Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Heavy Prog • Germany

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jane picture
Jane biography
Playing a melodious synthesis of symphonic hard rock that has occcasionally been compared to Pink Floyd, Hanover Krautrockers Jane can trace their origins back to the late sixties psychedelic band Justice Of Peace. Releasing a single Save Me/War, the band featured future Jane members Peter Panka on vocals, Klaus Hess on bass and Werner Nadolny on saxophone. By late 1970 Justice Of Peace had dissolved and regrouped as Jane with Panka on vocals and drums, Hess switching to guitar and Nadolny assuming keyboards. Charly Maucher joined on bass and power vocalist Berndt Pulst completed the band in April 1971 and their first LP "Together" was released in the spring of 1972. Singing in broken English, which helped create passionate effects, a heavy expressive bluesy sound emerged with blistering Les Paul solos and slabs of Hammond organ backdrops that was consolidated by Peter Panka's almost hypnotic oscillating drum beats that would charcterize Jane's music for almost 40 years. "Together" was warmly recieved by the German music press including Sound magazine who had declared Pulst it's vocalist of the year for 1971.

The first of an almost continual succesion of lineup changes occurred later that year with Pulst departing and Maucher bowing out for health reasons. Former Justice Of Peace guitarist Wolfgang Krantz joined on bass and guitar with Panka and Hess sharing the vocals which displayed even more lethargic and stoned out sonic timbres. Applying their proven formula, their 1973 follow up "Here We Are" was somewhat more harmonious with the the addition of synthesizers that provided spacier atmospheres and produced a fan favourite in the form of the sombre rock ballad "Out In The Rain" . Shortly after the album's release Nadolny left to form a new band Lady with the recovered Maucher returning on bass and vocals. Jane's third endeavour, simply entitled Jane III, was a scorching guitar blowout and with Krantz on second guitar. The void left by departing keyboardist Nadolny was adequately compensated for with two dueling guitarists as demonstrated by an impressive in-studio jam entitled " Jane Session" as well as a spaced out extended track "Comin' Again" featuring Maucher's harder edged vocals. Not long after the release of Jane III, Maucher and Krantz departed, eventually forming Harlis on the fledgling Sky Records label. In May 1974 Jane rejuevenated itself by absorbing two members from the recently disbanded hard rock band Dull Knife with Martin Hesse ...
read more

JANE forum topics / tours, shows & news

JANE forum topics Create a topic now
JANE tours, shows & news Post an entries now

JANE Videos (YouTube and more)

Showing only random 3 | Show all JANE videos (2) | Search and add more videos to JANE

Buy JANE Music

Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Jane Fonda Prime Time vinyl LP 1984 Elektra Records Sealed USD $11.95 Buy It Now
Jane Powell-78 rpm-MGM record-30280 USD $1.99 [0 bids]
JANE BIRKIN - ARABESQUE (CD, 2002, Narada World/EMI) USD $7.99 Buy It Now
DRAMATICS - Do What You Want To Do/Jane USD $8.00 Buy It Now
Jane-Together German prog psych cd USD $10.99 Buy It Now
jane siberry no borders here LP USD $9.95 Buy It Now
jane siberry the speckless sky LP USD $11.95 Buy It Now
Jane Sheldon Song of the Angel (CD, 2002, ABC Classics) USD $5.61 Buy It Now
jane siberry the walking LP USD $11.90 Buy It Now
The London Virtuosi Serenade for Flute LP Shrink NM Vinyl James Galway Jane Ryan USD $8.95 Buy It Now
jane siberry bound by the beauty LP USD $12.95 Buy It Now
goodbye jane / just another love affair / stop breaking my h (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $4.47 Buy It Now
Jane Austen: Piano Favourites (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $10.14 Buy It Now
Jane-Berserker (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.54 Buy It Now
Au.Ru-Jane's Lament (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $13.16 Buy It Now
Harold Budd - Jane 12-21 [CD New] USD $15.40 Buy It Now
JANE OLIVOR_He's So Fine_used 45 VINYL_7"_ships from AUS_OH10c USD $23.61 Buy It Now
Sarofeen & Smoke; Susan Jane on 45 USD $2.39 Buy It Now
Rubin Mitchell Soul Jazz 33 RPM Single w/Pic Slv (My Liza Jane / Spanish Eyes) USD $4.99 Buy It Now
Jane Fonda's Workout Record Double LP 1981 USD $6.00 Buy It Now
"Merrill,Robert/Jane "-Evening With Lerner CD NEW USD $9.17 Buy It Now
Jane Child ?- Don't Wanna Fall In Love Maxi Single 0-21526 USD $2.00 Buy It Now
Trees The Garden of Jane Delawney CD 2008 Fast Shipping Remasterd Oop USD $12.00 Buy It Now
Mary Jane With Jack Cruz & Friends : Seven Days CD USD $5.99 Buy It Now
Rod Stewart Baby Jane 45 RPM 1983 Warner Bros. USD $2.99 Buy It Now
The Best of Jane Birkin ... USD $37.24 Buy It Now
Vintage Jane Fonda Fitness Walkout Cassette Tape 1994 20 & 40 Minute Music USD $17.49 Buy It Now
Rod Stewart (92-96087) Baby Jane/Ready Now 45 Record USD $5.00 Buy It Now
Jane-Lady (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $23.52 Buy It Now
JANE & BARTON-JANE & BARTON (10IN) (UK IMPORT) 12` Single NEW USD $19.52 Buy It Now
MORGAN, JANE-Fascinating Jane Morgan her finest 1956-62 (2CD (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $11.21 Buy It Now
The Jane Austen Companion (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $11.35 Buy It Now
Ford Jane-Piano Works Of John Mccabe (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $13.60 Buy It Now
Jane Froman "With a Song In My Heart..." Soundtrack LP 10" L 309 USD $1.00 [0 bids]
USD $7.44 Buy It Now
Jane's Addiction - DVD - Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC, NY - 10-31-97 - Pro-Shot USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Songs About Jane ... USD $17.90 Buy It Now
Jane Coop: The Romantic Piano Vol.1, New Music USD $13.03 Buy It Now
Various Composers : The Jane Austen Companion CD (2003) USD $9.93 Buy It Now
Unknown Artist : Jane (Enhanced E.P.) CD USD $5.92 Buy It Now
The Garden Of Jane Delawney USD $19.73 Buy It Now
Jane Wiedlin (Go-Go's) Self-Titled Solo LP 1985 1st Pressing IRS-5638 Vinyl VG+ USD $6.95 Buy It Now
Jane Wiedlin (Go-Go's) "Fur" Solo LP 1st Press Manhattan Label Vinyl Very Good+ USD $7.95 Buy It Now
The Jane Miller Group: The Other Room (CD/Channeling Music); 2000 USD $9.95 Buy It Now
JANE SIBERRY One More Colour 12 inch vinyl promo 1985 Open Air Windham Hill A USD $9.99 Buy It Now
Jane Bunnett - And The Cuban Piano Masters (CD Used Like New) USD $9.38 Buy It Now
Jane's Addiction Stop Maxi Single 12" Vinyl USD $3.25 [7 bids]
Marry Me Jane "If Lucy Fell" cassette Sampler 1996, Still in cellophane wrapper USD $4.05 [0 bids]
USD $5.30 Buy It Now
Sweet Mary Jane-Winter In Paradise CD NEW USD $12.95 Buy It Now
Birkin,Jane-Arabesque (UK IMPORT) DVD NEW USD $6.29 Buy It Now
Original Soundtrack-Jane Horrocks / Little Voice / Music Fro (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $5.14 Buy It Now
Unknown Artist : Jane Goodalls Message of Peace (CD & DVD CD USD $5.92 Buy It Now
Bernie Taupin RARE WHITE LABEL 12 " PROMO Citizen Jane NEAR MINT NM FREE US SHIP USD $11.48 Buy It Now
Jane Wiedlin Blue Kiss 45 RPM 1985 MCA USD $2.99 Buy It Now
Jane Wiedlin Inside A Dream 45 RPM 1988 Capitol USD $2.99 Buy It Now
FREE US SHIP. on ANY 3+ CDs! NEW CD Maroon 5: Songs About Jane USD $2.90 Buy It Now
FREE US SHIP. on ANY 3+ CDs! USED,MINT CD Maroon 5: Songs About Jane USD $2.08 Buy It Now
Songs About Jane [LP] USD $28.36 Buy It Now
Jane Eaglen: Italian Opera Arias ~ NEW CD (Sep-2001, Sony Classical (USA)) USD $8.18 Buy It Now
Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Silvola-Widdershins (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.24 Buy It Now
hey jane ( radio mix / extended version / boss club mix / ha (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $4.47 Buy It Now
Jane Eyre (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $9.34 Buy It Now
Ritual De Lo Habitual Jane's Addiction (CD - 1990 WB) USD $4.67 Buy It Now
Psi Com - S/T CD sealed OOP Jane's Addiction NEW Rare USD $34.00 Buy It Now
New Music Record Converge "Jane Doe" CD USD $19.19 Buy It Now
New Music Record Mary Jane Kelly "Like There's No Tomorrow" CD USD $17.71 Buy It Now
Jane Ford - Complete Piano Works Of John Mccabe (CD Used Like New) USD $12.41 Buy It Now
Vinyl LP Records UXP-727-EB Jane - Fire, Water, Earth & Air USD $31.90 Buy It Now
RARE: Jane Wiedlin by Jane Wiedlin (CD American Beat Records) USD $29.99 Buy It Now
JANE'S ADDICTION - Nothing's Shocking 1988 USD $5.90 Buy It Now
DJ FINESSE - FEMALE R&B GROUPS VOL.1 (MIX CD) EnVogue, Mary Jane Girls, SWV, TLC USD $6.99 Buy It Now
Mary Jane Dunphe & Chris Mcdonnell in - Liners County Compact Disc Free Shipping USD $14.32 Buy It Now
Jane Fonda's Workout + New and Improved (VINYL_Record_ALBUM) LOT o 2 - HEALTH USD $14.99 Buy It Now
Bunnett Jane-Spirits Of Havana/Chamalongo (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.02 Buy It Now
Jane's Addiction - Ritual de lo Habitual (CD, Aug-1990, Warner Bros.) USD $5.94 Buy It Now
SYLVIA Snapshot 1983 MEGA RARE Made in Japan CD Jane Hutton Kirby Allen Rutledge USD $129.99 Buy It Now
Taï Phong Sister Jane Belgian 7" vinyl single record 16542 WARNER BROTHERS USD $31.25 Buy It Now
Jane Froman - My Heart Speaks [New CD] USD $11.34 Buy It Now
Jane Russell - Feel the Spirit [New CD] USD $10.93 Buy It Now
Lou Reed Rock N Roll Animal NM- 1974 RCA Sweet Jane White Light/White Heat USD $29.00 Buy It Now
Converge:Axe To Fall Blue/Gold Mix Vinyl LP. The Dusk In Us. On My Shield. Jane. USD $22.99 Buy It Now
Converge:Axe To Fall Electric/Baby Blue Mix Vinyl LP. The Dusk In Us. Jane Doe. USD $24.99 Buy It Now
`Weaver, Jane Feat Virginia...-`Lost Library Vol. 1: J (UK IMPORT) VINYL LP NEW USD $19.52 Buy It Now
Jane Weaver-The Lightning Back (UK IMPORT) VINYL NEW USD $9.16 Buy It Now
Jane Weaver-The Architect Ep (UK IMPORT) VINYL NEW USD $16.07 Buy It Now
Tara Jane O'Neil - In Circles [New CD] USD $14.43 Buy It Now
Exercise Record Albums Lot of 3 Debbie Reynolds, Linda Evans, Jane Fonda USD $7.00 [0 bids]
USD $10.00 Buy It Now
Sarah Jane Morris Sarah Jane Morris EP UK 10" vinyl single record SJMX2 ZOMBA USD $18.19 Buy It Now
Je T'aime... Moi ... Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg UK 7" record USD $19.51 Buy It Now

More places to buy JANE music online Buy JANE & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

JANE discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

JANE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.70 | 143 ratings
3.40 | 80 ratings
Here We Are
2.96 | 71 ratings
Jane III
3.13 | 55 ratings
3.39 | 84 ratings
Fire, Water, Earth & Air
3.43 | 70 ratings
Between Heaven And Hell
2.93 | 45 ratings
Age Of Madness
2.84 | 31 ratings
Sign No. 9
3.00 | 27 ratings
2.24 | 26 ratings
1.62 | 23 ratings
Beautiful Lady
1.37 | 11 ratings
Peter Panka's Jane: Resurrection
2.69 | 17 ratings
1.87 | 14 ratings
Peter Panka's Jane: Shine On
2.67 | 14 ratings
Peter Panka's Jane: Voices
3.80 | 5 ratings
Werner Nadolny's Jane: Proceed With Memories ...
3.38 | 16 ratings
Peter Panka's Jane: Traces
3.50 | 26 ratings
Werner Nadolny's Jane: Eternity
3.73 | 15 ratings
Peter Panka's Jane: Kuxan Suum
5.00 | 1 ratings
Werner Nadolny's Jane: The Journey I - Best Of Jane '70-'80
5.00 | 1 ratings
Werner Nadolny's Jane: The Journey II - Transformation
3.50 | 2 ratings
Werner Nadolny's Jane: In Between
3.57 | 7 ratings
Werner Nadolny's Jane: The Journey III - Arrival

JANE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 56 ratings
Jane At Home Live
3.58 | 12 ratings
Jane Live '89
3.05 | 8 ratings
Live 2002
4.00 | 3 ratings
Live at Meta's

JANE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.04 | 6 ratings
Tribute To Peter Panka

JANE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
Waiting For The Sunshine

JANE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

JANE Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Age Of Madness by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.93 | 45 ratings

Age Of Madness
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I will have to be honest about this album: it's disjointed, it's messy. Age of Madness was the end of their space rock phase, and what they demonstrated on Between Heaven & Hell, you'd think they were able to continue on the greatness of that album. Unfortunately that's not the case. The instrumental title track is actually quite good, has more than a hint of Eloy in it, which is really no surprise when you know that Manfred Wieczorke is responsible for the keyboard playing (he left Eloy after the fiasco of Power and the Passion - itself a great album - for a more financially stable band, in this case, Jane). But there is so much questionable stuff that just doesn't appeal to me. They attempt to sound like the Kinks with Ray Davies type of vocals on one song, and much of the rest of the album left little impression on me. I have to say that Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Live at Home, and Age of Madness show Jane at their finest (particularly their space rock phase), so I'd suggest you go for those albums instead.
 Together by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.70 | 143 ratings

Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Igor91

4 stars Jane's debut album, "Together," is a prime example of early heavy prog from Germany. They also inject a bit of psychedelia into their brand of heavy prog. The reviews/ratings of this album are varied here on PA, and good points are made both to praise and to criticize this album. I, for one, really enjoy this album.

The songs are all good, but what really stands out for me is the singing of vocalist Bernd Pulst. This would be the only album he would be featured on, and the next year he was dead. Such as shame for a great talent to die so young. I have not been able to find any information on why he passed away, but I'm guessing it was drug related. Anyway, to give you an idea what he sounded like, think of something like Joe Cocker with a German accent. Some people don't care for it, but I think his vocal performance gives the music an emotional element often missing in prog rock. While none of the musicians are technical masters of their instruments, the performances are solid. At times some of the songs sound a bit like Eloy circa "Inside" or "Floating," but this album actually predates those, so I guess Eloy sounded a bit like Jane! The opener "Daytime," and the closer "Hangman" are the two standout tracks for me, primarily for their emotional impact. The most progressive track is the 11+ minute "Spain," which changes direction several times.

While Jane would go on to greater success on subsequent albums, their first is by far my favorite. Recommended to those who can enjoy a progressive rock album without all the technical wizardry that often goes with it. 4 stars.

 Jane III by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.96 | 71 ratings

Jane III
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars A band with constant revolving door line-ups, the sudden departure of keyboard player Werner Nadolny from German rock band Jane meant the sound of their eventual third album in 1974 would be powered by guitars. Acid, psychedelic and hard rock still dominate, no surprise as those are all part of the usual Jane template, but perhaps `Jane III' was still their least ambitious album to date at the time. However, although the lack of keyboards and that beautiful glistening Hammond organ from their previous discs means `III' is initially quite disappointing from a progressive rock standpoint, patient listeners will still find a decent collection of Seventies rock tunes with plenty of instrumental fire to interest them here.

Just listen to the way the bass murmurs in constant delight throughout the plodding opener `Comin' Again', with repetitive guitars strums chiming into infinity and Charly Maucher's mud-thick bass and rough-as-guts vocals slurring through the mix. There's definitely a stoned, wasted Krautrock lethargy to the thick atmosphere, but the manic rising guitar solo in the finale is quite joyous and transcending. Dusty bluesy fire grooves through `Mother You Don't Know', `I Need You' starts as a dreamy ballad that grows in gutsy power as it moves on, and nice piano and acoustic guitar floats through weary ballad `Way to Paradise'.

`Early in the Morning' is wailing acid rock with oceans of electric guitar feedback and some very hazy hallucinogenic panning feedback back and forth in the mix to really bring your mind grinding to a halt! `Jane-Session' starts as a mellow jam with just a hint of droning menace before guitars rage in every direction as it builds in tempo. While the tune of `Rock N Roll Star' is pretty unmemorable, it picks up during a fuzzy heavy psychedelic second half, `King of Thule' is a brief regal instrumental, and `Baby What You're Doin' closes the album, a stomping grooving rocker with a fairly inane boogie chorus, but it's throwaway fun in a fairly brainless way.

`Jane III' is a good little rock album from a great psychedelic hard rock band, and while they made better (and slightly proggier!) albums, this is still a fine collection of rocking tunes and great playing, with a welcome heavy wasted quality throughout the entire disc. The gorgeous psychedelic artwork makes it just a little better as well - lucky those who have it on vinyl!

Three stars.

 Fire, Water, Earth & Air by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.39 | 84 ratings

Fire, Water, Earth & Air
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars Although probably more at home playing tough bluesy jamming rock, German band Jane on occasional albums incorporated slight prog, psych and spacerock elements into their chugging rock sound that sometimes delivered decent results. Their fifth album `Fire, Water, Earth and Air' from 1976 is one of their more successful works, still hardly essential but a decent heavy churning space-rocker all the same. There's a strong emphasis on spacey keyboards in much the same manner as numerous other German bands from the time such as Eloy, Epidaurus and Novalis, making it a nice background listen for undiscriminating prog/spacerock fans.

"Fire, Water, Earth and Air come together in my soul" slurs Klaus Hess during the 17 minute opening side-long piece, his voice not unlike a drowsy David Gilmour. Thick Hammond organ, hard drums, searing electric guitar soloing and eerie drawn-out synth washes comprise the piece, a repetitive and plodding track that always retains a lazy sunny warmth. The second passage moves up in tempo with melodic leaping bass moving through fiery drumming, then abruptly falling away into a drifting Eloy-like outer-space drone and later some bluesy guitar wailing. The third section floats on chiming electric guitars and gentle ocean ambience that unfolds beautifully into punchy drumming and fiery guitar grooves over extended synth builds. Thankfully the music is better than the tired and uninspired `Keep on rollin', `she gives me some sweet luvin' every day' lyrics.

The second side opens with the 5 minute breather `Earth', a straight-forward rock track highlighted by a wasted and bedraggled lead vocal with double tracked electric guitar soloing on either side of the speakers. The nearly 11 minute closer `Air and the End' races through a range of slow to mid-tempos sprightly changes, light organ and riffing guitars, but the `Superman, cool again' chorus is baffling! Better is the second half, scorching Hammond, darting Moogs and pulsing bass weave around mellow emotional guitar noodling before ending on a nice shuffling come-down. Really the second side is more or less just the same as the first, making the album safe, predictable and a little forgettable, even if always pleasing and undemanding.

Jane are still not the most exciting of prog-related bands, but they are decent and consistent in the style they work in at the same time. The debut remains far and away the strongest of their works that I've heard, but `Fire, Water, Earth and Air' is a short n' sweet 33 minute hard-rocking cosmic trip that German spacerock fans will likely dig very much.

Three stars.

 Age Of Madness by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.93 | 45 ratings

Age Of Madness
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Age of Madness, indeed: 1978 was all that and more, to fans of Progressive Rock. After reaching a creative plateau on their ambitious 1977 album "Between Heaven and Hell", the hard-rockers of Jane followed a lot of other prog acts into shallow waters toward the end of the decade. But let's face it: unlike some groups they didn't have to swim very far.

In fact the band sounded very much at ease in the less sophisticated musical tide pools of the late '70s, at least over the initial three tracks here. That burst of classic Hammond organ grunge kicking off the album was a conscious throwback to an earlier, heavier Jane: the musical equivalent of slipping into an old pair of sneakers after a formal night on the town. The song itself was still uncomfortably in debt to PINK FLOYD, but with a welcome economy of style compared to the bloated, faceless wall Roger Waters was erecting at the time.

And then we arrive at the bluntly-titled "Love Song", sounding like a different group altogether: a soft rock ensemble from the beaches of southern California, perhaps. It helps to hear the track as a clever parody of a radio-friendly single, which I'm sure wasn't the intention, but the almost robotic repetition of rhythm and verse might have worked as satire in another context. From that point on, the madness in the album's title can be officially diagnosed as schizophrenia: half creative energy, half commercial tripe.

Okay, so that last comment was a little harsh, and not entirely true. Yes, there's a 50/50 separation in quality over the album's nine tracks, divided almost equally between songs and instrumentals (and here I count the two-part title track as an instrumental, with singing). But even at its lowest common denominator the album is occasionally lit by incandescent flashes of energy, typically sparked by guitarist Klaus Hess, in the dramatic sustained notes of "Bad Game"; or his striking solo turn in "With Her Smile"; or the driving pace of "Get This Power", the latter effort shortchanged only by Peter Panka's lack of traditional New Wave drumming chops.

The overall structure of the album helps it too, with the better (wordless) selections bookending the weaker songs, in effect supporting them in a firm musical embrace. And despite its split personality the complete package strikes a more unified tone than the somewhat contrived prog stylings of their more popular "Heaven and Hell". While not a triumph by any means, it's hardly the stumble I might have expected, and actually compares well to the late-inning rallies of other, bigger prog bands nearing the end of their relevance.

 Between Heaven And Hell by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.43 | 70 ratings

Between Heaven And Hell
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars It seems a strange thing to admit on a website advertising itself as "Your Ultimate Prog Rock Resource", but I prefer the music of Jane when the band was languishing in Hard Rock hell, instead of striving toward Progressive heaven. Their earliest work was simpler, more straightforward, and aesthetically genuine in a way this album wasn't. The band's previous LP ("Fire, Water, Earth and Air") made a virtue of its added refinement, but this effort leaned too far toward pretension: a noble aim for Prog Rockers if they understand the rules before trying to break them.

Which I don't believe was the case for Jane. The quartet deserves credit for expanding its musical boundaries, but in the end they resemble tourists from the wrong side of the tracks, trying to blend in at an upscale resort without having mastered the local language. Opening the album with an awesome four-minute cosmic drone doesn't automatically qualify it as legitimate Space Rock, no matter how openly the song later plagiarizes PINK FLOYD's "Brain Damage".

It's all part of the episodic, side-long title track, an ambitious but uneven achievement marred by sudden, arbitrary jumps in mood and direction. The rocking and rolling sections, typically Jane's raison d'être, actually sound more leaden than heavy, something no one could ever say about the band's older albums. Compare the song itself to the slowly escalating jam beginning soon afterward: one of those moody, hypnotic workouts rarely heard outside Germany at the time, and arguably the group's finest moment on record. It's too bad the rest of the album didn't follow the same improvisational path.

In between is an odd Latin Gregorian chant, not very happily integrated into the larger musical structure, to a degree suggesting unintended satire. Like the kindred Anglophonic rockers of ELOY, there was always a touch of Spinal Tap to Jane's proggier ambitions (think of the controversial Tap album "Rock 'n' Roll Creation"). The band was always more vital when manhandling a Hammond organ instead of caressing a bank of string synthesizers, although the ecclesiastic keyboards (with harp!) at the end of the mini-suite "Twilight" are very effective. In low-brow contrast, the final track ("Your Circle") is a routine bit of troglodyte machismo tossed like a raw bone to the group's less adventurous fans.

Over a career spanning multiple decades Jane approached the rarified air of Progressive Rock only twice: evidence of musical bandwagon jumping more than innovation. But in those two albums they ran the Prog Rock gamut through "Fire, Water, Earth, and Air" to somewhere "Between Heaven and Hell". Giant steps indeed for such a roughshod group, only a little unsure of its footing on this second leap of musical faith.

 Fire, Water, Earth & Air by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.39 | 84 ratings

Fire, Water, Earth & Air
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A purist (and what else is a true Proghead if not an Apollonian purist?) might tell you these guys had no business sitting at the Progressive Rock banquet table. If you listen to their albums leading up to this 1976 epiphany, you won't find a band in the Symphonic Rock or Jazz Fusion or Avant- Garde tradition (and certainly not from the more seditious culture of Krautrock). But at least they tried. And unless we're misleading our children it's the effort that counts, isn't it?

For this album, the band's most ambitious to date (ambition being a relative term for such an earthbound collective), Jane raised its PINK FLOYD banner higher than ever, with the tempos, the melodies, and especially the vocals all but screaming, "Wish We Were There". Jane might have started life as a gang of rock 'n' roll delinquents, but they fell eagerly in step with Progressive music trends in the mid '70s, and better late (almost too late, in 1976) than never.

Clearly the band members had done some homework, and learned their lessons well. The album opens with an actual Classical Rock fanfare, en route to an extended Klaus Hess guitar solo: quintessential Jane, and still exhilarating. And it's a concept album too, recalling Peter Sinfield's employment of the four Platonic elements in his lyric for the KING CRIMSON tune "In the Wake of Poseidon", with each 'movement' cued, somewhat obviously, by the appropriate sound effect.

The album may be secondhand Floyd, but Jane was a more unified band in 1976, when the Floyd was already showing symptoms of creative malaise. Jane's music at the time was also far more melodic, if not quite so elemental as the title suggested...diluted perhaps (like a lot of Prog Rock) by too much air and not enough fire. And the lyrics, when audible, never rose above the standard give-me-some-sweet-lovin' plateau of '70s banality. But this was the more consistent of the band's proggier efforts, less self-consciously ornate than its popular follow-up "Between Heaven and Hell". Over the album's 33-minute flow of more-or-less continuous music, the group walked a precarious tightrope between the artless guitar rock of their earlier recordings and the extended Prog cosmetics of the later LP, without ever missing a step.

Having only just heard it for the first time (on the recommendation of a Fellow Traveler in these Archives), I'm standing up for the maligned 3-star rating with a possibly too conservative trio of sympathetic stars here. The album is hardly a classic, but when measured by the yardstick of nostalgia it's still a classic slice of the 1970s.

 Lady by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.13 | 55 ratings

Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Hanover quartet of Jane was beginning to sound more American than German by 1975, yet another reason why Krautrock elitists have always ignored them. The Kosmische Musik geek inside me wants to likewise turn up his nose, but after belatedly taking some time to explore their music in depth his teenage garage-band doppelgänger simply won't allow it.

The band's fourth studio album saw yet another line-up shuffle, this time arguably to their benefit. New vocalist (and keyboard player) Gottfried Janko possessed a more distinctive singing voice than drummer Peter Panka, something a prosaic outfit like Jane desperately needed (imagine CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, after years of expensive therapy). Janko's keyboard playing didn't have the same raw vitality as his predecessor (and eventual replacement) Werner Nadolny, but it was a moot point: the bedrock of Jane remained guitarist Klaus Hess, still in good form despite the weaker material here.

The music itself was nowhere near the creative acme of Progressive Rock, despite the occasional synthesizer squirt. And the songwriting is rarely strong enough to be entirely convincing four decades later. As usual the band was at its best when flexing its instrumental muscles and sticking to the riffs, as heard in the "Midnight Mover" jam, not coincidentally also the longest cut off the album. And the intro to the title track is an air-guitarist's fantasy come true: one of those quintessential '70s anthems able to drive an acne-damaged high school dropout to headphone ecstasy.

It would be easy for a musical snob like me to simply accept bands like Jane as a guilty pleasure, and move on. But isn't that akin to damning them with faint praise? And why feel any guilt at all? Jane never quite met the ideals of Progressive Rock (transcendence, virtuosity, so forth), but as a boilerplate hard-rocking ensemble with higher-than-average aspirations they were close to peerless in their mid-'70s heyday. And Progheads know better than anyone how to live with a guilty pleasure: by ditching the pointless guilt and unearthing the buried pleasure.

 Here We Are by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.40 | 80 ratings

Here We Are
Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Jane's 1972 debut would sit comfortably on the same shelf with the earliest efforts of other stalwart German acts like GROBSCHNITT, ELOY and SATIN WHALE, all (mostly) unpretentious rock-and-rollers with a heavy emphasis on organ and guitar. Their sophomore album, released a year later, was a little more adventurous, but for a group like Jane that wasn't necessarily an improvement. To these ears their less challenging but harder rocking early work sounds better in retrospect than some of the band's later stabs at musical sophistication. But this album at least found a decent point of balance between their limited abilities and loftier ambitions.

Missing here is the dogged intensity of the first LP, and the singular vocals (to say the least) of Bernd Pulst, whose voice sounded exactly like you'd expect from someone named Bernd Pulst. The merely adequate interim singing of drummer Peter Panka leaves no impression whatsoever, good or bad, and as if to compensate for the resulting loss of identity the band made attempts to refine the music itself, adding a Mellotron here and a chorus of female backup singers there, even including an occasional touch of acoustic nuance, in songs like "Dandelion".

The writing too was more melodic in a primitive sort of way, with the faux-strings in "Like a Queen" and "Out in the Rain" bringing a little symphonic depth to Jane's typically beefy sound. But in keeping with what should have been the band's official motto (Keep It Simple, Stupid) the music shone brightest when dragged through a muck of instrumental blues-rock behind Werner Nadolny's grinding Hammond organ and the assertive lead guitar of Klaus Hess. The adrenalin really kicks in during the album-ending title track, closing the set with a suitable bang (although the song itself ends on a curious whimper).

As popular as they were in the 1970s, Jane was always an easy band for discriminating Progheads (and especially Krautrockers) to dismiss, as I did for many years. But after several decades the same music, in all its turgid sub-Floydian heaviness, can be just as easy to appreciate, not least for its nostalgic pull toward a lost age of rock guitar heroics. Sure it's uncomplicated stuff. But I'll take the authentic sow's ear of their first two albums over the imitation silk purse of the band's proggier efforts any day.

 Together by JANE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.70 | 143 ratings

Jane Heavy Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The music of Jane didn't exactly escape my attention in the 1970s, when they were one of the biggest acts in Germany and I was an ardent teen Proghead with a taste for European imports. But the Krautrock puritan in me wasn't moved at the time by their derivative Anglophilic sound...why listen to a continental PINK FLOYD / PROCOL HARUM copycat band, with so many better and more challenging groups to choose from?

But at the suggestion of a kindred Progarchivist I decided to relax my skepticism after all these years...reluctantly, I should admit, but impressed after repeated plays by the single-minded drive of their 1972 debut album, an achievement the band would never again quite match.

Of course the German Rock scene wouldn't have been the same without "A Saucerful of Secrets" to guide it. But while the more cosmic proggers east of the Rhine River were busy trying to decipher the secrets, bands like Jane were content with just the saucer, rarely aspiring to the same interstellar musical overdrive. The two-note bass guitar intro to "Daytime", the opening track of the band's first album, recalls (and not by accident) the identical ostinato driving "Careful With That Axe, Eugene", but it's only a token cosmetic loan, and quickly discarded.

The next few minutes set the pace for an album-long grind of heavy guitar blues and Hammond organ soul, played at a relentless tempo and featuring one of the most distinctive lead vocalists of any era, the awesome Bernd Pulst. His performance can still be an acquired taste, sounding not unlike Janis Joplin on a really, really bad day, forced to sing around a mouthful of marbles. But to me his voice remains one of the album's strongest attributes, perfectly matched to the grungy organ and macho guitar solos. Nobody here was a virtuoso, but the primitive rhythms, simple melodies, and uncomplicated jamming can still be effective when played at the intended volume: eleven on a Spinal Tap scale. And when the band kicks into high gear in the latter half of 'Hangman" it's almost impossible not to plug in your air guitar and swagger alongside them on the stage of your imagination.

It's easy in retrospect to hear what made Jane a superstar band in a country eager for English and American cultural residue. Their first album is worthless as Progressive Rock, but that was never its aim. This is music for the sawdust covered concrete floors of bygone rock laser light distractions or dry-ice effects, just loud music from large amplifiers, performed with unwashed vigor and enthusiasm.

Thanks to ProgLucky.vibrationbaby for the artist addition.

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives