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

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Free - Songs of Yesterday – The roots of popular blues based rock and roll are firmly tied to that of Free, a four piece act from the late 60s that had both singer and composer Paul Rogers and drummer Simon Kirke (later of Bad...  (2005) » Read more

Christian Décamps & Fils - Vesoul – A brand new live album by Décamps, a superb follow-up to his 1994 studio album Nu, even though only one track from that album is included in this set (and it's one of the most abrasive — "Sur les...  (1995) » Read more

Espers - Espers, The Weed Tree & Espers II – Beautiful music delving into mantric excesses in protracted light is a nice way to spend an afternoon. Percolating effluvial melodies encroach upon sensibilities of newfound mellifluousness setting...  (2007) » Read more

Goad - In the House of the Dark Shining Dreams – During the last decade several Italian bands which hit the big time in the 70s have got back on track. Some examples are Arti & Mestieri, Museo Rosenbach, and Osanna. Others, on the contrary, had...  (2008) » Read more

Makoto Kawabata / Shinsuke Michishita - Sex, Voyage, and Echo Chamber – Billed as the first collaboration between Kawabata Makoto of Acid Mothers Temple and Michishita Shinsuke of LSD March, it’s no surprise this release sounds like two electric guitarists enjoying...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues