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Alcatraz - No. 4 CD (album) cover

NO. 4

Alcatraz

 

Krautrock

2.95 | 2 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 3.5 stars. ALCATRAZ released their debut "Vampire State Building" back in 1971 and it's one incredible Krautrock album with some jazz leanings. Because of the forced military service in Germany the band had trouble getting all involved for album number two and eventually they scrapped it. Fast forward to 1978 and they released a Political Rock album with German lyrics. This was followed by a live album in 1980 which was much jazzier in the vein of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, Miles Davis and the like. The album we're reviewing called "No. 4" was released in 1982 and side one is called "Rock" while side two is called "Jazz". Sort of a Jazz/ Fusion or Jazz Rock album by a trio of drums, guitar and bass and it's an all instrumental affair.

"Mike Rennt Die Piste Runter" opens with some atmosphere as picked guitar and bass join in. Drums before 1 1/2 minutes but this is still very laid back and mellow. It kicks in at 2 minutes and the contrasts will continue. I love the bass starting at 3 1/2 minutes as the guitar lights it up. "Gichtfinger" is uptempo and catchy where each musician impresses. I'm not a fan of this one despite that until we get a calm before 1 1/2 minutes. Contrasts continue. I do like that they add congas before 3 1/2 minutes. The guitar is quite aggressive before 6 minutes and it goes on and on.

"Two Waves" opens with a relaxed guitar melody before it suddenly turns powerful a minute in. I like the drumming here as the guitar solos over top. Again the bass stands out especially after 2 minutes. It calms back down before 4 minutes to the end as it ends like it began. "Bockbier Statt Baghwan" has active drums to start as the guitar rips it up over top. It sounds better when the bass kicks in each time.

"Modern Zeiten" impresses me earlier on when it calms right down with bass only. Drums then start to come and go. Love the bass throughout this one. The guitar starts to make some noise after 1 1/2 minutes. Eventually it's a repetitive guitar melody we hear over the bass and drums that goes on for some time. It becomes very sparse sounding like earlier before 9 minutes but not for long as the previous theme returns.

"New Wave Bop" is about as jazzy as you can get to start out. I mean the drumming, bass and guitar, all of them sound like old school Jazz. It changes though as the guitar starts to solo over top and the drums and bass are far less jazzy here. They're killing it 4 minutes in as the guitar cries out to the end. "Spice" opens with cymbals and bass before it kicks in around a minute with some interesting guitar leads. Check out the bass 1 1/2 minutes in. The guitar becomes more aggressive at times but mainly it repeats a melody.

I'm rounding down because after many listens this one still hasn't resonated with me. Yes we have some great sections here and the musicianship is top notch but I'm not getting that connection if you know what I mean.

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |

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