Thursday, December 4, 2008

Amon Düül II - Yeti (1970)

Even though my familiarity with krautrock is vague at best, that won't stop me from proclaiming this to be one of the most innovative and genre-defining albums of the movement. Due to more ambitious musical aspirations, Amon Düül II grew out of Amon Düül, which was a radical, political and artistic commune founded in Munich. Yeti is their second album, which was originally released as a double album consisting of composed studio recordings on one record and improvisations on the other. The opening track "Soap Box Rock" sets the tone, first sounding like some standard garage rock but quickly transforming into dark, progressive rock with both far-out and melodic instrumental passages. The first half continues with some interesting instrumental pieces, the closest thing to typical rock music in "Archangels Thunderbird," and the intense "Eye-Shaking King." The second half improvisations are impressively tight, setting the standard for experimental music to come. Much of the improvisations—specifically "Sandoz in the Rain"—seem extremely influential to the modern day Japanese experimental commune,
Acid Mothers Temple. Male and female vocals are featured throughout the album, both of which are satisfyingly peculiar and distinct. Amon Düül II also make use of strings, which add another level of interest to their complex sounds. This release features two bonus tracks, "Rattlesnakeplumcake" and "Between the Eyes," but unfortunately the song "Pale Gallery" is missing three minutes of the original song. I guess it was cut short on most CD releases to keep it to one disc. Apparently the Captain Trips release features the full five minute version.

Fun fact: Apparently the chick on the cover brandishing that scythe was one of their groupies.

I just couldn't narrow it down to one song.

Check out this mind-altering performance of "Eye-Shaking King."

Download Yeti