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GÜNTER SCHICKERT

Progressive Electronic • Germany


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Günter Schickert biography
Founder member of the trio GAM (spaced out rocking improvisations), Günter Schickert also has a fruitful career in solo, figuring among the pioneers of the echo guitar (with Achim Reichel and Manuel Gottsching). He worked in collaboration with Klaus Schulze in 1975 for "Home Session". His two first classic albums "Samtvogel" (1975) and "Uberfallig" (1977) explore the fundamental weird-acid experiences of krautrock with emphasis on hypno guitar loops ("Uberfallig"). His releases from the 80's and the compilation "Somnambul" (1995) feature trancey like electronic soundscapes. In a certain way the first releases can be seen as an hybrid between Ashra Tempel's mystical trippy jams and Achim Reichel's colourful echo guitar motifs. The last works remind some Manuel Gottsching's minimalist, extatic guitar inventions or Richard Pinhas's menacing, supernatural electronic textures. An ambitious and talented career with lot of explorative tendances.

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GÜNTER SCHICKERT discography


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GÜNTER SCHICKERT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.61 | 15 ratings
Samtvogel
1975
4.01 | 16 ratings
Uberfallig
1979
4.00 | 1 ratings
Kinder In Der Wildnis
1983

GÜNTER SCHICKERT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GÜNTER SCHICKERT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GÜNTER SCHICKERT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Somnambul
1995

GÜNTER SCHICKERT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

GÜNTER SCHICKERT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Uberfallig by SCHICKERT, GÜNTER album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.01 | 16 ratings

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Uberfallig
Günter Schickert Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars "Uberfallig" means "Overdue" in English and since his debut was released in 1975, and this his second one wasn't released until 1979 it seems like an appropriate title. I'd like to quote the liner notes for important background info then comment briefly on the four tracks.

"Stylistically, Gunter Schickert's music belongs to the Berlin school. Lengthy pieces with complex layers of rhythmic-harmonic sequences, expansive echoes and reverberation, extrapolated improvisations and naturally the cosmic touch of the 70's makes this ascription an easy matter. Not really a surprise, considering Gunter Schickert was Klaus Schulze's technical assistant and roadie at the time. And of course he was familiar with TANGERINE DREAM, ASH RA TEMPEL etc. It was only natural that his musical enviroment and personal contacts would influence him decisively."

"This influence did not lead him to copy anyone, however. Schickert concentrated on pursuing his own ideas and pushing the boundries of his remarkable aural creations. He is at pains to emphasize that, unlike almost all of his contemporaries, he did not use any synthesizers; his instruments are the electric guitar, his own studio with a multi-track tape machine and a comfortable arsenal of effects. Similar experiments had also been attempted by Manuel Gottsching("Inventions For The Electric Guitar") and Achim Reichel("Die Grune Reise"), but without stretching the multifaceted nature of their music to the point of microtonality, as Schickert dared to do on "Uberfallig".

Schickert's use of concrete sounds-field recordings as they are now known-and his completely autonomous way of working in his own studio presaged a stage of development more readily associated with the early 80's. Splicing preproduced noises into his music was almost too daring, too way out for Schickert's listeners to fathom. And working on his own , without a record company or expensive studio was a privilege enjoyed only by the "stars" of the scene at the time. In 1979 the album was a statement of the level of expectation of a potential audience, detached from the electronic mainstream. Gunter Schickert was one of the protagonists who furthered the development of experimental pop music from the outer margins."

Up first is the almost 15 minute long track called "Puls". Not a surprising title given that we get this relentless pulsating beat almost from the start. Man this has this catchy and repetitive rhythm along with the sound of water dominating the soundscape. In fact it's those water sounds that open the song before the beats kick in. Great stuff. The drumming really adds to this as well, no drum machines are used on this record. "In Der Zeit" opens with different sounds before we hear the birds chirping then the guitar joins in a minute in. Female vocals sung in German also join the guitar and birds. She's almost speaking the lyrics. Atmosphere before 3 1/2 minutes as she stops. It almost sounds like the tide coming in along with heavy breathing then spoken male words in German. Such a cool tune.

"Apricot Brandy II" is eventually overtaken with the sounds of waves and wind while that heavy breathing comes in. Percussion joins in and then the guitar 2 minutes in as the waves, wind and breathing stop. Male vocals echo after 3 minutes as guitar and drums help out in this very psychedelic setting. The vocals get passionate after 8 minutes but it's the instrumental work that blows me away here. Fantastic track ! "Wanderer" opens with guitar, nature sounds and more. This is so good. This is adventerous yet melodic.

I am completely blown away by this album. I must admit that when it comes to Electronic music I prefer guitar to be in it like HELDON and RADIO MASSACRE INTERNATIONAL, but it's the melodic yet adventerous compositions that impress me the most. Gunter Schickert is an incredible talent which I knew already from his GAM project.

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 Samtvogel by SCHICKERT, GÜNTER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.61 | 15 ratings

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Samtvogel
Günter Schickert Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Gunter Schickert is criminally unknown when it comes to the German underground scene. He truly is a pioneer when it comes to the echo guitar and is a multi-instrumentalist who in the 60's played Free Jazz before fronting many bands and also playing in concert with Klaus Schulze. His band GAM created one of my all time favourite Krautrock albums called "Eiszeit".

For this his first solo album he had only two tape recorders at his disposal so he would play one track and while listening to that he would add a second one, this he would do 4 times. When he mixed it he borrowed a third tape recorder and so added the last track to the master. I can't imagine how frustrating and stressful this must have been because if he wasn't mixing fast enough with changing the tape he had to start all over. He had a small mixer with 2 stereo and 1 mono but it was possible to pan tracks. No equalization though and it all came out of his G2000 Dynacord guitar amplifier. If he made a mistake on track one he had to start all over again. Three months later "Samtvogel" was born.

Up first is the six minute "Apricot Brandy" which has some pretty trippy English lyrics. Gunter never did drugs but he certainly had an imagination. This is a slow paced piece with the focus on the almost spoken lyrics. Things get freaky after 3 minutes. "Kriegsmaschinen Fahrt Zur Holle" is my favourite tune on here. At 17 minutes this song describes a wish that Gunter had since he was young. That all killing materials such as weapons etc. would take a journey to hell along with the thoughts that stand behind them. He talks in the liner notes about his home city of Berlin where the German army was not allowed to go after WWII(once Germany was allowed an army in 1954) and that a lot of artists and free-minded people came there to escape military duty. This song is very Electronic as it trips along with the odd outburst. Sounds echo and we get some German words around 4 1/2 minutes in. It all turns louder 5 minutes in and man this is good. More spoken German words are added here and there. Everything seems more focused after 9 minutes and the words that are added really sound cool here. 11 minutes in more sounds are added like earlier. This is catchy but very bizarre. It settles down 16 minutes in to the end.

"Wald" is the final track clocking in at over 21 1/2 minutes. There are no lyrics and Gunter says this song initially was a protest to the increase in vehicles in his city. When he was young growing up in the fifties he could play on the streets without worry of cars but that changed of course. Anyway he changed his idea of this song from describing a walk through peaceful landscapes when suddenly it is crossed by a huge noisy highway to just describing a walk through a dark forest with strange creatures crossing his path. Man this is almost as good as the previous track and sort of similar in sound. It's such a cool trip regardless as sounds echo seemingly forever as other sounds come and go.

I really enjoy this album and if you like the style of A.R. & THE MACHINES with all of those echoing sounds then you probably will love this one as well. A solid 4 stars. Thanks Gunter !

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 Kinder In Der Wildnis by SCHICKERT, GÜNTER album cover Studio Album, 1983
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Kinder In Der Wildnis
Günter Schickert Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

— First review of this album —
4 stars Highly experimental, never intended for public release, beyond a cassette tape single edition. The material was apparently recorded between 1981-1985, as far as the unintelligble notes suggest. What is a fact is that Mr. Schickert never saw the need for further publications beyond the "personal" recorded self-catalogue. This rescue was done later by Steven and Alan Freeman, brothers involved in the blooming Krautrock scene, who contacted the musician to make it something more than lost-tapes. To shorten things up, a re-release on tape, with added tracks 10 & 11, recorded in 1985 and taken from "A Cage Went In Search Of A Bird", which by the way, are the two songs that lower this album from 5 stars to 4. This tape saw the light that same year. Then the final renovation & mastering by Alan Freeman at Tachyon Studio (May 2002) in the form of a CD.

Another masterwork, from any perspective. It, of course, was re-worked by Schickert during its final takes in the re-mastering console, but the original songs are left intact. This of course, sometimes shows in the not perfect pitch digital quality we are now so sensitive of, but besides that, this, I repeat, is masterful.

The music is experimental in spirit, the song writing being so varied in time of creation, enhance the scope and dimension of Schickert's abilities, both as a performer (no guests), and as a very daring but disciplined composer. Played along pre-recorded material, his guitar playing "droning" riffs, are predominant, as his trumpet playing, but the real deal is the connection between his "very normal" pre-recorded material and how he creates the whole structure, fom this ordinary sounds and noises. It has the bravery of his first release "Samtvogel" , the expierenced hand of "Berfllig", PLUS the added talent of late "Schickert".

Rejoice "Krautrockers" & "Electronics", things are getting better with TIME! ****4 PA stars.

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 Somnambul by SCHICKERT, GÜNTER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1995
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Somnambul
Günter Schickert Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

— First review of this album —
4 stars Well, somehow "Somnanbul" follows the path of his more famous "Uberfallig" brother. Somehow, Gunther Schickert's diversity of musical ideas, which were compressed in long timed songs in his earlier works, are taken apart into more and shorter songs. This as such, is quiet a treat, considering that one kind of gets the idea of the composer's wide scope of creativity, which turns out more like a blend of different approaches, which more than once go beyond the pure "Progressive/Electronic" styling.

His music has always been like a "bridge" between Electronic and Kraut, but in "Somnambul", he takes on different rides, that go from "Canterbury", "Eclectic" , "RIO", "Ambient" and, because of the same, "Crossover". Of course this happens not song by song and obviously without that intention.

The feeling in general, although being "conceptual", is very refreshing and innovative, in each of these different orientations, without never losing its own identity.

So, considering that his work is usually electric/acoustic guitar focused, this work displays a lot of great guitar based songs and his scope as a performer, which as I have mentioned, has to do more with great song writing than mere "virtuosism". An excellent acquisition for any kind of Prog audiophile, therefore

****4 PA stars.

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 Uberfallig by SCHICKERT, GÜNTER album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.01 | 16 ratings

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Uberfallig
Günter Schickert Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

4 stars After years of having aquired once and lost later, this Gunther Schickert's "Uberfallig" work on a cheaply manufactured european "original" cassette tape, I am now, the proud owner of the remastered CD edition, at last and again. If it had to do with me, Mr. Schickert's work could be figured in both, " Progressive Electronic" and 'Krautrock" Prog sub-genres.

Anyway, how 2 minutes of a lower inventiveness, can affect an almost 'masterpiece" is my only regret. And this, I remember, was like that, since my first owning of the tape. But do not feel discouraged, I am talking about an almost flawless "jewel". To pinpoint the flaw (IMO), the last 2 minutes of the awesome and dynamic first song, are this work's only underachievers (the guitar riff is quiet silly and boring).

The rest is pure gold, as the first song could have been if it had been cut short. Each song is unique in its own way and yet, it all feels like a single structure. (In a far- fetched comparisson like a highly "reloaded" Steve Hillage's 'Rainbow Dome Musick' album) Of course again, Gunther Schickert's main "feature" is the electric guitar work, which then and now, still sounds daring and way ahead of the times, music-wise, without any, really any, kind of "flash" or "speed racing-fireworks". No, no!.

Every inch this project ascends, is achieved by great song writing and inventive experimentation, which in fact, creates the "uniqueness" of all the songs, by fierce and dynamic "soberness" in the approaches of the performances. This may sound eventually, quiet "un-Kraut" and closer to the droning effect of early "electronic music" as such. That is why, it is really hard to sit him only in one chair.

The songs are well written, but also are openly experimental, very "Kraut" like, and the "apparent" simplicity they display, in the long run, will turn out to be a "lesson" in a electronic/ Prog- guitar/drums/tapes/voices, compositions and performance. Way ahead in many ways and as "valuable" as the first "Ash Ra Tempel" project, (which sits comfortably in the "Krautrock" sub-genre). A perfect blend of both "worlds" into one unique project.

For me, ****4.5 "close to perfection" PA stars.

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 Samtvogel by SCHICKERT, GÜNTER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.61 | 15 ratings

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Samtvogel
Günter Schickert Progressive Electronic

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Gunter Schickert was always one of the more mysterious figures in the German musical counterculture: a solo artist operating somewhere on the fringe of a very crowded, very creative landscape. So it made perfect sense that his homemade (and originally home-released) debut album charted a unique course parallel but unconnected to the work of his more celebrated Krautrock contemporaries.

Minimalism was the hot ticket in Germany during the 1970s, and despite his low profile Schickert was an honor student in the Berlin School of electronic music. But his own experiments with tape delay and repetition evoked more of an inner disquiet compared to the now familiar outer space explorations in vogue at the time. The overlapping rhythms and shifting, hypnotic patterns throughout his music recall the sound of early TANGERINE DREAM or KLAUS SCHULZE, but were achieved using only his guitar, voice and two tape recorders instead of the usual synths and sequencers (imagine TD's groundbreaking "Phaedra" LP performed entirely on multi-tracked guitars).

The off-kilter opener "Apricot Brandy" is the closest thing here to an actual melody, but don't start tapping your toes too soon: in just six uneasy minutes it gradually builds into an ideal song for anyone who likes their freakouts especially freaky. The same tune would become a signature of sorts for Schickert, revisited in a more dynamic version on his "Überfällig" album, and also with his band GAM, where it would morph into a full-throttle Krautrock head-trip.

Few artists outside Germany could have written a chugging 17-minute noisefest named "War Machines, Go to Hell", and performed it with such aggressive conviction. And the 21-plus minute "Wald" (Forest) was one of the more unassuming side-long Krautrock epics ever made, following a path similar to Manuel Göttsching's equally spellbinding "Inventions For Electric Guitar" (recorded the same year), but with a more unpolished, uncanny extremity of style.

His subsequent "Überfällig" would enjoy a wider release (on the always trustworthy Sky Records), and mark a notable transition from raw craftsmanship to refined artistry. But Schickert would remain a cult figure, and today his mystique is akin to some arcane mage in one of H.P. Lovecraft's forbidden books of knowledge: the Krautrock equivalent of "Unausprechlichen Kulten", maybe. Dig up a musty copy of "Samtvogel" and hear why.

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 Samtvogel by SCHICKERT, GÜNTER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.61 | 15 ratings

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Samtvogel
Günter Schickert Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An album considerably closer to the krautrock sound and very early Tangerine Dream albums than Gunter Schickert's second album.

Samtvogel is a bit more electronic sounding than the follow up album, but also displays much more of a krautrock type of compositional development. "Apricot Brandy" and "Kriegsmaschinen, Fahrt Zur Hölle" both echo the Can album Future Days mainly because of the repetitive traditional krautrock guitar playing and dreamy incomprehensible vocals that sounds more like another instrumental touch than true vocalizing. Almost the entire first half of "Kriegsmaschinen, Fahrt Zur Hölle" is mostly Conrad Schnitzler-inspired experimental industrial gurgling that gradually builds up into an explosive guitar loop that has a somewhat avant tone.

The main attraction of Samtvogel is the 21+ minute long closer track "Wald" which is exceptionally aquatic in nearly the same way that Edgar Froese's Aqua except with Schickert's delayed guitar loops. It's quite a proggy track with plenty of development while remaining hypnotically repetitive, maintaining it's under-water adventure type of atmosphere that fans of Boris' Flood should find comforting. An aura of mystery surrounds the rather gloomy intermittent build-ups with dark melodicism in the guitar loops, until the track eventually gives way to lonely delayed staccato guitar plucking.

To pick a favorite between Gunter Schickert's two albums, I would have to choose Samtvogel for its much more mysterious and slightly avant electronic approach to krautrock styled early electronic music. It contains everything that I'd expect and hope for from a German electronic artist in the '70s, plus the incredibly soothing aquatic elements and the chord choices made result in an extremely delightful album and one I've the best I've experienced in a while. While I hesitate to call it a masterpiece, this is definitely an album to be recommended to all fans of this type of music and I'd personally place this album beside Edgar Froese's best work in terms of quality.

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 Uberfallig by SCHICKERT, GÜNTER album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.01 | 16 ratings

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Uberfallig
Günter Schickert Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A darker and more aggressive alternative to Manuel Gottsching's guitar-based electronic hypnotism.

Since the well known master of looping soothing guitar runs against a blissful electronic backdrop is Manuel Gottsching, and he barely delves into the darker side of what these methods could become, it makes sense that someone else would have to do it instead. On Uberfallig, Gunter Schickert employs the same type of dreamy guitar looping but does it in a manner that sounds like some of the gloomier post-rock schema from modern artists like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Russian Circles, but much more despondent.

The composition of "Puls" is similar to Morton Feldman's Piano and String Quartet in that it initially seems overly repetitive but reveals many subtle changes occurring constantly throughout, though this tracks is obviously profoundly sped up and in a rock format. The pace is quite fast and, because of the guitar tone, this track would feel very comfortable to anyone who is well-acquainted with modern Japanese math-rock. The track eventually explodes near the end into a very dense electronic trance complete with Pinhas-esque guitar soloing with a dreamy reverb effect that equally matches the dreaminess of the electronic base it rides inside of.

"In Der Zeit" is a lot more electronic and experimental sounding, while also being a lot denser and krautrock-inspired. Much less hypnotism is found here, but an increased amount of psychedelia and nightmarish prog-rock sensibilities are a welcome contrast to the first track. Echoes of Dzyan's music are strong. Sometimes this track can get disorienting as it waves almost randomly with ghostly vocals and tinny harpsichord-toned guitar.

As with most of the German electronic and krautrock music of the '70s, Schickert's Uberfallig will appeal mainly to people who are already established fans of these two genres, but specifically fans of Gottsching's music that want something to listen to when they aren't feeling so dreamy and optimistic.

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 Uberfallig by SCHICKERT, GÜNTER album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.01 | 16 ratings

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Uberfallig
Günter Schickert Progressive Electronic

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Few people outside of a small fraternity of German music specialists probably even remember the name Günter Schickert, and it's no exaggeration to call his 1979 album "Überfällig" one of the lost treasures of late '70s Krautrock. For me, Schickert has remained an enigma for close to thirty years, ever since I gave up trying to decipher the dense, illegible scrawl of notes on the back of the LP (a pointless exercise anyway: it's all in German).

But he was certainly a unique talent, even within such a wildly creative music scene. Schickert's style, at least on this one album, employed multiple guitars to do (more or less) what KLAUS SCHULZE and EDGAR FROESE were at the same time doing with synthesizers and sequencers: building layers of sometimes dreamy, sometimes tense ostinato patterns over a subtle, shifting backbeat of driving percussion. The rhythms are often provided by a heavy application of echo to some unusual sound sources, transforming a single splash of water or a labored gasp of breath into a repetitive loop of hypnotic pulses.

The effect is especially striking on the two longer tracks here, the aptly titled album opener "Puls", and the almost 12-minute long "Apricot Brandy". The former has the cinematic momentum of a high-speed Hollywood chase; the latter is a psychedelic rocker accelerating from a semi-conscious dreamscape to a hyperkinetic rush of overlapping guitars and voices.

Relief is provided by the ballad "In Der Zeit", sung in an ominous half-whisper over an unadorned acoustic guitar, and in the album's haunting finale "Wanderer", a brooding piece of music perfectly matched to the empty autobahn pictured on the back cover.

Altogether the album is somewhat reminiscent of (ex-NEU!) guitarist MICHAEL ROTHER's early solo work, and in fact was originally released on the same label (the always reliable Sky Records). Schickert shared a similar approach to pristine guitar minimalism, but with a darker, more malevolent edge: he might have been the turbulent yin to Rother's more angelic yang.

It's reassuring to find that Günter Schickert hasn't been completely forgotten. And, by a funny coincidence, a translation of the album's title (Überfällig = Overdue) perfectly describes his status as a true Krautrock legend.

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 Uberfallig by SCHICKERT, GÜNTER album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.01 | 16 ratings

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Uberfallig
Günter Schickert Progressive Electronic

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Content Development & Krautrock Team

4 stars Interlocking electronic repetitive guitar work from the mysterious and legendary Gunter Schickert. This second record slightly neglects the weird freaky-kraut epxerimentations of Samtvogel in favour of a gorgeously hypnotic / hallucinatory trip dominated by a treated / looped guitar. Puls is a static / ecstatic guitar piece that recalls some Manuel Gottsching's circular guitar motifs and eternal cycles in Inventions for electric guitar. This opening composition is an unique minimalist electronic reverie, physically strong and haunted. The guitar leading theme is accompanied by chaotic repetitive drum pulses, various aquatic noises. The last minutes contain spacey / serene e-guitar solos. In Der Zeit is an oniric excursion throw acoustic guitar sequences, concrete noises taken from human respiration. The song is accompanied by murmured, fragile female narratives. Side B is less impressive but still captivating for the ears. It always features cloudy natural sounds, dark guitar echoes within a lethargic ambience. Surely the trippiest song of the album and a more difficult listening, including bizarre voices (which seem to be on drugs) and an obvious psychedelic approach. An intensive, expressive, imaginative musical voyage that can't be ignored, unless you dislike moody, tranquil and melancholic progressive music. Absolutely essential for fans of Manuel Gottsching's Inventions for electric guitar and Achim Reichel's echo.

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Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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