Fusion-rock-world music innovators
Warren W. Nelson | Mooresville, NC USA | 08/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1972,before there were terms like 'fusion' 'world music'or 'krautrock',Embryo were blending these new sounds in extended improvisations and inventing new types of music. Closer to 'Bitches Brew' than the mind melting fellow countrymen Amon Duul II or Guru Guru, they brought together many different cultural influences in titles like 'radio marakesh/orient express' in inspired improvisations. Jazz innovator Mal Waldron guests on electric piano. Perhaps considered to uncommercial when these prodigious recordings were made, 'Steig Aus' was not released until 1975. Recommended."
Top Ranked Masterpiece of Krautrock/jazz fusion
W. T. Hoffman | Pennsylvania, United States | 02/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the very first sounds, as the album begins, you know that you are in for a listening experience unequalled almost anywhere. The needle hits the groove, and the muslim call for prayer is heard. WHAT?? Then, some intense OUD type jamming, and the first impression, is that perhaps you ARE listening to arabian radio. But then, the master of Jazz organ, Jimmy Jackson starts to play the theme to the first song, and you are hooked. Then, Mal Waldron, yes, that MAL WALDRON, who played with Miles Davis, and has composistions in every Jazz Fakebook in the world, starts in on the electric piano. By the time the electric guitar comes in, with fast fluid lines that would put Zappa or Beck to shame, its obvious, this is something special. Quite honestly, as the music builds, I find it on the level of any jazz fusion band from the 70s. The incredible give and take of the musicians, as themes, and counter themes weave in and out of the mix, simply overwhelms one with awe. And, underneath all the music, the miraculous drumming of Christian Burchard, the actual leader of the band EMBRYO, and with Ed Hoffmann on violin, the core members. Without reservation, this band, which Miles Davis had such respect for, is at least near the level of his BITCHES BREW era. Believe me, that is high praise from anyone who loves this sound.
One of the great features of this album, is the way textures, and different sonorities are blended, and interwoven. Sometimes, you are listening to vibes, and violin, with shimmering sheets of organ underneath, and small stabs of piano punctuating the soundscape. Other times, the instruments swell together, into a climatic miasma which sucks the air out of your lungs. I'm not alone in my assessment. EMBRYO, and especially this album, has been listen in some Krautrock guides, along with Can's TAGO MAGO, and Amon Duul II's YETI, as the very core of the Krautrock movement. I suppose because each album, is representing the acme of achievement, of a different subgenre, within Krautrock as a whole. With Can, obviously they represent that avant guard, minimalist-electronic band sound, which is most commonly associated with Krautrock. (FAUST, NEU, KRAFTWERK, TANG DREAM fall under the CAN division) With Amon Duul II, the more rock oriented sounds, the long jams, and freak out psychedelia. (KROKODIL, KRAAN, and the German Prog bands fit this division of sound). EMBRYO is the top notch of the jazz fusion bands, like Dzyan, Missus Beastly, Agitation Free, Eulenspygel, Out of Focus, Brainstorm, etc. EMBRYO, at this period of their evolution, had really reached the early peak of their musical vision. From their first album, OPAL, onward, it was obvious, this was a band that would play until the members retired from old age. (They are still going strong, in fact.) As fantastic as this album is, what really overwhelms me personally, is that this is one of four albums from 1972, that EMBRYO recorded. Each of them are almost as fantastic as STEIG AUS. What maybe makes this album such a legend, is the fact that two jazz greats, are jamming along, on Keyboards. I'm sure that the best of Miles Davis' work was what was being attempted, and with as much success as anyone could hope for.
I can't recommend this album highly enough. If you enjoy that fusion era Miles, mixed with a touch of world music, and an obvious nod to the Krautrock vision, then I can't see how you can go wrong here. Sadly, it's sort of expensive. So is champagne. As i write this, the CD plays in the backround. As many times as I've played this music, i am continually drawn in, and discover more details, layers, unexpected turns of musical metre and poly rythyms. EMBRYO is one of those great bands sadly mostly unknown outside of Europe. Any Jazz enthusiast could embrase their jazz fusion work, if they would just hear it. For that matter, I'm sure most jam rockers could easily blow their minds on this album as well.
Embryo - 'Steig Aus' (Repertoire) 3 1/2 stars
Mike Reed | USA | 03/14/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Originally released in 1973,looks to be Embryo's fourth actual album.Tough to describe by some,but a few might tag it as 'space fusion'.Track listing is:"Radio Marrakesch/Orient Express"(9:50),"Dreaming Girls"(10:30) and "Call:Call,Part 1/Organ Walk"(17:21).You probably need to be in that 'certain' frame of mind to properly enjoy this reissue CD.No doubt about it,Embryo was ahead of it's time.Might appeal to fans of Roman Bunka,Eiliff and possibly Toad."