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Krautrock • Germany

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Alcatraz biography
A quite obscure band coming from Hamburg in the early 70s and active until 2002, composed of five members: RUEDIGER BERGHAHN (Vocals), KLAUS HOLST (guitar), KLAUS NAGURSKI (Flute and Sax), Ronald Wilson (Bass) and JAN RIECK (Drums and Percussion). They were used to play in small places and started with covers of TRN YEARS AFTER, VANILLA FUDGE and also URIAH HEEP and BLACK SABBATH, but later they started been heavily influenced by more jazz oriented bands, in particular SOFT MACHINE. What results is a mixture of heavy rock, Canterbury with long improvisations as typical of Krautrock. Their debut album is the most well known. They stopped for long time after that but came back in the late 70s with a number of new and more challenging releases.

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Vampire State BulidingVampire State Buliding
Audio CD$24.09
$22.48 (used)
Smile Now Cry LaterSmile Now Cry Later
Demons Run Amok 2012
Audio CD$10.82
$5.35 (used)
Giv Me Luv by AlcatrazGiv Me Luv by Alcatraz
Audio CD$49.44
Give Me Luv by Alcatraz (1996-01-01)Give Me Luv by Alcatraz (1996-01-01)
Unknown Label (1996-01-01)
Audio CD$64.13
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Alcatraz: Ingram Marshall Ingram Marshall CD USD $34.74 Buy It Now 2h
Escape from Alcatraz by Rasco (VG CD Album 2003) USD $9.86 Buy It Now 2h 2m
Audio CD Alcatraz - The Mr. T Experience - Free Shipping USD $4.47 Buy It Now 6h 47m
Residual Alcatraz Dogbane Audio CD USD $25.13 Buy It Now 7h 6m
Evolutiondance Partone / Escape 2 Alcatraz (x2) / Everybody / Dont Stop The... C USD $4.99 Buy It Now 9h 33m
Alcatraz - Vampire State Building CD USD $12.99 Buy It Now 10h 43m
Alcatraz - Give Me Love - 12" Vinyl USD $1.93 [0 bids]
11h 38m
40604 Victor Imbres Escape From Alcatraz [NEW & SEALED] CD (1998) USD $10.27 Buy It Now 14h 44m
Various : Alcatraz-Dc in the Mix CD (1996) USD $4.56 Buy It Now 15h 19m
KUBB Somebody Else CD European Mercury 2005 2 Track B/W Alcatraz Includes Two USD $4.04 Buy It Now 17h 13m
Mr. T Experience : Alcatraz CD (1999) USD $4.46 Buy It Now 17h 30m
RASCO Escape From Alcatraz CD US Coup D Etat 2003 16 Track CD Inc Slipcase USD $6.41 Buy It Now 18h 28m
RICK WAKEMAN Birdman Of Alcatraz 7" VINYL UK A&M 1977 B/W Flacons De Neige USD $6.41 Buy It Now 18h 28m
KUBB Somebody Else 7" VINYL UK Mercury 2005 Limited Edition B/W Alcatraz USD $4.04 Buy It Now 18h 28m
ALCATRAZ This Is The World We Live In CD European Bmg 2004 2 Track Radio Edit USD $2.70 Buy It Now 18h 29m
EVOLUTION DANCE Escape 2 Alcatraz CD UK Deconstruction 1993 4 Track Tijuana USD $6.41 Buy It Now 18h 29m
Vintage cassette REDBONE POTLACH Et 30109 Maggie Alcatraz Chant 13the Hour RARE USD $36.99 Buy It Now 20h 2m
An Original Radio Drama: The Battle of Alcatraz Audio CD USD $32.86 Buy It Now 23h 52m
Alcatraz - Lets Get This Party Started - Buy It! - 2000 #236642 USD $2.56 Buy It Now 1 day
Buddy Merrill - Windows / Alcatraz Peacepipe 7" Accent Promo 1970 USD $3.70 Buy It Now 1 day
Alcatraz by The Mr. T Experience (CD, Sep-1999, Lookout) BAY AREA 90s ALT PUNK USD $3.97 Buy It Now 1 day
CD Single Alcatraz - Giv Me Luv, 5 tracks USD $2.57 [0 bids]
1 day
NAZARETH cd RAZAMANAZ + 2 Bonus Tracks ALCATRAZ Vigilante Man Woodie Guthrie USD $17.99 Buy It Now 1 day
17/8/85pg18 Album Advert 7x5" Alcatraz, Disturbing The Peace USD $7.07 Buy It Now 1 day
Alcatraz: Ingram Marshall USD $6.17 Buy It Now 1 day
20/10/84pg18 Article & Pictures : Alcatraz USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Rasco Escape From Alcatraz CD USD $8.44 Buy It Now 1 day
Alistair Cooke SEALED 2-Lp Talk About America Alcatraz A Ruined Woman JFK USD $14.95 Buy It Now 1 day
(FM846) Franc Cinelli, Alcatraz EP - 2013 CD USD $3.84 Buy It Now 1 day
Ingram Marshall - Alcatraz (Original CD, 1991, New Albion Records) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
PROWLER: Alcatraz 7". Classic obscure N.W.O.B.H.M. Ultra rare 1985. Check sample USD $88.70 Buy It Now 2 days
Fausto Mesolella - Live Ad Alcatraz [New CD] USD $40.47 Buy It Now 2 days
Fausto Mesolella - Live Ad Alcatraz [New CD] USD $39.29 Buy It Now 2 days
FLEXX G A Whole Lot Of Gangstas Die ft KURUPT+ALCATRAZ-Rare Remix CD G-FUNK USD $4.99 Buy It Now 2 days
BOBO WILSON: Alcatraz Rock / Indian Uprising 45 Hear! (rare psych fuzz, great!! USD $100.00 Buy It Now 2 days
California 37: Mermaids Of Alcatraz Tour Edition By Train CD SEALED USD $6.29 Buy It Now 3 days
ALCATRAZ Disturbing The Peace JAPAN CASSETTE TAPE w/PS ZR28-1276 STEVE VAI FresS USD $29.99 Buy It Now 3 days
APOLLO FOUR FORTY 440 w/ ALCATRAZ Krupa 5 TRX w/ 3 RARE REMIXES USD $23.74 Buy It Now 3 days
APOLLO 440 - Krupa (12" 1996) Alcatraz Narcotic Thrust Serotina USD $3.84 [0 bids]
3 days
Various Artists The Alcatraz Kid CD USD $4.00 Buy It Now 3 days
Evolutiondance Part 1 Escape To Alcatraz Cd Single USD $6.41 Buy It Now 3 days
ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ/HELL IS FOR HEROES J. Fielding / L. Rosenman soundtrack CD USD $15.00 Buy It Now 3 days
Bloodride - Planet Alcatraz (NEW CD) USD $15.74 Buy It Now 4 days
Rick Wakeman Birdman Of Alcatraz Mono / Stereo A&M Records DJ 45 1977 USD $4.00 [0 bids]
USD $20.00 Buy It Now
4 days
Visions and Miracles 1992 by Ensemble Alcatraz Ex-library USD $4.71 Buy It Now 4 days
Ensemble Alcatraz ?- Visions And Miracles, 1988 Classical Medieval CD Near Mint USD $6.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Train Mermaids of Alcatraz Tour Edition Promo Canada Sticker CD SEALED NEW USD $6.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Various Artists Birdmen of Alcatraz CD ***NEW*** USD $15.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Planet Alcatraz by Bloodride. USD $12.48 Buy It Now 5 days
Rick Wakeman Birdman Of Alcatraz (Theme From 'My... 7" record UK USD $14.08 Buy It Now 5 days
Escape from Alcatraz New CD USD $14.74 Buy It Now 5 days
CLUB MIX 96 2CD Donna Summer Heller Gat Decor Alcatraz Kadoc Josh Wink Wildchild USD $8.19 Buy It Now 5 days
Rare #rd Soundtrack LP : Bird Man of Alcatraz ~ Burt Lancaster ~ Bernstein USD $36.00 Buy It Now 5 days
5 days
Fielding ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ & Rosenman HELL IS FOR HEROES Rare Sound TR'K USD $14.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Residual Alcatraz New CD USD $16.99 Buy It Now 5 days
ALCATRAZ - GIV ME LUV - CD SINGLE 1996 USD $3.21 Buy It Now 5 days
(EA331) Sound of Guns, Alcatraz - 2010 DJ CD USD $3.20 Buy It Now 5 days
Train - California 37: Mermaids Of Alcatraz Tour Edition - Sealed CD USD $2.99 [0 bids]
5 days
Alcatraz - Giv Me Luv (2004 Remix) - 21st Street - 2004 #124383 USD $5.77 Buy It Now 6 days
Victor Imbres - Escape From Alcatraz new and sealed CD USD $2.56 Buy It Now 6 days
GALLICIAN & LATIN Sacred Songs 13th Century ENSEMBLE ALCATRAZ libretto included USD $0.99 [0 bids]
6 days
ALCATRAZ Father Of My Son / Woman Charmer 45 7" 1983 Near Mint southern boogie USD $9.99 [0 bids]
6 days
Live Ad Alcatraz - Fausto Mesolella 4580247560179 (CD Used Very Good) USD $38.47 Buy It Now 6 days
(EG39) Sound of Guns, Alcatraz - DJ DVD USD $3.84 Buy It Now 6 days
RASCO 2-record LP Escape From Alcatraz 2003 Planet Asia Casual J5 MINT VINYL USD $25.00 Buy It Now 6 days
ELMER BERNSTEIN - BIRD MAN OF ALCATRAZ - 1976 LP Japan USD $48.00 Buy It Now 7 days
BREAKING OUT - THE ALCATRAZ CONCERT Usher, Da Beat, Missy Elliot SEALED NEW k USD $6.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Alcatraz Giv Me Luv 12" AM:PM 581 435-1 1996 USD $12.84 Buy It Now 7 days
Alcatraz by The Mr. T Experience (CD, Sep-1999, Lookout) USD $4.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Breaking Out Usher The Alcatraz Concert NEW VHS CD Dru Hill DA Beat Mack 10 USD $1.49 Buy It Now 7 days
The Happy Endings - Greatest view from Alcatraz- New CD Not Sealed USD $2.99 Buy It Now 8 days
Alcatraz - Giv Me Luv (5 trk CD / Listen) USD $5.13 Buy It Now 9 days
Alcatraz - "Giv Me Luv" HOUSE 12" - Yoshitoshi USD $6.00 Buy It Now 9 days
Alcatraz by The Mr. T Experience (CD, Sep-1999, Lookout) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Planet Alcatraz - Bloodride (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.49 Buy It Now 10 days
THE SIROCCO BROTHERS - MEAN OL' SKY / ALCATRAZ (2016 Rockabilly-Blues Dancers) USD $11.56 Buy It Now 10 days
Breaking Out: The Alcatraz Concert 1998 USD $4.80 Buy It Now 10 days
Breaking Out: The Alcatraz Concert 1998 USD $4.99 Buy It Now 10 days
Smile Now, Cry Later by Alcatraz (Hardcore) (Vinyl, Jan-2012, Demons Run Amok... USD $16.91 Buy It Now 10 days
Dogbane: Residual Alcatraz CD ECD 2011 Heaven And Hell Records HHR017 NEW USD $12.95 Buy It Now 10 days
`Mesolella, Fausto`-Live Ad Alcatraz CD NEW USD $42.25 Buy It Now 10 days
Alcatraz - Vampire State Building CD (2002) Prog Rock 1971 USD $12.84 Buy It Now 10 days
ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ/HELL IS FOR HEROES rare ltd.ed. factory sealed cd (2013) USD $25.82 Buy It Now 10 days
Alcatraz Giv Me Luv / Give Me Love UK Remixes CD Single - Like New USD $8.25 Buy It Now 10 days
Alcatraz - Giv Me Luv (Disc Two) - Am:Pm - 1996 #27422 USD $6.41 Buy It Now 11 days
Giv Me Luv by Alcatraz (CD Maxi Single, 1996) Yoshitoshi Records USD $2.99 Buy It Now 11 days
Salsa RARE CD Son Charanga NUESTRO MATRIMONIO alcatraz NEHRO RAY pio NEGRA SANTA USD $11.04 Buy It Now 11 days
Alcatraz - Giv Me Luv (2002 Remix) - Tribalism 2002 - 2002 #85502 USD $5.77 Buy It Now 12 days
Evolution - Escape To Alcatraz / Everybody - Deconstruction - 1993 #17081 USD $5.13 Buy It Now 12 days
Escape From Alcatraz - Complete Score - Limited Edition - Jerry Fielding USD $34.65 Buy It Now 12 days

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ALCATRAZ discography

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

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

3.81 | 55 ratings
Vampire State Building
2.00 | 5 ratings
Energie Programm In Rock
2.00 | 1 ratings
No. 4
2.00 | 1 ratings
Last Station
3.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sound Factory Sessions

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

3.50 | 2 ratings
Live - Trockeneis Zum Frühstück
0.00 | 0 ratings
Made In Germania

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

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

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Vampire State Building by ALCATRAZ album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.81 | 55 ratings

Vampire State Building
Alcatraz Krautrock

Review by Igor91

5 stars Alcatraz was an obscure, yet long-lived German band who's debut, "Vampire State Building," is an exciting blend of Krautrock and jazzrock that must be heard by aficionados of German rock music from the 70's. Every song is great, with a mix of heavy rock and jazz guitars, jazzy sax and/or flute, and a lively rhythm section. My favorite tracks are, well all of them. To be honest, my least favorite song is "Your Chance of a Lifetime," but it is still a great tune. The vocals are somewhat typical for the genre, not bad or good, just "unique." Probably the best song is actually the bonus track on the CD version. Most CD bonus tracks are usually poor quality live or demo recordings, but "Change Will Come" is a well-recorded, mind-blowing, 6 minute, adventure into Alcatraz's Kraut/jazz/prog/rock lunacy. One of the great, and unfortunately lesser known, classic albums of Krautrock. Five stars, seriously.
 Energie Programm In Rock by ALCATRAZ album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.00 | 5 ratings

Energie Programm In Rock
Alcatraz Krautrock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars ''Vampire state building'' was the only document left by Alcatraz for many years, as the band apparenty faded out, reputedly because of inside arguments and the fact that the members should fulfill their military obligations.However, entering the second half of the 70's a revived Alcatraz appeared with original members Jan Rieck, Klaus Holst and Rüdiger Berghahn but no Klaus Nagurski or Ronald Wilson.Instead Ed Schulze took over the bass duties.A second album, ''Energie programm in Rock'', was recorded during March 1978 at Eulenspiegel Studio, released privately the same year.

Times had changed completely since the early-70's and the same thing occured with Alcatraz'es style, facing the dawn of the 80's.No jazzy saxes or flutes anymore, while the instrumental passages are quite limited.The band focused on creating a satirical Kraut Rock with many styles blended and lots of vocals, split between sung moments and narrations with a humourous edge.The basic value of the album remains a pounding and heavy Kraut Rock music with an edgy guitar sound and plenty of raw grooves and solos, but there are quite some different elements popping up here and there, hurting the overall consistency of the work.Some dated bluesy electric offerings, lots of funky bass lines and questionable use of synthesizers at moments.The humurous vocals either work nicely along the music's tastes or sound totally amateur without any particular color.Some lighter textures closer to typical DeutschRock are also present with cliche song structures, still a couple of Hard Prog tracks with notable guitar moves and very good bass work escape mediocrity, reminding of the old'n'good moments of the group.

Another German Kraut Rock obscurity, which however does not deserves full praise.Lots of flat, satirical rock material, few decent and even fewer really good pieces result a work destined to sufficiently please only die-hard Kraut Rock fans...2.5 stars.

 Vampire State Building by ALCATRAZ album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.81 | 55 ratings

Vampire State Building
Alcatraz Krautrock

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars By coincidence, while I was looking for Bio info about this band I've found a legal download of their debut album. The band story is quite unusual: an excellent debut album followed by years of silence and a number of further releases for a story which starts in 1971 and arrives up to 2002.

The band started as a cover band of VANILLA FUDGE and TEN YEARS AFTER and the influence of classic rock and early prog is huge, but what is more surprising is the use of the flute which is not too different from what in the same year Jimmy Hastings was doing with CARAVAN. The sounds are heavier, more acid, especially the guitar but the connection with the Canterbury sound is present in the more jazzy moments, like the sax solo over funky guitar in the chaotic second part of the first track.

There are improvised sessions as usual with Krautrock, and the bongos add a touch of hippy trippy, luckily very far from the out-of-mind/poor-of-skill debut of AMON DUUL. The five elements show a concrete skill even without loosing the spontaneity of the first Kraut bands,

The album is also very well recorded for the time and the place. It's likely that it has been made in a non-professional study with at maximum an 8-track recorder, but the balance in the volumes gives the idea of a band who knows what is doing.

I have read a review, I don't remember if on PA or somewhere else saying that the vocals are the band's weakness. I don't think so. Of course that kind of singing appears dated but it's very well inserted in the songs.

On "Your Chance Of A Lifetime" it's like a Chappo Chapman without vibrato screaming over a very high-volume acid-blues guitar. The second part of the song is very rocking and reminds a little to WISHBONE ASH (Pilgrimage as album).

There are also heavy moments like the intro of "Where The Wild Things Are" (still Wishbone Ash in my mind), even if the twin-guitar band has never been mentioned in the band's influences. URIAH HEEP and BLACK SABBATH instead were bands the Alcatraz were used to play covers of.

The Title track is the longest, scoring over 13 minutes. The structure is similar to that of the first track, the second in length, for it's being composed by a sort of very well jointed patchwork of different things (and genres). In a word a progressive mini-suite which to me appears more English than German even in the most improvised parts, around a long drum solo, as they remind more to the skilled free-jazz of SOFT MACHINES than to the trippy crazyness of CAN. However is effectively in this track that they play the improvised section which is more in line with what we are used to call Krautrock, while the following "Piss Off" could be fitting for today's noisy AVANTGARDE.

The closer starts as a swing song. If it wasn't for the Uriah Heep like choir. The vocals on this song (the only other with vocals) unite with the heavy guitar and the uptime bluesy bass and guitar remind very much to Hendrix. After the first sung part there's a very nice duel of guitar and sax, then a sort of uptime jazz section with dissonant piano (respect to the bass) leads to an excellent succession of different parts all of them driven by the sax. Honestly this is a track that must be heard. Describing it is ineffective as it's so full of things that a lot is lost in the description.

Anyway this has been a very lucky coincidence. I didn't know anything of this obscure and underrated band, previously. Now I'm happy to tell you how lucky I've been in discovering this little jewel.

 Vampire State Building by ALCATRAZ album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.81 | 55 ratings

Vampire State Building
Alcatraz Krautrock

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars A small dog

There is something indescribably charming about this release. It is naive in a way that reminds me of Italian band Semiramis. Not because of the similar sound, language or instrumentation, but because of the approach and the heartfelt ambiance of the whole thing. Some sort of youthful exuberance attached to the thing, that hearkens back to the freedom of summer vacations away from the imprisoning school cell bathing in overly polluted lakes. Alcatraz' Vampire State Building feels and sounds like a love affair. It's like walking inside a studio run by long haired hippies, where every dark corner hides a couple of tripped out Germans with closed eyes asking kindly for some more music. The studio is filled to the brim with marijuana smoke, and you find it difficult seeing anything that's more than 5 feet away. Everything is cosy, warm, friendly - inviting you to shed all of your fears and social phobias. -And then the jamming starts...

This album is one of those clear musical links that remind us of the invisible link between blues and jazz. The playful lightness of these sonic moods swing and rock simultaneously between these two ancient lovers. The bass walks slowly along to a cymbal chiming bird teetering, and then you get soft and angelic flute bits that glue feathers onto the given piece. It's soft, mellow, lovable like an old mutt and then some. As I said, the tunes float between blues and jazz, but even more so do they challenge the very fabric of those genres. The textures here are more loosey goosey and experimental, and while you always feel invited to the party - are reminded of the sweetness of melody and composition, the tracks have a way of sneaking up on you and changing pace and posture. Without really thinking too much about it, I actually just gave away the first track here, that just so happens to sound like a wonderful hybrid of Nucleus and the early Santana track Treat.

It is basically a jam album, but built up around distinctive sound patterns, - meaning that some form of compositional thought was implemented before these Germans visited the studio. Still the best thing about Vampire State Building is that naive touch. It feels like music of the moment, while still retaining that melodic feel. I think every little note hiding away beneath this beautiful art work came into fruition through democracy, weed and a sense of do whatever the hell you want to, as long as it flows like a lubricated dolphin. -And everything does, it has that smooth slick jazz feel to it, like one of those cool cats walking along the highway - completely stoned, high as a kite - his feet miles above the very earth - walking fluidly along, and all he's getting is this organic naive Krautrock jazz that tickles his fancy like one of those feather boas with a sense of rhythm.

On the whole the natural blend of blues, hard rock, jazz, Krautrock tempers and this charming playfulness amounts to a homogeneous and organic beast, which I just adore. It's one of those albums that feels like a part of the family, and even if you can spot the occasional flaw - you still love it like a second elbow. Maybe it's the musical equivalent of a small dog....?

Only down falls are the times, when the long hairs start thinking about vocals. Perhaps a bit too abrasive and clumsy for a record like this, and thank goodness that they only pop up in the music on a few occasions. So if you want a taste of just how melodic and warm the Krautrock scene could be, and furthermore want music that you can snap your fingers to, whilst still looking cool as a cucumber, then Alcatraz' debut should fit your tastes like a latex glove.

 Vampire State Building by ALCATRAZ album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.81 | 55 ratings

Vampire State Building
Alcatraz Krautrock

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Alcatraz debut album is real joy for early krautrock lovers! Obscure German band is almost forgotten, and only evidence, available for fans often is their debut album, re-released on CD in 2002.

Music there is a bit naive and raw psychedelic bluesy jazz rock with characteristic German sound of early 70-s. Sound mix is usual for that time, and I love it! Besides of main band's musicianship with Can-like drumming, music is full of scratching electric guitar soloing (left channel), some flute and not too complex, but very enthusiastic sax sound!

Compositions are a bit raw, but very melodic. And I love this atmosphere - relaxed freaky air of early 70-s. Plenty of piano, good vocals. But first of all - that fantastic atmosphere! This album's music wouldn't catch you by complexity or musicianship level, but you will just disappear in that atmosphere!

Really great album for fans or early psychedelic jazz-rock / krautrock. CD comes with one bonus track.

 Vampire State Building by ALCATRAZ album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.81 | 55 ratings

Vampire State Building
Alcatraz Krautrock

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A fair to middling Krautrock album. A sometimes uneventful recording that switches instantly to that corrosive guitar sound you'd expect from a band from Germany at this time.

It's not particularly cohesive and not that well produced but does have that something or other which keeps it afloat and prevents it sinking like a lead weight. The vocals are quite good, though nothing spectacular and are suitable to this type of music - not that there's that many of them anyway. There's also quite a few sax-jazz parts that are pleasing to the ear.

Like most Kraut bands - there's a fair bit of experamentalism going on. None more so than the mental drum solo in the title track - which is a good one to annoy your neighbours with. There's a decent array of instruments used which is always a good thing. A good enough album that has many Jazzy Krautrock moments and is actually better than the sum of its parts.

I'd rather listen to 'Out of Focus' though, if truth be told.

 Vampire State Building by ALCATRAZ album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.81 | 55 ratings

Vampire State Building
Alcatraz Krautrock

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Talking about obscure and underrated releases, this Alcatraz album runs ahead of the pack. This album sounds as shabby and loose as a Kraut album should sound, but it is spiced with jazz, hard rocking psychedelics and some avant-garde. Or if you like, a mix of early Can, Colosseum and Soft Machine.

Simple Headphone Mind is a beautiful jazzy track, somewhat similar to Miles Davis' In A Silent Way. Your Chance of a Lifetime is more psychedelic. Spacey guitars and rough echoing vocals complement the jazzy rhythmic standard. At the end of the track they rock out in true anarchistic kraut fashion, seemingly sloppy and unfocussed but still engaging due to its freely rocking vibe.

More heavy psych blues kicks off Where The Wild Things Are, at least till it settles for a swinging jazz groove with saxophone and guitar solos. A loose free-jazz vibe is maintained throughout. Too bad it fades out after only 3 minutes.

No such premature fade on the 13 minute Vampire State Building. Memorable riffs and inspired soloing keep this one going effortless. Even the drum solo is quite fun. The song goes in all directions, jazzy, avant-garde, pastoral, spacey and even a part with very compelling vocals, not unlike Colosseum. Piss Off if full of aggressive and weird psychedelic effects. Change Will Come is more traditionally jazz rock.

The album art and goofy title may not have been their best idea, but the boys in the band sure know how to make a tasty jazzy psych kraut album. It may not be the most recognized album in the scene but they sure made a very unique album that is inspiring and enjoyable all the way.

 Vampire State Building by ALCATRAZ album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.81 | 55 ratings

Vampire State Building
Alcatraz Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This album was a huge surprise for me. It's one of those obscure gems that i'm so glad I took a chance on. ALCATRAZ were fom Hamburg, Germany and originally did covers of bands like VANILLA FUDGE, TEN YEARS AFTER, BLACK SABBATH, URIAH HEEP etc. Over time they decided they didn't want to that anymore as they became more interested in Jazz-Avant-gardists like SOFT MACHINE, COLOSSEUM and TONY WILLIAMS LIFETIME. When they started to compose their own material they united the Jazz and Rock elements. For example in the liner notes it says the band mixed music fragments of Cannonball Adderley with influences of DEEP PURPLE. I didn't hear any of the latters sound here but I love the way they combine the Jazz with the raw guitar.This band refused to compromise back then with promoters, managers, record lables whatever. It was their way or no way, their music would be played and recorded the way they wanted.You can hear their thoughts about that in the lyrics of the second track. Anyway they played live with bands such as BIRTH CONTROL, IKARUS, NEU !, JANE and many others.

"Simple Headphone Mind" is one of my favourite all-time tracks. It reminds me so much of that NUCLEUS song called "Torrid Zone". It took me a long time to figure out what song it sounded like but that's it. It opens with drums which are joined by piano, bass and flute.This is classic Jazz , it sounds so good. Then after 2 minutes the guitar comes in changing the mood completely. This is just as good only different. These contrasts continue.The tasteful guitar 5 1/2 minutes in reminds me of Santana, sax follows. Bongos come in late. Amazing tune. "Your Chance Of A Lifetime" has lyrics which talk about the lies bands are told about becoming rich and famous by managers and record labels who in reality care nothing for them personally, in fact they're just using them for their own gain. The drums and guitar sound great early then sax joins in around a minute replacing the guitar. Incredible sound here. The guitar is back lighting it up 2 1/2 minutes in to the end.

"Vampire State Building" has a good beat as sax joins in. Nice bass and drum work before 1 1/2 minutes. Guitar arrives a minute later. Drum solo 3 minutes in. Piano after 4 minutes with a different soundscape. It turns psychedelic with flute 6 1/2 minutes in. Jazzy a minute later with guitar and flute as vocals also join in. The tempo picks up 12 minutes in, then sax joins in. "Piss Off" is a good title for the "in your face" guitar and drums early on. The sax and flute start to trade solos with the guitar, back and forth with some dissonance as well. Cool song.

Easily 4 stars and i'm proud to own this.

 Vampire State Building by ALCATRAZ album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.81 | 55 ratings

Vampire State Building
Alcatraz Krautrock

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Vampire State Building is a killer release from 70's Germany underground. The band delivers a bunch of bombastic, extremely freaked out fuzzy improvisations including jazzy tendencies. Simple Headphone Mind opens the album with a surprising hippie like groovy jazz variation that features powerful piano bases, enchanting flute line and a very catchy rhythm. The break session provides endless screaming fuzzy guitar solos accompanied by a very jazzy instrumentation. Tour chance of a Lifetime is a heartbreaking, cloudy compositions for dense, spacious melodies with beautifully dramatic vocals. Where the wild things are is an hyperactive freak 'n roll piece with killer riffs, mysteriously atmospheric jazz fusion links. Piss off is a bizarre, curious, fuzzy & druggy jam making a large part to atonal guitar / sax dialogues. Change will come is a retro jazz rockin' piece including a nice groove and agitated stoned vocals. Dirty, Heavy druggy psychedelica. An important musical document.
 Vampire State Building by ALCATRAZ album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.81 | 55 ratings

Vampire State Building
Alcatraz Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Oh set them free out of Alcatraz ...

The debut of this german band which was founded early 1969 in Hamburg. In summary the music is Jazz Rock oriented but also with some Hard Rock and Folk/Hippie elements. Of course there are many impressions from other artists coming together here. But I'm quite sure this album from 1971 also must have influenced bands like EMBRYO or MISSUS BEASTLY. A wide range of instruments is used which provides variety to the songs. We have a fuzzy guitar which brings some psych moments, the rhythm section and saxophone for a fusion/jazzrock orientation, nice percussion work and a flute for a folk feeling.

So the first long track Simple Headphone Mind unites all this elements. The result is a very good song which in parts sounds like a collaboration between SANTANA, TRAFFIC and SOFT MACHINE. Your Chance Of A Lifetime contains vocals which are not really satisfying. But the rest is exciting though with a crazy piano part. Where The Wild Things Are is a short jazz rocking piece which might be an impression how they were able to jam live on the stage. Vampire State Building of course contains a drum solo which was compelling at that time, just a sacred duty. This song is another highlight of the album because of a great variety. Marvellous piano and guitar work - even the vocals are impressive.

With Piss Off a heavy and crazy guitar is striking, weird or maybe one could say Avant. Duelling with a sax accompanied by a simple drum rhythm - fantastic! Change Will Come is one of three songs which were recorded three months later and therefore appears only on the CD version. It's a good one, very jazzy and partially up-tempo.

As for a conclusion this album is recommended to Krautrock fans which prefer a Jazz Rock trend.

Thanks to Octopus-4 for the artist addition. and to sheavy for the last updates

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