Trikolon - Cluster. 1969 Germany
CD reissue: 2003 Garden of Delights
LP reissue: 2004 Amber Soundroom
That Trikolon's sole album exists at all is the result of a sheer force of will. This live concert was privately released in a tiny run of 150 copies, so that an original album today is nothing short of a small fortune. This kind of musical entrepreneurship just wasn't done in 1969 Germany.
I bring this up, because it would be easy to criticize the album in retrospect. Rocked out versions of classical music are yawn-inducing today, but I would imagine it was quite enlightening to the audience that had gathered for this show. And keyboardist Hendrik Schaper puts on quite the performance for those who did attend on this fortuitous night.
Opening track, Brian Auger's 'In Search of the Sun' (from Streetnoise), is extended beyond recognition here. This track features the only vocals on the album, and it surprisingly sounds like Eric Burdon and The Animals. Schaper actually declares the lyrics rather than singing them, just like Burdon would. On 'Trumpet for Example' the ever talented Schaper blows a few notes on his horn, and then gets back to banging on the organ until silly. ''Hendrik's Easy Groove' is indeed a piano recital, and while I'm sure it was quite fun for the audience this one night, it proves to be quite a dull listen for everyone else. Perhaps his mother would have been proud however. Too bad it wasn't "Hendrix's Easy Groove" with an accompanying 11 minute wah wah guitar solo, while the stringed instrument is burning an inferno in front. Ah well. From here on out, it's Rockin' the Classics, where Schaper goes ballistic on his poor organ of older vintage, beating the living crap out of it. 22 minute bonus track 'Fuge' continues in a similar manner, where all of the trikolon get in on the frenetic action.
So imagine Soft Machine circa "III" playing the music of The Nice, and you'd have an idea where Trikolon land. Historically a phenomenon, though modern audiences may get bored. A good one for the collection, though it won't get played often.
The album is a single sleeve private release, at a time when no one did such a thing in Germany. With a small pressing of only 150 copies, this album is through the roof in terms of price. I only found one original documented on Popsike (above photo). And I can barely recall ever seeing another copy. Of course, the Garden of Delights CD is the way to go here (which I dutifully picked up upon release), with a complete history, photos, good sound (from a mint vinyl copy provided by the band), and a 22 minute bonus track. The Amber Soundroom LP will likely be from the same mastering, but misses the bonus song which is significant.
Last update: July 27, 2016