Amon Düül II - Once Upon A Time - Best of 1969-1999

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Mystic Records
Catalog Number: MYS CD 144
Format: CD
Total Time: 73:42:00

Well, I'm not quite sure what to say about Amon Düül, except to say that their music throughout the years has been both experimental and rock. This compilation from Mystic Records, Once Upon A Time - Best Of 1969 - 1999 begins with "Phallus Dei," a track from the similarly titled debut album. It is one part experimental, by which I mean instruments are manipulated to create sounds (squeaks, whines, etc) rather than melodies, harmonies and the like. Atonal would be another thing to say. And yet, you're not too far into the track where it becomes psychedelic rock. A tight guitar solos over an equally tight drum rhythm, while squeezed in between is bass, and perhaps more. In contrast, "Soap Shop Rock" is, at times, not unlike something you might have heard from Cream, and other UK 60's band of the same style...which of course, would technically lump Amon Düül into that group, as Phallus Dei was released in 1969. There are some gothic, operatic moments here, too, during the songs nearly 13-minute length.

On "Archangel Thunderbird," (recorded live) with Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz on vocals, I thought of a grungier (as in dirty, not as in Seattle) Jefferson Airplane, perhaps because of the female vocals, though Renate doesn't sound like Grace Slick. "Syntelman's March Of The Roaring 70th" has an intro beat such that I thought of the intro to the Beatles' "Get Back." I first listened to this disk late at night as I drifted off to sleep - those osmosis impressions. As I drifted back up into a doze state, I was wondering why I was dreaming of Bob Dylan...other than that he had performed his Oscar winning song earlier that evening on the awards show. But no, it was just another section of "Syntelman's March..." with very Dylan-esque vocals.

The track I like most is "Surrounded By The Stars"... it starts very spacey, adds a funky drum rhythm (which may or may not be real), vocals. It's the kinda track I could see someone like, well, Lana Lane doing, with maybe a little more keys (owing to her hubby). Knaup-Krötenschwanz's vocals here are much stronger, though I think overall vocals are their weakest point. There's a blistering solo here, however. "Nada Moonshine #" hews closer to South American-African influenced house/techno music ... world-techno would be the most apt. For what it is, it is very nice, but you can tell how different the band became over their 30-year career.

The extensive liner notes trace the bands history, but say nothing about track selection for this compilation, though that many are the title tracks of their albums, it isn't that hard to determine. Knowing why which song was chosen would be helpful to the newbie looking to explore this band - was this or that such a hit in certain places, was it the most accomplished song on the album, etc. One can assume that this might be the case. But, for putting the band within a historical context and informing the listener about the band, the liner notes do a good job.

Phallus Dei (9:29) / Soap Shop Rock (12:59) / Archangel Thunderbird (3:38) / Syntelman's March Of The Roaring 70th (7:28) / C.I.D. In Uruk (6:34) / All The Years Round (7:14) / Surrounded By The Stars (7:32) / Wolf City (3:14) / Cerberus (5:21) / Nada Moonshine (10:07)

Renate Knaup - lead vocals
Chris Karrer - guitars, violin
Lothar Meld - bass, guitar, vocals
Peter Leopold - drums
Falk Rogrier - keyboards, guitars
John Weinzierl - guitars

Phallus Dei (1969)
Yeti (1970)
Dance Of The Lemmings
Tanz Der Lemminge (1971)
Carnival In Babylon (1972)
Wolf City (1972)
Vive La Trance (1973)
Live In London (1973)
Hijack (1974)
Lemmingmania (1975)
Made In Germany (1975)Pyragony X (1976)
Almost Alive (1978)
Only Human (1978)
Vortex (1981)
Surrounded By The Bars (1993)
Nada Moonshine # (1995)
Eternal Flashback (1995) Kobe (Reconstructions) (1996)
Live In Tokyo (1996)Flawless (1997)
Once Upon A Time - Best of 1969 - 1999 (2001)

Genre: Other

Origin DE

Added: April 10th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1122
Language: english


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