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OUT OF FOCUS

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Germany


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Out Of Focus biography
This awesome band came from Munich and made three extraordinary albums on the super-collectable Kuckuk label plus another that never got released until recently. Hennes Herring on KB (mainly Hammond organ), Remi Dreschler on guitars, Moran Neumuller on vocals and winds, Klaus Spöri and Stefan Wisheu on drums and bass respectively made an incredibly tight unit although they were prone to a lot of improvisation moments also. Their music is somewhat similar to early British prog but will gradually evolve to a certain jazz-rock while staying very politically and socially conscious (in the typical German style of those years) although the singing does not hold a big place in their music, their third release (a double) being mostly instrumental. They released three albums on the legendary Kuckuk label, the same one that also reissued them in Cd format.

After their third album, OOF suffered their first major line-up change with keyboardist Hennes Herring leaving the band to join SAHARA (another excellent group that will release two very solid albums), and he was replaced by yet another guitarist Wolfgang Gohringer (that made double guitar and double horn attack), but if it affected the group's sound a bit, it was nothing drastic either. A fourth (excellent) album was recorded in the spring of 74, but for some reasons it was never released - until Ultima Thule/Cosmic Egg would in 99. Sadly these events lead towards a slow decline of the group who would gradually slow down activities, recording just one more single and playing their last concerts in 78.

The musicians went their way, but in the mid-80's, three of them met and participated to Kontrast and recorded one of the best Krautrock album of that decade, according to the experts. This album and its intended suite just got a second life by getting a reissue, again on the Cosmic Egg label. Among the other posthumous releases is the left-overs from FLMA albums (Rat Roads) and a Live in Palerme 72, both excellent records appearing on the great Garden Of Delight Label.

Let me quote D-E Asbjornssen in Cosmic Dreams At Play and use his final comment about OOF: "what an awesome band they were" and I fully adhere to that opinion.


: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :



Highly recommended by Dag-Erik Asbjornsen in his great book Cosmic Dreams At Play, and by myself to every progheads infatuated with the early 70's way of making music. Simply awesome!

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Out of FocusOut of Focus
Import
Esoteric 2010
Audio CD$10.96
$16.05 (used)
Four Letter Monday AfternoonFour Letter Monday Afternoon
Import
Ais 2010
Audio CD$13.66
$23.92 (used)
Wake UpWake Up
Kuckuck Schallplatten 2009
Audio CD$11.17
$9.56 (used)
Not Too LateNot Too Late
SIREENA RECORDS 2011
Vinyl$14.24
$19.78 (used)
Wake UpWake Up
Import
Imports 2013
Vinyl$29.99
Four Letter Monday Afternoon Import Edition by Out of Focus (2010) Audio CDFour Letter Monday Afternoon Import Edition by Out of Focus (2010) Audio CD
Ais
Audio CD$43.14
Palermo 1972Palermo 1972
Garden Of Delights
Audio CD$20.23
$17.07 (used)
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OUT OF FOCUS discography


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

OUT OF FOCUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 68 ratings
Wake Up!
1970
4.06 | 69 ratings
Out Of Focus
1971
3.89 | 56 ratings
Four Letter Monday Afternoon
1972
4.01 | 35 ratings
Not Too Late
1999
3.97 | 27 ratings
Rat Roads
2002

OUT OF FOCUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 11 ratings
Palermo 1972
2008

OUT OF FOCUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

OUT OF FOCUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Wake Up! by OUT OF FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.53 | 68 ratings

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Wake Up!
Out Of Focus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars OUT OF FOCUS from Munich was one of the finest fusion-oriented prog - or jazzy Krautrock - bands in the early seventies' Germany. Wake Up! is their debut, and it shows. The production is a bit murky and the psychedelic orientation is strong. Later on they oriented more towards instrumental fusion, but here the sax/flute player Moran Neumüller sings perhaps more than would be suitable. He's not a very good vocalist, frankly. Imagine young Peter Hammill at his worst and the most monotonous. The guitar parts increase the bluesy, heavy-ish psychedelia. The group was surely influenced by the British blues- rock.

But the album reveals its originality and strength already on the second track 'God save the Queen, cried Jesus' with more meditative instrumental sections featuring flute. This mixing of blues flavour and flute passages naturally makes one think of early Jethro Tull, but the compositions and the moods are very different from Tull. The lyrics seem to be serious and socio-critical, and the atmosphere has some VdGG-reminding darkness. There are also lots of organ.

'Hey John' is a gorgeous 9½-minute track with great instrumentalism and some vocals. The shortest track 'No Name' is also the weakest in my opinion, vocal-centred and quite straight-forward, but with nice organ/flute work. 'World's End' has long instrumental sections, and this time the guitar steps up front to solo too. The last minutes remind a lot of 'The End' by The Doors, even a similar-sounding spoken part is featured. But then again, the flute sets the music apart from The Doors.

'Dark, Darker' (11:37) doesn't start very promisingly with the presence of vocals, but soon enough they change into flute playing - some Ian Anderson -style gasps included - and the band continues to go deeper into meditative quietness and alteration of dynamics. All in all, an album that's far from perfect but with an interesting, magical atmosphere and an original mixture of various, more or less familiar elements. The psychedelic flavours were to change into jazzier style and much better music was ahead.

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 Wake Up! by OUT OF FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.53 | 68 ratings

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Wake Up!
Out Of Focus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Legendary Kraut/Jazz Rock band from München.Out of Focus were found in late 68' by Remigius Drechsler (guitar), Hennes Hering (organ, piano), Moran Neumuller (sax, flute, vocals), Stephan Wisheu (bass) and Klaus Spoeri (drums).They took their name from a track by Blue Cheer and reputedly the band was discovered by Ihre Kinder's manager Jonas Porst.Engineered by Thomas Klemt, their debut album ''Wake up!'' was recorded between October and December 70' at Union Studios in München, released at the fall of the year on the Kuckuck label.

The strong jazzy vibes that followed Out of Focus throughout their career remain hidden in their first album, which was a typical Kraut Rock album with extended jamming parts and dominant psychedelic vibes.The ironic track titles, such as ''See how a White Negro flies'' or ''God save the Queen, cried Jesus'', were followed by long groovy music with tons of flutes and organs along with the electrified guitars of Drechsler.The album contains mostly long pieces with constantly changing themes between smooth, psychedelic lines with mellow flutes and guitars and pounding rhythms with a fiery rhythm section and sharper guitar solos.Some nice interplays and breaks are also present, while with a singer sounding quite similar to MICK JAGGER the psychedelic influences are even more prominent next to the very dirty organ themes at the improvised parts.The result is obviously quite charming, although some sterile and flat moments are still apparent performed by a young and inenxperienced group.

A nice example of early Kraut Rock with the basic components of the movement in evidence: Long psychedelic grooves, loose solos and powerful breaks.Warmly recommended.

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 Out Of Focus by OUT OF FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.06 | 69 ratings

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Out Of Focus
Out Of Focus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Wake Up! by OUT OF FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.53 | 68 ratings

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Wake Up!
Out Of Focus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Dobermensch

2 stars An album that has moments of success when it occasionally lifts itself from the confines of 1969-1971 Krautrock. That old curse of Germans singing in English emasculates any intensity the lyrics may have held and hangs around the neck of Moran Neumülle like an albatross.

It's derivative to the point of saturation and is in no way comparable with their mighty 'Four Letter Afternoon'. Worst of all are the vocals which might have sounded pretty good if sung in German. As it is, they're all a bit embarrassing in their American imitation. Plus the fact - the guy's a crumby singer.

It's clear for all to hear that they can really play together as a unit but unfortunately, 'Out of Focus' sound like a lot of bands from this era. 'Wake Up' is their most 'Rock' album and is dominated by flutes, but unfortunately It's not that good.

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 Four Letter Monday Afternoon by OUT OF FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.89 | 56 ratings

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Four Letter Monday Afternoon
Out Of Focus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars A super Krautrock band that were full of horns, saxophones, flutes and keyboards creating a wall of sound unlike many of their contemporaries.

Forget the first two albums. This is where it's at. An entirely uplifting and energetic album that doesn't let up for an hour and a half. Despite the English vocals from a Germanic tongue which otherwise might sound really tacky, it had me and my pals singing boisterously in the back seat of a car going on a camping holiday!

The first disc is a real foot stomper in a Germanic Krautrock way with Tuetonic voices and heavy keyboards and bass. The thing that prevents this being a 5 star is the 2nd disc. I think it's the lack of vocals which were so brilliant on the first.

It's still pretty damn good but doesn't have the same playfulness ' as what went before. A superbly clear recording, and one of the best Kraut albums I've heard.

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 Four Letter Monday Afternoon by OUT OF FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.89 | 56 ratings

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Four Letter Monday Afternoon
Out Of Focus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by beebfader

5 stars This, the third and final Out Of Focus album, finds the German collective at their very best. It completes their shift away from psychedelic rock into more jazz/free form oriented material and sees the original band expanded here to an astonishing 11 piece force to be reckoned with. A major change to the band's sound is the addition of a brass section which really bolsters the sound into a bright, rich and varied feast for the ears.

On LP it was a double album running over some 94 minutes, and is reissued here by Esoteric's Reactive imprint as a double CD. The original concept is preserved, and the first CD consists of the album `proper'. More interesting though, is the 3 part rolling improvisation `Huchen 55' which occupies the entire 48 minutes of CD2.

Based in Munich, Out Of Focus were a lesser known name in Krautrock circles, but their work stands up extremely well to modern ears. From psychedelic beginnings they end up here as a band determined to explore the furthest reaches of their music. The addition of a multitude of extra players brings to mind at times the original Keith Tippett Group and their subsequent contribution to a short-lived expanded Soft Machine, and whilst it's fair to say that the Softs influence is felt here, these musicians are accomplished enough to over-ride any direct comparisons and to tread their own path.

The original first LP begins with the 18 minute `L.S.B.' which moves through a variety of well constructed changes without ever getting boring, the added instrumentation making a welcome improvement to the Out Of Focus sound. `When I'm Sleeping' somehow manages vocally to conjure up images of Peter Banks era Yes, although the vocal sweetness on display here is rather an exception to the rule. `Tsajama' for example, suffers rather badly from some ill-advised scat vocals, there won't be too many people buying this album for the singing, which like previous OOF albums is somewhat secondary to the music. It's really all about the instrumental interplay, and the rolling, evolving compositions which have never sounded better than here.

The second disc `Huchen 55' is one extended piece which most fully realises the vision. The three sections are woven together and bookended by a recurring thread played on flutes and ushering in open-ended group performances which sound like they come from a jam session which is quite possibly still going on to this day. It probably reflects most what the band was like live with no time restrictions. What is very appealing about it, is that it moves and transforms magically through various satisfying musical evolutions without ever losing momentum or becoming dull. I am reminded of Xhol Caravan's epic work here, music which was elusive, sublime, yet immensely satisfying. It is this disc to which I am likely to return time and time again and I urge you to do so too.

Out Of Focus recorded more material at these sessions much of which was subsequently issued and was found to be of a very high standard too. This however completes the sequence of the three albums issued in the band's existence, and which are all newly reissued by Reactive. For many is their finest hour. `Huchen 55' is one of those pieces you can have on repeat all day as it melts into the room, and for this alone it is unreservedly recommended.

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 Wake Up! by OUT OF FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.53 | 68 ratings

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Wake Up!
Out Of Focus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Very interesting debut album of German band. Differently from many their kraut-rock colleagues, band's music is strongly based in British blues-rock and psychedelic rock tradition, with folksy elements. In fact, their music could be described as heavy bluesy psychedelic Jethro Tull.

They have flautist on board, and flute soloing adds to music very folksy (or Jethro Tull-like) flavour. Other important components - heavy Hammond passages, psychedelic guitars and social-critical lyrics. Possibly, vocal is not for everyone taste, but it's ok for me.

Jazzy arrangements are presented, but in all album's music couldn't be named jazz-rock. I like their melodic compositions, organ passages, heavy guitars and a bit naive sound in whole. Nice atmosphere of early 70-s. Only some repetitive songs structure reminds their origin and some connection with krautrock.

My rating is 3+.

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 Rat Roads by OUT OF FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.97 | 27 ratings

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Rat Roads
Out Of Focus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is OUT OF FOCUS' second posthumous release. The tracks here were leftovers from the "Four Letter Monday Afternoon" sessions. Man they recorded a lot of material during that time and it's all outstanding. A bit more of a free form/jamming style here and it's fantastic.

"I'd Like To Be Free" opens with a guitar melody then a fuller sound arrives before a minute. Nice organ and bass section follows.Vocals join in too then sax. Great sound before 4 minutes with the guitar and sax standing out. Bass and organ lead briefly around 6 minutes again. Piano late. "Table Talk" opens with horns with no real melody as they come and go. Drums and bass join in for support. Organ before 4 1/2 minutes. Horns dominate before 7 minutes. This sounds incredible ! "Rat Roads" builds with horns and drums but it settles back quickly as the organ floats in the background. It picks up before 4 minutes then kicks in with gusto. "Fallen Apples" is a short mellow tune with horns,keys and gentle guitar.

"Straight Ahead" has a good rhythm to it with organ playing over top. Horns join in and dominate. "Tell Me What I'm Thinking Of" is led by vocals, drums, organ and bass.The chorus just sweeps me away. So good. Guitar before 1 1/2 minutes then the horns join in. Just a gorgeous track. "Climax" opens with the horns sounding like they're warming up (haha). We start to get a melody before 5 minutes and they seem to jam the rest of the way. "Kitchen Blues" is 30 seconds of mainly horns while "Good-Bye Honey" is a minute of the guitar, bass and drums standing out.

Another exceptional release from these talented Germans. Well worth checking out.

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 Not Too Late by OUT OF FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.01 | 35 ratings

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Not Too Late
Out Of Focus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars These songs were recorded in the spring of 1974 (after "Four Letter Monday Afternoon"), but not released until 1999. I have to say i'm a big fan of this German band and this album doesn't disappoint in the least. I just love their sound especially the sax, flute and guitar.

The drums and sax standout early on the opening track "That's Very Easy".This is the perfect soundtrack for a lazy summer's day. Flute 2 minutes in followed by guitar then vocals as it settles. It picks up before settling again with flute. It kicks in before 6 1/2 minutes with guitar. Nice. Vocals are back late. Great tune. "X" is an instrumental and it's such an incredible track. The sax, flute and guitar all sound so good. They seem to simply jam in a tasteful yet passionate manner. The opening soundscape is reprised before 7 minutes. Drum solo 8 1/2 minutes in. "The Way I Know Her" is a short tune with vocals, strummed guitar and some flute. "Y" is another long instrumental. Sax, gentle guitar and cymbals to start. It kicks in at 2 minutes with sax leading.The guitar before 4 minutes is excellent. "Spanish Lines" features a foundation of bass and drums as guitar and sax play over top. A change 2 minutes in as it becomes more intense before settling back later.

Easily 4 stars and a must if your into any of their first 3 studio albums.

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 Palermo 1972 by OUT OF FOCUS album cover Live, 2008
4.00 | 11 ratings

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Palermo 1972
Out Of Focus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. This really is a treasure for those who appreciate this brilliant band from Germany. They released three amazing albums in the early seventies and it was some time after their second self titled release that they were sponsered by the "Goethe Institute" to take a tour of Italy. This happened in 1972. The concert in Palmero was the best one according to the band. The crowd really embraced them and didn't want them to leave. You can hear the crowds enthusiasm on this recording. Interestingly enough the caretaker of the venue walked across the stage after the first encore with a step ladder and unscrewed the fuse so that the band had no power. He got down and left. The band continued acoustically until the guitarist walked over and screwed the fuse back in, and away they played once more. Back came the caretaker who wanted to go home obviously and close the venue. This happened five times. The audience thought it was an act as they laughed at the goings on between the band and this caretaker. After the fifth time they just played acoustically for the audience that didn't want to go home. By the way the sax / flute player kept a diary of this tour which was used to give lots of detailed information (like the story I just mentioned) in the liner notes. Of the six tracks only two were recorded on an album (both from the self titled second album) while the rest will be new to fans. I find it interesting that we have a German band singing in English to an Italian audience.

I must say I was moved on two different tracks by the singers passion as he sang about human rights. He pleads on the first song "Please treat us right, please". And on "Fly Bird Fly" the over 20 minute political track where I completey agree with his views he gives a performance worthy of "Woodstock". The music here is absolutely incredible. The extended jams with sax, then guitar, then flute, it's all the kind of music I love. The Krautrock spirit is alive and well here on these Jazzy jams. All but one of the tracks blends into one another. They just played.

I would give 5 stars but the drum and organ solos go on too long for my tastes. I still dig them though. How about the fuzzed out organ on "Cafe Stiletto" where he solos for over 5 minutes. Each member though gets his turn to take the spotlight at some point. Even the singer on the final track screams and carries on. What a show !

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