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Kollektiv - Kollektiv CD (album) cover





3.96 | 74 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Germany's Krautrock scene took many forms with some bands like Popol Vuh and Tangerine Dream rocketing straight into the kosmische spaced out universe based on electronic manipulations while other bands like Orange Peel and Frumpy kept firmly rooted in the blues rock of the 60s. Other bands like Embryo and Brainstorm took things into extreme jazz-fusion territory while others yet like Can developed self-penned idiosyncrasies that took the psychedelic embellishments of the most tripped out 60s influences and adapted things to styles such as the soulful avant-funk style it laid down in its early career. Add some jam bands like Gila and Rufus Zuphall and it's not difficult to see how diverse the entire world of early Krautrock really was.

While some acts settled on a single shtick, some bands sort of took all roads at once and in the process developed new forms of uniqueness which seemed to be too much even for the experimentalists which got these acts shunned. Krefeld based KOLLEKTIV was one such band that got its start all the way back in 1964 as the pop trio The Generals but changed its name in 1970 and shed all the pop simplicities and went jumped into the cauldron of experimentalism which as we all know, Krautrock was all about. Although KOLLEKTIV existed for eight years until its demise, the lineup of Jürgen Karpenkiel (bass) and twin brother Waldo Karpenkiel (drums) along with Jürgen Havix (guitar, zither) and Klaus Dapper (flute, saxophone) only released this sole eponymously titled album in 1973.

While based in the jazz-fusion style of Krautrock in the vein of early Oranisation, Embryo, Xhol and Thirsty Moon, KOLLEKTIV also delved into the extremes of psychedelic escapist's paradise as well as maintaining a firm grasp of its early blues rock sensibilities. Graced with the production guru Conny Planck in the producer's chair as well as chief engineer, KOLLEKTIV created a spectacular mix of the various styles of Krautrock that were circulating the scene in the early 70s and melded it all together quite well. While the opening 12-minute sprawler "Rambo Zambo" starts things off in a jazzy flute-fueled gusto, the following "Baldrain" takes a complete 180 and drifts off to Planet Lysergia with echo effects, drones and tripped out raga rock influences but finds its Earthly grounding towards the end with a return to a melodic construct that includes slide guitars, a groovy bass run and what sounds like a bluesy harmonica.

The tiny "Försterlied" provides a little intermission with the only vocals in the form of spoken word along with wild frenzied avant-garde musical gibberish which apparently was designed to provide a bit of comedic relief to the other serious nature of this album. Then comes the three part side B swallower "Gageg" which collectively sprawls past the 19-minute mark. This track begins with a receptive cyclical groove which finds a subtle flute fluttering around it like a gnat but then it begins adopting jazzy chord progressions and maintains its calm placidity as the title "Andante" implies. It all builds up to the following "Allegro" which unlike its title implies continues the same slinking bass groove effect only with the guitar riffs getting faster and the fluttering flute interpolating itself into the mix more often. When the third and final part of "Gageg" begins with "Pressluft" the entire bass groove changes and guitar erupts into harder rock riffing and the psychedelic echo effects get louder, faster and wilder and ends with the jazz instruments getting crazy.

KOLLEKTIV was one of the more interesting bands of this era with a firm command on the tight-knit compositions and high level musicianship but also crafted a diverse and demanding release that not only displayed virtuosic jamming techniques but maintained that Krautish hypnotic groove throughout the album's run. Originally released on the lauded Brain label, the album found a remastered reissue in 2007 on Long Hair which featured four bonus tracks well worth the time. It seems that everything Conny Plank laid his hands on excelled above and beyond the call of duty and in the case of the one and only release from KOLLEKTIV, it is certainly no exception to this rule. One of my favorite picks from the jazzier side of Krautrock and IMHO better than anything bands like Kraan cranked out.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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