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Eulenspygel - Ausschuß (CD, 60:00) CD 042
Garden of Delights
Mistral, Hoefijzerlaan 63
B-8000 Brugge

If you're not running from the room in terror after the opening two minutes of "Abfall" - the 22-minute track that kicks off Ausschuß - you've either got ice in your veins or you're deaf. The ominous sound of a strong monotone voice chanting in German over a bizarre backdrop of atonal mellotron and organ quite frankly gave me a case of the "willies" that I hadn't experienced since I first saw what Geddy Lee looked like (just kidding, Geddy...). As a matter of fact, the Austrians that live next store to me began digging foxholes and setting up sandbags around their house when they heard the din of noise emanating from my basement. Why do I bring this up? Because everyday progressive music is powerful enough as it is, but when being sung in German it truly takes the intensity up another notch. Ausschuß is actually a re-issue of an album that was originally released in 1972 by German prog-rockers Eulenspygel, and includes not only the six tracks that made up the original but seven bonus tracks as well. Eulenspygel's style ranges from epic symphonic prog (as in "Abfall") to Indian-inspired passages ("Teufelskreis") to simple old-school "Brit-pop" ("Sechs Uhr aufstehen"). The instrumental performances are very good throughout the disc, and especially stand out when the band is experimenting with its sound such as in "Abfall" and "Der Fremde". These guys have enough chops to switch from happy 60's style rock ("Sechs Uhr aufstehen" sounds like "The Who" from 1964-ish, albeit a "Bizzaro Who" with a Bavarian Roger Daltry and a sax player) to some of the most frightening and dissonant compositions you'll ever want to hear, and they do so with impressive sonic agility. The singing (which is all in German) is also pretty good, although I couldn't tell you squat about the lyrical content since the only thing I can say in German is "I have to be in Brussels in the morning". The centerpiece of Ausschuß is obviously meant to be the 22-minute opener "Abfall," but unfortunately the track doesn't quite successfully make it all the way to the end without getting a little bit unfocused. As a result of trying to stretch things out to 20+ minutes, it sounds as if the band perhaps runs out of gas and simply continues solely for the sake of track length. In my opinion, the tracks that really show Eulenspygel's musical strengths and songwriting capabilities are "Teufelskreis" with its from-out-of-nowhere sitar break, and "Der Fremde" with its light Genesis-like flute and guitar textures. Unfortunately, sometimes the strength of the German language seems to undermine the band's attempts at being "mellow," but you can't blame that on the singer - the German language simply doesn't lend itself very well to relaxation, in my opinion. All in all, Ausschuß succeeds in capturing the early-70's progressive vibe with a German fell tacked on for good measure. The music ages well in some spots, and not-so-well in others (most of the bonus tracks are pretty much throwaways), but I think the spirit of the music and what the musicians were attempting shines through in the end. If your CD collection is without representation from the German prog camp, than you could certainly do worse than Ausschuß to fill that void. - Michael Askounes ( TRACKLIST: 1. Abfall (22:17) 2. Menschenmacher (2:57) 3. Teufelskreis (6:50) 4. Herzliches Beileid (2:55) 5. Der Fremde (5:45) 6. Untertanenfabrik (3:55) 7. Sechs Uhr aufstehen (2:08) 8. Junge, was willste drauBen (2:42) 9. Mich kotzt hier alles an (2:18) 10. Schlafstadt (3:56) 11. Kinderlied (4:28) 12. Freut Euch, Kinder (2:51) 13. Zucammenstehen (6:22) CREDITS: Detlev Nottrodt: Guitars, Vox James "Till" Thurow: Guitar, Mellotron, Sitar Cornelius Hauptmann: Flute, Sax, "Krummhorn" Karlheinz Grosshans: Organ, Synth Ronnie Libal: Bass Mulo Maulbetsch: Vox Gunter Klinger: "Schlagzeug"

EER EDITOR's Note: "Ja, goodt der proggen!"



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