A.R. & Machines – A.R. IV [1973]

This albums is clearly a lost classic that figures among the best recordings offered by German progressive rock. It features two long improvised compositions including a vast array of instruments and groovy, jazzy rhythms put into a spaced out rocking trip. ‘Vita’ is a sumptuous orchestral track dominated by Reichel’s typical bluesy, almost funky and cyclical / delay guitar workouts. The accompaniment combines excellent exotic percussion parts with solo flute / sax lines. The acid fuzz guitar of Reichel provides an eloquent, propulsive jazzy rock mantra. ‘Aqua’ starts with a tranquil atmospheric, dreamy-like introduction then progressively goes into a luminous, colourful happy semi-folk and bluesy- kraut jamming with lot of patterns and clear guitar solos. Just imagine something between Agitation Free, Embryo, Manuel Gottsching with a gentle eastern jazzy pop dimension. Eclectic, extremely complex prog/ psych obscurity, full of excellent kraut-improvisations. A very ambitious project. –progarchives.

Track List:
01 – Vita – Cave Explorers And Birdmen (5:25)
02 – Vita – The Man In Kidleather (10:43)
03 – Vita – Thin Is The Skin Of Ecstasy (5:47)
04 – Aqua – Every Raindrop Longs For The Sea (23:00)

LineUp:
– Achim Reichel (guitar, vocals)
– Helmuth Franke (guitar)
– Hans Hartmann (bass)
– Claus-Robert Kruse (electric piano)
– Jochen Petersen (sax, flute)
– Hans Boche (drums)
– Olaf Casalich (percussion)
– Matti Klatt (percussion)
– Frank Wulf (recorders, sitar)
– Churchill Jolobe (drums)
– Carsten Bohn (percussion)
– Frank Dostal (lyrics)

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A.R. & Machines – Echo [1972]

Perhaps the most ambitious and least understood of the A.R. & Machines albums was the second one, a double LP titled simply Echo. Not only is there an abundance of echo guitar here, just about everything in drenched in echo or other studio effects. It all adds up to a fantastic mess and when I first heard it, I thought it was one of the most dreadful things I’d ever listened to. Something told me to keep coming back and slowly I started to really appreciate it. While I wouldn’t exactly call this a masterpiece, it is quite a monumental recording.
The album is divided into five, lengthy pieces with multiple sections; each one took an entire side of the album except for the second and third piece, which were a little shorter and combined to make up the second side. They all start out rather inconspicuously and give off the illusion of being rather uneventful but each one evolves into something quite crazy before long. Much of the album has a very murky sound, perhaps purposefully, which gives it a rather eerie quality. Some moments are endless tribal space jams, while others take on an odd improvisational jazz feel. –keep reading in… progressive ears.

Track List:
01 – Invitation (20:32)
02 – The Echo Of The Presence (10:08)
03 – The Echo Of Time (13:05)
04 – The Echo Of The Future (18:13)
05 – The Echo Of The Past (19:38)

LineUp:
– Achim Reichel (guitar, vocals)
– Arthur Carstens (jews harp)
– Dicky Tarrach (drums)
– Hans Lampe (percussion)
– Helmuth Franke (guitar)
– Jochen Petersen (saxophone)
– Kalle Trapp (percussion)
– Klaus Schulze (vocals)
– Lemmy Lembrecht (drums, percussion)
– Matti Klatt (vocals)
– Norbert Jacobsen (clarinet)
– Peter Becker (sirenes)
– Rolf Köhler (percussion)
– Peter Hecht (orchestral arrangements)
– Frank Dostal (lyrics)

A.R. & Machines – Die Grune Reise (The Green Journey) [1971][2007 Tangram Remastered Deluxe Edition]

Producer, composer and musician from Hamburg (Germany), Achim Reichel is a key figure in the explosion of krautrock. Reichel was first a founder member of “The Rattles” at the beginning of the 60’s. In 1968 he formed the “Wonderland band” with the drummer Frank Dostal. Late 60’s he launched his first solo musical project called A.R and the machines. Musically it provides a supreme sonic musical voyage turned to cycled psychedelic guitar playing with lot of echoes and delay. The first album was published in 1971 in collaboration with Frank Dostal. The album presents an ambitious collection of spacey rock jams featuring a lot of electronic effects and arrangements. This album prefigures “acid” trips of krautrock guitar / minimal electronic explorers like Manuel Gottsching. The guitar freakouts and the weird imagination of the first effort continue to prevail in the following inspired, confused and various Die Grune Reise, A.R. IV, Autovision (generally a mix between guitar soudscapes and psych pop orientated songs). Reichel decided to abandon the project after 5 studio albums. Today A.R and the machines remains a high class standard of hypnotic space-echo guitar inventions.

Track List:
01 – Globus (Globe) (2:56)
02 – In The Same Boat (2:06)
03 – Schönes Babylon (Beautiful Babylon) (5:01)
04 – I’ll Be Your Singer, You’ll Be My Song (Ich Bin Dein Sänger, Du Bist Mein Lied) (2:25)
05 – Body (1:57)
06 – A Book’s Blues (1:39)
07 – Als Hätt Ich Das Alles Schon Mal Gesehen (As If I Had Seen All This Before) (5:31)
08 – Cosmic Vibrations (4:41)
09 – Come On, People (2:53)
10 – Wahrheit Und Wahrscheinlichkeit (Truth And Probability) (11:40)

LineUp:
– Achim Reichel (guitar, vocals)
– Frank Dostal (lyrics)
– Dicky Tarrach (drums)
– Hans Lampe (percussion on #2)

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