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
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