Friday, June 29, 2007

Forgotten pearl No. 15

ALCATRAZ - Vampire State Building

No, not the '80s metal band, featuring Yngwie -- that Alcatrazz had two zz's in their name. This Alcatraz was a krautrock outfit from Hamburg, who released this album, their debut, in 1972. At last it gets a cd reissue -- we've always been curious about 'em 'cause the striking/silly LP cover painting (the lips and teeth of a vampire, with the bloody fangs being two inverted Empire State Buildings) always shows up in books of krautrock lore like Cosmic Dreams At Play and The Crack In The Cosmic Egg. AND, they're one of those Nurse With Wound list bands too! In fact, Nurse With Wound and Stereolab 'covered' this album's brilliant lead-off track "Simple Headphone Mind" on a collaborative ep some years back.Alcatraz prove to be one of those wildly jamming, kinda-heavy bands, with some bluesy Zeppelin-esque riffing and powerful, fuzz-psych lead guitar (love that tone!) cutting through their fusionoid, jazzily-rockin' songs, which also feature sax, flute, piano, drums, bongos, and (on two tracks only) vocals. Reminds us of some way-out Traffic or Santana type of thing. Really, the mostly instrumental songs on here don't really sound like 'songs', just a lot of improv parts and crazy playing, which is of course cool by us. It totally makes sense that they started out playing covers of stuff by the likes of Savoy Brown, Vanilla Fudge, Black Sabbath, and Uriah Heep before getting into Soft Machine and Tony William's Lifetime -- the liner notes mention 'em blending Cannonball Adderly and Deep Purple! While by no means a newly unearthed krautrock classic of Can or Faust proportions (though it was recorded at Faust's Wumme studio, during a police raid on suspected terrorists no less), this is a cool album of eccentric, sometimes epic, hippy jazz-rock.

- Rüdiger Berghan / piano, vocal
- Klaus Holst / guitar
- Klaus Nagurski / flute, Tenor saxophone
- Ronald Wilson / bass
- Jan Rieck / drums, percussion

1. Simple Headphone Mind (10:00)
2. Your Chance of a Lifetime (5:06)
3. Where the Wild Things Are (3:03)
4. Vampire State Building (13:10)
5. Piss Off (3:18)
6. Change will come (6:08)


Please leave a comment


randy said...

thanks a bunch! i just got internet back and so only just got to downloadin some stuff. haven't listened yet but looks amazing. thanks

Jorge Luiz said...

exlente cd ,maravilha de blog,valeu mesmo

chris69 said...

your blog is very good
Alcatrazz is a milestone from germany . But first track covered by stereolab isn't from Alcatrazz but from UK combo jazz rock named Nucleus with Chris Spedding on guitar and best jazzmen from UK at this time ( 1970). I believe that this track can be heard on first nucleus album named Elastic Rock. Nucleus is (for me) the best group in jazz + rock vein.
If you don't know Nucleus contact me for listen to it.

. said...

14 albums by Nucleus can be found here


Anonymous said...

el cd no esta disponible, lástima , muy buen trabajo haces en este blog , gracias