Amon Düül – Höllewärts Düül
The original Amon Düül collective were invited to perform at the Internationale Essener Songtage festival and were due to record a debut album for Metronome Music GmbH soon afterwards. Days before the September 1968 festival, two struggling factions in the large communal band split apart permanently, with the more conventional musicians performing separately as ‘Amon Düül II’. The remaining members (see below) entered the recording studio in (about) early 1969 and taped improvised jamming sessions for anything up to a week. The resulting album was Psychedelic Underground. In late 1970 a slimmed-down line-up (Peter Leopold having defected to AD II, Wolfgang Krischke having died and Uschi Obermaier moving on to fame as a model/counter-culture icon) recorded a much more gentle and beautiful second album, Paradieswärts Düül on Ohr Records, before disappearing.
AD II’s John Weinzierl has claimed that the first tapes recorded by his former bandmates were “thrown into a dungeon” because they were so bad, and were only made public by their unscrupulous producer as a cash-in attempt after AD II became successful. This may not be true of Psychedelic Underground (both bands released their debut albums in 1969), but is very likely with a number of subsequent records. In November 1969, Metronome issued Collapsing/Singvögel Rückwärts & Co. consisting of more of the same sessions with added special effects. By 1972, BASF possessed the tapes and issued the Disaster/Lüüd Noma double LP containing yet more out-takes. And in 1984 the Time Wind label issued Experimente, somehow finding enough remaining out-takes to fill another double LP.
The general consensus is that all of the albums culled from this session are unlistenable, tedious drumming marathons – the less musical members were encouraged to join in on various percussion instruments. There is a lot of truth in this, and listening to all three and a half hours would test the patience of even the most hardcore krautrock fan. What I have tried to do here is distil the best moments from the four albums and create something more palatable. With most of the tracks, that involved editing out long drumming passages to isolate the more tuneful sections. The result doesn’t have the flow of a regular album – but this is largely the case with the source albums as well – and is something akin to the ‘Faust Tapes’ in that it consists of snapshots of riffs and musical moments strung together. Indeed, much of the material even sounds like it could have come from that highly-regarded Faust album.
The name is not very imaginative (Höllewärts = ‘Hell-bound’), but this is intended as a companion piece to the sublime Paradieswärts Düül (Paradieswärts = ‘Paradise-bound’). It also signifies the contrast between the two records, Paradieswärts being light and friendly, Höllewärts being dark and forboding. If you like Paradieswärts you might like this; if you want to explore the earlier (-recorded) Amon Düül albums, or didn’t like them and want to give them a second chance, then this might be the collection you’re looking for – a heavily-edited ‘Best of the 1969 Sessions‘.
01 Ein Wunderhübsches Mädchen Träumt Von Sandosa *
02 Kaskados Minnelied
03 Special Track Experience N° 22 *
04 Altitude (Quäär Feld Aus) *
05 Somnium (Trauma) *
06 Special Track Experience N° 23 *
07 Special Track Experience N° 12 & N° 5 *
08 Special Track Experience N° 16 *
09 Special Track Experience N° 4 *
10 Special Track Experience N° 24
11 Singvögel Rückwärts (Singvögel Vorwärts)
12 Der Garten Sandosa Im Morgentau *
13 Asynchron (Verjault Und Zugeredet) *
14 Im Garten Sandosa
15 Special Track Experience N° 14 *
16 Special Track Experience N° 10 *
17 Shattering & Fading (Flattermänner)
18 Special Track Experience N° 1 *
19 Drum Things (Erschlagzeugtes) *
20 Special Track Experience N° 7 *
* edited versions
- Ulrich (Uli) Leopold – bass
- Peter Leopold – drums
- Rainer Bauer – guitar, vocals
- Wolfgang Krischke – percussion, piano
- Helge Filanda – congas, anvil, percussion, vocals
- Eleonora Romana (Ella) Bauer – shaker, percussion, vocals
- Angelika Filanda – percussion, vocals
- Uschi Obermaier – maracas, percussion
Footage of Amon Düül at the Internationale Essener Songtage in September 1968:
The second official album contained the following publicity blurb, with thanks to Anja for translation:
Amon Düül, somewhere near Munich:
A) The silence persists, but the new LP “Para Dieswärts Düül” has appeared.
B) Where does the name Düül stem from: An interview with Amon Düül.
A) There is a German rock group that could be the most successful ever. The group plays beautiful music, has released in less than two years two long-playing records and a single six months ago, and they possess one of the most well known German rock names. They are called “Amon Düül”.
Despite everything, they don’t care about all that, they rarely gig and once they do they don’t again for a long time, they look for different names, even to the record company they seem to have been swallowed up by the ground. “Amon Düül” is clearly one of the most successful bands, but does not care about success.
Therefore: If you want to enjoy the primal sounds of German rock music, you must rely on the record. Apart from the brief life-sign of the single “Eternal Flow / Paramechanical World” (OS 57 000), almost two years of silence will end with this new LP. It was recorded by Munich producer Julius Schnitthelm in the autumn of 1970. The design for the cover was contributed by “Amon Düül” itself. The new LP indicates signs of transformation of the group. It is called “Para Dieswärts Düül” (OMM 56 008) and was published by the German record label “Ohr”.
B) Before “Amon Düül” once again sinks into the silence without a trace and after a mere few random live gigs in South Germany, this interview was recorded to mark the occasion of the new LP “Para Dieswärts Düül” (OMM 56 008). Helge, Klaus and Reiner remember the beginning of the clan of Amon Düül, in 1968.
Question: What was “Amon Düül” called then?
Amon Düül: The same as it is today. It is primarily a sound formation. An objective sound that felt good. I am now of the opinion that primal forces had a strong influence on choosing the name. “Amon” is an Egyptian sun god, and the “Düül” allows for multiple interpretations. Although the first syllable related to Dyl – an.
Amon Düül: Düül had no original meaning, it’s a Turkish word.
Amon Düül: Yes in the Turkish language düül is used. But I think none of us knows what that means, or do we?
Amon Düül: I think I remember I heard it means clan. But I am not sure.
Question: Did you discuss the name at length before choosing it.
Amon Düül: I must say we were most careful and thought about it for five weeks. That kept us busy.
Question: And then you voted?
Amon Düül: No, then we all agreed.
Question: What kind of music was it then?
Amon Düül: It just happened, after we’d been playing more and more, first rhythm instruments and drums etc, and then melodic instruments, the music we used to play changed. We arrived at a point where we only made ‘one’ music. The technical abilities and know-how of the group allowed for music that was born in the spur-of-the-moment, which was not edited afterwards.