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CANNABIS INDIA

Symphonic Prog • Germany


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Cannabis India biography
As a child in Germany, Oliver PETRY began playing piano at a very young age, switching later to organ after hearing contemporary greats as Keith EMERSON. By about 1970, PETRY, drummer Rüdiger BRAUNE and bassist Dirk FLECK had formed cover band The FUTURES but by 1971, had transformed into CANNABIS INDIA, a faux-classical power trio based near Düsseldorf and part of the famous Wuppertal scene (known as a center of 'Krautrock' with acts as Holderlin garnering national attention).

CANNABIS INDIA featured all-original compositions from PETRY and after good word of mouth began spreading about their live shows, the trio secured billing with artists as EARTH AND FIRE, BEGGARS OPERA, and EILIFF. Their appearances at Berlin's IFA and the first Wuppstock Festival in 1973 were highlights. The band's long-forgotten recordings - done in May '73 at the Sudwestfunk and finally released in 2009 as 'SWF Session 1973' on Long Hair Records - are our only taste of this unit in the studio and present a raw but dynamic early form of heavy, organ-based symphonic rock in the vein of ELP's 'Tarkus' period and smaller bands as Canada's ExCUBUS [then Incubus].

Guitarist Martin KOHMSTEDT [of SOLOMON JACKDAW] joined the band but left in '74, after which CI split-up. Shortly after, Oliver PETRY founded UNIVERSE with ex-SOLOMON JACKDAW members and before this group's breakup, they recorded several cuts at the Studio Neugebauer [included as bonus cuts on SWF Session]. Later, bandmates reunited to work on the FRITZ MüLLER BAND helping to record the album 'Kommt'. Oliver PETRY became lead vocalist for EMPIRE along with Dirk FLECK on bass and released an LP in 1981. PETRY now works as a graphics & sound designer for websites and plans a future music project called The Unbrothers.

Firmly recommended to any fans of vintage organ Prog at its most immediate and sincere, CANNABIS INDIA's 'SWF Session 1973' is a must for lovers of pure old fashioned symphonic rock.

- Atavachron (David) -

Cannabis India official website

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CANNABIS INDIA discography


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3.35 | 15 ratings
SWF Session 1973
2009

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CANNABIS INDIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 SWF Session 1973 by CANNABIS INDIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.35 | 15 ratings

BUY
SWF Session 1973
Cannabis India Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A bit of an obscure goodie, this one. This German band was pretty shortlived, this being the only album from this band.

Cannabis India was a Keith Emerson clone with some added Ludwig Van Beethoven adulations too. The instruments was basically tangents. The sound on this album is one hundred percent Keith Emerson adulation. Thankfully, Cannabis India is much more true to the original and adds far more church organs to the sound than the other big Keith Emerson copycat from Germany; The Pink Mice.

The sound here is pretty good with some tasty church organs and melodies. Cannabis India has stolen chunks of ELPs Tarkus though. Parts of this album is like a "spot the Tarkus bit" game. A pretty hilarious game for the whole family, btw. Besides of that, this album is pretty good throughout. I find nothing wrong with it, but I am not overwhelmed positive about it either. It is a cloned piece of music, no less and no more.

3 stars

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 SWF Session 1973 by CANNABIS INDIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.35 | 15 ratings

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SWF Session 1973
Cannabis India Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars Interesting as one of these long lost, or forgotten projects, Cannabis India (well, weird name to say the least) did something that I'm (again) unable not to compare with one of the main names in Symphonic Prog genre. You know the drill, it's ELP.

ELP were revolutionary, yes, but they had melody and virtuosity. This is only virtuosly done, technically great performed something that reminds classical pieces (but not that much) with obvious dominant instrument - keyboard. It's uncompromising, demanding, but not that much rewarding.

3(-), certainly not my cup of tea. I can admire how well it's done, but it lacks soul, warmth, human feelings. Too cold to be enjoyable.

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 SWF Session 1973 by CANNABIS INDIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.35 | 15 ratings

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SWF Session 1973
Cannabis India Symphonic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars A German version of ELP? Why not?

Cannabis India's "SWF Session 1973" is the one and only album recorded from the Sudwestfunk radio facilities of Germany is a genuine curio that has finally surfaced in 2009 on CD. The immediate influence that can be recognised is Emerson Lake & Palmer, in fact they sound so much like them it is quite astonishing. The keyboard wizardry of Oliver Petry is a key factor and he is a virtuoso of dynamic flawless innovation. 'Hand of the King' begins things with a moody dark textured vibe with sonic imbalances and extreme intricate rhythmic patterns. The attack of the staccato pounding on the Hammond is a delightful sound. I am reminded of "Tarkus" here. The engine room of the bass and drums provide a framework for Petry to revel in. Rudiger Braune is a great drummer and he really knows how to jazz out on these instrumentals. Dirk Fleck plays some awesome basslines and really carries the music into dynamic progressions. 'Lapis' is a 12 minute exploration of light and dark textures with 'Tarkus' motifs and Wakeman-esque flourishes, heck it even rhymes with 'Tarkus', well almost, 'Lapis, Tarkus'. It is not as good as 'Tarkus' but I was still taken back with the intricate fractured rhythms and overall approach. 'Revolver' is shorter at 4 minutes and sounds a lot darker in texture, and it all ends with the magnificent classical interpretation of 'Beethoven's 9th' that is instantly recognizable.

As Universe, Petry is joined by Detlev Krause on guitar, Bernd Frielingsdorf on drums, and Detlev Dalitz on bass. There are two tracks to pad the album out to a decent length, 'Mirror' and 'The Hunt', but this was far from a perfect addition, not as compelling as the CI sessions.

Overall this is a treasure dug up from the gold mines of prog and well worth seeking out.

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 SWF Session 1973 by CANNABIS INDIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.35 | 15 ratings

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SWF Session 1973
Cannabis India Symphonic Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Playing like a lost basement recording of ELP circa 1971, this high-energy power trio pumped out shameless ersatz classical rock and recorded one brief set in 1973 at Germany's Sudwestfunk radio facilities, preserved and finally released in 2009 on Long Hair. Cannabis India was loosely part of Dusseldorf's Wuppertal scene and was led by child piano prodigy (and Keith Emerson devotee) Oliver Petry, backed by the fierce performance of drummer Rudiger Braune and noted bassist Dirk Fleck.

The band had a brief career but developed a reputation locally as a strong live act, and that immediacy comes pouring through on SWF Session 1973, an all-instrumental sample of four cuts including a version of Beethoven's 9th. We're battered open by Petry's machine gun riffing for 'Hand of the King': mean, dynamic, and very cool, Rudiger Braune Keith Mooning his way through it all and the masterful intonation of Dirk Fleck's Fender bass. Many good changes in this 7+ minute chunk of fugue flash, followed by doubly-long 'Lapis' where the Tarkus quotes are most present. Though frankly, CI was probably doing the sort of pure instrumental organ rock that many ELP fans quietly wished their favorite band would indulge more in. No deep lyrics, gonzo improvisations or lovelorn ballads here, just three hungry players with a taste for this new sound in popular music. 'Revolver' is a Gothic dungeon in the great North German school tradition, and the massive 'Beethoven's 9th' is a very fine interpretation.

Cannabis India will remind of any number of other bands during their time and yet don't really play like anyone else. There is an urgency to these cuts that trumps most of their bigger peers and we're fortunate this old relic has survived and been uncovered. Recommended to lovers of the golden age. Two good tracks from Petry's later group Universe are included.

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