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ELECTRA

Crossover Prog • Germany


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Electra picture
Electra biography
German band ELECTRA was formed in 1969 by 5 students from the Dresden School of Music in what was then the eastern part of the divided Germany. They made a name for themselves by reinterpretating classical symphonic music using contemporary, electronic instruments as well as producing original compositions of elongated, progressive rock with a firm emphasis on elongated instrumental solos. They made their debut as Electra-Combo in 1974 with the album Electra Combo.

From 1975 and onwards they decided to stick with the shorter Electra band name. A string of critically acclaimed productions followed in the next few years, but in the 1980's the creative spirits of the band appeared to dwindle. Possibly due to the not too friendly politicial climate that developed in Eastern Germany in the final years before the iron curtain became history, perhaps due to line-up alterations or a general change of direction for the band.

But following the fall of the iron curtain, Germany reuniting as one nation and old members returning to the band they rediscovered their creative and artistic roots again. So far not documented on a studio album however, as their latest studio effort was recorded as far back as 1989 in the shape of Der Aufrechte Gang (although not released until 2004). But Electra has continued being a presence on stage over the years and are still a popular and active live unit as of 2012.

See also:
Sachsendreier Live
Sachsendreier Live (DVD)
Sachsendreier Live. Die Zweite

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ELECTRA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.18 | 11 ratings
Electra Combo (as Electra-Combo)
1974
3.43 | 16 ratings
Adaptionen
1976
3.89 | 9 ratings
3
1980
4.41 | 13 ratings
Die Sixtinische Madonna
1980
3.63 | 8 ratings
Ein Tag wie eine Brücke
1981
2.80 | 5 ratings
Augen der Sehnsucht
1985
2.60 | 5 ratings
Tausend und ein Gefühl
1987
2.80 | 5 ratings
Der Aufrechte Gang
2004

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Live
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
40 Jahre Electra Klassik: Das Jubiläumskonzert
2009

ELECTRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
33 Jahre Electra - Die Konzert
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
35 Jahre Electra / Der Aufrechte Gang (DVD/CD)
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
40 Jahre Electra Klassik: Das Jubiläumskonzert
2009

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Die Hits
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
33 Jahre Electra - Jubiläumsausgabe
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Die Original Amiga-Alben
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
35 Jahre Electra
2004

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

ELECTRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Electra Combo (as Electra-Combo) by ELECTRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.18 | 11 ratings

BUY
Electra Combo (as Electra-Combo)
Electra Crossover Prog

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

2 stars ELECTRA was a band that formed in Dresden, East Germany in 1969 initially under the ELECTRA-COMBO moniker but would drop the second part in 1975. This band was one of East Germany's most famous as well as most radical and progressive bands which resulted in having a very hard time getting an album released due to the iron clad censors behind the curtain so the band's albums unfortunately did not reflect the ambitious nature that the band purportedly displayed in a live setting.

After releasing this debut simply titled ELECTRA-COMBO in 1974, the band which would simply become ELECTRA was allowed to sneak in some more progressive elements and the next couple of albums are considered the progressive heyday of East Germany but in 1980 the band adopted a mainstream pop rock style and remained one of the most popular bands of the DDR during the decade.

Founded in 1969 by Peter "Mampe" Ludewig, Bernd Aust, Helmut Rinn, Karl-Heinz Ringel and Ekkehard Berger who were students of the Dresden Music Ademy Carl Maria von Weber, the band was known for its electronic supported adaptations of classical music before venturing into progressive rock however on this debut simply titled ELECTRA-COMBO the band crafted a mix of catchy pop hook oriented Deutschrock with a few progressive rock time signature outbursts woven into the rather standard sounds of the day.

While maintaining a mostly funk laden bass groove throughout most of this album by Michael Demnitz, the psychedelic organ swells of the two keyboardists Bernd Aust and Hans-Peter Dohanetz as well as the standard rock guitar contributions of Peter Sandkaulen, ELECKTRA also sounded much like Jethro Tull as Bernd Aust delivered a lot of flute on this album as well as the occasional jazzy saxophone squawk. Lead vocalist Stephen Trepte delivered all German lyrics in a rather operatic bravado which in tandem created a veritable crossover prog that must have been irresistible in an art rock region of the world in 1974.

Based more in the world of pop rock than anything prog, this obscure (to the West) band's first release isn't really that interesting other than as a sneak peek into the music scene of the DDR around the 1974 timeline and for that it is utterly fascinating however the lyrics are rather ridiculous (assuming you understand German) and the music is catchy but not anything out of the ordinary either. While this band must've provided a welcome respite from the status quo of the heavily controlled music scene of Eastern Europe, it's a little too tame for its own good and quite a shame that ELECTRA couldn't record the music that they were known to play in live settings.

ELECTRA would ramp up the prog aspects on its following albums "Adaptionen" and "3" before metamorphosing into one of the DDR's most popular pop rock acts of the 80s but on this debut you can only expect some well delivered Deutschrock with references to 60s heavy psych, 70s Jethro Tull and occasional angularities making sudden hairpin turns but never enough to satisfy. Some of the music is obviously inspired by the ethnic folk music with an oom-pah sort of polka flavor but for the most part this is a decent if unremarkable collection of tracks. Hardly worth hunting down at any cost but certainly an entertaining listen just to hear the local flavors of 70s Dresden.

2.5 rounded down

 Die Sixtinische Madonna by ELECTRA album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.41 | 13 ratings

BUY
Die Sixtinische Madonna
Electra Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars It is strange that this record hasn't been reviewed before. But I am glad to be the first one to do it.

"Electra" is a Symphonic rock band from East Germany which recorded eight studio records between 1974 and 1989(the last of these released 2004) and after I have heard "Die Sixtinische Madonna" which is their fourt studio album I am overwhelmed. This is a fnatastic example of how startling a prog composition could be.

I would compare the composition "Die Sixtinische Madonna" which other bands which have been inspired by classical music such as the Spanich "Los Canarios" or Italian "Premiata Forneria Marconi". Electra is a rock band which sounds like an orchestra and plays their rock music which excellent classical music in it. The main part of the album is the three-part track "Die Sixtinische Madonna" and that is the main reason to hear this album. In the start it reminds me of PFM's "L'Isola di Niente" and further they play only their own style of music. A rock opera with inspiration of symphonies, medieval music and rock of course. Sometimes we hear classical renaissance choir music but mostly we hear the magical strong German vocals of Bernd Aust and Manuel von Senden. Unfortunately my example of the record has quite bad sound, but it didn't obstruct me from enjoy it fully. The long piece by itself makes this a masterpiece(10/10).

"Scheindungstag"(8/10) and "Jahrmarkt" are more typical German rock songs with a strong vibrant vocal and fine melodies and finally "Erinnerung" is a lovely closer with an honest melody and sweet vocals(9/10). If anyone has the opportunety to hear Electra's fourth they should because the world earns the right to hear it. The title track, if the sound quality is reasonable, is in the world class of prog. Not many prog bands come from German Democratic Republic but some do and I am glad I listened to this. My rating: 4,58 which becomes five stars. Best song: "Die Sixtinische Madonna: Der Maler, Das Bild, Der Betrachter"

 Adaptionen by ELECTRA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.43 | 16 ratings

BUY
Adaptionen
Electra Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars 1975 sees Electra-Combo changing their name simply to Electra, changing also their style and having some important line-up shakes.The band was heading towards an instrumental sound, so singer Stephan Trepte left to join the newly established Reform along with ex-Electra-Combo bassist Michael Demnitz.Gone were also Hans Peter Dohanetz and Peter Sandkaulen.They were replaced by new keyboardist Rainer Uebel and guitarist Gisbert Koreng.The same year the group releases their first album as Electra under the title ''Adaptionen'', again on Amiga.

As the title indicates, in this album the East-Germans take six classical arrangements and transformed them into rock compositions, drawn by some of the most important Classical composers: Alexander Borodin, Johann Sebastian Bach, Aram Chatschaturjan, Sergej Rachmaninov, Edvard Grieg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.Electra use their music as the basis of their compositions and add their own character through strong organ jams and hard-driving flutes, among them the listener can find tons of sudden breaks and virtuosic solos, particularly led by Aust'es flute and Uebel's organ.The sound is very close to the likes of E.L.P., considering the heavy use of Hammond organ, although the strong and massive flute parts bring to mind bands such as OSANNA or NEW TROLLS.Today the album sounds a bit dated, the chosen style being the main reason for the fact, on the other hand the music here is tremendously consistent and solid all the way.The powerful electric guitars of Koreng add a Hard Prog flavor to the album, the Classical-inspired passages are adapted in an excellent deegree and the original touches next to them fit brilliant with the masters' Classical enviroment.

No real highs or lows.''Adaptionen'' should be considered a masterpiece for all those, who love Classical Rock adaptions, but I can strongly recommend the album to any Prog fan in general, as there are no weak points in here, on the contrary, this is 100% high quality Classical Rock...3.5 stars.

 Electra Combo (as Electra-Combo) by ELECTRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.18 | 11 ratings

BUY
Electra Combo (as Electra-Combo)
Electra Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars One of the long-lived acts from East Germany, Electra came from Dresden and were found in 1969 by wind instrumentalist Bernd Aust, bassist Wolfgang Riedel, guitarist Ekkehard Berger, drummer/singer Peter Ludewig and keyboardist Karl-Heinz Ringel.The band had a good live activity and by the time of their first album Ringel and Berger were replaced by singer Stephan Trepte, Hans Peter Dohanetz on keys and Peter Sandkaulen on guitars.As with many East German bands their debut ''Electra-Combo'' (1974) was released on Amiga.

Reputedly Electra had a very daring progressive sound, but the social conservation of DDR prevent the band of recording a trully adventurous album, while they even supported pop artists around the same time.So their debut was actually an incoherent mix of different styles with plenty of rough vocals, a raw guitar sound, somewhat dated organ work and a fair amount of flutes.Their style is quite close to that of JETHRO TULL's, filled with flute drives and solos, deeped in Blues and Heavy Rock aesthetics but in a rather commercial vein with simple song structures, only interrupted by some nice guitar, organ and flute solos.The grooves though are a bit interesting with the band breathing a hell of energy, guitars are really dominant supported by jazzy organs and a pounding rhythm section, while the talent of the members is evident, even in this commercial outfit.However the lack of trully adventurous musicianship, the somewhat dull vocals, the sometimes laughable lyrics (for those who understand German) and a couple of weak straight Blues tracks prevent the album of being an essential effort.

Classic commercial Deutsch Rock with a few interesting instrumental moments in each track, not a great album by any means but definitely a historical document of the age, recommended almost exclusively to fans of the style or die-hard lovers of the JETHRO TULL sound...2.5 stars.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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