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COUPLA PROG

Krautrock • Germany


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Coupla Prog biography
COUPLA PROG from Baden-Baden/Germany is known for a melange of Kraut and Heavy Bluesrock, full of suspense, theatrical in parts, with a derivative sense of professionality. The band existed for nearly seven years and reached the peak from 1970 to 1972 for sure being homogenous with its style and without any commercial approach. The forerunner named "Wilde Reiter GmbH" played simple Soul/Rock covers and split in 1969. To compose something radically new COUPLA PROG was founded by four members: Hubert Donauer (drums), Reiner Niketta (bass, piano, vocals), Rolf Peters (guitar, vocals), Wolfgang Schindhelm (organ, guitar, trumpet, vocals). The new band name results from a shortened version of "A Couple Of Progs".

The band's complete material is live played, pure, without reworking and overdubbing, the result of four sessions recorded at studio U1 of Radio Südwestfunk between 1970 and 1972. The first release by the german Long Hair Music label is the album 'Sprite' with early recordings from February 1970 and April 1971, strongly influenced by the new experimental post-beat phase. COUPLA PROG's centerpiece comes up with the Prog opera 'Edmundo Lopez'. Vocal-oriented because telling the story about a young man who lives in South America and gets between the enemy lines of a civil war. This 60 minute opus, finally released in 2000, contains 11 songs which are blending into each other. Thematically a gripping story with Hammond drenched parts remembering at Vanilla Fudge or Procul Harum but also containing symphonic and freakish psychedelic Kraut moments.

Some line-up changes occured later on. Peters, the creative brain, responsible for the concept of 'Edmundo Lopez', sadly died at the age of 21 because of an overdose of alcohol and drugs in July 1971 and was substituted by Walter Kümmich. And then drummer Hubert Donauer left COUPLA PROG at the beginning of 1972. With two new members the band managed to record some new songs with the highlight 'Death is a great gambler, but if I win, finally I can die', written in memorial of Rolf Peters whose death had been a heavy loss for the band. So the last SWF session release by Long Hair contains a mix of songs recorded with but also without Peters including a very free interpretation of Donovan's "Season of the Witch".

COUPLA PROG tried to move on for some years but stagnation and differences about the musical direction occured, members changed to other regions and finally missing motivations forced ...
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COUPLA PROG discography


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

3.16 | 13 ratings
Sprite
2000
2.63 | 14 ratings
Edmundo Lopez
2000
3.41 | 16 ratings
Death Is A Great Gambler ...
2002

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COUPLA PROG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Death Is A Great Gambler ... by COUPLA PROG album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.41 | 16 ratings

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Death Is A Great Gambler ...
Coupla Prog Krautrock

Review by Suedevanshoe

4 stars What a superb treat. I knew nothing going in - threw it in on a whim. The first track sounds like German Sugarloaf with the lead singer from the Beau Brummels. Mixed in is some weird kraut polish, space rock, jazzy psych, and a whoppingly outstandingly unquestionably the best EVER version of the standard "Season of the Witch" Man these guys can hold their own with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield any day of the week. Almost perfection, I nearly wrecked my underwear.

This paragraph is being written five minutes after my first listen ended.

For those of you who like your prog mixed with all sorts of other genres.

The lead singer, I'm assuming he's German, has a fabulous tenor.

 Edmundo Lopez by COUPLA PROG album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.63 | 14 ratings

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Edmundo Lopez
Coupla Prog Krautrock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Interesting story around this lost Kraut-Rock band from Baden-Baden, which emerged from the 7-piece act Wilde Reiter GmbH in 1969.The four remaining members, these were guitarist/singer Rolf Peters, drummer Hubert Donauer, bassist Reiner Niketta and keyboardist/singer Wolfgang Schindhelm, changed the name to Coupla Prog and were among the occasional visitors of the Südwestfunk's Studios.The second time Coupla Prog visited the studios on 16.07.1970 it was for recording their most ambitious work, the 60-min. opus ''Edmundo Lopez'', eventually released only some 30 years later by Long Hair.

''Edmundo Lopez'' is a concept full-hour work around a young man from South America, condemned to be a soldier part of a civil war but acting like a man of peace and thus, he was sentenced to death.Musically this work is divided in 11 movements, ranging from Psychedelic Rock to organ-driven Heavy Rock and influences from early PINK FLOYD and SOFT MACHINE as well as DEEP PURPLE, THE NICE and even FREE are more than evident.For the most of its part the album explores the territory of psychedelic jams and organ-based power grooves with little imagination and the whole release is heavily centered around the concept's lyrics.Organ solos, scratching guitars and a rhythm section with a steady and confident performance are the main characteristics, accompanying Peters' and Schindhelm's vocals, but there is no diversity or really adventurous themes to be found.A few parts of the album has strong Classical influences on the keyboard parts, but overall the instrumental sections tend more to improvisation than to some tight playing.The opening and closing tracks seem here the most interesting with some decent breaks and performances.

An album, that has not aged well.Too one-dimensional, ''Edmundo Lopez'' has a great historical value but musically this one heads only to suckers of early-70's Kraut-Rock or organ- driven Psych/Prog.

 Sprite by COUPLA PROG album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.16 | 13 ratings

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Sprite
Coupla Prog Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars COUPLA PROG like JUD'S GALLERY never released a studio album but both bands had the opportunity to record at the radio station SWF in Germany. Interesting that JUD'S GALLERY's recordings were the first to be released by the Long Hair label and this album is the second recording to be released in this series. COUPLA PROG were favourites of SWF editor and presenter Walther Krause who invited them to play an unprecidented four times. I must admit I do not find the music here that enjoyable. Sure it has it's moments but overall I could never give 4 stars for my lack of enjoyment alone.Tracks 1, 5 and 7 are from 1970 and my least favourite of the bunch while tracks 2-4, 6 are from 1971 and for me there is a marked improvement.

"Wanna be Free" sounds like a shot at a single. I just don't like it at all. "Goodbye, Guns, Be By Gones" might be the best track on here. An experimental intro gives way to a beat and some fuzzed out bass.The organ floats in the background. Angular guitar before 1 1/2 minutes then spoken words arrive but not in English like they usually use. Guitar comes to the fore after 3 minutes as the vocals join in. I like this. More fuzz bass after 6 minutes. Check out the guitar 9 1/2 minutes in as they jam to the end.

"The Queen Is Selling Out" opens with piano as drums crash in quickly then guitar. It settles right down and reserved vocals join in. Some abrasive moments on this are contrasted with the mellow sections. Interesting to hear piano after 5 minutes as it gets dissonant. "Die Wut Uber Den Verlorenen Groschen" is led by drums, piano and bass early as the organ joins in. "Ode To The Vanilla Fudge" is just that I suppose. Not exactly the best track on here but it's okay.

"Auf Dass Er Sich Im Grabe Umdrehe" opens with fuzz and organ then it calms right down with bass. Some outburts after 2 minutes. I find this section frustrating with that same minimalistic sound that goes on forever. Out of the blue we get sax with dissonant piano and odd drum patterns.Vocals and organ end it. "Dies Irae(De Mortus" sounds like they are copying the popular theme for "2001 A Space Odysey" over and over.Then a change for the better before 1 1/2 minutes.Some abrasive sounds before 3 minutes are annoying though.

An interesting document from a good but relatively unknown Krautrock band.

 Death Is A Great Gambler ... by COUPLA PROG album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.41 | 16 ratings

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Death Is A Great Gambler ...
Coupla Prog Krautrock

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The old legend Coupla Prog originally published this album in 1972. "Death Is A Great Gambler" is a refined, ecclectic krautrock album dominated by Hammond organs, solid guitar rythms and frantic technical drums. With a bands like Improved Sound Limited, Coupla Prog represents a more accessible and less obscure side of krautrock. Their music alternates conventional, melodic & energic psych pop songs (closed to the 60's British psych scene) with "lysergic" epics under an hippie's attitude and musical aesthetism. My favourite composition is the moody and mysterious "Tochter Im Delirium - Daughter's Delirium" : an "acid" rock trip with haunted, furious Hammond organs, obsessional & menacing guitar chords, bizarre sound manipulations and bass wha wha effects. Not essential but highly recommended for those who are into the krautrock / space-psychedelic rock subgenres. An excellent listening with good weed.
 Edmundo Lopez by COUPLA PROG album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.63 | 14 ratings

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Edmundo Lopez
Coupla Prog Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

3 stars Diggin' out a couple of progs ...

COUPLA PROG had no album release during their existence from 1969 to 1975 which is a great surprise. The members decided to work without any commercial approach. The band's complete material was recorded at four sessions between 1970 and 1972 and buried in the archives until the beginning of this century. Broadcast moderator Walther Krause from Radio SWF Baden-Baden had been very impressed with the band and so he invited them to record their songs at his studio for several times. Now the presented result is something very authentic, pure, because without overdubbing or any other reworking. The Prog opera 'Edmundo Lopez' seems to be the centerpiece, recorded in 1970 but first released 30 years later by the german label Long Hair Music.

This 60 minute opus is provided with a gripping story about Edmundo, a young south-american who gets between the lines of a civil war. Grown up and teached to non-violence he's pressed into the army, escapes, defends himself and others with a gun and finally is sentenced to death for that. Rolf Peters (guitar, vocals), the creative brain, was responsible for the concept, influenced by the current political situation. But now to the music. The songs are blending into each other, basically Heavy Bluesrock similar to Vanilla Fudge for example, full of suspense, theatrical and dramatic in parts because of the story and also provided with typical freakish Krautrock elements of that time. The vocals are weakening here and there but COUPLA PROG's strength is without a doubt the amazing Hammond drenched keyboard work.

Präludium is a classical piano opener followed by a symphonic Introduction with informations about Edmundo. Suddenly the song gets very dramatic with a distorted guitar and overbearing organ blending into Alone in the mountains with a fantastic piano intro and then changing into a Hammond controlled blues theme. With the next songs the orientation at bands like Vanilla Fudge, Procol Harum and perhaps Atomic Rooster is clearly distinguishable. COUPLA PROG additionally decorates this with special psychedelic aspects which are making the music unique. Kaki Gatal is a good example for that, compelling, with breaks and mysterious effects, partially grooving - a very interesting song. Finally Extroduction informs about the bitter end of the story - musically once more with a symphonic touch.

As for the summary 'Edmundo Lopez' is certainly not a keen competiton to other rock operas like 'Tommy' for example. Nevertheless it's a very unique document of the early german progressive rock phase - 3.5 stars.

Thanks to Rivertree for the artist addition.

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