Review Summary: A plunge into heavy exploration of the unknown
The early 70s were an important time for Krautrock. Of course it was not known as a genre yet which made it so much more exciting. Bands were experimenting heavily in areas where other world class bands have never ventured before. Hendrix laid down a lot of the woodwork and then bands such as Guru Guru, Can, Faust, Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel and Cluster took it to the next level. This included influences rooting from avant-garde, funk, jazz and psychedelic rock. A lot of these bands had tendencies to completely improvise songs and focus on minimalistic arrangements. The title track on Guru Guru’s “UFO” is a perfect example.
Hailing from Germany (of course) comes Guru Guru’s debut “UFO.” This album heavily relies on improvising but somehow always works. They are very experimental across all tracks and are not afraid to take it to the next level, which is a quality found in many early Krautrock bands. The first two tracks are massively reminiscent to Hendrix’ work. Very psychedelic and very in your face. I must add that the guitars on “UFO” are quite heavy. In fact there are very few bands that can even be called heavy yet in 1970. The feedback is there as well. Guitar work across the album is fantastic, “Girl Call” in particular.
After a few heavy psychedelic rock tracks we make our way to the main attraction. The title track. One word to describe this song could be absolute mayhem. Another fitting word would be fearless. Because that is exactly what it is; a plunge into a completely free-form 10 minute jam with freaky trance states. This track is definitely not for the faint of heart. Very experimental. Much like the track “Aumgn” from Can’s 1971 masterpiece “Tago Mago.” Lots of eeriness to it.
As for the closer "Der LSD March." Nothing short of spectacular. Beginning with lots of feedback and distortion it lets you know you are in for quite a ride. Things start heating up around the three minute mark when a guitar note is struck numerous times while the drums and bass begin to intensify behind it. At exactly three minutes and forty-two seconds a sinister riff commences and the song treads off into a psychedelic jam for the ages. Perfect way to close it out.
Once it’s all over you are left wanting more. Jams like this one don’t come around very often, especially when they are improvised so well. Guru Guru went into very dangerous waters with “UFO” and were probably on a lot of drugs. But, they were some of the first people to ever pull off Krautrock so well, so in my eyes they without a doubt deserve a higher status. For sure, should be up there with bands like Can.
Best Tracks: "Der LSD March" "UFO"