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

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Il Berlione - Il Berlione – No, this is not another lost 70s Italian reissue, but instead a powerful new Japanese quintet featureing guitar, bass, saxes, keys, and drums. Their sound could best be described as a Canterbury / RIO...  (1993) » Read more

Už Jsme Doma - Nemilovaný Svět – The first I'd ever heard of this Czechoslovakian sextet was a tape someone sent to me last year of their first (1990) album Uprostřed Slov. I was suitably impressed with their twisted concoction of...  (1994) » Read more

Adiemus - Songs of Sanctuary – The first major label release from former Soft Machine keyboardists Karl Jenkins and Mike Ratledge is a vocal/orchestral work based around varying Greek entitled themes. Having been out of the...  (1996) » Read more

Celestial Oeuvre - This Mortal Coil – The story around this album is a sad one. New Yorkers Celestial Oeuvre had just finished work on the follow up to their 2004 debut Second Chance when keyboard player / bassist / guitar player Jose...  (2011) » Read more

Mastermind - Insomnia – In 2005, five years after their previous, Angels of the Apocalypse, a Mastermind single called “Broken” appeared, featuring three new songs, an extended mix of the title cut, and four...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues