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Amon Duul

A headache and nightmare for most biographers and discographers over the years, AMON DUUL were the original communal outfit that based itself in Munich, Germany, in 1967. Taking their moniker from the Egyptian sun god, Amon, and a character from Turkish fiction, Duul, the group split into two factions the following year, with Messrs Chris Karrer, Renate Knaup, John (Johannes) Weinzierl, Falk U. Rogner and Peter Leopold, breaking free to form rival kraut-rock pioneers AMON DUUL II. The remaining alumni of Rayner Bauer (vocals/guitars), Ella Bauer (percussion/vocals), Peter’s brother Ulrich Leopold (bass), Wolfgang Krischke (drums/piano), Helge Filanda (congas/vocals), Angelika Filanda (percussion/vocals), and not forgetting Uschi Obermaier (maracas), made up the family-unit line-up that recorded their debut, PSYCHEDELIC UNDERGROUND (1969) {*7}.
Bolstering home sales by way of an appearance at Essen’s Song Days Festival the previous September (headlined by FRANK ZAPPA’s MOTHERS OF INVENTION, The FUGS, TIM BUCKLEY, TANGERINE DREAM, et al), AD’s politically-driven acid-rock – both repetitive and percussive in nature – with lengthy unproduced jams, the ensemble’s style had much in common with American outfit, The RED CRAYOLA. At a time when prog-rock/kraut-rock was breaking through into the inner psyche of mainstream music, the 17 improv minutes of opener `Ein Wunderschones Madchen Traumt Von Sandose’, was worth the admission price alone.
While counterparts Duul II subsequently gained a cult following from 1969’s “Phallus Dei” gem, onwards, the original AMON DUUL were happy to remain relatively obscure and anonymous, concentrating solely on their homeland. The prime movers behind this loosely-based outfit were Rayner (or Rainer) and Ulrich, who provided much of the material for their tentative debut. The sad loss of Krischke, who froze to death after an LSD session, was to curtail the band’s activities for months; it was his “Der Schnitter” photo-image that was to duly feature on the sleeve of AMON DUUL II’s “Yeti” album.
After a slightly disappointing sophomore set from the same jam sessions, COLLAPSING (1969) {*6}, AMON DUUL returned with the more folky-flavoured PARADIESWARTS DUUL (1971) {*6}. Confusingly re-christening some members as Dadam (i.e. Rainer) and Noam (i.e. Angelika), and recruiting Klaus “Lemur” Esser to fill the gap of Wolfgang, this Anglo-infused softer approach was uninspiring and best left to the connoisseur. The disc was effectively the band’s swan song (1972’s DISASTER – LUUD NOMA {*4} was, in fact, outtakes), after which some members flitted, in turn, on to AMON DUUL II.
© MC Strong 1997/GPD / rev-up MCS Oct2013

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