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Sixty-Nine Circle Of The Crayfish album cover
3.22 | 24 ratings | 3 reviews | 21% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ballast (5:12)
2. Kolibri (6:16)
3. Becoming Older (5:20)
4. Journey (5:09)
5. Paradise Lost (15:23)
6. Crayfish (6:05)

Total Time (43:26)

Line-up / Musicians

- Armin St÷we/ - Organ, piano, synthesizer, guitar, vocal
- Roland Schupp - Drums, percussion & gongs

Releases information

Producer - Peter Strecker, Wolfgang Sandner
All titles composed and arranged by Armin St÷we
Published by Music Factory
Label: Philips
Catalog#: 6305 164

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SIXTY-NINE Circle Of The Crayfish ratings distribution

(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SIXTY-NINE Circle Of The Crayfish reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ozzy_tom
4 stars The only album of German duo "Sixty-Nine" is very good example of organ-driven Krautrock madness. Music on this disk is a mix of "The Nice"/"ELP" symphonic rock school of prog, jazz-rock in the vain of Brian Auger and some experimental, avantgarde elements.

"Circle of the Crayfish" includes only 6 compositions but they are long enough to occupy more than 43 minutes space and...your attention.

1. "Ballast" - dynamic instrumental rocker with incredibly heavy organ chops very similar to Billy Joel's style in his own "Attila" duo from early 70s. It's a truly killer track! I also love middle section where Armin St÷we plays thundering notes of Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King". Stunning piece of music with clear "Attila" and "Atomic Rooster" influences.

2. "Kolibri" - another instrumental but this time with more jazz-rock flavor. As usual it's filled with swirling organ to maximum but we can also listen to few piano passages. Can be easily compared to Brian Auger's work but it's more rocky.

3. "Becoming Older" - first track with vocals (don't worry, everything is sang in English language). For sure St÷we's singin' isn't as good as his organ playin' but it's still passable. Tons of wild eruptions organ, flashy solos and groovy rhythm. Very enjoyable song which reminds me such British bands as "Beggar's Opera", "Still Life", "Atomic Rooster" and (especially!) "Bram Stoker".

4. "Journey" - along with "Ballast" this is my favorite track on this record. While it includes some vocal parts it's mainly instrumental Hammond organ show-off. There are so many mighty B-3 riffs, melodies and solos that every Hammond freak should be satisfied. Sounds like cross between "The Nice", "Deep Purple" and "Frumpy".

5. "Paradise Lost" - first composition where things starts to go wrong. When I saw that it's 15+ minutes long, I suspected it will be some real epic track. Unfortunately the whole first part of this "suite" is fulfilled with extremely annoying synthesizer noises, random percussion sounds and sheer boredom. And it could be just some dumb gimmick, but it's more than 6 minutes long!! Torture... Thanks God after this disastrous episode "Sixty-Nine" comes back what they can do best - wild, organ-led prog (seems that usually played via Marshall Amplifier to create guitar-like overwhelming power). Some vocals parts which sound like some kind of Eastern religion prayers aren't so good, but overall Hammond freak outs are great.

6. "Crayfish" - the last track is a return to pure instrumental composition and this one really rocks hard. St÷we's Hammond chops are really skull blasting and together with crazy, high-pitched analog synthesizers shrieks they violate your ears. But in a good way of course :-). No guitar needed!

Overall "Circle of the Crayfish" is a great album with interesting Hammond B-3-driven seventies prog rock. This release is a must have for organ fanatics along with other little-known German groups: "Tyburn Tall", "Trikolon"/"Tetragon", "Murphy Blend", "Amos Key", "Twenty Sixty Six and Then", "Odin", "Frame", "Pell Mell", "Virus" or "Frumpy". If you like keyboards-oriented duos, you should also check such "micro-bands" as: "Twogether", "Magma", "Attila", "Hardin & York", "Bondar & Wise", "Rustichelli & Bordini", "Hansson & Karlsson", "Atlantis Philharmonic", "Sound Express" and "Bootcut".

4,5 stars

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A progressive rock duo,which started as a regular band in 1969 in Bad Kreuznach under the guidance of 19-years old keyboardist Armin St÷we.Soon the band was shortened to a duo with St÷we taking over the guitars as well,while next to him was drummer Ronald Schupp.By the fall of 1972 the duo recorded their sole studio release ''Circle of the Crayfish''.The album was released the next year on Phillips.

The sound on the album is keyboard-driven Hard Prog, dominated by St÷we's keyboards supported by Schupp's powerful and technical drumming.The opening ''Ballast'' is a fast- groove track,featuring some hard guitar playing along with driving organ and steady drumming.''Kolibri'' is more in an E.L.P. vein with alternating jazzy and classical-inspired themes.Good organ and piano throughout along with impressive drumming.''Becoming older'' is the first track with vocals.Actually the vocals are supported by melodic organ-driven rock,soon to be replaced by hard jammming parts,very close to FRUMPY.Journey is more of the same.Long jamming along with classical-inspired passages and some vocal parts.The 15-min. ''Paradise lost'' opening the flipside is quite a (bad) surprise and far from the previous style.It opens with an ultra-long intro,featuring synths and gongs,close to Electronic-Kraut to be followed by another very long fast organ/synth/drums jamming with repetitive rhythms till the end.The vocal part by the last minutes will not save it from failure.The closing ''Crayfish'' is dominated by the pounding organ and the nervous synths playing,but the whole idea is rather stretched out.

''Circle Of The Crayfish'' is not the better place to start your progressive rock journey.It follows an organ-driven style many bands had already left behind by 1973 and the long jamming parts tend to be rather boring and extended along the way.Of course the album is very far from being a disaster,there are plenty of talent and good ideas among the tracks,but they are enough to record two or three good numbers and not a full-length release.For those, who can't escape themselves from a rather dated organ-driven Proto-Prog sound,this album may be of significant interest.

Review by ALotOfBottle
3 stars Sixty-Nine were a German duo formed in (you guessed it) 1969 by a young keyboardist and guitarist Armin Stowe and a drummer and percussionist Roland Schupp. Three years later, the group recorded their only studio album Circle Of The Crayfish followed by a live-cut Live! album one year later. These are the only known releases from the outfit.

Throughout the years, we have come across numerous organ-driven threesomes: Emerson Lake & Palmer, Egg, Triumvirat to name a few. However, duos are rather uncommon. Sixty-Nine is one of them. Their style may highly likely remind the listener of the previously mentioned organ-centric bands, especially Triumvirat. The duo fuses elements of heavy hard rock rhythm of Deep Purple, keyboard virtuosity of Keith Emerson, and their own Krautrock-esque factor. Jazz influence is reflected in rapid rhythms and lengthy improvisational passages.

Armin Stowe is undeniably an incredibly talented musician, regardless of what you think of the band. He often uses foot pedals of his Hammond organ to compensate for the lack of a bass guitar. Ironically, I often find there is too much low end in the mix, which blurs the rest of the sound, giving it a rather unpleasant feel. Stowe provides a wide plethora of sounds, including fuzz organ, synthesizers, pianos as well as dreamy electronics. The inspiration of Keith Emerson or his countryman Jurgen Fritz is evident. He rarely sings, but his voice has a dark, bass timbre, similar to that of Lee Jackson of The Nice. Roland Schupp's drumming is incredibly heavy. However, it goes far beyond just simple rhythmical structures. He often finds himself in more complicated scenarios, which include a blast-beat technique, commonly found in jazz and metal and odd time signatures. Despite that, I feel like his playing lacks finesse a lot of the time.

Circle Of The Crayfish consists of six tracks. These are not characterized by a great diversity whatsoever, too often do they sound all to similar. However, they are not bad by any means. Yes, they might me a bit dull and unremarkable, but they feature some really interesting moments. The longest track on the album, 'Paradise Lost' opens with a moody ambient texture, which than resolves into a washy-bashy theme, typical of the band. 'Ballast' is probably the most classical-oriented piece with allusions to 'In The Hall Of The Mountain King' as well as a few other classical pieces.

All in all, Sixty Nine's only studio release, Circle Of The Crayfish, is a pretty solid effort. There is nothing original or innovative about it, but there is nothing particularly unpleasant about it either. Maybe with an exception of the low-budget production. This album is mainly centered on highlighting the band members' virtuosity rather than the compositional factor. Fans of Emerson Lake & Palmer, Atomic Rooster, The Nice, and Triumvirat should find this album a decent listening experience. Three stars!

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