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Amon Düül II - Tanz Der Lemminge [Aka: Dance Of The Lemmings] CD (album) cover


Amon Düül II



4.09 | 339 ratings

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5 stars Great grandmas! Twenty years since I got this, and it still evokes and occupies a strange and distant subterranean horror fantasy world every time I put it on.

Calling this stuff "prog" can be misleading; it's not really about complexity, and definitely doesn't have any classical music influences, even though it works in long-form pieces that are undoubtedly difficult to play. But not difficult for THEM to play, if you catch my drift. They're just a strange sounding band, and nothing they or anyone since done since really sounds the same. Even the Amon Duul II live album from a couple of years later doesn't even really sound like this, even though many of its pieces are played.

Calling this stuff "Kraut Rock" is a little misleading too. It is most definitely German, and immediately identifiable as such (not least for the singers' accents), but it doesn't really subscribe to the stereotypical "Kraut rock" motive, which is robotic repetition (Can, Neu!, Faust, and Kraftwerk all shared this trait, but not Amon Duul).

Oddly enough, it's probably closest in style to West Coast psychedelia, of the darkest sort. The very earliest Mothers of Invention albums are a pretty close comparison, although there was no clear-cut leader like Frank Zappa in this group. Their strangeness was a collective one, with collaboration and shared ideas fleshed out throughout the schizophrenic forest of this album. Humor is apparent in the song titles (pretty much nonsense), but parody and social comment really aren't concerns of these guys either. None of Zappa's "eyebrows" (his word for those little touches he applied to pieces to provide tangential information or non-verbal comment) are present here, just wild whimsy shaped into tight (though lengthy) song structures. No jamming for jamming's sake (like the Airplane or the Dead), but jamming in rehearsal helped provide the band with many of the musical themes. From there, they add other strange touches and tie them together into strange, segmented multi-epics for a "mind-blowing experience, mang".

Sides one, two, and three each have a single extended piece. The fourth side feels like an appendix, a depository for discarded jam material not used in the other pieces. But it too has a strange, travelogue feel to it.

Dude... there's a sitar playing on side two right now... what is it about sitars that takes me to a creepy cobweb room in my brain, to play hide and seek with my consciousness, to taunt the uvula with vibrations of that haunted middle ground between Fear and Ecstasy...

No drugs were taken for this review. It's all the music's fault.

HolyMoly | 5/5 |


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