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A.R. & MACHINES

Krautrock • Germany


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A.R. & Machines biography
Producer, composer and musician from Hamburg (Germany), Achim Reichel is a key figure in the explosion of krautrock. Reichel was first a founder member of "The Rattles" at the beginning of the 60's. In 1968 he formed the "Wonderland band" with the drummer Frank Dostal. Late 60's he launched his first solo musical project called A.R and the machines. Musically it provides a supreme sonic musical voyage turned to cycled psychedelic guitar playing with lot of echoes and delay. The first album was published in 1971 in collaboration with Frank Dostal. The album presents an ambitious collection of spacey rock jams featuring a lot of electronic effects and arrangements. This album prefigures "acid" trips of krautrock guitar / minimal electronic explorers like Manuel Gottsching. The guitar freakouts and the weird imagination of the first effort continue to prevail in the following inspired, confused and various Die Grune Reise, A.R. IV, Autovision (generally a mix between guitar soudscapes and psych pop orientated songs). Reichel decided to abandon the project after 5 studio albums. Today A.R and the machines remains a high class standard of hypnotic space-echo guitar inventions.

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Die Grune Reise: Green JourneyDie Grune Reise: Green Journey
Import
Tangram 2010
Audio CD$20.49
$17.08 (used)
Echoes From Times of the Green Journey / Echos Aus Zeiten Der Grunen ReiseEchoes From Times of the Green Journey / Echos Aus Zeiten Der Grunen Reise
Import
Polydor 1998
Audio CD$18.00
$48.50 (used)
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A.R. & MACHINES discography


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A.R. & MACHINES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.01 | 62 ratings
Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey)
1971
4.04 | 47 ratings
Echo
1972
3.10 | 14 ratings
A.R 3
1972
4.19 | 43 ratings
A.R. IV
1973
2.85 | 8 ratings
Autovision
1974

A.R. & MACHINES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.50 | 6 ratings
Erholung
1975

A.R. & MACHINES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.00 | 2 ratings
Echos Aus Zeiten Der Grünen Reise
1998

A.R. & MACHINES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Come On People / I'll Be Your Singer, You'll Be My Song
1971

A.R. & MACHINES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A.R 3 by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.10 | 14 ratings

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A.R 3
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars On AR3 Achim Reichel led his A.R. & MACHINES band into a jazzier straight forward almost pop song realm. The head-in-the-clouds trippiness from the first two albums has been suppressed to the point that the echo guitars and other sound embellishments have been tamed and only act as a subordinating sound for the songs. The songs on this third release are merely ok and I have a hard time getting into this one. The vocal tracks really rub me the wrong way. Did anyone practice or was this just thrown together in the wee hours of the night? There are some nice tracks that evoke the spirit of the first two albums but overall in every way this album is inferior to what came before and the two that come after.

The horn backup is a nice touch and it's not the idea of how to direct the band that is the problem, it's the execution. Luckily these ideas would come to fruition on the next album "A.R. IV" which I would recommend over this one any day. However, as a fan of this sound I am more than happy to give this a spin every now and again because it does signify a major shift in the band's approach to their music. As always there are countless musicians helping out and the woven tapestry of sound is a pleasant one but unless you are a major fan as I am you will probably be more interested in "Die Grüne Reise (The Green Journey)," "Echo" or "A.R. IV."

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 Echo by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.04 | 47 ratings

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Echo
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Krautrock is a strange little subgenre in the world of progressive rock. I am utterly amazed at how varied it is. Bands have distinctly different approaches leading to their strange tripped out worlds. With Can the focus is on the rhythm and percussion, with Agitation Free on the electronic effects and percussion, with Amon Duul II the pummeling bass, hypnotic guitar and crazy vocal antics. Despite all these different strategies the final outcome must be spacey, psychedelic and tripped out. No one achieved that better than A.R. & MACHINES in my opinion. True I have not experienced every single Krautrock band at this point but I have at least sampled quite a few and fully dived into countless others and as of this day no one takes me to Strawberry Fields more than this band led by the former German pop star turned tripmeister extraordinaire.

On the first album "Die grüne Reise - The Green Journey" the band already succeeded in making one of the trippiest albums I had ever heard but they still included some of the pop song structures from the Rattles days and twisted and echoed them into a somewhat familiar trippiness. On ECHO they let all that go and focus on the most surreal soundscapes they can muster up. Many of the same sound effects can be found on this second release. There are echos and feedback, vocal craziness and pleasant melodies, loops and insanity galore, however these five tracks are long sprawling epics that have distinct segments that morph into one another.

The long list of instruments come and go as they please. Often they are on the playground together doing their thing in total unity and then one might just drop out and then another join in. It's all very random but at times very disciplined. Have I mentioned this is turned up to 11 on the trippiness scale? At times this reminds me of proto-psybient like the Shpongle of the 70s. If you like trance inducing soundscapes then check this out. If you can't deal with repetitive almost drone-like at times instruments pummeling notes into strange patterns then you probably should look somewhere else, but I on the other hand find this hypnotizing and finding myself wanting to listen to this while watching "Alice In Wonderland" on a 3-D TV.

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 Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey) by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 62 ratings

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Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey)
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is definitely Krautrock but unlike most contemporaries that were distancing themselves from the blues and rock influences of the 60s, A.R. & MACHINES fully utilized a blues based guitar sound on this album. What makes this so trippy is that they added guitar loops, effects and feedback like there's no tomorrow. It can sound like a very accessible sound one moment and then suddenly burst into extremely trippy worlds where the only thing that's for sure is that echos and feedback are plentiful, but all with an underlying catchiness.

Achim Reichel (A.R.) started out in Germany quite innocently as a pop-star in the beat group The Rattles in the 60s and actually played alongside The Beatles at a few points. They were successful on the charts in several countries and were the first German group to ever hit the charts in the US. After many years of doing the pop thing, Achim opted for something different. Something very different. Taking with him the pop sensibilities of his past, he added a healthy dose of surreality and trippiness making this debut as A.R. & THE MACHINES one strange bird.

This was an instant classic for me as I love the combo effect of the accessible and the strangeness. The highlight for me is the final cut Wahrheit Und Wahrscheinlichkeit (Truth And Probabilty) which has to be THE most tripped out piece of music ever. It is all echo all the time with Mr Reichel basically yelping out whatever strikes his fancy at the moment with the occasional guitar breaking in for a little break. This fantastic album satisfies my innermost psychedelic needs time and time again. One of the most tripped out albums in existence!

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 A.R. IV by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.19 | 43 ratings

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A.R. IV
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is Achim Reichel's fourth album released in 1973. It's not as experimental or "out there" as his double album "Echo" but we do get a long lineup of musicians like we did on "Echo". This record is divided into two long suites.

The first suite is called "Vita" and it's divided into three tracks that blend into one another. "Cave Explorers And Birdmen" has this rhythm that eventually kicks in and builds. Vocals 4 1/2 minutes in but they don't hang around long as the band gets back to jammin'. It blends into "The Man In The Kidleather" where we get such a great sound as they continue to jam. It starts to settle back 7 1/2 minutes in and blends into "Thin Is The Skin Of Ecstacy" . It settles back quickly with guitar then that rhythm kicks in with recorder and vocals before a minute. It settles down after 4 minutes to a calm.

The second side long suite is called "Aqua" and the song is titled "Every Raindrop Longs For The Sea". Thunder and rain dominate the sound here as gentle guitar and recorder join in. The storm subsides before 2 minutes and you can hear the birds singing 2 1/2 minutes in. Some strange sounds join in before 13 minutes and we also can hear the waves. Keyboards around 16 minutes as the waves continue with percussion. Sax after 19 minutes. The song starts to wind down after 21 minutes. The sea gulls and waves become more prominant here.

This is my second favourite A.R. & MACHINES record after "The Green Journy". A must for Krautrock fans.

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 Echo by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.04 | 47 ratings

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Echo
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Achim Reichel's second album from 1972 is a double released the year after "The Green Journey". This isn't as good in my opinion and despite the fact there are a lot of guests helping out it doesn't feel like it. It's not really that samey and repetitive (although there is that) but it does have the same mood and vibe throughout. It's somewhat spacey with acoustic and electric guitars leading the way with percussion. There are vocals at times including Klaus Schulze of all people. We get clarinet, sax, jew harp, orchestration and samples. "The Green Journey" was love at first listen while this one is less dynamic and more hypnotic and trippy.

We get five long tracks over two albums resulting in over an hour and twenty minutes of music. I'll use the English song titles. "Invitation" opens with sounds that pulse and echo as picked guitar helps out. Strummed guitar joins in before 1 1/2 minutes. It builds some. This is good. A calm 5 1/2 minutes in with liquid sounds, vocal expressions and other psychedelic meanderings. The guitar is back after 6 1/2 minutes as a dark atmosphere comes in. Strings 8 minutes in as orchestral sounds follow. A beat 10 minutes in with eerie spacey sounds. Dissonant sax joins in as the tempo picks up. Guitar too. Great sound before 17 1/2 minutes as the guitar rips it up. It's haunting before 19 minutes as it calms right down.

"The Echo of The Presence" has these mellow sounds that echo as vocal melodies join in and percussion follows. It picks up with strummed guitar and intricate sounds. Vocals before 4 minutes. It settles after 6 minutes as the vocals continue. It's spacey too. Vocals stop around 8 minutes as the sound settles back eventually. Spacey sounds pulse to end it. "The Echo Of Time" opens with children talking and their voices echo then the music takes over with guitar out front. Percussion joins in and vocals arrive after 4 minutes. A change 6 1/2 minutes in as heavier guitar with twittering sounds and drums take over. The guitar starts to solo over top. Strummed guitar follows. A calm with guitar 9 minutes in. It turns spacey and haunting 11 1/2 minutes in with children's voices too.

"The Echo Of The Future" has these sparse sounds that come and go then it starts to pick up before 2 minutes. It settles back before 6 minutes with vocal melodies as the guitars are strummed and picked then it picks back up again. A calm before 7 1/2 minutes as spoken words and vocal melodies take over. The guitars and percussion join in as the vocals continue and then the vocals stop as music continues. A haunting calm before 13 1/2 minutes. "The Echo Of The Past" ends it. This is a bizarre tune as we get lots of vocal expressions where they are the focus. It's especially strange before 6 minutes with all these vocal sounds. It turns spacey late which I like better.

A solid 4 stars and a must for Krautrock fans out there. Listen to the echo.

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 Echo by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.04 | 47 ratings

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Echo
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

Review by James Lee
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Discipline, structure, and focus. If that's what you adore about progressive rock, run like hell from A. R. & Machines. If, however, you prize prog's ability to wash over you with waves of weirdness until your astral form winds up light years away from your physical body -- perhaps having forgotten that said body ever existed, you know man, in the really real sense -- then Echo may be the lost classic that you've been waiting for.

This is especially true if your soul happens to respond to the unique conjunction of cosmic forces that resulted in a seemingly infinite universe of obscure vinyl treasures between roughly 1966 and 1977. Germany didn't have a monopoly on spacey pagan psychedelia by any means, but there's enough of a concentration of unrestrained genius in that extended circle to assure that most of us are still rediscovering the many facets of Krautrock at this late date -- and, it must be said, the same probably goes for many of those who made the music to begin with.

I don't know that Achim Reichel (let alone Herr Schultze) ever takes a spare hour and a half to revisit Echo. He may (like the vast majority of my esteemed prog contemporaries and probably the world at large) only think of Echo to dismiss the album as an incoherent and self-indulgent soup of delay effects and cryptobabble. Fair enough, but I've tasted a lot of bad soup, and even more bland soup, and this is neither of those recipes.

For one thing, the music is genuinely but non-specifically evocative -- one of the essential keys to the gate of transcendence, so to speak. It'll put you on the road without really suggesting a direction, but this is no spineless New Age ambient wallpaper; Echo will assert itself on a regular basis to give your mind something unexpected to work with.

The minimalist, minor-key repetitions have the same moody trance-inducing quality of Cluster and Eno, but with an acid rock foundation rather than an ambient synth framework. Einladung (Invitation) is all about guitars and drums.. and water, and drawn-out flange sweeps. If I say the word 'cave', am I forcing my authority on the chaotic freedom of your mind's drift, man?

It's sometimes hauntingly beautiful, too, and surprisingly powerful.

And it gets funky like only Krautrock can, taking all of the acid dance freakout fun of Velvet Underground meets swinging London meets Haight-Ashbury and turning it into a cosmic party cruise attended by Teutonic stewardesses. And then Carlos Castaneda appears, with pre-electric Marc Bolan as his spirit guide, and everything disappears into the forest primeval. And you're STILL only on the second song, Das Echo Der Gegenwart (The Echo Of The Present). Lucky for us, the present was 1972, which was a far more timeless present than our current future, which so much more quickly slips into the past.

If you haven't given up by the point that Das Echo Der Zeit (The Echo Of Time) arrives, you're in for a Throbbing Gristle of a treat. Never has there been such difficulty telling novelty from consistency. Baby voices and more layered, echoed guitars. Native chanting and drumming. Comus enters a chrysalis and emerges as Aphrodite's Child. All of the seats were occupied (by layers of echoing sound).

To be fair, the musicians are pretty tight for all of their looseness, and the sections and transitions possess a lot more dynamic discipline and distinctiveness that it seems. This stands out from a slew of psychedelic-era concept albums that amount to little more than throwing sounds at the wall to see if anything sticks. Speaking of which... I hate to make enemies, but I'd rather hear the 43 minutes of Das Echo Der Zukunft (The Echo Of The Future) once a week for the rest of my life than EVER hear Tubular Bells again.

Das Echo Der Vergangenheit (Echo of the Past) is probably my least favorite, due to the disjointed a cappella / spoken section -- but it may be your MOST favorite, especially if you have a fondness for RIO and / or experimental composers of the Charles Dodge variety. It's certainly not out of character with the rest of the album, at any rate. And the symphonic conclusion threatens to take us out on a surprisingly Alpine soundtrack note, until the shimmering and ringing drones of pure ambient bliss soothe our eternal night of lucid discovery gently back into the sunlit sleep of waking.

Rare, beautiful, weird, and utterly immersive in a very unique way.

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 Autovision by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.85 | 8 ratings

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Autovision
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

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

3 stars Pointless and Sweet

What no reviews for this one yet? This is perhaps one of the best examples of meandering music, in the truest sense of the word, that actually works. Snuffling around like blind moles hunting for some tasty earthworms - these tracks seem completely blindfolded and act accordingly.

Thatīs one way of looking at things, and if your tastes lie in the more complex and shifting parts of music, youīre probably not going to like this very much. The first two songs are what Iīd call Krautrock nī Roll meets Canterbury. The jazzy wind instruments and the Khan like feel of the rest of the band put together with some creepy background atmospherics - generate a slightly psychedelic and again meandering excursion into Canterbury that promises nothing - flips you the bird and just wanders away into a rocking implosion. In a way - the whole philosophy of these two tracks is like back when the beatniks jumped freight trains because they wanted to be transported somewhere, without anything looking remotely like a direction or a final destination, - just freeway dreamings cooked up by these intoxicated jazz enthusiasts who could talk for days on end about how sunshine hits the street and why all things need fire to live. They do overstay their welcome though, but there are sometimes where I think they work the way the authors intended them to do.

Drei in Einz closes the door to the Canterburian dimension with a meandering, slow, melancholic vibe, that sounds like it could have come from one of Kevin Ayers early nonsense albums, or on the other hand maybe itīs a forerunner to the Floyd track Round and Around. Yep I know what youīre thinking, but itīs a lot better and much more delicate - ending with some sprinkling chimes that sound like they, along with the track, is being poured into sand. Psssht and itīs gone.

Hi ho silver and the train to India sets off with Turbulenze, that surprisingly is a very meandering track, that finally opens this record up fully to the Krautrock sound itīs been threatening with. What probably is a hysterical mouse tap-dancing on a small hand drum, is followed up with some bewildering guitar patterns, that waffles around - suddenly changing pace and tone - and the track transforms into something like a psychedelic raga with some eerie electronics in the background - sounding like brightly colored wall-paper would if it could speak.

Perhaps the most meandering of all these tracks is Jay Guru Dev, and whatīs really puzzling, is that it just might be my favorite off Autovision. A slowly developing guitar is the essence here. It strums its pointless melody, accompanied by an organ that conjures up the same sort of foggy soundscapes you can hear on Led Zeppelinīs No quarter. Thereīs almost a serene Popol Vuh feel to this one as well, and I think itīs rather meditative and beautiful - like walking through snow on warm naked feet.

Bringing it all back home - ending the album is a good olī mouth harmonica playing a nice little sailor outro, making this album seem all the more impenetrable and fragmentary. Itīs a giggle though and it only lasts 30 seconds...

Autovision finds Achim Reichel and his machines a tad disorientated like they just stepped off a spine shattering merry go round, but there is something here - something that speaks to me - something that is simple like pouring water over your sisterīs sandcastle, watching how the water just eats up every contour and leaves the once decorated tiny piece of beach like nature intended it in the first place. Itīs a self-imploding album this one, and meandering like a waterfall dumping water from high altitudes in the same thundering way itīs always done. But just like the simpleness of such a natural wonder like the waterfall, these individual tunes also emanate a certain natural vibe, and I kind of like it in all of its nonsense. 3.5 stars.

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 Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey) by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 62 ratings

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Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey)
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars The A.R. stands for Achim Reichel, who was a member of "the German Beatles" The Rattles. Machines refers to gadgets he uses to alter the sound. Just him on guitar and vocals with a drummer and a percussionist. I'm not exactly sure what the gadgets are he's using(Echoplex? Ring modulator?). Generally there is a echo type effect throughout where you hear a guitar or vocal sound in one channel and then hear it again within a second in the other channel. Occasionally the guitar is altered to almost sound like a synthesizer. The cover of this album is similar to Guru Guru's Hinten. I prefer this one because I rather look at a woman's lips than a man's ass.

"In The Same Boat" has a typical eatly '70s hard rock riff. "Beautiful Babylon" you can listen to on PA. It's one of the better songs. Some synth-like guitar effects at the start. Nice guitar playing with bongos. Later drums and guitar in a slower tempo. "I'll Be Your Singer, You Be My Song" is the first song with vocals. A folk-rock type song. "A Book's Blues" is truth in adverstising. A straight blues song.

"As If I Have Seen All This Before" is the best song. Good guitar throughout with bongos. Later bongos stop and then drums. More synth-like guitar effects. The drums stop then some blues- rock guitar and the drums come back. More synth-like guitar effects. "Cosmic Vibration" has interesting guitar and percussion starting in the middle with more synth-like guitar effects. "Come On, People" is a hippie singalong.

The last and longest song "Truth And Probability" is the only track where the effects are more important than the music. It's a very trippy song but it doesn't hold up on repeated listens. Overall this is an interesting album but there is a lot of better Krautrock out there. 3 stars.

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 Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey) by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 62 ratings

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Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey)
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Rock 'n' Psych Blues Roll. Achim Reichel's debut is a fascinating early krautrock album that is often based on simple blues-rock grooves that get gradually decomposed into chaotic lunacy. Layers of sonic experimentation and delayed guitar effects are applied to achieve an amazing trip through the wonderful world of Kraut-rock.

If one feeling prevails after listening to this album it's that of an artist having the time of his life with new and self-made technologies. In other words, it's not an album you should play if you want to hear advanced levels of symphonic song composition, but it's one where you need to tune in to the creativity of Reichel's childlike fantasy world. The last 12 minute track Truth and Probability mainly consist of crazy vocal experimentation that is both hilarious and hard to get into. Space-cake might help I guess.

Die Grüne Reise is a fascinating experimental R'n'R trip. An excellent kraut album and a masterpiece of fun.

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 Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey) by A.R. & MACHINES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 62 ratings

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Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey)
A.R. & Machines Krautrock

Review by SaltyJon
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Die Grune Reise (aka The Green Journey) really is a great trip. As soon as I listened to the sample available here on PA I knew this was an album I needed to check out, so I did just that. Couldn't be happier with my decision, except if the rest of his albums were still obtainable so that I could hear more. This album is full to the brim (and beyond) with echoing/multitracked guitars, along with some percussion and vocals here and there, and it's really a unique album thus far in my collection. The combination of elements displayed here by Reichel is a lot of fun - we've got technical ability, playfulness, the bizarre, and maybe just a little bit of insanity. It's a great example of just how psychedelic and "out there" some Krautrock can get, and a good introduction into the less well known side of things.

The DVD which came with my edition is pretty great as well - a movie to go along with the music, which is fittingly bizarre and (more often than not, for me) incredibly confusing. Not confusing in a bad way, though.

For fans of bizarre, psychedelic trips - listen to the sample track graciously provided here on PA, and hopefully you'll be interested in this insane Krautrock masterpiece.

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