Hoelderlin - Clowns & Clouds. 1976 Germany

Hoelderlin - Clowns & Clouds. 1976 Spiegelei

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LP reissue: 1977 Spiegelei

CD reissues: 1994 WMMS/Music is Intelligence; 2007 EMI

Release details: Single sleeve cover with a cool water painting. Originals are common in Germany, and not overly obscure elsewhere. A good original LP to own if you're starting out. I bought mine in the early 90s, likely from a catalog dealer. Shortly thereafter, WMMS was first to market with a CD. The booklet contains the lyrics plus an info sheet about the recording. There are no bonus tracks. Pretty much a straight reissue, which was more common back then. The EMI CD adds a 16 minute live track from 1974, and would appear to be the desirable copy to own, though I haven't seen or heard it personally. In 1977, Spiegelei reissued both this album and its predecessor with everything the same but a new catalog number.

Notes: Clowns and Clouds, Hoelderlin's third album, is a diverse work from this classic 70s German symphonic progressive rock band. No doubt Genesis is a major influence here, especially on the 'Clowns' side (tracks 1 to 3). 'Madhouse' could easily have been lifted from Genesis' Trick of the Tail, but with the addition of viola and squealing sax, which gives it an entirely unique sound. 'Your Eyes' is interesting to me, because it sounds like something you'd hear on a late 70s / early 80s Alan Parsons Project album, though the instrumental sections are much more progressive rock oriented. The 'Clouds' side is considerably more unique and is what makes this album special. Here, Hoelderlin offer up a more laid back and cosmic rock music. Violin, flute, sax, Rhodes, synthesizers, ac+el. guitar and a steady rhythm section make for a serene and beautiful experience. Difficult to find comparisons for this side of their music, but perhaps the instrumental sections of Novalis' second album and Dawn-era Eloy can provide some context.

Last update: October 11, 2015

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