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12 July 2016

Guru Guru (Brain)

For years I thought this was the first Guru Guru record, but the Internet tells me it's actually the fifth! For guys often lumped in with Kraut heavyweights, you wouldn't think it listening to side one, which is mostly balls-out biker rock. Any intellectual (or at least, progressive) tendencies present in Guru Guru are buried behind the riffs, operating here in power trio mode, and even doing an Eddie Cochran cover as well. I'm not so equipped to rate such things - at parts I feel like I could be listening to Steppenwolf - but when flipped over, this record becomes a winner. That's due to 'Der Elektrolurch', a snaking, funky exploration which starts around some jammy percussion before experimenting with heavily processed guitars and a scary sci-fi voice (though I think most voices sound scary in German). It's almost unrecognisable against the riffage on side one, and it's kosmiche musik at its best - progressive, dark, and invigorating. You could probably argue that it's a bit underwritten, sounding more like a few sketches put in linear fashion than an actual 'song', but that's OK. Closer 'The Story of Life' continues the atmosphere for 12 and a half minutes, and it takes it's time. It's a slow, meandering tune with a plodding bassline, built around the repeated tenor vocals about matters such as 'The story of life' / 'is hello and good-bye'. About 2/3 of the way through we get to some sort of bridge, suggesting we sleep 'until we meet again', and it drifts off to nothing among some gongs - before a distorted guitar comes back in and takes us home via a flying carpet of burning riffage. Guru Guru are second-tier Krautrock for me but this second side can stand up against the best moments by Dzyan or Cosmic Jokers, for sure.

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