Exposé Online banner

Xhol — Hau Ruk
(Garden of Delights CD 076, 1971/2002, CD)

Xhol — Motherfuckers GMBH & Co. KG
(OHR 70040-2, 1971/1999, CD)

Xhol Caravan — Electrip
(Garden of Delights CD 045, 1969/2000, CD)

by Jon Davis, 2005-03-01:

Hau Ruk Cover artMotherfuckers GMBH & Co. KG Cover artElectrip Cover art When you think of German rock of the 70s, you’re likely to think of extended spacey jams with effects devices in evidence and a bit of jazzy flavor. Xhol’s first album (under that name at least) is pretty much that distilled essence, consisting of two twenty-plus minute pieces recorded live in July of 1970. The band had originally intended it as the live half of a live/studio double LP, but ended up releasing the two halves separately. The basic elements of Xhol are Tim Belbe’s saxophone (frequently altered by wah-wah pedal and other devices) and Gerhard Egmont von Brevern on keyboards (mostly organ, also with effects). The two are backed by bass and drums, with no guitar in sight. The improvisations are along the lines of what Soft Machine did for their Third album, though less inspired, and sometimes verge on free blowing. The second track features some near-annoying vocals begging for sexual favors from an unnamed source, though luckily that only occupies a few of the twenty minutes. For this CD reissue, a third twenty minute piece recorded in a studio in 1974 has been added. This must have been a one-off session, since Xhol had broken up two years prior; three of the four original members appear, augmented by others from the scene. It’s very much in the same vein, however, and does not sound out of place despite the addition of flute.

by Mike McLatchey, 1996-03-01:

Amongst the annals of the most psychedelic German rock of the early 70s stand out the legendary Xhol, a band that remains one of the most challenging that that country had to offer. Initially a band playing R&B tinged rock in the vein of Otis Redding or maybe Rare Earth (check out the "So Down/Planet Earth" single by Xhol Caravan if you can find it), by the time the group released a proper album, they had gelled into a formidable unit. For an album from 1969, Electrip was an incredibly groundbreaking release, and unfortunately overlooked. The music is like a psychedelic R&B tinged early period Soft Machine with lengthy jazzy/bluesy instrumental sections fronted by amplified/fuzzed or wah-wah'd sax. The intensity and the feel are what makes this such a bonafide classic. Each jam on the album is worked out perfectly with a variety of solos from flute and sax. Some other pointers would be the early French or Dutch scenes, there are shades of Moving Gelatine Plates and Supersister here, but Xhol Caravan had a distinct acid-drenched feel that is distinctly Teutonic. Dropping "Caravan" from their name, Xhol signed to the Ohr label in 1970 and released the self titled album Xhol (commonly referred to as Hau-Ruk due to the words on the cover) in 1971. Two side long tracks take up the album, both more or less improvisations based around some written material or covers (like their racy version of "Rock Me Baby"). For the most part Xhol had dropped the more overt jazz influences, and the sound is closer to a more underground psych-rock, somewhere in the vein of early Guru Guru or Ash Ra Tempel yet far less refined than even those groups. While this is generally the weakest of the three, it grows on you over time. Motherfuckers GMBH and Co. KG was Xhol's last release and a more focused effort than the previous release. The band had resorted to a lot of effects (interesting use of radio static and other electronics) to augment their sound and the overall effect is of a sonic acid trip. Amongst all of the psychedelic meandering, Xhol's early R&B influence remains and the finale is a great rendition of "Love Potion Number 9." Xhol's crazed vocals, obvious drug influences, and general lasciviousness may not appeal to everyone, but for those into psychedelic krautrock, these are about as good as it gets. Prog fans should check out Electrip and tread carefully afterwards.

Filed under: Reissues , Issue 9 , 2002 releases, 1971 releases, 1999 releases, 1971 releases, 2000 releases, 1969 releases

Related artist(s): Xhol Caravan / Xhol / Soul Caravan

More info

Latest news

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

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


Previously in Exposé...

Bi Kyo Ran - Deep Live – The word on the street is that this Japanese combo is the Far East answer to King Crimson, circa Red. Although occasional Frippisms abound in the guitar parts, I think they more closely resemble a...  (1996) » Read more

Kit Watkins - The Gathering & Music for the End – Fans of Happy the Man, beware. These three live CDs are more in the realm of ambient space music than progressive rock. Taken together, they document the musical happenings on the night of March 10,...  (2002) » Read more

Blld - Materia Prima – This 20-minute EP is very tasty indeed. A meeting of Ric Byer (also known as 05Ric) and Markus Reuter would be expected to be a summit meeting of two original and remarkable players, but this exceeds...  (2011) » Read more

CJ Boyd - Aerial Roots – I previously encountered C.J. Boyd with his group Sexxxtet (reviewed last issue), and while this recording features him without the cellos, there are definitely some musical similarities. The primary...  (2011) » Read more

Peter Banks - Can I Play You Something? – Guitarist Peter Banks continues to dig deep into his roots and comes up another winner with his latest disc. This one is of keen interest to collectors of the psychedelic era, since that’s where...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues