Guru Guru - Essen 1970

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Garden Of Delight
Catalog Number: CD 075
Format: CD
Total Time: 37:49:00

Essen 1970 is a live recording from the prolific German band Guru Guru ? they've recorded and released no fewer than 17 albums, plus live releases and compilations, from 1970 to 1999 ? and that tally doesn't include this one. Recorded in October of 1970, it captures the band's performance at the 3rd Pop & Blues Festival. However, as the liner notes inform us, only a portion of the recording survives, as part of the first tape was reused and the second was erased. There are only three tracks, "Stone In" "Der LSD-Marsch," from their first album UFO, and "Bo Diddley," from their then upcoming album Hinten, released nearly a year later. Three tracks, yes, but together they comprise nearly 40 minutes of music.

Guru Guru were a trio of Ax Genrich on guitar, Uli Trepte on bass and Mani Neumeier on drums (though in 1972 Trepte left, and in 1974 Genrich left). The music on this release follows a more experimental, but definitely rock, bent. Except in very broad strokes, there aren't any other artists that I can mention by way of comparison. In the portion of the liner notes penned by Trepte, the concept of the band is laid out. He writes, "[The concept] was a new polyphonic modal musical concept completely unprecedented in Europe, mapped out by John Coltrane and Miles Davis in jazz and used in certain electric tracks by Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Velvet Underground, Soft Machine and the early Grateful Dead?" And it is pretty much these latter groups that do come to mind, certainly early Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix for me.

The experience is rather like having one idea and seeing where it else it takes you. It's trippy and psychedelic, which a track titled "Der LSD-Marsch" might lead you to suspect. It begins a bit more psychedelic than the track that precedes it, "Stone In," which is more along the lines of a fusiony jam. "Der LSD-Marsch" gives you the sense that time is elastic, and stretching and tightening like a rubber band. That is before that band breaks into a multitude of bright colours, all subdued by a haze.

"Bo Diddley" ? which consists really of a single lyric, the repetition of Diddley's name ? is, like "Stone In" a heavy jam where Genrich plays screaming, sometimes acidic, guitar lines. Here is where Hendrix comes to mind most strongly.

No editing has been done to music itself, though they have been remastered. As the liner notes mention, the balance of instruments ? where drums are prominent, guitar less so ? is how it was originally recorded. As a result, the mix is sometimes a bit murky where bass and guitar are concerned, but that only forces you to pay attention that more closely. Until you get used to having to ferret out what is going one behind the drums, you realize just how skilled each of them were (because drums are right there, you know the same without the ferreting). It's hard to say whether the mix should have been balanced out for this release to make it easier to appreciate, or leave it as is to document a time an place. I guess it's the question of whether the performance or the recording itself is what is of historical value. Probably both.

Stone In (12:00) / Der LSD-Marsch (14:22) / Bo Diddley (11:27)

Ax Genrich ? guitar
Mani Neumeier ? vocals (1), drums
Uli Trepte ? vocals (3), bass

UFO (1970)
Hinten (1971)
Kän-guru (1972)
Guru Guru (1973)
Don't Call Us (We Call You) (1973)
This Is Guru Guru (1973)
Der Elektrolurch (1974)
Dance Of The Flames (1974)
Mani Und Seine Freunde (1975)
Tango Fango (1976)
Globetrotter (1977)
Rock On Brain (1977)
Live (1978)
The Story Of Life (1980)
Mani In Germany (1981)
Jungle (1987)
Guru Guru '88 (1988)
Shake Well (1993)
Wah Wah (1995)
The Mask (1996)
Space Ship (The Best of, Part 1) (1996)
Best Of Guru Guru, Part 2 (1997)
Moshi Moshi (1997)
30 Jahre Live ? Guru Guru 98 Live (1999)
Very Best Of Guru Guru (1998)
2000 Gurus (2000)
In The Guru Lounge (2005)
Psy (2008)
Live On Tour 2008 (2009)

Genre: Krautrock

Origin DE

Added: August 24th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 911
Language: english


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