Sunday, 26 March 2017

COZMIC CORRIDORS - COZMIC CORRIDORS (Mental Experience LP, CD). REQUIEM - FOR A WORLD AFTER (Mental Experience LP, CD).

From the vaults, a couple of Krautrock curios that have been saved from obscurity by the cosmic crate diggers at Guerssen Records and released on their Mental Experience imprint.

As part of Mental Experience’s plan to re-issue the entire Pyramid Records back catalogue (see our review of Cologne Curiosities – The Unknown Krautrock Underground 1972 – 1976 for a bit more back story on this most enigmatic of German underground labels) the self titled Cozmic Corridors LP that originally surfaced sometime around the mid 90s as an ultra-limited handmade edition, (any original copies are lost forever in the mist of time), gets a long overdue re-release, with master tape sound and packaged with an insert with detailed liner notes by Krautrock brainbox Alan Freeman (Ultima Thule/The Crack In The Cosmic Egg). Featuring Mythos drummer Hans-Jürgen Pütz on percussion & effects, alongside synth/keyboard freak Alex Meyer, poet/vocalist Pauline Fund and mysterious guitarist Peter Förster, the album was recorded circa 1972-73 in Cologne by Toby “The Mad Twiddler” Robinson for his Pyramid label and is one of the more idiosyncratic Kraut/Kosmische albums of the era. More Rainbow In Curved Air than Journey Through A Burning Brain the Cozmic Corridors album is a record of tripped out ambient soundscapes, dark atmosphere, drones, plenty of MiniMoog, gothic Hammond organ, Rhodes, electric & 12-string acoustic guitars, ritual chants, effects and a vibe that has been described as “…haunting and seductive, recalling the atmospheric minimalism of Brian Eno and conjuring up images of celestial angels drifting like ribbons of smoke through the darkness of deep space…”.

Beautifully sparse and minimal, Cozmic Corridors has more in common with Terry Riley than the pulsing soundscapes of, say, Tangerine Dream……..with a droning organ motif underpinning a Moog improvisation ‘The Summit’ is a hypnotic, gothic trance out that is more avant-garde NYC circa 66 than early 70s West Germany. Much of the music on this record could be described as “Dark Ambient” with echoes of the early records from Cluster, Ash Ra Tempel and Popol Vuh, it’s an album that is totally ahead of it’s time in regards to the evolution of ambient music. Eno get lots of credit for “inventing” ambient music with albums such as Music For Airports, however the Krautrock forefathers were making inventive, warped “chill out” music (for the want of a better description) way before that. With meditative synth drones and soundscapes that sound almost sacred in places tracks such as the evocative ‘Niemand Versteht’ and totally epic drone out of ‘Daruber’ are near mystical journeys into an alternative side of Cosmic music very rarely heard. This may not be everybody’s idea of what Krautrock is but Cozmic Corridors is a absolute gem of a record and well worth your time.

A more “conventional” sounding Krautrock/Prog Rock LP is For A World After by Requiem which is a mix of darkly ambient Progressive Rock and Berlin-School sounds (Tangerine Dream etc.). This is the first ever reissue of this obscure electronic Kraut album. Originally released in Germany in 1981 as a private pressing of a 1000 copies on the tiny Daviton label, For A World After is a conceptual album which “tells the story of a world annihilation through nuclear war” (the threat of nuclear war was a very big deal in the early 80s, more so in Germany………...ask yer Dads kidz!) and was deeply influenced/inspired by the European rock and electronic scenes of the time (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Jean Michel Jarre, Emerson Lake & Palmer, etc.). It’s a big sounding record that is full of delayed psychedelic electric guitar, effects, waves of analog keyboards and cosmic atmosphere………….a very 1980s record, crisp and clean but a little soulless, lacking the warmth of the Cozmic Corridors album with a stark, cold drum machine driving the tracks forward and loads of horrible, cheesy 80s pre-programmed synth sounds. It’s not a bad record but it really hasn’t aged very well…….. at best it’s a mix of post Force Majeure T.D. with some interesting Floydian guitar flourishes however there are far too many bland tracks of the kind of uninspiring 80s New Age Electronica that used to be on sale at crystal shops and healing centres. When bands like Kraftwerk were redefining the sonic landscape for the 80s and 90s at the same time this LP was being recorded, For A World After sounds like a record out of time, however it’s an interesting curio that fans of 80s Prog Rock and more mainstream stuff like Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre may like quite big chunks of. You can stream the album at the Guerssen Bandcamp site here.....................
https://guerssenrecords.bandcamp.com/album/for-a-world-after and make your mind up about this yourself.

Both albums are out NOW on LP and CD and available from the more out there record stores………….or directly from either the Guerssen Records on line store or their Bandcamp page. For the USA both records are available via Forced Exposure.




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