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Os Mundi - 43 Minuten CD (album) cover

43 MINUTEN

Os Mundi

 

Eclectic Prog

3.60 | 32 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars This rather unique group emerging from Berlin, recorded a pair of excellent albums in the early 70's in Germany's difficult context of cold war and left-wing extremists actions, and early international terrorist actions (Munich Olympiads) and in the very near future, the first oil crisis that will cripple Western Europe's economy. Inevitably most young Germans were politicised, and like the vast majority, the members had left wing sympathies, which you will find in their lyrics. Os Mundi's (Latin for birth of the world) was born amidst the Berlin protests and doomed imprisoned future from two teenage bands fusing together and could have a line-up of up to 12 musicians including a three-man wind section and a cellist. This lead to their debut album taking up a catholic mass into rock realm but they decided to sing in Latin. After this rather unique start, the second album might seem less inspired with a title relating to its length and a very bland cover artwork.

This sophomore effort was released on their new label Brain (in the progressive Metronome section) and produced by the inevitable Conrad Plank, but by this time, they were no more than a septet. On this album, Os Mundi created a rather unique jazz-rock, blending rock, jazz, psych, which comes out particularly tight, considering the member's varied background (from classical to free-jazz and beat groups) and influences. Stuck between Colosseum, Chicago, Santana and Weather Report, the songwriting comes mostly from guitarist Udo Amdt and drummer Christoph Busse (both of which come from the beat/rock world, the later dealing mostly with lyrocs), but the overall feel of the music is very jazzy, with strong political lyrics, which reflects the difficult times. Generally the music is a very pleasant and positive atmosphere, contrasting with the texts, but on the whole, because of the "light" feel, you can easily skip over the lyrics should the content not be "up your alley". Cellos, flutes, sax, fuzz guitar, congas, bongos, ashtrays, organ, telephones contribute to the great music, where there are no weak moments and plenty of enthralling ones (the psych-jazz flute solo in Children's Games sounding like Thijs Van Leer amongst others), makes this album a small early-70's gem.

While the album (mostly recorded on the first take according to the drummer in the booklet) had its success (especially critically), the group never became full professionals. While not absolutely essential in terms of prog historics, Os Mundi is essential to the German scene and exemplifies best the German jazz-krautrock scene, much like Kraan or Annexus Quam, but being better and more accessible than both.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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