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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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Ufo [Vinyl]Ufo [Vinyl]
ohr/pilz 2008
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GURU GURU discography

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

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

3.62 | 121 ratings
3.61 | 76 ratings
4.07 | 116 ratings
2.91 | 41 ratings
Guru Guru
2.86 | 25 ratings
Don't Call Us - We Call You
3.91 | 64 ratings
Dance Of The Flames
3.64 | 28 ratings
Mani Und Seine Freunde
3.18 | 29 ratings
Tango Fango
3.81 | 13 ratings
3.79 | 20 ratings
Hey Du
4.00 | 8 ratings
Mani In Germani
4.50 | 2 ratings
Guru Mani Neumeiers Neue Abenteuer
3.00 | 2 ratings
3.73 | 6 ratings
Shake Well
3.31 | 7 ratings
Wah Wah
3.19 | 8 ratings
Moshi Moshi
4.08 | 8 ratings
2000 Gurus
3.19 | 7 ratings
In The Guru Lounge
4.04 | 8 ratings
4.00 | 2 ratings
4.00 | 3 ratings
Electric Cats

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

3.83 | 18 ratings
Guru Guru - Live
0.00 | 0 ratings
Guru Guru 88
4.00 | 3 ratings
30 Jahre Live
2.00 | 2 ratings
3.74 | 10 ratings
Essen 1970
4.00 | 4 ratings
Wiesbaden 1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live on Tour 2008
4.00 | 3 ratings
Wiesbaden 1973
4.04 | 4 ratings
Live In Germany '71
4.00 | 2 ratings
45 Years Live

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

4.00 | 2 ratings
Live At Rockpalast 1976 and 2004

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

3.09 | 3 ratings
This Is Guru Guru
3.73 | 5 ratings
Der Elektrolurch
3.00 | 2 ratings
Guru Guru & Uli Trepte
4.14 | 5 ratings
Space Ship (The Best of Part I)
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Part 2
3.83 | 3 ratings
The Very Best of Guru Guru

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 45 Years Live by GURU GURU album cover Live, 2014
4.00 | 2 ratings

45 Years Live
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Following the career of a band like Guru Guru can be a lifelong vocation. Rarely inactive over almost five decades (and counting), the band has weathered changes in taste, context and personnel with its integrity and humor intact: quite an accomplishment for a band that began as a trio of political agitators dedicated to a hallucinogenic lifestyle.

By this gig (in Heidelberg, circa December 2013) drummer Mani Neumeier was the last original Guru left standing. But from the animated opening roll of "Dark Blue Star" it's clear he hadn't lost an ounce of his stamina or enthusiasm, all the more remarkable from a musician then nearing his 75th (!) birthday. Despite his age, the tireless Neumeier was still a child of the '60s searching for Utopia. But somewhere along the road he traded his diet of LSD for eco-awareness and anti-nuclear activism: healthier muses, to say the least.

The exploratory spirit of the first Guru Guru is long gone, of course. These days, far removed from anything resembling a counterculture, the quartet is merely a hard working rock band, but with energy (and eccentricity) to spare. Some of the songs ("Rock 'n' Roll Machine", obviously) can almost be said to betray the fundamental Krautrock agenda of distrust for Anglo-American role models (always excluding Hendrix, of course). Each selection here is introduced in German to an exclusively German audience, but performed in heavily-accented English. "I'm a forrrest man", the singer confides, trilling his r's with Teutonic aplomb, " in the voods!"

Over seventeen songs and 104 minutes, the concert spans a lot of territory, from ersatz Native American war chants ("Pow Wow", complete with killer slide guitars, sounding like George Thorogood on the Rez) all the way to an intergalactic oasis of love, six million light years from "this fcked up planet" ("Spacebaby"). A fossil of that late '1960s obsession with all things Eastern can still be heard in the weirder digressions of "Chabbli Babbli", "Kabuki Dream", "Jaipur" and elsewhere, updated with bleating Turkish woodwinds and comic relief kazoos.

All of it was captured in razer-sharp fidelity and played with considerable punch, allowing room for some dynamic free-form jamming and, in "Ooga Booga Special", a surprisingly vital drum solo from a septuagenarian dropout, some of it performed by tapping on his cheeks (try it, for giggles). The result is not only a credible live document, but a worthwhile sampler of an enduring career: the perfect diversion for lapsed fans and curious newcomers.

 UFO by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.62 | 121 ratings

Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars All to often, Guru Guru are overlooked as the fathers of the German space rock genre, later labeled "krautrock". UFO, their debut album, is a psychedelic journey into the outer space, dripping with wild, psychedelic guitar solos, diverse bass playing, and exceptionally heavy drumming. The band relies just on these three instruments, which in conjunction with studio equipment and various effects allow them to create fascinating sonic landscapes. With that in mind, minimalism is one of the key elements to the distinctive sound of UFO. The work is mainly instrumental with only a few "mumbled" parts from the band's members. The highlights of the album are "Stone In" and "Der LSD/Marsch". An absolutely essential krautrock album! Highly recommended!
 Känguru by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.07 | 116 ratings

Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Guru Guru's third release is generally considered their most accomplished work. The band's previous album, UFO, was a trippy journey influenced by hallucinogen drug experience. In 1972, the group released Kanguru.

The album still relies strongly on improvisation. There are elements of ambient music, as well. Four tracks of this album give room to four different moods. The band often lays down a simple rhythmic and harmonic pattern, which they improvise on. However, there are also some electronic, dissonant work-outs to spice things up! Sometimes heavy, sometimes funky - Kanguru is a rewarding journey throughout! Although the album is not very innovative and a bit monotonous, it is evident that Guru Guru have mastered their instruments and are now proficient musicians.

All in all, Kanguru is a classic Krautrock album. Not only is this one of not all that many albums of the genre that I enjoy, it will be a perfect way to get into it. Recommended!

 Guru Guru - Live by GURU GURU album cover Live, 1978
3.83 | 18 ratings

Guru Guru - Live
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Guru Guru - Live (1978)

Recorded across cities all over Germany and Holland, this is one of the best sounding live albums of the seventies. Guru Guru started of as acid/psychedelic rock band and grew towards a psychedelic funk/jazz rock act and this album covers mainly their later style. Fans of their first three albums should therefor be mindfull of on which grounds they judge this album.

Stylisticly and soundwise this album could be seen as the big brother of Kraan's double live album from '75. A tight unit of bass and drums (of course by bandleader Mani Neumeier), two guitar players - both very able to give away an amazing guitarsolo - and Rolandd Scheaffer also plays some saxophone parts and percussion. The vocals are often dopey, but they are almost never the centerpart of a track. The recording quality is amazing, I only know one record that has a better live recording; Jan Akkerman's Live at Montrieux.

The first two sides are mainly just Guru Guru having a lot of fun with its fast funk psychedelic rock style with loads of great solo's, sounds and rhythmical playing. Nothing to progressive or difficult, but very advanced nevertheless because of the top notch fusion interplay of bass drums and guitars. The musicianship can easily florish in the format. The crowd really seems to be having a good time.

The third side shows the band in a experimental mood, taking up some Ooga Booga parts from the Kanguru album and an experimental space rock / spoken word jam called Der Elektrolurch. Though long drum parts on live albums are usually cause of a lack of substance, the interplay with the crowd does give me a pleasent feeling of being part of great event.

The fourth side is my favorite of the album. This is a progressive rock listeners heaven with the brilliant heavy spacerock opener Moroso and the multi-part twelve minute Medicin Man's Overdose, which also has some strong dynamic changes and a beautiful twelve string guitar interlude by Dieter Bornschlegel. The ending is short, bombastic and powerful.

Guru Guru in their fusion prog period is an acquired taste, but the musicianship and professional production of this double live album is beyond opinions. Moreover, the crowd really adds to the music, which is usually lacking on progressive rock (related) live albums. Recommended to fans of jazzrock/fusion, krautrock, jamband, psychedelic rock, spacerock and audiophiles. Four stars.

 Mani Und Seine Freunde by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.64 | 28 ratings

Mani Und Seine Freunde
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Guru Guru - Mani und seine Freunde (1975)

Already on the second Guru Guru album you can hear that Mani Neumeier is one of the more talented drummers of his generation. A beautiful sound, a great pinch and some great fusion chops. On this album Mani Neumeier takes the lead through a run of funky fusion tunes with some ethnic, some Zappaesque and minor progressive influences. The vocals are often silly, be don't be fooled, this is top notch funk jazz and the production quality of the album is impressive as well.

The first run of five tracks is really enjoyable. Funk, rock, jazz, crazy vocals. 'From Another World' has a psychedelic intro, an enthic middle section and a fusion/progressive ending section and is therefore interesting for listeners of progressive rock. The ten minute track 'Woodpecker's Dream' has a nice intro song with cute German vocals, but after the first few minutes the birdsounds, spoken words and small percussions are meaningless. The last short track also sounds as filler material to my ears. This is too bad, because otherwise this would have been a four star album for me.

Conclusion. If you cut out the last two tracks from your playlist you're left with a great funky psychedelic EP-lenght album with a ehtnic progressive finale. Three and halve stars for that. Recommended to listeners of fusion, people interested in drums taking the lead, krautrock and fans of Kraan.

 Känguru by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.07 | 116 ratings

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 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.

 Hinten by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.61 | 76 ratings

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", albeit strangely skewed when filtered through the usual cross-cultural Krautrock 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.

 UFO by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.62 | 121 ratings

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 other words, one made by agitators who knew what they wanted. Or, more accurately, what they didn't want: i.e. 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 experience). 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.

 Känguru by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.07 | 116 ratings

Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Känguru by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.07 | 116 ratings

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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