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Amon Düül II - Vive La Trance CD (album) cover


Amon Düül II



3.23 | 119 ratings

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3 stars I must confess that Krautrock has always been a conundrum in my ongoing exploration of prog, relying more on the "electronic" section peopled by Eloy, Tangerine Dream, Ashra and Klaus Schulze, as well as some experimental Can and the symphonic Triumvirat. I dabbled a bit in Grobschnitt, a smidgen of Novalis and an occasional Passport but my first and only Amon Düül II album was the lackluster Hijack, purchased in 1974 and the vinyl has sat gathering dust ever since. I guess I need to try out Guru Guru and Kraan before espousing some kind of fair opinion on Krautrock. "Vive la Trance" is somewhat similar to Hijack in formulating more condensed song structures but the overtly naïve lefty politics somehow sounded corny in view of the existence of the neighboring Stasi state (the DDR), as well as the trippy-hippy style that was much more interesting when handled by Daevid Allen and his Gongsters, this just doesn't ring my bell! The overall playing is good without being exemplary and the short tunes sort of flow one after the other, with breezy passages loaded with sweeps of schizoid bizarreness, some fine wah-wah guitar riffs from John Weinzierl. Again nothing really leaps out as the group sought a more direct "rock" approach with only occasional moments of savvy (Chris Karrer's short sax blast on "Fly United" ,Renate's Kate Bush imitation on "Jalousie" or the stunning "Im Krater Blühn.." and its organ /VCS3 work ). The middle section of the menu has two longer pieces in the 6-7 minute range that perhaps better exemplifies the thrill some have for Amon Düül II, the African-flavored Mozambique starts out nice before developing into a full-blown affair the asks to "clap your hands" while showcasing rather simplistic sonic patterns and textures, a bit like a wimpier Hawkwind with heavier lyrics ("mutilator of children, murderer of men", gasp!). "Apocalyptic Bore" is perhaps even more palatable, the violin weaving amid a silly narration that would make Daevid giggle in non- envy, a raunchy guitar splash being the major redeeming asset but an otherwise odd slice of space rock/psychedelia. The five closing tracks are again short, curt and concise, revealing nothing monumental or breathtaking. Its just a little too lightweight for my tastes I guess and I keep pressing the skip button. Particularly dreadful is "Pig Man", a direct swipe at a rather large West German defense minister , saved only an absurd sax fling.

This is an album that simply does very little for me, a perhaps necessary addition to add credibility to my collection but little more. They are certainly deserving of deep respect for starting out a new genre but I will rather stick to my more symphonic German stable. If Phallus Dei, Tanz, Wolf City or Yeti land in my lap I will consider rating this higher in context. In the meantime I can only propose 3 signs of the times

tszirmay | 3/5 |


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