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Bokaj Retsiem - Psychedelic Underground CD (album) cover


Bokaj Retsiem



3.11 | 16 ratings

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3 stars This is an interesting proto-psych album, released by Rainer Degner, known for his contributions to the beat groups German Bonds and Achim Reichel's The Rattles. He's got some help from other ex-German Bond collegues where the original cover does not tell anything about the line-up. Degner cares for the guitar work and vocals. Further on it's pretty sure, that Peter Hecht is sitting behind the keyboards and Dieter Horns plays the bass. That's it - the drummer still remains a mystery to us.

BOKAJ RETSIEM reads like a Yugoslavian term maybe - but it's a pun, simple as that - read backwards you'll get 'Meister Jakob', a common German traditional children's song, also known as 'Frère Jacques' (French) and I'm quite sure 'Three Blind Mice' for the English speaking people. Now we have several short tracks with 'Bokaj' being part of the title - all are variations of this traditional - presented more or less weird. The short Classic Bokaj for example just intends to sound like the title, classic tinged, based on acoustic guitar.

To say So Bad reworks 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' from the Animals would be unfair, maybe better you can say holds fragments of this songs. The main melody builds the skeleton for an impressing improvisation dominated by acid guitar and fantastic swirling organ. Probably not very spectacular at a first glance - but we have to recall - this was recorded in 1967! And to follow this hint It's Over is an example where the band recalls the typical beat music characteristics. Only A Child contrasts whilst picking up war samples and a fearfully crying child. I'm So Afraid shows a jazzy vibe, mostly forced by the drive and the Hammond. Besides that - to follow the fuzzy guitar alone is worth it.

Bokaj Retsiem now is really enjoyable, documenting the crossover to krautrock as no other. It's the repetitive, jamming behaviour, distorted vocals - something really new and experimental at that time including a gorgeous floating section. On top of it very playful instruments beyond exception. Provided with a slight oriental touch plus wah-wah guitars Pill deals with an upcoming problem. 'Just A Little Pill Is All You Need To Kill Your Life' - drugs - often used as something mind-expanding but mostly followed by fatal impacts in the end.

Fortunately Something's Wrong With Bokaj immediately scares away this annoying subject by a very happily mooded and funny version of 'Meister Jakob'. Finally Drifting appears in a bluesy outfit with great Hammond attendance once more. Here we have a crazy German recitative included reminiscent to Adolf Hitler who is philosophising about the german cow. Sadly the song is faded out when it all begins to swing ...

'Psychedelic Underground' is a recommended album - a snapshot of the historical transition from beat music to krautrock with the emphasis on psychedelic impressions. Probably not the most innovative example representing those upcoming experimental times but a skillful production with many enjoyable moments anyhow - 3.5 stars.

Rivertree | 3/5 |


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