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Dzyan - Time Machine CD (album) cover





3.75 | 93 ratings

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4 stars Normally one imagines a time machine being used to travel backward through the fourth dimension, but the second Dzyan album marked a huge leap forward from the band's erratic 1972 debut. It was, in fact, the work of an entirely different group, reduced to a trio, with only bass player / keyboardist Reinhard Karwatky remaining from the original line-up.

The new band quickly jettisoned the more obvious Canterbury sound of the earlier album, along with the bluesy vocals, in favor of something more challenging: a blend of nascent Krautrock, Oriental ragas, Jazz Rock fusion, and the sort of free improvisation practiced by the likes of CAN, KING CRIMSON, and other groups operating outside the functional straightjacket of mere 'jamming'.

The change in direction is obvious from the opening notes of "Kabisrain", an eight-minute Near Eastern improv as compelling as it is formless. In stark contrast, the aptly-titled "Magika" comes wrapped in layers of tightly-arranged, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA intensity. Here and elsewhere the range of playing shows exactly what the band gained by hiring Eddy Marron, possibly the most underappreciated guitarist in Germany (if not all Europe) at the time.

The pinpoint accuracy, tricky time signatures, and startling instrumental creativity of this track alone are something to hear. But check out the hyperactive John McLaughlin-like prelude to the side-long (on vinyl) title track, introducing a 17-plus minute series of blistering solos over a rhythm section that can't stand still. All of which makes the gorgeous acoustic guitar interlude of "Light Shining Out of Darkness" an even more effective detour.

It's hard to call this music Jazz Rock, or just Rock, or something else entirely. Either way it's the sound of a band re-born, and one that should have had a much higher profile. This is one of those rare albums that, even forty years later, is almost impossible to overrate.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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