Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gunter Schickert - Samtvogel (1974)

German pioneer of the echo-guitar, renowned for his classics "Samtvogel" and "Überfällig", he also worked with Klaus Schulze (in concert). Günter also ventured in to more explorative Krautrock and developed a style comparable to the early work of Achim Reichel. The GAM trio (Günter Schickert, Axel Struck, and Michael Leske) featured two guitars and drums, and is really freaked-out improvisations recalling the psychedelic space treks of Ash Ra Tempel or Pink Floyd.

A cosmic and trippy guitar-based album, with echo effects similar to Achim Reichel's. In fact, the second track, "Kriegmaschinen, Fahrt Zur Holle", perfectly recalls AR & Machines' masterpiece, ECHO (1972). The opener is a bit silly and confused, but the third and longest track ("Wald") is much thicker, a fantastic, intense jam, sometimes close to minimal music and Manuel Gottsching's solo works. Günther is a great guitarist and here he is at his best, "Samtvogel" is a very innovative album, well worth listening.

Like an alien mothership landing on your fanny, Gunter Schickert's deep heavy ooze dripping slab of Teutonic electronic bliss through treated mayhem overcomes you. This is probably what it sounded like inside of Jimi Hendrix's brain stem under that LSD-soaked tie-dyed bandana onstage - totally lit and lividly lucid, another planet opens up a searing tunnel through space and time while this sublime album plays on. Heralded as an underground classic for decades, we have "Samtvogel," an indiscriminate spacerocker's fantasy and diamond filled pocket through time and space. Working with overdubbed guitars never came off so thick with effects rife and rich. 'Apricot Brandy*' is a world unto itself wholly. NOTHING SOUNDS LIKE THIS! (*Well, actually, there's an 'Apricot Brandy II' on the followup, "Uberfallig," albeit not actually achieving the same insane headspace as this - very, very nice in it's own right, though. 'Kriegsmaschinen Fahrt Zur Holle (Tr.: War Machines Travel to the Holle)' launches itself *directly* past the stratosphere on its own mission heading directly to the very heart of the cosmos. The takeoff is delayed with a slow churning rise (not to worry, Houston, there is no problem) until it is clear that the ozone has been shucked off and there is nothing left but the growling intensity of careening through outer space. A soundtrack to a movie about being there never gurgled with the resonance of this. It's a long track clocking in at 16:58 which clips into a frenzy of guitar-wall smattering up right against your face creating stubble from the rubble of its rumbling on. Shortly after the first wave of madness comes plucking pizzicato at the speed of some "Music From the Body" over heavenly washes of reverbed vocals. As for what his multiple guitar tracks are doing at this time, ask Steve Tibbetts when he's multiplied by ten. Coming off that crest we get served some spacegroove with the urgent before the clittering-clattering electronic tinkles come in sprinkled liberally enveloping the room with the feeling of being inside a container of boingy-boing tic-tacs shaken about. Don't get me all wrong about the guitar work, some of it is very clean and gentle approximating the sound of folk progressive acts like Hoelderlin and Emtidi without the pastoral effect. Shredding does also play a serious factor in the conclusion as all the notes drop off the face of the sky churning itself back to the big black note it came from.
The other side is a humongous 21:35 opus splattered across every last little groove of this delightful platter. The air feels like Solaris in here, otherworldly and creepy while at the same time dreamy and sleepy. Spelunking over the sea of tranquility is his swansong of the magnitude Loch Ness that is 'Wald (Tr.: Forest).' Draping shimmering leaves of lush eternal electronic green sets adrift on memory wish to the turning of the akashic record. Striking a chord deep in the psyche of humanity, dense with textures, this piece is meditative while laden with universally rich sonorities throughout. Open up the pearly gates, I'm swimming home across the whole thing with this as the soundtrack in my head, dig? 
*taken from Mutant Sounds

1 comment:

  1. Actually, "Kriegsmaschinen Fährt Zur Hölle" means "War Machines, Go to Hell." And this is indeed a great disc (as is Überfällig).