Guru Guru - Dance of the Flames. 1974 Germany

Guru Guru - Dance of the Flames. 1974 Atlantic. Also released in the UK.

Other Guru Guru albums on UMR

CD reissue: 2006 Revisited/SPV

Release details: Single sleeve cover and relatively easy to find. The challenge is finding one in mint condition. I bought my first copy in the late 80s and it looked a lot like the cover from the auction above, with copious amounts of shelf wear. It's only been in the last few years I finally secured a mint one at a reasonable price. The only reissue to market is the Revisited CD, that came along later in the game, as this was one of my Priority 1's for many years. The CD is excellent, and is housed in a thick tri-fold digipak cover. The liner notes include a full history of Guru Guru and a separate one for the album itself. Nice photos and an excellent 7+ minute live track round it out. It does sound to my ears that this was mastered from vinyl however. Have to guess the masters are lost or in poor condition.

Notes: This is the odd album out in the Guru Guru canon. Former Eiliff guitarist Houshang Nejadepour took over the reins from Ax Genrich, and it's obvious he took over the musical direction of Guru Guru at this point too. And they needed it, after releasing the halfway stupid (and halfway great) self-titled 4th, and the ridiculous Don't Call Us We Call You albums. Heavily influenced by the McLaughlin/Santana opus Love Devotion and Surrender, Nejadepour gives us an intense guitar centric blast of emotional instrumental rock. Neumeier gets a rare chance to shows his formative jazz percussion chops while special mention should go to jazz bassist Hans Hartmann (AR & Machines, ID Company) who turns in a monster performance. Still, you can just hear Mani in the studio "oh please, please, let me do one goofy thing, pleeeassssssse." And so he gets his fun on the first track with a Donald Duck impersonation and bad vocals throughout (though the music is excellent). "Very nice Mani... now go back to your drum kit and shut up". 'The Girl From Hirschhorn' is a truly remarkable track, an extremely intense emotional and melodic workout, and the song that states this album was going to be a great departure from whatever came before it. 'The Day of Timestop', and 'God's Endless Love for Men' could have been lifted from Mahavishnu Orchestra's "The Inner Mounting Flame" sessions. 'Rallulli' sounds more like acoustic Embryo than Guru Guru.

After one album of spiritual enlightenment, Mani obviously wanted no part of that, and the group went back to being the goofball vehicle it had become, and never again was Guru Guru to release anything of that much interest IMO. Houshang was gone. Neumeier himself, however, did immerse in interesting projects, even today with the UFO styled Neumeier – Genrich - Schmidt and Gurumaniax projects. But Guru Guru as a band never again reached the heights of Dance of the Flames. Whatever happened to Nejadepour? What a talent!

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