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Amon Düül II - Carnival in Babylon CD (album) cover

CARNIVAL IN BABYLON

Amon Düül II

 

Krautrock

3.54 | 178 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 3.5 stars really, but I rounded it upwards to four!!!

As ADII continued their usual chaotic way with constantly shifting line-ups (including the returning of a few older members), the group's sound naturally kept on changing. CIB is indeed the logical continuation of TDL, but in all logic, CIB belongs to ADII's second era/trilogy, while TDL can be linked to the group's first period/trilogy. Indeed the musical emphasis is now shifted on much tighter songs (all things relative, this remainig ADII) which are noticeably shorter and only two of them above the 7-mins mark. Graced with a carnival paper exotic bird over a setting sunset, the inside gatefold sporting a group shot in somekind of botanical gardens, but clearly inclined to represent some tropical forest under the Equator or other (as the title indicates). The for-now septet (quintet on the pictures and at release time with a UK tour on hand) also included guest Rogner (who signs all the lyrics, too) and saxman Kübler; the group recording the album in late 71 (intended originally as a double album) in their Munich hometown.

As hinted by the title and artwork, this album delivers at times an exotic feel through some ethnic folk tracks: All The Year Rounds & Tables Are Turned are both Knaup-sung and making me think of the Yeti folk tracks lost on that album. Some other tracks, like In Uruk are still hovering the psychedelic 60's and some superb descending lines over a quite-intriguing guitar solo ending the track. The longer-but-trimmed Hawknose Harlequin and the bass-driven and organ-underlined Shimmering Sands are two of the albums most memorable tracks, while Kronwikl is the album's better known track and also sporting a good bass line.

Although I've only ever seen or heard the Mantra label release of this album (and to be honest I've checked the Captain Trips version), I'm sure there are more recent releases offering some bonus tracks, most probably an extention of Harlequin, trimmed from 40 to 10 minutes to fit in the single lp or more of the same. If this album doesn't seem to click in directly, you might want to try the previous Lemminos and the next Wolf City and you'll find the Carnival does sit quite well between thes two albums

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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