Exposé Online banner

Amon Düül II — Carnival in Babylon
(Revisited Records SPV 305352 CD, 1972/2007, CD)

Amon Düül II — Wolf City
(Revisited Records SPV 305372 CD, 1972/2007, CD)

Amon Düül II — Vive la Trance
(Revisited Records SPV 305382 CD, 1973/2007, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-01-01

Carnival in Babylon Cover artWolf City Cover artVive la Trance Cover art

Revisited Records is busy reissuing classic Krautrock albums by Klaus Schulze, Kraan, Guru Guru, Holger Czukay, and Amon Düül II. These latest discs are Amon Düül II’s fourth, fifth, and sixth releases. Although these three discs have been reissued a couple of times already on CD, these current releases are augmented with bonus tracks, beautiful digi-packaging, and clean sound. Carnival in Babylon was Amon Düül II’s first album to focus on short songs after the long extended improvisations of their first three releases. In 1972, the music press viewed this album as an attempt by the band to produce a commercial and exploitative LP. A comical overreaction as the band went on from here to record their best releases, Wolf City and Vive la Trance, while still retaining their experimental approach and free spirit that so delighted their fan base. The bonus tracks are the 10-minute “Skylight” (a reworking of “Restless Skylight-Transistor Child” from Tanz der Lemminge) and the cool 18-minute ethnic/Krautrock jam “Tatzelwurmloch.” The liner notes give no information about any of the bonus tracks, so I am assuming that since they sound new they are contemporary compositions, which are infinitely better than the music they recorded when they reformed in the mid 90s.

Wolf City was the first album to focus on Renate Knaup’s extraordinary singing style, and all of the songs, though mostly short, captured the cosmic avant-garde atmosphere of their earlier recordings. As a bonus this reissue includes the excellent bonus tracks “Kindermörderlied,” “Mystic Blutsturz,” and “Düülirium,” which seem out of place when compared to “Surrounded by the Stars,” “Wolf City,” and “Deutsch Nepal,” Wolf City was my introduction to the band in the 70s and remains my favorite.

Vive la Trance was a masterpiece of integrating rock songs with black humor, sensuality, complex rhythms, dissonance, and harsh sarcasm. However, the German music press did not appreciate this new direction and panned the album. Vive la Trance contains a number of excellent songs that helped propel their international fame: “Jalousie,” “Mozambique,” and “Apocalyptic Bore.” As a bonus, this CD contains the funky song “Hands up Fool,” Chris Karrer’s soaring violin soloing on “Pink Purple,” the comical and odd “Look,” and heavy plodding of “Bomb.” Once again these songs sound out of place with the original music, which is a bit disconcerting after having immersed yourself in the Amon Düül sound of the 70s. Overall, these are minor complaints and we are fortunate to have these reissues and bonus material demonstrating that the band remains vibrant even after 40 years.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 35, 2007 releases, 1972 recordings, 1973 recordings

Related artist(s): Amon Düül I / II, Chris Karrer

Latest news

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Strawbs - The Broken Hearted Bride – Over the last ten years or so, Strawbs have toured and recorded in various configurations, from a three-piece acoustic trio to a fully amplified five-piece electric band. The Broken Hearted Bride...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues