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Tortilla Flat biography
Founded in Aachen, Germany in 1971 - Disbanded in 1974

The German band Tortilla Flat, named after a famous John Steinbeck novel, released their only record "Für ein ¾ Stündchen" as a, now highly sought-after, private pressing in 1974. The mainly instrumental record presents a Canterbury influenced jazz-rock reminding Dutch bands Supersister and to a lesser extent Focus and the German band Tomorrow's Gift with a strong accent on e-piano and flute. Apart from the musical influence the band showed also some typical Canterbury tongue in cheek humour with the title "Für Ein ¾ Stündchen", pointing in a humerous way to the average length of a vinyl record, the gothic lettered schoolbook cover and some short funny vocal elements.

The record is recommended for Canterbury and jazz-rock fans

===Martin Horst===

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3.93 | 31 ratings
Für Ein ¾ Stündchen
4.33 | 3 ratings
SWF Session 1973

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Für Ein ¾ Stündchen by TORTILLA FLAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.93 | 31 ratings

Für Ein ¾ Stündchen
Tortilla Flat Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Germany was filled with some of the most creative musical artists in the late 60s and early 70s with many of them delving into the extremes of psychedelic rock, electronic experimentation and proggy hard rock but there were a few independently minded acts that decided to go the jazz-rock direction instead and while some engaged in a crossover Krautrock sort of jazz-fusion, others completely avoided the psychedelic leanings of the majority of German bands altogether. Even rarer was the influence of the Canterbury Scene on Germany's jazz-rock fusion scene but that's exactly where TORTILLA FLAT which took its name from a John Steinbeck novel decided to go.

Having formed in 1972 in Geilenkirchen near the Dutch border not far from Aachen, TORTILLA FLAT emerged from the ashes of a previous band called Nothing around brothers Herman Josef Basten (flute, guitar) and Hans Friedlich Basten (drums, glockenspiel) aka Jacky. The original lineup was a quintet that included flute, violin, guitar, bass and drums and the band played a busy live circuit which would eventually find an archival release in the form of the SWF Sessions from 1973 but shortly thereafter violinist Werner Knauber left the music business altogether and was replaced instead by a keyboardist named Franz Brandt. After the addition of the second percussionist Albert Schippers who offered the more exotic percussive flair, TORTILLA FLAT set out to record its one and only album F'R EIN 3/4 ST'NDCHEN (For 3/4 of an Hour) which was released in 1974.

This now sextet crafted a fiery mix of stellar jazz-rock fusion workouts with complex arrangements and beefy improvisational interplay that found tight-knit complex rhythms fortified with acoustic guitar pastoral moments, heavy distorted rock heft, groovy bass slams and an extra helping of diverse percussive sounds. While similar in tones and timbres to bands like Brainstorm and Tomorrow's Gift, TORTILLA FLAT adopted the extreme sounds that came right out of the Canterbury playbook obviously influenced by the neighboring Dutch band Supersister with excellent keyboard virtuosity. Add to that the Jethro Tull inspired flute (and lots of it) along with excessively restless energetic drive that could at a drop of a pin resort to lush medieval classical folky guitar and back.

This album of seven tracks that skirts past the 48 minute mark displays a diverse range of jazz-rock technical fusion chops tamed into highly melodic passages that somehow find a truce between the two extremes. Starting much like Faust's debut album with sounds of a radio switching stations, the immediate reaction is to expect some super freaky album that takes you to planet lysergia, but surprisingly a softly spoken flute slowly ushers in the overall mood of the album and then goes into hyperdrive. The tempos are generally fast paced with a rather Latin musical delivery only graced with Canterbury electric piano tones and those indescribable jazz-rock workouts that are right out of the Supersister and Hatfield & the North camp. The album is completely instrumental but adds the extra sounds of a glockenspiel, congas and once again i must add - LOTS of flute!

This is one of those satisfying albums that delivers some of the most demanding time signature workouts, hairpin turns, angular nosedives and still comes out maintaining a ridiculously melodic flow throughout it all. The interplay between the bass, electric piano and myriad percussive sounds is off the chart outstanding and the occasional outbursts into hard rock add the perfect contrast to the flute dominated soundscapes that keep this one airy and free floating through the majority of its run. The album not only engages in unpredictable compositional constructs but also offers repetitive grooves upon which the various instruments take turn improvising around. Needles to say that the musicians in TORTILLA FLAT were all extremely talented and played in tandem flawlessly.

This is one of those true obscurities from the 70s that deserves wider appreciation. Having never been re-issued since its initial release, F'R EIN 3/4 ST'NDCHEN has finally seen a proper re-release in 2019 on CD as well as a new vinyl edition on the Long Hair label. It's albums like this that consistently make me realize how many gems are lurking out there that have gone relatively unnoticed. Unfortunately the band experienced little response to this outstanding music and folded the following year. If you are seeking some Canterbury influenced jazz-rock from Germany that takes the complexities of Supersister and adds a bit of John McLaughlin guitar heft, Ian Anderson flute wizardry along with some ethnic percussive magic of bands like Santana then you can't go wrong with TORTILLA FLAT. This band delivered an extremely well performed set of seven tracks before disappearing into the prog ethers never to be heard from again but WOW what a dynamic and dramatic gem this sole album is!

 Für Ein ¾ Stündchen by TORTILLA FLAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.93 | 31 ratings

Für Ein ¾ Stündchen
Tortilla Flat Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Though Tortilla Flat hailed from Germany, you'd be well-advised to put all thoughts of Can-esque krautrock or Tangerine Dream-esque cosmiche music out of your head before listening to their sole studio album. What you get here instead is an incredibly tight fusion band playing in a style highly reminiscent of that pioneered by the more serious end of the Canterbury scene - post-Third Soft Machine, for instance, or the more intense moments of Hatfield and the North or Gilgamesh. Hermann Josef Basten on flute may well be the star player here, rocking out on that instrument like there's no tomorrow, but the whole band are highly proficient and deliver lively performances.
 Für Ein ¾ Stündchen by TORTILLA FLAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.93 | 31 ratings

Für Ein ¾ Stündchen
Tortilla Flat Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars TORTILLA FLAT were a six piece band out of Germany who released this sole album back in 1974. It's very electric piano and flute driven with jazzy drumming, nimble bass lines and exciting guitar expressions. Many mention SUPERSISTER as a comparison but KRAAN's debut might be closer in my opinion. This is all instrumental except for a few humerous words.

"Tortilla Flat" is my favourite. It opens with someone looking for a radio station then the flute takes over along with drums and bass then the tempo picks up. When it settles down and turns darker I'm thinking ANEKDOTEN or LANDBERK surprisingly. The electric piano has replaced the flute and I love this sound. The flute is back before 2 1/2 minutes and a minute later flute is all we hear. Electric piano, shuffling drums and bass take over. So good! A calm with flute and piano before 7 minutes but soon it's flute only once again. The birds are singing at 8 1/2 minutes then it picks up late to end it. "Temperamente" opens with flute, drums and sparse piano as it starts to build, guitar too. It then settles back again with flute and piano standing out before it kicks into gear at 2 minutes to an uptempo groove. Lots of energetic guitar and drums as the tempo continues to change. "Fati Morgani" starts with intricate sounds that build as the flute plays over top. Percussion joins in after 2 1/2 minutes as we get a calm but soon it's percussion only to the end.

Electric piano and flute standout early on "Rumpelstiltzchen" as the drums join in. The tempo changes often and check out the bass which gives this a jazzy feel. An impressive track that ends with some silly vocals. "Leere, Chaos, Schopfung" is a top three track and it opens with some dark atmosphere that lasts for about a minute. Then keyboards take over in this melancholic section. So laid back but really enjoyable. The tempo picks up after 5 minutes as the flute plays over top. Catchy stuff then the piano replaces the flute as the bass throbs. Check out the guitar 7 minutes in as he lights it up. The flute is back leading at 8 1/2 minutes. "Obit, Anus, Obitanus" is a light and catchy Jazz tune although we get some deep bass lines early on. The keys and flute take turns playing over top. "Mohre" opens with flute, bass and acoustic guitar which all sounds very pleasant. The flute eventually leads the way until around the 5 minute mark when the guitar starts to solo over top. Nice. The flute returns as the guitar stops. Whistling ends it. A top three tune.

This album might be at the very top when it comes to albums needing a re-issue. A must! Close to 4.5 stars.

 Für Ein ¾ Stündchen by TORTILLA FLAT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.93 | 31 ratings

Für Ein ¾ Stündchen
Tortilla Flat Canterbury Scene

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I listen to this obscure vinyl (borrowed) album from German band Tortilla Flat with some nostalgic feeling. The album's copy isn't of very good condition, and I hear old vinyl noises on every song. But this noise doesn't destroy the music, even more - it gives some vintage feeling, and it works well with the music I hear.

Differently from many German bands of early 70-s, Tortilla Flat played not krautrock, but less psychedelic, mechanic and more complex and jazzy music, influenced by British Canterbury sound. Seven all-instrumental compositions, based on electric keyboards sound with many flute soloings and some fuzzing guitars. Melodic, relaxed, slightly psychedelic. Really nice and pleasant listening, and quite unusual for German music of that time.

Unhappily, the self-released album is absolute rarity now, and I never heard CD was released. What means this vinyl is expensive item for collectors. Music itself is really nice, but far from original, and I can's see why someone could pay such a money for collector's example just to listen it.

Thanks to alucard for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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