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Rufus Zuphall - Phallobst CD (album) cover


Rufus Zuphall



4.10 | 51 ratings

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5 stars I have played my copy (an original!) of this album enough times and loved it to say that it is a masterpiece, an absolutely original work that combines westcoast styled psychedelia with flute and guitar driven progressive rock and folksy passages here and there, with tremendous energy and enthusiasm from the whole group. Rufus Zuphall are often referred to as "the German Jethro Tull" not only is this gravely unfair to Rufus Zuphall, it also is the wrong comparison for Jethro Tull as the flute is generally much quieter and I can't hear too many Tull similarities on this album. There is more guitar/dual leads here than there are flute solos and flute riffs, also marking a difference. The album is songs of two different types: there are half instrumentals with titles in German and half vocal tracks with titles in English. The voice is quiet, almost a whisper, dark sounding, and very Germanic. This album is full of olde German and olde English dark and mystical vibes juxtaposed with healthy doses of humour and energy. It is more psychedelic than progressive, with a rough edge and some phasing effects on the flute here and there. I like this much more than the Spanish group Pan And Regaliz who sing in very broken English and really are just a Tull cast off. Tull are so great that emulating them and their unique sound is potentially fatal. Rufus Zuphall may have been influenced by Tull, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Fairport Convention, and some other bands, but never do they copy or imitate. In fact, I would have to say this is one of the most original albums I've heard of late and that alone makes it refreshing. When I am bored and I put this on it elevates me and makes me feel better. Music is supposed to bring your spirits up, not make you miserable, right! It's hard to choose a favourite track here, I actually wouldn't be able to pick only one track. The record opens brilliantly with "Closing Time-" a fast paced jazzy rocker, and then it moves into two driving/atmospheric instrumentals before a very different slow vocal number "Waste Land." These guys are way, way better than Parzival, perhaps more Krautrock than folk and therefore more interesting. In 1971 a lot was happening, and this album is full of the excitement being generated then by bands who cared only about producing great music and not making a lot of money. Phallobst bombed, but since it is on the collectable Pilz label has been given a lot of praise along with their first album which I haven't heard. So, I say this is a masterpiece of progressive music? I am, but I am also stretching the term "progressive" to mean simply "innovative." The songs aren't long, there aren't a ton of time changes, not a lot of polish, but this is psych into progressive era circa Germany 1971 at its best, and a complete and total gem all the way through.
| 5/5 |


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