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Hoelderlin - Hölderlins Traum CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.07 | 202 ratings

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4 stars Hölderlin's first LP "Hölderlins Traum" (Hölderlin's Dream) was released in 1972 on the Pilz label, which was BASF's arm for the burgeoning underground German rock scene. Recorded by Dieter Dirks, it was one of the more folk-rock oriented records that were championed by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, the producer here and head of the Pilz label. You may know him famously as the Ohr and Kosmische labels founder, and more infamously as a polarizing figure in the music business that was ultimately banished (and also subject of a lawsuit by this band amongst others).

Guest appearances on the LP feature Peter Bursch and Mike Hellbach of Bröselmaschine on sitar and tablas respective, and Walter Westrupp of folk duo Witthüser & Westrupp.

Listening to this LP, one is consumed by a dream-like, hazy quality that fills the air--aligning with its title. The first track "Waren Wir" (Have We) starts everything off in a lovely slow beat with straining violin cries and a moody vocal by Nanny DeRuig asking "have we not been here once before?" It abruptly shifts gears to a faster beat, as if the dream has suddenly changed and now the heart races. A spoken word conclusion states "And you see rooms sealed with glassy tears, you play--shut away--with the shadow of your scream."

This group named themselves after a famous German poet/philosopher and this is evident in the way they present their songs so poetically and as if in a dream state. In "Erwachen" (Awakening) "leaves laugh in the trees, they die, boats wander drunk through the hours." Pastoral acoustic guitar lines bookend the marching beat in the tune "Peter", and sitar and bongos create a lovely tapestry on "Strohhalm." "Requiem für Einen Wicht" is a dynamic and invigorating ode. It at times is a lullaby and other times is frantic--changing tempo and mood while telling it's sad story of oppression. The lonely but resolute protagonist in the story drowns in woody flute melodies and long soft violin notes.

Throughout the LP there are strains of Fairport Convention or The Incredible String Band, and small ensemble instrumental music of the renaissance period--all through a German lens. Highly recommended and an essential listen for fans of Folk-Prog, Freak-Folk or Acid-Folk, and Krautrock.

SpecialKindOfHell | 4/5 |


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