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Krautrock • Germany

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Gam biography
GAM is a powerful trio founded in 1973 by the pionnier of the echo guitar Gunter Schickert. The band released their self title album in 1976 (lately published on cassette in 1986). It reveals high quality and super freaked out rockin' improvisations in the vein of the first Ashra Tempel, Zweistein, The Cosmic jokers but creepier, much more haunted and infused by resonant cyclical guitar lines. The result is closed to Gunter Schickert's mesmerizing druggy soundscapes you can hear on the classic "Samtvogel" (1974). The band released the perfectly hypnotic, droney and spaced out Eiszeit in 1978. Among the top class krautrock bands and definitely cult.

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GAM discography

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3.22 | 13 ratings
4.48 | 46 ratings

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

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GAM Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Eiszeit by GAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.48 | 46 ratings

Gam Krautrock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a krautrock set recorded in 1978 but then left shelved until its eventual rediscovery decades later. It's a shame it didn't come out when it was originally recorded, because the spooky, chilly atmosphere of the piece is awfully in keeping with the dark post-punk and proto-goth material that was making the rounds at the time, and as a result Eiszeit could have had a shot at gaining traction among fans of the more motorik, krautrock-influenced end of Public Image Limited's work. As it stands, it's a lost gem which has a really unique atmosphere that makes it stand apart from much electronic-oriented krautrock - less tripped-out and spacey, more cold and paranoid and fearful.
 1976 by GAM album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.22 | 13 ratings

Gam Krautrock

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After some long time I finally acquired, at last, this "kind of underground", GAM's first 1976 album.

Having listened and liking very much their second release,"Eiszeit", 1978, my expectations were high but not unrealistic.

The first track "Gam Jam" as it title reveals is a spacey/electronic//Krautrock, with a "Hendrix like funk (without the Funky or Motown tone)", jam. Therefore it will be absurd to think of it otherwise. Add to that some kind of splashes which resemble Led Zeppelin's live Jimmy Page's bowed electric guitar solos. Its true beauty is found in between the lo-fi and crappy stop overs recordings in the form of 3 intense sections of creative and bombastic communion among the three musicians. 2.5 stars.

"Abricot Brandy", the second track lets simplicity step forward and lowers the thunderous previous aftertaste. A dream and drunken like heavy/metal mood eventually evolves, with GAM's detached sense of giving explanations or being liked. Its experimental nature is quiet groundbreaking if we consider that in 1976 nobody was talking about Post Rock/Math Rock, Shoegaze, etc.. 4 stars.

"Für Elise Und Alice", the closing track, is the kind of composition that makes some releases worth acquiring or at least being known. As its title also reveals, brings Ludwig shortly to the beginning and last scene, in the form of a comic like music box rendition of his famous composition, mismatched with GAM's own intentions. A fast paced, pulse driven, symphonic thought construction, which can be pin pointed as the blueprint of their future and most commonly known and very good rated, second and last album. 4.5 stars.

The real deal about GAM, as both of their releases show, are its non-existent or detectable close connections with the USA's R&B and Blues roots found in most Krautrock bands and musicians. Opposite to that (and to my benefit) they were strangely close to the electronic side of it. This marks a very clear distance between this trio and their other contemporaries of the genre.

As for rating it things can get kind of messy. A 3 track release, which first and longer track is by far non-essential, among almost, half the time each, very good and essential compositions. Not being a butcher....

***3.5 PA stars.

 Eiszeit by GAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.48 | 46 ratings

Gam Krautrock

Review by Utnapishtim

5 stars Berlin and Germany all, are characterized by a typical geographic meaning. It could be recognized for the great philosophical current of '700 (Sturm und Drang), for a series of characters around its history as Hegel, Karl Marx, Heinstein, Wagner, Nietzsche, Shopenhauer, for the Second World War, ect... But surely it must be remembered now and in future for Krautrock, expression of the rebirth from the post-war period.

From the great cultural ferment that was rising all over the world, in Berlin some intellectual artists and bands, with a sound never heard, faced to the music of those years. In a whirl of new ideas stands out overbearingly Günter Schickert, an artist often forgotten which has been great innovator especially for guitar echo. In the first half of 70s Schickert initiates GAM project forming an unusual band with another guitarist Axel Struck and the percussionist Michael Leske. They released an album with the same name in 1976 (GAM, released on cassettes in 1986) and this "Eiszeit", unreleased album of 1978 and officially released in 2005. The result is "catatonic" band full of crazy ideas. Eiszeit is a Prog Gem obscure and hidden, made by hypnotic groves and dissonant melodies, classic Krautrock passages that could remember NEU, constant rhythms to galloping upon a "Wilde-eyed horse".

Here, but also in many German band, is possible to appreciate how Pink Floyd has been a centerpiece for the construction of this complex music. Surely Krautrock has got an identity, but Floydian brand and psychedelic era were simultaneous or even contemporary, so it was impossible not to be influenced.

The opening song is a psychedelic intro, simple but effective. It could remember "Set The Control For The Heart Of The Sun" or other "old" Pink Floyd songs. it could be simply confused by an inattentive ear. The example of the band sound is the second song "Sepp Oben Ich Unten", similar to other song "Wilderness", both characterized by echo guitar and constant drum on a psychedelic dark background. Maybe, or even certainly for who appreciate Krautrock, is the presence of two guitar without a bass guitar. This unusual choice has produced an innovative sound, in which it doesn't feel the lack of the bass guitar. The example is the song "Geige". Another innovative song is "Demons" with very dissonant vocals. Sometimes it seems to be into an Infernal Round with desperate sings of the residences. "Verlass Mich Nicht" sounds very Floydian "Obscured By Cloud" period with CAN reminders, holding anchored to reality with Schickert's guitar. The album ends with another example of their echo-guitar trademark, a piece very in line with that German sound, not very in line with period (it was 1978) but absolutely memorable.

For this kind of project GAM remind me another Krautrock band, "ASHRA" (on Prog Archives is considered Electronic) in which MANUEL GÖTTSCHING takes a new path from Ashra Tempel band, playing guitar in a similar way. A psychedelic echo from the end of 70s, that for a long time has been forgotten. The intellectual genius of Günter Schickert must be considered as a great artist. This is a classic Krautrock album to listen to loud music! It's so hard to assign 5 Stars to a Krautrock album. This is a kind of music to listen to with attention, with a free mind and for who is searching of cutting-edge sounds, despite we're talking about of a 70's album.

A journey into the universe of Kozmiche Muzik to see that it shines its light!

5 Stars - Necessary

 Eiszeit by GAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.48 | 46 ratings

Gam Krautrock

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Günter Schickert / guitar, vocals, trumpet, + Axel Struck / guitars, vocals, + Michael Leske / drums, percussions, sums up GAM. A "Krautrock" trio, which around 1978, came up to what it seems a second and last album. A masterpiece of an album, in fact. RE-ISSUED again, with all merit in 2005. Why is it lost in oblivion? Even to Krautrockers?, as far as now, almost all reviewers, official and not, wonder the same question. The art of the album cover makes it look like something that has been designed to be overlooked, I could agree to that. The rest is still a mystery.

Anyway, this project gets its annual review here in PA and now its my turn. The album opens up with the haunting, raw and ethereal "Tropfstein" and in some way it fortells where this project might lead and sound. The second song " Sepp Oben Ieh Unten" is what "Pulz" (Gunther Schickert's " Überfällig" 1st song) will have sounded from start to finish, without those 2 boring last minutes. The creative use of a drone-like and electrified trumpet, turns this song from dynamic to mysterious, in a blink of an eye. So we are up to an extraordinary starting point.

The motion slows down in "Geige", the 3th. song, which may probably sound, to younger ears, like P.T. or Steven alone, but of course this is 1978. The 4th. song "Demons" is like an exotic and short visit to Germany's "Rock in Opposition" scene.

From here the dynamics of Schickert's guitar playing counterpointed by Leske's drumming, evolve into a fast paced, eerie and yet inviting composition, "Wilderness", one of the many creative highlights, they will eventually cover all the way through. The atmosphere by now, although it becomes dense, still conjures an amazing array of simmultaneous, melodic lines by Schickter and Struck, which have no need to "fake" any other Prog "legend", as some reviewer has already pointed out, and I add up, setting the road for future bands, as relevant as P.T. and others.

The ballad-like "Verlass Mich Nicht" appropiately, invites to a more slow paced reflection and the insisting wah-wah background guitar work is counterpointed with an exquisite guitar riff and a very ethereal and austere use of voices as disperse words more than real singing, superb, like a "Krautblues" if you wish, superb. "Ich Bin Ein Teil" this album last song, visits again the melodic line of " Sepp Oben Ieh Unten" but with an extreme charge of, to call it somehow, fast-paced "Heavy/Prog" with the wild side of "Krautrock", a perfect last song for a project of this statature....

So here we go again with the annual "GAM - Eiszeit" , PA review and another *****5 star rating for this masterpiece of Prog, and the same question. Why is it lost in oblivion?

Don't miss!

 Eiszeit by GAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.48 | 46 ratings

Gam Krautrock

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

5 stars "I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream. It's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor - and surviving."

These are of course the mumbling raving insanities coming out of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz' mouth during a radio broadcast from Cambodia. Perhaps one of the finest movies on the Vietnam war, Apocalypse Now sports an immense portion of quotes flirting around with a horrendous version of pseudo Zen. Yet somehow, you get the feel of what war is about - the mental corruption of it all, although handed over to you through these loose fragmented souls of misfortune.

Eiszeit reminds me of the movie. It's as if the cold stark ambiances were made for the thick sun blocking canopy of the South East Asian jungle. Music is strange sometimes, because the feel of this album is very icy, which again aptly echoes the name of the thing: Eiszeit - meaning ice age. But there is something unnerving and unwelcoming about this thing - much like you'd expect an American soldier far from his home in Alabama - sifting through this dark menacing forest - always on the look-out for the ghost enemy. You can almost sense the iceberg of fear docking inside him, even though he's surrounded by the infernal warmth and moisture of the fiery wooden embrace. Such is the feel of this album - cold at the heart surrounded by arms of fire.

The music itself is like a dangerous and edgy Neu!. Imagine the experimental swaying of Neu! - that frivolous and almost naive approach to music making, and then add a ton of razors - an enormous ice- cube of serrated edges slicing its way through the airwaves like a sonic samurai on the loose.

There's a motorik engine running things here, which oddly enough stems from the echoing mantraing guitars of Günther Schickert. Schickert went on to utilize the same spiralling guitar patterns on his solo album from 1979 called Überfällig, but on here it feels like genesis - and the manner in which they propel this venture forth - strictly and firmly, again hints back at the soldiers marching through thickets of rainforest. Here the actual forest is comprised of something completely different - something that counterpoints the staccato and grounded touch of the pulsating rhythm guitar. Synths. Airy and floating - weaving about like frostbitten flocks of seagulls - emanating an unwillingness to let the music get boxed in by the earthy and almost conform result of those guitars. They feel like a million glass splinters in a whirlwind - small sharp droplets of fluent knives - or maybe just a stroke of the unforeseen in the regular straightforwardness of the lone soldier's march.

There's a punk attitude in here as well. The hard edged surface of production here takes the overall ambiances of the thing - including those floating synthesizers and coats them in a wild and metallic dressing. It snarls like a frightened cat - even when it's at its most beautiful and serene, which it also gets from time to time. Some times you get hit with sections that truly defy description, and the hypnotic beats of the drums suddenly transform into a trance inducing hypnotic ritual on which you freely let yourself go on some untethered and far-sweeping synth runs that truly feel like flying carpet rides - high over the treetops of war.

Kurtz' dream may not be one of Hollywood splendour and feel good vibes, but you can't deny the simplistic beauty of such a sentence - in all of it's brutal essence. There's something about the way it counters every fibre of humanity in us, yet somehow it also appeals to that lost and most reviled animal portion of self within us. The one that keeps you from death in times of blood and guts - the one standing triumphantly over the enemy with his warm stinking guns still smoking. I get the same desolate experience with Eiszeit - just handed over in music that could slice you open like a slithering sharp snail.

 Eiszeit by GAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.48 | 46 ratings

Gam Krautrock

Review by annika

4 stars What a shame that this extraordinary album of 1978 is so much unknown even to Krautrock fans these days, since it was restored and reedited only in 2002 and finally released in 2005 with the Cosmic Egg label. Thus, this is something entirely new especially to those born in the 70ies and later, and when I incidentally came across "Ich bin ein Teil" ? the album´s final piece ? on Youtube, I was immediately absorbed by its spacy, way-out nature. After slowly starting with some meditative vocals about being part of the earth, the piece soon merges into a bluesy guitar intro that gradually evolves into Günter Schickert´s characteristic echo guitar with its redundant rythm loops and cycling melodies, leading the listener far away into high speed psychedelic space-time. The echo guitar with its different layers, which is unique even within the rythmic structures of the Krautrock genre, determines the musical style of the album (apparently made completely without synthesizers!). Apart from "Ich bin ein Teil" it is found abundantly in "Sepp oben Ich unten", with percussion and guitar harmonizing perfectly, as well as the high speed piece "Wilderness". But there are also calmer parts present, like the ambient "Tropfstein". The word in German means "dripstone" and may be associated with a cave. Indeed, the sound experiments audible at the beginning of the piece might remind one slightly of Pink Floyd´s "Several Species of Small Furry Animals gathered together in a Cave ...". But unlike the latter, "Tropfstein" doesn´t stick to the sound experiments but soon evolves melodically into an otherworldly mystical piece. In "Deamons" - which is absolutely outstanding even within this remarkable album - atonal high pitch vocals give the music an intriguing note, meanwhile the eccentric vocal and instrumental arrangements need not to hide behind great English prog rock contemporaries like King Crimson or Gentle Giant. The solemn "Verlass mich nicht" ("Don´t leave me") again captivates the listener with high pitch vocals and a perfectly matching "Pink Floyd manner" percussion at "heartbeat" tempo with accompanying guitar. Finally, mentioning "Geige" one should add that with this piece, in 1978 GAM were already pointing at the future: Like many other Krautrock bands, they took part in inventing the beat of the nineties, which can be ? among other examples of seventies music ? listened to here. Generally, "Eiszeit" is outstanding in its innovation and will be an excellent addition to any prog rock album collection.
 Eiszeit by GAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.48 | 46 ratings

Gam Krautrock

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars GAM's 'Eiszeit' is an obscure kraut release that didn't see the light of day till 2004. A shame really as this is a most interesting and revealing kraut album from the latter years of the 70s, when the scene was at a creative dead-end.

The band consisted of Günter Schickert, Axel Struck and Michael Leske. From that bunch, Schickert was a pioneer of echo-guitars and also a recording solo-artist in the electronic field. Consequently, there is a high resemblance to Ashra, especially to albums like 'NAOA' and 'Inventions for Electric Guitar'. But the sound is more kosmic, and there's also something announcing New Wave in GAM, in the use of chorus effects, the delay, in the cold sounds and in certain flashes of avant-punk (such as 'Demons') where the 'off' vocals also remind of the crazier moments of Gong. Most of the material is instrumental though and very spacey, taking Floyd's 60s heritage into new and intriguing directions.

Maybe not the first album you would want to check if you're new to the genre, but for seasoned Kraut listeners this is an essential recording from the latter 70s. If you like Ashra, Neu!, early Floyd, and the bleak sounds of the early 80s (eg Tuxedo Moon) then this album comes very recommended!

 Eiszeit by GAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.48 | 46 ratings

Gam Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars In the liner notes it describes band leader Gunter Schickert as being "A pioneer of the echo guitar, a multi-instrumental talent and innovator of his own unique echo rock, Gunter has been long active on the Berlin scene, from the 60's in Free-Jazz, then fronting many bands, and also playing in concerts with Klaus Schulze. He's one of the most prolific, yet least known of the Krautrock musicians". The band name GAM is an acronym of the three musicians' first names. 2 guitarists and a drummer, a unique trio indeed. Julian Cope praised this bands debut from 1976 saying that it really blew his mind. This is their second album which was recorded in 1978 but disappeared with the producer never to be seen again. So it wasn't actually released until 2005 ! They had Gunter's stereo reel copy and had to do some major cleaning up of the sound. Alan Freeman restored and edited it in 2002. This album sounds so unique and amazing, I swear there's synths and electronics on here but they claim it's echo guitar and guitar affects along with drums. So when I describe what I hear keep that in mind. Thankyou Rivertree for your review 'cause I don't know if I ever would have heard of this band without it.

"Tropfstein" opens with what sounds like electronic twittering as haunting synth-like sounds come in and continue. Clashing cymbals come and go. This is very experimental. The drums come in late. "Sepp Oben Ich Unten" opens with what sounds like bass or moog as synth-like sounds wash in. Drums follow. Just a great sounding track ! "Geige" has this heavy beat with haunting synth-like sounds. Check out the sound after 2 1/2 minutes. This is fantastic ! "Demons" has these high pitched vocals early. A beat before 1 1/2 minutes as vocals continue. Cool sound. The tempo picks up with a lot of guitar echoes. "Wilderness" kicks in fairly quickly. This is uptempo psychedelia. A great rhythm as spacey sounds blow throughout.

"Verlass Mich Nieht" opens with these eerie sounds. We get a slow beat after a minute. High pitched vocals 2 1/2 minutes in. Guitar echoes 4 1/2 minutes in. Great sound ! This is trippy stuff. "Ich Bin Ein Teil" is the longest track at almost 8 1/2 minutes. We get almost spoken words with drums and dark sounds. The guitar comes in when the vocals stop. Awesome sound before 4 minutes. Check out the guitar and drums ! The guitar is lighting it up before 6 minutes. What a way to end the album.

What a shame this wasn't released back in the late seventies. Thankfully though we have it now, and if your into Krautrock it's a must. This album really got me excited and that's what it's all about. I completely agree with Rivertree's 5 star review.

 Eiszeit by GAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.48 | 46 ratings

Gam Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

5 stars GAM were pioneers of the 'Kosmische Musik' which never became that famous as Ashra Tempel or Tangerine Dream. Hard to believe considering this excellent album which holds german song titles. The instrumentation is not familiar for this style though - consisting of drums and two electric guitars. Günther Schickert can be compared to Manuel Göttsching stylistically.Sepp oben ich unten and Wilderness are proving that for example with looping guitars whereas one is substituting the repetitive bass line. This implies a grooving rhythm supported by drummer Michael Leske. However - this sounds different, improved compared to the raw sessions from the predecessor album recorded with a simple equipment at Schickert's cellar.

This album was worked out 1978 in Berlin. For unknown reasons not released until Cosmic Egg took over this task in 2005. The original producer plus master tape were missing but fortunately a copy of the last mix still existed. 'Eiszeit' has a special spacey flow in the whole. Second guitarist Axel Struck contributes with some weird but also melancholic vocals. Instead of synthesizer several guitar effects are taking effect as for a compensation. Demons gets out of the range with a more eclectic style similar to King Crimson. Wilderness in opposite is a free form jam with space rock character and stands for the main stylistical orientation.

The ambient Tropfstein is providing some hall effects and a mood in the whole which lets you feel like crossing a cave - a surprising start. And I'm wondering how they manage to reach for such synthesizer similar sounds like on Geige which has a hypnotic industrial stomping rhythm backing sensitive spacey guitars. Verlass mich nicht is probably derived from a true (love) story. 'Don't leave me' - the song contains heart-wrenching vocals and guitar playing - I prevent to say wonderful because this may have a serious background.

A masterpiece of krautrock - an adventure for your ears - highly recommended. With a good bit of luck this gem has survived. The three musicians are excellently harmonizing. Well-conveived - not aimless noodling, unique, performed with tons of impressing echo-guitar, but also melodic, sounding fresh and contemporary not only because of the good sound mix. And that should be enough for the praise ...

 1976 by GAM album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.22 | 13 ratings

Gam Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

3 stars Weird guitar skills coming up from the cellar ...

Now this is an extraordinary krautrocked production from 1976 - three long tracks initially offered 1986 on music cassette only and then digitally remastered in 2002. GAM is an acronym, derived from the first letter of the members' forenames. Günther Schickert and Ax Struck are pioneers of the so-called 'Berlin School' as a part of the upcoming 'Kosmische Musik' style in the 70s. Differing from some other bands they never had a commercial approach for being always independent to realize their own concept of making music. Therefore they got less famous on the whole but are definitely cult though. Struck claims to be the follower of GAM today with his band THE WOOD for accomplishing a renaissance of the cosmic rock.

Recorded at Schickert's cellar in Berlin the songs provide a special atmosphere. The band is picking up wellknown classic or volkslied melodies and are decorating them with various improvisations using psychedelic echo guitar walls and unusual vocals. The recording equipment must have been quite simple and on the other hand the vocal performance is somewhat deranged. The 21 minute Gam jam for example is processed around the volkslied 'Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins', wellknown for german natives first of all, but this time arranged as a free crazy interpretation with some lyric variations. Hans Albers, actor and singer of the original, who died in 1960, would turn over in his grave for several times being able to listen to this piece.

Schickert's and Struck's guitar contributions are dominating compared to the decent drum/percussion work in the background. Freaky, acid with echoes and other effects. Very skillfull without a doubt and partially also reminding me at Manuel Göttsching. The following trippy and more catchy Apricot brandy shows a trumpet intro by Schickert and surprisingly good working polyphonic vocals. The second guitar is used similar to a bass here. Für Elise und Alice is another cover in the widest sense - a squeaky guitar intones the classical Beethoven theme which builds the frame for another very spacey improvisation part.

GAM is not for everyone's taste but if you are looking for obscure Krautrock output you're on the right way - 3.5 stars.

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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