Gunter Schickert - Samtvogel. 1974 Germany




Schickert was one of the pioneers of the sound-on-sound guitar based electronik musik movement along with Achim Reichel (AR & Machines) and Manuel Gottsching (Ash Ra Tempel). An intense, burning, cyclical pounding of the senses, as Schickert tries to resolve the angst of the Cold War Berlin world he lives and breathes. A psychotic aural vision that is so perfectly realized.

Personal collection
LP: 1975 Brain
CD: 2013 Important

Until ebay came along, I wasn't aware that Samtvogel had originally been a private press (first scan). The 2nd photo is the Brain release, that was purchased (not licensed) by Metronome a year later. As you can see, the cover was slightly enhanced to show the artist and title. Also worth noting that this was a later green Brain era pressing, and thus no Metronome was appended. This was the version I first found in a Dallas area record store in the late 1980s, and still own. While most of the "Rock On Brain" series of albums featured substandard covers, I have to admit that I do enjoy the one they pressed for Samtvogel (3rd photo). As for reissues, it seemed it would never happen, and was one of the last of the "Green Brain" albums to be considered (there's still a few to go!). But the ice finally broke in 2010 with the announcement of both a CD and an LP reissue. Except only the LP came out (on Spain's Wah Wah)! Finally, 3 years later, the CD is here. And it's a beauty! A stunning tri-fold digi-pak (that replicates the original private press cover) with in-depth liner notes and an album review. The CD itself looks like an old Impulse jazz release if considering the back cover (thanks goes to Gnosis Mike for that observation). About the only bummer is the lack of bonus tracks, which is a bit surprising given that Schickert was one of the original "bedroom" composers.

Gorizont - The Portrait of a Boy. 1989 Russia

Everything I said about Summer in Town applies to Portrait of a Boy. The original cheap vinyl pressing that I once distributed due to popular demand, and that the CD is far superior with excellent liner notes.

Life at the tractor plant must have caused a certain kind of insanity, as Gorizont returned with one more flourish at producing a highly creative record. On this effort, Gorizont present us with five tracks, with the last piece adding vocals for the first time. Perhaps even more complex than Summer In Town, this continues the use of ominous fuzz guitar and shifting meters offset by happy melodies. Paradoxes such as this are what make progressive rock such an exciting genre! Comparisons to Uzed era Univers Zero wouldn't be entirely inappropriate - understanding that it's highly unlikely Gorizont were familiar with the Belgian band. Similar conclusions are often drawn from different premises.

Personal collection
CD: 2000 Boheme Music

Grovjobb - Under Solen Lyser Solen. 2001 Sweden

After first hearing Vättarnas Fest, I wrote an enthusiastic review for both their albums at the time, and couldn't wait to hear a 3rd ...