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LIMBUS 3 & 4

Krautrock • Germany


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Limbus 3 & 4 biography
LIMBUS 3 & 4 are an experimental Krautrock group from Heidelberg, Germany. Their 1969 debut "Cosmic Music Experience" featured the musicians Odysseus Artnern, Bernd Henninger and Gerd Kraus on various instruments. The experimentation with an odd array of instruments became the forte of the group, with heavy influences of ethnic world music, primarily African and Indian styles. The music was mostly acoustic and was fully improvised, integrating a fair degree of Viola, Percussive tribal rhythms on exotic instruments that Kraus acquired from friends who travelled to foreign continents. The use of tablas, sitar, bul-bul tarang, and various pipes added to the unusual sound, appealing to the hippie-commune of Heidelberg in the late 60s flower power counterculture era.

The debut was alternatively titled "New Atlantis" in reference to the one of the album tracks, that actually swallowed up an entire side of vinyl, the whole of side two. The album was followed the next year in 1970 by "Mandalas" as a quartet when the second percussionist Matthias Knieper joined. Wind instruments, droning voices and cosmic effects made the whole thing sound like some hallucinatory acid trip, as was intended and the band incorporated the use of piano, bass, cello, viola, violin, flute, recorder, oriental flute, plastic flute, totalophon, valiha faray, tsikadraha, tabras, tambourin, percussion. The band disbanded in 1971, but their music will appeal to Krautrock fans and those with an ear for psychedelic improvised experimental music.


---AtomicCrimsonRush (Scott Tuffnell)---

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LIMBUS 3 & 4 discography


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2.70 | 10 ratings
Cosmic Music Experience
1969
3.10 | 20 ratings
Mandalas
1970

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LIMBUS 3 & 4 Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cosmic Music Experience  by LIMBUS 3 & 4 album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.70 | 10 ratings

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Cosmic Music Experience
Limbus 3 & 4 Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The music of Limbus 3 was hardly proficient enough to qualify as avant-garde (meaning: the forefront of an artistic movement, which these guys certainly were not). Instead, they were content to function as motivated amateurs, with no real creative agenda beyond a noisy disregard for structure and form. At a time when music was learning how to liberate itself from the twin manacles of melody and rhythm, this was truly artless stuff, even when it skirted the ragged edge of an actual riff, usually by accident, and never for long.

But at the same time it's hard not to admire their slapdash, anything-goes attitude. "Oneway Trip" opens the album with a sudden cartoon 'sproinggg!' and a gust of laughter, which sums up the project nicely. Midway into the trip a cool groove actually develops...until it falls apart, of course.

A pair of brief, almost cheerful interludes follows. "Valiha" is named for one of the trio's more arcane instruments: a bamboo zither from Madagascar with a lovely bucolic sound. And "Brueghel's Hochzeitstanz" (Brueghel's Wedding Dance, featuring an obviously tipsy bridegroom) is even more playful: The Residents at pre-school, snacking on milk and graham crackers.

Which leaves the 22-minute "New Atlantis", subtitled "Islands Near Utopia" and likely filling the original album's entire B-Side. The track's length suggests an epic journey, but don't be misled: the fabled Lost Continent might have been an inspiration, but needless to say we're a long way from Eloy's "Ocean" here. On a purely aesthetic level it's little more than a Rorschach inkblot set to music, and the image it presents isn't a pretty one, full of atonal cello scrapes and other organic noises, all of them no doubt fabricated on the spot.

To best approach such hardcore noodling you only need to ask one question: were the performers actually listening to each other, or simply indulging in reckless noisemaking? I'm inclined to suspect more of the latter here, but in 1969 this kind of arbitrary improvisation served a greater purpose. Without such contrary impulses, would the full spectrum of Progressive Rock ever have evolved?

 Mandalas by LIMBUS 3 & 4 album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.10 | 20 ratings

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Mandalas
Limbus 3 & 4 Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Listening to this album for the first time, and looking at the generous three stars I'm prepared to give it, I have to seriously consider the possibility that I might have gone insane. If ever a group deserved to languish in sub-cult limbo it was the willfully obscure Limbus trio, newly rechristened in 1970 after hiring a fourth player. The amorphous project, a loose collective more than a professional band, was co-directed by the aptly named Odysseus Artner, like his namesake from ancient Greek mythology a genuine explorer, forever wandering uncharted oceans.

Operating at a hermetic distance from the usual Krautrock focal points of Düsseldorf, Munich, Berlin and Cologne, Limbus was one of the few German bands making noise in historic Heidelberg. And 'noise' is indeed the right word to describe their completely freeform way of making (more accurately, of approximating) music. The sound is vaguely Middle Eastern in approach and style, not unlike a lot of counterculture rock in the late '60s, but was given a token measure of authenticity by all the arcane ethnic instruments: tablas, tsikadraha, totalophon...plus other, even more esoteric devices, none of them played with any kind of fluency, and probably by choice.

It all adds up to an almost laughably inscrutable racket, hard to regard seriously as legitimate music, especially when the album opens with what sounds like a weekend birder's 10-cent duck call, followed by more than a half-hour of scraping strings, whistling woodwinds, random percussion, and unidentified noises from unknown sources (musical instruments? studio-modified flatulence?) Imagine a band of amateur dervishes vainly attempting to whirl in unison after too many hits of wacky Balkan tobacco, while bouncing with clumsy jubilation off the walls, the furniture, and each other.

The above paragraph might read like snarky hindsight derision, but really isn't. I'm not entirely convinced there was any real talent behind all the unscripted experimentation, but that in itself is a lesson worth remembering: sometimes virtuosity and skill are the enemies of true musical invention. If you can find a copy of the album by all means give it a spin, at least once. And if you agree that it has merit, there's plenty of room in this straightjacket I'm wearing...

(Collector's note: "Mandalas" was the second release on R.U. Kaiser's legendary Ohr record label, back when the signature album cover art featured dismembered doll bodies, courtesy of graphic artist Reinhard Hippen. The original gatefold LP sleeve also included a complimentary balloon (!), ideal for celebrating the outer limits of musical nonconformity or, when partially deflated, for plugging sensitive ears when the results approach the pain threshold.)

 Cosmic Music Experience  by LIMBUS 3 & 4 album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.70 | 10 ratings

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Cosmic Music Experience
Limbus 3 & 4 Krautrock

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars When comparing sound of Litmus 3's "Cosmic Music Experience" to other early freak-out kraut albums I have heard, the fine sound quality via proper recording strikes my senses first. Though the album tittle suggests to a coherent meditative pathway in style of Yatha Sidhra's sole masterpiece, this recording captures more confused avantagarde oscillations between acoustic free-jazz tryouts and flute-percussion uneducated duo ragas. The latter elements have their moments, as also the tones of upright bass and classical piano bring rejoicement of this reel allowing psychological analytic probabilities and aesthtetic sensations from the days of Amon Düül's "Psychedelic Underground". The dadaistic but stylistically coherent "spontaneous visit to the recording studio" of Odysseus Artnern, Bernd Henninger and Gerd Kraus exceed to capture both mentioned qualities than the referred Amon Düül record for me, but fails sadly to reach all potential within their reach. For me the curious elements on the sound merged to my vain attempt of searching human motives and personalities from the records similar to this, Blumen Des Exotischen Eises, Egypt is The Magick # etc.; There seems to be some interesting similarities of elements of collective subconsciousness on these atavistic recordings, but I wonder is their shimmer borne from their sonic and compositional characteristics, related tribal scene association's affection, or ability to mirror your own hidden thoughts upon the melody lines of joyless pipe? Possibly anyone could do this stuff also, which could be seen as a personal possibility, but not as a dominant rule for successful artistic expression. Those spontaneous performances reaching the vision of supernatural do not need more than this album has for their conjuration. I believe this record has qlimpses of it, but the lack of focus or abilities seems to slightly blur the wholeness. What seems most interesting is the idea of capturing glimpses of spontaneous psyche of Heidelberg hippies revelling on the soundwaves.
 Mandalas by LIMBUS 3 & 4 album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.10 | 20 ratings

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Mandalas
Limbus 3 & 4 Krautrock

Review by shantiq

4 stars ::: pure Tibetan Style Freak-out the like of which Angus Maclise [early Velvet ] would have been proud of..

It is scary music but then some would argue Krautrock as a shamanic cure for the excesses of the 1940s ; and therefore when some people say early Krautrock recordings from bands like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk [Organization] were pretty awful"

Well there were dissonant and anarchic by need if you take this shamanic-psychotherapeutic view of its entire raison-d'etre; its cultural function in the human family; the boil had to be lanced; and was successfully...

Krautrock became more civil, almost suburban later....

The music of Limbus is incredibly beautiful and moving :::]]] just because it carries all of these things and yes it is dissonant ; mildly unnerving ; some of it might make you jump...

It is more avant-garde and scary jazz than it is Kraut; but yet it is Early Krautrock for all the aforementioned

It is beautiful and should be played in a Tibetan Meditation Hall with swathes of incense flowing about

NJOI

 Mandalas by LIMBUS 3 & 4 album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.10 | 20 ratings

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Mandalas
Limbus 3 & 4 Krautrock

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Limbus 4's one and only outing is a bit of a tuneless dirge for its 37 minute duration. Primal sounds permeate throughout 'Mandalas', with lots of clay pots being thwacked as dreary vocals chant in the background. Not exactly what I'd term Krautrock...

Still, it's a hell of a lot better than the even more hidden and impossible to find Limbus 3 - now that was a REAL downer.

I guess the front cover could sum things up better than my rambling. It looks like it sounds. 'Mandalas' tries the native American Red Indian approach to creating music but it falls somewhat flat. Free-form acoustic percussive laments is about as good a description as I can muster.

'Plasma' - the last track, has lots of more tuneless moments - this time in the form of stringed instruments similar to Tangerine Dream's 'Genesis' on 'Electronic Meditation' .

'Mandalas' is okay, but you really have to be in the right mood for an album like this particularly with those damn kazoos ringing in your ears. For originality alone I'll give this 3 stars rather than the two it probably deserves.

Don't expect a pub knees up while listening to this one.

 Mandalas by LIMBUS 3 & 4 album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.10 | 20 ratings

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Mandalas
Limbus 3 & 4 Krautrock

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars As their previous effort, "Mandalas" is a very difficult but passionate listening, only built on synthesis harmonies, following almost absent, invisible melodic lines and making a large part to micro silence and sound environnement. "Kundalini" is a fine exemple of cloudy experimental improvisations dominated by strange musical inflexions written for acoustic instruments (flute, piano, cello...) , the movement between the instruments is inexact, often syncopated, giving a paranoiac dimension to the ensemble (the unclear "Heiku" with its embedded virtual lines). "Dhyana" is an other singular instrumental, featuring long monotonous organic chords with strange, enigmatic wind instruments and droning voices...an allusion to a "trip" , producing hallucinatory effects on the consciousness. Silence / Time / Eternity are the real musical dimensions of this "cosmic" music. Not really beautiful but it reveals quite evocative states of mind. Recommended for those who like the most radical, agitated parts of krautrock experimentations (Zweistein, Anima...)
 Cosmic Music Experience  by LIMBUS 3 & 4 album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.70 | 10 ratings

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Cosmic Music Experience
Limbus 3 & 4 Krautrock

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This band figures among the pioneers of proto-industrial krautrock next to Kluster. Totally weird and damaged this first release includes four long experimental suites made of disturbing, chaotic, claustrophobic and really dark sounds. The musicians use a wide range of effects obtained by different electronic gadgets, distorted electric elements and collage techniques. "Oneway Trip" starts in pure experimentations to reach the top with an amazing psych-jam made in a total disorder, including an insistent repetitive motif led by the bass guitar. On the edition I've got track number 2 (called "im tempo eines") is entirely built around "samples" taken from an orchestral piece in major. A big and funny contrast compared to the previous tune. A lot of derision, invention and a radical taste for "happening", disappointing revisited classics and non common uses of instruments. Primitive and really non-conventional compositions for a nice essay in "dark waters". We can hear a rather closed musical experience in MOOLAH "Woe Ye Demons Possessed".
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to AtomicCrimsonRush for the last updates

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