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Bokaj Retsiem biography
BOKAJ RETSIEM are a one-shot project lead by guitarist Rainer Degner, known for his contributions to the beat groups German Bonds and The Rattles. The band name is a pun - read backwards you'll get 'Meister Jakob' (Frère Jacques) which actually is a common French/German traditional children's song.

The project's sole proto-psych album 'Psychedelic Underground', released in 1968 with the help of other ex-German Bond collegues, holds several tracks which are weird variations of this song. Degner's fuzzy guitar is striking as well as uncanny keyboard contributions plus recitatives and English vocals provided with German accent.

Originally produced by The Rattles' founding member Herbert Hildebrandt and re-issued by US label Gear Fab Records BOKAJ RETSIEM is a recommended snapshot of the contemporary historical transition from beat music to krautrock.

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3.11 | 16 ratings
Psychedelic Underground

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Psychedelic Underground by BOKAJ RETSIEM album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.11 | 16 ratings

Psychedelic Underground
Bokaj Retsiem Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions

3 stars This is an interesting proto-psych album, released by Rainer Degner, known for his contributions to the beat groups German Bonds and Achim Reichel's The Rattles. He's got some help from other ex-German Bond collegues where the original cover does not tell anything about the line-up. Degner cares for the guitar work and vocals. Further on it's pretty sure, that Peter Hecht is sitting behind the keyboards and Dieter Horns plays the bass. That's it - the drummer still remains a mystery to us.

BOKAJ RETSIEM reads like a Yugoslavian term maybe - but it's a pun, simple as that - read backwards you'll get 'Meister Jakob', a common German traditional children's song, also known as 'Frère Jacques' (French) and I'm quite sure 'Three Blind Mice' for the English speaking people. Now we have several short tracks with 'Bokaj' being part of the title - all are variations of this traditional - presented more or less weird. The short Classic Bokaj for example just intends to sound like the title, classic tinged, based on acoustic guitar.

To say So Bad reworks 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' from the Animals would be unfair, maybe better you can say holds fragments of this songs. The main melody builds the skeleton for an impressing improvisation dominated by acid guitar and fantastic swirling organ. Probably not very spectacular at a first glance - but we have to recall - this was recorded in 1967! And to follow this hint It's Over is an example where the band recalls the typical beat music characteristics. Only A Child contrasts whilst picking up war samples and a fearfully crying child. I'm So Afraid shows a jazzy vibe, mostly forced by the drive and the Hammond. Besides that - to follow the fuzzy guitar alone is worth it.

Bokaj Retsiem now is really enjoyable, documenting the crossover to krautrock as no other. It's the repetitive, jamming behaviour, distorted vocals - something really new and experimental at that time including a gorgeous floating section. On top of it very playful instruments beyond exception. Provided with a slight oriental touch plus wah-wah guitars Pill deals with an upcoming problem. 'Just A Little Pill Is All You Need To Kill Your Life' - drugs - often used as something mind-expanding but mostly followed by fatal impacts in the end.

Fortunately Something's Wrong With Bokaj immediately scares away this annoying subject by a very happily mooded and funny version of 'Meister Jakob'. Finally Drifting appears in a bluesy outfit with great Hammond attendance once more. Here we have a crazy German recitative included reminiscent to Adolf Hitler who is philosophising about the german cow. Sadly the song is faded out when it all begins to swing ...

'Psychedelic Underground' is a recommended album - a snapshot of the historical transition from beat music to krautrock with the emphasis on psychedelic impressions. Probably not the most innovative example representing those upcoming experimental times but a skillful production with many enjoyable moments anyhow - 3.5 stars.

 Psychedelic Underground by BOKAJ RETSIEM album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.11 | 16 ratings

Psychedelic Underground
Bokaj Retsiem Krautrock

Review by listen

3 stars Good rockin, groovin psychedelic early krautrock. There is definitely some blues, funk and soul influence here, like most krautrock, but they shine through here more. Lots of organ, often with vibraphone effects of something. Contains your typical acid krautrock guitar tone and style. The compositions here are pretty simple, this is more psychedelic than progressive. Some pretty good jamming/soloing sections with enough complexity and melody to keep me interested. At only 32 minutes long, this record could have used a couple more solid songs, but is okay as it is. Not quite classic but impressive as one of the very first records to embody and begin to define the "krautrock" sound.

Highlight tracks: So Bad, Bokaj Retsiem, Pill (also the longest 3 tracks on the album)

Track lengths:

1. So Bad (6:04) 2. Classic Bokaj (0:30) 3. It's Over (4:22) 4. Only A Child (0:54) 5. Sad Bokaj (0:50) 6. I'm So Afraid (3:39) 7. Bokaj Retsiem (5:43) 8. Bossa Bokaj (0:30) 9. Pill (4:49) 10. Something's Wrong With Bokaj (0:45) 11. Drifting (4:40)

Recommended to any fans of Krautrock and late 60s psychedelic rock like Hendrix, Velvet Underground etc.

 Psychedelic Underground by BOKAJ RETSIEM album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.11 | 16 ratings

Psychedelic Underground
Bokaj Retsiem Krautrock

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Psychedelic Underground is an eccentric, soulful acid fuzzy rokin' essay that cearly prefigures a part of the krautrock movement. The freaked out instrumental sections get the highest interest here, nicely inspired and furiously savage with e-guitar crescendos, amusing keyboard arrangements. However these exciting, improvised moments are punctuated by silly vocals and a certain naivity. So bad introduces the album with a catchy, infectious, amazing psych-rock improvisation. It's over figures among the best pieces, providing a captivating, emotional buesy-rockin' effervescence. I'm so afraid is a druggy heavy rock piece with psych effects / interactions , always dominated by solid Hammond organ sequences. We can also feel the distinctive influence from classic 60's US psych-garage bands. Not a strong musical identity but an enthusiastic and energized psych-kraut trip that can easily ravish fans of the genre.
Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition. and to Rivertree for the last updates

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