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Guru Guru


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Guru Guru UFO album cover
3.66 | 166 ratings | 26 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stone In (5:43)
2. Girl Call (6:21)
3. Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama (5:59)
4. Ufo (10:25)
5. Der LSD / Marsch (8:28)

Total Time: 36:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Ax Genrich / guitar, Fx
- Uli Trepte / bass, electronics
- Mani Neumeier / electric drums, cymbal, gong, electronics, tape, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Iriscop

LP Ohr ‎- OMM 56 005 (1970, Germany)

CD Ohr ‎- CD 556005-2 (1993, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GURU GURU UFO ratings distribution

(166 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Now there is one album every parents must've loathed back then, especially if their kids were playing it. I can imagine the insults and other epithets thrown (such as noisy drivel or useless sonic nuisance) at this album from the pop critics to the music industry in general. And to think that the next one would even have buttocks as an artwork would've confirmed them in their opinions, but let's face it this album was a complete and utter revolution for many more adventurous music fans. The group started as the Guru Guru Groove (the amazing Mani Neumeier on drums and the spirit of the double Guru, and Uli Trepte on the inventive bass) in 68 as a trio of free jazz and read texts. By early 70's, their text-reader had gone and after many tryouts, the incredibly experimental axeman Ax Genrich was chosen and a few months later they recorded this aptly titled album, UFO, released on the legendary Ohr (Ear in English) label. Graced with a "flying saucer" the album warned us of more intelligent and advanced life and that this album would help us getting ready to meet it. And in some ways, this album does make you see life from a different point of view, and most likely from a better vantage point.

It may appear to today's progheads that early Guru albums might just be jams sessions, but even if that were true, the sheer fact that this music was recorded and released back then, showed how much the group only cared about its own music without paying attention to chart success. Some might consider this a useless and worthless pile of rehearsal tapes (I've heard this opinion a few times from "music buffs"), but nothing could be further from the truth.

What we have in this album is one of the earliest examples of space rock, kosmische muzieke, wild psychedelia and an essential base to the Krautrock scene, even if it is not the most representative. Based on the live jams of Jimi Hendrix, a lot of Guru's music just soars on ahead often reaching mayhem and redefining chaos. Indeed Stone In and the fabulous Girl Call (it sounds like she's not calling but orgasming really) are coming almost straight out from Hendrix's realm (thinking of Hear That Train Coming on the Rainbow Bridges soundtrack, here). Their mainly instrumental rock exudes energy, sounding sometimes like a three guitar Floyd (Saucerful-era) fusing the tracks together (have to pay attention when the next Dalai Lama track starts) in an intense and sometimes improvised dirty lo-fi rock.

The second side of the wax shows a different Guru with a definitively more spacey, spooky ambient guitar feedbacks (Genrich was obviously not afraid of blowing amp bulbs, and must've had loads of spare strings) where spaceships are boarding up, travelling through black holes and shooting asteroids out of their trajectory. While the title track may appear a bit lengthy and will not really stand numerous listens, this track is absolutely fascinating because mostly made of one guitar and its amplifier. The closing LSD March is another freak out most likely depicting the world where a certain Syd never really came back from. Neumeier's drumming shines throughout the album.

Not necessarily better than it's follow-up, UFO is one hell of al album that gets the ever-essential title of historically and musically important and influential. Clearly this is the kind of album that either met marvelled disbelief and implacable attraction, or complete misunderstanding and utter repulsion. For this proghead, and even if it has not aged that well, obviously the first option was the good one.

Review by Carl floyd fan
4 stars It is amazing to think that it is only 1970. try comparing this to other records that came out in 1970 like the kinks or Grand Funk Railroad and than you will truely appreciate how experimental this album is. Very cool and loud. If you want an album that will freak you out and piss off the neighbors in one shot, get this album. Don't get me wrong, it is good, just hard to get into and will require patience and an open mind to music in general, cause what sounds like unstructured junk at first turns into very beautiful music after a few listens - honestly - Creatvity is beautiful!
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The first album of GURU GURU is a hard listen, unless you are in a "special" mood or state of consciousness. Imagine the trippiest and wildest Jimi Hendrix Experience trio of drums, bass and guitar with certain electronic effects by the famous Conny Plank, long instrumentals with spacey guitar solos and you are close to "UFO. I had a hard time digesting it, but to be honest this is one of the most uncompromising and surprising debuts I heard. Good album, if not for frequent listening then as a vivid document of the early German prog rock scene.
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "UFO" was the debut album for West Berliner band Guru Guru, which in its earlier stages was one of the most daring and implacable krautrock acts around. In fact, the large doses of rough energy, adventurous madness and visceral aggressiveness make it an undisputed classic in the rockier realms of krautrock. Each one of all three musicians was already a veteran in the local underground scene, with drummer Mani Neumei in his early thirties already. In many ways is Guru Guru's offering related to Ash Ra Tempel's rocky side and Tangerine Dream's first album, also showing clear influences from Hendrix at his wildest, and to a lesser degree, the most explosive facet of "Ummagumma"-era PF. The musicians' proficiency is well documented in the way in which they handle their robust improvisations in many passages of the album, bearing a sort of jazzy attitude in the way they perform their interactions, but the overall sound is heavily experimental psychedelic rock in form and structure. The unearthly explosive jams that continuously take place fit well the band's main focus: expressing streams of sound in a frontal energetic way. The first three numbers work partially on powerful interplays between the lead guitar and the rhythm section, creating somber yet captivating scenarios. 'Stone In' is such a great opener since it provides a straight statement of the band's musical ideology at the time in terms of ballsy psychedelia. 'Girl Call' kicks off in a more constrained manner, gradually building up to a Hendrix-esque climax that seems to set the atmosphere on fire. The aforesaid track's abrupt ending is segued into the ultra-explosive 'Next Time See You at the Dalai Lhama', which is the most metallic piece in the album. The guitar phrases and bass adornments bear some exotic, almost Arabic nuances, but the track is not constructed under the patterns of fusion or anything like it. This tracks serves mostly as a recapitulation of the first two with an enhanced energy. The album's second half is the most disturbing one: in 'UFO' and 'Der LSD-March' the trio take their music's lysergic potential to its most incendiary level. The 10-minute 'UFO' is an unquiet excursion in deconstruction and chaotic ambiences: it brings an aura of horror and mystery that portrays many hints to musique concrete, challenging structure with a robust conviction. The same goes for the first half of 'Der LSD-March', but in the second half, the display of energy is set into a more ordained frame, creating a powerful excursion similar to those of ART. The ordainment is not excempted of free-form. allowing room for improv and a drum solo. "UFO" is a solid gem of the krautrock realm. A masterpiece, indeed, it can only be recommended to avant-rock converted fans and stubborn lovers of experimental rock. Guru Guru made a hell of a debut with this one.
Review by Tom Ozric
5 stars Guru Guru's debut release from 1970, 'UFO', is a cosmic whirlwind of rumbling bass, feedback guitars and thumping drums, all mixed into some sort of structured, spacey chaos. Indeed, this album won't grab the listener by the 'ghoulies' in the first few plays, but the familiarity gained from constant listening reveals the intended experimentalism by this trio of Krautrockers. Mani Neumeier is an interesting drummer/percussionist who went from strength to strength as each Guru Guru album appeared, and seemed to be the mainstay and true visionary behind each line-up. Bassist Uli Trepte has a simplistic style, but his lightly over-driven bass holds things together, whilst Ax Genrich screeches away on feedback drones and aggressive playing, intent on creating some aural bloodletting on the listener's part, but in all honesty, they just kick a*#e !!!

There are no melodies, but an occassional riff might peep through now and then. The vocals are just odd mutterings here and there, like Mani yelling out "Oh Yeah!" from behind the drumkit (must be the acid kicking in) - just listen to the MP3 of 'Stone In', provided here, and the album just gets better from there, but not by much, as 'Stone In' is a classic. 'Girl Call' is a brutal number, slow building with those shredding guitars, thunderously heavy, it just brings down the house. 'Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama' is built on a repetitive riff and is almost a catchy tune.

Side 2 contains two lengthy workouts, the incredibly spacey title track, which is Krautrock at its finest ; sound effects galore, mainly drums and guitar experimenting with sonic soundscapes inspired by distant galaxies and spaceships. A bit noisy, but the intention is focused on creating an atmosphere, rather than a melodious song - and they succeed no- end in doing so. 'Der LSD Marsch' starts off slow and ominously, then bursts into flames with the middle section, which then gives way to a brief, jazzy drum fill, and we get an almost triumphant riff with an inkling of melody to close the album - which generally leaves me speechless. A full-on masterpiece of progressive music and definitive Krautrock - on par with Can's Tago Mago.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is a great example of early Krautrock. We have a great drummer who likes to play random patterns and a lead guitarist who at times sounds like Hendrix. Yes these guys can play and they love to just jam and jam.

"Stone In" is such an incredible song of amazing guitar melodies and great drumming. The drummer keeps shouting out things as the guitarist lets it absolutely rip. "Girl Call" opens with experimental sounds as drums and Hendrix-like scorching guitar follows. "Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama" features a lot of really good drumming as a mesmerizing and hypnotic rhythm is created. The title track may be the hardest to get into as there is no melody, just a lot of weird noises. There is some screaming guitar 6 minutes in. "Der Lsd / Marsch" starts off slowly with not a lot going on until around the 4 minute mark when the drums and guitar start to build. Some nice guitar 5 minutes in that are followed up with some filthy solos. Nice.

This is a must have for all you Krautrock fans. 4 stars.

Review by The Wizard
5 stars Pure lysergic insanity. Everything about this album is so chaotic and intense that it's like nothing else. Songs have no real structures, just loose jamming. There's almost not a melody to be found on the entire record. Screaming from the dummer behind is battered drum kit makes up the albums vocal element. This stuff makes The Grateful Dead look like AM country rock. Nothing here actually follows and rules relating to song structure. Hooks and choruses.....left far behind on planet earth. Most Hippies will be scared [&*!#]less by this music.

This may sound like I'm pointing out all the problems with Guru Guru's UFO but I'm really describing it's freaked out beauty. The five tracks that UFO consists of capture the chaos and madness of psychedelia in a way that is deadly to your nervous system like few other acid and krautrock albums I've heard. It's a lot like the work of Acid Mothers Temple, but more raw and shocking.

The drumming consist of few beats and patterns, just slamming around the kit like Kieth Moon trying to play free jazz. Bass lines float around, no figures or riffs are repeated. And the guitar...some of the most tortured feedback wailing and string abuse dared to be recorded. It's safe to say this album is one the heaviest things released in the 70's.

The title track some kind of free jam that supposed to sound like a flying saucer taking off and travelling the galaxy. Walls of feedback building and releasing along with some noises that would fit well on a Throbbing Gristle album make up the voyage. The majority of the track is just guitar noises, with some light drums later creeping in. This is like the kind of music Tangerine Dream would make if they had drugs and guitars instead of synths.

Basically get this album if you feel like getting your ears abused is the greatest way possible. It's a krautrock classic and some of the heaviest and most intense as well as psychedelic music ever.

Review by Dobermensch
1 stars What's the big deal with this album? I've wanted and tried to like this for four years and I still don't get it. It sounds like the kind of distorted racket coming from someone's window as you walk down the street. The first track 'Stone in' is incredibly annoying with a hideously raw sounding electric guitar accompanied by amateurish drums and bass. It's a directionless mess made by three guys who clearly couldn't concentrate or care less. Track 2 'Girl Call' isn't much better and I can feel my blood pressure rising as it goes on and on. Aarrgh! I can't take any more. Sorry I'm going to have to forward the cd - just a minute...

Maybe it's just me, I mean this has a score of 4.28 in The Archive at the moment, with 19 ratings so it can't be that bad can it?. Well, one thing's for sure I won't be buying any more Guru Guru. I've had enough, although I have heard that Uli Trepte's Spacebox album from 1979 is really good so I'll maybe try and hear that one day, maybe, say in 2020. The title track is marginally better as the guitar no longer sounds like someone dragging their nails down a blackboard, but it's still just a big shapeless messy blob.

But hey! wait a second, the last track 'Der LSD Marsch' has risen this album to a mighty 1 star as the band finally emerge from hibernation, but it's too late. Much too late. Dear oh dear, this is awful stuff.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Guru Guru's debut is a great psychedelic jam record dating from the early years of Germany's "Kraut" movement. The closest resemblance that comes to mind is Amon Düül in a full-out rocking mood. Some distant vocal rambling not withstanding the album is entirely instrumental and focuses heavily on free-jazz drumming and dirty guitar soloing similar to Jimmy Hendrix.

On some pieces such as the title track, the absence of any rhythm, groove or melody makes it a hard album to get into and admittedly, it's not a track I would choose to hear a lot. But still I like the uncompromising attitude of it. It reminds me of Tangerine Dream's debut and the more chaotic moments of Can.

UFO is a fine kraut rock album with many wild and excellent moments, but due to a personal preference for the more structured approach of their album Känguru, I'll leave it at 3.5 stars.

Review by friso
4 stars Guru Guru - UFO (1970)

Now were talking! I've been searching for an album like this for many years: An album with the roughest of rock-sounds, so abstract that it sounds spacey. This is brutal energy, guitar anarchy and total freedoms on drums! Space-rock recorded with only bas, guitar and drums... is it possible? A very amazing Krautrock album indeed...

This album can be divided in two halves, as originally must have been intended with the vinyl version, of which I own a reissue.

The first halve sounds like Jimmy Hendrix' most psychedelic jams, but without the vocals. The titles of the tracks are very amusing. Stone In teaches us what psychedelic furious rock is about, Girl Call shows us even this genre has a dark side and Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama proves the genre can be played non-stop for 20 minutes in a row. The latter has a bit of structure here and there, but not too much.

The second halve has 10 minutes of darks sound-scapes that simulate an UFO landing on the roof of your house (the title track)! The second song on side two (Der LSD March) is halve sound-scape, halve rock anarchy. For the obscure sound of side two Guru Guru used a lot of guitar effects, percussions and tape-manipulation. The effect of the title track is very strong and hasn't dated at, 40 years later.

Conclusion. Essential krautrock, essential space-rock, essential for Hendrix fans and a great addition to any prog collection of people who like the dark and spacey side of prog. I myself love it's abstract atmospheres and no-consensus seeking artistic vision. Furthermore it's special how just three men got this amazing sound together. Four stars, but not recommended to easy-listening sympho-proggers because this makes Lemmy Kilminster look like a dandelion.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Guru Guru's debut is characteristic example of psychedelic-jamming stream in early krautrock. Band plays chaotic often almost free form compositions with accent on acid-influenced atmosphere,not rhythm, composition or melody.

For sure there are some enjoyable moments, especially combination of freaky electric guitar soloing and chaotic drumming, but in whole this short album sounds more as jamming rehearsals than real album for me. I just can missed the music under all these scratching guitar noises and spacey/acid sounds.

Possibly it's more question of taste, but I obviously prefer Guru Guru's great later jazz-fusion influenced works. This album still stays great evidence of its time, but more listening for raw krautrock fans, than really great prog rock album.

Review by Warthur
1 stars Guru Guru followed the lead of other German bands like Tangerine Dream and Amon Duul in having their first release essentially be a set of improvised jam sessions. At least, I *hope* that's what they're doing here, because if these directionless meanderings were composed I'd suggest the composer shape up and try again. I'm not against improvisation or free jazz playing - late Mothers of Invention and early Magma albums both manage to work free jazz into a rock format - but I think *good* free playing is deceptively difficult to do.

The important thing is to convince your audience that you're not just fiddling about to cover for a lack of talent - it's vital that free playing comes across as the instrumentalist *choosing* to forego formal structures, rather than being *incapable* of engaging with them. On this first Guru Guru album the group don't quite sell me enough on their instrumental chops to convince me of that. Likewise, I think stripped-down and very basic production values can add something to an album - they work a charm on Trout Mask Replica, and outside of prog rock circles a number of black metal band have deliberately turned under-production into its own aesthetic. But again, that's the sort of thing where you have to convince the audience that you're doing this out of choice rather than necessity, and again I don't think Guru Guru manage that on UFO.

For example, that screeching feedback which creeps into Genrich's guitars: is it a deliberate use of feedback to achieve a particular aesthetic effect, as deployed skillfully by John Cale and Lou Reed back in their Velvet Underground days, or is it just a mistake? I honestly can't tell. Nor can I summon the patience to sit through these jams (whereas I would happy listen to early Tangerine Dream or Amon Duul II improvise for hours).

Obviously any assessment of free, structureless jamming is going to be extremely subjective; some people will find a particular work crammed with value, others will wonder what the fuss is about. Given that other progarchives users whose opinions I respect enjoy this album, I'll concede that it's entirely possible you'll like it if it happens to gel with you. But it hasn't for me; as much as I want to see the good in this album, my instinct is to say that this particular emperor has no clothes. 1 star.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Definitely a band that took THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE to heart. As a matter of fact, I think they may be the German (re-) incarnation of Jimi, Mitch, and Noel. (I know: Jimi wasn't dead yet when this was recorded.) Ax Genrich definitely likes to explore and max out the sounds he can get out of a guitar. Several times I'm reminded of on Terry Kath's playing on CHICAGO's debut album, Chicago Transit Authority--especially his "Free Form Guitar." But, more, I'm reminded of Hendrix and The Experience. (I kept expecting someone to sneak a vocal in there, "Are you experienced?")

Interesting and but not engaging enough to keep me wanting to come back (unless I were taking LSD). (I wonder how well they could replicate "UFO" in concert, or if was all improvised, 'free form' guitar. Perhaps this is where Eno and Genesis got the idea for "The Waiting Room.")

3.5 stars rated up for it's bold experimentalism and serious musicianship (this is no work of amateurs)--and for the record company's guts in publishing it!

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Guru Guru lessen - never know what to expect. Their debut `UFO' sees the German Krautrock band at this early stage playing in a much more free and experimental form than later albums, with hypnotic, maddening and stormy atmospheres of hard deep psychedelic ambient menace and cosmic unhinged trippiness. Don't expect the aggressive Hendrix-like guitar attacks of `Hinten', the comical boogie/doo-wop bent pop of the self-titled album or the acoustic/jazz-rock fusion of `Dance of the Flames', this album heads in a much darker direction, and the murky production gives the whole album a truly hazy and wasted sound. I came to this album after several of their other releases, and what a shock it was when I first heard it! Definitely not a case of love at first listen, rather an appreciation that rapidly grew after several exhausting and hard-going plays.

`Stone In' bites at the listener right from the start, with it's snarling aggressive feedback drenched in waves of reverb and long drawn out atonal droning electric soloing. But it's Guru Guru mainman Mani's maniacal drumming that drifts from `Saucerful Of Secrets' repetitive hypnotic build to out of control chaos, dictating the dark rumbling grooves and schizophrenic changes in direction. Intimidating ground-rumbling bass shatters everything in it's path, incomprehensible moaning crying vocals try to break through to the surface, only to be swallowed almost completely by the whirlwind of searing noise.

`Girl Call' adds an overwhelming sense of tension and danger, scratching at your nerves with it's brooding heaviness. The piece nears early Hawkwind levels of deep space menace and sonic torture, with bowel-rupturing monotonous plodding bass, pounding bashing drums, violent serrated electric guitar slices and crying howls from the dark that try to punch though. It builds to an almighty rising crescendo of noise before suddenly twisting into a dark groove at about the 4:20 mark, which will have you drowsily nodding your head in appreciation. There's a thrashing tormented tuneless guitar wail before `Next Time...' cuts in abruptly with it's clanging metallic Arabic patterns and suffocating oppressive percussion that speeds up, slows down, round and around, whipping the piece into a sludgy cult-like trance.

`UFO' presents the band as true ambient tyrants, the slowly unfolding experimental piece a blur of rising feedback tension, increases and drops in electronic pitches, klaxon alarms and electric pulses. More of a sound collage of impossibly heavy sonic textures and splintering psychedelic noise than even close to resembling an actual tune, and easily the most challenging and hard-going piece on the album that's sure to test some listeners.

The plodding `Der LSD March' opens as a morbid shuffle that blends together disorientating swirling patterns of darting stoned off-key flute and anarchic drum soloing, before tearing into an almost joyous guitar freak-out with pumping bass finale, plus some slight jazzy textures right at the end. It all ends a little too quickly, but wraps the album in an almost serene come-down manner to ease the listener back to reality as gently as possible.

Perhaps potential fans who've found the band's trademark humour a little grating on other albums will find much to prefer here. Other than the occasional spoken word fragment, it's entirely instrumental which perfectly allows to album to cast its hypnotic spell over listeners without words to break up that momentum and atmosphere.

Please don't judge this album based on one listen. I was immensely let down on my initial play, disappointed to find the band's usual deep grooves and more upbeat manic energy almost entirely missing. Yet you'll soon discover those elements worked into the mix in different ways, usually in a more thoughtful, moody and even slightly unsettling manner. It's frequently howling, tormenting and truly takes the listener to the breaking point.

If you don't mind being swept along on a dark sonic trip for 37 minutes, then dumped back to Earth at the end as shattered remains once in a while, you'll find `UFO' a thoroughly intoxicating, moving and unforgettable experience! Highly recommended.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars A Kraut gem.

As it is said, this flowery album could be born via dry-fruity, experimental kosmische psychedelic jam session, but you know, less freakout and much calculated than Ash Ra Tempel. From the beginning of the first shot "Stone In" heavy guitar riffs along with freaky funky drumming growl over our head ... exactly influenced by 60s heavy rock plus mind altering psychic agents, both of which drive them crazy. The voices are wackier, weaker drenched in their heavy basis. Whilst we can meet more flexible, loose appearance in the following "Girl Call", where trippy phenomena (with girly flavour? lol) in another universe can be heard. Fuzzy guitar effects and cool, inorganic drumming, not related to beautiful girl calls, are quite impressive. This reminds us something surrealistic as a Krautrock pioneer. "Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama" is another killer track, with heavy, sticky critical hits of scattered shoegaze jamming. Cannot find anything unified, polished. German Turf-smelled muddy cloudy sound shower blows our brain, especially the core part. We cannot avoid wondering what they'd meant to do upon this eccentricity, even the last percussive chirp. Oh yeah, this should be called as Krautrock exactly.

The titled track might be played as their imagination and admiration for undefined flying objects. Persistent ambient noise bullets as if an engine gets started, randomized drumming like warped motion of the stuff, and improvised sound effects with all instruments ... all can call mysterious dreams back for us. Well worked out, not groundless. The same manner can be heard in the last dubious one "Der LSD-Marsch", where they should play not only improvisationally but also with strong intention for throwing us a suggestion of infernal psycotoxic agents. They might notify us the last impact if we get toxin abused ... quietly, more quietly. Can feel cool dry finish via the entire album, not only crazy persistency. They have made a important decision and definition for Krautrock future really. Listen and feel strongly.

Review by siLLy puPPy
2 stars Maybe i'm just missing something.This reminds me of stoned friends who used to play in their garage trying to come up with some interesting material but as I was sitting there listening I found myself more interested in the imperfections on the garage walls than the music itself. Seeing that this is a release that seems to divide into two camps I certainly can understand the appeal of this if played occasionally under the influence of something highly intoxicating and in the right frame of mind.

I like the improvisational feel to some of it but the actual results don't work for me. I absolutely love Amon Duul II and Can and also the title track on Pink Floyd's Saucerful Of Secrets, but unlike that track which conveys something through its trippiness this just doesn't seem to go anywhere and is randomly spurting out musical gibberish. I know this album is somewhat influential and would inspire other bands to create even better sonic freakouts, but of all the Krautrock i've heard so far this is of the ones I like the least.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars The debut album by Germany's premier power trio seems to have divided even the more reliable collaborators on this site, and not without good reason. The primitive garage-band jams collected here might have been prototypes of Krautrock sedition, but are they actually any good? Heck, are they even half-way listenable?

Sure, the album is a bit of a mess. But it's just possibly a Jackson Pollock sort of other words, one made by agitators who knew what they wanted. Or, more accurately, what they didn't want: i.e. anything resembling structure, direction, or professional gloss. This sort of musical anarchy was a holdover from the more radical 1960's, and not unlike a lot of post-hippie guitar freakouts was political in context. The band itself called what they were doing 'action music', although the only action likely taken by unwary listeners might be to reach for a large bottle of aspirin.

Even with more than forty years of hindsight it can still be hard to distinguish one instrumental thrash from the next; a mark of distinction, to some of us misfits. And with titles like "Stone In" or "Der LSD-Marsch" it's entirely possible the band had the same problem in 1970 (the latter example, for better or worse, smacks of firsthand chemical experience). But it's the ten-minute title improvisation that remains the album's litmus test: a completely free-form exercise in spontaneous noise-making, played (apparently) for no other reason except to hear the effect of all that feedback.

What the album misses is the occasional touch of goofy humor that would color upcoming Guru Guru LP's. Drug references aside, it's a pretty sober experience...ignoring the (possibly) tongue-in-cheek statement inside the laminated gatefold cover, above the portrait of the band representing bassist Uli Trepte as a hallucinated extension of R.U. Kaiser's Ohr Records logo. Quoting the pseudonymous P. Hinten, "Soon the UFO's will land and mankind will meet much stronger brains and habits". And here's the kicker: "Let's get ready for that".

Was it meant as an invitation, or a threat? Yes, let's get ready to throttle ET with all six of Axe Genrich's electric guitar strings! A moot point, by now: stronger brains and habits have proven no match for the primordial grunge of Mani Neumeier and company, as we're still learning after almost 45-years of waiting for those objects to finally land.

Review by ALotOfBottle
4 stars All to often, Guru Guru are overlooked as the fathers of the German space rock genre, later labeled "krautrock". UFO, their debut album, is a psychedelic journey into the outer space, dripping with wild, psychedelic guitar solos, diverse bass playing, and exceptionally heavy drumming. The band relies just on these three instruments, which in conjunction with studio equipment and various effects allow them to create fascinating sonic landscapes. With that in mind, minimalism is one of the key elements to the distinctive sound of UFO. The work is mainly instrumental with only a few "mumbled" parts from the band's members. The highlights of the album are "Stone In" and "Der LSD/Marsch". An absolutely essential krautrock album! Highly recommended!
Review by Kempokid
4 stars While a lot of the really early psychedelic bands were very strange, the band that currently holds the position of weirdest sounding band from that era either goes to Amon Duul II, or Guru Guru. While Amon Duul II went for more of a madcap, insane, atmospheric route, Guru Guru instead opted for a more noisy, garage rock tinged style, heavy in distortion and general noise. I haven't listened far into their discography yet, but from this album, I can say that I don't enjoy them quite as much as Amon Duul II or Can, but it's definitely a high quality album with enough variety and inspiration to remain interesting throughout its entirety, and definitely an incredibly interesting one.

The album is split quite cleanly into 2 halves, each with their own sort of style, with side 1 being made up of energetic, off the wall bass grooves and jamming, distorted sounding guitar. The occasional appearance of vocals in Stone In further adds to the weirdness of this song, being sparse and drowned out by everything else, sounding lonly vaguely like an attempt to actually sing, more sounding along the lines of general vocal noises. I love the last minute of this song, where the constant bassline escalates slowly while a layer of fuzz over the sound becomes increasingly prominent while the guitar becomes more random and all over the place, and it's definitely a track that makes an immediate impression on you. Girl Call starts off in a slower manner, with a more gradual buildup into the wall of noise that is to come, with a scratchy, all around nasty guitar tone that I really love for its gritty nature. The second half of the song is really where things shine however, the song speeds up an ends up sounding heavily garage rock, similar to if the 13th Floor Elevators decided to go in an even weirder direction than what they did. Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama is easily my favourite song here however, being somwhat more structured, but also even further carrying the 13th Floor Elevators sound in certain respects, reminding me of the song Roller Coaster, with a messy, yet relentless pace that seems to be in a constant state of tripping over itself, but always picking itself back up and running with it. This is also the one song that has something vaguely resembling something catchy in the form of that constant, off kilter beat and riff that just never seems to end, which adds another layer of greatness to it, making it incredibly trippy all around.

The secon half of the album is less eventful, instead focusing on ambience and soundscapes, obviously none of them sounding even close to normal. There are a lot more instances of sonic experimentation here, and its an interesting listen, the issue is that in the case of the title track, I really don't feel like it warrants being over 10 minutes long, and that a couple of minutes from the start could have been removed to make the rising guitar chords and sound similat to that of a rocket blasting off come that much quicker. I like aspects of this song for sure, but on the whole, I feel like it could have used some trimming. Der Lsd-Marsch is a better take on this ambient approach, having an ominous feel to it, with a creeping bassline and a constantly increasing volume on the distorted guitar chords. There's a slightly stronger semblace of traditional krautrock here, with the repetitive nature of the beats, which I appreciate, as it's then contrasted by the heavy psyche sound that the band puts forward. Definitely a great song that closes off the album in an excellent manner.

I'm definitely looking forward to checking more of this band out, as this album was amazing to me, combining ekements of heavy psyche and garage rock into their sound to make a noisy, unconventional record that ticks many boxes for me. The groovier songs are where this album shines the most, but those slower, more subtle ones definitely have a lot of merit as well. This is definitely not an accessible album, with the entire 36 minute journey being drenched in layers upon layers of noise and distortion, but at the same time, this album is great for those into that sort of psychedelic rock. Definitely a great, albeit slightly flawed krautrock album that is almost one gigantic high, if not for some sections of its title track.

Best songs: Stone In, Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama, Der Lsd-Marsch

Weakest songs: Ufo

Verdict: While not an easy album to get into, due to the highly experimental, freeform nature of these songs combined with an almost constant heavy, distorted nature, those who are into heavy psyche and the more strange side of krautrock will find this to at the very least be an interesting album, and at most find it to be absolutely great.

Review by Sheavy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars If listening to bands jamming makes you break out in small, red, itchy bumps you're going to want to look toward some later mid 70s work for satisfaction, say the jazzy psych rock of Dance In Flames or full on Fusion oriented Guru Guru of the late 70s on Globetrotter. This is not that however. This, Guru Guru's 1970 debut album Ufo, is a wonderful and heavily acidic mess.

On the first side we get three songs, all teetering on the edge of the unstructured abyss; flirting with uncontrolled free fall into an ocean of acid so thick and fuzzy there is no swimming out of. Stone In and Girl Call both start out a little sleepy. Some tremendously fuzzed out guitar moaning and groaning here, and some freely wandering drums and bass there (and some AUAUghghauauGhhhHh 'vocals' dribbled out on Stone In! Always love to hear). Both songs start to coagulate into the nearly gone, hectic and frenzied, point of no return, freak outs discussed earlier, but ending just before free fall, or at least Stone In fades out and Girl Call is rather abruptly, but kinda, effectively cut off. Also have to stop and mention how much I love the guitar distortion on Girl Call, some truly deranged, heavy, and fuzzed out wah wahs. Next Time See You At The Dalai Lama starts off sounding a bit more structured than anything else on the album, and seemingly more deliberately paced. The structure and pace does start to falter and waver, Ax, Mani, and Uli all rambling and coasting off into the cosmic brain, then coalescing for a slight time, before succumbing to the drift again.

Now, to flip this [%*!#]er over, and here we find that the inevitable has happened. You dance and prance for so long on the edge of psychedelic insanity, that falling into the vastness of kosmische sea will occur. The first of the two songs, sharing the album name, Ufo; sees our intrepid oceanic trawlers completely immersed into nebulous and hypnotic soundscapes. Guitars, electronics, percussion, and effects all dither and scratch around and about, occasionally swarming together into a truly wild proto industrial/noise piece here. A musical rendition of a grimy, old piece of space junk limping through the cosmos. While plenty of classical composeurs ;) were fiddling around with long and exploratory pieces of music, I find they never seem to actually be all that enjoyable, or reach the depths that more amateur works do. When you fiddle with the unknown the known ain't going to cut it. The final track Der LSD/Marsch is more grounded, but no less prescient. The first half, Der LSD I guess, sees some strung out guitar calling out over foggy, sunken graveyard, while some plodding bass and wispy and haunting, electronically treated flute(?) (Kraftwerk!?) slowly flow around. This all mends together into possibly the most cohesive our intrepid group have sounded, or it just seems so after the past 12 minutes. Marsch is appropriately titled, because after making it out of vast cosmic, oceanic, expanse it's a long walk back. Guitar, bass, and drums all have moments of cohesive, buoyant, forward drive, but fall into a tired and languid sounding plod on occasion.

Proclaims the group on return "Soon the ufos will land and mankind will meet much stronger brains and habits, lets get ready for that."

Latest members reviews

5 stars Guru Guru's debut record UFO is a real krautrock experience and offers all the aspects which we could expect on a krautrock record: acid rock, spacetrips and originality. Side one is filled with acidic rock jams which sounds a bit like Jimi Hendrix live experiences, but without the blues part ... (read more)

Report this review (#622874) | Posted by the philosopher | Monday, January 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars UFO must be one of those albums dividing opinions a lot. I sure think it's an excellent album for what it is: acid-drenched, sweaty, raw, free form jamming. It seems that the trio Neumeier, Trepte & Genrich decided that they should just jam in the cellar for their first album. None of the songs s ... (read more)

Report this review (#509287) | Posted by nikow | Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The debut album by Guru Guru and one with an iconic status in the scene. This album has been life changing experiences, I have been told. This album is not the second coming of Jesus Christ in my view. It is rather five medium long acid tripped out guitar, drums and bass solos with some soun ... (read more)

Report this review (#347095) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album just blew my mind. It is supposed to be up there with the kraut-rock heroes. I have a some what biased taste. Being a fan of , mainly, the 'canterbury' side of things i am confortable with jazz and improvitation. And even though this does not have the jazz influence it sure acts like ... (read more)

Report this review (#78180) | Posted by | Sunday, May 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Abandon structural integrity in favour of chaotic interplay in good psychedelic space tradition. This is early kraut rock, highly experimental in using assorted noises (mostly guitar originated) to create something that can be described as music (if you really want too). Only for people who ... (read more)

Report this review (#47455) | Posted by tuxon | Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A mind-numbing musical experience. Long, trippy, ustructured acid influenced instrumental copositions. To garner the full effect of this album of unmitigated and unrelentless freaking out the cat must be put out and volume on the stereo cranked up to eleven. It doesn't get any more experimental than ... (read more)

Report this review (#28772) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Tuesday, March 9, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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