Gebarvaterli - Im Tal der Emmen. 1978 Germany
CD reissue: 2014 Bibi Tontrager
Release details: Like most albums on the small press Brutkasten label, originals are very scarce and can be expensive depending on who is selling. This is one of those titles that seemed hopeless in seeing a CD reissue, but as we announced on the CDRWL on New Years Day, we now have one direct from the band. And a fine reissue it is, housed attractively in a digi-pak, with great sound and two long and relevant live bonus tracks. There are no liner notes, but even if there were, I'm rather certain they would be in German, as this is clearly an indigenous band with no attempt whatsoever to expand beyond (note the song titles alone). On that topic, it remains unclear that any US dealer will bring this one in, so I ordered my copy direct from Germany.
Notes: Despite the artist and title sounding like some sort of alpine cheese, Gebärväterli is anything but cheesy. Technically the music fits in the large Kraut fusion school of the late 1970s, but this album won't remind you of Kraan, Embryo, Missus Beastly, etc... In fact, there are parts here that recall the great Tortilla Flat (especially in the rhythms and flute solo sections). And when the trombone gets featured, I'm reminded of Nanu Urwerk, another square-peg-in-a-round hole German fusion band. While it's not perfect throughout (sometimes it's pure jazz - fine - but not ideal for me anyway), this is one of the best new-for-me obscurities that I heard for the first time 6 years ago. The two live bonus tracks total over 25 minutes, and are very similar to the album itself. Naturally given the live setting (one from 1977, the other 1981), and the jazzy disposition of the band, these tracks are stretched out with more room given for solo improvisation. But the melodic core of the song is never lost.