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Boomkat Product Review:
Nowadays it's not uncommon to find legendary krautrock drummer Mani Neumaier performing and recording alongside the likes of Acid Mothers Temple, but it's his pioneering work of forty years ago for which he's most fondly regarded. Teaming up with bassist Uli Trepte, Neumaier laid the foundations for Guru Guru, one of the great German experimental bands of the 1970s. UFO was the group's debut, a groundbreaking distillation of its musicians' free-jazz past and newer psychedelic forms. From our current historical vantage point, when we think about the music emerging from 1970s Germany it tends to be connected to electronic music advancements or the metronomic minimalism of the motorik sound, but Guru Guru come from a very different musical background, playing with a real sense of freedom that's prone to flying off at a tangent. In fact, UFO's sound might be thought of as one big tangent: 'Stone In' commences the album with a bluesy, off-the-cuff spell of soloing and biting fuzz guitar that never quite ends, running through strobing effects clamour and thrashing Neumaier drumming during 'Girl Call' before only briefly taking time out for some field recorded spiritual drumming at the close of 'Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama'. The most exploratory work here is the title track, whose ten minutes remove emphasis from musicianship, instead focusing on bizarre, acid-filtered soundscapes that grow from a quiet dystopian rumble into full-blooded howls of atonal noise. UFO is a towering, massively influential work; look to Japan's contemporary psych-rock scene and you'll find Guru Guru's fingerprints all over it - not just in musical terms in fact: this album's final track gave LSD March their name. Offering a different (and certainly no less valid) perspective on krautrock to the usual key texts, this reissue comes highly recommended.