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Kontrast biography
A rarity of 1980's Krautrock, Kontrast saw ex-Out Of Focus members: Remigius Drechsler, Ingo Schmid-Neuhaus and Moran Neumüller, working together again after having been apart for several years. Out Of Focus main-man Remigius Drechsler had been with Embryo on and off for a couple of years prior to this, and actually Kontrast was his project and not a proper band as such. In fact, one track is Remigius entirely solo, with the aid of some nifty multi-tracking! Most of the album, however, is pretty much live rockin' fusion stepping on from the second disc of Out Of Focus' FOUR LETTER MONDAY AFTERNOON, as a refined and complex fusion, deep groove music that rattles along magnificently, characteristic of the Munich scene, with the edge on solo upon solo, experimentation and weirdness.

Though little-known, Kontrast deserve their growing reputation as one of the finest examples of 1980's Krautrock alongside Embryo's ZACK GLUCK. When word spread around that we were down to the last few copies of the LP a year or so back, the price of an original spiralled, and £50 is a conservative bet as to what it's worth today!

But, who wants the LP when you can have this? With half an hour's extra material, all up to the same quality, and with many surprises, not least in that Remi has sewn the whole thing together with revised themes, making it all work as if In all, it's a 77½ minute conceptual opus. What's more, Remi has done an extraordinary mastering job. In all, it's must-have for fans of Krautrock fusion, experimental jazz-rock-world musics, or whatever you call it! Also, it's a 500 copy first edition, with a 16 page booklet and snazzy disc!

Text is from the Ultima Thulé / Cosmic Egg site.

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KONTRAST discography

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

3.37 | 8 ratings
Vol I & Vol II

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

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

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

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Vol I & Vol II by KONTRAST album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.37 | 8 ratings

Vol I & Vol II
Kontrast Krautrock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars After the dissolution of Out of Focus around 1979, their guitarist Remigius Drechsler joined Embryo for about a year.He toured with the band in Europe and North Africa and then decided to work on some solo compositions at his own home studio.He regularly invited musicians to jam with, like ex-Out of Focus bandmates Moran Neumuller on flute and Ingo Schmid-Neuhaus on sax/piano and less-known artists like Richard Netusil on guitar/percussion, Marika Schmid-Falk on percussion/vocals, Christian Baeck on sax and Paul Smyth on voices.Two years of recordings ended up to a 1986 vinyl issue under the name of Kontrast, released on what supposed to be Dreshler's own Remi Records.

The whole opening side is dedicated to a long instrumental improvisation called ''Suite for the young girl'', coming in an totally abstract, experimental mood with lots of sax, flute and percussion.His stint with EMBRYO apparently had an impact on Dreshler's current influences and the material here comes as a cross between EMBRYO'S Ethnic Fusion with dominant African influences and compatriots OREXIS' acoustic experiments, as this one offers a hell of of acoustic bass lines.Apart from some spoken workds and wordless voices, the music is all instrumental with a typical psychedelic feel and strong acid orientations, featuring endless soft sax and flute solos and the constant presence of acoustic bass, flavored by ethnic-styled percussion and vocal chords.With the 12-min. ''Trip'' Kontrast set things in a light Fusion matrix, which still retains an experimental approach, now mostly based on vibraphone, flute and acoustic guitar.A steady rhythm and the heavy improvised solos are again the driving forces of this long, pretty sterile effort.''Opus dope us'' ranges from straight Jazz to minimalistic soundscapes, this is definitely an extreme paradigm of trippy, atmospheric and deeply psychedelic music with low sax and piano lines and a very hypnotic feeling, where some of the initial ethnic stylings return.''Let's fetz'' clocks at only 2 minutes, but comes as a real surprise with Kontrast eventually putting up some nice effort on passionate Psychedlic Fusion with a cry kicking off a passionate performance on saxes, piano and percussion, this is certainly the most Kraut-edged execution on the album.

Ultima Thule's Cosmic Egg sublabel reissued the album in 2008 in CD format under the title ''Vol. I & II'', featuring extra material from this period.I really didn't care much about the news, as this is far from the blistering Kraut Fusion lines of the 70's and more into Experimental Jazz/Folk.I guess this style has some fans out there, for whom this could be an interesting listening, but I doubt that Prog and traditional Kraut Rock lovers will trully appreciate ''Kontrast''.

 Vol I & Vol II by KONTRAST album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.37 | 8 ratings

Vol I & Vol II
Kontrast Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars KONTRAST was the project of former OUT OF FOCUS guitarist Remigius Drechsier, in fact there are two other former OUT OF FOCUS members on here as well. They released one album back in 1986 which is "Volume I" on this compilation, while "Volume II" is some unreleased tracks from the same era. I really commend this band for trying to keep the spirit of Krautrock alive in the eighties, although this was such an obscure release that few even heard about it.There is a lot of spoken words and experimental passages along with improvs where they seem to play without focus (haha). This is great though, like a modern take on what OUT OF FOCUS were doing back in the day mixed with an EMBRYO vibe. Some very trippy tracks where they jam endlessly along with a lot of humour in the spoken word bits.

"Volume I" begins with the 25 1/2 minute "Suite For A Young Girl".This is trippy with flute, bass, guitar, percussion and sax. Some samples open and close this track. A female scream 13 1/2 minutes that comes and goes possibly because she can't believe the song is still going on and on. Haha. A story is told at 19 1/2 minutes and it's funny like the line "I must admit I love the very idea of myself". A killer opener. "Trip" features a beat with vibes and picked guitar. Some samples too. After 5 1/2 minutes we get to listen to a brief story then the music returns. I love this one too. "Opus Dope Us" features lazy sax lines with vibes and a beat. Sound like clapping too. Some female vocal sounds that interplay with horns. "Let's Fetz" opens with laughing and yelling before a beat with horns comes in. "Volume II" opens with "Little Solitude" which is a brief soundscape of water sounds and whistling. "Hip Me" has some catchy sax melodies with percussion.

"Order" is another spoken word story with laid back music. This is a story about a 1,000 mark phone bill. Paul who wrote the lyrics here and on tracks 1 & 9 put a lot of thought and talent into the stories which may come off as silly but they are so well done. The idea behind the 1,000 mark phone bill is how a guy could trick a young female into building up this huge phone bill by talking to him, then forcing her into prostitution to pay it off. So yes it's darker than it appears. Thanks Remigius for that info. "Good Wax Home" has some humerous female vocal melodies as sax, keys and a beat come in.The sax gets pretty dissonant. "Race To Heaven" features spoken words with music.This song sounds great when he stops speaking.The music stops 9 1/2 minutes in as the sounds of waves end it.

This is a very interesting compilation and I have nothing but praise for the band in doing this in the eighties when it wasn't the popular thing to do. Easily 4 stars and something every Krautrock fan should check out.

 Vol I & Vol II by KONTRAST album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.37 | 8 ratings

Vol I & Vol II
Kontrast Krautrock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars One of the most surprising (or should I say unexpected, given its birthdate well into the 80's) Krautrock albums ever, Kontrast is well in the tradition of Embryo, Xohl, Annexus Quam or Dzyann and Out of Focus. Although this last name might be a bit of a surprise (sonically different than the previous names I mentioned), Kontrast is tightly linked with OOF since three of its members are involved in this project: guitarist Drechsler (who is the main man behind this project as he recorded and designed the album as well), saxman & keyboardist Schmid-Neuhaus and singer/flutist Moran Neumeier are

And you never thought that you'd hear a 25 minutes track recorded in 83 or 85, right?? Well guess again!! Kontrast's sole historical album is filled by the sidelong Suite For The Young Girl, one long musical expansion including traffic noises, elongated solos (never indulgent, though) feeling ethnic and psych at the same time. You could easily be in Embryo's Rache with this track. The 12-mins track of the opening flipside, called Trip is a Drechsler-only track, where he plays all of the instruments, and grosso modo, we're again in the same ethnic/psych realm of Embryo, filled with acoustic guitars, vibraphones, telephone ringing and squeaky toys. Even stranger is the 8-minutes Opus Dope Us, complete with dissonance from sax and guitars, door slams etc. The short Letz Fetz is as tight a group as it gets.

And not only did Cosmic Egg unearth a rare 80's gems, but the bonus tracks they include make it that they've un-earthed a second 80's gem, called Volume II. It is clearly in the lne of their first album and the ultra-short bruitage Little Solitude followed by the sax-filled Hip Me Order is a spoken text put to music (a bit like the Beat Poets some 30 years before then) and present some great stand-up bass, courtesy of Drechsler himself, while Moran plays flute and Ingo answers on sax: fantastic stuff even though in terms of repeated listens.. Because the fight over the phone bill is funny once or twice, but more??? Good Wax Home is a dissonant improv where the vibraphone links the other instruments together. This is the most difficult track on the album. Then comes the closing 11- mins Race To Heaven returns a bit to the Order track with spoken lyrics but soon heads for faraway lands of mist and mystery with tons of instrumental space that even bouts of bruitage can't stop us from reaching the skies accompanied with distant knell and waves.

As the ultra-small Ultima Thulé team continues its Krautrock support job; their Cosmic Egg label (bith books and Cds) is becoming important for the German movement. Indeed after the essential Never Too Late OOF album released in 99, after the GAM project a few tears after, now comes out out-of- nowhere (it had been announced almost a decade ago, but we weren't expecting it anymore) THE major 80's Krautrock album Kontrast with so much bonus material that it makes it almost a double album. So Cosmic Egg's third release is just as essential OOF 's posthumous Never Too Late album. Run out for this and help boost Ultima Thulé's confidence to unleash new Krautrock wonders like it has done so far.

Thanks to sean trane for the artist addition.

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