Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Krautrock • Germany

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Pinguin picture
Pinguin biography
Pinguin was a German Krautrock group featuring members from various Psychedelic Beat Rock bands, The Jay Five and Talix. As Pinguin, the group lasted long enough to release one album in 1972, Der Grosse Rote Vogel. Pinguin's sole contribution to the world of Krautrock is full of organ dominated Progressive Krautrock, augmented by some horns and folk touches, and with lyrics sung in German.

PINGUIN Videos (YouTube and more)

Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to PINGUIN


PINGUIN discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

PINGUIN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Spuren (as Talix)
4.32 | 12 ratings
Der Grosse Rote Vogel

PINGUIN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PINGUIN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PINGUIN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PINGUIN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Der Grosse Rote Vogel by PINGUIN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.32 | 12 ratings

Der Grosse Rote Vogel
Pinguin Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars PINGUIN released this lone album back in 1972 and I think penguins would be very happy living in my town the last few days with highs of -15 to -18. Yeah the wind really hurts these days. The members of this six piece band were previously in German Beat bands which I guess you could say was German Pop music with German vocals. Part of the reason most Krautrock bands sang in English was to go against the establishment, but there were some very political German bands who sang in their native language because they wanted to get their message across. Not sure about these guys though. I really have a problem with German vocals, just not an appealing language like say Italian. Yeah I'm in trouble now, of course the Russian language is even worse but I digress.

The singer here has a thin voice and I really don't like his singing at all, not sure if I mentioned that. We get sax and flute but the organ leads the way here as the most dominant instrument. Oh, and four of the members also play percussion and another one bongos. It's a fairly catchy album overall not surprisingly given their background but there's some rare experimental stuff on one track that would make most Krautrock bands proud. The two reviewers ahead of me both gave this 5 stars which is something to keep in mind with my 3 star rating.

"Der Grosse Rote Vogel" opens with organ and flute and when the vocals arrive the flute steps aside. A full sound with sax leading the way before 1 1/2 minutes. Catchy stuff here as the vocals and organ also help out. Lots of percussion before 3 minutes with the bass, drums and organ in this instrumental section. The sax is back. Great section! A brief silent calm before 4 minutes then it kicks in again. More vocals as themes are repeated. There will be a few more instrumental sections to follow with each one being a highlight of this track.

Die Angst" has outbursts of sax and organ as the vocals join in. I think the vocals might be at their worse here. This is catchy but yikes! The guitar after 2 minutes makes some noise.

"Der Frosch In Der Kehle" has this catchy little melody played by the guitar and flute. It's joined by drums then organ and vocals. Man he is not singing very well here, check him out just before a minute. I do like that guitar style and that mellow instrumental section which is so much better than the rest of this track. Vocals are back after 2 1/2 minutes but thankfully we get another instrumental section with flute leading. Some nasty guitar after 5 minutes then a drum solo starts after 6 1/2 minutes to the end.

"Der Blaue Wind" has a wicked flute intro then it turns mellow with flute as bass, guitar, organ and soft vocals join in. Clashing cymbals before 3 1/2 minutes. The vocals stop around 5 minutes as it turns experimental in the Krautrock tradition.

"Die Nachtmusik" opens with solo organ that stops just after a minute. Then sax, organ, bass, drums and guitar take over. Vocals around 2 minutes. That sax melody that comes and goes is annoying. It settles back some after 3 minutes. Sax, organ and cymbals after 4 minutes then the guitar comes to the fore. That sax melody is back coming and going as the vocals return.

"Der Traum" is my favourite by far. Organ to start with some picked guitar then the bass and drums take over. Nice. Organ is back after a minute then the flute starts to come and go just before 2 minutes. I do like that bass! Great sound 2 1/2 minutes in with organ and bass as the flute and drums join in. Vocals after 3 1/2 minutes but thankfully they are brief here although they are back late.

Clearly I'm not into the vocals and they are fairly dominant here so there's just no way I would recommend this. It was good to hear it though but I feel this is a miss in the Krautrock genre.

 Der Grosse Rote Vogel by PINGUIN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.32 | 12 ratings

Der Grosse Rote Vogel
Pinguin Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

5 stars Germany's Krautrock scene produced a score of incredibly talented and far thinking bands of great substance, but the decades that have elapsed since the first wave of progressive rock in the early 70s has yielded a scant few champions of the era such as Amon Düül II, Can, Ashra Temple, Grobschnitt and Popol Vuh just to name a few but many more were unsuccessful at all, hardly capturing any attention during the era not to mention in modern times have been seemingly forgotten and if lucky enough to find a repressing of any sort, instantly subjected to the bargain bins. My experience with such bands is that such humiliation is never incumbent on the quality of the product but rather due to the role of lady luck in the vast scheme of elements that require any given musical entity to rise above the crowd. The German band PINGUIN is one of those such bands that despite having more than enough original ideas and talent to pull it off, was buried deep beneath the heap and in the process utterly snuffed out and suffocated before it could even get its feet off the ground. Even to this day, there is scant information on this band but appears to be from the Cologne (Köln) region. The band consisted of seven musicians which included two guitarists, electric and double bass, organ, drums including bongos and tenor sax, flute and even the use of choirs.

The band started as the psychedelic rock band Talix and released one album titled "Spuren" (Traces) in 1971 on the Vogue record label before upping their musical game into the progressive rock world and changing their name to PINGUIN (German for "penguin"). The band emerged at the very moment that the Zebra label which was a new sub-label of Polydor was being implemented for more progressive music and DER GROSSE ROTE VOGEL (the big red bird) was the very first album to appear on the new fledgling label. The album is quite diverse in its sound and unlike most other acts that fall into the vast net that the term Krautrock falls under. The band has been described to engender a more international rock sort of sound that could bring similar organ dominated bands like Frumpy of Faithful Breath to mind that utilizes stunning passages of heavy rock that alternate with psychedelia, jazz and even avant-garde electronica. The album enjoyed one initial pressing on the Zebra label and then was lucky enough to receive a second release on CD by the Minority label which was also short lived and focused on the extreme obscurities of early 70s rock.

PINGUIN were masters at adapting many elements and creating a cohesive mix. All six tracks were written by organist Volker Plitz and because of that fact, are unified by a heavy organ-rich texture that strings everything together so neatly. The band quite skillfully display all the tenets of progressive rock ranging from unpredictable compositional approaches, time signature deviations and larger than life tangents that includes full-fledged freakouts, extended musical passages and bouts with dissonance that take the listener to the brink in a rather truncated period of time before finding resolution with catchy and easy-on-the-ears melodic resolution. The opening title track displays many of the band's carefully crafted songwriting skills. While it begins with a moody organ accompanied by a fluttering flute, the chant-like vocals are interrupted by heavy guitar outbursts and the two styles trade off in an exotic flair before the track becomes a heavy guitar led rocker with a steady beat and melodic march. While the lyrics are totally in German, which for 1972 was becoming rare (and possibly the reason they never extended beyond their borders), Klaus Gebauer delivers them with passion and precision. The track alternates between more progressive and catchy rock segments. Very addictive.

The beauty of DER GROSSE ROTE VOGEL is how each track differentiates itself from the other despite the psychedelic time-revealing organ runs remaining the focus and common thread of the overall sound. "Die Angst" (the fear) follows with a connecting organ run that is calm and placid but is punctuated by a frenetic heavy guitar driven rock segment that cuts in only to have the calm organ dominated part to return and blossom into more melodic developments. When the guitar parts return they display a slight dissonance that turns into a more normal heavy rock run with sizzling saxophone solos by Elmar Kast. "Der Frosch In Der Kehle" (Frog in the throat) begins with more of a folk rock feel even slightly Tull-ish with a beautiful flute run over the rock energetic beat and continues its excursion into a dual guitar attack with the flute smoothing things out. There is a nice organ dominated run before the flute led segment begins once again. The pattern is clear at this point that PINGUIN knew how to alternate patterns quite skillfully and each time a certain segment made its reprise the ante was risen ever so slightly all the while keeping the overall melodic march completely in tact. This track vocally reminds me a lot of the heavy rock / prog attack of Hanuman / Lied Des Teufels band that blended prog with the straight forward German rock scene. Track ends with some cool bongos and percussion outbursts including some intense talking drum workouts.

"Der Blaue Wind" (The blue wind) also begins with a flute but this one is more bizarre as high pitches erupt into an avant-garde soundscape but after a short while it completely transmogrifies into a beautiful melody. The track remains very chilled and as the organ counterpoint slightly elevates it into psychedelia, the vocals and song structure immediately remind me of the Goldring antics in the strange musical world of Gnidrolog which shows just how far PINGUIN's influences ranged. This one may be the most sophisticated tracks in terms of progressive rock with all instruments simultaneously creating interesting sums that when taken into the world of parts constitutes a very cool little spread of sounds uniting for a true cause. The organ runs on this are exquisitely textured to heighten a bizarre tension that clashes with the bass. The track becomes more loose and free form as surreality ensues and becomes ever more unstable. An organ run picks up the pieces and creates a rather pastoral medieval feel. "Die Nachtmusik" (The night music) deviates from the weirdness and creates a catchy rock track that has a very strong guitar driven melody that has a satisfying sax attack. This one in contrast, is very melodic and constitutes the track most worthy of earworm status on the album albeit with moody organ intermissions. Just try to get those sax hooks out of your head after hearing this! The closer "Der Traum" (the dream) is an extremely moody organ dominated chill session that makes use of a jazzy bass line and percussion.

I found this album in the bargain bin for 5$USD. When i looked it up on line, there was hardly any information at all. It was woefully underrated on Rate Your Music. It even wasn't included on Prog Archives, the world's best progressive rock database and absolutely nothing about the band, the history or the ill-fated Zebra label that PINGUIN appeared on. Unfortunately both label and band disappeared as quickly as they emerged and that is the true shame of all of this. As it turns out, PINGUIN exhibited the perfect balance of quirky progressive rock in all its excesses in tandem with highly accessible melodic rock in all its catchiness. The perfect fusion of the avant-garde and the emotional hooks of well performed music. The fact that this band and their one album has fallen in the cracks while countless other bands with tunnel vision have risen to the top seems, well, utterly illogical. While i can concede the limitations of the day and time, a resurrection of some of these long lost classics needs to emerge and while the art of finding long lost classics in bargain bins rarely occurs, i must say that this one was a total surprise. PINGUIN created a type of band sound that i would love to hear about 20 more albums of. There is something about the finesse of how they pull off all the elements that really blows me away, something that very few bargain bin bands have managed to do. While this was love at first listen, this easily went from an instant 4 star album to a buried 5 star treasure masterpiece in my book. Please do give this album a spin. It won't disappoint if you crave the perfect marriage of highly developed progressiveness with more accessible melodic song structures.

 Der Grosse Rote Vogel by PINGUIN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.32 | 12 ratings

Der Grosse Rote Vogel
Pinguin Krautrock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

5 stars An excellent, authentic German psychedelic album featuring dreamy organ / keyboard / mellotron, ethnic / mystic percussion, quirky jazzy saxophone vibes, and magically addictive flute wind. Another Krautrock obscure fantasia with a weird ( but interesting, impressive) pic-printed sleeve has touched my heart obviously. Bringing complicated anti-pop melodies and phrases seasoned with folksy atmosphere and jazzy taste to the forefront sounds like a late-60s Krautrock superstar Xhol Caravan meets another obscure German psychedelic combo Air ' in the first track 'Der Gro'e Rote Vogel', delicious oriental flute melody opens the cage of the 'big red bird', and the melodic texture is leaning towards Air's folksy one. Their jazzy flavour is in the similar vein to Xhol Caravan (but not so improvised nor passionate as Xhol). Their soundscape is not so dissonant as other Krautrock acts but well-composed and crystallized.

Anyway, the following one 'Die Angst' or the third track 'Der Frosch In Der Kehle' is cool jazz rock tinged with psychedelic organ sounds harmonized with tight rhythm sections. Brilliant saxophone movements are crazy strict and sharp-edged especially in the second track ... just like "Yeti" by Amon Düül II. On the contrary, the first shot upon B Side 'Der Blaue Wind' is kinda warping floating keyboard-stream-oriented psychedelia without any rigidity. Very charming are heavenly xylophone footprints and distorted air. 'Die Nachtmusik' is slightly pop-flavoured but rhythmically tight like ones upon A Side, The last 'Der Traum' is potentially critical in the former part but fascinating and lovely in the latter, with complex sentences all over the track. Totally mentioned, Krautrock fans might get immersed in their strict, tight sound reaction and feel it be a pity that they had soon disappeared. Worth having a listen.

Thanks to sheavy for the artist addition.

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.