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Xhol / ex Xhol Caravan


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Xhol / ex Xhol Caravan Hau-RUK album cover
3.78 | 37 ratings | 9 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Breit (24:13)
2. Schaukel (20:20)

Bonus track:
3. Süden Twi Westen (21:55)

Total Time: 66:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Skip van Wyck / drums
- Tim Belbe / saxophone
- Klaus Briest / bass (1,2)
- Öcki / keyboards
- Norbert Dömling / bass (3)
- Hansi Fischer / flute, saxophone (3)

Releases information

LP Ohr OMM 56.014 (1970 Germany)
CD Germanophon 941065 (1995 Bootleg)
CD Garden Of Delights GOD 076 (2003 Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to snobb for the last updates
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XHOL / EX XHOL CARAVAN Hau-RUK ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pretty nice, dont you think?

So now , here we have an extraordinary band (well actually i only know this album, but the quality shown here is good enough to say that is an extraordinary band) which comes from Germany, Xhol? i dont know what does Xhole mean , if it`s a german word or a name i dont know and i dont care, but im going to be tremendous honest with you, i have a list when i write all the albums i own, no matter if they are on mp3 etc, so i clearly remember that my "x" letter was empty and that was the original reason that took me to get an album by a band whose name starte with x.

Here i am happy with Xhol, which is still my only "X" band, i also know XII Alphonso but i dont have any of their albums. Xhol seems to be easily placed in the Krautrock genre because they are from Germany and their first album was released in the late 60`s , sol when the prog rock movement and obviously the name of Kraut began to rise to the world and grow up like a child, but in my opinion, at least my experience with this album, it doesn`t have the strong, weird, raw sound of Krautrock (im not an expert by the way, so i can be easily wrong), but a progressive Jazz sound , which actually also is not a clear sound overall that makes me say that this could be a jazz / fusion band, but i think is a closer genre which can describe this .

"Breit" is the first of three looong songs included in this album ,by the way called Hau - Ruck, which has a very slow tempo, as you can imagine a long 24 minute song could have some changes on it, and progress during it, so if you want to give it a chance, dont get desperate because believe me is so slow and could be a bit boring for you, but after 10 minutes it changes a bit to a faster tempo , in that part i find a bit of Canterbury sound, only a bit and because of the piano sound and the sax.Also i think the quality of the audio is not the best, not so clean, but anyway it can be compensated with the quality of the music. Let me tell you one important thing, this album doesn`t have guitars, so as you can imagine what we will enjoy here is the sound of drums, bass, and saxophone overall, giving to it the special jazz touch, also we will notice a synth making some back noises which could sound as waves or something.

"Schaukel" is the second of three tracks in the album, again a long epic over 20 minutes of great music, but the difference here is that in this one we will find since the beggining a faster and stronger sound, which actually becomes slower later but it`s just an advice, all the time we will notice the prescence of the saxophone taking the leading role of the song, maybe instead of what is a lead guitar, but it`s great i honestly dont miss the guitar here, despite i do love it light years more than the sax, but each one has it`s moments and here is only for sax. In somewhere of the song we will hear vocals for the first time, and a completely blues oriented sound.

"Süden twi Westen " is the last song of this album and my personal favorite, again it has the always Xholesque slow tempo sound, this song makes noises like a hwhistle or something, i think is a flute which is a curious sound during the song, while the drums are always playing, little by little the other instruments are joining to the song, taking the saxophone as the leading instrument as well, but here we listen to 2 saxophones interacting each other, one is louder than the other, but its a great jazz moment which i adore when i listen to it ,then it makes an stop, to then starts again with the organ sound. so the progression is coming again, that`s all about the album i think, also this song features the best flute moment of the album along with the so mentioned saxophone.

Very nice album, not my favorite at all, but im pleased with it , a great discover and as you read my ridicolous pretext to get this album , was not a mistake, i recommend it to any of you, jazz lovers or not, but be careful, 3 long songs could be so boring for you, so you know if you have the mood to get it or not.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

One of the very first (if not THE first group) for whom the term "Krautrock" was coined, Xohl had by now dropped the Caravan name, and their improvised psych rock full of lengthy tracks (and their almost unavoidable lengths) were the norm. Whether this is their third of fourth (the boundary between Soul Caravan and Xhol is a difficult one) album, it stands as one of their definitive statement, even if some passages sound awfully close to the second life of Traffic (with Kwaaku Reebop). Titled on a iffy German pun and graced with an equally iffy artwork (the back cover being hard to deciffer), this album is close to a textbook case of self-indulgent release, but if you love live jamming, you should be in for a treat with this one.

Indeed the first side is taken up entirely by a Traffic-like live jam improv (called Breit) that should have the latter's fans drooling (even if the sound is sometimes approximate) with plenty of interplay. The flipside (Schauzel) is not much different, bar a free-jazz passage, even if it includes a Rock Me Baby improv in the middle;

While for some, this album may come as a summit in self-indulgence, those loving this kind of album will be delighted to know that the excellent Garden Of Delight label has not only reissued this album, but added yet another track of the same genre (and length) Suden Twi Vesten, which fits so perfectly the album as if it had always been a part of it. I speak in terms of improv and feel, but Saxman Belbe introes the track on a flute/recorder. This track brings the album to a whopping 67 minutes.

Not quite essential if you ask me, but in some ways this album is a pure joy and reflects the era's carefree musical attitudes, while being heavy in the experimental or adventuring side. Only some lengths are stopping this one to reach the fourth star!

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Xhol figure among true legends of krautrock (before Amon Düül II, Guru Guru...). First born as an experimental free-jazz ensemble they progressively found their own musical identity at the end of the 60's with an extraordinary fusion of styles, mixing strange-atmospheric-freakout organic chords with discreet acid folk-ish accents, electronic weirdness (Motherf**kers GmbH) and a sonic, catchy free form rockin' jazz that admits closed relationships with Miles Davis' eccentric experimental fusion jazz period. Hau- ruck is their jazziest musical excursion. The two epic and totally improvised tracks on Hau-Ruck deliver unmistakable spaced out jazzy fantasies, including excellent rhythmical sections, powerful organic harmonies and eternal brass incantations. The wha wha effects give a more fuzzy, druggy tone to the compositions. The energy and groovy aspects are always well defined and accompany otherworldly and haunting keyboard sequences. Breit starts as a spiritual-psych atmospheric epic and pursue on a propulsive, hypnotic jazzy rock improvisation dominated by Hammond organ solos and sensual, intense brass parts. Schaukel deliver an other colourful, dynamic musical universe, featuring a nervous, charming bluesy rock background. Seriously impressive and easily recommended. Top class album.
Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars This album contains three improvised songs beyond the 20 minute mark. The first two were recorded live in Göttingen/Germany at the beginning of July 1970 and the last studio one, which only appears on the GOD compact disc reissue, is a little surprise because produced four years later which was two years after the official breakup of the band!

XHOL originally wanted to make a double LP as a studio and live split but the OHR label, headed by R. U. Kaiser, didn't agree and enforced a regular live production. So the members, a little bit angry about that, provided this album with the encrypted name 'Hau-RUK'. RUK stands for Kaiser's initials and 'Hau' is a german synonym corresponding to 'beat'.

'Haste einen Freund dann rauch mit ihm den Scheund' is printed on the album back side which can be figuratively translated to 'If you have a friend you should smoke a joint with him'. And that points to the essence of this spaced out recordings. Here we have simply structured jazz rock oriented jams in the absence of electric guitar but with diverse keyboard and brass contributions. If the listener does not lose his patience and is able to get used to the special meditative style of the band - only cut off by some explosive parts here and there - all obstacles are cleared further on.

Breit needs time to get involved with - a short name but a long meandering track and probably a description for the current condition of the band and the audience at this evening. The song rises slowly from minute to minute with canterbury leanings near to Soft Machine. The band members are interacting awfully good with a strange weird organ and wah-wah deformed saxophone. Schaukel - another german song name with a strange intellectual challenge - works nearly in the same way with more bluesy components including a reminiscence to the classic 'Rock me Baby' and it would be no problem to join the songs to one title.

Süden Twi Westen was recorded at the famous Dierks Studios on the other hand and looks like to be a result of a XHOL reunion which finally had not been completed. Norbert Dömling and Hansi Fischer, only contributing to this bonus track, are wellknown for me because they also played with Missus Beastly and Embryo. This song differs to the latter for some reasons - stylistically in the earlier XHOL CARAVAN mood, with a better sound quality and more elaborated and gripping. The band delivers a swinging jazzy begin with flute/saxophone and electric piano interrupted by experimental keyboard and flute contributions, later continuing in a more groovy mood and finally coming back to a very jazzy sound.

The original vinyl version of 'Hau-RUK' is a little bit unvaried according to my taste but the Garden Of Delights reissue, gentrified with the bonus track, is highly recommended though - interesting for fans who like to hear escalating jams with jazz rock orientation.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is a live album made up of two side long tracks. The first "Breit" is the better of the two. Sax leads the way early until drums and organ become more prominant after 5 minutes. The tempo shifts before 11 minutes. The sax takes a break but returns a short time later. The drums and organ are all over this track before 21 minutes. It settles quickly after that though, and it ends in a dissonant mess.

On "Schaukel" it sounds like they started recording this song as it was already well under way. It settles quickly as sax comes in playing a relaxed melody with organ, drums and bass playing softly in the background. The sound gets louder before 3 minutes and builds. A calm after 5 minutes as the sax stops. It starts to get bluesy. Vocals come in after 11 minutes, they do get pretty vulgar and obscene in this straight up blues section.

Pretty good record, but for me not essential in the least. I'll stick with their "Electrip" studio album.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Early German psychedelic jazz-rock (krautrock) band's live album contains just two long compositions. I like this lazy free-jazz improvs with plenty of soloing sax and electric piano.

Band's roots are in blues-rock and r'n'b, so you quite often can hear there some characteristic chords and structures. Between their spacey organ passages they even use B.B. King's "rock Me Baby" as element, included between their jamming!

Even when using plenty of spacey sounds, whole music is quite minimalistic, with excellent accents on separated sax, electric keyboards and great drumming. As often with such music, the album could sound a bit unfocused, but I don't think there it's a big problem.

If you like early kraut-rock, melting psychedelic spacey sounds with excellent minimalistic free-jazz jamming to one long improv, you must listen this album!

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With an album title as enigmatic as the band name, this German outfit created a very alluring psychedelic jazz-rock album. Recorded live, these free-form based jams will probably sound a bit indulgent to some listeners, but fans of Soft Machine's "Third" or Annexus Quam's "Osmose" shouldn't hesitate to check this out.

While "Hau-Ruk" doesn't match the quality of the two named albums it is still a very imaginative album, with two long improvised tracks full of strong psychedelic organs, intuitive drumming, smooth bass work and saxophones from Tim Belbe and Hansi Fisher. The latter would turn up again on Embryo's "Rache" album. The first track is the most consistent; the second has a very psychedelic and impressive first half before it changes to a rather dull take on BB King's "Rock Me Baby".

A nice album if you like that meeting ground between kraut and jazz/rock, where free-form improvisation, jazz and psychedelicca blend together without effort. Also fans of the experimental side of the Canterbury scene might dig this.

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars Early Krautrock Classic

There are many different things about this album that I love, but the one thing that always lingers in me long after I've spun it, is the overall impression of 'feel'. Now as daft as that may sound to some of you out there, I still stand by my statement. This album, with its wonderful title Hau-RUK, is perhaps the benchmark of what you can do musically, when all you have at the front wheel is feel.

Sure all music revolves around feel, and so it should, but with Xhol(remember this is after they ditched the Caravan part of their name) - and especially this album, there is little to hold it all together in form of chords, structure and what have you. This does however not mean that the music is unmelodious or mad - on the contrary; this is some of the most alluring and bobbing music out there.

Two long cuts, and if you've got a hold of the reissue one like I have, then you additionally get yet another 20+ minute track. Think Doors mixed up with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band seriously on acid - and then move this rather rambunctious setting into a more playful psychedelic jazz rock costume.that quite literally sounds as if the music was made in high seas on a river raft. So much bounce to this mother, you wouldn't believe it!

The drums are caveman raw, the organs sound like a bottom dwelling sea creature throwing up rhythmically and in tune, and still there is an imminent sense of chill about Hau-RUK - a characteristic about the whole thing that allures the listener out in deep hypnotising stints, where you feel like running through a maritime carnival in ultra slow motion.

In all fairness though, and just to play devils advocate, this record shouldn't work. It really shouldn't. This is basically jams with no preconceived idea of where to venture next. So you get this snaking thing that writhes and bobs - grows enormous and minuscule, frail and gentle - heck at times it even metamorphoses into something sensuous on accord of the sax - and yet I don't get anything meandering about it. Too many wicked rocking grooves and beautiful serene organ lead sections for that to be true.

I think all musicians know how it feels when everything falls into place - the times where you really cook and take off..........somewhere, and it feels like sex and drugs and everything in between. You catch each other in the music, and wield each other in, dance around, play and communicate through soundscapes, gestures and hidden sonic languages. Hau-RUK is exactly one of those times! Now whether that's down to high doses of mescaline, or just through the sheer power of music, I honestly don't know - and who really gives a flying feck anyhoo?

Xhol/Caravan(the first incarnation of the band), were actually one of the first Krautrock bands ever. They were part of the initial wave together with acts such as Amon Düül, CAN, Kraftwerk, Floh de Cologne, Tangerine Dream and Kluster, but I think it's fair to say that they were the first to merge the psychedelic Kosmische universe with jazz. Later on groups like Embryo, Exmagma and Kraan would go on to further evolusionise this branching of the Krautrock tree, but this was where it all started - with Xhol. This is however not your everyday jazz rock. It feels infinitely more sluggish and larval - like it moves forward on its tummy in huge sweaty gulps - mimicking the kind of early blues infatuated jazz rock feel you'd get from an album like Valentine Suite, although Colosseum and these Germans sound nothing alike. Yep makes no sense whatsoever, but that's how I roll...

The one thing that originally put me a little off with this album, was the sudden change of pace during the second cut, where you suddenly are met with a trashy and somewhat archaic take on the old BB King classic 'Rock me Baby'. This is a thing of the past, and ever since I started eating small children - I've really been digging it. Again - we're talking about feel. The live-in-your-face-untethered-imaginative and highly seductive musical experience that sometimes gets caught on tape, but far too often remain hidden brain polaroids in the back of long lost hippies... Well not this time. This is the real deal.

Catch this one for its thick gooey organ work - better yet get it because of its sensuous and at times wonderfully chirping saxophone spurts - or maybe for it's way of edging you into a murky dream state with everything around you exuding the type of melted reality you encounter in a Salvador Dali painting. 4.5 stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Without considering the bonus track, which is present only on the CD reissue, the only flaw of this album is the bootleg quality. It seems recorded in a garage, the drums don't have a proper mike set but this is not a big issue in Krautrock. If one can survive the first jam of Amon Duul, can survive to everything.

Said so, the music is good. The two side long tracks have that psychedelic mood vaguely reminding of early PINK FLOYD, especially in the bass line, which is made jazzzier by the sax. It's a nice trip, not too acid, which contains very good passages.

Of course, being a jam, the bass line is almost repetitive, but the sax makes its good work and also keyboard and guitar are able to fit in the ensemble without any jamming excess. In brief, even jamming, the band shows good skills.

A mention is deserved by the bonus track, The sound quality is really better, the fact that half of the band is not the same of the first two tracks doesn't impact too much. It's not nice that the best thing in an albnum is the bonus track. Basing of the two side long tracks I would have rated it with three stars, but the very high levek of the third deserves a good appreciation. The flute added to the sax is an enhancement and the over 20 minutes in which it developes are a pleasant journey.

4 stars

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