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ISKANDER

Eclectic Prog • Germany


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Iskander biography
The band's prehistory began around 1973, when three youngsters (Peter Tassius on piano, Gabi Stolz on organ and Klaus Jürgen Knüppel on guitar)decide to make their own band. In 1974 the drummer Hajo Kann joined the band and they named themselves ISKANDER. The musical structure became more clear, and the bandmembers expanded their equipment: Stolz started playing flute, Tassius Fender Rhodes and Knüppel widened his approach with bass and ARP Synthesizer.
At this stage the band started doing their first live gigs.

In the beginning of 1977 the band became a quartet after Ulrich Mennenöh joined in in a role of a bass player, occasionally playing keyboards and guitars as well. The music is now mostly shaped of long improvisations on all instruments, as well as complex composed rhythms, harmonies and melodies.

In 1978 Peter Tassius withdraws from the band, being replaced by Michael Pichmann; while the musical direction got redefined again: elements of jazz, rock, classical, electronics; blending them into their own unique type of fusion. In the period 1978-1981 they were collaborating with Kassel ballet group and with the folk artist Roland Berens.

In 1981 Martin Firnis (guitar) replaced Gabi Stolz. The band did a "Boheme 2000" jazz-ballet project with this line-up (more precisely, music and libretto). In 1984 the singer Bernd Weißbach joined the quartet. The drummer Hajo started writing lyrics with philosophical or political depth.

The album "Mental Touch" appeared in 1987, described as masterpiece by some progrock critics. In 1988 Weißbach had left the band. The singing roles were managed by Klaus and Michael (and Hajo and Ulrich in the choir too) for the 1989 LP "Another Life". Bernd and Gabi particapated as guests. The songs became shorter, with more carefully crafted structure and more dense, but remaining in characteristical ISKANDER's style.

Rainer Weber joined the band in 1990, playing keyboards and percussion, and gradually taking a role of a singer. In 1990 onwards the band did a numerous tourings, stepping into poppier territories, and there are also plans for new musical projects.

Edited, shortened and translated from www.iskander.de by Moris Mateljan


Latest News
Iskander will have some gigs in Germany in 2010 after more than 10 years
Peter Tassius has re-entered the band after more than 30 years.
Lineup 2009:
Klaus Knüppel / keyboardss, guitar, vocals
Peter Tassius /...
read more

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ISKANDER discography


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

3.81 | 15 ratings
Boheme 2000
1986
3.44 | 9 ratings
Mental Touch
1988
2.40 | 5 ratings
Another Life
1990

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

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

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

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ISKANDER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Boheme 2000 by ISKANDER album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.81 | 15 ratings

BUY
Boheme 2000
Iskander Eclectic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars The current ISKANDER crew is providing a prolific blend of prog music styles here. Which I hardly had expected from a German outfit, to be honest. So much the more recorded and produced in the early 1980s, and under such an exceptional auspice. Fascinating! The band's predecessor story began in early 1973, right in the middle of the lively Krautrock phase. ISKANDER finally officially formed one year later, when drummer and further constant Hajo Kann joined. Many musicians came in, and left again within the next years. Where the band's music typically draws on an experimental and improvisational approach. It was 1979 then when they entered a further stage. One on their live gigs was accompanied by a jazz dance performance arranged by Kassel based ballet school founder André Doutreval.

Being rather satisfied with those experiences several further joint appearances were created on this basis after that. And then Doutreval asked the band to produce new music plus the libretto for his project 'Boheme 2000', which he also wanted to perform under live circumstances. Subsequently the band recorded music of around 80 minutes in total. Corresponding to the ballet implementation the initial release was shortened to a vinyl production and published in 1982. Seven years later a compact disc followed by the same label, consisting of the whole essential material, and renamed to 'Boheme', for some legal reason. That also means that the more complex and really challenging music stuff which hardly complemented with a dance performance was available right now. Multi-instrumentalist Klaus-Jürgen Knüppel is standing in the first place when it comes to the main compositional ideas regarding this special music project.

The line up also showcases Martin Firniss, band member solely between 1981 and 1984. Together with Michael Pichmann and Knüppel their varied acoustic and electric guitar playing is really impressing overall. You clearly can sense influences deriving from some trendy prog dinosaurs. But it all starts with a synth-pop intro, eh, don't give up. The opening extended Winterhagen suite actually showcases great diversity during the course of its four stages. Melancholic neo prog guitar excursions, jazzy flute and electric piano, some neat early Genesis reminiscent elegance. And l have to highlight Knüppel again due to his fine keyboard input. Draußen shows more folk tinged elements in the vein of Jethro Tull. The socio-critical Lang Lebe Amerika is taking aim at diverse US war crimes and military presence all over the world.

Rather Krautrock styled in the vein of Eulenspygel, Ihre Kinder or Floh De Cologne, including German vocals of course. Furthermore you won't miss typically hip and innovative(!?) track titles. Spelled in reverse Ocsid Gnicnad comes as a short persiflage on the common pop disco culture. And then the mysterious Psychedelic Gerd appears twice, obviously having catched a Pink Floyd virus mutant. A Gentle Giant referring interlude is provided and the fantastic The Greed comes influenced by the Canterbury Scene. It drives me crazy to imagine how this music was transferred into jazz ballet steps. Anyhow, André Doutreval's dance crew had the chance to perform this for at least five times in 1984. Despite the manyfold references to other bands the album is definitely authentic, delivers an entertaining experience.

 Boheme 2000 by ISKANDER album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.81 | 15 ratings

BUY
Boheme 2000
Iskander Eclectic Prog

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Actually their most famous album and their best. A great part of "Boheme 2000" put into the fore excellent intrumental pieces made of melodic keyboards sessions and exquisite, fresh & peaceful guitar lines. If you want to have an obvious comparaison you need to go on Novalis, Camel, Grobschnitt's musical experiences in symphonic prog rock featuring nice,pleasant, accessible sounds sometimes improvisational but always dense and dynamic. It is a keyboard / guitars based band with talented musicians and a great feeling, delivering both intense and technical compositions. An easy listening and recommended effort!
Thanks to ProgLucky with latest additions Snow Dog for the artist addition.

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