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Limbus 3 & 4 - Mandalas CD (album) cover


Limbus 3 & 4


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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As their previous effort, "Mandalas" is a very difficult but passionate listening, only built on synthesis harmonies, following almost absent, invisible melodic lines and making a large part to micro silence and sound environnement. "Kundalini" is a fine exemple of cloudy experimental improvisations dominated by strange musical inflexions written for acoustic instruments (flute, piano, cello...) , the movement between the instruments is inexact, often syncopated, giving a paranoiac dimension to the ensemble (the unclear "Heiku" with its embedded virtual lines). "Dhyana" is an other singular instrumental, featuring long monotonous organic chords with strange, enigmatic wind instruments and droning allusion to a "trip" , producing hallucinatory effects on the consciousness. Silence / Time / Eternity are the real musical dimensions of this "cosmic" music. Not really beautiful but it reveals quite evocative states of mind. Recommended for those who like the most radical, agitated parts of krautrock experimentations (Zweistein, Anima...)
Report this review (#138827)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Limbus 4's one and only outing is a bit of a tuneless dirge for its 37 minute duration. Primal sounds permeate throughout 'Mandalas', with lots of clay pots being thwacked as dreary vocals chant in the background. Not exactly what I'd term Krautrock...

Still, it's a hell of a lot better than the even more hidden and impossible to find Limbus 3 - now that was a REAL downer.

I guess the front cover could sum things up better than my rambling. It looks like it sounds. 'Mandalas' tries the native American Red Indian approach to creating music but it falls somewhat flat. Free-form acoustic percussive laments is about as good a description as I can muster.

'Plasma' - the last track, has lots of more tuneless moments - this time in the form of stringed instruments similar to Tangerine Dream's 'Genesis' on 'Electronic Meditation' .

'Mandalas' is okay, but you really have to be in the right mood for an album like this particularly with those damn kazoos ringing in your ears. For originality alone I'll give this 3 stars rather than the two it probably deserves.

Don't expect a pub knees up while listening to this one.

Report this review (#403522)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars ::: pure Tibetan Style Freak-out the like of which Angus Maclise [early Velvet ] would have been proud of..

It is scary music but then some would argue Krautrock as a shamanic cure for the excesses of the 1940s ; and therefore when some people say early Krautrock recordings from bands like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk [Organization] were pretty awful"

Well they were dissonant and anarchic by need if you take this shamanic-psychotherapeutic view of its entire raison-d'être; its cultural function in the human family; the boil had to be lanced; and was successfully...

Krautrock became more civil, almost suburban later....

The music of Limbus is incredibly beautiful and moving :::]]] just because it carries all of these things and yes it is dissonant ; mildly unnerving ; some of it might make you jump...

It is more avant-garde and scary jazz than it is Kraut; but yet it is Early Krautrock for all the aforementioned

It is beautiful and should be played in a Tibetan Meditation Hall with swathes of incense flowing about


Report this review (#911285)
Posted Friday, February 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Listening to this album for the first time, and looking at the generous three stars I'm prepared to give it, I have to seriously consider the possibility that I might have gone insane. If ever a group deserved to languish in sub-cult limbo it was the willfully obscure Limbus trio, newly rechristened in 1970 after hiring a fourth player. The amorphous project, a loose collective more than a professional band, was co-directed by the aptly named Odysseus Artner, like his namesake from ancient Greek mythology a genuine explorer, forever wandering uncharted oceans.

Operating at a hermetic distance from the usual Krautrock focal points of Düsseldorf, Munich, Berlin and Cologne, Limbus was one of the few German bands making noise in historic Heidelberg. And 'noise' is indeed the right word to describe their completely freeform way of making (more accurately, of approximating) music. The sound is vaguely Middle Eastern in approach and style, not unlike a lot of counterculture rock in the late '60s, but was given a token measure of authenticity by all the arcane ethnic instruments: tablas, tsikadraha, other, even more esoteric devices, none of them played with any kind of fluency, and probably by choice.

It all adds up to an almost laughably inscrutable racket, hard to regard seriously as legitimate music, especially when the album opens with what sounds like a weekend birder's 10-cent duck call, followed by more than a half-hour of scraping strings, whistling woodwinds, random percussion, and unidentified noises from unknown sources (musical instruments? studio-modified flatulence?) Imagine a band of amateur dervishes vainly attempting to whirl in unison after too many hits of wacky Balkan tobacco, while bouncing with clumsy jubilation off the walls, the furniture, and each other.

The above paragraph might read like snarky hindsight derision, but really isn't. I'm not entirely convinced there was any real talent behind all the unscripted experimentation, but that in itself is a lesson worth remembering: sometimes virtuosity and skill are the enemies of true musical invention. If you can find a copy of the album by all means give it a spin, at least once. And if you agree that it has merit, there's plenty of room in this straightjacket I'm wearing...

(Collector's note: "Mandalas" was the second release on R.U. Kaiser's legendary Ohr record label, back when the signature album cover art featured dismembered doll bodies, courtesy of graphic artist Reinhard Hippen. The original gatefold LP sleeve also included a complimentary balloon (!), ideal for celebrating the outer limits of musical nonconformity or, when partially deflated, for plugging sensitive ears when the results approach the pain threshold.)

Report this review (#1568601)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2016 | Review Permalink

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