NEVER A DŰŰL MOMENT

Being the second part of an article on two significant records released in Germany in 1970

The story of Amon Dűűl and its breakaway group Amon Dűűl II is as complex as the relationships in a political commune of passionate polyamorous drop-outs. Which was, of course, more-or-less what the Munich-based tribe was. In the brilliantly unhinged collection of Lester Bangs writing entitled Psychotic Reactions and Carburettor Dung, Space Captain Bangs describes Amon Dűűl II as “a crazed Gothic-Germanic teenage horror movie fan refraction of the whole early murky psychedelic fuzz tone feedback modal music fad.” And who would dare argue with that?

Not Julian Cope. The Arch Drude is a huge fan of the band, and particularly the album that brought them into the dens of the UK underground scene, the double-album Yeti. The cover is both a statement and a warning: against a colourful psychedelic background we see “Shrat the bongo-player, with his weird low forehead and a strange peasant dress, wielding a huge scythe across a field of bright yellow ground fog; the Grimreaper as a Krautrocker” (Krautrocksampler, p.62).

Yeti is an album of two parts, though there is a consistent feel throughout; a bunch of hippie flower-dancers infiltrated by glowering members of a bikie gang, all knocking back Schnapps spiked with acid. 

The first LP is shorter pieces, blasting out of the gate with “Soap Shop Rock”, an off-kilter rocker slapping down a powerful calling card. Bass playing by Dave Anderson (Hawkwind) is great here, and throughout the album. In fact, as you listen you realise “Soap Shop Rock” not exactly a song but the title of a loosely connected suite of pieces, the names of which are as follows:

(a) Burning Sister (3:41)

(b) Halluzination Guillotine (3:05)

(c) Gulp a Sonata (0:45)

(d) Flesh-coloured Anti-aircraft Alarm (5:53)

This last has weird over-wrought vocals, female wailing, and violin, just like the title suggests.

In fact, “weird yet somehow captivating” is a fair description of Yeti. On a personal note, Side 2 is one of my favourite slabs of German indie rock. It pounds and lurches like a lorry at speed, it screeches and wails as if pursued by demon hounds, it thunders and crashes like Teutonic gods brawling on a Friday night. It is wild, shambolic and perfect.

On the second record, Amon Dűűl II slip into their improvisational tie-dyed onesies. Side 3 is the epic title track, a freak-out jam of mind-bending expanse. My advice is to picture yourself in a boat on a river…

The improv continues on the final side with “Yeti talks to Yogi” after which the album closes with the reflective “Sandoz in the rain” where members of the Amon Dűűl collective join in for an extended melodic coda reminiscent of the Amon Dűűl album Paradieswarts Dűűl (which is, incidentally, the only release by the original group you need). It is not easy to categorise the music of Amon Dűűl II on Yeti. But energy, invention, surprise and inspiration explode from the grooves, making it an album you should hear. My mate Steven calls them Amon Dull to wind me up, but if he listened to Yeti he would have to concede there is nothing dull here.

Amon Dűűl II — Yeti  

Vinyl: Liberty, Germany 1970. Re-issue: Purple Pyramid, 2014

CD: Repertoire Records 1992

MAKE IT COUNT CHECKLIST

✔︎ Fiftieth Anniversary LPs [1970 Division]

✔︎ Krautrock faves

✔︎ Packaging / Album Covers

✔︎ Rockin’ All Over The World project

✔︎ 101 More Albums You Need To Hear

21 comments

  1. I like that visual of the opening track – start with a bang, like slamming down a business card on the desk, announcing this is who we are and this is what we do!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Geoff. It is an arresting opening play!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amon Düül II has everything what was on the scene at the time. You can find Syd Barrett’s Floyd and Velvet Underground, operetta alongside the Stooges or MC5, Indian music, violin scraping, English sung with an accent – all carefree blended together, as it only could happened in a country who had no musical tradition in pop culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nicely put, Herr Hotfox. I’ve read quite a lot about this wonderful music over the past four decades. Bands were reacting against old-fashioned popular culture (such as Schlager) but also had a strong socio-political component. A powerful statement saying “We are not our parents”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Progressive rock has many old records reissued and bands from the past can be rediscovered. I think, Germany is well known for this kind of bands in the minds of most people. But we in Switzerland had also an excellent answer to them:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg18Tgatrt4

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Krokodil is high on my list of LPs I would love to acquire.
          Of course the unique Sergius Golowin is from Switzerland; his album is a blast! And let’s not forget the fabulous Patrick Moraz.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Tempi passati … I sat often at the round table with Sergius Golowin in the Café des Pyrénées in Bern. His consciousness was a kind of virtual fairytale world.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. How wonderful. I’m not sure how I’d go writing about ‘Lord Krishna von Goloka’ as my Deutsch is not really up to the task, but it is a wonderful artefact from a magical era. It is enchanting to imagine that embodied in a café.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I never realised they were two seperate bands… I need to get better acquainted with krautrock sometime. I’ve only heard Yeti. There’s always lots to catch up with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is indeed, Graham. And as I mentioned, the krautrock umbrella–or perhaps that should be Regenschirm–is so huge and diverse.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup and I’ve only done more than dipped my toes into the most famous acts like Can and Kraftwerk.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My listening is set for a few days. Thanks for the nudge.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robert Elderton · · Reply

    Hey Spaceman.

    Love the review.

    Where can I buy the Vinyl?

    Best,

    The Underminer

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Normally a tricky and very expensive question, Mr E.
      On this occasion however, one with a welcome answer!
      (see below)

      Like

  6. Unbeknownst to me, Yeti is being released for RSD 2020. Good hunting, Krautrockers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I bought Phallus Dei and I am still too scared to venture any further in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do get that. Yeti is a shambling giant (which may well be reflected in the name) and you’re never quite sure of its intentions.

      Like

  8. Good writing; enjoyable reading. Thank you.
    Interesting to see that readership analysis showing Germany at the top of earlier related post.

    I’m enjoying a second glass of Shiraz as I write (a lovely, rounded but powerful 2014 Seppeltsfield special release) and ‘Dance Cadaverous’ is playing to my pleasure.
    I will need to rely on memory to cue some Krautrock later on. Labour Day might be good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good plan, DD.
      Probably some McCoy Tyner too? 😦

      Like

      1. Absolutely, yes. “John Coltrane Live at the Village Vanguard” arrived on Friday and it will be amongst the offerings.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. No doubt one of the best early Greman rock albums (dot)

    Liked by 1 person

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