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

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Marc Ceccotti - M.A.S.C. – I heard that this was the new Edhels album all the way up to the time that I got it. Anyway, Ceccotti was more or less the brains behind Edhels, and his first solo album is definitely in the vein of...  (1993) » Read more

Tom Heasley - Desert Tryptich – On his previous recordings Where the Earth Meets the Sky and On the Sensations of Tone (reviewed in #23 and #26 respectively), Heasley’s floating ambient epics were created with the tuba as the...  (2006) » Read more

Clockwork - Surface Tension – So far it seems that Sensory (Laser's Edge) has found a rich deposit of quality progressive metal bands; enter Clockwork. This New Jersey band is very much from the Dream Theater school. I hate to...  (2000) » Read more

Spiral Realms - Solar Wind – I am bummed that my dislike of Nik Turner caused me to miss these guys. The master of Space Violin, ex-Hawkwind player Simon House brought his band, Spiral Realms, to the Great American Music Hall....  (1997) » Read more

J.E.T. - Fede, Speranza, Carità – The sole album from this Italian outfit dates back to 1972. The band is a four-piece consisting of guitar, keys, bass, and drums. While there are certain clearly Italian melodies and harmonic...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues