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THRICE MICE

Krautrock • Germany


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Thrice Mice biography
A sextet from Hamburg, playing the patented, distinctive German type of progressive jazz-rock typified by underground legends like Xhol or Out Of Focus (2nd & 3rd album). The leading soloist in Thrice Mice was Wolfgang Buhre. Vocalist Karl-Heinz Blumenberg had little to do most of the time. Their self-titled album was recorded during November and December 1970 in Hamburg and released on Phillips in 1971. Buhre often tried to copy the wah-wah sax style of Ian Underwood of Mothers Of Invention, this was most apparent on opening track "Jo Joe". On "Vivaldi" the three soloists were playing duets with themselves in turn! Minnemann's organ sound was high, thin and cranky in a late sixties' way. The distinctive German underground sound (rooted in jazz) marked the track "Torekov". After a couple of years, the group resurfaced as Altona and made two further albums for RCA in 1974 and 1975.
Style - Underground jazz-progressive rock
Similar Artists: Altona (first album), Blodwyn Pig, Catapilla (second album), Xhol, Colosseum.
Their album is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for underground jazz-prog-rock fans.

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3.65 | 31 ratings
Thrice Mice
1971

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THRICE MICE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Thrice Mice by THRICE MICE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.65 | 31 ratings

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Thrice Mice
Thrice Mice Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars I have to admit that i avoid albums that have hideous cover art along with bad band names for the most part. After all, if a band can't lure you in with some eye-catching visuals and a clever moniker then why would i want to check out the music? Well, as the old adage goes, never judge a book by its cover and that is exactly the case for this classic Krautrock band THRICE MICE which formed all the way back in 1966 as a beat pop band but evolved with its native Germany into a much more sophisticated group of clever musicians. BTW the ridiculous album cover makes more sense if you take in the entire fold out where it displays the polka-dotted damsel perched on a chair while six white mice lurk below. OK, German bands of the early 70s often reveled in nauseating lame album covers but if you are brave enough to dig deeper, often there is innovative and even mesmerizing music to be heard.

THRICE MICE got an earlier start than a lot of its Krautrock contemporaries with its members paying their dues in various local Hamburg based bands before congregating into the sextet of Wolfgang Buhre (tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet, percussion), Karl-Heinz Blumenberg (vocals, alto saxophone, percussion, flute, guitar), Werner von Gosen (guitar), Wolfram Minnemann (organ, piano, guitar), Arno Bredehöft (drums) and Rainer von Gosen (bass). All this talent meant that by the time the band went into the recording studio to craft its one and only self-titled album that emerged in the year 1970 that this was a tight-knit band that had already figured out how to craft its own sound and stand out amongst the early Krautrock initiates. With its values still firmly planted into the Beatlesque 60s with catchy hooks and sensual soul, THRICE MICE adopted all the different attributes of the nascent Krautrock scene and in the process created a unique mix of blues, jazz and classical complete with a touch of 60s psychedelia.

This album only featured four lengthy tracks with the shortest closing track "Fancy Desire" hitting the 8-minute mark. The opening track "Jo Joe" begins with a wailing saxophone that leads you to believe this is going to be some sort of Ornette Coleman inspired avant-garde noise-a-thon but after about two minutes of squawking sensationalism the band reveals its true nature and that is a very melodic blues based form of psychedelic rock that features double saxophone attacks with a soulful vocal presentation that overall reminds a bit of early Traffic. The band clearly was inspired more by the British scene rather than the escapist trends of the contemporary German scene as evidenced by the bonus tracks on newer editions that cover Bloodwyn Pig and Curved Air. The track displayed the band's unique metrology of trading off martial mod beats with psychedelic organs and a heavy brass contrapuntal process. Wow. Wasn't expecting the music to actually be cool!

The second track "Vivaldi" was a huge hit for THRICE MICE with classical interpretations redirected into fuzzy wah-wah guitars along with a rather soulful brass sound that reminds me of gypsy jazz. The various movements show the underlying classical motifs come out of the woodworks but then gracefully tucked away beneath an aggressive organ having a very wild ride as well as the jazzy brass components providing the ultimate call and response. This particular track was very popular in live settings. "Trakov," the lengthiest track at nearly 13 minutes starts out with a menacing organ freakery worthy of Amon Dull II territory but then tames itself to a slow drifting parade of detached slow moving psychedelic rock with a completely different sound than the previous two songs as the brass is set in the background and the lysergic organs and guitar effects strut their heft. The final "Fancy Desire" continues the oscillating organs cranking out classically inspired melodies but accompanied by a strong rock presence and overall feels more like the psychedelic rock of The Doors only with stronger connections to classical and jazz excesses. The horns exhibit a klezmer feel and the whole thing is quite surreal actually.

Wondering why i avoided this for so long due to the cover art, i'm utterly amazed at how beautiful this album is! Not only is it instantly addictive with ridiculously catchy melodic hooks but the ingenuity in perfectly fusing the blues, jazz, classical, psychedelic rock and ethnic elements is uncanny! THRICE MICE was so much better than the ridiculous cover art could ever imply and even the bonus tracks on the 2003 reissue are excellent. Think of this band as a mix of The Doors, a klezmer band, Chicago, Amon Duul II and maybe The Nice and you're on to something! Unfortunately this band folded in 1972 after Rainer von Gosen departed but both he and Karl-Heinz Blumenberg would collaborate together in their next band called Altona which released two albums. While THRICE MICE isn't even close to your typical Krautrock band of the era, this band managed to effortlessly straddle the line between 60s beat, psychedelic rock, jazz-rock and classical sensibilities without making anything sound forced or contrived. Not sure why this band is not more revered. If you love brassy jazz driven melodic rock with blues and classical underpinnings, this band is for you!

 Thrice Mice by THRICE MICE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.65 | 31 ratings

BUY
Thrice Mice
Thrice Mice Krautrock

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This singular album by Hamburg based band THRICE MICE is a nice example of early Krautrock exhibiting influences by Blodwyn Pig and Curved Air, both bands they're paying tribute to by cover versions added up on the CD re-release. After some local success and a gig on legendary Fehmarn festival in 1970 (where Jimi Hendrix gave his last concert) they disbanded in 1972 when Rainer von Gosen decided to leave. His brother Werner and Karl-Heinz Blumenberg continued their progressive jazz-rock style with the band ALTONA.

Thrice Mice which grew up from a beat school band originally presented here a quite noteable and for those days very unique blend of jazz elements, influences from classical themes and heavy rock using some technical sound effects that bring HAWKWIND into one's mind. Although the four compositions are basically rather melodic and straightforward they're highly enriched by improvising solos, intricate dual sax playing and use of big band-alike brass. The classically inspired "Vivaldi" was quite a big success for them when they played it live (can be heard as well on the CD release). Each one of the other three tracks is based on either a particular theme or story. "Jo Joe" is about someone's idiosyncratic philosophy, "Pancy Desiree" is inspired by Joachim Ringelnatz's novel "Fancy Desire" and "Torekov" is telling the very personal experiences of some band members with a Finnish girl on a camp tour in Sweden.

Overall this album is a quite unique and noteworthy one, certainly not to be considered essential but anyway good for 3 ½ stars. Highly recommended to collectors of rare and obscure German progressive albums!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Tuzvihar for the last updates

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