Amon Düül (1946-2006)
Amon Düül II plays Phallus Dei (1969)
The Munich-based band Amon Duul was one of the first German bands to emerge out of the psychedelic era. Founded as an anarchic musical commune in 1967 by former jazzer Chris Karrer with Ulli and Peter Leopold, Amon Duul soon sent out a proud declaration: 'we are eleven adults and two children which are gathered to make all kinds of expressions, also musical'. They appeared at the Essen song festival in Autumn 1968. Shortly thereafter they split into two separate groups. Amon Duul's activities ceased after a couple of years, but Amon Duul II survived through the seventies and became one of the most important German groups. The group formed around Chris Karrer in the Autumn of 1968. Their first gigs were very erratic, as some of the members had just started playing their instruments. This lack of a conventional musical experience helped Amon Duul II to establish themselves as one of the major underground acts in Germany. Their reputation grew fast and they soon secured a signing with Liberty. In early 1969, Phallus Dei ('God's penis') was recorded with two new members: Peter Leopold (drums, he switched from the other Amon Duul group) and Dave Anderson (bass, an Englishman who had been a roadie for Kippington Lodge). Rogner now switched from bass to keyboards. Also two guests were involved: Christian Burchard (vibes, see Embryo) and Holger Trulzsch (percussion, see Popol Vuh). Olaf Kubler was the man responsible for the innovative production. He was also a jazz musician, most known as saxophonist with Doldinger's quartet). The album was a genuine late psychedelic masterpiece, a landmark in German rock. They were probably the first German band that was confident enough to present large amounts of improvised music. Phallus Dei was a travel through mysterious science fiction soundscapes, sometimes predating the sound of groups like Hawkwind. This album, like all the subsequent ones up to 1973, had spectacular psychedelic cover artwork. Most of these designs were made by Falk-U Rogner. "Phallus Del" filled up one whole side of the album, and had one of the most ridiculous stereo panning ever recorded (try to listen to it with headphones!). It was their first large scale improvisation, hinting at the things to come on their two next albums. Other memorable tracks was "Luzifers Gholom" and "Dem Guten, Schonen Wahren" with strange, harsh vocal parts from Shrat. Chris Karrer contributed with some nice electric violin parts and had guitar battles with John Weinzierl. One of the band's concerts at the time was filmed, resulting in a musical cult movie "Amon Duul plays Phallus Dei". The soundtrack for the film "San Domingo" was recorded later the same year and for this they were awarded a Bundesfilm prize.