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ELECTRIC SANDWICH

Krautrock • Germany


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Electric Sandwich biography
Electric Sandwich were formed in late 1969 by a group of German students from Bonn. The band initially consisted of four musicians, all of whom had already played with other bands: bass player Klaus Lormann had been playing with "Chaotic Trust"; lead guitarist Jorg Ohlert used to be with "Slaves of Fire"; drummer Wolf Fabian, the founder of the band, had been touring with a band called "Muli and the Misfits", and singer Jochen "Archie" Carthaus sang with the "Flashbacks". Their own material has been recorded into the legendary Dieter Dirks Studio in Stommeln (1973 Brain catalogue). The music contains typical spaced out, freak n roll improvisations with many jazzy rock ingredients, folkish accents and Mellotron excursions.

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Repertoire 2002
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3.30 | 28 ratings
Electric Sandwich
1972

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ELECTRIC SANDWICH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Electric Sandwich by ELECTRIC SANDWICH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 28 ratings

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Electric Sandwich
Electric Sandwich Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Despite the wild name, this is one of the tamer Krautrock releases i've encountered. In fact i'm not sure if this is Krautrock at all with the exception of the fantastic first track 'China.' The rest of the album is more jazz-fusion with progressive blues rock. It kinda reminds me of what Cream might have sounded like if they continued on into the 70s and added some mellotron and saxophone. It makes me think of a hippie heavy psych band that suddenly went into jazz-fusion territory with some progressive surprises here and there.

These guys only put out one album before disbanding on account of their record company demanding they take on a jazzier sound. The album was a grower for me as upon first listening I only liked the first track and thought they sounded a little too derivative of any blues rock band of the day. The progressiveness is in the subtleties and I have to say that after repeated listens I like this a lot. I'm not sure if it's the remastering or what but the production is so crisp and clean and full that it sounds like it was recorded in modern times.

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 Electric Sandwich by ELECTRIC SANDWICH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 28 ratings

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Electric Sandwich
Electric Sandwich Krautrock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Sole album from a sax-singer dominated quartet band that was born out some jam sessions, ES is one of UFO that made Germany's early 70's scene so special that even such an obscure band can still be cited by an international magazine (RS in this case) over three decades later, and get a spot on an important Krautrock compilation. Signed in 72 by the legendary Brain label, their eponymous album was produced by the no-less legendary Dieter Dierks.

Indeed, the band's raw and relatively loose soundscape are reminiscent of Guru Guru's early works (the opening 8-mins China sounds like a track from GG's UFO album), but sometimes as well the excellent Out Of Focus (the 6-mins Devil's Dream) or some fuzzed-out heavy/rough blues rock ala Ten Years After (Nervous Creek). The flipside is centred on the same Carthaus- penned dominated psychy-blues standardier-song-formatted sonics. But overall the flipside doesn't match the A-side's material, despite being still quite charming to the proghead's eardrums.

The band would go on to promote their album (apparently a few radio broadcasts were done), even touring with Uriah Heep, but would fail to finish their second album due to the eternal "musical divergence" factor and broke up in 75, even if a last single would be released the following year, but it isn't included on the album's Brain reissue. Neither is their first single, which included a shorter version of China and the non-album track On My Mind. A bit of a shame, really. recommended anyway!!

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 Electric Sandwich by ELECTRIC SANDWICH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 28 ratings

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Electric Sandwich
Electric Sandwich Krautrock

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

3 stars Split decision

I really dig music like this. Whilst drawing heavily on the late 60s vibe - incorporating both blues, jazz and hard rock into the tunes, there are moments such as the opening cut, that take you directly to Krautrock land. Just like previous reviewers have mentioned, there is indeed a shift after this one, and the sound is suddenly much more hippie rock mixed with blues than what one could expect from this wild and adventurous "genre".

China however starts out with a blast, and I just love the dirty gritty Santana like flavour it has. You get fuzzy wah wah guitar that ploughs through the airwaves like a regular pair of chewing gum scissors. It's so hazy and wobbly that everything around it transforms accordingly: the drums slow down to a heavy, yet highly sluggish beat. The bass shimmers like a black propulsive tarmac, and then these two rhythmic protagonists converge and are as one. Ornamenting this earthy foundation are the Latin inspired conga drums that add a wonderful flow to the track. This is how I'd imagine Santana would sound like after a bottle of scotch and a sheet of acid. It's rawkous, psychedelic, brutal and hazy like a dirty but highly seductive Ferrari off-roader. I would happily cross vast oceans to hear music like this.

Then the transformation steps in, and it's not that I have any complains about the music, but it seems rather sudden and uncalled for. I mean, if you want to make a Krautrock album, then by all means go right ahead - eat some wild berries and find an open field to trip out and jam, but if you feel slightly more into the whole notion of structured late 60s blues rock, then why don't stick with the program? I don't have any problems with multifaceted albums. Those that sport a new sound with every new track, and here I am not talking about the famous Exile on Main street by The Stones, that made it big because of this conundrum (because let's face it: We've all heard of albums more fluctuating in sound and scope than that;-), but those that implement all kinds of approaches, genres and instruments to make one big hefty pile of unadulterated musical gew. Electric Sandwich's sole outing doesn't sound like it made this distinction in sound on purpose, but rather because they changed their tastes, approach, brand of tea in the process of recording the album. Some kind of fluke.

The rest of the album, and especially the second track, is a smashing rendition of what made the end of the 60s vibrant and organic. It is a celebration of the blues rock merging with the harder edges of the guitar, although here spiced up with small snippets of jazz kindly submitted by the occasional saxophone. The guitars sound like melodic stairways to heaven with great big reverb and the solos to go with such things. Oh yes this is music for driving down south, and even the vocals reflect a distinctive southern charisma - it grips you by the coldness of your exceedingly technical prog heart and gives you pure emotion and warm thundering rock music. I find it to be a welcome antidote for when things turn too enigmatic and confusing, and it's as safe and well-known as the ringing bells from the ice-cream truck outside your window.

Personally I rate this album very highly, but I can't honestly give it more than a 3.5 rating on a progressive rock site, but to those of you who find such labels as prog, neo-metal, post-office-fusion and experimental salsa increasingly futile and besides the point of what music is and should be - you my friends should definitely try this on for size. It's pure soul and gasoline.

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 Electric Sandwich by ELECTRIC SANDWICH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 28 ratings

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Electric Sandwich
Electric Sandwich Krautrock

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars Heavy rock album from Germany, rooted in 60s blues-rock, soul, brass-rock and on occasion a bit of jazz. It's overall enjoyable but can't escape an overwhelming sensation of deja-vu.

The album starts off with the best song 'China', an 8 minute jam-based instrumental with lots of percussion, entrancing psychedelica, bluesy guitars, noise experiments and hints of jazz. A strong kraut rock gem this one. Unfortunately, the album is schizoid in nature and after it's progressive opener, it mainly shifts to nice but pedestrian blues rock with those typical heavy soul/blues vocals of the 60s / early 70s (think Coverdale and Hughes in Deep Purple in 1974). On occasion the saxophone leads the band into a looser jazzy vibe that is mostly enjoyable. Examples are 'Nervous Creek', 'I want You' and 'Material Darkness'. But their stuffy 70s hardrock influences never go away for long, and on the closing 'On My Mind' they even sound like Steppenwolf.

'Electric Sandwich' is an album that's starts overwhelmingly with a state of the art krautrock jam, but it quickly strays from the path into 70s heavy rock cliches. Not bad at all, and a record that was probably right for its time, but it now sounds very old-school 70s rock with little that reminds of Prog. 2.5 stars, with 8 redeeming minutes of excellence.

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 Electric Sandwich by ELECTRIC SANDWICH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 28 ratings

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Electric Sandwich
Electric Sandwich Krautrock

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A one-off Krautrock gem, ELECTRIC SANDWICH's eponymously-titled debut - which proved to be their only full-length offering - is a rocking, jazzy, psychedelic treat. Combining elements of Neu!, Jane, Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Miles Davies and Embryo, the album kicks of in full-throttle mode with the pulsating, eight-minute-plus, driving kraut-psyche-blues epic 'China', and rarely lets up from then on, with Wolf Fabian's intense drumming driving the four-piece forward into hitherto uncharted psychdelic blues territory, complete with squawking sax, rumbling bass and screeching, angular guitar-sounds that all make for a heady, spacey-brew of styles and genre's. The similarities with Embryo(particularly their 'Rocksession' LP), are evident, but instead of being just another overlong jam band, ES manage to cook up a well-balanced blend of solid rock sounds and far-out cosmic crooning. Their failure(??), meant this was it, and considering the success of a whole host of similarly-themed Krautrock bands, it's hard to fathom why it all went so quiet. Brain Records excellent remastering job brings out their music in all it's far-out glory, and read the liner notes carefully(circa 2004), because, apparently, those Electric Sandwich boys are at it again, have reformed, played a few gigs, and now want to get another(very belated) LP out there. Who knows if it will actually happen, and who knows what it'll be like(this reviewer doesn't listen to any prog/Krautrock post 1977), but I imagine a few aficianado's will be waiting with breath baited. Despite their sadly truncated career, ES still managed to leave behind an eclectic and engergetic album filled with top-notch krautrock sounds and brimming with the stylistic invention that made the era of it's conception so fresh and exciting. Great stuff. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2009

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 Electric Sandwich by ELECTRIC SANDWICH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 28 ratings

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Electric Sandwich
Electric Sandwich Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This album was released in 1971 and it really blends that Blues rock style with Jazz to amazing results. The guitarist adds a little organ and mellotron to this recording, but make no mistake this is a guitar / drum led album with some excellent sax added to the mix. Sadly the band broke up while working on their second record because the guitarist wanted to go into a more Jazz direction while the drummer wanted to go into a more Rock vein. This was recorded at Dieter Dirks famous studio in Germany of course.

"China" is simply pure Krautrock. It opens with a gong before we get this hypnotic, trippy beat while the psychedelic guitar does it's thing. Just a pleasure to listen to. Some chaos to end it. "Devil's Dream" has a 60's vibe in the intro and outro as the guitar cries out while vocals come and go. It gets jazzy 2 minutes in as sax, relentless bass and light drums take over. Great sound 4 minutes in when the guitar comes back. "Nervous Creek" rocks out pretty good. Vocals and drums lead the way. It changes to a jazzy flavour 3 minutes in. Love the guitar after 4 minutes as the intro melody comes back.

"It's No Use To Run" again kills me with the guitar. It just sounds so good that's all. Vocals come in as drums pound. Harmonica 1 1/2 minutes in. The guitar rips it up after 3 minutes. "I Want You" opens with guitar and harp. Cool sound. Drums and vocals take over. Ballad-like until sax and then some killer guitar arrive. Sax sounds great 3 minutes in. Some excellent bass and organ follow. Sax ends it. "Archie's Blues" is named after the lead singer. This is a straight up Blues track. The vocals and guitar are very much in that style. He says "Check this guitar boys" as the guitarist then makes his guitar cry the blues. "Material Darkness" opens with heavy bass, sax, guitar and drums. Really good sound to this part. Vocals a minute in. Check out the chunky bass after 1 1/2 minutes. Mellotron after 2 1/2 minutes. Nice. The tempo continues to change and it kicks back into gear after 4 minutes.

This was such a blast for me. A solid 4 stars !

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 Electric Sandwich by ELECTRIC SANDWICH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.30 | 28 ratings

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Electric Sandwich
Electric Sandwich Krautrock

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Enjoyable and melodical Hard-Blues-Rock from Germany with English lyrics (good singer!) . Really not much Kraut here, and that's probably why I like it ;) Only the opener is Kraut/Space/Psych-related...

It has some LED ZEPPELIN ("Archie's Blues")/BLACK SABBATH-like bits, with good saxes solo (great "I want you" ballad) and this fine-sounding Hammond organ. Songs are well progressing with themes and moods changing frequently.ELECTRIC SANDWICH reminded me more of SPOOKY TOOTH, THIN LIZZY and TEN YEARS AFTER. Prog- related/Heavy Blues English bands - the same atmosphere and attitude. A good example for 70s Art Rock lovers and a good one for collectors too. 2.5 stars really, and also the version I have is of 9 songs (including GNIDROLOG-like "Material Darkness", "China"'s shortened version and simple rocky "On my Mind"). Recommended despite its obvious "collectors mainly" character

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Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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