- showing here.

Raise Up High is a 17-minute+ spectacular... or would have been had we not been treated to some Jagger-alike vocals over music that sounds like the Doors meet a simlified version of Jethro Tull. These aggressive vocals really switch me off, and the music noodles around uninterestingly underneath them. Cries of Wooh!!! do not help proceedings, and the end of the piece suddenly seems a long way away... The improv here is not up to the quality of earlier tracks, and the bass is out of tune - hang on, there must be something nice to say about it.


With lyrics like Baby, baby, I say I'm feeling better, I know it's not just because of the weather, we're on to a real loser, and only 4 minutes have passed of this monstrosity. Yawn.

Skipping through, I discover a breakdown at 6 minutes with some nice spacey bleeps and whistles from keys and sax that give the feeling of an ending. But no. It's so-called free jazz, where everybody plays what the heck they like with no regard to anyone else.

Suddenly, this is cut across with a reversed drum beat and more aimless noodling before a heavy riff threatens to build. This is sounding promising - but more like a new piece than a continuation of the old one. The bass is particularly irritating, noodling around, out of tune, with little regard for the build-up, and it all falls apart very disappointingly into more noodling that really gets on my nerves with its zonked-out lack of concentration.

We get approximately 9 minutes more of this - the bass player particularly noodling away around the same tired old lines, until we're treated to a harpsichord-alike solo for the final 45 seconds.

Hmm. One of the worst, most self-indulgent pieces I've ever heard in this genre - and that's saying something.

Walla Mashalla is vaguely interesting with its African chanting over more directionless noodle, but that's it - a very disappointing ending to an album with a poor start, but some real moments of inspiration somewhere around the middle.

As to the bonus tracks, Planet Earth sounds like the band were going for a hit single. A quirky one, with an odd vocal melody that leaps through uncomfortable (but effective) intervals, and a catchy backing, but single material nonetheless.

So Down was probably slated as the b-side of the single - a lightish jazzy/bluesy flavoured number, with vocals steeped in vibrato, and a nice swing.

In short, only worth owning if you need to have a complete collection of the earliest music in this scene - there's lots of Psychedelic rock from 1969 and the preceeding 2 years that has better improv, experimentation, virtuosity - and above all, soul.

There are some very good moments, but you have to go through a lot of dross to get to them. On balance, this album is only really for collectors and fans of Kosmiche music.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars A very important album in the history of Krautrock. This was one of Germany's first progressive records, and perhaps the first Krautrock recording. In the book "The Crack in the Cosmic Egg" they say "Electrip" was one hell of a remarkable album, especially for the 60's, an electric sax and organ fronted fusion with a great deal of invention and energy...remarkable throughout !" This album was a blend of Free Jazz and psychedelia with a dash of humour. Yes Frank Zappa does come to mind, but this is more about long extended jams and improvisation. I just love the way these guys jammed. Flautist and sax player Hansi Fischer would leave soon after this record to join EMBRYO.

"Electric Fun Fair" opens with the sound of a toilet flushing followed by a circus-like melody before we get to the rest of the song. Sax and drums lead the way with some great organ runs 3 minutes in as drums pound. Sax is back 6 minutes in. "Pop Games" opens with chipmunk-like voices before drums, bass and sax take over. Great sound. It settles before 3 minutes as drums and other sounds come and go with no melody until 4 minutes in when a hypnotic beat is joined by some powerful organ 5 minutes in.

"All Green" is classic XHOL. I like this one a lot. It's like Free Jazz as drums, organ and sax stand out as they just jam. The bass also becomes prominant later. "Raise Up High" features vocals that are pretty raw but they work. Drums, flute, sax and organ stand out as he sings away. One line he sings is "We're gonna all get stoned, and then get blown." Where's the toilet flush ? Haha. It calms down 6 minutes in with sax sounds as it starts to build. Drums, organ and other sounds come and go until the main melody returns 9 minutes in and they jam. "Walla Masallah" is a short song with spoken words in German with a simple melody.

If I was rating the music by itself i'd probably give 3.5 stars, but this rating includes the fact it is somewhat original and very influential. This is an excellent addition to your collection, and a must have for Krautrock fans out there. And check out their live "Hau-Ruk" as well.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Second Xhol Caravan album and possibly one of the very first German kraut rock release.

Original LP includes 5 compositions, mostly psychedelic jazz-rock with soul and blues-rock roots. Combination of organ, sax, flute and free jazz jamming, combined with German folksy elements, humor and some soul vocals gives to that recording quite specific sound.

No great melodies or recognizable songs, but common atmosphere is freaky on a manner of 1969! Long jamming is more about psychedelia, not about technical abilities demonstration.

Two CD bonuses are a bit different from main album's material: Planet Earth has soul slightly bombastic vocals and guitar soloing. "So Down" is bluesy romantic ballade with psychedelic scent, again with some electric guitar soloing and organs passages. Both songs sound as borrowed from "Jesus Christ Superstar" album.

Interesting release, important for kraut rock fans and still attractive for early psychedelic jazz-rock lovers.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars Quite surprised (and amazed) at such a superb album released in 1969.

Already renowned as a pioneer of a psychedelic Krautrock project, but I've felt not only Krautrock but also more eclectic and versatile. Guess they had played under their "original" style without any intention but their soundscape should be incredible in those days (and sadly not popular for commercialism maybe). With cheap sound effects or cheap electronic boards, they could played enthusiastic jazzy / psychedelic / experimental lumps fully in this creation.

In the beginning of the first track "Electric Fun Fair" complex and powerful horn section sounds based upon hard-edged drumming kicks blow us completely, and following those, funky, freaky swinging jazz sounds make us comfortable. In the middle part an improvised / experimental session primitive as one of Krautrock jobs pushes us away into another bot. The second track "Pop Games" is deep bluesy jazz rock filled with heavy riffs based upon brilliant bass and drum kicks and a bit cheesy tape effects. This song can be thought not a typical Krautrock stuff but simultaneously can let us know what the German experimental pioneer should be. The track closest to golden road of Krautrock might be the third one "All Green" I suggest ... funky speed rock seasoned with some electronic weirdness, can surprise us definitely.

The Side B gets started with another bluesy scene called "Raise Up High" filled with funky jamming texture and experimental psychedelia spice. Very powerful, very eccentric fuzzy voices are not of comfort but courageous for us surely. Not typically Kraut-flavoured but interesting feeling in early German progressive rock world. The last track "Walla Mashalla" can be said as the most innovative ending throughout this album I imagine. Fascinating, addictive yodels and a big bang noise of a toilet door closed should give us a bit loneliness definitely ... the fantastic hour in a lavatory has finished, with something fresh and cool like the spring air. Excellent album-theatre indeed ... of fantastic Electrip.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Some direction would be nice, but I suppose we'll have to live with the originality and musicianship on this one, which is by no means a bad thing. Unfortunately however, this album falls into that category that so much prog music falls into, of being incredibly talented, limitlessly entertaining an ... (read more)

Report this review (#1172710) | Posted by MJAben | Thursday, May 8, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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