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AMON DÜÜL

Krautrock • Germany


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Amon Düül biography
Amon Düül were a huge musical collective that had a spectacular appearance in a tv-show in 1968. Before they put out their first album they split though, and one half set off to form Amon Düül 2 (see there). The others kept the name Amon Düül and in 1969 published the first Krautrock album ever, "Psychedelic Underground". It was very badly produced, and the music consisted of long improvisations, but after this album no other band needed to have an inferiority complex. Their second official album "Paradieswärts Düül" (1970) is much better produced and has a folky touch. The albums "Collapsing - Singvögel Rückwärts", "Disaster" and "Experimente" stem from the same session as "Psychedelic Underground" and are of similar nature; they were published after the band had split up already.

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AMON DÜÜL discography


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

2.26 | 47 ratings
Psychedelic Underground
1969
2.26 | 15 ratings
Collapsing
1970
3.10 | 42 ratings
Paradieswärts Düül
1970
1.64 | 21 ratings
Disaster
1972
2.35 | 10 ratings
Experimente
1983

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3.00 | 1 ratings
Eternal Flow
1970

AMON DÜÜL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Collapsing by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.26 | 15 ratings

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Collapsing
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

1 stars The second LP from the first Amon Düül offers more of the same rumblings from the counterculture jungle. It sounds an awful lot (with emphasis on the awful) like the band's mind-numbing 1969 debut album, "Psychedelic Underground', and with good reason: the tapes came from the same loosely organized, lo-tech recording session.

The second edition might actually be slightly more varied than the earlier effort. But the thrill (such as it was) is long gone, and the sequel can't hide what it really was: leftovers that didn't survive the first round draft. Don't blame the hippies, though. They unwittingly sold the rights to that legendary jam session to producer Peter Meisel, who would continue releasing outtakes under the Amon Düül banner for years to come, cynically riding the coattails of the more successful Amon Düül II.

That backstory hardly improves the music, however. There seems to be less guitar and more drums this time around, all played with disarming amateur enthusiasm (i.e. badly). It might be unfair, but not inaccurate, to point out that the buzzing insects heard in the album's closing track "Natur (auf dem Lande)" exhibit more natural talent than the players themselves.

But in the end I have to admit I find the whole thing fascinating, in a tortured sort of way. Amon Düül was Punk Rock before Punk even existed: uncompromising and raw, but with the purest of hippie ideals behind it. The album makes a better political statement than a musical presentation, advocating creative freedom (without the straightjacket of talent), community fellowship, and of course a lot of mind-altering chemicals.

This may be the first time in over 1,153,473 reviews and ratings from the 53,770 members of these Archives that a single star was used as a mark of honor. If your taste in music runs to extremes, consider Amon Düül the first entrée in a Krautrock Paleo Diet.

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 Experimente by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.35 | 10 ratings

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Experimente
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Here's an album that almost deserves the scorn normally directed at the first Amon Düül. I say "almost" because the jury is still out (believe it or not), and I'll be arguing for the defense a few paragraphs down. But first, a tough question from the prosecution:

Can this really be yet another collection of outtakes from that single, primitive guitar-and-percussion orgy that spawned three AD albums already, a decade earlier? The CD has no information about the music or the recording, which leads me to suspect a belated illegitimate release, aimed at exploiting the marquee value of the better known, more highly regarded Amon Düül II.

If you've already suffered through other AD albums (like the aptly-titled "Collapse" and "Disaster", or the awesome barrage of "Psychedelic Underground"), this one will add nothing new to your experience. And if you've never heard the Neolithic noisemaking of the original Düül this would be the last place to start. The album collects two dozen identically non-titled fragments and false starts, most of them only a minute or two long, performed by one guitarist, one bass player, and a small army of amateur drummers hitting anything within reach.

Nevertheless, I can't quite bring myself to call it a bad album, even while it scrapes the crusty dregs from a long-empty barrel. It's true the momentum of every groove is killed at each arbitrary splice, with 23 cuts over 67 total minutes, all of them with the painful shock of a tooth being pulled, minus any anesthetic. But the first Düül, keep in mind, was more a communal tribe than a musical group. And the grooves themselves, plodding as they are, possess an almost ambient purity to them, like caveman party music before the discovery of fire.

The same radical monotony that damns the group in the ears of many listeners is also what ultimately redeems them, by removing the music from any aesthetic context or comparison. It is what it is, whether you love it or hate it, with no excuses or apologies offered. And that's an attribute of true artistic expression.

After holding their music at arm's length for too long, I've finally learned something valuable from the earliest Amon Düül: how to be less judgmental. Thus my initial one-star jerk of the knee is elevated here to a more thoughtful two-star rating. This one, for better or worse, is strictly for diehard fans...and I know they exist, somewhere.

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 Disaster by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1972
1.64 | 21 ratings

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Disaster
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm tempted to award this notorious (and notoriously well-titled) document five contrary stars, but I'm afraid such an act of dissent would only make me seem even more of a crackpot than I really am.

The prevailing opinion of the album, on this site and elsewhere, regards it as the equivalent of a kindergarten drum class, dragged out to an excruciating 68-minutes of unskilled clattering and bashing. A single, strummed electric guitar (and a little stoned scat singing, buried in the uproar) is the only link to anything resembling genuine music; otherwise it's a radical '60s version of The Gong Show, with a blacksmith's anvil (and a ton of bongos) instead of an actual gong. Even idle daydreams of a topless Uschi Obermeier smacking her tom-toms aren't enough to save it.

And yet, after sixty-plus minutes of uninterrupted exposure, the whole thing can begin making a warped sort of sense. A full hour of amateur Krautrock drumming by obvious non-musicians will sometimes have that effect: wearing down your aesthetic defenses and eroding your critical inhibitions.

This was the band's third album, all of them supposedly culled from a single, monster jam session, three years earlier. By this point you might expect it to represent the bottom scrapings of a very shallow barrel, and it's true that the energy level can't compare to the apocalyptic chaos of "Psychedelic Underground", the initial gleaning from 1968.

But the less hectic pacing actually improves the music (and here I'm using the word 'music' only in its most generic sense). None of the tracks has a real beginning or end; the edits merely interrupt a casual performance in progress. But the total effect is something (slightly) more than the sum of its haphazard parts, showing evidence of nominal post-production structure in places. There's even a surprising nod to The Beatles, in the song "Yea Yea Yea (Zerbeatelt)": a sixty-second cover of "I Should Have Known Better", from "A Hard Day's Night".

Albums like "Disaster" function like an audio litmus test, useful in determining a) the listener's forbearance in the face of extremity, and b) his or her attitude toward the ephemeral boundary separating music from noise. Even the album's mirrored subtitle (Lüüd Noma) seems appropriate, describing a communal music experience almost backward in its non-musical naïveté.

An hour of the stuff is certainly a lot to sit through. But I'm sure there's a few misfits reading this who might learn to appreciate it, if only for the brazen arrhythmic middle finger raised defiantly against The Establishment.

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 Psychedelic Underground by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.26 | 47 ratings

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Psychedelic Underground
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I think a new rating benchmark needs to be established for the debut Amon Düül album. Instead of the usual stars, how about five energy-sucking black holes, denoting an absolutely essential but altogether unlistenable Prog Rock experience?

The First Amon Düül didn't even consider themselves a musical group. They were all simply fellow travelers in the same radical-political Munich commune, who liked to make a lot of noise together (maybe too much, considering their association with the Baader- Meinhof Gang). Eight credited musicians (and I use the term very loosely) were involved in this mess, the end result of a single 1968 jam that provided enough material for two other albums as well, one of them a double disc.

The multitude of talent (and I use the term even more loosely) sounds impressive until you realize six of them, including '60s sex kitten Uschi Obermaier, were strictly amateur drummers, flailing away on an assortment of toms, bongos, and at least one blacksmith's anvil (!) So it's hardly surprising to hear the album open with an unrelenting 17-minute percussion orgy, setting the mood for an album-long train wreck of Neanderthal grooves and haphazard edits, with lots of Dionysian pounding and shouting.

Half the track titles reference the Sandoz Laboratories, manufacturers of the first LSD, making the album more of a stoner homage to altered consciousness than a commercial music venture. In its own crude way the effort was more honest and effective than the later Ash Ra Tempel / Timothy Leary acid epiphany of "Seven Up", with a certain integrity all its own: totally primitive to be sure, but still intact. The raw, lo-fi sound of the LP is part of its enduring mystique, although the 'Underground' of the title might have been literal: it sounds like the microphones were buried under several feet of loose clay.

If you subscribe to the Philosophy of the World articulated by The Shaggs (see my PA avatar) you'll know that technical ability isn't always a requirement for musical expression. In other words, it's sometimes what you say, not how you say it, and the message here was one of pure anti-establishment vitality (i.e. noise).

In its own barbaric way it's an astonishing document, almost singlehandedly birthing the entire Krautrock scene. But that doesn't make the album any easier to sit through. And because my innovative gravity well rating idea will probably never fly, I'm leaning toward a more wishy-washy compromise: two conservative but entirely respectable stars, for diehard Krautrock scholars and other masochists.

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 Paradieswärts Düül by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.10 | 42 ratings

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Paradieswärts Düül
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A very loose translation of the title "Paradieswärts Düül" might be "We're Bound For Glory". And the vehicle of choice for the journey, in counterculture Munich circa 1970, was a radical communal lifestyle and, presumably, a lot of psychotropic drugs. It may not have been the best answer to the lingering reactionism of post-Nazi Germany. But at least the music was worthwhile, in retrospect more so than the movement itself.

Unlike the more dedicated musicians of Amon Düül II, the first incarnation of the band (actually more of a disorganized collective) was strictly an amateur project, on this album playing a haphazard assortment of flutes, bongo drums and acoustic guitars (I'm surprised the lineup on these pages doesn't list 'cannabis' as a primary instrument). After two very noisy free-form LPs the unexpected pastoral gentleness - more Krautfolk than Krautrock - might have been a conscious reaction against the urban guerilla warfare of the Baader- Meinhof gang: fellow travelers in the same Munich commune and early fans of the band.

How else to explain the meandering 17-minute mantra "Love is Peace", really just a three- minute exercise in Flower Power stretched to fill an entire side of vinyl. Or the grammatically- challenged "Snow Your Thirst and Sun Your Open Mouth", the title to which is evidence of either a failed German-English translation or a fried brain stem. The two best songs here weren't even on the original album: "Eternal Flow" and "Paramechanical World", a pair of haunting, minimal Krautballads first released as a 7-inch single and nicely positioned here as a bonus coda.

The musical skills of the ersatz group were never more than rudimentary, and worked better that way. At the start of a musical decade that would increasingly become a celebration of sometimes empty virtuosity and thematic overkill, the disarming innocence of the playing on this album remains the melodic equivalent of a breath of fresh air.

Well, maybe not entirely fresh. The album is very much a product of its era, and hearing it for the first time more than forty years later is like inhaling a lungful of secondhand pot: a mildly stimulating diversion at best, but high times to an old square like me.

It would take a more generous pair of ears to award "Paradieswärts Düül" anything more than three solid stars (for the music alone...give the album five stars for the integrity of its hippie idealism). And while it certainly casts a unique and peculiar spell, I'm not really tempted to explore any deeper into the anarchic rituals of earlier Amon Düül albums like the notorious 1969 freak out of "Psychedelic Underground". Pardon the lousy pun, but I think I'll quit while I'm a Head.

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 Collapsing by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.26 | 15 ratings

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Collapsing
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by Dobermensch

1 stars Not an album to be tossed aside lightly... it should be thrown down with great force.

Jeez! This really is poor. Much worse than I remembered. A shockingly stark, poorly produced, rambling mess of an album that holds no coherence whatsoever. Recorded by a bunch of drug addled stoners who could barely lift a fag to their mouths. They're as sharp as a pound of wet liver.

'Collapsing' is the name this album deserves. It's clearly a jam by a bunch of layabouts who clearly couldn't give a monkeys about how the final cut would end up sounding. Give me one person... just one... who says this is a masterpiece and I'll shake them by the hand (or throat).

An album without one redeeming quality whatsoever. Even the junkies in the background can't shake their bloody bangles in time with the out of time bongos!

When they finally realise that things are falling apart at the seems we get tape cuts of noise in an attempt to cover the ineptitude. These splices are the the best parts of the album... .

Unfortunately life's too short to lisen to this rubbish.

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 Paradieswärts Düül by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.10 | 42 ratings

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Paradieswärts Düül
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

2 stars The lineup on this album features twelve elements. I would wonder why just bongs, guitar and voice can be heard on the first 8 minutes of the first track, but I already know the Amon Duul's unlistenable debut album and this, at least, is not that bad.

The 8 mentioned minutes have the appearance of a song and when it becomes psychedelic for few seconds one could think that something good is coming. Unfortunately it falls back into the first album's poor recording (and poor writing, too). The untuned 12 strings guitar and the hippy/acid percussions don't enhance this monotonal song. Well, if you are around a fire with stoned friends smoking everything passes through your fingers it can sound good, but "the times ar ea-changed". this music is flat and repetitive. So repetitive to be hypnotic and this is probably its purpose. At least is better recorded and less chaotically improvised than the debut, that's the only other Amon Duul album that I know. "Peace, brothers".

"Snow Your Thirst and Sun Your Open Mouth" is a bit better. Bass and guitar are again repetitive, but it's seems that they have written something. This is not a bad track, even if I still can't understand where the 12 elements credited in this album are, or how many of them were awaken while the session was being recorded. What we have is two different tracks, really, as the second half is occupied by a guy trying to tune his guitar with the bass....at least this is what it seems.

A great new on the last track: two chords instead of one. This is a big enhancement in the songwriting. I know that tuning a 12 strings guitar is not very easy, but there's people able to do it, so why playing in this way on an album? I have to say that this is the thing with more similarities with music that can be found on this album, and this is really an enhancemnt respect to the debut that didn't contain anything of this kind.

I'm undecided between 1 and 2 stars, but being it not as bad as the debut so it can have two. Only for fans, if any.

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 Disaster by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1972
1.64 | 21 ratings

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Disaster
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

1 stars There is at least one great thing about this (double) album : its title. Great inspiration for sure!

Having said this, I guess that there little to be added. This band continues to "offer" the same noisy, fully jam-oriented stuff (can't call this music really). The sound is awful (not even of decent boot quality), the "tracks" are totally uninspired, lousy and quite dispensable.

I was a bit less harsh with their "Paradieswarts Duul" (two stars), but even this one was no big deal. But this one is probably the "climax" of all their albums so far. And it is a double one! Can you imagine the pain to endure? For about seventy minutes of this treat is quite a hard exercise.

Is there a track worth mentioning? Huuumm: I don't think so. Maybe under influence, but even so I am not sure that something would stand out from this "Disaster".

After a super dull "Broken", I can cope for a while with "Somnium" (but not for too long to be honest). It is probably the most digestible track of all featured here. If you would like to torture yourself, you can listen to this double album but you have been warned.

One star of course.

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 Paradieswärts Düül by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.10 | 42 ratings

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Paradieswärts Düül
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars After the release of the chaotic and dreadful "Psychedelic Underground" the band released several albums which were apparently taken from the same sessions. As the great "Ramones" have said: "Third verse, same as the first".

The "epic" opener is just a seventeen minutes poor piece of music (?). It is a mix of acoustic guitar and repetitive riff with poor vocals that lead to a total chaos again. As usual should I say. To be totally fair (as I have always tried to be), I have to recognize that the second track "Snow Your Thurst & Sun Your Open Mouth" is quite decent and acceptable.

Totally hypnotic and repetitive it is the best (?) piece of music featured by this band so far in their career as far as I am concerned. It is fully psychedelic and the ones who like the early live Floyd appearances should like this track.

Some might feel great while listening to "Paramechanische Welt", but I can't. To my ears, it is just another long and dull track. Some decent percussion are present, but it features weak acoustic guitar background and poor vocals as well. What else?

Well, some average psyche song actually; under the form of "Eternal Flow". Sure that those guys must have been pretty loaded to generate such a track (which is a bonus on the CD version).

At the end of the day, this album is better than their debut but I can't be laudatory about such a work. But maybe is this what's Kraut is all about.

Two stars.

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 Psychedelic Underground by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.26 | 47 ratings

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Psychedelic Underground
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

1 stars I guess that there are two ways to consider this album. The first one like some fellow colleagues mentioned is to grant this album because of its landmark for the Kraut genre. But IMHHO, the music performed was just avant-garde and unbearable for human ears.

Just try and listen to the whole "Ein wunderhubsches Madchen Traumt von Sandosa" (even the title of this song is quite an article on its own).

The sound which has to be endured during this seventeen minutes "epic" is even more garage oriented than most punk bands have ever produced. This is a total disaster: a huge waste of time to listen to this sort of track (let's be honest: one can't talk about music here). I was sooooo happy when this joke came to an end.

Each of the qualities mentioned above also applies to the short "Kaskados Minnelied". One chord wonder (?); but without the guts of the later "Adverts".

To listen to this album in a row is a nice little nightmare. Should I recommend trying and enduring this? Or just tell you to run away as fast as you can? I guess that the second option is the only choice. When I will add that the sound is awful, is there one SINGLE reason to like this album?

IMHHO: no. Not a single one. Unless being under "influence". But then seriously. Hype and joke: yes! Star rating: one. Overall feeling: ugly and repetitive to death. Gosh!

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Thanks to BaldJean for the artist addition.

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