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OCTOPUS

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Germany


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Octopus biography
Fronted by highly assertive female vocals, this Frankfurt quintet was formed in 1973 by guitarist Pit Hensel and bassist Claus Kniemeyer; musically, they followed in the tradition of FRUMPY, RUPHUS, EARTH & FIRE. Between 1976 and 1981, they released four albums of which the first two, "The Boat of Thoughts" (76) and "An Ocean of Rocks" (78), are by far considered their best. The subsequent "Rubber Angel" (79) and in particular "Hart Am Rand" (81) which features a male singer, are unfortunately not on par with the first two.

Perhaps leaning more towards rock than prog, their music crosses over various musical lines, mixing classic prog elements such as multiple rhythm changes, and straight-ahread rock with a little bit of blues thrown in. Searing guitars dominate the mix but you'll also hear plenty of synthesizer and some fine keyboard solos. As for Jennifer Hensel's gritty alto voice, it suits the band's hard-edged approach rather well -- for comparison's sake, imagine a cross between Janis Joplin (without the grit) and Jennie Hahn from BABE RUTH.

If you're into early ELOY or like some of the bands above, you may want to check out OCTOPUS' first two albums, starting with "The Boat of Thoughts".

Lise (HIBOU), CANADA

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OCTOPUS discography


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

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

3.78 | 26 ratings
The Boat Of Thoughts
1976
3.06 | 18 ratings
An Ocean Of Rocks
1978
2.05 | 3 ratings
Rubber Angel
1979
1.05 | 3 ratings
Hart Am Rand
1981

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OCTOPUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Boat Of Thoughts by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.78 | 26 ratings

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The Boat Of Thoughts
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Octopus were one of the last German bands to play in a really early-70's Heavy Kraut Prog style after 1975.They were formed in 1973 in Frankfurt by guitarist Pit Hensel and bassist Claus Kniemeyer.The band was completed with female singer Jennifer Hensel,keyboardist Werner Littau and drummer Frank Eule.In summer 1975 the bad was supposed to record their debut,but their producer ran out of money.Octopus decided to self-finance ''The Boat of Thoughts'',share it around as a demo,before Sky Records sign them and release it in 1977.

''The First Flight of the Owl'' opens the album in a nice way with strong guitars,complex organ and psychedelic vocals by Jennifer Hensel,much in an early ELOY vein.Same style with ''Kill Your Murderer'',complicated guitars,dated psychedelic haunting organ,good breaks and Jennifer Hensel in full form.''If You Ask Me'' flaws in slow temo,this is Heavy Psychedelic Rock of good quality with obscure moog synth passages and heavy guitar orientation.The short ''The Deleyable Rise of Glib'' is more in a GENESIS vein with BANKS-influenced work on organ and moog synths,even some acoustic guitars are thrown in,but moments of electric explosion are again present. ''We Are Loosing Touch'' shows a return to the previous style,Psych-Kraut-Prog with weird electronic effects,strong guitars,dated organ and a magnificent performance by Jennifer again.The eponymous almost 10-min. composition will close the album.It will open with acoustic guitars and harsichord,before returning to the familiar Heavy-Kraut Rock style,the middle section with the nice guitar soloing and the last notes include even some mellotron.The keyboard work is quite symphonic-oriented with organ on the front,Pit Hensel shines in some long soloing and needless to refer again the decent performance of Jennifer Hensel.

Octopus were certainly a band denying to face the truth of change around progressive music.If you like early-70's Kraut Psych/Prog with strong guitar and keyboard work,or if you are simply fans of ELOY,ANALOGY or even CURVED AIR,this album is a nice listening.Recommended.

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 An Ocean Of Rocks by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.06 | 18 ratings

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An Ocean Of Rocks
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A definite step down from their debut which I quite enjoy. It's a low 4 stars while this is barely 3 stars. Almost everything about this is weaker than the debut in my opinion.

The guitar breaks out a minute in on "Start The Music" followed by the vocals.The instrumental section that follows is the best part of this track. "On My Mind" is led by guitar, synths and a beat early on.Vocals follow in this laid back number. It does pick up after 3 minutes.

"Son Of Sorrow" is guitar led to start as the vocals and pulsationg organ join in. A guitar solo 2 minutes in then that pulsating organ returns followed by vocals. Another guitar solo 4 1/2 minutes in and then at 6 minutes.

"The Delayable Rise Of Glib Part 2" has a nice little drum intro as guitar joins in.Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. "The Entrance" is a short vocal tune. "The Shifting Space And Time" eventually turns spacey with synths. A beat with organ takes over before 4 1/2 minutes.

"Octopus The Survivor Of Atlantis" is catchy with vocals. "An Ocean Of Rocks" is an upbeat tune with the organ playing over top.

An okay album but I was disappointed.

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 An Ocean Of Rocks by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.06 | 18 ratings

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An Ocean Of Rocks
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Vibrationbaby

4 stars This second offering on the now defunct Sky label from Frankfurt art rockers Octopus, the now rare Ocean of Rocks has to be one of the unsung gems of the '70s with it's dominating mult- layered keyboards that sound like everything from fiery Kieth Emerson/Tony Banks composites dueling with a scorching lead guitar to sweeping ambient passages. Accompanied by solid quixotic female vocals of Jennifer Hensel that can be compared to contemporaries Jennie Haan of Babe Ruth or Frumpy's Inga Rumpf but with a subtler somewhat more subdued touch with plenty of play & dynamics backed up by a rhythm section that's right up in your face, this was one of my favourite albums from lesser known German bands of the 70s.

Anyone into heavy Emerson or Ken Hensley type keyboards who are still in possession of a turntable will definitely get high on this ( it has yet to be released on CD ). All the structured compositions flow beautifully and are full of changes and suprises such as a the Spanish flavoured On My Mind which also develops into a cool rythmic groove. Although not as lanquid as many other German bands this band arrived later on in the scene seemingly oblivious punk rock and other commercial forms of music which were beginning to take hold. They fearlessly soldier on here in the true tradition of early seventies art rock and the sound here are more distantly reminicient of English bands such as Uriah Heep than any of the Krautrock freakouts of the 70s and then there's also unmistakable Genesis leanings on tracks like The Shifting of Space and Time. The Entrance leads off a quasi suite-like second side with an acoustic guitar attends the almost operatic vocals of Jennifer Hensel. The whole beauty of the whole work is that it's heavy and intense but manages to give an impression of laid back restraint with the occasional injection of intricate energy provided by the guitars of Pit Hensel and Werner Lithau's keyboard array of keyboards and the relatively sparse but effective female vocals that show up at the right times.

One of the most together art rock bands of the seventies who, like many German bands, had they got more exposure and arrived a bit earlier in the decade would have turned more heads. Not as intense as Eloy, Jane or Nektar and without a doubt it`s the alluring female vocals that contribute to the band`s appeal. Groovy, rocking and just completely enjoyable without going off the deep end. Definitely a lost artifact worth hunting down.

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 An Ocean Of Rocks by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.06 | 18 ratings

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An Ocean Of Rocks
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars Octopus' "An Ocean of Rocks" is rather non descript 70s keyboard oriented rock that happens to come from Germany but could easily originate in America or England. Even the vocals sound like a conventional male singer even if they end up being by one named Jennifer Hensel. I think of a naiive Rush at times. The album features plenty of driving guitar but also an ample serving of analog keys. It improves as it goes along, with "Octopus-The Survivor of Atlantis" being the highlight; the goofy lyrics are paired with some of the only really whimsical musical accompaniment to be found here. Still this is mostly a rather unimaginative and dull effort that can be omitted from your search unless you are a collector of all things Teutonic.

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 The Boat Of Thoughts by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.78 | 26 ratings

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The Boat Of Thoughts
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Before Train of Thoughts by Dream Theater appeared Boat of Thoughs by Octopus... An unknown little gem of Krautrock !

This german band offered an outstanding debut album in many points of view ! The music takes influences from ealy 70's psychdelic epic and symphonic rock pieces, in the vein of the first albums from Eloy and Amon Düül II (in a lighter and more colored way), with many evolutions inside the tracks. Furthermore, Jennifer Hensel's voice sounds a bit like a mixture of Janis Joplin and Klaus Meine of the Scorpions, and is very enchanting.

The record opens with the beautiful floating The First Flight Of The Owl; the listener is directly projected in the sky. Then the melody turns to a more melancholic, but nonetheless superb, musical theme sung by Jennifer, to become an energic rocky tune. Many changements in only 5 minutes ! Kill Your Murderer also fulfils expectations, with its psychedelic overture, its medieval-like melody and its synthetizer sounds ! The next song, If You Ask Me reminds me a lot of Eloy's later epic moments, with variaions in it. The band turns more symphonic with The Delayable Rise Of Glib, a short piece which could have escaped from Selling England by the Pound. Space rock and psychedelism come back in We're Losing Touch, whose accelerations and synthetic experiments will take you by the heart. The album ends with the longest track, the 10 minutes title song, containing many changes of rythms and musical directions.

Boat of Thoughts is one of the best little known record of space rock from Germany. Octopus should appeal Eloy, Amon Düül, Camel, Grobschnitt and Krautrock lovers ! 4,5 stars !

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 The Boat Of Thoughts by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.78 | 26 ratings

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The Boat Of Thoughts
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars An Excellent Classic Prog ALbum!

OCTOPUS is one of gems from the seventies with their far-reaching music composition and style. The sound is probably no stranger at all as the sound represents the seventies era. You can imagine the sound: quite dominant mid range, truncated treble and dry bass. Can you imagine? Hope you get what I mean. Honestly, I love this kind of sound and it influences me on my rating of the album (my big apology on this issue). Simply put, if the music quality is at par excellent between two bands of different eras, I would prefer those created in the seventies than the one created in 2000s. It's not fair actually. But that's what I call with "There is no true value of nearly everything!" so is the case with music review, especially prog. Why prog is so special? I can view it from two angles. One: from the musicians' perspective, prog music is wide and free in terms of chords selection or structure or composition to be chosen by particular band. There are bands who create compositions with nice melody and simple arrangement (eg. neo prog or symphonic prog). There are bands who create compositions with no particular or rigid structures (eg. PHISH in some songs, Gentle Giant). It boils down to "choices" made by prog musician. Two: from listener (like me) point of view, there are many differing opinions / perceptions in interpreting any segment of the music. Having this in mind, how can you expect same rating of particular album? It's hard, my friend. Let's accept different opinions in reviewing prog albums.

The above novel-long write-up brings me to my views with respect to this album by OCTOPUS. The first time I listened to this album, it "clicked" me right away and there was signal submitted by my ears to my brain saying something like: "Mr. Brain, this is the kind of music you have been longing for. Enjoy it!". Oh man .. the stream of music offered by this album is truly mind boggling. "The First Flight Of The Owl" is packed with guitar fills and inventive bass guitar work in blues-rock style, upbeat tempo. Powerful and transparent voice of Jennifer Hensel enters the music brilliantly and her voice reminds me to Babe Ruth's singer. Her voice is not basically my main attention - but the music that accompanies really blew me away! I feel like I'm living in the seventies now. (Hello! This was 76 indeed!).

On top of stunning guitar work and dynamic bass lines, the music is mellotron-drenched as well. "Kill Your Murderer" starts off dynamically with excellent combination of keyboard and guitar. The tempo suddenly changes faster with pulsating keyboards and it is slows down to give vocal' entrance. Guitar solo is stunning, augmented with keyboard / organ. Excellent organ work can also be heard on "The Delayable Rise Of Glib". "We Are Loosing Touch" is a symphonic prog rock with classic rock elements. IT's an excellent track!

This vintage band has in a way influenced MUSE directly or probably indirectly. "The Boat Of Thoughts" proves it well. At approximately minute 3:28 I can hear clearly the pulsating keyboard sound at the back which fits exactly with one of MUSE songs. They are not exactly the same but they are alike. This concluding is probably the most complex arrangements and changing tempo. It's so enjoyable listening to the combination of acoustic guitar and keyboard work.

You may want to discount my overall rating about this underrated album. But for me, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 The Boat Of Thoughts by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.78 | 26 ratings

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The Boat Of Thoughts
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is one of those albums that I enjoy listening to from time to time. Jennifer's alto vocals remind me a little of Janis Joplin except she's a lot smoother and doesn't strain her vocals at all. This record features mellotron, moog, organ and synths, although for me the guitar steals most of the show.

The first song "The Flight Of The Owl" opens with an amazing 2 1/2 minute instrumental, very CAMEL-like.The same intro comes back to close the song. Love the guitar as bass, drums and synths fill out the sounds in the intro. This is my favourite song on the record. "Kill Your Murderer" is led by organ, drums and mellotron early before the guitar comes in and rips it up.The vocals that follow are excellent and they trade off with the guitar for a while. I like the instrumental interlude 3 minutes in and the guitar solo that goes on and on late. "If You Ask Me" sounds really good early with some nice drum work. Guitar a minute in and vocals before 2 minutes. Organ comes in later. This song isn't as good as the first two.

"The Delayable Rise Of Glib" opens with organ before the vocals come in and become the focus. It's an ok track. "We're Losing Touch" opens with a good beat as synths join in. It gets a little meaner a minute in as guitar arrives. Vocals 2 minutes in then it turns almost jazzy. Guitar and drums end it. Nice. The last track "The Boat Of Thoughts" opens with acoustic guitar with drums pounding in the background.The guitar is replaced with piano, then a nice guitar melody swings through until it is flooded out by a flood of mellotron ! Ah, yes. It changes 6 minutes in to a darker more aggressive flavour. More mellotron later. The first two songs and this title track are my top three.

I notice a few people who have trashed this record on other sites, personally I like their sound and am glad to see the positive reviews here.

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 Hart Am Rand by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1981
1.05 | 3 ratings

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Hart Am Rand
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progbear
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Retch! If RUBBER ANGEL was a disappointment, what's this? Simply appalling, that's what!

The switch to German texts was a sound one. Like many of their contemporaries (Grobschnitt, for example), they'd abandoned prog and the English language, aiming instead at the Neue Deutsche Welle market. It made sense, aiming solely at the German market seemed to be a more likely key to success than gambling with the international market. It doesn't excuse this album from sucking as bad as it does, though!

Once again, a new cast of characters. Georg Klivinji replaces the short-tenured Winfried Kowallik on guitar, while male "singer" (if you can call what he does "singing") Michael Stein replaces the departing Jennifer Hensel on vocals. It's Stein that makes this album such an endurance test. The songs are all flat attempts to do "new wave" anyway, but Stein's voice is not only ridiculously histrionic, but also frequently off-key.

Absolutely intolerable, one of the worst albums I've ever heard. And no, that's NOT hyperbole. It really is that awful! Only insane completists need seek out this dog.

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 Rubber Angel by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.05 | 3 ratings

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Rubber Angel
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progbear
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The disappointing third album, and the last for Sky records. Jennifer Hensel's vocals are still fine (if you like that sort of thing), but the music's REALLY not up to snuff. Werner Littau still breaks out his Hammond on occasion, but has added polyphonic synths to his arsenal, and uses them an awful lot here. This would be a lot more interesting had the music not largely been tedious AOR.

The only thing of any real interest here is the album-closer, "The Roly-Poly Bumble-Bee". Again, the lyrics tend toward being rather silly, typical of their attempts at getting "conceptual". But new guitarist Winfried Kowallik really comes into his own here, adding some delectable 12-string. Some of Littau's most creative synth work, too.

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 An Ocean Of Rocks by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.06 | 18 ratings

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An Ocean Of Rocks
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progbear
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Basically, the same style as THE BOAT OF THOUGHTS, only not as good. Sepp Niemeyer, known for his theatrical live performances, replaces original drummer Frank Eule. While he fits in the band's style fine, his playing is more straightforward than Eule's, so the music has a bit of a less exciting feel.

Highlights include the conceptual "Ocean of Rocks" suite that takes up the entirety of the B-side. Lyrically, it's pretty darned silly, but it's musically sweet; opening with an ethereal zither/synth duet and ending brimming over with intensity.

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