Exposé Online banner

Polytoxicomane Philharmonie — Go Ape
(Nasoni 080, 2009, 2CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2018-05-31:

Go Ape Cover art

It seems that this modern German outfit transmuted into the Chickencage Experience and never went back, but they went out on a high point with this radical and surprising double album. In a genre where so many bands are still aping the Ozric Tentacles, going stoner rock or some sort of doomy hybrid of the two, Polytoxicomane Philharmonie really brought forward the essence of German 70s music and not just one small segment of it. In the mix they cover everything from Embryo-style jazz rock to the deep Kosmiche experimentation of Ash Ra Tempel, Walter Wegmuller, and the like. Most importantly, they have clearly absorbed the musical history of their country and have managed to say something new about it with a personality that is in many ways analogous to Gong, but uniquely their own. The titles, based on a nearly incomprehensible concept story in the booklet, seem quite early Amon Düül II inspired and the lyrics and approach all give the album an original color. The musicianship is extremely strong but due to the art it also seems like the lineups shift quite a bit, at the beginning you really have a full band doing a Schneeball-ish jazz rock but by the last side long piece you're almost in electronic, looping territory. I had taken a risk on this when it came out based on their debut, Psycho Plays Erectus, which was a great if more inside work, but could not have imagined how they would develop in the interim years. Unfortunately this wasn't well distributed in the US when it came out so it's not nearly as well known as it should be, but it does look to be in print via the label on Discogs. It's a modern classic.


by Peter Thelen, 2011-06-01:

Apparently this is the fourth release by this German five-piece that’s somehow flown under my radar since their 2003 debut. The fact that there are only eight tracks spread across these two 46-minute discs might provide the clue that there are some mighty intense extended jams to be found herein. And psychedelic they are, seemingly with one foot in the 70s and the other foot firmly in the future. In fact four of the cuts are side-long, with most of the others clocking in around the nine-minute mark. The band – all members are identified only by aliases – features guitar, tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion, and xylophone, with male and female vocals, sometimes harmonizing. Each of the pieces is composed, but allow plenty of space for improvisation and experimentation, and have a definite live feel throughout. Distorted blistering wah-wah guitars scream and burn along with the saxes while the rhythm section is amazingly effective at propelling the sound forward. There are some middle-eastern influences present on a few of the tracks, as well as some sinister sounding vocal exchanges, random spoken parts, as well as jazzy and floating space interludes, but the main thrust is hard-driving peak-power psychedelic rock. Points of reference might include You era Gong, classic Amon Düül II (Wolf City or earlier), and some albums of recent vintage by Motorpsycho. The CD version is packaged in this oversize (for lack of a better term) comic book. A great set, beginning to end.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 39 , 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Polytoxicomane Philharmonie

More info

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Djam Karet - No Commercial Potential... and Still Getting the Ladies – In some respects, Djam Karet can be viewed as a band with a split personality. Sometimes they are a tightly rehearsed unit performing composed music; sometimes they are purveyors of ambient...  (2005) » Read more

Pineapple Thief - Variations on a Dream – I hope I don’t turn anyone off by saying Pineapple Thief has as much in common with Radiohead, Coldplay, and Smashing Pumpkins as they do with anyone in the prog community. In my book,...  (2004) » Read more

Patrick Broguière - Brocéliande – Another complete surprise from the folks at Musea! Broguière is a young composer and musician from Paris, and Brocéliande is his debut album — a very strong entry for a new musician who shows...  (1995) » Read more

7% Solution - All About Satellites and Spaceships – Now here's a novel idea: With each CD you sell, include an extra copy of the disc for the buyer to pass along, thus spreading the word about the band. That's precisely what this four-piece...  (1997) » Read more

Versus X - Disturbance – Versus X is German guitarist Arne Schafer's band. Schafer was known for his solo album, The Border of Awareness, on Musea in which he delivered a thoughtful music maybe a bit in the range of Peter...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues