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SPEKTAKEL

Eclectic Prog • Germany


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Spektakel biography
Spektakel was formed as a trio in 1969. Detlef Wiedecke (guitar), Eduard Schicke (drums), and Werner Protzner (bass),were all members of Oldenburg`s underground rock scene. Their common bond was a passion for spontaneous inprovisations and the music of Deep Purple. They found an isolated rehearsal space in the countryside where they could jam. These sessions would go on for hours, sometimes even days! Gigs would always start with cover versions of Deep Purple songs and end with long improvisations. SPEKTAKEL concerts would sometimes last for five hours. All three musicians moved with their families to Steenfelde, Ostfriesland, where they built a house together (thanks to Friedel Pormann!).

In 1973, Detlef switched from guitar to keyboards (Hammond organ, Moog synthesizer, and Mellotron). Many Guitarists auditioned for the band. Ultimately they decided on Heinz Fröhling, who moved into the SPEKTAKEL-HOUSE with his wife and his daughter, Melanie. The band rehearsed constantly. Although the songs were more composed they still left space for improvisations. SPEKTAKEL`S music blended all styles from hard rock to 12-tone-music! They wrote music and lyrics together. They lived together. They worked together. Ultimately this was the reason why this version of the band only lasted one year. SPEKTAKEL`S gigs became legendary for their enormous light show and the equipment that was used. Even today people still remember their gigs. Shortly after the music on this CD was recorded the band dissolved. Heinz and Ede joined with Gerd Führs to form Schicke Führs Fröhling.

[Claudia Fröhling]

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SPEKTAKEL discography


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3.81 | 20 ratings
Spektakel
1974

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SPEKTAKEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Spektakel by SPEKTAKEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.81 | 20 ratings

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Spektakel
Spektakel Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars You talk about your hidden gems, well here's another ! This German band's sole album is a mellotron lovers dream and so maybe it's not surprisng that Schicke and Frohling were part of this foursome before going on to form SCHICKE FUHRS FROHLING after SPEKTAKEL broke up. This is a band who loved to improvize and put on these big light shows during their concerts. The studio album here contains three long tracks along with a live bonus song that shows their improvizing skills as we get over 20 minutes of mellotron laden atmospheres. The three studio tracks are more structured but man these guys liked to jam then come back to the main theme. This is all so interesting and adventerous. This band really has captivated me with this 1974 release.

"The Eternal Question" opens with piano, drums and more that build. The tempo picks up and gets fuller. Check out the bass and guitar ! A calm before 2 1/2 minutes with guitar and mellotron then it calms down even more after 4 minutes with relaxed guitar as the mellotron returns. Vocals 5 minutes in then it becomes majestic reminding me of PFM of all bands. It kicks in before 7 1/2 minutes and we get some powerful organ after 9 minutes. It settles again with mellotron and laid back vocals then the guitar and drums join in as well. "Big Boss' Eyes" is funny lyrically. It's laid back early then we get some nice guitar after 2 minutes as things get more passionate and the drums pound. Mellotron a minute later as it picks up and the guitar retreats. Great section. Vocals are back after 4 minutes with that earlier soundscape. Organ to the fore after 5 minutes with a beat and vocals. Catchy stuff. The guitar replaces the vocals as the mellotron flows. Nice.

"7 Pounds Tommy" opens with a catchy and impressive instrumental display. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in as it settles back with mellotron. Some bombast before 3 minutes when the vocals stop. It settles back 5 minutes in as the reserved vocals return. It then picks back up as we get this catchy pulsating rhythm. It changes 7 1/2 minutes in as the guitar comes to the fore along with passionate vocals. Laughter 10 minutes in and other samples including a birth ? Vocals are back 12 1/2 minutes in and some prominant guitar. Mellotron after 15 minutes. Great sound. "No No Not You" is the live bonus track at over 20 minutes. A haunting mellotron laden improv.

Easily 4 stars and an album that hits all the right buttons for me.

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 Spektakel by SPEKTAKEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.81 | 20 ratings

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Spektakel
Spektakel Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The sole, namesake album by Spektakel is an uncrowned top achievement in the history of Germany's symphonic progressive rock. Having been a live sensation in their country's underground scene, it is a pity that this band couldn't expand their work further beyond this album, since the traces were clear of a certain grandiosity that put them above the likes of Eloy, Novalis and Grobschnitt. Do not be misled by these words ? I love the aforementioned bands and ponder their input for the evolution of German prog rock very positively, but the truth is that the finesse and energy created by Spektakel were superior highlights in the first half of the 70s. You can notice an important recurrence of Floyd- friendly ambiences in many passages, but there are also shades of yes-inspired splendor, as well as slightly Gentle Giant-based resources strategically located in some places when a weird dynamics is required. The album gets started right away with rocking colors, featuring a robust mixture of psychedelic atmospheres and effective drum rolls: this is the beginning of 'The Eternal Question', the track that occupies the first 15 ½ minutes in the album. Once an agile 5/4 jam and a latter ethereal sequence full of typically progressive textures follow, the stage is set for the installation of the main motif. The magical vibration of Yes and Genesis is fluidly intertwined with the mesmerizing spacey overtones that traditional German prog has made its own. At around the 7.30 mark, things get intensified with the arrival of a set of bizarre moods, including chimes, sundry percussive effects and Gothic organ chords, eventually leading to a refined dissonant passage. Once the languid ambience returns, the stage is set for the elaboration of a bombastic climax, which keeps things controlled enough as to not become overdone. 'Big Boss' Eyes' rounds like a mid- tempo early Yes accurately seasoned with some Minnear-esque keyboard and Green- esque guitar inputs. The track keeps an attractive pace with a moderate use of variations; the final 4 minutes are employed for the affirmation of a melodic architecture from which the final motif emerges and settles coherently. Even though this track doesn't equal the efficient majesty of the opening track, it is a powerful progressive adventure in itself. '7 Pounds Tommy' is the long track in charge of the ambitious track to fulfill the album's second half ? 17+ minutes of progressive greatness. With the influences from Yes, Gentle Giant and Genesis being moderately recurrent, you can also notice some coincidences with the type of sound that by then, at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Happy The man were doing during its prehistoric age. Rich ambiences and suggestive ornaments get through in order to elaborate melodic motifs that in themselves are not too complex. Later on, a monotonous passage is reiterated to form a cacophonic background for a strange set of effects: a plane that seems to be falling down, people walking and running, a church bell, a clockwork ticking, a woman's gentle orgasm, a newborn crying? those sorts of things? The end of the track states a well-balanced closure for the album's official repertoire. The bonus track is yet another long adventure, this time recorded live: 'No No Not You' lasts a bit longer than 20 minutes. After an extended cosmic intro with heavy avant- garde trends, a jazz-rock jam follows in order to spice things up with an exciting exercise on consistent dynamics, while retaining the density generated during the preceding section. Next is a minimalistic section featuring dual mellotrons, very much a-la Tangerine Dream. Gradually, the band sets up an expansion of musical colors, and when the rhythm section completes a new framework, an extroverted interlude gets in, ultimately leading to a powerful climax. Both Spektakel and "Spektakel" are highly recommended names in a collector's list of next purchases or actual collection of German progressive gems. It is a good sign of the talent comprised in this band that half of it went further to the best progressive trio ever from Germany - Schicke, Führs & Fröhling. As for this band itself, well, I've praised them enough already.

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 Spektakel by SPEKTAKEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.81 | 20 ratings

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Spektakel
Spektakel Eclectic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Little that I know about this band until I found it was featured at this site and this is the album before the band named after SFF. I'm quite familiar with the latter as it was part of my collection in the past during my schooldays. Looking at the inlay, it's quite surprising that the bad was actually a Deep Purple cover band because the music presented here in this album is much proggier than any Deep Purple albums. As the inlay says this band always started their gigs with cover of Deep Purple followed with long improvisations until the gigs were ended 5 hours later.

The album starts off with an epic "The Eternal Question" (15:32) with a blast of music that reminds me to a mixture of King Crimson, Van Der Graff Generator, Genesis and Deep Purple music with attractive guitar solo in a style of King Crimson's Robert Fripp augmented with organ work and dynamic bass lines. The intro is really promising and it represents the early 70s style. Throughout the opening., the music flow with some breaks demonstrating guitar solo or mellotron blast. The music eventually cools down into mellow part with combination of guitar fills and bassline. Vocal enters during mellow part and the music moves into symphonic style in the vein of early King Crimson. It's an excellent track.

"Big Boss' Eyes" (8:58) is a mellow track with blues-influenced style. Overall tone of the song is dark with some excellent variation of styles after lyrical verses. The music then gives a chance for bass guitar to showcase the low register notes, accentuated with mellotron sounds at background. I can here some influence of Gentle Giant as well especially on singing style. Fans of classic symphonic prog would find this track entertaining.

"7 Pounds Tommy" (17:34) brings the music into higher energy with excellent combination of keyboard / organ, guitar and bass guitar. Drums are played dynamically here. The music provides some surprises as it has varied combination of high and low points. In a way it reminds me also on the music of early Eloy. The relatively complex structure reconfirms the fact that this is a symphonic prog band and it's hard to believe that this band was originally played Deep Purple songs.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Those who love mellotron-drenched compositions, this album is devoted to you. Not only mellotron, guitar is also dominant. In terms of music approach, this band is quite unique as the members of the band and their families live together in the same house and they wrote songs together. Unfortunately this band was short-lived. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Spektakel by SPEKTAKEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.81 | 20 ratings

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Spektakel
Spektakel Eclectic Prog

Review by VanderGraafKommandöh
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An especially unknown band to most prog fans, this album came as quite a surprise to my ears. It's not a masterpiece, but I do get great enjoyment out of it and it contains some excellent symphonic and King Crimson-esque moments (especially in the opening track and the live bonus track). Two of the members (Eduard Schicke and Heinz Fröhling) of Spektakel would later go on to form the symphonic prog band Schicke, Führs & Fröhling (SFF), who are a little more well known in the prog world.

Now onto the album and the music itself:

The Eternal Question

A 15 minute epic of sorts (about death it seems)... and the most interesting track on the album, this track seems to fade-in, which is not something I'm used too. It starts off a little slow, but as soon as Heinz Fröhling's guitar playing kicks in, along with the keyboard runs of Detlef Wledecke, I knew I was about to hear some great music. This track has a jazz rock/fusion feel to it and sets my foot tapping immediately. The track seems rather explorative and reminds me of King Crimson quite a lot, especially Heinz Fröhling's guitar playing. However, there is a heavy symphonic feel to them that is different to King Crimson. There is also some rather nice percussion playing by Eduard Schicke. The vocals are a little weak, but they're pleasant enough. The only weak part of this track are the bells that come in 3/4 of the way through are maybe a little too much. The guitar playing at the end reminds me somewhat of The Allman Brothers' Band, which I really like. An excellent start to an album.

Big Boss' Eyes

This track is much more of a catchy and straight forward track, but don't let that put you off. Once again Heinz Fröhling's guitar playing is excellent (expect a very nice, but restrained solo) and the keyboard playing gets more of an airing here (in a much simpler form too, which I rather like). The way the keyboards and guitar unite on here are great and they work quite well together. Expect more mellotron and funky rhythm as well. The strong point about this track is the excellent bass playing and the really great ending (a guitar solo).

7 Pounds Tommy

This is the quirkiest track on the album and is even longer than the opener. This track sounds far removed from King Crimson at first, yet it still has that Spektakel sound. Again there is some excellent Mellotron throughout and some more great guitar playing (unsurprisingly!). The track does seem to take its time getting going though and continues on the same theme for quite some time, except for a few heavier parts here and there. Five minutes in, the track starts to get a lot more interesting and changes pace slightly. This is where the vocals really start to get a bit odd, yet I find, quite compelling. This track is about Tommy's (who is 7 Pounds!) journey to birth. The track around the halfway mark suddenly becomes very psychedelic and strange noises are started to be heard in the background... the keyboard playing is brooding and stays on the same theme... voices are heard... laughing and more voices... this is the creation of Tommy... from his mother's wedding (from what I can tell), to his actual birth. A clock finally goes off and the music proper starts again... odd stuff indeed. The track then returns to a keyboard driven catchy rhythm again and finally back into the same tune we heard before.

No No Not You

A bonus live track on The Laser's Edge CD release and the least exciting track on the album, as it is more of a psychedelic, space rock track and doesn't really progress that much and also seems to be more of a jam. Expect more King Crimson (Starless and Red era) sounds here though, due to the guitar, mellotron and percussion. I also hear some John McLaughlin style playing here as well, which is excellent. Still an interesting track nonetheless, but because it's a bonus and it's live, the track really doesn't fit in with the overall sound of the original album and also goes on for too long.

Where this album has faults, is in its production. I hear an evident buzzing noise in the background, but it doesn't deter too much, only on the quiet moments. Also, I feel they lack some creativity in composition and they could have made the tracks either shorter, or more compelling over all.

This album is recommended to those who want to hear where Anglagard got some of their ideas from, as I can definitely hear a similarity in places. I also recommend it to those who may like the works of SFF.

4.2 from me!

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 Spektakel by SPEKTAKEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.81 | 20 ratings

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Spektakel
Spektakel Eclectic Prog

Review by Marcelo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Spektakel was a German band, precursor of SFF. When I saw in the line-up words such "Mellotron, Moog, Hammond" I acquired this cd immediatly. And I found in it very nice moments and the typical seventies sound, but far away from a masterpiece. Anyway, I enjoyed the first three tracks a lot, precisely due the generous Mellotron use. But the long live bonus seems noisy and too much "psychedelic" to my taste (without it, I'd add one star to my rate). Neverthless, a very interesting stuff specially to fans of the keyboards vintage sound.

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 Spektakel by SPEKTAKEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.81 | 20 ratings

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Spektakel
Spektakel Eclectic Prog

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Pre - SFF (Schicke Fuhrs Frohling) symphonic German prog offering some very tasty musical moments with tons of mellotron. In many ways I get a strong early GENESIS feel throughout this album which I think rests in the HACKETT'esque guitar solos with heavy mellotron laded backdrop atmospheres. The Laser's Edge have managed to also do a great job in re-mastering this ancient gem adding a live bonus track of over 20 Mins. (SPEKTAKEL were known for performing long shows and longer songs). Overall a great album which I find fits perfect for my tastes and has not been off my CD player since the day I first listened to it. A great find kids..!

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