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Gila - Gila - Free Electric Sound CD (album) cover





4.13 | 178 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Free Electric Sound: an ironic title for an album that survived many years only as an expensive prize for Krautrock treasure hunters. And in retrospect that rarity might have been the best thing about it. The music alone isn't very challenging, but it's all dynamic stuff: energetic guitar jams with more than a whiff of late '60s psychedelia, sounding not unlike early ASH RA TEMPEL but with one foot on terra firma (at least some of the time).

The aptly-titled "Aggression" raises the curtain in rip-roaring fashion, with lots of Hendrix- inspired riffing and some filthy organ runs. Little of what follows was able to match the same level of intensity, and the whole thing is perhaps too indebted to PINK FLOYD, like a lot of Krautrock in 1971. But it was the younger, more dangerous Floyd, circa "Ummagumma" (the live disc, thankfully) that inspired these grooves, filtered through the multi-colored creative sieve of radical German youth culture.

Thus, the blitzkrieg effect in "Kollaps", although it's the eerie sound of a crying baby later in the same track that never fails to send a shiver down my spine. Or the free-form collage introducing "Kontakt", just before the music blossoms in a gorgeous, Eastern-scented acoustic guitar episode. The last four cuts (Side Two, on the original vinyl) blend into a single, meandering space jam, like most of the album pleasantly unfocussed but played with conviction.

Guitarist Conny Veit was the hero of the set. His fluid technique and assorted effects helped lift what could have been a merely half-hearted freakout to near cosmic altitudes (he also sang, briefly and unintelligibly, in the 12-plus minute mini-epic "Kommunikation"). Under his able guidance there isn't a dull moment throughout the album's 37-whirlwind minutes. But at the same time it never quite managed to step forward from the middle of a very crowded Krautrock pack.

The original line-up didn't survive long enough to make a second album, and it was a very different band that returned two years later with the same name. Too bad, because with a little time and effort Gila could have easily made the leap into the upper ranks of Krautrock divinity, instead of settling for the diminished afterlife of a much coveted collector's item.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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