Arktis - s/t. 1974 Germany
CD reissues: 1993 Penner; 1998 Garden of Delights
LP reissue: 2005 Amber Soundroom
Arktis were a band from Bonn, that are more known for their countless tape sessions, than actual proper albums. This debut is in reality a demo, pressed in a whopping set of 300, and sent everywhere in West Germany. The strategy actually worked, and next thing you know they are working with Conny Plank and trying to secure a deal with a new label. But it all fell apart, and Arktis were just a hazy memory, saved from obscurity by the good folks at Garden of Delights, who have dutifully released everything under the sun recorded by the band.
It was over 20 years ago that I first heard the Penner CD (GoD V. 1.0). I quickly dismissed it as "yucky Janis Joplin like stuff" (yes, I do relate to the younger, more opinionated folk on music chat boards). Now I hear a band that is a perfect fit for my Post psychedelic, proto progressive with female vocals list! 1974 is way late in the game for an album such as this (recorded Oct 1973), and it may explain why record deals were not at the ready. But it's that sound. Side 2's opus is a lengthy Krautrock guitar based jam, that would be well accepted if it were 1971, but a bit cliched by this point. There are no keyboards here, so another minus for fans of the genre. But this is miles better than my memory had recalled. A winner from a time and place perspective. Otherwise, you would be best steered away. Perhaps that would have been good advice for me while still in my 20s...
Worth noting that the 3 studio bonus tracks here were recorded under Plank's guidance (Dec 1974), and it has his trademark studio phasing and trickery. The compositions are a bit straightforward hard rock though. Not sure the band was heading in the right direction honestly...
Original LPs are handmade with paste on labels and are super rare.