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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Amon Düül: Paradieswärts Düül


1) Love Is Peace; 2) Snow Your Thirst And Sun Your Open Mouth; 3) Paramechanische Welt; 4) Eternal Flow; 5) Paramechanical World.

An almost unpredictable surprise: Amon Düül's first, and only, attempt at establishing themselves as a real band — perhaps, spurred on by feelings of jealousy towards their musically more ambi­tious brethren in Amon Düül II (a couple of which still ended up guesting at the sessions, because the entire collected musical talent of Amon Düül proper would not even reach the level of the Monkees, let alone real Krautrock competition). Predictably, it did not work, but at least it's (a) GROWTH, (b) not as awful as it could easily have been. I mean, in 1970, an underground band of poorly trained «musicians» could release an entire album of running up and down any basic scale, and it would still sell — a little — as the ultimate mind-expanding experience. Fortunately, Paradieswärts is slightly better than that.

Slightly. The entire first side is occupied by one 17-minute track, consisting of two parts: first, a folk-bluesy electric part, pinned to a trivial looped riff, then a raga-style acoustic part, pinned to even more trivial acoustic strumming, with some electronic noises forming a bridge between the two. There is some overdubbing (bass, extra guitarwork, including what tries to pass for baroque acoustic flourishes, etc.), but overall, you can only think positively of this track if the atmosphere happens to be to your liking — enough to make you enter a peaceful realm of sleep.

On the second side, 'Snow Your Thirst...' is another Grateful Dead-ish experience, but expanded with a lengthy and, surprisingly, not too atrocious electric wah-wah solo; 'Paramechanische Welt' is another raga that sounds quite similar to the second part of 'Love Is Peace'. Furthermore, CD editions also include two shorter tracks that were released as a single slightly before the LP, of which 'Eternal Flow' could be moody and melancholic if it weren't so goddamn minimalistic — and with Amon Düül, the feeling never passes that their minimalism is due not so much to their intentional love for minimalism as it is to their formal inability to practice maximalism.

In short, it is all quiet, atmospheric, «pastoral», as some would claim, and utterly irrelevant in the face of so many much better albums out there. But apparently, Amon Düül themselves believed this music could get you to paradise (see the album title), and, since it is hard to scientifically fal­sify that belief, you might as well join in, to avoid frustration. Still a thumbs down, though, from a voluntarily frustrated non-believer.

Check "Paradieswarts Duul" (CD) on Amazon


  1. Surprised you're actually tackling these albums instead of just diving straight into AD2, usually everyone just ignores them in favor of their 'sequel' (not that I really blame them, since AD1's albums are hardly lost masterpieces).
    Does this mean you'll be taking on the 80s "reunion" Amon Duul (UK) as well? Usually people seem to refer to them as a completely different band (though I see some members in common on online member lists). I've never heard them but I've always been curious.

  2. Ken: I will be doing Amon Duul (UK) if I don't get sick of Krautrock by the time I'm through with Amon Duul II. Particularly considering that I am also busy with Ashra at the same time.