This week the mighty hippy German psyche proggers Amon Düül. Starting out as a radical political art commune in Munich during the late 60s during a time when student movements throughout Germany were common (largely due to a generation of kids who were rebelling against what Germany and in particular their parent had been doing in the recent past) Amon Düül’s early music recordings concentrated on free-form improvisations that usually occurred with happening and demonstrations. The band which consisted of a number of rotating members released 4 records in total with the highlight being their last recorded release Paradieswärts Düül. The record sounds significantly more structured with less of an improvised feel with the pièce de résistance being the epic opening track ‘Love Is Peace’.
A year earlier Amon Düül had actually split into 2 bands with the more professional and technically inclined members forming Amon Düül II. Throughout the early 70s Amon Düül II released a number of seminal records in a similar vein to the original improvised Amon Düül vibe but with far more accomplished results. Their first great record being the 1970 release Yeti which includes the lovely instrumental laid back track ‘She Came Through The Chimney’ (I’m guessing the name is a reference to The Beatles track “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’). Check out this excellent footage of Amon Düül II performing Eye-Shaking King also from Yeti.
After their early releases Amon Düül II’s sound moved away from the freak out jam sounds they had originally been formed from to a more conventional rock band sound with shorter songs, tighter arrangements and noticeably more melody, one of the key components in creating this new sound was Renate Knaup on vocals. For me their 1975 concept record Made In Germany (based on the history of Germany) is their finest record with Knaup’s vocals a real highlight, ‘Blue Grotto’ being a perfect example. More Amon Düül II footage, this time the track ‘Surrounded By The Stars’ from their 1973 record Wolf City, I’ve put this here mainly for you to see the lovely Renate Knaup in full flow.
Finally a quite different Amon Düül II record but still one filled with some real bangers. The 1978 record Only Human is hated my many Amon Düül hardcore fans simply because it is such a departure from their previous releases and their incredibly unique sound that they had created over the years but for me it’s a very accessible album with tracks such as Kismet a real pleasure. I’ve picked the upbeat baked track ‘Don’t Turn To Stone’, nicest sounds :)