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RALF NOWY

Krautrock • Germany


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Ralf Nowy biography
RALF NOWY (1940-2007) was born in Berlin. By 18 he had, with fellow students, founded his first rock & roll band. He soon decided to make a serious commitment to music and so went to Stern Conservatory in Berlin where he extensively studied classical music, jazz, performing composition and arrangement.

Whilst studying music, he performed in various free-jazz bands on the flute and saxophone, and began to compose. He continued to play and compose after his studies and in 1963 he won best soloist prize (flute and saxophone) at the Berlin Jazz Festival. Not long after, he accepted the position of musical director of Berlin's Forum Theatre which game him more opportunities to compose.

In 1968 he became the production manager and program director of Saarbrücken's Saarländischer Rundfunk dance orchestra which led to various music studios calling for his services and it led to his collaboration with many artists.

By 1970 he worked as an independent composer, producer and arranger. He began work with the Olympics production company and directed and arranged a number of music productions for GIORGIO MORODER (Moroder, of course, was a very successful soundtrack composer who did the terrific scored for films such as Midnight Express and Cat People).

Nowy composed for various artists popular in Germany during the 70s and created many jingles for advertising (including Tic-Tac and Pepsi) and composed various film scores in the early 70s as well as directed various musical tour events such as SHIRLEY BASSEY's. He was much much in demand as a producer and arranger and worked in a wide variety of music with a wide a wide variety of artists. He also played with many live bands at the time and did session musician work.

See: http://www.longhairmusic.de/ralfnowyluciferenglisch.htm for more info.

In 1973, he produced his first album under his name (RALF NOWY), which was a sort of German supergroup sometimes called the Nowy group (he had various very talented musicians working with him from the Munich music scene), and is an, I think, rather devilishly good, "LUCIFER'S DREAM". This dreamy album was influenced by the burgeoning Krautrock scene and employed Eastern styles, a pastoral, classical influence, big band type jazz, psyche, pop and rock (with some disco groove thrown in). It's eclectic qualities no doubt stemming to some extent from the range of musicians that Nowy had worked with, as well as those he was working wit...
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RALF NOWY discography


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RALF NOWY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 10 ratings
Lucifer's Dream
1973
3.00 | 1 ratings
Escalation
1974
3.00 | 1 ratings
Nowy 2
1975

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RALF NOWY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lucifer's Dream by NOWY, RALF album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.13 | 10 ratings

BUY
Lucifer's Dream
Ralf Nowy Krautrock

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

4 stars The German Snowgoose

Back in the early 70s the German scene was like a bad porn-flick where everybody was doing it together on different albums, occasions and in a whirlwind of musical directions. What this ultimately lead to was a deeper understanding of what made the different expressions cook and flow - sear and levitate. It's why a guy like Klaus Schulze was just as amazing in a psychedelic drum freak out as he was behind huge refrigerator-like instruments turning knobs - or maybe acting as head honcho behind a Japanese psych band at the other end of the planet. In many ways this is what characterised a lot of the well-respected musicians back then - and to some extent that's what was essential inside many artistic movements at the time. Movie making echoed this thing - where you'd find people doing photography one day and then having to be in charge of the lighting the next. People needed to keep their fingers on the pulse and know their way around their respective craftsmanship in order to deliver something corresponding to whatever intangible feel, essence or zeitgeist was on the menu. I think this frolicking around in strange bushes and corners of the different musics made the people playing it so much more versatile and open minded. Sure, this was happening back in the 60s, when rock n' roll suddenly began to steal the jazz players away from their home turf, but when Krautrock really started to unfold its wings - an emphasis on experimentalism saw the light of day that challenged the players to go outside of their comfort zones - adapt or indeed metamorphose.

Lucifer's Dream is a testimony to all of this, not because I consider it to be representative of Krautrock in any way, shape or form, because I don't, - no, because it features a giant smorgasbord of talented musicians coming from all over the scene - all of them attuned into a merged sonic effort revolving around one saxophonist named Ralf Nowy. Both bassist Lothar Meid and sitarist Al Gromer came from Amon Düül ll prior to this stint - whereas Sylvester Levay, here providing some dreamy piano, had played opposite Eddie Maron in the Krautfusion band Dzyan. In short: a lot of these people had played around in all kinds of constellations touching on jazz, folk, British invasion rock and something altogether different. On here the waters coalesced into one beautiful almost symphonic album.

Ralf Nowy actually started out as a bit of a free jazz dabbler - playing flute and sax in various jazz groups all through the 60s. He was even awarded with a prize for best soloist at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1963. What then struck this listener as something rather bizarre, is how he proceeded with his career later on. Nowy is today widely known in Germany for his jingle skills and pop music know how - and what to do with any piece of music in order to make it easier to digest for the masses. Somewhere in between these two extremes Lucifer's Dream came into fruition, and knowing whereto this man's path would turn, it suddenly makes perfect sense to this listener how he managed to make something as audacious and experimental as this sound so fluid and easy going. A tremendous feat.

What this album reminds me the most of is actually Camel's The Snowgoose. Yup - believe it or not. The way the slick and understated funky fusion of this album reaches up for the skies and resembles symphonic music much like you'd hear on Camel's now (in)famous record, is damn near uncanny. It's not even fusion, for that it is far too smooth and serene. Packed full of melody and huge musical whiffs of fresh air and swaying textures, this sonic vessel floats through your living room like an elegant woman swooping around in a big Toulouse Lautrec costume. Sometimes the feel of this thing almost approaches femininity. There's a lightness about it, that you forget where its roots started. This is indeed highly experimental musicians working together to give to you something beautiful and luscious. The focus is firmly held on the sprawling melodies with occasional warm saxophone interventions colouring the music red and sensuous. You wouldn't believe that dear old Ralf came from a world of zany off-beat jazz adventures, when you hear Lucifer's Dream. It is much too elegant and well orchestrated for that to ring true.

The one thing pointing towards Krautrock, as I know it, is the Indian work out that suddenly appears with the track Shiva's Dance. Shiva is of course the Hindu god of destruction and in tune with the album's increasingly cathartic development, this track now takes the listener into a musical world that takes on the mad meeting of Indiana Jones and the temple of doom, where evil liquids turn good men into slaves of darkness, and all of these twirling images of blood and flames explode in a fiery musical meeting of sitars, tablas and assorted percussions sounding like they're played by horses' hooves.

Otherwise this album is the German equivalent of the smooth and serene beauty of The Snowgoose - captivating its audience with warm high soaring melodies and a riveting fusion twist that lies somewhere on the outskirts of the recording keeping the beat wonderfully funky and fluid all at the same time.

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 Lucifer's Dream by NOWY, RALF album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.13 | 10 ratings

BUY
Lucifer's Dream
Ralf Nowy Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

2 stars Ralf Nowy was a flute and saxophone player who died in 2007. Due to his classical education and proficiency he got jobs as a musical director and production manager already at an early age. And later he had a very successful carreer as a music producer for several popular acts. Obviously impressed and influenced by the creative spirit of the music scene in Germany around the transition from the 60s to the 70s he also began to produce music under his own moniker. 'Lucifer's Dream' was his first effort in 1973 where he gathered a bunch of musicans from the current Munich scene to realize his ideas. The result is an interesting jazz rock/pop/ethno mixture which is off the beaten path here and there.

If you are familiar with the short-lived band 'Vita Nova' you will immediately recognize Sylvester Levay's touch, his style playing piano on the opening Breadhead - this a a dynamic song with changing time signatures. Besides the dominant jazz rock behaviour we have a charming interlude here with acoustic guitar, flute and piano. Dramatic string arrangements are added. An extraordinary track! With respect I have to notice that Ralf Nowy doesn't push himself into the foreground with his instruments. The following title song has much more of a sophisticated jazz pop song. Relaxed - mellow flute and saxophone and some great guitar contributions.

Amon Düül 2 bassist Lothar Meid is surprisingly involved here. Guitarist Paul Vincent, who had some wild times when extensively touring with Missus Beastly around 1970, is responsible for some slight psychedelic moments. But you won't find weird or experimental impressions. This is strictly arranged and orchestrated music. Something's Happened On The Chicken Farm for example could be suitable as a theme song for a television series. This album is a professional production without a doubt, however I can't find anything exciting in the following songs. The oriental flavoured Shiwa's Dance with suitar, tabla and string arrangements is nothing spectacular and seems misplaced. Tschad has a nice drive forced by diverse percussion instruments and flute.

Produced with the new quadraphonic sound 'Lucifer's Dream' is a pleasant album made by prolific musicians, however provided with a minimal prog proportion. As for that it foreshadows Ralf Nowy's career as a pop producer and can only be recommended to universal collectors of the German music history.

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