ROCKIN’ ALL OVER DEUTSCHLAND

The German independent music scene was growing strongly at the end of the 60s. Alternative bands formed, disbanded, coalesced and disintegrated in various parts of the divided country: Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Munich and many others.

The year 1970 saw some significant releases, LPs that would point towards the explosion of creativity and invention inherent in the music strewn under the enormous umbrella known colloquially as ‘Krautrock’.

Your correspondent has been exploring and enjoying this lucky dip of magick musick since the end of high school (more decades than I care to admit) and is delighted to present the second “Rockin’ All Over The World” post, honouring Deutschland. (The first post—including an explanation—is here).

Hailing from the wonderfully named town of Kamp-Lintfort, some thirty kilometres from Düsseldorf, Annexus Quam germinated in the kind of cosmic-hippy-trippy improvised stew popular world-wide in alternative scenes of the era. But this did not mean formless, badly recorded bongo-fests. Their debut LP, Osmose, shows purpose and planning despite the wandering solos and meandering tracks. It’s an entertaining and very enjoyable album, perhaps evoking a teutonic Grateful Dead or a jazzier Third Ear Band. If my clumsy translation of the cover notes is vaguely accurate, the band said their name comes from the Latin and translates as “Connection”.

Beginning with two short pieces—called, with admirable clarity, “Osmose I” and “Osmose II”—the first side develops during “Osmose III” into a laid back groove that you think will persist for the entire ten minutes, but is in fact two distinct sections (both guitar based, the second with added flute) each delicate and entrancing enough that the somewhat moaning vocal interlude doesn’t disturb the bucolic ambience.

Side two is a rambling weather-system of a piece. “Osmose IV” shows the collective improvisation skills of the band in full flight. With melodic guitar lines, understated trombone interludes and wordless vocals it still manages to always sound like a cosmic rock jam. And there’s enough happening to reward repeated spins.

No review of Osmose would be complete without highlighting its totally bonkers sleeve design. How wonderful is this?

The debut album from Annexus Quam is considered one of the best psychedelic-cosmic-impro-freakout records of the era. Definitely worth hearing before your turntable dies.

Annexus Quam — Osmose

Vinyl: Ohr, Germany 1970. Re-issue: Wah Wah Records, Spain 2008

CD: Ohr/ZYX Music 1999

 

23 comments

  1. Interesting choice! While the fact I was born and grew up in Germany and have been listening to music since the mid-70s of course doesn’t make me a music expert, I had never heard of Annexus Quam. When I think of Krautrock, which falls outside my core wheelhouse, names like Can, Grobschnitt and Wallenstein come to mind. Having said this, I’m not familiar with their music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From what I understand, Christian, that’s not unusual. I recall watching David Bowie being interviewed on German TV in 1997 and referring to Neu! (who I was knocked out by in 1976!). The host looked politely bemused and asked the audience who know the band. It was almost completely silent. Bowie was a huge fan of ‘krautrock’ as can be clearly heard on the Berlin trilogy.
      As for the bands you mention, I’m not a huge Grobschnitt fan but have most of the albums by Can and Wallenstein (two very different sounds!).
      And as for my choice, I extracted a list of all my 1970 albums from the spreadsheet so as to post some for the 50th anniversary. So far we’ve had Allman Brothers and Annexus Quam. Next post is Amon Düül II. Can you see an order emerging? 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, indeed I can see a system to the madness emerge!😆

        I’m also afraid I have no friggin’ clue about Amon Düül II. Based on Wikipedia, these guys are still around, or at least some version of it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Typical “krautiger” spacerock from the early 70s. Sounds like Soft Machine made a quick visit in the Amon Düül II community and held a jam session with them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A ragged stoned Soft Machine? I can work with that! 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can only assume the sleeve design appreciation question was rhetorical – there’s clearly only one answer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And that is “Wow!” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Khristian · · Reply

    Another great blog post, celebrating one of the eras finest! Nice one Bruce!
    I love this record, though I don’t play it hardly enough.
    Ohr! what a mighty label!
    cheers for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you good sir! I thoroughly enjoyed multiple spins of this during writing. As for Ohr, spot on! What a label! I sometimes play a game of imagining which label I’d most like to have their complete catalogue (I know, I should get out more… like to your gigs)… Ohr Brain and Harvest are the most frequent ‘winners’.

      Like

  5. I like 1970s art-rock and Krautrock, and I’ve never heard of them

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always happy to expand the map, Graham.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fascinating. Not so much Krautrock to my ear, more psychedelia and free jazz. And I do like Osmose IV, whatever we choose to call it.

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  7. Thanks, I’ve never come across this record. Excited to give it a listen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent! Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

      Like

  8. Das ist ein trulygreatsleeven LP. Sorry, don’t mean to show off there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t apologise. Some of us are quite excited by multilinguality.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That sleeve is wonderful! Sounds like an intriguing album, but the sleeve is the selling point for me. I wonder if both the original pressing and reissue offer the pyramid! I expect either version will cost me some hard earned cashpennies…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’d probably have to put a bain on eBay to afford an original James. My copy is the Wah Wah re-issue. I imagine there are some on Discogs. And yes, it is amazing design; even though I’ve had the CD for years, I “had” to have the pyramid LP cover!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Here you go sending me down this road again. I got into Triumverat big-time back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! Those early Triumvirat LPs are terrific symphonic rock.

      Like

  11. They year of Krautrock is spreading

    Liked by 1 person

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