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GURU GURU

Krautrock • Germany


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Guru Guru biography
"We`re not cosmic rock, we`re comic rock."
Mani Neumeier, 1973

A free form jazz mentality, avoiding musical clichés and commercialism, has always characterized the music and philosophies of German freak `n roll band GURU GURU who have categorically occupied their own special stage within the realms of modern music. From it`s LSD induced origins in the late `60s to it`s present day configuration which still rocks and grooves with intensity, countless personnel changes have occurred making it more of a succession of musical ventures and concepts under the moniker GURU GURU, which came about as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the BEATLES and their guru worshipping of the late `60s. GURU GURU were one of the first bands to become associated with the German Krautrock movement from that era along with bands such as XHOL CARAVAN, AMON DUUL and CAN. However, the band was not partial to the absurd stereo-typing and preferred the terms "acid space" or simply, "acid rock" which better described their loud, trippy, improvisational music.

The constant driving force behind GURU GURU since it`s inception as THE GURU GURU GROOVE BAND in 1968 has been the unusual intellect and masterful musicianship of drummer MANI NEUMEIER. During the first half of the 1960s he embraced the jazz interpretations of JOHN COLTRANE, THELONIOUS MONK, MAX ROACH and other jazz mentors from which he would develop his own style of impulsive drumming. During this period he played with various traditional jazz groups in Zurich, Switzerland culminating with work with Swiss jazz pianist IRENE SCHWEIZER. It was during this time that he hooked up with bassist ULI TREPTE with whom he shared the desire to create louder more adventurous music which would follow the paradigms of JIMI HENDRIX and FRANK ZAPPA. Joined by guitarist EDY NAGELI, they played their first gig in Heidelberg, Germany in August 1968 and shocked audiences who had been familiar with Neumeier`s work in the more mainstream European jazz scene.

After a few more lineup changes, during which they briefly became a quartet, they were joined by ex- AGITATION FREE guitarist AX GENRICH whose pyrotechnical aspirations were just what Neumeier and Trepte were looking for. On the insistence of their fans who followed them from gig to gig, their debut album, "UFO", was released in early 1970 on the Ohr record label which by that time was already known for promoti...
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GURU GURU shows & tickets


  • Guru Guru on 12 Dec 2014

GURU GURU discography


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

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

3.65 | 100 ratings
UFO
1970
3.59 | 56 ratings
Hinten
1971
4.14 | 84 ratings
Känguru
1972
2.90 | 32 ratings
Guru Guru
1973
2.85 | 19 ratings
Don't Call Us We Call You
1973
3.90 | 51 ratings
Dance of the Flames
1974
3.76 | 22 ratings
Mani und seine Freunde
1975
3.21 | 19 ratings
Tango Fango
1976
3.83 | 11 ratings
Globetrotter
1977
3.80 | 17 ratings
Hey Du
1979
4.00 | 6 ratings
Mani In Germani
1981
4.00 | 2 ratings
Guru Mani Neumeiers neue Abenteuer
1983
3.00 | 1 ratings
Jungle
1987
3.77 | 4 ratings
Shake Well
1993
3.23 | 4 ratings
Wah Wah
1995
3.21 | 6 ratings
Moshi Moshi
1997
4.06 | 5 ratings
2000 Gurus
2000
3.21 | 5 ratings
In The Guru Lounge
2005
4.08 | 5 ratings
PSY
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
Doublebind
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
Electric Cats
2013

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

3.74 | 14 ratings
Guru Guru - Live
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Guru Guru 88
1988
4.00 | 3 ratings
30 Jahre Live
1998
2.00 | 2 ratings
Uncuts
1999
3.69 | 8 ratings
Essen 1970
2003
4.00 | 3 ratings
Wiesbaden 1972
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live on Tour 2008
2009
4.00 | 3 ratings
Wiesbaden 1973
2010
4.04 | 4 ratings
Live In Germany '71
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
45 Years Live
2014

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

4.00 | 2 ratings
Live At Rockpalast 1976 and 2004
2013

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

3.09 | 3 ratings
This Is Guru Guru
1973
3.73 | 5 ratings
Der Elektrolurch
1974
3.00 | 2 ratings
Guru Guru & Uli Trepte
1985
4.15 | 4 ratings
Space Ship (The Best of Part I)
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Part 2
1997
3.83 | 3 ratings
The Very Best of Guru Guru
1999

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

GURU GURU Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Känguru by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.14 | 84 ratings

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Känguru
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Studio album number three from Mani Neumeier and crew is now regarded as Guru Guru's career peak, and after my own late exposure to the unpolished charms of this early Krautrock power trio I'm not about to argue. Their previous LP ("Hinten", 1971) has been described elsewhere in these Archives as a diamond in the rough (and it was indeed very rough, in places), but here the same gemstone was given a not-unwelcome spit-shine, hardly resembling like the same band at first exposure.

What happened, to make this session so different? Maybe producer Conny Plank was exerting a stronger than usual influence over the group, in effect transforming the crude trio into a more refined quartet. Certainly his (uncredited) keyboards and auxiliary guitar work enriched the Guru Guru sound considerably.

Or maybe the band decided to follow through on the epiphany of "Hinten", on which they discovered that a radical political mindset didn't have to lack a sense of humor. Look at the track titles here, and listen to the music: "Immer Lustig" roughly translates as "Always Funny", and they weren't kidding. The subterranean ganja riffing of the album opener "Oxymoron" isn't as oxymoronic as it sounds, and the extended thrash in the middle of "Ooga Booga" is one of the most joyful Krautrock power jams ever caught on vinyl.

The big difference was that the irritant factor of their first two LPs had all but disappeared. Ax Genrich (an awesome name for a rock guitarist, by the way) toned down his 10-penny nails-on- concrete playing style, while still managing to approximate the sound of a titan's dirty fingernails scraped down a cosmic chalkboard. The influence of Jimi Hendrix can still be heard ("He's my most important inspiration!" gushes Herr Genrich in the CD booklet notes). But I don't recall Hendrix ever straying quite so far from his blues roots, or singing in a style recalling Michael Palin portraying Mr. Gumby.

(...a quick digression. By openly acknowledging their debt to Hendrix the band contradicted the accepted Krautrock myth of musical isolation from English and American role models. In truth, without the good example set by Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, and Jimi Hendrix, there would not have been any Faust, Ash Ra Tempel, Can, or Guru Guru...)

In awarding the album five stars I'm choosing to interpret the ProgArchives rating guidelines with latitude. "Känguru" may not be a classic of Progressive Rock, but it's classic Guru Guru, and arguably the apex of what would eventually become an absurdly prolific discography. The iconic cover art alone is worth an extra half-star, and anyone who disagrees can go take a Baby Cake Walk.

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 Hinten by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.59 | 56 ratings

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Hinten
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The butt-ugly cover of Guru Guru's sophomore album is entirely appropriate: this is the ass-end of classic Krautrock, slightly more refined than the band's earlier "UFO" but no less primitive in its unclothed, lo-fi squalor. The raw garage band sound was deliberate, and it fits; engineer/ producer/ Krautrock guru Conny Plank always tailored his method to fit the music instead of the other way around, and the music of early Guru Guru was a lot closer to earth than the Kosmische Rock of other German bands at the time.

Symphonic-minded Progheads should therefore take heed. This album is so unpolished it could easily be mistaken for a loose clump of musical dirt, instead of the diamond-in-the-rough it actually is. But there's a crude playfulness here too, as the unflattering cover art makes all-too explicitly clear. I suppose when you're fighting The Establishment using radical politics, psychedelic drugs, and over-amped guitar feedback, it helps to also have a sense of humor.

And the trio was beginning to listen to each other, allowing a little more light and air into their music. The Jimi Hendrix influence is strongest in the perfectly-titled album opener "Electric Junk", strangely skewed when filtered through the usual cross-cultural translation. But the soundstage widens considerably for "The Meaning of Meaning", a slowburn freak-fest showpiece for guitarist Ax Genrich. Ditto "Bo Diddley", in which the band gets downright goofy. Is that Mani Neumeier himself, shouting out the name of the legendary R&B pioneer in a succession of Monty Python-like voices? (The credits include "Sounding Being" and "Zonk Machine" among his other esoteric instruments.)

Needless to say, it's a long way from anything resembling musical sophistication. But the album was still miles ahead of the band's 1970 debut. And today it remains a valuable artifact from the Stone Age (pun intended) of power rock rebellion.

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 UFO by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.65 | 100 ratings

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UFO
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The debut album by Germany's premier power trio seems to have divided even the more reliable collaborators on this site, and not without good reason. The primitive garage-band jams collected here might have been prototypes of Krautrock sedition, but are they actually any good? Heck, are they even half-way listenable?

Sure, the album is a bit of a mess. But it's just possibly a Jackson Pollock sort of mess...in other words, one made by agitators who knew what they wanted. Or, more accurately, what they didn't want: anything resembling structure, direction, or professional gloss. This sort of musical anarchy was a holdover from the more radical 1960's, and not unlike a lot of post-hippie guitar freakouts was political in context. The band itself called what they were doing 'action music', although the only action likely taken by unwary listeners might be to reach for a large bottle of aspirin.

Even with more than forty years of hindsight it can still be hard to distinguish one instrumental thrash from the next; a mark of distinction, to some of us misfits. And with titles like "Stone In" or "Der LSD- Marsch" it's entirely possible the band had the same problem in 1970 (the latter example, for better or worse, smacks of firsthand chemical knowledge). But it's the ten-minute title improvisation that remains the album's litmus test: a completely free-form exercise in spontaneous noise-making, played (apparently) for no other reason except to hear the effect of all that feedback.

What the album misses is the occasional touch of goofy humor that would color upcoming Guru Guru LP's. Drug references aside, it's a pretty sober experience...ignoring the (possibly) tongue-in-cheek statement inside the laminated gatefold cover, above the portrait of the band representing bassist Uli Trepte as a hallucinated extension of R.U. Kaiser's Ohr Records logo. Quoting the pseudonymous P. Hinten, "Soon the UFO's will land and mankind will meet much stronger brains and habits". And here's the kicker: "Let's get ready for that".

Was it meant as an invitation, or a threat? Yes, let's get ready to throttle ET with all six of Axe Genrich's electric guitar strings! A moot point, by now: stronger brains and habits have proven no match for the primordial grunge of Mani Neumeier and company, as we're still learning after almost 45- years of waiting for those objects to finally land.

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 Känguru by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.14 | 84 ratings

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Känguru
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by admireArt

2 stars The fact that this 1972, 3th., GURU GURU album was "edited and produced" does not make it a "Jewel".

Really does it makes it so amazing that his "forced" previous experiments were raw, and this one not. Really? The fact that "GURU GURU" "plays" standard Jazz is so amazing?...BAHH, as if the Gods descended. A cult band that has more "attracted" followers than musical creativity. They play along the lines of their own countrymen "CAN" and other's, standard Prog oriented- JAZZ/Rock rendition's .... Come on guys we are talking about 1972 not 1922. The fact that they played in Germany neither makes this work inclusive, to be rated. At the time Hendrix was physically dead (with 3 albums as legacy), Zappa was more than already known, the "Krautrock" scene already established and PROG reached that year its pinnacle of perfection. Do you remember "Close to the Edge"?

Overrated, if you do not follow the band, and think this "discovery of "standards" of Jazz and Hendrix's renditions or "tributes" are better than the originals.

I paid good money for an overvalued album, because it was made in Germany. **2 PA stars, "for fans of the band" only project.

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 Känguru by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.14 | 84 ratings

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Känguru
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Having found the previous two Guru Guru discs to be entirely too incoherent and sloppy for my tastes, I found Kanguru to be a refreshing change of pace, bringing more musicianship into the equation whilst still retaining a distinctive psychedelic and colourful atmosphere. By leashing their tendency towards endless noodling so comprehensively, Guru Guru manage to produce an album that is substantially more engaging and listenable than their previous jam-based efforts, and begin to distinguish themselves within the Krautrock crowd. In particular, Ax Genrich and Conrad Plank turn out to be downright excellent guitarists, with their chops really buoying up the music to the next level.

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 Känguru by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.14 | 84 ratings

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Känguru
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by Suedevanshoe

5 stars "Coherent Incoherence" should be the name of this LP. Striking drone rock collides with spacy atmospherics that has its fingerprints all over noise-rock, punk, even Industrial and metal. This is Guru Guru's star shining brightest, the culmination of their vision. 4 incoherent jams offer the listener a coherent musical statement that is as influential as any album of its day. Artists as diverse as Thurston Moore, Richard Hell, and Don Byron cite Kanguru as a major influence in shaping their early sound.

Listening with headphones enhances the sonic glory this record provides. A real trip - sit back and enjoy the experience.

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 UFO by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.65 | 100 ratings

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UFO
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Maybe i'm just missing something.This reminds me of stoned friends who used to play in their garage trying to come up with some interesting material but as I was sitting there listening I found myself more interested in the imperfections on the garage walls than the music itself. Seeing that this is a release that seems to divide into two camps I certainly can understand the appeal of this if played occasionally under the influence of something highly intoxicating and in the right frame of mind.

I like the improvisational feel to some of it but the actual results don't work for me. I absolutely love Amon Duul II and Can and also the title track on Pink Floyd's Saucerful Of Secrets, but unlike that track which conveys something through its trippiness this just doesn't seem to go anywhere and is randomly spurting out musical gibberish. I know this album is somewhat influential and would inspire other bands to create even better sonic freakouts, but of all the Krautrock i've heard so far this is of the ones I like the least.

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 UFO by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.65 | 100 ratings

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UFO
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars A Kraut gem.

As it is said, this flowery album could be born via dry-fruity, experimental kosmische psychedelic jam session, but you know, less freakout and much calculated than Ash Ra Tempel. From the beginning of the first shot "Stone In" heavy guitar riffs along with freaky funky drumming growl over our head ... exactly influenced by 60s heavy rock plus mind altering psychic agents, both of which drive them crazy. The voices are wackier, weaker drenched in their heavy basis. Whilst we can meet more flexible, loose appearance in the following "Girl Call", where trippy phenomena (with girly flavour? lol) in another universe can be heard. Fuzzy guitar effects and cool, inorganic drumming, not related to beautiful girl calls, are quite impressive. This reminds us something surrealistic as a Krautrock pioneer. "Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama" is another killer track, with heavy, sticky critical hits of scattered shoegaze jamming. Cannot find anything unified, polished. German Turf-smelled muddy cloudy sound shower blows our brain, especially the core part. We cannot avoid wondering what they'd meant to do upon this eccentricity, even the last percussive chirp. Oh yeah, this should be called as Krautrock exactly.

The titled track might be played as their imagination and admiration for undefined flying objects. Persistent ambient noise bullets as if an engine gets started, randomized drumming like warped motion of the stuff, and improvised sound effects with all instruments ... all can call mysterious dreams back for us. Well worked out, not groundless. The same manner can be heard in the last dubious one "Der LSD-Marsch", where they should play not only improvisationally but also with strong intention for throwing us a suggestion of infernal psycotoxic agents. They might notify us the last impact if we get toxin abused ... quietly, more quietly. Can feel cool dry finish via the entire album, not only crazy persistency. They have made a important decision and definition for Krautrock future really. Listen and feel strongly.

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 UFO by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.65 | 100 ratings

BUY
UFO
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars The Guru Guru lessen - never know what to expect. Their debut `UFO' sees the German Krautrock band at this early stage playing in a much more free and experimental form than later albums, with hypnotic, maddening and stormy atmospheres of hard deep psychedelic ambient menace and cosmic unhinged trippiness. Don't expect the aggressive Hendrix-like guitar attacks of `Hinten', the comical boogie/doo-wop bent pop of the self-titled album or the acoustic/jazz-rock fusion of `Dance of the Flames', this album heads in a much darker direction, and the murky production gives the whole album a truly hazy and wasted sound. I came to this album after several of their other releases, and what a shock it was when I first heard it! Definitely not a case of love at first listen, rather an appreciation that rapidly grew after several exhausting and hard-going plays.

`Stone In' bites at the listener right from the start, with it's snarling aggressive feedback drenched in waves of reverb and long drawn out atonal droning electric soloing. But it's Guru Guru mainman Mani's maniacal drumming that drifts from `Saucerful Of Secrets' repetitive hypnotic build to out of control chaos, dictating the dark rumbling grooves and schizophrenic changes in direction. Intimidating ground-rumbling bass shatters everything in it's path, incomprehensible moaning crying vocals try to break through to the surface, only to be swallowed almost completely by the whirlwind of searing noise.

`Girl Call' adds an overwhelming sense of tension and danger, scratching at your nerves with it's brooding heaviness. The piece nears early Hawkwind levels of deep space menace and sonic torture, with bowel-rupturing monotonous plodding bass, pounding bashing drums, violent serrated electric guitar slices and crying howls from the dark that try to punch though. It builds to an almighty rising crescendo of noise before suddenly twisting into a dark groove at about the 4:20 mark, which will have you drowsily nodding your head in appreciation. There's a thrashing tormented tuneless guitar wail before `Next Time...' cuts in abruptly with it's clanging metallic Arabic patterns and suffocating oppressive percussion that speeds up, slows down, round and around, whipping the piece into a sludgy cult-like trance.

`UFO' presents the band as true ambient tyrants, the slowly unfolding experimental piece a blur of rising feedback tension, increases and drops in electronic pitches, klaxon alarms and electric pulses. More of a sound collage of impossibly heavy sonic textures and splintering psychedelic noise than even close to resembling an actual tune, and easily the most challenging and hard-going piece on the album that's sure to test some listeners.

The plodding `Der LSD March' opens as a morbid shuffle that blends together disorientating swirling patterns of darting stoned off-key flute and anarchic drum soloing, before tearing into an almost joyous guitar freak-out with pumping bass finale, plus some slight jazzy textures right at the end. It all ends a little too quickly, but wraps the album in an almost serene come-down manner to ease the listener back to reality as gently as possible.

Perhaps potential fans who've found the band's trademark humour a little grating on other albums will find much to prefer here. Other than the occasional spoken word fragment, it's entirely instrumental which perfectly allows to album to cast its hypnotic spell over listeners without words to break up that momentum and atmosphere.

Please don't judge this album based on one listen. I was immensely let down on my initial play, disappointed to find the band's usual deep grooves and more upbeat manic energy almost entirely missing. Yet you'll soon discover those elements worked into the mix in different ways, usually in a more thoughtful, moody and even slightly unsettling manner. It's frequently howling, tormenting and truly takes the listener to the breaking point.

If you don't mind being swept along on a dark sonic trip for 37 minutes, then dumped back to Earth at the end as shattered remains once in a while, you'll find `UFO' a thoroughly intoxicating, moving and unforgettable experience! Highly recommended.

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 UFO by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.65 | 100 ratings

BUY
UFO
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars Definitely a band that took THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE to heart. As a matter of fact, I think they may be the German (re-) incarnation of Jimi, Mitch, and Noel. (I know: Jimi wasn't dead yet when this was recorded.) Ax Genrich definitely likes to explore and max out the sounds he can get out of a guitar. Several times I'm reminded of on Terry Kath's playing on CHICAGO's debut album, Chicago Transit Authority?especially his "Free Form Guitar." But, more, I'm reminded of Hendrix and The Experience. (I kept expecting someone to sneak a vocal in there, "Are you experienced?")

Interesting and but not engaging enough to keep me wanting to come back (unless I were taking LSD). (I wonder how well they could replicate "UFO" in concert, or if was all improvised, 'free form' guitar. Perhaps this is where Eno and Genesis got the idea for "The Waiting Room.") 3.5 stars rated up for it's bold experimentalism and serious musicianship (this is no work of amateurs)?and for the record company's guts in publishing it!

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