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Mythos - Mythos CD (album) cover

MYTHOS

Mythos

 

Krautrock

3.61 | 96 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars MYTHOS was one of Germany's first Krautrock bands that formed in Berlin in 1969 influenced by the unfulfilled potentials of Pink Floyd's "Saucerful Of Secrets" and then rode the psychedelic rock scene with contemporaries such as Ash Ra Tempel and Hawkwind. The band was a trio that consisted of Stephan Cask (guitars, sitar, flute, synthesizer, vocals, vocoder), Hard Weiße (bass, acoustic guitar, effects) and Thomas Hildebrand (drums, percussion.) MYTHOS found a home in good Krautrock company, the famous Ohr label that hosted some of the best known bands of the day including Embryo, Guru Guru, Birth Control and early Tangerine Dream. The self-titled debut was released in 1972 which became quite well known at the time after playing live with other progressive oriented bands such as Family and Colosseum as well as hard rock acts like Humble Pie. The album was produced by future Scoprions collaborator Dieter Dierks.

The MYTHOS debut album exudes a mysterious vibe instantly from its lysergic album cover art and the music pretty much follows suit with the only exception being the rather oddball track on the album, the opening "Mythoett" which is a folk rock interpretation of Handel's "Feuerwerkmusik" with Stephan Kaske playing the melody on the flute. The album takes on its more cosmic head trip starting with the the second track "Oriental Journey" which found the band on a lengthy jam session with Eastern vocal chants, sitars and other Eastern sounds crafted into a free flowing Krautrock extravaganza. On the original vinyl LP the track was connected with the following "Hero's Death" but these are two distinctly different tracks and rightfully have been separated on future releases.

While "Oriental Journey" was grounded on planet Earth, "Hero's Death" starts out taking off into space with wild oscillating electronic sounds simulating space ship travel as well as near 10 minute sonic journey into the cosmosphere with a Amon Dull II fueled bass groove and accompanying hard rock guitar and extra sounds to create the ultimate trip. Kaske's freaked out vocals are perfectly suited for the somewhat paranoid and meandering musical flow that takes an improvisational jamming session and augments it with moments of light fluffiness led by the flute and atmospheric synthesizers and then returns to a harder edged rock bombast to fuel the proper contrast. The bass groove provides the anchoring effect while the guitar has free reign to employ bizarre pick slides, heavy bluesy riffing and stunt guitar tricks while the percussion maintains an oddly timed progressive rock feel.

Originally swallowing up the entire second side of the vinyl LP on the 1972 release, the two-part "Encylopedia Terra" is the highlight of the album which tackles ecological issues and the failure of humankind to exist as stewards of the planet. The narrations were inspired by H.G. Wells' novel "The Time Machine" where a man travels 3300 years into the future in the hopes of finding a better planet but ultimately finds one that had been completely destroyed. The two parts swallowing up over 17 minutes of running time naturally allows the musical flow the proper time to ratchet up incrementally. Starting out as a cosmic heady psychedelic primordial ooze the track morphs into a harder rocking structure with heavy drumming bombast that implements military marches, bluesy guitar licks and a heavy bass groove as the atmospheric keyboards provide the ever-changing cloud cover. "Part 1" culminates in a total breakdown that offers the perfect freak out before morphing into the second stage of the act.

"Part 2" picks up as a mellow comedown after the bombastic conclusion of "Part 1." Distant bells provide a rhythmic drive while chirping birds and trippy synth runs build up into a more rock oriented Kraut-groove a la Amon Duul II. The flute once again becomes an important melody maker but ultimately the guitar dives in offers some riffing counterpoints to bring the track into full rock regalia. The melodic grooves offers a free flowing menu of musical variations before the the track culminates in the spoken word poetry from the "Time Machine" novel. As Kaske recounts the tale, the music becomes a mere backdrop that almost becomes a lullaby and then just like that the album is over as the Krautrock journey abruptly ends but not forgotten.

True that the album suffers a bit from the odd choice of opening with "Mythoett" which seems woefully out of place in the company of stranger kosmische Kraut jams but MYTHOS is an album that always hits me in the right place and comes off as the ultimate freaky journey for those seeking them out. While not a perfect release and doesn't have the immediate effects that bands like Can, Neu! or Amon Duul II may have had, MYTHOS nonetheless offers a true unadulterated Krautrock experience that offers a musical experience that matches the visual freakery of the album cover art. Overall MYTHOS provides a peaceful journey with pleasant melodic undercurrents that occasional climax into overpowering militant bombast with heavy rock guitar and percussive domination. The thematic developments perfectly envelope the MYTHOS moniker that evokes epic tales of cosmic exploration that result in both harmonic bliss as well as melancholic agony. The album may not have gone down as one of the Krautrock scene's most essential examples of the genre but personally i've always loved this one quite a bit and listen to it on a regular basis.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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