Embryo – Embryo’s Reise (1979)

capa cópiaThis post is dedicated to German friends, simply, one of our faithful visitors, Vielen Dank! Let’s make another recap on the subject Krautrock, shall we? Years away from the Xhol Caravan entry, Embryo’s galaxy roamed through our World during its existence, influenced by psych, prog, ethio-jazz, fusion, and today’s album are definitely my favorite, a special gem, let’s learn how to cultivate it!?

Let’s go to our music:

Krautrock (Kosmische Musik) is a German avant-garde, experimental rock movement that emerged at the end of the 60’s, intending to go beyond the eccentricities developed by the psychedelic rock of the US, by giving a special emphasis to electronic treatments, sound manipulation and minimal hypnotic motifs (musique concrete/minimalist) Krautrock put the emphasis on extended/ecstatic instrumental epics, neglecting the (trivial) pop universe.

The term Krautrock was first used by the British music press in a very derogatory way, though it rapidly found a better reputation under the underground music circle, gaining (with time) certain popularity, also thanks to the Brain-Festival Essen.

Ash Ra Tempel's Flyer, 1973
Ash Ra Tempel, Bravo’s Magazine / 1973

With their own particular artistic expression, multiple musical collectives supplied psychedelic incantations, mantra-like drones, lugubrious atmospheres, long and convoluted collective improvisations, binary repetitive drum pulses, fuzz guitars, primitive electronic noises, hallucinatory ballads, and garage blues rock trips. Krautrock can be described as an anarchic, intense, acid, tellurian, nocturnal, spacey, dark and oniric adventure through rock music! (phew!!)

The most consistent years of the scene cover a relatively short period from 1970 to 1975. After their first spontaneous, hyperactive and psychedelic efforts, the bands generally split up or declined into other musical sensibilities, more in line with mainstream rock or with ambient soundscapes. Each region develops its particular musical scene, interpreting differently the Krautrock musical structure.

Faust
Faust

For instance, the Berlin school focused on astral synthscapes, weird electronic experimentation and acid jams (Ash Ra Tempel, Agitation Free, The Cosmic Jokers, Kluster), the Munich scene offered fuzzed-out (Eastern) psych rock mantras with some folk accents (Popol Vuh, Amon Duul, Gila, Guru Guru). Cologne and Dusseldorf underground scenes focused on political rock, electronics, pulsating rhythms and clean sounding (Floh de Cologne, La Dusseldorf, Neu!, Can).

Let’s go to our artist:

Embryo is centered around multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, founded in the late ’60s after Burchard had played in several jazz combos and allegedly spent a short time in Amon Düül II. Since then, busloads of musicians have played together with him in Embryo and there are probably not two albums with the same line-up.

Nevertheless, some musicians stayed with Burchard for quite a long time, Roman Bunka and Edgar Hoffman were one of those. Two excellent multi-instrumentalists who both remained for most of the ’70s and 80’s In addition, Embryo has also played constantly with musicians from outside Europe, especially from Asia and Africa. (!)

Multi-Arts Embryo!
Multi-Arts Embryo!

The continuous changes in the band line up and the wide range of musical styles probably typify the musical restlessness of Burchard. Although the band started as a Krautrock outfit, it was clear within a few albums that he had a genuine interest in combining jazz, rock and a large variety of ethnic (different) music styles.

Throughout the ’70s, the jazz and ethnic influences were often embedded in a jazz-rock/fusion format, while in the mid and late 80’s the band often focused on purely ethnic music, especially from Africa. During the ’90s, Embryo developed more or less into an ethnic jazz band, rarely restricting themselves to a strict compositional format, always allowing ample room for spontaneous musical interaction.

70's
Kraut-World

Surprisingly, Embryo still exits after 30 years and the band still play many concerts and festivals, throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. (!)

Let’s go to our album:

This double album is certainly one of the best attempts to fuse progressive-type rock with ethnic/world music and few have succeeded as well as Embryo’s Reise (voyage). Indeed around the departure of the ever-important Roman Bunka, plans had been made to travel from Istanbul to Pakistan and Nepal, while recording their musical encounters with the many people found on their road paths!

Embyo’s Reise
Embyo’s Reise

The group was giving improvised multimedia concerts along the way, including stunning live performance paintings, some of these jams are actually really successful, mixing the European (often electric) rock musicians and the acoustic local musicians (Road To Asia), while others are more ethnic players playing freely along.

Symbolic of the 70’s hippy dream, a real must not only in Embryo’s discography!

Embryo Live, Lately
Embryo Live, Lately

The ‘IM’ Highlights are Kurdistan and Cello Celloਤੁਹਾਡਾ ਸਫਰ ਸੁਰੱਖਿਅਤ ਰਹੇ!

Tracks Include:

A1 Strasse Nach Asien (Christian Burchard)

A2 Paki Funk (Michael Wehmayer)

A3 Lost Scooters (Roman Bunka)

A4 Anar, Anar (Traditional, arr. Burchard)

B1 Es Ist, Wie’s Ist (Christian Burchard)

B2 Kurdistan (Christian Burchard)

B3 Far East (Roman Bunka)

B4 Chan Delawar Khan (Traditional, arr. Burchard)

C1 Farid (Christian Burchard)

C2 Cello, Cello (Christian Burchard)

D1 Rog de Quadamuna Achna (Traditional, arr. Burchard)

D2 Hymalaya Radio (Traditional, arr. Burchard)

Credits

Roman Bunka: guitar, vocals, bass, piano, guitar synth, drums, oud

Christian Burchard: vocals, drums, synth-vibes, percussion, tamtam, marimbaphone, pianet

Remigius Drexler: acoustic & electric guitars

Edgar Hoffmann: violin, soprano saxophone, shinai, dilruba, flute, harmonica

Uve Müllrich: bass, electric guitar, oud, rhubab, electric saz, vocals, percussion

Michael Wehmayer: organ, piano, harmonium

Participations

Abdul Jabar: tula / Friedemann Josh: flute / Abdul Madjid: tambur

Schamsdin Masrur: dotar / Mrs. Ramamani: vocals / Mr. Chandramouli: kanjira

Mr. Chandrasekhar: khol / Mr. Gopalakrishna: tabla / Mr. Rajagopal: dhol

Mr. Ramesh: ghatam / Mr. Ramesh Shotam: tavil / Mr. Ravi: dolki

Mr. Sashikumar: mridangam, top pitch / Mr. Sampath Kumar: morsing

Mr. Satyakumar: dholak / Mr. TS Mani: mridangam / Malang Negrabi: zerbagali

Ustad Mohamed Omar: rubab / Machin Abdul Raschid: saranda

Ashok Roy: sarod / Ustad Salim: dilruba / *Ubekannter Zirkusansager: vocals

Bahul Jazz Group of Calcutta: tam-tam, flute, violin, vocals

  • Cover: Hartmut Bremer, Stefan Rustige, Uve Müllrich
  • Engineer: Etienne Conod, Günter Heidler, Rolf Sylvester
  • Mastered: Rico Sonderegger
  • Photography: Georg Kramer, Michael Wehmeyer
  • Recorded: Brian Greenman, Etienne Conod (tracks: A1, B2, B3, C1),
  • Gunni Heidler (tracks: A3, D2), Rolf Sylvester (tracks: A3, A4, B3, C1, D1)

Recordings from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

Recorded Sept 1978 – May 1979

Remix and playback July 1979 by Sunrise-Studios, Kirchberg, Switzerland.

Notes

Tracks A1, B1 and B2 recorded after returning from the journey in August/September 1979 at Sunrise Studio. Track A2, with vocals from an unknown Circus Announcer*, recorded in November 1978 10 km west of Peshawar, Pakistan in the tent of Jan Bahader Circus. Track A4, B3, B4, C1, D1 recorded March 1979 at Goethe-Institut Kabul, Afghanistan; Playbacks for Track B3, C1 July 1979 at Sunrise Studio.

Track D2 recorded at doon school Dehra Dun, Himalaya, India. Track A3, C2 recorded February 1979 in Bangalore (Heidler, Sylvester), track A3 playbacks July 1979 at Sunrise Studio, KirchbergD4 recorded January 1979 in the docks of Calcutta (Greenman). Track D3 is a ‘field recording’ from December 1978.

Berlin City Nights
Berlin City Nights

Salah Ragab (صلاح رجب) & The Cairo Jazz Band – Egyptian Jazz (1968-73)

folder cópia

At the time of the fall of the Egyptian monarchy in the early 1950s, less than half a million Egyptians were considered the upper class and rich, four million middle class and 17 million lower class and poor (!). Fewer than half of all primary-school-age children attended school, and most of them being boys. Egypt’s second president Gamal Abdel Nasser led Egypt through a victorious revolution in 1952. He was a proponent of cultural nationalism as a means of political independence.

Land reform and distribution, the dramatic growth in university education, and government support to national industries greatly improved social mobility and flattened the social curve. From 1953-54 through 1965-66, overall public school enrolments more than doubled. Millions of previously poor Egyptians, through education and jobs in the public sector, joined the middle class.

Doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, journalists, constituted the bulk of the swelling middle class in Egypt under Nasser.

Faten Hamama & Omar Sharif
Faten Hamama & Omar Sharif

Famous realist director, Kamal Al Sheikh became known for making compelling thrillers such as House Number 13 (1952), a film noir about a psychologist who tries to use his friend to commit a murder; Life or Death (1955), which unusually for the 50’s was shot on location in Cairo, and The Last Night which was nominated for the Golden Palme at the Cannes Film Festival in 1964!

The ’50s and ’60s saw the appearance of accomplished realist films from Youssef Chahine, most notably The Blazing Sky (1954) nominated for the Grand Prix at the Cannes. It’s the second film, Son of the Nile (1951) showed an early work of Social Realism, that started his international fame. The film focused on relations between traditional classes and elites, depicting the hard lives of peasant classes. Previous representations of peasants had used them largely as romanticized symbols of national identity.

El-Andaleeb El-Asmar
El-Andaleeb El-Asmar

Let’s go to our album:

Born Salah Eldin Ahmed Ragab (25/07/1935 – 03/07/2008) in Cairo. A Major in the Egyptian Army through the ’60s, and an avid jazz fan and drummer, Ragab first attempted to form a jazz band in 1964, with American saxophonist Mac X. Spears. The group didn’t get very far, then, on December 1966, Ragab met Hartmut Geerken and Eduard Vizvari at a reception following a Randy Weston Sextet show. The three hit it off and decided to form the Cairo Jazz Band (القاهرة الفرقة موسيقى الجاز).

The year that he became the head of the Egyptian Military Music Department, in 1968, The Cairo Jazz Band began to take-off. They were Egypt’s first big band, mixing American jazz with North African music, combining jazz instrumentation with indigenous melodies/instruments, like the Nay (flute) and the Baza (ramadan drum).

The Cairo Jazz Band
The Cairo Jazz Band

Such musical cross-fertilization was not unusual in itself; American musicians from Sun Ra to Yusef Lateef had long been fascinated by the music of Islam and North Africa, incorporating both the instruments and musical forms into their work. But Salah Ragab’s music presents a view from the other side of the musical equation of West meets the Middle East. Aligning himself with the compelling currents of American jazz music, to later be revered as the Godfather and pioneer of Egyptian jazz music!

Let’s go to the pinnacle of Egyptian instrumental music, beyond the barriers of jazz and folk, the refinement and creativity here is frightening! Enjoy this superb voyage, with luxuriant arrangements and also 5 (unmissable) bonus tracks present on the 2006 CD edition, without further ado the great master Salah Ragab.

Sun Ra & The Maestro - 80's
Sun Ra & The Maestro – 80’s

The ‘IM’ highlights are Egypt Strut and The Kings Valley – Upper Egypt. 

Trevlig Resa!

Tracks Include:

1 Ramadan In Space-Time

2 Dawn

3 Neveen

4 Oriental Mood

5 Kleopatra

6 Mervat

7 Egypt Strut*

8 The Crossing (Oubour)

9 Calling You

10 The Kings Valley – Upper Egypt

11 A Farewell Theme

12 Kleopatra (Alt. Take)

Credits

  • Alto Saxophone: El Saied El Aydy, Farouk El Sayed
  • Baritone Saxophone: Abdel Hakim El Zamel
  • Bass: Moohy El Din Osman
  • Bongos, Drums (Ramadan – Baza): Sayed Ramadan
  • Conductor, Piano, Drums, Congas: Salah Ragab
  • Drums: Sayed Sharkawy
  • Flute (Bamboo Nay): Abdel Hamd Abdel Ghaffar (Toto)
  • Piano: Khmis El Khouly
  • Tenor Saxophone: Fathy Abdel Salam, Saied Salama
  • Trombone: El Sayeed Dahroug, Mahmoud Ayoub, Sadeek Basyouny
  • Trombone (Bass): Abdel Atey Farag
  • Trumpet: Ibrahim Wagby, Khalifa El Samman, Mohammad Abdou
  • Trumpet, Flute: Zaky Osman
  • Tuba (Bass): Mohammad Abdel Rahman

* Bass: Esmat Abbas / Electric Guitar: Mohammad El-Tobgy 

Mizmar (Mozmar): Aly Abdel Mohsen, Aly Hassan, Hany Awad

Piano: Alaa Mostafa

  • Reissue Producer: Peter Dennett
  • Remastered By: Peter Beckmann

Recorded in Heliopolis, Egypt between 1968 and 1973 (tracks 1 to 7).

Egypt Strut was originally released on the Sono Cairo record label as a 45 rpm single.

Art Yard ‎– ARTYARD CD006

Hind Rostom
Hind Rostom

John Berberian and The Rock East Ensemble – Middle Eastern Rock (1969)

capa cópia

Armenia. Beginning in the eleventh century, a long series of invasions, migrations, conversions, deportations, and massacres reduced Armenians to a minority population in their historic homeland on the Armenian Plateau. A large-scale Armenian diaspora of merchants, clerics, and intellectuals reached cities in Russia, Poland, Western Europe, and India. Most Armenians remaining in historical Armenia under the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth century survived as peasant farmers in eastern Anatolia, but others resettled in Constantinople and other cities in the empire. There they became artisans, moneylenders, and traders.

In the nineteenth century, the political uncertainties that beset the Ottoman Empire prompted further insecurity in the Armenian population. During the WWI, Armenians from the Caucasus formed volunteer battalions to help the Russian army against the Turks. Early in 1915, these battalions organized the recruiting of Turkish Armenians from behind Turkish lines. The Young Turk government reacted by ordering the deportation of the Armenian population to Syria and Palestine.

Genocide Map
Genocide Map

More than 1 million (!) died from starvation, were killed by Arab or Kurdish tribes along the route, either massacred or forcibly removed from the eastern Anatolian provinces, what became known as the (forgotten) Armenian Genocide.

(Due to the graphic content of this little-known Holocaust, we decided not to show these horrors committed on the page, there are links in the text for this.)

Aside from the historical persecution and diaspora, Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage. The Satrapy of Armenia was established in the 6th century BC, after the fall of Urartu. In the first century BC, the Kingdom of Armenia reached its height extension under Tigranes the Great.

Mesrop Mashtots Moument
Mesrop Mashtots Monument

Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in the early years of the 4th century (301 AD). They got their own distinctive alphabet and language, invented by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD, a fundamental step in strengthening the Armenian statehood and the bond between the Armenian Kingdom and Armenians living in the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire.

Located between the East and the West, a place of collisions between great empires of antiquity and the Middle Ages such as Rome, Iran, Byzantium, Arabs, Seljuks, Mongols crossed Armenia and destroyed it interrupting its cultural development leaving behind nothing but the smoking ruins. Having managed to resist each of the powerful newcomers, the people have saved fidelity to their culture which nevertheless underwent some changes. As a result, the national culture of Armenia acquired some features characteristic to both civilization then: Eastern and Western.

Cilician Traditional Costume
Cilician Traditional Costume

Sergei Parajanov was a Soviet film director and artist who made significant contributions to UkrainianArmenian and Georgian cinema, with an own cinematic style, which was totally out of step with principles of socialist realism. 

This, combined with its controversial lifestyle, led Soviet authorities to consider him a persona non gratapersecuting, imprisoning and banning its films!

The Color of Pomegranates
The Color of Pomegranates

Let’s go to our artist:

John Berberian (October 9, 1941) was born in New York City. Berberian’s parents were Armenian immigrants that came to America in the early 1920s with a rich musical culture. His father was an accomplished oud player, as well as an instrument maker. Oud masters of Armenian, Turkish, Arabic and Greek heritage frequented his family’s home. He first recorded traditional oud music with violinist Reuben Sarkisian, when a student at Columbia University in the mid-1950s. John subsequently recorded for a variety of labels including MGM, RCA, Roulette, Verve and Mainstream Records, two recordings from this series, Expressions East and Oud Artistry, were record-breaking in sales expanding beyond the ethnic market.

As a younger member of the longstanding Armenian community of Massachusetts, Berberian worked on a musical style known as Taksim (improvisation), a firm deeply rooted in traditional Middle Eastern folk music. Berberian has commanded the respect of musicians worldwide, he has been featured in numerous concerts and dances throughout the USA, Canada, and South America, and is one of only a handful of musicians worldwide given the title of Udi (oud master) (!). He presently lives in Massachusetts and maintains a very active performance schedule, up to this day.

60's Portrait
60’s Portrait

Let’s go to our album:

In 1969, two producers from the Verve label, Peter Spargo and Harvey Cowen, tried to do for the oud what others did for the sitar. Spargo knew Berberian, having used him in various sessions. They hired him, with other Armenian musicians from New York and two jazzmen, including Joe Beck; they mostly did not know each other and rehearsed and recorded the same day they met for the first time. Verve fired the two producers before they could make of Berberian the new (sic) Ravi Shankar.

‘The Oud and The Fuzz’ is an original sound derived from the Druze tribe of Northern Africa. ‘Chem-OO-Chem’ is a popular Armenian song, 6/8 is the traditional rhythm for Armenian dances. This features lead vocalist Bob Tashjian. ‘Flying Hye’ (with hye referring to flying in Armenian) starts in 9/8 which changes to 6/8 and has a melody taken from the (famous) Greek dance form of Tsamiko.

Armenian Ensemble
Armenian Ensemble

Also ‘3/8 + 5/8= 8/8’ refers to how complex Middle Eastern melodies can build up, based upon Turkish classical music. ‘The Magic Ground’ is a based upon A minor (or Kurdi for Arab music), which takes off in 2/4, then breaks into a swing.

Once again do not be fooled by this tacky cover art! Released originally in 1969, Middle Eastern Rock is a unique, compelling fusion record from Armenian-American oud player John Berberian. The results, which blend elements of psychedelia, free jazzklezmer, African, and Middle Eastern textures, are dazzling, and are sure to thrill anyone with a taste for outside albums, be ready and Բարի ճանապարհ:!

The ‘IM’ highlights are The Oud & The Fuzz and 3/8 + 5/8 = 8/8.

Tracks Include:

A1 The Oud & The Fuzz (Berberian) (4/4)

A2 Tranquility (6/8)

A3 Chem-OO-Chem (6/8)

B1 Iron Maiden (2/4)

B2 Flying Hye (9/8)

B3 3/8 + 5/8 = 8/8

B4 The Magic Ground (Berberian, Baronian) (2/4)

A2 To B3: Traditional

Credits

  • Art DirectionSid Maurer
  • Artwork (Cover Art) – Jim O’Connell, Sandy Hoffman
  • Bass (Fender Bass) – Chet Amsterdam
  • Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone SaxophoneSouren Baronian
  • Drums – Bill LaVorgna
  • Electric Guitar (Amplified Rock Guitar), Guitar (Fuzz) – Joe Beck
  • Engineer – David Greene, Tony Maye
  • Goblet Drum (Dumbeg) – Steve Pumilian
  • Leader, Oud – John Berberian
  • Liner NotesJack Maharian
  • Percussion, VocalsBob Tashjian
  • Producer – H.H. Cowen, Peter Spargo
  • Rhythm GuitarEd Brandon

Companies

Recorded At A&R Studios, New York City

Produced By H.H. Cowen, Peter Spargo

Director of Engineering – Val Valentine

Engineers: David Greene, Tony Maye

Verve Forecast FTS-3073

Sunny Yerevan
Sunny Yerevan

Deuter – Aum (1972)

cover

It was English musician, sound designer, and conceptualist Brian Eno who first officially coined the phrase ambient, in the sleeve notes to his 1978 opus Ambient 1: Music For Airports he defines it as music designed to induce calm and space to think. One of ambient music’s prime sources is the classical avant-garde. Among the pioneers were two late-19th Century composers, Claude Debussy, and Erik Satie.

Satie’s concept of furniture music for solo piano or small ensembles now seems surprisingly congruous with Eno’s concept of ambiance: creating a sound environment that complimented the surrounds rather than intruded upon it. More musically direct but just as subtle and suggestive was the work of Debussy, who’s wandering, impressionistic tone poems like Prelude To The Afternoon of The Fawn heralded an openness in Western music, bursting the rules in structure/linear composition.

Debussy & Satie
Debussy & Satie

By the middle of the 20th Century, the American composer John Cage had blown stuffy notions of proper music right out of the water. He pre-empted world music with pieces that evoked the sounds of Africa, India, and Indonesia; he invented and composed for the prepared piano with objects stuck in piano wires to create Asian-like tones and percussive textures; and he perplexed his audiences with collisions of randomly created noise and, most infamously, his piece 4’33” which challenged listeners to consider silence as a perfect form of musical expression.

After Cage, the 60s saw the rise of a school of American composers with classical backgrounds who became known as minimalists (La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass). They took the idea of repetition and explored it over long distances, whether with orchestras, electric instruments or non-Western instrumental combinations. In turn, minimalism was to inform music as diverse as Krautrock, techno and new age music. German composer Karl Stockhausen further explored Cage’s tape experiments with odd collages, a precursor to modern digital sampling.

John Cage, Variations V
John Cage, Variations V

This was also a time of absorption of avant-garde ideas into rock music. In the late 60s rock was enriched enormously by a combination of electronic music technology, psychedelic drugs, and the innovations of jazzmen like Miles Davis. The classical music of India also made a significant impact on Western musicians, initially championed by minimalists from the classical world such as Terry Riley and La Monte Young and then absorbed by The Beatles and The Incredible String Band.

Krautrock pioneers such as Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, and Ash Ra Tempel took the next step by downplaying or abandoning pop’s emphasis on lyrics and taking audiences into totally new spaces. The tracks were instrumental, improvised, spacey and long. Rock was undergoing its own avant-garde and the open-ended sound of one instrument in particular: the analog synthesizer. Such an important tool of expression that music that’s been released since then simply wouldn’t exist without it!

Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream

Let’s go to our history:

Born Georg Deuter in 1945, in post-war Germany’s town of Falkenhagen, he taught himself ‘just about every instrument I could get my hands on’, though it wasn’t until after a near-fatal car crash in his early twenties that he decided to pursue a career in music. His first release in 1971, entitled D, marked the beginning of Deuter’s spiritual and musical journey, ostensibly paving the way for a new genre: New Age (Ambient).

Which combined acoustic and electronic elements with ethnic instrumentation and nature sounds, such as whale/bird song, the open sea, wind in the trees, rain, etc.

Deuter, 70s
Deuter, 70s

During the 70s and 80s, after traveling extensively through Asia in search of spiritual and creative inspiration, Deuter settled for a long time in Pune, India, where under the name Chaitanya Hari he became a neo-sannyasin, a disciple of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho). With the aid of a multitrack tape machine, he produced a series of music tapes to be used in active meditations, consisting of several stages of ten or fifteen minutes each, which range between Indian classical motifs, fiery drums, loops, synthesizers, bells, musique concrète, and pastoral acoustic passages.

In the early 90s, Deuter ended his long-standing relationship with Kuckuck, the small record label that had released nearly 20 original albums, and relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he signed a deal with New Earth Records, an independent label founded by fellow sannyasin Bhikkhu Schober and Waduda Paradiso. This proved to be a lucrative move for all involved, the majority of them intended to accompany various healing/spiritual practices such as Reiki, massage and meditation.

Western + Eastern
Western + Eastern

Deuter continues to learn and master an ever-expanding array of instruments, including the shakuhachi flute, the koto, sitar, Tibetan singing bowls, santoor, bouzouki, piano, and keyboard. He has recorded and released over 60 albums and claims to have sold more than he can count during the course of his career. (!)

Let’s go to our album:

This album sounds like when you keep waking up from dreaming and you can’t quite tell what’s the reality and what’s part of your dreams. That alternate dimension between the real world and the dream world, where nothing is in focus and you merely catch fleeting glimpses of images as they roll past your mind’s eye. Each song on Aum fades into silence before continuing into the following track, creating the feeling that they are all separate entities, unrelated to each other.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Drums, flute, guitar, and sitar, combined with the sounds of the ocean, create a variety of different moods and feelings. Some of the pieces are more meditative and reflective, while others are more rhythmic. Deuter is a highly skilled musician who joins his musical talent with spiritual insight and sensitivity.

Welcome to another example of transcendental music, such as Alice Coltrane’s previous post, today’s album has also a distinct imprint, leaving the controversial Guru aside, let’s just stick to Deuter’s heavenly music, ok?

Deuter, Lately
Deuter, Lately

Even though not being a diehard fan of New Age music, this Lp takes us to an atemporal world of discovery, freedom, and breaking of paradigms. Only a political and social landscape as Germany, would have so many strands and styles within a musical scene such as Krautrock, light an incense and put your headphones.

Enjoy the album as a whole and Udhëtimi I Mirë!

Tracks Include:

A1 Phoenix / Aum / Soham

A2 Offener Himmel 1 / Gleichzeitig / Offener Himmel 2 / Sattwa / Morning Glory

B Soma / Sunrat Shabda / Abraxas / Susani / The Key

Credits

  • Artwork (Cover) – Manfred Manke
  • Composed By, Performer, Producer – Georg Deuter
  • Music by, Arranged by – Deuter

 Kuckuck ‎– 2375 017

Darß (Darss), Coastline
Darß (Darss), Coastline

People – Ceremony ~ Buddha Meet Rock (1971)

cover

Buddhism is a religion indigenous to the Indian subcontinent that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs, and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha (the awakened one). The Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE.

He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their suffering (dukkha) through the elimination of ignorance (avidyā) by way of understanding and the seeing of dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda) and the elimination of desire (taṇhā), and thus the attainment of the cessation of all suffering, known as the sublime state of Nirvāṇa!

Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha

Two major branches of Buddhism are recognized: Theravada and Mahayana. Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar). Mahayana is found throughout East Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan) and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, and Tiantai. In some classifications, Vajrayana, practiced mainly in Tibet and Mongolia (also China and Russia) is recognized as a third branch, while others classify it as a part of Mahayana.

Let’s go to our history:

About 85 million people in Japan, accounting for 2/3 of the population, are affiliated with Buddhism in some way, often nominally 70-85% of Japanese profess no religious membership or personal religion. Most Japanese Buddhists are also similarly affiliated with Shinto, as neither of the two religions demands exclusivity.

Zen Buddhism was brought to China by the Indian monk Bodhidharma in the 6th century CE. It was called Ch’an in China. Zen’s golden age began with the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-Neng (638-713), and ended with the persecution of Buddhism in China in the middle of the 9th century CE. The great Zen masters came from this period.

Daruma
Daruma

Zen spread to Korea in the 7th century CE and to Japan in the 12th century CE. The essence of Zen is attempting to understand the meaning of life directly, without being misled by logical thought or language. Its techniques are compatible with other faiths and are often used, for example, by Christians seeking a mystical understanding of their faith. Zen often seems paradoxical, it requires an intense discipline which, when practiced properly, results in total spontaneity and ultimate freedom. This natural spontaneity should not be confused with impulsiveness.

Buddhism’s emphasis on the Middle way not only provides a unique guideline for ethics but has also allowed Buddhism to peacefully coexist with differing beliefs, customs, and institutions in countries where it has resided throughout its history.

Laotian Monks
Laotian Monks

Also, its moral and spiritual parallels with other systems of thought, for example, with various tenets of Christianity have been subjects of close study. In addition, the Buddhist concept of dependent origination has been compared to modern scientific thought, as well as Western metaphysics. (!)

Popularised in the West by the Japanese scholar Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870 – 1966), Zen culture is the Japanese variant of Chán, a school of Mahayana which strongly emphasizes dhyana (concentration/meditation). This gives insight into one’s true nature, which opens the way to a liberated way of living.

Byōdō-in
Byōdō-in

In Zen Buddhism, an ensō (円,相) is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void). It is characterized by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics.

The many different schools, such as the Zen Buddhist concepts, practices, and traditions will be left to an expert. This is just a small introduction to the subject, our today’s album has an exploitative side, but it’s the basis for one of the rare fusions between rock and religion, especially in the East!

Ensō
Ensō

Let’s go to our album:

People were formed during a short term in 1971 as a (nearly) occasional shooting star project to produce a novel by blending their rock sounds and Buddhist Shomyo (sutra). The album was led by Buddhist poet/songwriter Naoki Tachikawa and was organized by Teichiku Records‘ A&R director Hideki Sakamoto.

All the members were renowned and talented Japanese session musicians: Kimio Mizutani (Masahiko Satoh & Soundbrakers, Love Live Life), Yusuke Hogushi (Sound Ltd.), Hideaki Takebe (Yosui Inoue), Kiyoshi Tanaka (Zuno Keisato), and Rally Sunaga (Hiroshi Yasukawa). They released a solemn and mysterious rock Lp, an album with a vision which slowly unfolds in a zen way.

Kimio Mizutani
Kimio Mizutani

Through most of the album is a mood of improvisation build around some fundaments of Buddhist prayers with a psych-rock band playing a mostly droning. With clear organ, slowly rhythmic bass, wooden block, wah-wah guitar, drums, and acoustic guitar, temple cymbals, and an occasional sitar played in Japanese mode.

Curiously, the album starts and ends with a sample from David Axelrod’s Holy Thursday, being one of the first unauthorized uses of a song in rock history. The ‘IM’ highlights are for the entire album, this rite soundtrack captures the beauty of an ancient religion with tinges of modernity, fake orgasms and lots of fuzz. 良い旅を!

Tracks Include:

A1 プロローグ (Prologue)

A2 声明 Part 1 (Shōmyō Part 1)

A3 讃歌 (Sanka) [Gatha]

B1 切散華 (Kirisange) [Flower Strewing]

B2 声明 Part 2 (Shōmyō Part 2)

B3 祈り Part 1 (Inori Part 1)

B4 祈り Part 2 (Inori Part 2)

B5 エピローグ (Epilogue)

Credits

  • Bass: Hideaki Takebe
  • Drums, Percussion: Kiyoshi Tanaka
  • Electric Guitar, Guitar (Slide), Acoustic Guitar, Sitar: Kimio Mizutani
  • Organ, Guitar, Vocals: Yusuke Hoguchi
  • Percussion, Gong: Larry Sunaga
  • Vocals: Akemi Tomura, Goro Inoue, Kyo Shibata, Maiya Sugihara
  • All songs by Naoki Tachikawa and Yusuke Hogushi
  • Arranged by: Yusuke Hoguchi
  • Engineer: Tatuo Kawabe
  • Producer: Naoki Tachikawa

Recorded at: Teichiku Suginami Studios, Tokyo

Original 1971 Lp on Teichicku Records

Tokyo Glance
Tokyo Glance