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YATHA SIDHRA

Krautrock • Germany


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Yatha Sidhra biography
After several vain attempts in many bands, the brothers Rolf and Klaus Fichter finally found in 1973 their own musical identity. At this time the band original name BRONTOSAURUS changes to YATHA SIDHRA, a musical name which is really suitable for the new musical orientation taken by the two musicians. Particularly attentive to ethnic and meditative influences in popular music, they began to work on a long & epic piece called "A Meditation Mass" (under the influence of the famous Achim Reichel, the virtual member of the band who produces the album in 1974).

The first intention was to create a dreamy musical landscape where the Moog synth, the flute & traditional "percussive" instruments play an important part. Seen as a concept album, "A Meditation Mass" is almost exclusively instrumental. A long suite divided in two themes with two variations for each one. A beautiful and ecstatic musical journey. Their sound oscillates between "pastoral" folk music, spacey rock with the addition of discreet jazzy accents. After this impressive work, YATHA SIDHRA is dissolved. At the beginning of the eighties, the brothers Fichter formed a new band called DREAMWORLD. A more synth meditative pop orientated music but it's worth checking.

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3.94 | 91 ratings
A Meditation Mass
1974

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YATHA SIDHRA Reviews


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 A Meditation Mass by YATHA SIDHRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 91 ratings

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A Meditation Mass
Yatha Sidhra Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On paper it looks a bit goofy: both the mystical name of the group and the title of their first and only LP. Add some lavish Tibetan mandala artwork and the result is a pastel-colored memory of hippie-dippy consciousness, inspired (of course) by all things Eastern, and no doubt by some of the milder drugs available at the time.

But the flashback it presents is so vivid that even someone like me, otherwise immune to the smell of incense, can easily respond to the album's dreamy psychedelic aura. And the music itself is simply, almost unbelievably beautiful. This isn't the aimless tripping of many a counterculture jam, but an organic flowering of Higher Purpose, and you see already how it affects my prose.

Despite all the Indian flutes and bongos the album is more German than you might imagine. There's a subtle structure to the whole opus, divided into four discrete sections but flowing together into one unbroken 40-minute hymn, building slowly but with disarming intensity before resolving itself in a final reprise of the wistful opening melody.

Most of it is arranged around a fragile, melancholy little theme: imagine a pastoral variation of PINK FLOYD's "Careful With That Axe, Eugene", embellished with ghostly devotional vocals and some lovely flute arabesques. But I had to laugh out loud when the lava lamp mantra framing the album turned into the jazzy lounge vibe of Parts II and III, the latter adding electric guitar and approaching the blues-rock territory of early JETHRO TULL, but on an interstellar trajectory.

Better informed listeners can fill you in on the back-story: how a conventional hard-rocking band named Brontosaurus caught the attention of producer Achim Reichel with an atypically blissful concert encore, and was encouraged to adopt a pseudonym before recording the new music. The album was a stand-alone project never meant to be repeated, but don't completely dismiss it as a minor Krautrock novelty. Beyond the obvious time capsule appeal of its Aquarian Age idealism is an only slightly dog-eared musical road map for a journey still worth taking.

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 A Meditation Mass by YATHA SIDHRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 91 ratings

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A Meditation Mass
Yatha Sidhra Krautrock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars An enjoyable all-instrumental freakout, often drifting towards New Age spaces but just as regularly breaking out in sudden flirtations with jazz fusion. Rolf Fichter seems to be the musical prime mover here given the range of instruments used, but Klaus Fichter also deserves props for some mesmerising drum work at points. The album is interesting as a Krautrock counterpoint to the New Age-leaning album-length works coming out of Virgin Records at the time (like Mike Oldfield's early albums and Clearlight's debut). That said, I can't say it really enraptures me to the extent that it does many others. Krautrock fans will probably want to give this one a try at some point but I think there's plenty of more central works to explore before you get to this one.

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 A Meditation Mass by YATHA SIDHRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 91 ratings

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A Meditation Mass
Yatha Sidhra Krautrock

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Yatha Sidhra is a kraut band around the Fichter brothers who had been playing under a different name (Brontosaurus) for some years but changed name to something more appropriate when their style changed to a mellowed out sort of pastoral kraut.

The album is split into 4 parts of which the dreamy pastoral psych of part 1 is certainly the most excellent, ethnic percussion, flutes, moog and hazy vocals form a perfect meditative mood. Part 2 introduces a change of pace with a uplifting jazzy swing. Part 3 is a rocking jam, similar to Gila at first and then switching to Guru Guru when they build up the speed and rockabilly levels. Part 4 returns to the pastoral setting of the opening piece.

'A Meditation Mass' is a harmonious and peaceful album that stands a bit apart from the usually noisy and abrasive kraut sound. Even the rocking bits remain very civilized and thoughtful. Not a full-blown 4 stars for me as I remain slightly underwhelmed at the end. This should have a certain appeal to fans of Popol Vuh, pastoral symphonic prog as well as Gila or ART.

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 A Meditation Mass by YATHA SIDHRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 91 ratings

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A Meditation Mass
Yatha Sidhra Krautrock

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

1 stars Yatha Sidhra is a hippy kind of band from Germany. A Medidation Mass (1974) is their only album.

The trio plays a weird mix of improvised music but with folk feeling. But as usual, it comes from Germany, so everybody tag it as Krautrock... pfff...

The album is quite boring and depressing. To help this the album is made of 4 tracks only, two of them over 12 minutes long. A small torture if you will.

Original cover was at least interesting with the kind of cut outs, the name is cutted and you can see the colorful painting through the letter.

Just one thing, don't believe the hype that this album have round here.

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 A Meditation Mass by YATHA SIDHRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 91 ratings

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A Meditation Mass
Yatha Sidhra Krautrock

Review by SaltyJon
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars So being the huge fan of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy I am, I wanted to review something special for my 42nd review, an album which I really enjoyed and wanted to write about. While looking through my collection, my eye caught on this one's artwork (which it always does) and then my ear told me it wanted to listen. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the album has, before my rating and review, a 4.2 average rating. Coincidence? I think not. On to the review, then!

Ever since I first heard the track available here on PA, I knew this was an album I wanted to check out. The track is very laid back, meditative (imagine that!) and with a very prominent Eastern/ethnic influence going on. That's a good description of the majority of the album, really. The only part to deviate from this formula TOO much is Part 3, where we're treated with a uptempo, guitar oriented sound for a while (only around for the middle part of the song, after which the group calms things back down). It doesn't break the spell of the album, though - by the time you get to Part 3, you're most likely going to be calmed down considerably and going with the flow of the music, so the album will just carry you along with its higher energy and momentum. Part 4 brings it all back to a calmer place again to round things out, ending the album as it began, with that dreamy sound.

This album is a very good example of the calmer side of Krautrock - along with Popol Vuh, I'd say it's one of my favorite examples thus far of the "quieter" side of things. If you enjoy meditative, hypnotic, pastoral music, then you will very likely enjoy this album quite a lot. Very highly recommended, and I think it's deserving of a masterpiece status (well, it may only be 4.75 stars, but I'm rounding up). Five stars!

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 A Meditation Mass by YATHA SIDHRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 91 ratings

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A Meditation Mass
Yatha Sidhra Krautrock

Review by The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A True Meditation

Yatha Sidhra's sole album was entitled perfectly as 'A Meditation Mass' because that's what this album offers: a fascinating meditation suite full-filled with psych and indo encounters which is splitted in four parts which all flow flawlessly one to the other.

The first part of the suite is undoubtedly the best part of the album or at least the one that makes the title of the album highly suitable, with a psych-driven wah-wah guitar playing all through the tune and a gentle but effective percussive feedback. Yatha Sidhra adds to that tranquil and psych base an indian mediative feel with the flute which is purely mesmerizing plus some ocassional moog and electric keyboards which are reminiscent of Rick Wright's playing on A Saucerful of Secrets, which fits the music perfectly.

The second part features Yatha Sidhra moving to a cooled down jazzy style with the electric keyboards being the responsible of that. Mind you that the gentle and mediative mood is still present and works flawlessly with the jazz incorporation.

The third part shows Yatha Sidhra playing in the vein of Ash Ra Tempel's debut with the presence of a guitar solo, yet it's never way too heavy or loud so as to not break the mediative feel throughout.

The fourth and last part of the Meditation Mass suite is a reprise of the first part with the echoey wah-wah guitar and indian-esque flute.

Obviously not the usual prog suspect but it's undeniably a brilliant chilling indian-esque album with sufficient variation so as to not make it a dull mediative experience, and because of that it deserves no less than 4 stars. Anyone keen on indian inspired mediative music with some nice psych and jazzy twists, I highly recommend you this.

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 A Meditation Mass by YATHA SIDHRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 91 ratings

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A Meditation Mass
Yatha Sidhra Krautrock

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another one-album wonder from the Brain label circa early seventies Germany, YATHA SIDHRA came and went in the blink of an eye, in the process leaving behind a curious addition to the Krautrock genre. A unique brew of Psychedelia, folk, ethnic influences, jazz and western rock, 1971's A MEDITATION MASS is almost just that: a long, trippy, flute-led instrumental journey that slowly winds it's way through four, sonically comatose, interlocking pieces. It wanders freely from drowsily-toned psych-folk to carefully-constructed ethno-jams to brisk, jazzy, inventive workouts and back again to loose cosmic grooves. It's almost like some strange, magical journey through a wonderful and ancient musical forest, an orgianically-grown piece of music that resonates with sounds and textures from the past and the present with it's crisp flutes, soft congo drums and sitar-esque acoustic guitars giving off a distinctly old world vibe. It is also, however, very much a product of it's time. Each piece is untitled; they are all just parts of one whole. Part one lasts an epic 19- minutes plus yet somehow never really drags, the shimmering guitars acting as the soft golden thread off of which all else hangs, whether it be a shrill burst of flute or a smattering of Eastern percussion. It has the feel of a stoned campfire jam. Those with an interest of all things cosmic, Eastern-tinged psych and with a little patience will be rewarded as repeated listenings slowly reveal unexplored melodic avenues that further showcase the albums dreamlike qualities. It's a slow, carefully-constructed and rather hypnotic experience, though a soft and warm one as well.

Basically, A MEDITATION MASS omits an incredibly relaxed vibe and is something that someone can put on and literally mediate to if they wanted. Nowadays it's obviously seen as a product of the late-sixties counterculture movement's interest in all things cultural; an album made by four Germans but one that sounds distinctly non-Western with the more modern influences tucked deeply away inside the layers of proto-world music and psychedelic folk. You definitely wouldn't think it was German, but Krautrock it is, exemplifying wonderfully the diversity of the genre. In fact placing this music in any one period or region is almost impossible. It has hints of Japanese, Indian and Chinese influences amongst many others, but they are all wrapped in a loose brew of acoustic jazz-folk that in itself is a myriad of differing influences. In other words, it's a beautiful patchwork quilt of musical times, textures and cultures that utterly ignored the commercial values of the time, even more so than the underground psychedelic German rock acts of the time such as AMON DUUL II, EMBRYO and AGITATION FREE who all endured longer and more successful careers by fusing bluesy rock with ethnic flourishes in a more level way that accentuated the rockier, heavier and darker elements of the Western music but also paradoxically rendered the music less mysterious in tone and flavour as its basic sound could be traced back to the rock 'n' roll of the fifties, whereas Yatha Sidhra's roots lie in something much more venerable.

Yatha Sidhra can also maybe be seen as early forerunners in the development of 'World Music'. But this particular line-up would never record a studio album again so ultimately their influence was rather limited. They did at least contribute something original, diverse and wholly different that stood up to be a singular affirmation of the more positive, forward- thinking ideals of the era in which it was concocted. Those wanting something faster or something meatier will bore easy; the clue to it all is in the title. This is rock in the loosest sense of the word with wooden beats and stoned hippie rhythms taking the place of drums and melody. This reviewer thinks A MEDITATION MASS is a hidden psychedelic gem, a wonderful piece of astral-ethno-folk-rock quite unlike anyone else recorded since by western artists. So sit, relax, medidate? you cosmic kids will find much to enjoy. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2009

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 A Meditation Mass by YATHA SIDHRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 91 ratings

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A Meditation Mass
Yatha Sidhra Krautrock

Review by Alucard
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars I didn't heard this one back when it was released and discovered it recently in the nice SVP/Brain digipack re-release with a beautiful cover (that apparently is worth some bucks with the first edition cut outs) and a good booklet. The only YATHA SIDHRA record was recorded in 1976 and produced by German Rock old- timer Achim Reichel. So much for the good news, the record is deceiving. The main problem is the lack of direction. The record presents one long track "mass of meditation parts 1-4" mixing ethnic rhythms, some repetitive bass lines, Rhodes and synth washes, heavily treated rock guitar, atmospheric flute and (approximate) jazzy drumming. The elements which may look interesting on paper doesn't sound so on the record. 40 minutes of pointless wandering through atmospheric soundscapes that lack any inner tension. Compared to bands like Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Temple, presenting both great meditative and tense passages YATHA SIDHRA's record lacks both. Apparently their candlelight concerts have been great, but on the record the music just doesn't take off!

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 A Meditation Mass by YATHA SIDHRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 91 ratings

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A Meditation Mass
Yatha Sidhra Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Deep in meditation ...

Right now this is another rather unknown Krautrock gem, produced by Achim Reichel who was the mastermind of THE RATTLES but also had Krautrock experiences with the band A. R. & MACHINES. YATHA SIDHRA had extraordinary qualities but sadly released only one album. The band offers 40 minutes which are helping you to glide into another musical dimension. This album represents the special feeling of the early 70s as no other, psychedelic, mind-expanding, border-crossing and - I'm sure - not to reproduce in this way today.

Mellow, spiritual, meditative, relaxed, calm - this are all attributes for reaching your inner consciousness when you are listening to Part 1 of 'A Meditation Mass'. Starting like a soundtrack for a Science Fiction movie and yes, indeed, first of all vocals and flutes are expressed extraterrestrian during the whole song. Their music is floating as if they had all the time in the world and nothing else to consider. A wonderful compelling piece which glides into Part 2 with a nice electric piano appearance.

And then, what a surprise, suddenly the song begins to swing. After this very jazzy interlude Part 3 continues with a hypnotic bass and the electric guitar gets an important role. The epic from now on develops to a very special combination of Blues and Jazz Rock with an Avantgarde attitude and then prepares the transition to Part 4 where the theme of the first part is picked up again for rounding up this production.

YATHA SIDHRA had produced a highlight in 1974 but was nearly ignored at that time. Released on CD by the german Brain label in 2004 this special effort actually deserves a second chance. Don't miss it - 4.5 stars.

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 A Meditation Mass by YATHA SIDHRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 91 ratings

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A Meditation Mass
Yatha Sidhra Krautrock

Review by Evans

5 stars It took me a few listens to get it, but eventually, i understood that the only album by the German band known as Yatha Sidra is in fact a masterpiece.

First of all... A meditation mas is a very (very) repetitive music. In reality, 27 minutes of the album consists of practically the exact same piece of music, with a shorter interlude from the main theme in parts 2 and 3. These are the jazzier parts of the album, and are slightly up-tempo compared to the rest, but it is still by no means hard-rocking at all.

But despite the short side-tracking in the middle, "A meditation mass" is really one single piece, running for 40 minutes, and you really will want to have those minutes to spare when you listen to it. If you do, then prepare to be blown away repeatedly. Despite the seemingly repietitive nature of the main theme, there is enough going on to keep you interested for the whole duration of the album, i especially enjoy the soft drums in kombination with the cosmic guitar with some kind of indian flute hovering over the whole thing, providing the melody. Very relaxing and spacey. It is also a very rhuthmic album, but instead of the kind of bang-against-your-skull-percussion CAN stands for, the beats from Yatha Sidra will lull you into exactly the right stratosphere. As if that weren't enough, there is some great moog work from Rolf Fichter which somehow manages to fit perfectly into the meditative atmosphere of the album.

This music will merge with your heartbeat, and while it is not something which will take you to the skies, reeling with emotions, if you immerse yourself into it, it will embrace you with it's warm arms and take you to places few others can.

Good for relaxation as well as inner-space travel, highly recommended! Just don't expect to be blown away on the very first spin unless you have a certain sweet tooth towards krautrock or meditation.

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