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EMBRYO

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Germany


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Embryo biography
EMBRYO (not to be confused with Italian and Swedish death metal bands of the same name) are a musical collective from Munich who, lead by former R&B and jazz organist Christian Burchard, boast the participation of some 400+ musicians since their beginnings in 1970. Over the years, the band went from classic space rock to jazz fusion, then Burchard soon started travelling the world and recording LPs with African bands and Middle Eastern musicians. They are still going strong and their 30 or so albums cover a wide spectrum of styles, but the constant remains a blend of Krautrock, fusion and ethnic music.

Of particular interest to progsters are four of their earlier albums: "Rache" (heavy, JETHRO TULL inspired), "Steig Aus" (for some warmer, jazzy prog), "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" (lots of ethnic influences) and "We Keep On" (a convincing blend of rock, ethnic and jazz). For fans who have already acquired the taste, "Zack Glück" ('80) is pleasantly quirky and more focussed than the rest of their repertoire; "Reise" ('79) is noteworthy for some interesting Indian fusion tracks; and "Opal" ('70), their very first, is considered their psychedelic masterpiece. For some samplers of more recent material, the album "Ni Hau" ('96), featuring music from China and Mongolia, and the double live cd "Istanboul-Casablanca - Tour 98" are particularly recommended.

If you're into Krautrock and are a wee bit curious to see what a jazzy FAUST, AMON DÜÜL II or GURU GURU sounds like, you could start with any of the first four albums mentioned above.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Buy EMBRYO Music


Embryo 40Embryo 40
Import
Trikont 2010
Audio CD$17.38
$15.73 (used)
Steig AusSteig Aus
Revisited Records 2007
Audio CD$11.80
$21.47 (used)
OpalOpal
Import
Imports 2013
Vinyl$15.21
RocksessionRocksession
Import
Universal Import 2009
Vinyl$37.92
Embryo's RacheEmbryo's Rache
Materiali Sonori 2010
Audio CD$16.50
$15.66 (used)
Wiesbaden 1972Wiesbaden 1972
Import
Imports 2008
Audio CD$21.15
We Keep OnWe Keep On
Import
Disconforme Spain 2004
Audio CD$95.00 (used)
For EvaFor Eva
Import
Disconforme Spain 2003
Audio CD$10.95
$65.94 (used)
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EMBRYO shows & tickets


  • Day Of Dust fest 4 on 4 Dec 2014
  • Fontaine Metal Fest on 6 Dec 2014

EMBRYO discography


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

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

3.77 | 40 ratings
Opal
1970
4.10 | 44 ratings
Embryo's Rache
1971
3.65 | 36 ratings
Father, Son And Holy Ghosts
1972
3.83 | 51 ratings
Steig Aus [also released as: This Is Embryo]
1973
4.04 | 45 ratings
Rocksession
1973
4.25 | 47 ratings
We Keep On
1973
2.80 | 17 ratings
Surfin'
1975
2.78 | 16 ratings
Bad Heads and Bad Cats
1976
2.65 | 15 ratings
Apo-Calypso
1977
4.12 | 28 ratings
Embryo's Reise
1979
3.00 | 3 ratings
La Blama sparozzi - Zwischenzonen
1982
3.75 | 7 ratings
Zack Glück
1984
3.00 | 2 ratings
Embryo & Yoruba Dun Dun Orchestra
1985
2.50 | 2 ratings
Africa
1987
2.50 | 2 ratings
Turn Peace
1989
3.33 | 3 ratings
Ibn Battuta
1994
4.04 | 7 ratings
Ni Hau
1996
3.71 | 5 ratings
Invisible Documents
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Freedom In Music
2008

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

4.00 | 4 ratings
Live Embryo
1977
2.85 | 7 ratings
Life - Karnataka College of Percussion
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Berlin
1998
4.50 | 2 ratings
Istanbul-Casablanca - Tour 98
1999
3.00 | 2 ratings
One Night At The Joan Miró Foundation
1999
2.87 | 6 ratings
For Eva
1999
4.50 | 2 ratings
2000 Live Vol. 1
2000
4.00 | 3 ratings
2001 Live Vol. 1
2001
3.00 | 1 ratings
Hallo Mik - Live recordings 2002-2003
2003
3.97 | 12 ratings
Bremen 1971
2003
3.09 | 3 ratings
Live Im Wendland
2007
3.00 | 2 ratings
Live At Burg Herzberg Festival 2007
2008
3.96 | 7 ratings
Wiesbaden 1972
2008

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

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
Classic German Rock Scene - Embryo
1975
3.00 | 1 ratings
Embryo - Anthology
1980

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

EMBRYO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bad Heads and Bad Cats by EMBRYO album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.78 | 16 ratings

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Bad Heads and Bad Cats
Embryo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars For most prog listeners the best albums by this Munich-based band (which is often seen as part of "Krautrock", at least in the wider sense of the term) are clearly from the early 70's. Like the preceding album Surfin' that has gained very negative reception, the jazz-rock of stupidly named Bad Heads and Bad Cats is coloured with funk flavour and slight ethnic elements. This album is however much better, if not exactly what progheads would prefer to hear from Embryo.

My fave track is the lively 'After the Rain' which has deliciously fresh contributions of reeds and keyboards, but on many other tracks the light-hearted wandering remains more boring. It feels like the group of seven musicians was preventing the music to really take off the ground. The same criticism concerns the two bonuses on the Garden Of Delights edition, but on the other hand they don't pale at all in comparison to the main album. The CD is nicely boosted to 64 minutes. Also the leaflet with lots of pictures (including album covers) must be thanked for. My 2½ stars can be rounded upwards.

[This poor, nothing-better-to-do-at-the-moment sort of review is based on my prog magazine article which dealt collectively several Garden Of Delights re-releases. I hope this explains the lack of depth; I haven't actually listened to the music since April.]

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 Father, Son And Holy Ghosts by EMBRYO album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.65 | 36 ratings

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Father, Son And Holy Ghosts
Embryo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars In search of a bassist Embryo would recruit Dave King, who would later appear in several Kraut/Jazz Rock bands, with Bunka focusing on guitar.Recordings for a new album begun already from September 71', but Embryo's label United Artists, afraid that the fresh material would be a commercial failure, refused to release it, somehow forcing the band to smoothen their style.By the dawn of 72' there was enough material for two album, but Embryo kept producing music, now having joined forces with talented guitarist Sigi Schwab with Bunka remaining behind the scenes.Eventually the album, which was to be titled ''Father, son and holy ghosts'', was along the strict lines of Embryo's label and it was eventually released in 1972.

It is quite hard to imagine what really turned off the management of United Artists, because Embryo's third effort sound no less complex than their previous releases, maybe the addition of a pair of happier or more funky tunes was enough for them to keep the whole thing rolling.Otherwise ''Father, son and holy ghosts'' sounds quite close to Embryo's previous efforts with enigmatic spaced-out experiments, lots of Ethnic tunes and a fair dose of complicated, twisting grooves with powerful, psychedelic tones.Once more the ability of the band to deliver stretched, instrumental themes with long sax solos and elaborate passages with archaic flute drives displays their talent on Ethnic Jazz/Fusion.Schwab's freaky guitar solos is a new element in Embryo's style, but generally the Germans managed again to create a diverse and interesting album, which gets the principles of Kraut/Psychedelic Rock, passes them through Ethnic filters and put it up there with the freedom of Jazz.The result is often outstanding, featuring extended instrumental exercises with only sporadic vocals, either led by the jazzy saxes, the elegant flutes or the folky violins, powering them finally into majestic experiments, full of loose solos, intense bass playing and drumming and hypnotic rhythms.They still lack the more emblimatic moments of the previous album, but nevertheless this is a very dynamic Kraut Rock album with tremendous changing moods.

Add another winner in Embryo's discography.Apparently the band was in an orgasmic inspiration with tons of material written in 1971/72, some of it ended up to be this cool release.Strongly recommended, Garden of Delights' CD reissue features also an extended version of Embryo's classic ''You don't know what's happening''...3.5 stars.

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 Ni Hau by EMBRYO album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.04 | 7 ratings

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Ni Hau
Embryo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars Chinkrock

This is my first venture into latter day Embryo, and truth be told, I was a little wary about this acquisition. Chinese fusion? I must be crazy...

Well part of me is a little bonkers, and whether or not that colours my views on music or not, I leave entirely up to someone else. Well you certainly don't need to be mad to enjoy this music. Ni Hau is through and through a highly melodic album. The real part of the genius though, is how these melodies are crafted. Main man Christian Burchard, whom I've always had a huge sweet spot for, has for this 1996 recording assembled all kinds of exotic percussionists and endemic Eastern instrumentalists. This isn't just Chinese infusions we get here, there's also oud, tabla, tavil, nai, harmonium, marimba and the list literally goes on and on.

Chinese musician Xizhi Nie is in charge of baffling instruments such as ehru, muyü, sheng and gaohu. Now I have absolutely no idea what these instruments look like, but I'm guessing that these must be the ones responsible for the musical phrasings that take me straight to the heartland of the panda.

All in all Ni Hau is a real get together of incredible musicians from across the world. Burchard's even managed to shanghai fellow German compatriots Roman Bunker on sitar and oud, who also played with the group on their seminal We Keep On, Chris Carrer on oud, as well as legendary synth and electronics wizard Peter Michael Hamel off of experimental act Between. So basically what we have here is some kind of Krautrock super-group coming together in order to make music deeply inspired by the cultures of China and Mongolia. There's still an ounce of fusion in here though masked incredibly well behind that easterly silk veil.

A track like Sehen/Sikahbines in Shan Dong brings in one Chuck Henderson and his soprano sax, which he plays like a frantic snakecharmer with a cobra in his trousers. Suddenly we get real tangible "jazz-rocking" textures - Burchard starts a whirlwind on the cymbals - the viola develops a snarling feel - the bass gets right up in your face, while the rest of the band joins in to create a tantalising slice of ethnic fusion that entices you for nearly 10 minutes. To the top of the yellow mountains and back.

As with most of Embryo's output since the ethnic powerhouse album of Reise, Ni Hau is fuelled by rhythmic instruments. Burchard, in particular, has an ingenious way of playing that comes off so fluently, that it'll have a dudette like Ruth Underwood running for the bushes. It's uncanny just how much umphh and zing you get from his marimbas. Coupled together with a precise, and at the same time, constantly shifting tidal wave of galloping percussion features, this album mimics the ever beautiful shades of the far east in rhyme and reason, even if one leg at all times seems to be heavily planted in the Embryo past. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but Embryo's key feature was always that unique way around rhythms and melody. On Ni Hau this feature feels forever multiplied in a gorgeously vast oceanic landscape, where majestic water buffaloes peacefully roam the mosaic beauty of the rice field terraces.

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 Opal by EMBRYO album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.77 | 40 ratings

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Opal
Embryo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

4 stars Embryo is undoubtedly one of the leading bands "parked" under the Krautrock umbrella. The reality is that we are talking about an extremely versatile bunch of artists whose overall output is closer to Jazz-Rock/Canterbury than to any other genre. (Well, until much later when they'we embraced Ethnic music almost exclusively.)

For a first album "Opal" is a rather courageous approach, incorporating Psychedelic elements with a definite leaning towards Jazz. Virtually instrumental with lots of unhurried improvisations. We are in 1970 and at times there is also a definite R&B influence, not unlike John McLaughlin and Jack Bruce collaborations of that era.

The album has a charming feel as if it was recorded in a small club in front of a sympathetic and carefree audience where the band is not constrained by precious studio time. Chances are that the tracks would have been recorded in a studio as in a one-take, anything goes manner.

"Untamed" is the expression that springs to mind and thankfully, the band has retained that sense of artistic freedom for many years to come. People who are not adverse to jazzy elements will find Embryo an interesting band to further explore.

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 Embryo's Rache by EMBRYO album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.10 | 44 ratings

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Embryo's Rache
Embryo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars Embryo were not only experts in changing their musical moods but also the record labels.By 1971 they left the Ohr label to move to United Artists Records and release their sophomore album ''Embryo's Rache''.The leading trio of Christian Burchard, Edgar Hofmann and Hans Fischer were now joined by legendary bassist/guitarist Roman Bunka, while the album features guest appearances by Jimmy Jackson and Hermann Breuer on keyboards as well as Franz Böntgen on voices.

Embryo's debut was challenging, innovative and powerful and ''Embryo's Rache'' marks no significant changes.The sound remains a highly energetic, loose and deeply jazzy Kraut Rock full of bizarre experiments, free improvisations but also very tight performances with the rock instrumentation constantly supported by tons of organ, sax, percussion, violins and flute solos.This time though things seems a bit more focused.The groovier parts with the pounding rhythm sections are accompanied more or less by excellent flute drives, dynamic and solid percussion rhythms and abstract sax solos, which deliver a unique atmosphere only Kraut Rock bands could create.On the other hand the improvised passages are covered by extreme keyboard workouts and the massive organ solos flirt often with the Canterbury school of Jazz- Rock.If you search though for one and only very tight composition in the album this would be certainly the 11-min. ''Espagna si, Franco no'' with its varied instrumentation and haunting moods, where Embryo surface from spacey themes to hypnotic rhythms and back, while the track offers plenty of great Mellotron, electric piano jams and some furious interplays.

Great Kraut/Jazz-Rock of high quality.Recommended to all fans of experimental, adventurous, intricate and trully progressive listenings.

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 Embryo's Rache by EMBRYO album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.10 | 44 ratings

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Embryo's Rache
Embryo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

5 stars One of Germany's premier experimental outfits, Embryo have carved out a long and colourful career out of blending psychedelic and jazz flavours into a whole world(literally) of ethnic styles and sounds, something they've been doing now for four decades. However, whilst their love of African, Indian and Asia music would come to characterise their later works, Embryo's earlier albums would prove to be some of most innovative examples of the burgeoning 'krautrock' movement that stretched across Germany during the heady days of the late-sixties and early-seventies. After the difficult, mysterious and, at times, rather inaccessible 'Opal' - the group's debut - came 'Embryo's Rache', a wonderful, hyper-kinetic mixture of jazz, afrobeat, avant-garde soundscapes and psychedelic rock, an album that has come to be regarded as one of the best representations of the outstanding Embryo ethos. Similar to the superb, cosmic fusion albums 'Steig Aus' and 'Rocksession', this 1971 album weaves a dense and intoxicating tapestry of exotic flutes, fuzzy organs, lysergic saxophone breaks and tribal percussion, almost as if someone had shoehorned the likes of Miles Davis, Fela Kuti and Amon Duul II into a smoky, incense-filled room for a never-ending jam. Those with an ear for free-form sounds should find a world of happiness here, the only real disappointment being that 'Embryo's Rache' has to, unfortunately, come to an end. An effortless, flowing collection of long, trippy and vibrant compositions filled with all sorts of strange instrumental detours, this is a wonderful album from a much underrated group. Fabulous late-night entertainment.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Embryo's Reise by EMBRYO album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.12 | 28 ratings

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Embryo's Reise
Embryo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars After 2 disappointing releases and right before they would dive into the 80s (and go under in the process), Embryo made one last solid musical statement, a 2LP representing a total mix of all sides of Embryo: fusion, punkish krautrock, jamming, funk, world music and experimentation.

The only version you are likely to get hold of these days is the 1CD release, an issue missing 3 tracks of which the master tapes have gone missing. The flow of the album is quite strange, with some strange jumps between styles, sometimes within one single song such as the bare kraut-punk of 'Er Ist Wie's Ist" that is cut up with a relaxed middle-eastern jam with tablas and flutes. I usually reshuffle the order to be able to start off with the more rocking material and leaving the world music improvisation till the end. Whatever the style they do the quality remains fairly good, but the peaks into excellence are the instrumental tracks such as the world-beat/funk/rock of 'Road to Asia' and the entrancing percussion fired jam of 'Farid'.

A great return to form that ends just slightly under their many excellent releases from the first half of the 70s. 3.5 stars it is. Recommended to fans of percussion and middle-eastern world music traditions especially.

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 Apo-Calypso by EMBRYO album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.65 | 15 ratings

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Apo-Calypso
Embryo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Bilkaim

5 stars Apo-Calypso was the first Embryo album I heard. And it was an amazing introduction to a band - or better to say to a family of extraordinary musicians coming from different parts of the world - which has made one the finest contributions in fusing jazz-rock with a variety of ethnic elements, from Western and Central Africa to India and China. With Apo-Calypso Embryo was still in the framework of jazz and rock, with notable hippy atmoshere, offering music for pleasure of a unique kind. But the last song, the 14 minutes long Getalongwithasong, clearly announces the upcoming shift to more expressed Eastern influences and affinities, which would become so delightfully dominant in their 1979. masterpiece - Reise. The song is a nice piece of work, flavoured by echanting presence of great collaborators Shoba and Trilok Gurtu, years before their very good independent effort 'Usfret'. The rest of the album expresses the mastership of Christian, Roman, Uwe, Michael and Butze, the most stabile Embryo line-up in the seventies, resulting in five great songs, mostly instrumental, like Knast-Funk, Amnesty Total and Together. Knast-Funk contains a freakish hammond organ solo of Michael Wehmeyer - probably the most exciting part of the album. I admit Apo-Calypso is not the best Embryo album, but, in my opinion, still deserves no less than five stars.

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 Embryo's Reise by EMBRYO album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.12 | 28 ratings

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Embryo's Reise
Embryo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The first six EMBRYO albums are all classics in my opinion but many add this one to the list and for good reason. Released later (1979) it's a unique album in their catalogue in that it is the product of their (including families) voyage (riese) to Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.They would play with local musicians on their travels and of course record it. Check out the list of guest musicians and especially the names of some of these instruments many of which i've never even heard of. Some great pictures in the liner notes, in fact there was even a film of this whole journey which is difficult to find apparently.This cd version is missing three tracks that the double LP originally had as the master tapes were apparently damaged. Still we get about 72 minutes of music and perhaps the best example i've heard of East meets West when it comes to music. OUT OF FOCUS guitarist Remigius Drexler helps out as does MISSUS BEASTLY's Josch Friedemen on flute.This was recorded between September / 78 and May / 79. I should mention that the RYM site has this rated as the best EMBRYO album followed by "Rocksession" while Gnosis has this rated fifth with "Steig Aus" and "Rocksession" taking the top two places.

"Strasse Nach Asien" or "Road To India" is the best track in my opinion. Flute-like sounds to start then percussion and atmosphere before the drums join in.Guitar and bass follow. I like this ! Vocals before 2 minutes. It settles before 5 1/2 minutes.This is cool too. It picks back up at 7 1/2 minutes with piano, violin and more.

"Lost Scooters" has reserved vocals and a mellow sound.Violin comes in then female vocal melodies. It picks up with male vocals. "Anar Anar" is very Eastern sounding with a flute-like instrument, percussion and a string-like instrument.

"Es Ist Wie's Ist" opens with a conversation including laughing. The music kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes.This is HAWKWIND-like with abrasive guitar and fast paced vocals and drumming. It settles late. "Kurdistan" is all about the beat. Aggressive guitar around a minute. I like it !

"Far East" has percussion and more then vocals before a minute. Spoken words before 3 minutes then the piano joins in.Vocal melodies a minute later. Cool stuff. "Chan Delawar Khan" is my least favourite simply because this sounds like a Middle-Easern song with no Western leanings at all.

"Farid" kicks in with percussion a minute in. Flute and other sounds too. It sounds like vibes after 2 minutes and later. We get a percussion solo after 8 minutes.

"Cello, Cello" reminds me of CAN with that shuffling rhythm. Female vocals come in after 1 1/2 minutes and she really impresses me. "Rog De Quadamuna Achna" is very Middle-Eastern but is catchy. Fast paced percussion comes in at 5 minutes.

"Hymalaya Radio" ends it in a similar manner as the previous track.

Some hits and misses for sure but this really comes off as a voyage to another land where the temps are hot with plenty of desert and camels.

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 We Keep On by EMBRYO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.25 | 47 ratings

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We Keep On
Embryo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars First and most importantly thankyou Bonnek for allowing me to finally hear this album. I tell you this band is one of the most impressive bands in all of Germany, mixing that Jazz / Rock style with Krautrock along with that ethnic flavour.Their first six albums are absolute classics and i'm really looking forward in the next few weeks of spending time with all six to come up with some sort of a 1-6 list. Released in 1973 "We Keep On" has a gorgeous cover and the music to match. Honestly I was moved a few times emotionally by what I was hearing. And man the electric piano sounds amazing on here.

"No Place To Go" is drum led and quite imressive I might add early on as the guitar comes in and lights things up.Vocals follow and this is all surprisingly aggressive.The sax replaces the vocals then the guitar returns and it's on fire.The sax and electric piano lead 4 minutes in. So good ! Piano after 7 minutes then sax after 9 minutes before the flute and guitar arrive before 11 1/2 minutes.

"Flute And Sax" has these sparse sounds of percussion and ethnic sounds.The flute joins in then it picks up 3 1/2 minutes in. Sax before 5 minutes.

"Ehna, Ehna, Abu Lele" is my favourite track. Vocals and percussion to start then the sax comes in after 1 1/2 minutes along with electric piano. Nice. Love this section that actually continues right to the end of this almost 9 minute song. In this section we get some sax and it turns dissonant before 5 1/2 minutes then the guitar follows. An absolutely incredible track !

"Hackbrett- Dance" has Indian aboe, African percussion, mirimba and these dulcimer-like sounds (thanks Gnosis). "Abdul Malek" opens with percussion and then another percussion comes in followed by drums then vocals. It's fuller before 1 1/2 minutes. Sax 3 minutes in to end it.

"Don't Come Tomorrow" is vocal, piano and flute led early and is laid back. Bass and light drums join in then mellotron after 2 minutes.

"Ticket To India" is a 16 minute bonus track. Love this trippy track with those spacey sounds. Electric piano is prominant as well. Guitar comes in after 5 minutes then the sax rips it up before 7 1/2 minutes. It settles back with mellotron then the sax returns with other sparse sounds as the mellotron continues.Great song ! EMBRYO were one of the best bands to come out of Germany and this is my favourite album by them. 5 stars !

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