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Prog Folk • United Kingdom

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Sindelfingen biography
SINDELFINGEN's music is very ecclectic. Just about all progressive elements are represented: Classical, Folk, Avante-Garde and Rock prominitely. Dynamics, multi-time signatures, drawn out themes clash in epic glory. Their sole album, "Odgipig" has a nice production using a wide variety of instruments. Acoustic guitar is in the forefront of most songs. Comparable to the early likes of GENTLE GIANT, GENESIS and KING CRIMSON. Maybe even tipping a slight hat to the Canterbuy bands such as CARAVAN. Drummer Roger Thorne left the band at the end of 1973 and was replaced by the 12 year old Matthew Letley, brother of bassist Mark for CD bonus track.

Highly recommended!

: : : Rob Keller, Georgia USA : : :

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SINDELFINGEN discography

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SINDELFINGEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 9 ratings
3.61 | 31 ratings

SINDELFINGEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SINDELFINGEN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SINDELFINGEN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 8 ratings

SINDELFINGEN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Odgipig by SINDELFINGEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.61 | 31 ratings

Sindelfingen Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Sindelfingen remained a well-kept secret of the UK Psych/Prog scene for years, a band found in late-60's in Rochester by singer/guitarist Richard Manktelow, bassist John Currie and drummer Bill Basden.They started as a jam band, before line-up changes led to more structured compositions.Basden left after a year, replaced briefly by Alan Parry and then Roger Thorn, while Roger Woods also joined them a bit later.After several gigs they discussed over producing an album, just before Currie quit to move to London for a more professional career.His replacement was 16-years old Mark Letley, who was in fact a finger-style guitarist.With this line-up Sindelfingen recorded their debut ''Odgipig'' in a limited private pressing of about 100 copies.

The band featured a full-time glockenspiel player in the face of Roger Woods (who was also responsible for the oscillators heard in the album) and sounded pretty original, swirling around rural soundscapes, progressive structures and an expressive lyricism.With three pieces over 8 minutes long, Sindelfingen had plenty of room to present a charming Progressive Rock style, mostly guitar-driven and filled with odd chord progressions, unexpected breaks and shifting climates.They come as a less rich version of GENTLE GIANT with hints from early GENESIS, offering interesting musicianship with complex themes, based on psychedelic, experimental and folky territories.Lots of electric and acoustic guitars, plenty of dreamy glockenspiel and some smooth flute parts in this one, which is built on nice guitar developments and different moods, where the soft acoustic parts give birth to raw, guitar-based moves.Not extremely consistent material due to some loose passages and frenetic parts with a full glockenspiel/guitar manifest, but certainly very original and attractive material.

The various reissues complete the band's history.Most of them feature an unreleased track by the band, ''The princess and the predator'', propably the best piece recorded by Sindelfingen.At the time, around 1974, Roger Thorn had left the band because of his work and was replaced by 12-years old Matthew Letley, Mark Letley's brother.This 13-min. instrumental track sounds more professional in all terms, from the production to the arrangement.Impressive Psych/Prog with lovely guitar work and eventually some beautiful melodious textures with the glockenspiel still in evidence, but this time brought more as a keyboard replacement, where the balance between dreamy parts and energetic, complex breaks is excellent.Definitely a track to lend an ear on.

When Roger Woods also quit in 1974, Sindelfingen became part of the history.Guitarist Richard Manktelow revived the band a few times and he even wrote a second work, ''Triangle'', which was originally intended for a multimedia show in Easter and was performed in churches.The 2-LP Cenotaph reissue and a non-legit reissue by the German Minority Records contain extended excerpts of this work, all performed live.Five tracks in sum, three of them are longer than 11 minutes, and Sindelfingen sound more like a Kraut Rock group in these occasions.The line-up was Richard Manktelow, Matthew Letley, Simon Hurst on keyboards and flute, Melvin Arnott on bass and guest female singer Valerie Hill, later to become the wife of Matthew Letley.The sound here is very rough and unexpected, showing a band with a jamming attitude, performing on scratching electric guitars and flute improvisations, connecting Psych Rock with Hard Rock, with only discreet use of keys, but an endless energy on stage, powered by the jazzy soloing, the KING CRIMSON-ian mood, the abstract jams and the punchy rhythmic parts.

When Sindelfingen were oficially dead, Manktelow continued as a session guitarist and solo songwriter through the 80's, before becoming a schoolteacher.Mark Letley formed The Session Band in the 80's, releasing one single, while his brother Matthew had a long, fruitful career, playing with Magna Carta and next to David Essex, Vanessa-Mae, Bob Geldof and Snowy White, while since 2000 he became the regular drummer of Rock legends Status Quo.

Genuine Psych/Prog/Folk, sometimes a bit directionless, but always charming and proggy, with many guitar twists and a surprising amount of glockenspiel.Go for any of the reissues, which are more than interesting, as the original vinyl is quite rare and very expensive.Warmly recommended.

 Odgipig by SINDELFINGEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.61 | 31 ratings

Sindelfingen Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars Sindelfingen were a short-lived British quartet who played folk-leaning progressive music and who released a single studio album during their tenure. The band included a pair of young brothers who would go on to lengthy careers as professional musicians. Guitarist/bassist Mark Letley, who was only seventeen when this album was recorded, would accompany guitarist/lead vocalist Richard Manktelow to the eighties pop trio BABY GRAND and later release a minor hit single along with his younger brother Matt as THE STUDIO BAND. Matt, who was himself just twelve years old in 1973 was not a member of Sindelfingen at the time, but would replace Roger Thorn as the record was wrapping up and played as a member of the band on the lengthy bonus track “The Princess and the Predator” which accompanies most of the reissued versions of the record. In 2000 Matt became the drummer for STATUS QUO. Manktelow, Thorn and glockenspieler Roger Woods seem to have disappeared from the music business in the ensuing years since the band dissolved.

The original album is rather short, clocking in at barely thirty-six minutes but full of archetypal mid- seventies folk-inspired music. The slightly pompous arrangements on the longer tracks, as well as Manktelow’s theatrical vocal style reveal some of the records that were likely in the band’s collection at the time; Beggars Opera, possibly some Canterbury, and undoubtedly a fair amount of hippie folk. There is a predominance of acoustic guitar strumming, a solid rhythm section of drums and bass, and a mild renaissance feel thanks to the scattered glockenspiel chimes. One complaint really is the lack of fullness to the band’s sound, owing mostly to the fact that a couple guitars (one acoustic), bass, drums and the glockenspiel provide pretty much all the sound on the album. Woods does play around with some oscillated sound generation or at least that’s what the liner notes say, but I’m not sure where those sounds crop up in the music.

The original album consists of three longer tracks and three short ones. The short ones include an intro (“Song for Dawn”) in the finest tradition of acoustic folk; a snippet of classical interpretation on guitar (“Mark’s Bach”); and the closing title track. None of these stand out much but all provide separation between the larger works.

“Today & Tomorrow” on the other hand is a lively guitar-driven number with Letley providing bass and electric tracks while Manktelow strums an acoustic and chants minstrel-like vocals. “Perpetual Motion” is even longer and heavily favors the glock in kind of a blue-collar ‘Tubular Bells’ sort of intro that segues nicely into acoustic guitar and more minstrelling. Later on the song transitions again, this time to electric guitar and bass in a frenzied passage punctuated by single glock strikes in time and pitch with the drums. Not exactly world-class percussion, but decent enough for the period. The album closes with another acoustic track ('Odgipig).

This record has been reissued numerous times on CD, many of those of dubious lineage, but most include the thirteen minute bonus instrumental track “The Princess and the Predator” on which young Matt Letley plays simple but enthusiastic drums behind a much more electric guitar-driven arrangement (presumably played by his brother) and not much else. I’ve read this became a closing number in the band’s live shows.

There is very little information about this band available outside of liner notes and the occasional on-line review. They didn’t leave much of a legacy, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone try to acquire one of the ultra-expensive original vinyl pressings since they won’t get an ultra-enjoyable return on their investment. But the reissued CDs are plentiful, and this makes for a fun to listen to snapshot of a simpler and more creative time in progressive folk music. Recommended for people who like that sort of thing from time to time. Four stars is a bit of a stretch but that’s what I’m going with for now (subject to recall on a whim).


 Odgipig by SINDELFINGEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.61 | 31 ratings

Sindelfingen Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Out of the blue in the early-90's, emerged the Background label that proposed some early 70's UK rock music that nobody (or almost;-) had ever heard of. Some very obscure stuff that even an experienced proghead such as me (but being only 12 in 75) had never even so much as read about, and only Raw Material's debut album actually rang a bell from that series of 16 releases. It turns out that most of these records were privately released, and so unless you were a British national, you had not much chance to even hear about them, let alone see one of those records in record shop racks or much even less hear them. Most of these were now fetching a fortune among collectors and obviously there were greatly amplified rumours that those albums were superb. The range of those records presented in this series ranges from average rock groups to slightly progressive rock to (a good deal of the release) downright folk rock groups, all very amateurish in their songwriting/presentation: some (but few) were actually very rough gems only waiting for a refining. A few of these records are included in the ProgArchives such as Agincourt, Ithaca, Raw Material's debut and this rough gem.

Although clearly an amateurish record this little record is rather endearing and very enjoyable album with influences ranging from progressive folk to symphonic rock, the whole thing not being afraid to be largely instrumental and is of excellent sound quality (the Cd was lifted from the original master tapes). Many influences such as Pentangle (extensive use of the glockenspiel), Genesis (the voice intonations and guitar arpeggios), Yes (the booming bass), Focus (the frequent reprise of classical themes such as Greensleeves or Fur Eloise),

The two long tracks on side 1 (I do not have the vinyl, but let me dream I do) are easily the highlight and everything hints that these guys should've made it big and everyone of the four instrumentalists are all excellent at their respective crafts, however the almost 13 min Perpetual motion hovers a little too much around Classical themes and overstays its welcome just a tad, but it is still a tour-de-force. The title track is closing the album in odd folky fashion but not out of context.

Apparently the small text on the booklet, Sindelfingen was much more than a group as their shows involved dancers, visual artists, light engineers and even a string section (just before folding), making this even more odd that it is completely unknown. Overall the artwork depicting a pastoral mood fits well the musical contents of the disc, but it must be clear that the different Cd reissues do not bear the original artwork with the white cover, but a green modernized hedgehog artwork and crafted logo.

What I must really stress is that I thank Background Records for actually have existed and released this series of rather uneven albums, but that very release actually had for effect to let interested music lovers to hear those then-over-valued-and-over-rated albums (I repeat most of them are average) without dishing out a fortune for them. I am sure some collectors must hate this label, because the values of the original vinyls were greatly diminished. Nevertheless, this superbly na´ve record was the needle in the haystack and is IMHO, the best of that Background series.

NB: the original vinyl is downright rare (and fetches fortunes) but there was a double vinyl reissue called Ogdipig - Triangle that came with a live record, not reproduced here on the Cd re-issue. Pity! Especially so, with the Cd clocking in 35 mins!! PS: There is a recent Cd re-issue of the album with the Triangle live tracks, on the Minority Records label (have no idea whether it's legit or not) and the sound quality of the 5 bonus tracks (3 of them well over the 11 minutes mark) is somewhat very very average, but you can hear that it's the same group and although live (and rawer) it gives a slightly different facet of the band, but just as good as the the studio facet. But if there was ever a true example of an unearthed gem, Sindelfingen is it!!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to ClemofNazareth for the last updates

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