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Guru Guru - UFO CD (album) cover

UFO

Guru Guru

 

Krautrock

3.61 | 128 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The debut album by Germany's premier power trio seems to have divided even the more reliable collaborators on this site, and not without good reason. The primitive garage-band jams collected here might have been prototypes of Krautrock sedition, but are they actually any good? Heck, are they even half-way listenable?

Sure, the album is a bit of a mess. But it's just possibly a Jackson Pollock sort of mess...in other words, one made by agitators who knew what they wanted. Or, more accurately, what they didn't want: i.e. anything resembling structure, direction, or professional gloss. This sort of musical anarchy was a holdover from the more radical 1960's, and not unlike a lot of post-hippie guitar freakouts was political in context. The band itself called what they were doing 'action music', although the only action likely taken by unwary listeners might be to reach for a large bottle of aspirin.

Even with more than forty years of hindsight it can still be hard to distinguish one instrumental thrash from the next; a mark of distinction, to some of us misfits. And with titles like "Stone In" or "Der LSD-Marsch" it's entirely possible the band had the same problem in 1970 (the latter example, for better or worse, smacks of firsthand chemical experience). But it's the ten-minute title improvisation that remains the album's litmus test: a completely free-form exercise in spontaneous noise-making, played (apparently) for no other reason except to hear the effect of all that feedback.

What the album misses is the occasional touch of goofy humor that would color upcoming Guru Guru LP's. Drug references aside, it's a pretty sober experience...ignoring the (possibly) tongue-in-cheek statement inside the laminated gatefold cover, above the portrait of the band representing bassist Uli Trepte as a hallucinated extension of R.U. Kaiser's Ohr Records logo. Quoting the pseudonymous P. Hinten, "Soon the UFO's will land and mankind will meet much stronger brains and habits". And here's the kicker: "Let's get ready for that".

Was it meant as an invitation, or a threat? Yes, let's get ready to throttle ET with all six of Axe Genrich's electric guitar strings! A moot point, by now: stronger brains and habits have proven no match for the primordial grunge of Mani Neumeier and company, as we're still learning after almost 45-years of waiting for those objects to finally land.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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