Xhol Caravan – Electrip (1969)

cover

Germany. By the end of the 1960s, the American and British counterculture and hippie movement had moved rock towards psychedelia, progressive rock and other styles that incorporated socially and politically incisive lyrics, 1968 German, FrenchItalian students had created a class of young, intellectual continental listeners. Avant-garde music had taken a turn towards the electronic in the mid-1950s, the minimalistic music current which emerged at the beginning of the 1960s with the works of La Monte Young and Steve Reich using drones and loops (often with synthesizers and tapes) in a kind of psychedelic, space-oriented music.

These factors, plus the Social Market Economy (Wirtschaftswunder) and Marshall Plan, reedified the country in less than 10 years after WWII, laying the scene for the explosion in what came to be termed Krautrock, which arose in a rock festival in 1968 in Essen. Like their counterparts, German rock musicians played a kind of psychedelic music, however, there was no attempt to reproduce the effects of drugs, but rather an innovative fusion of jazz, free-jazz and the electronic avant-garde.

Berlin, May 1945
Berlin, May 1945

That same year, 1968, saw the foundation of the Zodiak Free Arts Lab in Berlin by Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler, which further popularized the psychedelic-rock sound in the German mainstream.

The next few years saw a wave of pioneering groups. In 1968, Can formed by two former students of Karlheinz Stockhausen, adding jazz to the mix, while the following year saw Kluster (later Cluster) begin recording keyboard-based electronic instrumental music with an emphasis on static drones. In 1970, Popol Vuh became the first group to use an electronic synthesizer, to create Kosmische Musik.

Can (w/ Damo Suzuki)
Can (w/Damo Suzuki)

By 1971, Tangerine Dream and Faust began to use electronic synthesizers and advanced production. Other bands like Ash Ra Tempel and Cosmic Jokers also made use of synthesizers and tape manipulation in a way foreshadowing the noise rock.

In 1972, two albums incorporated European rock and electronic psychedelia with Asian sounds: Popol Vuh’s In Den Gärten Pharaos and Deuter’s Aum, meanwhile, a band called Neu! began to play highly rhythmic music. By the middle of the decade, one of the best-known German bands, Kraftwerk, had released albums like Autobahn and Radioaktivität, which laid the foundation for the British 1980s synth-pop, new-wave, electro, techno, and other styles later in the century!

Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk

By the mid-late 1970s onward the terms electronic rock, electronic music, and new age have been used more often than Krautrock and Kosmische Musik, though the early scene continues still today to be regarded as a style in and of itself.

This is just a small digest of one of the greatest scenes in the history of modern music. if you want more (and I recommend) there is a BBC documentary showing all the social and economic background aspects, its developments, interviews with his (many) characters, performances and revelations, such as the proximity with the German new-wave filmmakers, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, and Wim Wenders. And even close relations with the RAF (Red Army Faction) and its members. (!)

Stockhausen (60s)
Stockhausen Respite

Let’s go to our history:

The short-lived Xhol Caravan was one of the earliest Krautrock groups, and their unique fusion of jazz and rock was a precursor to the direction that Embryo, Out of Focus, Thirst Moon, Ikarus, Kraan and countless other German groups would take in the ’70s. Formed by saxophonists Tim Belbe and Hansi Fischer, the group started out in 1967 under the name Soul Caravan. With a Motown-influenced bassist as well as two African-American vocalists, James Rhodes, and Ronny Swinton, the group made competent but conventional R&B and soul music, that same year they released the record Get in High on CBS with little repercussion.

Soul Caravan Years
Soul Caravan Years

By 1968, after several lineup changes, their sound began to develop into a more distinct blend of psychedelic, progressive rock, and free jazz, with a wide range of influences, including The Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa. Eventually, the group coalesced with Belbe, Fischer, Rhodes, Klaus Briest, Skip Vanwych, and Ocki Brevert. In early 1969 they changed their name to Xhol Caravan to release a single Planet Earth / So Down on the Hansa label and later that year, they released the strange and excellent Lp Electrip, also on Hansa.

They were a popular group at the time, constantly gigging and playing festivals, and even appeared live on WDR Radio that year as well as on television with Zappa, Tangerine Dream and Amon Düül II (the legendary band). Fischer left the group before the end of the year, and the band eventually shortened their name to Xhol to avoid confusion with the British group Caravan.

Xhol Caravan Live
Xhol Caravan Live

More studio and live material were recorded that year, though the group was unable to release any of it until they signed on with Ohr Records. In 1971 Ohr released Hau-Ruck, the following year, Motherfuckers GMBH & Co KG came out, with both live and studio tracks (recorded in 1970). Xhol disbanded at about this time.

Let’s go to our album:

Today’s album is shaped more by the precedence than by personal preference! Still, in 1969 only them and Amon Düül II had released an album, the instant classic Phallus Dei (a dedicated post will appear). Both the bands were the vanguard for rock music in Germany and dictated the paths for many other acts. Already considered Germany’s answer to Soft Machine (i don’t like this comparison), the overall here is improvisational jamming with the composed sections not so developed.

This is definitely worth a listen for anybody interested in the early years of the Jazz-Rock movement, the electric flutes and saxes will please you as the druggy atmosphere. The only 5 songs release is once again most important as a whole than any selected piece, therefore enjoy the first steps of a multi-layered electronic genre that will often be shown up here, stay tuned and… Gute Fahrt!

Tracks Include:

A1 Electric Fun Fair

A2 Pop Games

A3 All Green

B1 Raise Up High

B2 Walla Mashalla

Hansa 80 099 IU

Printed by: Mohndruck Reinhard Mohn OHG

Record Company: Ariola Eurodisc GmbH

Credits

  • Drums: Gilbert ‘Skip’ Van Wyck III
  • Electric Bass: Klaus Briest
  • Flute (Electric), Soprano Saxophone (Electric), Alto Saxophone (Electric), Performer (Wienbrücke): Hansi Fischer
  • Noises (Kloabzug): Peter Meisel
  • Organ, Electric Piano, Noises (Plastikgesäuse), Tuba: Öcki Brevern
  • Tenor Saxophone (Electric): Tim Belbe
  • Written by – Xhol Caravan

‘World War II was only twenty years earlier. Those in charge of the police, the schools, the government, they were the same people who’d been in charge under Nazism. The chancellor, Kurt Georg Kiesinger, had been a Nazi. People started discussing this only in the 60’s. We were the first generation since the war, and we were asking our parents questions. Due to the Nazi past, everything bad was compared to the Third Reich. If you heard about police brutality, that was said to be just like the SS. The moment you see your own country as the continuation of a fascist state, you give yourself permission to do almost anything against it. You see your action as the resistance that your parents did not put up.’ (!)

Stefan Aust author of Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (1985)

RAF members in Trial
RAF members in Trial

Almendra – First Singles (1968-1969)

almendra cópia

Today’s post will be a little extensive and will continue in future entries, through our ‘IM’ galaxy. Almendra deserves it. This is a first explanation essay, peace!

The holy triad of Argentine Rock, is composed by three groups, the first ones: Manal, a power-trio of blues psych-rock with great influence from CreamLos Gatos, Castellano Rock founders, with a pop beat olla, and finally, Almendra, certainly the most inventive and poetic, of the three, they released only two albums by RCA Argentina, until their end in 1971. Among them, a skinny leader: Luis Alberto Spinetta (January 23, 1950 – February 8, 2012), known as ‘El Flaco’, was a singer, guitarist, poet, composer, considered one of the greatest artists from his country.

His instrumental affluence, lyrical and poetic works, got his recognition throughout Latin America and also worldwide. He’s considered one of the godfathers from Argentine Rock, leading Almendra, Pescado Rabioso, Invisible, and many other bands, apart from his wide solo career. In his lyrics, there’s the influence of writers, philosophers, psychologists, artists such as Rimbaud, Van Gogh, Lü Dongbin, Jung, Freud, Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze, Artaud y Castañeda, as also, native cultures.

Almendra & Chicos
Almendra & Chicos

Almendra was a quartet. Before its first historical record, released in late 1969, Los Chicos, in his early year, launched over 5 single records in Argentina. Today on the ‘IM’, we’ll have the first part of the series: two singles, a left out and a B-Side:

1) Tema de Pototo (Luis Alberto Spinetta, Edelmiro Molinari) //////////////////////////// El Mundo Entre Las Manos (Luis Alberto Spinetta, Rodolfo García) [RCA Vik 31Z-1368] *

2) Hoy Todo el Hielo En La Ciudad (Luis Alberto Spinetta) ////////////////////////// Campos Verdes (Luis Alberto Spinetta, E. Del Guercio) [RCA Vik 31Z-1413] **

3) Gabinetes Espaciales (Luis Alberto Spinetta) /////////////////////////////////////// Compilation LP ‘Mis Conjuntos Preferidos’ [RCA Vik 3836] ***

4) Final (Luis Alberto Spinetta, E. Del Guercio) ///////////////////////////////////////////////////// B-Side from [RCA Vik 31Z-1565] ****

Let’s go to their history:

Almendra had his first precedent in 1965, from the English rock bands Los Larkins and Los Sbirros, both from Bajo Belgrano a neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Los Larkins was led by Rodolfo García, future drummer of Almendra, muchacho four years older than ‘El Flaco’ Spinetta and neighbors from the same neighborhood.

Color Humano
Color Humano

Spinetta: ‘Everything started on the 15th birthday of my sister. One of the guests was a pianist and played in a group called Los Larkins, they rehearsed very close to home, where Rodolfo played drums. One day I went to one of the tests with the suspicious eyes from my parents, they knew it was a definite step for me; when I entered and saw all those electric instruments, guitars unlike the Spanish or creole, I completely freaked out! From there I got this sound that is an emblem for me: bass, drums, and guitar.’

The other band that would give birth to Almendra, was Los Sbirros, composed by students from the same school that Spinetta, and was led by Edelmiro Molinari, who excelled at the dominion of electric guitar and Emilio del Guercio, future bassist. Spinetta started in Los Larkins, but played at any given time in both groups. Little by little they were merged in late 1966 and formed a quintet composed by Spinetta (voice), Rodolfo García (drums), Emilio del Guercio (bass), Edelmiro Molinari (guitar) y Santiago “Chago” Novoa (keyboards), they were 16, 17 years old on average and the foundations of what would be Almendra was ready.

Rehearsing
Rehearsing

In early 1967, Roldolfo García was drafted into military service. This fact made the band entered a one-year hiatus, more precisely the year that La Balsa, music from Los Gatos, composed by Lito Nebbia and Tanguito, explodes in the charts, achieving tremendous national success. It was the first original rock sung in Spanish and marks the beginning of a new musical style known in Argentina as Rock Nacional.

1967, 1968 and 1969 were years of great cultural transformations in Argentina and the world, placing the youth as a distinct social, revolutionary group: The Summer of Love that marked the birth of Hippie movement, the assassination of Che Guevara in Bolivia, the French May, the Prague Spring and domestically El Cordobazzo.

Live
Live

On this context, germinate the trends that Spinetta and other young Argentines both crave: take the vanguards of tango and folklore in order to give a sort of rock with local climate, sung in Castellano. The feat was a cultural rupture of enormous proportions, the esthetic standards of the time did not accept this unattended manifestation, especially in Spanish. On March 1968, García was discharged from military service and the group began rehearsing daily. Novoa, keyboardist, simply stopped going to rehearsals and the quintet turns into a quartet:

Luis Alberto Spinetta (leading voice and guitar)

Rodolfo García (drums and vocals)

Emilio del Guercio (bass and vocals)

Edelmiro Molinari (leading guitar and vocals)

Almendra Poster
Almendra Poster

In mid-1968, Ricardo Kleiman, the producer on the radio program La Noche en Modart’, which had enormous popularity with the youth from those years, went to see a band rehearsal, they played an own song with English titles, Where are You Going Mary Sue?. Kleiman was impressed and offer them a single record on RCA with Rodolfo Alchurrón as artistic director. The single was recorded somewhere in August, released on September 20, 1968, and set out for sale at the beginning of 1969.

Tracks include: Tema de Pototo, side A /// El Mundo Entre Las Manos, side B *

Tema de Pototo (Para Saber Cómo es la Soledad):

The first theme edited by the band was composed by Luis Alberto Spinetta to a college fellow who believed to have died on a trip to Bariloche (!). When he received the telegram denying the good news, the verses suggested: ‘La soledad es un amigo que no está / Es su palabra que no ha de llegar igual’. Years later the young prick called Mario D’Alessandro became the band’s official dentist! The theme has an orchestral accompaniment directed by Alchurrón composed of strings and woodwinds.

almendra 3 cópia

Hoy Todo el Hielo en La Ciudad:

The group releases another single record Hoy Todo el Hielo en La Ciudad, side a /// Campos Verdes, side b **, yet in 1968, and it’s from this one that the band begins to be noticed and established commercially.

Spinetta: ‘The Almendra singles are a work in itself, at the margin of the albums. The first two had consequences outside the band. On December 68′ came the second, which included Hoy Todo el Hielo en La Ciudad. There is here a poetic dimension that puts us at a distance of every beat wave, so common to the epoch; we passed by a minor key chorus and followed an epic escalation, with a baroque-pop feel!’

The myth of a dystopian frozen Buenos Aires comes in tune with ‘El Eternauta’ the great sci-fi story by Oesterheld. There is no hell or deluge, in the end, only the eternal ice that covers the sky across the days. Even at noon, there’s no sun.

These years also held two video clips, one of the first ones made ​​in Argentina.

Muertos de Mentira
Muertos de Mentira

The band’s debut on live stages, occurs at the disco Matoko’s in Mar del Plata, at Constitución avenue, a downtown nightlife balneary, where they played throughout the summer. For another magazine/publication of the time, Spinetta declared:

‘Ended the time of repeating what others do, translations, all of these vain things. We have to sing what is ours, what is authentic, from within.’

On January 2, 1969, they fix Gabinetes Espaciales ***  at TNT studios. The band wanted the track as A-side, future single, but RCA Argentina, eyeing the huge commercial success of a romantic rewriting made ​​by Leonardo Favio, re-launched as Para Saber Como es La Soledad, released the band’s third single record with a repeated song: Tema de Pototo, side A /// Final, side B ****

Final, the pretended ending for Almendra (first) Lp, was cut from the final tracklist due to time limitations. It enters here as a tuneful simple ballad B side!

Musica Joven
Musica Joven

Let’s go to our highlights:

Our choices may not be always based on greatest hits, however, it is undeniable the quality and importance for Tema de Pototo, a #1 hit, tremendously arranged, with a hippy aura. It should always be a choice in someone’s lists, a delightful 100% psychedelic! But today, the ‘IM’‘ highlights are for:

Campos Verdes and Gabinetes Espaciales.

Lastly, there isn’t a lot of photos from the band, especially with high quality available on the internet, however, there’s an incredibly rare book, with drawings, text and rare photos, released in 1970/71, that you can luckily check it.

Góð Ferð!!

Afterwards
Afterward (RIP, Flaco)
StereoMono

foreign lavish sounds

The Music of Parallel Realities

foreign lavish sounds

Bodega Pop

foreign lavish sounds

GRAVETOS & BERLOTAS

foreign lavish sounds

Las Galletas de Maria

foreign lavish sounds

Rock Peruano (Imágenes)

foreign lavish sounds

Discófilos Anônimos

foreign lavish sounds

Global Groove Independent

foreign lavish sounds

Toque Musical

foreign lavish sounds

La Nave Del Rock Argento

foreign lavish sounds

JPOP80SS

foreign lavish sounds

'Girls Of The Golden East' - (Mostly) Seventies Songstresses of the Soviet Satellites

'Girls Of The Golden East' - Female and Female-led Pop Music from the former Eastern Bloc from the late 1960s to the early 1980s

Flabbergasted Vibes

foreign lavish sounds

Sangre Yakuza

foreign lavish sounds

JUGO ROCK FOREVER

foreign lavish sounds

50 Watts

foreign lavish sounds

lady walker

foreign lavish sounds

FLASH STRAP

foreign lavish sounds

Cabeza de Moog !

foreign lavish sounds

madrotter-treasure-hunt

foreign lavish sounds

BibliOdyssey

foreign lavish sounds

Rockasteria

foreign lavish sounds

Discos con Mucho Polvo

foreign lavish sounds

Órfãos do Loronix

Recuperando o acervo do Loronix

%d bloggers like this: