02 February 2006

amon düül ii - "archangels thunderbird" (from the yeti lp, probably the greatest album ever made that one can't currently buy new.)

in brief : i'm on a krautrock kick right now, and them kicks don't come much harder than this.

the key--or, really, the padlock, the one who may keep you from enjoying this track, is renate, the mononymic off-and-on singer, off-and-on as a member of the band, but also off-and-on when it comes to pitch. (think grace slick meets ozzy osbourne.) many people, myself included, tend to follow the singer, paying close attention to where her voice leads you. renate doesn't lead you to anywhere in particular, and at the v. moment she's in tune w/ the guitar, she willfully ventures elsewhere, leaving the listener stranded in der mitte von nirgendwo.

what one should do instead, what i wish someone had advised me years ago, is to pick it apart bit by bit, choose an instrument and follow it through and along the track : crunching lead guitar w/ an all-time riff, scratchy rhythm guitar that runs interference, staggering bass, and drums that wouldn't have been out of place in a different collective, halfway around the world in san francisco, sly & the family stone--add it all up and you have a successful version of what led zeppelin might have been trying to do w/ "the crunge." once this has all been digested and pieced together, renate's vocals are no longer a distraction, but a reaction to the music; there is little ground that the band has failed to cover, yet she seems to be able to find some room to maneuver. taken as a whole, it is monolithic and yet concise : if there's such a thing as "prototypical krautrock record," this is the only one of them to come in at a radio-friendly three-and-a-half minutes. genießen!

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