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Et Cetera (DE) - Knirsch CD (album) cover

KNIRSCH

Et Cetera (DE)

 

Krautrock

4.09 | 27 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars After the eponymous debut album, Wolfgang Dauner's ET CETERA returned the following year with a whole new lineup for the second album KNIRSCH, the German word for "crunch" which apparently was made clear by the combo effect of the cover art and the continued theme art inside the album spread. American percussionist Fred Braceful (soon to join Exmagma) was the only musician (other than Dauner) to appear on both ET CETERA albums. Joining the band was American guitarist Larry Coryell (Chico Hamilton, Free Spirits, Gary Burton) and British drummer Jon Hiseman (aka John Hiseman, co-founder of the jazz-rock bands Colosseum and Tempest and, later, with Wolfgang Dauner, the all-star band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble) along with bassist GŁnter Lenz (most prominently known for his work with Peter Herbolzheimer Rhythm Combination & Brass, a mix of big band, jazz-funk and fusion).

After the wickedly wild debut release KNIRSCH sounds downright tame with the focus much more drawn to tight jazz-fusion instrumental interplay augmented by Dauner's idiosyncratic keyboard style however it wouldn't be a proper Dauner related project without at least some experimental freakery in the works so despite a tamer sophomore release, KNIRSCH manages to squeeze in some avant-garde weirdness just because it was the early 70s after all! Stylistically KNIRSCH is a much more streamlined jazz-fusion event which in many ways is much more similar to Embryo's "Rache" album that came out in 1971 than to the first ET CETERA release, as it focuses on the same lengthy jam driven instrumental improvisation with the stealthy double percussive bombast of Braceful and Hiseman that mix and meld traditional jazz drumming with a wide range of ethnic influences such as the Indian and Arabic touches that graced the debut album.

Likewise Dauner himself behaves and correspondingly delivers the expected proper jazz-fusion responses. While the opening track "The Really Great Escape" misleads with a fuzzed out guitar driven rock and bass groove accompanied by tribal drumming patterns with Richard Ketterer joining in to provide lyrics, the following tracks completely derail this rather mainstream and rather ho hum affair. "Sun" immediately brings the jazzy touches into full context with Dauner's tinkling of the ivories evoking an early Chic Corea with the rest of the album remaining instrumental and airy as the guitar, bass and drums are placed lower in the mix than the dominant keys. "Yan" begins the three longer tracks that all hover around the ten minute mark or longer. It is by far the most experimental of the five tracks with an emphasis on the greater visionary prospects of fusing jazz and rock with electronica. This track is really the only one that resembles the debut ET CETERA album with its emphasis on experimentalism above all else.

"Turning Spread" dishes out a heavy piano driven groove but the bass and drum cannonade is on fire as a feisty funk flair begins to strut its badass stuff and all the jazz-fusion to bring some soul into its ranks. This track probably has a distinct Herbie Hancock feel with its easy to digest rhythmic flow and an almost Santana inspired percussive drive and virtuosic guitar solos of Coryell. The album ends with "Yan" which perhaps is the track that incorporates the main gist of both ET CETERA in a musical summary so to speak. While it provides the overall backdrop of jazz-fusion as its centerpiece, the track also allows healthy doses of experimental offerings. The track is graced by a strong percussive beat, spaced out keyboard, wah-wah guitar licks and drifts along rather nonchalantly as the instrumentalists find room to improvise as the groovy drive banters on ad infinitum. Dauner is off the charts with some of the more daring synthesizer nosedives as notes fluctuate high on the resister and drop without a parachute from the sky.

This was the end of the road for the ET CETERA project but a mere blip on the radar for all the musicians involved. Dauner would continue on with an endless series of collaborative efforts all throughout the 70s whereas Fred Braceful soon joined Exmagma for another two albums of psychedelic Krautrock head trips. KNIRSCH is a mixed bag and seems quite tame after the unhinged nature of the debut but still is the more unified of the two if not nearly as original as the jam aspects were fairly standard for the day as well as the style of jazz-fusion that would dominate the album, still though the musical meanderings are performed by strong competent instrumentalists who were capable of weaving magical passages of jazz-rock while allowing experimental electronic effects to incorporate themselves into mix. Personally i prefer the debut album to this one however except for the mediocre opening track, this one has a charm all its own and although not as experimental delivers with exceedingly strong instrumental prowess.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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