Lost links & Re-ups

On any post, if the link is no longer good, leave a comment if you want the music re-uploaded. As long as I still have the file, or the record, cd, or cassette to re-rip, I will gladly accommodate in a timely manner all such requests.

Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

24 February 2018

Truth or Fiction??? (but listen either way)

This whole plotline reminds me of the 1983 mystery/fantasy novel by American author George R. R. Martin. The Armageddon Rag.




The plot is something like this:

Frustrated former hippie novelist Sandy Blair becomes involved in the investigation of the brutal murder of rock promoter Jamie Lynch, whose heart had been torn from his body. Lynch, a despised rock promoter, had been found dead in a small town in Maine, the victim of a ritualistic murder.

Lynch had managed several bands, including the legendary rock group The Nazgûl (named for the evil Ringwraiths in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings). He was found dead on the 10th anniversary of The Nazgûl's breakup, with his bloody body placed on top of the band's West Mesa, New Mexico concert poster; during that concert, Nazgûl lead singer Patrick Henry "Hobbit" Hobbins had been mysteriously murdered.

Lynch's high-profile death soon opens the door for a Nazgûl reunion tour, which slowly begins to eerily mirror the events of their original West Mesa tour. With Lynch out of the way & a disastrous act of arson threatening the remaining three members, The Nazgûl agree to go on a reunion tour, which is promoted by a rich man named Edan Morse.

The mysterious Morse may or may not had been a left-wing revolutionary in the 1970s, noted for his violent methods. Morse produces a young man who is a doppelganger for Hobbins, who Morse plans to make the lead singer of the reunited Nazgûl, despite the fact that the doppelganger's musical talents are subpar & he lacks any charisma. Interviewing the surviving members of the band while tracking down his old friends from the 1960s, Blair meditates on the meaning of the flower power generation as he crisscrosses the country. He eventually becomes the Nazgûl's press agent. He is soon swept up in the frenzy of their successful reunion tour & an oncoming supernatural convergence, whose nature he must uncover in order to solve the murders of Lynch & Hobbins. Blair comes to suspect that Morse wants to bring The Nazgûl together to perform an occult ritual that will unleash a dark supernatural power upon the world, an act of revenge against a world that has spurned the idealism of the late 1960s counterculture.

 -----------------------

The Nazgûl...The Press release

This was one of several mysterious albums released in limited batches in Germany by the Pyramid label in the mid-70s. They were apparently sold mostly through art galleries & other unconventional retail sources. After 1974 the major labels were no longer interested in creative Krautrock, so Pyramid undertook keeping the spirit of the genre alive for another few years. The Pyramid artists & records were so unknown that when they started being reissued on CD, many people thought they were a hoax.

The Nazgûl were one of the high points, once one gets past their peculiar fixation with J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Not only do the group & the track titles derive from the trilogy, but even the band members go by the names of Tolkien’s characters for their aliases. Fortunately their album, recorded in Cologne, Germany, in 1975 & 1976, has strikingly original music, just four long instrumentals of atmospheric, improvised space rock that use odd instrumentation to create sounds that are unlike much else. The tracks are all quite free-form & ambient, with lots of murky, shadowy noises to create something dark, often disturbing (in the vein of Lustmord) though predating him by a decade.


The Nazgûl - The Nazgûl, Mental Experience MENT016CD, 2018.
all decryption codes in comments

tracklist -

The Tower of Barad-Dûr
Shelob’s Lair
The Dead Marshes
Mount Doom

Hold it. Hit the brakes. Screech to a halt here, because exy commenter Michel writes:

     The Nazgûl are another of the "long-lost" (because never existent in the first place) Krautrock bands recorded by pseudonymous musos in the mid-90s who first leaked into the musicsphere on the 1996 CD compilations UNKNOWN DEUTSCHLAND. It's terrific music, but those wanting historical authenticity will have to suspend their disbelief & go along for the ride.

Then Mick wrote back:

     Fake!? I'm not so sure & I can't see how anyone can be. To counteract Michel's argument I found this:

"Pyramid was an obscure private label from Cologne in the mid-70s centered around recordings made chiefly at Dierks studio with Toby Robinson as engineer. Unbelievably obscure, it would be easy to doubt the authenticity of these, if it wasn't for Toby's involvement. I gather that the main-man behind the releases, however, was one Robin Page, a painter & sculptor friend of Toby's who also lived in Cologne. Apparently the releases were pressed up by a friend who had his own record press, they had home made covers, & were all in the region of 50 to 100 copies each. Mostly they were sold in art galleries & clubs or given away to friends, they never gained any proper retail or distribution. These releases proved that the spirit of the Krautrock underground was still alive & kicking in the mid-70s."

PYR 005 – Galactic Explorers – EPITAPH FOR VENUS (1974)
PYR 008 –
The Nazgûl – THE NAZGUL (1975/76)
PYR 009 – Cozmic Corridors – COZMIC CORRIDORS (1972/73)
PYR 0?? – Temple – TEMPLE (1975/76)
PYR 0?? – Pyramid – PYRAMID (1975)
PYR 015 – Golem – ORION AWAKES (1976)


to which Michel replied:

     Part of the pleasure of these fakes is the "Oh, but what if…?" factor. It would be so cool if these LPs had really existed. In the same way as it would be so cool if Kosmischer Laufer, an album purportedly made in support of the 1970s East German Olympic Team (but actually concocted very recently) were authentic. There is a terrific album called Impressionen '71 supposedly by a 1970s Krautrock outfit called Damenbart which is actually the work of the post-1980s avant-garde group H.N.A.S.  So the list goes on. Krautrock was a great genre but a finite number of records were made. Some people just can't resist adding to them. As for the Pyramid releases, they were recorded by musicians from the group Sundial, according to one industry insider. The man who had most to do with spinning the hoax, Toby Robinson, also went under the pseudonym "Genius P. Orridge", which shows he has a good sense of humor. Of course, as with any conspiracy theory, people can argue both sides forever, but in conclusion I would appeal to common sense: half a dozen groups, supposedly making records in editions of 100 copies or so each yet 40 years later, not ONE collector in the whole world owns an original copy of any of them? How likely is that?

Trepan following with:

     Agreed, anyone who knows German music from this era quickly recognizes how digital & anachronistic everything sounds on these "lost" Pyramid albums. Even the spelling "Cozmic" indicates a more recent provenance. Not saying these albums are entirely bad, but there are more clever post-Krautrock recreation albums out there. Damenbart's Impressionen '71 is one. It doesn't pretend to be anything other than a latter day tribute.

Here's what my research uncovered:

Over at What are some of the bigger musical "scams" of the recorded sound era? 

ΙΧΘΥΣ Blindness answered...

The Psi-Fi label:

     This label produced six "reissues" of albums by the supposedly long lost Pyramid label of Cologne, Germany. These releases are generally considered to be a hoax and it is widely believed that the albums were recorded in the mid 90s in the UK during the height of the Krautrock revival. The source for all of these recordings as well as the Unknown Deutschland compilations on Virgin is Toby Hrycek-Robinson, who had worked as an engineer in Dieter Dierks' studio.

Toby Hrycek-Robinson aka The Mad Twiddler aka Genius P. Orridge (really!) seemed to be the only thing in common between these albums by Golem, Temple,
The Nazgûl, Cozmic Corridors, Galactic Explorers and Pyramid. They're actually pretty cool overall, just obviously not from the 70s in most cases.

Over at Progarchives,  Progfan97402 wrote...

     ...the Psi-Fi label, with a controversial story behind it, as well as the label it was supposedly originally on: Pyramid, and this applies to all the other titles issued on CD by Psi-Fi. Were these titles really recorded from 1972 to 1976 or 1990s UK hoaxes? Well, at least three proven musicians have appeared on these release: Reinhold Karwatsky of Galactic Explorers was in Dzyan, Zeus B. Held of Temple was on several Birth Control albums, and Hans-Jurgen Putz of Cozmic Corridors was in Mythos for the album Dreamlab. A couple titles certainly don't sound convincing, particularly Golem's Orion Awakes with its all too clean sound and '90s sounding grunge guitars, but it could have been doctored with, and maybe even rerecorded in various places.

The Nazgûl takes on that very similar approach: forsaking any traditional song structure or melody and going for sinister soundscapes instead. Unlike Zeit, it's just a single album, so it's easier to listen to in one go. I frankly don't care if it's a hoax or not, because I was really blown away by this. If real, it's a shock that anyone was still doing this sort of stuff in 1976, as the Krautrock scene had basically moved on to electronic or prog (you won't mistake Stratosfear for Zeit, or Pyrogany X for Yeti, for example). This has much more in common with the Krautrock of 1972, and this could have been easily at home on Ohr. If it is a hoax, they really captured that spirit of 1972-era Krautrock very well, and because of that it's no wonder I enjoy it so much. This is truly a treasure worth looking for. Sure the Psi-Fi label went under quickly (those hoax rumors certainly damaged the label's reputation, and that's why it faded so quickly), but worth seeking out!

one knucklehead gushes...

    Couldn't believe Unknown Deutschland Volume 1 was even still available as it's a top choice collection of rare, I mean...sub-underground killer tracks by some of the most obscure krautrock bands ever. What exactly is krautrock? One may ask. Good question. Krautrock is like German space rock or what many call progressive or simply prog. Tangerine Dream and Can are probably the best examples that I can think of that are known or at LEAST heard of by the average music fan. The tracks here that I couldn't get enough of are Golem with "Orion Awakes", Temple, with two cuts, "Leaves Are Falling" and "Black Light" (this sounds an awful lot like some of the music in the movie Midnight Express) and the eighteen-minute Galactic Explorers epic "Lunarscape". Most of these recordings have been put out by a UK label, Psi-Fi. Well worth hunting down a copy. Plus there's also a volume 2 and 3 available.

So I’ll give you those first, then a taste of Psi-Fi...


Virgin CDOVD 468, 1996.

tracklist:

Orion Awakes - Golem
Leaves are Falling
Black Light - Temple
Dark Path
Niemand Versteht  - Cozmic Corridors
Interstellar Shortwave - The Astral Army
Lunarscape - Galactic Explorers
Ganz Wie Du Willst - Fuerrote



Virgin CDOVD 472, 1996.

tracklist:

The Message - Spirulina
Innerst - Ten to Zen
Heathen
Age of Ages - Temple
The Tower of Barad-Dûr -  The Nazgûl
Godhead Dance - Golem
Mountainside
The Summit - Cozmic Corridors



Virgin CDOVD 473, 1996.

tracklist:

Feuerwerk - Neil Andersen
Ethereal Jazz - Galactic Explorers
Stellar Launch - Golem
The Dead Marshes -  The Nazgûl
No God / Astaroth - Baal
Schaudernacht - Chronos
Ship on Fire - Temple

All the bands that appear on the three volumes of The Krautrock Archives but not given their own individual releases on Psi-Fi are collected on a compilation release entitled:



Various - Cologne Curiosities: The Unknown Krautrock Underground, 1972​-​1976 2xCD
Mental Experience MENT005, 2016

Side A -
The Astral Army  - Interstellar Shortwave 4:32
Spirulina - The Message 10:24

Side B -
Chronos - Schaudernacht 6:52
Neil Andersen - Feuerwerk 7:17

Side C -
Baal - No God / Astaroth 6:40
Ten To Zen - Innerst 10:16

Side D –
Fuerrote Ganz Wie Du Willst 14:01

I have not posted this release as all the tracks can be harvested from the above three volumes, but if someone really needs it, I have it, so let me know...

Now to the remaining Psi-Fi CDs -



Cozmic Corridors - Cozmic Corridors, Psi-Fi PSCD0001, 1996.

tracklist -

The Summit
Mountainside
Dark Path
Niemand Versteht
Daruber




tracklist -

Lunarscape
Ethereal Jazz
Venus Rising



Golem - Orion Awakes, Psi-Fi PSCD0003, 1996.

tracklist -

Orion Awakes
Stella Launch
Godhead Dance
Jupiter & Beyond
   a. Signal
   b. Noise
   c. Rebirth
The Returning



Pyramid is (big surprise) the mystery band of the Pyramid label. Their eponymous single track album would seem to be what Toby Robinson called an attempt at a Cosmic Jokers type album. "Dawn Defender" is quite obviously mixed from many different sessions. It runs a wide range of styles, from trippy Ash Ra Tempel with echo guitars & scintillating synthesizers through to headfirst plunges into Hawkwind overdrive territory. The feel is much like what Porcupine Tree or Electric Orange have attempted, except for the authentic Mellotron textures & old analog delay techniques.



Pyramid - Pyramid, Psi-Fi PSCD0004, 1997.

tracklist -

Dawn Defender



Temple - Temple, Psi-Fi PSCD0006, 1997.

tracklist -

Heathen
Leaves are Falling / Black Light
Age of Ages
Ship on Fire
Crazy Hat / Kingdom of Gabriel


As a bonus, I have included one last taste. Supposedly a lost treasure of Germany's Krautrock days, but in fact an elaborately done tribute project by the brain behind H.N.A.S. (Achim P. Li Khan) & his then girlfriend Tina Schlebusch.

They thought up a fake biography, a fake story of how these unreleased mastertapes were found in a studio in Spain by a former associate of the band. Even the artwork looks like it could have been made in 1971.

Several websites list this project as a real release from 1971 (it was recorded in 1988/89 & first released the on vinyl in 1989.)  Purportedly, Tracks 1-4: Recorded & mixed at the Großer-Space-Studio, May-Dec. 1971; Track 5: Live in Sief, 1972; & Tracks 6-8: Impressionen '71 session outtakes (unreleased).  Tracks 5-8 are bonus CD tracks, not on the original 1989 vinyl album.

H.N.A.S. (Hirsche Nicht Aufs Sofa) was founded by Achim P. Li Khan & Christoph Heemann in 1983.  H.N.A.S.'s sound experimentation started in 1984 with a series of limited cassettes made for demonstration purpose or personal use. Their first LP release was Abwassermusik in 1985 (together with German experimental band Mieses Gegonge).     

The names used for this project were: Erwin Bauer - synthesizer, organ, & guitar; Bernd Barth - synthesizer, voice, & effects; & Tina S. - voice. Bauer & Barth are both in reality Achim P. Li Khan.      




Damenbart - Impressionen '71, Psychedelic Pig PIG CD 03, 2003.

tracklist -

Innovativ Schwingungen
Blumen in Haar
Bewusstseinserweiterung
Marihuanabrothers
Ich Bin der Wind
Space Invocation
Bring Uns den Frieden
Baum der Erkenntnis

Viel Spaß,




11 comments:

  1. The Nazgûl
    Pd2YSYPzS3rOrytDlCV_Jo86kpDgWdv0IuVzTHc0XoQ
    Unknown Vol. 1
    iO0JgS9gXssX_BIsrGrOr1I6XoHVzCqt7hxoBCvZT2M
    Unknown Vol. 2
    j37cYV5P2SQF-rOre0iUTodWQ2l6seeXdFFoK46DeaM
    Unknown Vol. 3
    ZbzcBH07A-ddtTxLtzg2sI-UM5e4BaXAKHGJWOUKBys
    Cozmic Corridors
    eXuW7jLNTTg6Fer8I5Gqw5G-ROLu_US9_whE1L7ayio
    Galactic Explorers
    N7Y-Fg6m6GGV15ue19zND_S-V3k0pRAOJhzhiwnloc0
    Golem
    pqknLqn4ZJwSmf_5bfR5v08x3EshtLH5JtTG5bluvp8
    Pyramid
    S6LPv8Rq9O8xGZqsBJgzLVlhL04TlsvtTUGwcH-wh8E
    Temple
    cpYrNIr4tWi8rehMCuQXr3SS6eFZLpOFDwrKCYaC3JE
    Damenbart
    0FYcCM1WQ-ndYbTeL2EYtccA1kRfX_rqbYDFiv7c7ug

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know jack about Krautrock, real or ersatz, but I figure at least one of the would have appeared on the NWW List if "authentic"... But I don't care much about provenance anyway. I'm going to give these a shot and thank you for them.

    Off-topic, but interesting maybe to you as well, I just spent four days crate digging and have found some obscurities that you might want to hear. Might not, but I'm offering anyway. I'll get you a list as soon as I have a few spare minutes.

    Cheers.

    -Xtm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment.

      You always are great encouragement. I am more excited by your Off-topic. Will be enthusiastically awaiting your list. If you could include an email contact, I will not publish it but will contact you more personally.

      As always, much thanks Xtm.

      Delete
  3. This is huge, man! Too much to digest in one single visit, but I'll certainly fly back and forth in the night to chew on one nugget at a time.

    As a Krautrock enthusiast, I have The Nazgûl in my collection - issued slightly earlier on Psi-Fi in 1997 - but I was quite unaware of its contentious provenance...

    Hat off, mein host.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks so much. Just stumbled upon your blog, and will check out Vol. 1 and Pyramid shortly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome aboard. Hope you didn't hit yer head when ya stumbled. Hope you enjoy these & musick that resides elsewhere on this here blog.

      Delete
  5. Your blog is a great discovery. One question - the encryption of galactic works, but I'm prompted for a password to uncompress the 7z. What should I use? thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. 7z is just a .zip file & should not be asking for a password to unzip. If the program you usually use won't open it, so can get 7zip free at http://www.7-zip.org/
      It is open-source coded, freeware, completely safe & compatible with all OS.

      Delete
  6. Thanks. It's bizarre, because IZarc asks for a password and 7zip seems to extract, but then the files are nowhere to be found. I finally had luck with the windows 10 RAR opener. Thanks again for your blog, and listen to me sometime on SoundCloud ((Departure Street).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you figured it out, sorry it was such a hassle. Don't know why 7zip was sooting blanks.

      Listened to a couple tunes on SoundClound. Really nice. I recommend anyone reading these comments to do so as well (you won't be disappointed).

      Delete