Xhol Caravan - Electrip. 1969 Germany

Before Tangerine Dream, before Embryo, before Kraftwerk, before even the Ohr label, Xhol Caravan released what may be the first album to rightly own the name Krautrock. The band started as a straightforward soul group, Soul Caravan, and bastardized the name for the new direction the group was heading. Early innovators of the creative German sound, and borrowing heavily from that country's love of jazz, Xhol Caravan would always be a historical footnote. Sadly the band disbanded before it could be granted legendary status.

In 1969, on the little known Hansa label, Electrip was released to an unsuspecting public. Sporting wild artwork of a psychedelic nude woman, the buyer had to know this was going to be a special affair. And indeed it is. Starting with a toilet flush, the album blasts away with 'Electric Fun Fair'. Featuring primarily electric sax, electric flute, and organ as the solo instruments, the music is a mixture of free jazz, psychedelic, Zappaesque humor, and progressive jazz rock. 'Pop Games' and 'All Green' continue along this path with the same optimistic melodies and insouciant demeanor. Perfect music for driving the MG convertible around the Autobahn, hardtop down, blond babe with heavy mascara and white go-go boots actually admiring your hip music selection. The latter track would be the prototype for similar groups such as Missus Beastly, joyful yet experimental jazz rock. Side 2 is a slightly different breed of cat. On the 17 minute 'Raise Up High', the instrumental sections are very similar to the previous side, but here they added some wild English vocals to the mix giving the song a rough hard rock feel to it. As well, this track displays a more experimental and improvisational angle with some free blow moments. Overall, a classic in the field of Krautrock fusion and the catalyst of an entire movement.

Personal collection
LP: 1997 Tripkick
CD: 2000 Garden of Delights

The original LP cover is striking in its use of color. Unfortunately it's also a very rare and expensive album that I've never been in position to own. As such, the LP reissue on Tripkick became a must own item for me and it's usually featured on display in my media room. This was actually the first legitimate reissue of the album. The Garden of Delights CD is the de facto aural reissue and features their usual great liner notes, unseen photos, and a rare 45 single when they were previously known as Soul Caravan.

1 comment:

  1. Delicious indeed and in sore need of a re-listen, so out comes the luscious 200-gram Tripkick vinyl reissue for today's listening session. Always a welocome respite to visit it.

    As for earliest Krautrock incarnation amalgamation, I would certifiably give that classification to Rolf & Joachim Kuhn's "The Mad Rockers" from 1968 - that's a real doozie! Obscure as it may be, it is certainly the true precursor to this madness and rightful heir to the title of "catalyst of an entire movement."

    Were the Mad Rockers on the Reissue Wish List, it would be category one, bar none.. trust me.



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