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Gila - Gila [Aka: Free Electric Sound] CD (album) cover





4.06 | 203 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars German band Gila was formed in 1969 around guitarist Conny Veit, a Krautrock notable who would also go on to contribute to the music of Popul Vuh and Guru Guru. Their debut `Gila (Free Electric Sound)' arrived in 1971, a predominantly instrumental disc with a refreshing raw sound of spacey rock improvisations, lengthy psych guitar solos backed by plenty of organ, and it frequently reminds of the psych/acid/space early period of Pink Floyd with its fuzzy meandering atmospheres, as well as touches of Dom and Agitation Free.

An early Guru Guru and Hendrix acid rock style permeates opener `Aggression', all Conny's plodding and grooving heavy guitars, Daniel Alluno's rambunctious drumming, murky slithering bass with tickles of Hammond organ rolling around the background, and there's just a touch of spacey echoing in the final moments to hint at what's to come. The nearly thirteen minute cosmic jam `Kommunikation' weaves through everything from acoustic acid-folk shambles, distortion- heavy drones, sudden tempo changes, Embryo-like ethnic flavours and endless drowsy guitar strains with a touch of that mellow bluesy tone and those shimmering reaching piercings that David Gilmour perfected on the early Floyd albums. Walter Wiederkehr's punctuating bass is thick and fluid, Fritz Scheyhing subtly employs runaway electric piano tiptoes and panning organ swirls, and there's even brief ethereal treated vocals and wasted spoken word passages to end a killer first side.

The mantra-like `Kollaps' is all humming feedback droning, whirring Hammond organ, mysterious creeping bass and dreamy weeping guitar tendrils that turn rumbling and splintering, reminding very much again of the early psychedelic Pink Floyd works. `Kontakt' opens as a disorientating collage of shuffling mucky distortion and eerie voices before coming down as an early Deuter-like acid/folk Eastern-flavoured acoustic guitar meditation. There's shades of German band Agitation Free's blend of electronics and ethnic elements in the ten-minute two-part finale, `Kollektivitat' first starting life with reflective and joyful Hammond organ soloing, subdued drumming that carefully builds, seductive purring bass and chiming guitars with bluesy tinges. The Hammond eventually turns scratchy laced with dangerous quickening drums and manic twisting guitar jangles before `Individualitat' dissolves into furious tabla and distortion, although the mere fade-out to close the whole album is a bit of an uninspired letdown!

`Gila' is perhaps similar to an album like, say, the self-titled first Cosmic Jokers album from 1974 that offers many textbook examples of that would be recurring sounds and styles on the Krautrock- flavoured works, but without the more uncompromising and abrasive harder qualities that make up many of those discs, so this could appeal to newcomers and be an ideal introduction. There's certainly more important, experimental and ground-breaking Krautrock discs to explore, but there's not a poor second of music on `Gila', and it definitely deserves to be a proud part of any Krautrock collection.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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