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XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL

Krautrock • Germany


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Xhol Caravan / Xhol biography
XHOL was one of the first bands who participated at the send of the 60s to the launch of the Krautrock movement in Germany. Nevertheless their music cannot be categorised. Their roots came from rhythm'n blues with soul tendencies. With their second album "electrip" they rapidly found their own style which can be considered as an original fusion of free jazz, psychedelic rock and electronic experimentations. Very dynamic their jazz rock can sometimes be compared with the spirit of the psychedelic soul developed by SOFT MACHINE. However the unusual use of electric instruments and electronic manipulations made XHOL absolutely unique. After "Electric", the band carries on their musical adventure with two great and totally free jazz rock albums. Dominated by endless, electric and cool improvisations "Hau Ruk" is a must for fusion and jazz lovers. Their last studio album "Motherf**kers GmbH" recorded in 1972 is a monument. All the compositions have their own feelings, sometimes delivering captivating and powerful blues, kraut, and jazz elements. However this album put the stress on a second fascinating side of XHOL's musical universe: experimental organ works and psych/ folk interludes. This last album is nearer to Krautrock mesmerizing musical themes, more twisted, spacey and devoted to avant-garde. XHOL's influence on a bench of german prog bands and on the adepts of free rock music in general is undeniable.

: : : Philippe Blache, FRANCE : : :

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XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL discography


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XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.75 | 4 ratings
Get In High
1967
3.38 | 32 ratings
Electrip
1969
3.48 | 18 ratings
Motherfuckers G.M.B.H & Co. KG
1972

XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.40 | 6 ratings
Altena 1969
1969
3.76 | 24 ratings
Hau-RUK
1970
4.00 | 5 ratings
Motherfuckers Live
2001
3.67 | 3 ratings
Altena 1970
2006
4.00 | 2 ratings
Essen 1970
2010

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XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Motherfuckers G.M.B.H & Co. KG by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.48 | 18 ratings

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Motherfuckers G.M.B.H & Co. KG
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars The least we can say is that Xhol's last album is a typical Xhol thing, but they certainly didn't worry about dressing it up (most basic and untidy sleeve), other than give an offensive (for some) name. From what I know, MF is a posthumous release, since they'd disbanded by now and this album is made from various studio tidbits that predate their previous live album.

The opening Radio track tuning will feature glimpse of their early days, when they called themselves Soul Caravan and other Xholian weirdness, but right after (and we're already in the third track by then), we have an experimental drone by a slow almost-10-mins Organ Solo. You'll find further Hammond madness, in the following First Day but this time accompanied with a haunting flute, excellent bass and hypnotizing drums. On the flipside, Grille features crickets summer calls mixed in with flutes and bongos buried in. Very basic, and to be honest, without the slightest interest: basically a waste of 7 minutes on an album. The closing 13-mins Love Potion 25 is really where most of the substance of this album resides, the only sung-track with excellent Hammond and great sax lines, sometimes nearing dissonance. Definitely great stuff, where you can hear their early soulish soul mixed in with their improvisation.

MF is well in the line of Electrip and their Hau-Ruk live album, with plenty of usual madness. It might be a collection of tidbits, but the amalgam is well worth the acquisition if you're into their previous albums, despite the near-void of the 7-mins Grille. In both side-closing tracks, you can be reminded of Traffic's second era.

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 Hau-RUK by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Live, 1970
3.76 | 24 ratings

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Hau-RUK
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

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

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.

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 Electrip  by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.38 | 32 ratings

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Electrip
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych / Avant / Neo 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.

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 Hau-RUK by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Live, 1970
3.76 | 24 ratings

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Hau-RUK
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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.

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 Motherfuckers G.M.B.H & Co. KG by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.48 | 18 ratings

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Motherfuckers G.M.B.H & Co. KG
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

Review by Dobermensch

3 stars Apparently 'Xhol Caravan' lost the 'Caravan' moniker so as not to be confused with the Canterbury band of the same name.

I don't know why they bothered. They're as dissimilar as a loaf of bread and a carton of milk.

'Orgelsolo' - is a really dull and uninspiring track with mind numbingly bad keyboards which veer off in no direction whatsoever making me very annoyed. Things pick up a bit with 'Side One First Day' where the keyboardist, gives it his all. Unfortunately it's tuneless and random at best. 'Grille' goes on for ages with some crickets making the sound that crickets make before a bit of flute appears. Happily the flute and crickets get along famously, creating an atmosphere that belongs in Egypt and sounds quite nice really. Quite 'Floydy' circa 1970 in many respects but not as well recorded.

The 13 minute 'Love Potion 25' finally sees some vocals enter the foray. All of a sudden things burst into life with big fat organs all over the place. This is the best tune on the album making up for the previous rubbish I've had to endure even though there's a lot of 'blues' feel to it. There's horns, jazz bass and nutty vocals all over the place lifting this album up to a 3 star rating rather than the 2 it was dive-bombing towards.

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 Electrip  by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.38 | 32 ratings

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Electrip
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

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.

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 Hau-RUK by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Live, 1970
3.76 | 24 ratings

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Hau-RUK
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

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!

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 Hau-RUK by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Live, 1970
3.76 | 24 ratings

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Hau-RUK
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Electrip  by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.38 | 32 ratings

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Electrip
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Hau-RUK by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Live, 1970
3.76 | 24 ratings

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Hau-RUK
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & 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.

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