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Hoelderlin - Hölderlins Traum CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.09 | 159 ratings

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4 stars ‘Hölderlins Traum’ is the first and really the most folk-leaning of all of Hoelderlin’s albums. While the album has clear markings of German folk with its heavy-sounding Hammond and the occasional mellotron (as well as German-language vocals), there are also a number of musical treats such as the brief “Strohhalm” with its Eastern-inflected (wooden?) flute, tabla and sitar motif, and the easy-going acoustic number called simply Peter.

The band sold a surprising number of copies of this debut despite them being relatively unknown and not at all imbued with anything resembling a mass appeal sound. Great for prog folk fans today though, who have an opportunity to appreciate this rare recording thanks to Spalax’s reissue.

The recording quality is just a bit rough, even for early seventies standards, but this is only a minor distraction since most of us who seek out old prog folk music are pretty much used to substandard recording quality. But the range of instrumentation thanks to the nine performers makes up for the lack of range in sonic quality nicely.

The band is fairly naïve in their themes and arrangements, but in a charming way that music of this era tends to be. “Requiem Für Einen Wicht” for example is given a ‘requiem’ treatment simply by inclusion of stark piano chords throughout despite really being more of an almost traditional-sounding folk song made ‘modern’ thanks to heavy organ riffs and snare drums. Christoph Noppeney is particularly noteworthy on violin for this track, with most of the last several minutes focused around him.

The band shows a little Anglo influence with the medieval opening track “Waren Wir “ as well as “Erwachen”, while the lengthy title track is a rocking instrumental with more great violin and an animated and persistent rhythm track that carries the album to completion.

My only complaint is that the record is a bit brief at less than thirty-five minutes, but again this is a minor quibble and for the most part I found it to be truly enjoyable and very representative of progressive folk of the early seventies. A bit dated today, but if you are into old German prog folk bands like Ougenweide or Eden (although Hoelderlin’s later works are closer to Eden than this album), you may find this one to be pleasant and worth picking up. Four stars is a tad bit high but I think this record is just a bit better than three thanks to the variety of instrumentation and the obvious enthusiasm of the players. Recommended to most all prog folk fans.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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