...And I became a Brooklyn stoner hipster on the spot.
After a few listens in 2007, I filed it away with a high grade, and haven't revisited since. Here we are, and I somewhat dreaded it. I probably was just in the mood for it or something like that. Tastes change and evolve over the years right?
I like it even better now. If for nothing else on the album, it's hard to imagine anyone who is into the early 70s proto prog sound not to be absolutely floored by 'Annals of the Former World'. It is absolute perfection in every sense of the word. It constantly changes, has haunting vocals, is heavy as all get out, has some absolutely incredible Hammond organ, is trippy in the best Krautrock style, and the guitar solos are sublime. Maybe the best track I've ever heard from modern times that encapsulates all that was great about 1971. The closest comparison to my ears is Nektar's Journey to the Centre of the Eye... sped up and then cranked to 11.
'Hashishin Ohel' is largely a continuation of the above, with a bit of a noisy ending, but overall is brilliant in its own right. 'Obelisk Orbit Overdrive' is a bit more tedious, but certainly not a poor track, just in comparison with what came before it, one would have hoped for a bit more clarity and editing.
The album ends in a very interesting fashion, with 'Aufruf der Pilz'. As its title hints at, this is a pure play Krautrock attempt. Now I would imagine the gut reaction here, especially for hipsters, is to go right for the Neu! comparison. I don't think so. Actually to me it sounds like the Ashra power trio years of 1979 to 1980 - especially on the archival tapes where the guitars are decidedly more psychedelic. An excellent rendition and very melodic to boot.
These guys were plugged in perfectly at the time. I have two others in the collection from them (before and after), but I don't recall those being quite at this level. And then they sadly disappeared.
As I update this post, the album is practically a commodity here in the States. You can obtain a new CD for under $4, and the LP for under $10. That's crazy. One day I can't imagine that will hold true. When that will be, who knows? Whatever the case, one can not go wrong at that price in trying this one out! It costs less than a hamburger.
CD: 2007 Tee Pee
The CD comes in a fine digi-pak.