Am

 

Amandla (West Germany): Amandla (No label 545661, 1986)
Folk/Rock
Monika Jauch (percussion, flute, backing vocals)
This obscure private pressing was largely the vehicle of singer, songwriter and guitarist Herbert Jauch, who offers ten of his compositions. Arranged for acoustic (and occasionally electric) guitars, bass, hand percussion and flute, the songs are breezy and gentle, with a strong hippie flavour and an ethereal edge that will appeal to acid-folk fans. GRADE: C+.

Amarok (Poland): Amarok (Ars Mundi AMS 029R, CD, 2001)
Progressive
Agnieszka Dudek (principal vocals), Marta Wojteczek (occasional vocals)
This Polish duo had a truly odd line-up – a multi-instrumentalist plus a backing vocalist, along with several guest singers. With instruments effectively overdubbed, this avoids the thin, tinny sound of many one-man-band projects and offers an excellent suite of instrumental music, much of it with wordless vocals. Without any real style of their own, Amarok combine influences from all their favourite artists – Mike Oldfield (hardly surprisingly), Pink Floyd, Blonker, Adiemus and various hard rock acts – creating some really superb, if also fairly unchallenging, moments. GRADE: B–.
Amarok (Poland): Neo Way (Ars Mundi AMS 031R, CD, 2002)
Rock/Progressive
Agnieszka Dudek (occasional vocals), Marta Wojteczek (occasional vocals), Lilia Wojciechowska (occasional vocals)
Album number two is very much a game of two halves. The first mixes four instrumentals or pieces with wordless vocals (similar to the stuff from the previous LP but even more commercial) with three actual songs fronted by Colin Bass from Camel. These are in a mainstream rock style with folky and hard rock edges, falling somewhere between Gerry Rafferty and Eric Clapton, and make for quite odd settings of poems by Christina Rossetti, Lord Byron and Emily Dickinson. The second half is given over to the seven-part ‘Neo Way’ itself, which offers a more mainstream twist on the style of their first album, with the music often coming very close to Mike Oldfield. Overall this is a disappointing disc, despite having some good moments. Their third album was cut with male singers, whilst Agnieszka Dudek and Lilia Wojciechowska went on to Turquoise. GRADE: C+.
See also Turquoise

Amarok (Spain/Venezuela): Els Nostres Petits Amics (SBD BCD-001, CD, Spain, 1994)
Progressive
Lidia Cerón (lead vocals)
This prolific band, led by Venezuelan keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Robert Santamaría, was presumably named after the Mike Oldfield album, but I don’t hear all that much musical resemblance. Instead it’s soft, gentle keyboard-based music, alternating instrumentals with classical and folk tinges, and songs with dreamy, ethereal vocals. The end result is a charming and relaxing LP, though occasionally one finds oneself wishing for fuller band arrangements or a few moments of rock energy to vary the mood. GRADE: C+.
Amarok (Spain/Venezuela): Canciones De Los Mundos Perdidos (Lyricon 21066, CD, with poster booklet, Spain, 1995)
Progressive/Folk/Rock
Lidia Cerón (lead vocals)
Whilst recognisably the work of the same band, album number two is much folkier and more fully arranged, with some lovely acoustic guitar, violin and oboe, as well as intermittent use of a rhythm section. Once again, it alternates songs and instrumentals, with the singing this time being less hesitant, and overall represents a marked step forward. GRADE: C+.
Amarok (Spain/Venezuela): Gibra’ Ara (SBC BCD-002, CD, Spain, 1997)
Progressive/Folk
Lidia Cerón (lead vocals), Mireia Sisquella (saxophone), Kerstin Kokocinski (oboe, cor anglais)
This is the album where it all came together: the songs and pieces with wordless vocals are both superbly crafted, with intricate, mainly acoustic arrangements blending folk, jazz, classical, traditional Spanish music and just a hint of rock, and with woodwinds and occasional Eastern elements deployed superbly. With all hints of their former awkwardness gone, the disc has the widescreen feel of a film soundtrack and is effortlessly assured and wonderfully haunting from start to finish. The Japanese version from the following year (Belle Antique BELLE 98439) adds two short but excellent bonus tracks. GRADE: B–.
Amarok (Spain/Venezuela): Tierra De Especias (Saga KPD-10.991, CD, with booklet and poster booklet, Spain, 2000)
Progressive
An Mari Morón (principal vocals), Mireia Sisquella (saxophone)
Slightly different from their earlier work, this is a more uptempo and more commercial mixture of flamenco, jazz, Arabian music and sympho-prog. With an eighteen-minute suite to close the disc, this is an ambitious album, but with the distinctive sound of Gibra’ Ara jettisoned in favour of a more obvious world music fusion approach, it’s also a definite step down. GRADE: C+.
Amarok (Spain/Venezuela): Mujer Luna (Luna Negra CDLN-20, CD, Spain, 2002)
Folk/Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Marta Segura (principal vocals), Mireia Sisquella (saxophone)
Slightly different yet again, this mainly consists of folk songs with relatively few rock elements interspersed with jazzier and rockier progressive instrumentals. The result is a nice album that recalls numerous other bands, with a few Canterbury and RIO leanings, though it could have been even better with a bit more ambition and complexity, as the most audacious cut ‘Tierra Austral’ is by far the best.

GRADE: C+.
Amarok (Spain/Venezuela): Quentadharkën (Luna Negra CDLN-26, CD, Spain, 2004)
Progressive
Marta Segura (principal vocals), Mireia Sisquella (saxophone)
In stark contrast to its predecessor, this puts the progressive and rock elements front and centre, with a powerful and dramatic sound and some intense and complex moments. Sometimes fringing RIO and almost always dynamic and surprising, it’s a genuinely excellent LP. GRADE: B–.
Amarok (Spain/Venezuela): Sol De Medianoche (Progrock PRR165, CD, with poster booklet, USA, 2006)
Progressive/Folk/Rock
Marta Segura (lead vocals), Mireia Sisquella (saxophone)
The world music elements are once again much more prominent, though this is still very progressive, with some fine instrumentals and a few well-judged heavier rock moments. My favourite Amarok album probably remains Quentadharkën, but this is arguably the best blend of their various influences. This was their final studio album for almost a decade, with the core duo of Robert Santamaría and Marta Segura continuing as Dafnia. GRADE: B–.
Amarok (Spain/Venezuela): Gouveia 2005 (Azafran Media AP1209, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2011, recorded 2005)
Progressive
Marta Segura (principal vocals, percussion), Mireia Sisquella (keyboards, percussion, saxophone)
Recorded following the release of Quentadharkën but not released for a further six years, this live album offers a good cross-section of material. It’s a bit patchy, with an attempt at humour in the middle not working too well, but much of it is excellent. GRADE: B–.

Amarok (Spain/Venezuela): Hayat Yolunda (Azafrán Media AP 1527, double CD, with gatefold minisleeve, booklet and obi, Mexico, 2015)
Folk/Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Marta Segura (principal vocals)
At the softer end of the band’s spectrum, Hayat Yolunda offers delicate folky songs with jazzy tinges, though some tempo changes and more upbeat rock passages ensure that it always holds the attention. However, it’s notable that the instrumental ‘Rubicon’ is by far the best thing on offer, so it’s a pity that the album is otherwise dominated by songs. The bonus disc Archivos features eleven unreleased recordings from 2009 to 2015, and these are mostly excellent, with instrumental versions of ‘Norwegian Wood’ and ‘Stratosfear’ plus the lengthy, complex (and also instrumental) ‘Semillas’ being the highlights. GRADE: B–.
See also Dafnia, Parthenon

Amaryllis (Poland): Inquietum Est Cor (de Cor, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2009)
Progressive/Metal
Ewa Domagała (lead vocals)
A world away from the typical Polish neoprogressive sound of Albion, Loonypark et al, Amaryllis blend Latin lyrics with a mixture of progressive metal and ethnic elements. Simultaneously sacred yet profane, simultaneously mediaeval and modern, simultaneously folky and hard rocking, the results are a fascinating and compelling pot-pourri. GRADE: B–.

Amenophis (West Germany): You And I (WMMS 002, CD, 1989)
Progressive
Elke Moehrle (joint lead vocals)
This neoprogressive band offers a pleasant and unpretentious collection of instrumentals and songs. The former are uniformly enjoyable, whilst the latter range from the excellent (the catchy ‘Forever Is A Long Time’) to the truly dreadful (‘His Special Way’ and ‘Ghostball’). Overall this is a good album that could have been very good had the band focused on their strengths. As a footnote, they had released an earlier eponymous album with an all-male line-up. GRADE: C+.

Amoeba Split (Spain): Amoeba Split (No label, CD, 2003)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
María Toro (principal vocals, flute)
This short album (three tracks of around ten minutes apiece) is closer to modern jazz than to prog, with lots of saxophone and flute to the fore. It’s nicely done, even if there are relatively few rock elements and if María Toro’s unusual voice may not be to every taste. GRADE: C+.
Amoeba Split (Spain): Dance Of The Goodbyes (Creative Commonos FAL-665, with digipak and booklet, 2010)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
María Toro (lead vocals, flute)
Album number two features re-recordings of all three pieces from their debut, plus three new numbers (varying from 50 seconds to nearly 24 minutes). The feel of the music is radically different, however: this draws on the Canterbury scene in general and Soft Machine in particular to create some stunning early seventies-style jazz/rock grooves. The release was limited to 500 numbered copies. GRADE: B–.

Amon Düül (West Germany): Psychedelic Underground (Metronome MLP 15.332, 1969)
Garage/Avant-Garde
Angelika Filanda (joint lead vocals, drums), Eleonora Romana Bauer (joint lead vocals, drums, percussion), Uschi Obermaier (maracas)
Heavily inspired by the Velvet Underground (especially ‘European Son’ and the White Light/White Heat album), the ‘political’ faction of the Amon Düül commune offer raw garage rock with atonal pounding guitars and quasi-tribal drumming and chanting creating an almost mantric atmosphere. Admittedly, it’s a little one-dimensional (despite the inclusion of some interesting studio trickery and effects), but there’s certainly real primeval power here. GRADE: B–.
Amon Düül (West Germany): Collapsing – Singvögel Rückwarts & Co. (Metronome SMLP 012, 1969)
Garage/Avant-Garde
Angelika Filanda (joint lead vocals, drums), Eleonora Romana Bauer (joint lead vocals, drums, percussion), Uschi Obermaier (maracas)
Culled from the same lengthy jam session as Psychedelic Underground, their second takes a different approach, offering short edits sometimes sewn together by sound effects. Whilst there is much guitar-led mayhem as on their debut, the emphasis here is more on percussion, with several cuts consisting of little more than mantric drumming plus occasional shouts and yells. The result is a fascinating and adventurous album, if one with limited musical content. GRADE: B–.
Amon Düül (West Germany): Paradieswarts Düül (Ohr OMM 56 008, 1971)
Folk/Psychedelic
Angelika Filanda (percussion), Eleonora Romana Bauer (bongos, harp)
Their only album not taken from the mammoth 1969 jam, this features some later recordings in a much more mellow psychedelic folk vein. The opening ‘Love Is Peace’ has a lovely mellow groove and great chorus melody, ‘Snow Your Thurst [sic] And Sun Your Open Mouth’ is a more electric instrumental, and ‘Paramechanische Welt’ returns to the meandering acoustic jamming of the opening number (whilst the version used as a B-side has electric rather than acoustic guitars and a completely different, supremely desolate, mood). If you like ‘Sandoz In The Rain’ on Amon Düül II’s Yeti, which features several of these musicians, you will adore this album, whose echoes can be heard everywhere in modern acid-folk music. GRADE: B–.​
Amon Düül (West Germany): Disaster (BASF 29 29079-4, double, 1972, recorded 1969)
Garage/Avant-Garde
Angelika Filanda, Eleonora Romana Bauer, Uschi Obermaier
This double album compiles unedited excerpts from the vast 1969 jam that gave rise to the Psychedelic Underground and Collapsing LPs. It’s interesting to hear the material in its raw, unprocessed form, but variety was not one of Amon Düül’s strengths, so when you’ve heard a couple of cuts you’ve pretty much heard them all. GRADE: C+.
Amon Düül (West Germany): Experimente (Timewind MDB 950142, double, Switzerland, 1984, recorded 1969)
Garage/Avant-Garde
Angelika Filanda, Eleonora Romana Bauer, Uschi Obermaier
This final collection of outtakes and unedited session tapes is even rawer than Disaster – the tracks have no titles, are sometimes as short as fifty seconds and simply stop dead when the band tires of playing. Nonetheless I prefer this set, on which the band’s wildness and lack of inhibition really show through. GRADE: B–.

Amon Düül II (West Germany/UK): Phallus Dei (Liberty LBS 83279, with insert, West Germany, 1969)
Psychedelic/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (occasional vocals, tambourine)
Very different from the related Amon Düül (from whom this band was a breakaway), Amon Düül II immediately proved themselves masters of truly weird Krautrock with this remarkable debut. Side one is given over to four structured compositions, all truly strange and spacy, driven by operatic or falsetto voices, squalling acid guitars, quasi-classical violin and clattering polyrhythms from two dedicated drummers. The level of oddness is heightened by some truly bizarre lyrics (‘Dem Guten, Schönen, Wahren’, for instance, comprises dialogue between a paedophile attempting to explain his actions and a baying mob intent on burning him alive). Meanwhile, the second side comprises the twenty-minute title track: a freaky improvisation that quickly builds into an acid jam of great intensity. For no obvious reason, the first UK pressing had a completely different and much more psychedelic cover, whilst the early seventies British reissue featured entirely different artwork yet again. The 2006 CD reissue added two recently recorded jams, ‘TouchMaPhal’ and ‘I Want The Sun To Shine’: these are clearly very different, but quite good in their own right. GRADE: B.
Amon Düül II (West Germany/UK): Yeti (Liberty LBS 88359/60, double, with poster, 1970)
Psychedelic/Progressive
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (occasional vocals, tambourine)
With a disc of compositions and a second of improvisations, this repeats the format of Phallus Dei on a larger scale. Musically it’s somewhat different, however: dropping the second drummer, they offer a heavier, more rocking, guitar-dominated sound. This is their magnum opus, packed with outstanding songs and instrumentals: not only the stunning ‘Archangel’s Thunderbird’ (easily their best-known number) but also the amazing opening suite ‘Soap Shop Rock’ and the astonishing ‘Eye-Shaking King’ with its savage guitar work and roaring electronic vocals. The second disc is impressive too, with twenty-four minutes of heavy guitar jamming on ‘Yeti’ and ‘Yeti Talks To Yogi’ followed by ‘Sandoz In The Rain’, a folky collaboration with members of Amon Düül that sounds like an outtake from the latter’s Paradieswarts Düül. Oddly, the German pressing features an edited version of 'Pale Gallery', whilst the British original (Liberty LSP 101) has the full track.

GRADE: A.
Amon Düül II (West Germany): Carnival In Babylon (United Artists UAS 29327, 1972)
Progressive/Psychedelic
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals)
Their fourth album (number three, Tanz Der Lemminge, was recorded with an all-male line-up) was intended to be their third consecutive double, with the 37-minute improvisation ‘Hawknose Harlequin’ occupying the second disc. However, the record label insisted on Carnival In Babylon being a single disc, and ‘Hawknose Harlequin’ was consequently cut to a ten-minute assemblage of short fragments. Nonetheless it’s perhaps the band’s finest improvised piece: a tapestry of constantly shifting moods and styles. Elsewhere, they sound to start like other bands for the first time – a touch of Jefferson Airplane here, a slight hint of Renaissance there – but the weirdness quotient is still quite high, even if this is much more melodic and folky than their earlier work. As a footnote, the band briefly returned to a two-drummer line-up, though new addition Danny-Secundus Fichelscher quit after Wolf City to join Popol Vuh. The recent CD reissues add two new jams, ‘Skylight’ and ‘Tatzelwurmloch’, which are surprisingly accomplished. GRADE: B.
Amon Düül II (West Germany): Wolf City (United Artists UAS 29406, 1972)
Progressive/Psychedelic
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals)
Although less than 35 minutes long, this is easily their most varied album. The disc ranges from heavier acid-rock (‘Surrounded By The Stars’, ‘Green Bubble-Raincoated Man’, the title track) to richly melodic ethnic jamming (‘Wie Der Wind Am Ende Einer Strasse’) to the stunning closing fusion of psychedelic folk and symphonic progressive (‘Sleepwalker’s Timeless Bridge’). Meanwhile, ‘Jailhouse Frog’ and ‘Deutsche Nepal’ are so weird as to be almost unclassifiable, but both are packed with catchy riffs and great melodies. Altogether, this is a remarkably bold and creative piece of work. Once again, the most recent CD issues add some good recent material (‘Kindermorderlied’, ‘Mystic Blutsturz’ and ‘Düülirium’). GRADE: A–.
Amon Düül II (West Germany): Live In London (United Artists UAS 29466, 1973)
Progressive/Psychedelic
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals)
The performances inevitably aren’t quite as good as the studio originals, but the tracklisting is fantastic: excerpts from the two long, structured pieces from Tanz Der Lemminge plus the three best cuts from Yeti (‘Soap Shop Rock’, ‘Archangel’s Thunderbird’ and ‘Eye-Shaking King’). The result is comfortably one of the finest live albums in this volume, and it’s a pity that the entire gig couldn’t have been included. GRADE: A–.
Amon Düül II (West Germany): Vive La Trance (United Artists UAS 29504, with poster, 1973)
Progressive/Psychedelic/Rock
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals)
Focusing on shorter, more commercial songs, this is another wide-ranging set. Three rather mainstream cuts on side two (‘Doctor Jeckyll’, Trap’ and ‘Pigman’) are good rather than great, but otherwise this is outstanding. The two longest tracks, ‘Mozambique’ and ‘Apocalyptic Bore’, are especially impressive, particularly the former, and the West Coast-style jam ‘Fly United’ and dreamy instrumental ‘Im Krater Blühn Wieder Die Bäume’ are also among the band’s best numbers. Finally, ‘Jalousie’ is interesting: featuring Knaup-Krötenschwanz singing in an uncharacteristic falsetto against piano backing, it’s so uncannily similar to Kate Bush that it could have been a major influence on her work. Some CD reissues this time have four recent bonus cuts. GRADE: B.
Amon Düül II (West Germany): Hijack (Nova 6.22056, with insert, 1974)
Pop/Rock/Progressive
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals)
The band’s first album for a new label, and their first without Olaf Kübler in the producer’s chair, marked a concerted attempt to crack America by adopting a more conventional mainstream rock sound with lots of strings and horns. Whilst the material is mostly quite good, parts of the album are plain odd (the lengthy instrumental ‘Da Guadaloop’ combines a disco rhythm and strings with some avant-garde touches) and parts are plain awful (‘Explode Like A Star’ and ‘Archy The Robot’ are two of the worst attempts to write a pop song I’ve ever heard), with only the richly melodic ‘Traveller’ comparing to the best of the band’s previous work. GRADE: C+.
Amon Düül II (West Germany): Made In Germany (Nova 6.28350, double, with inserts, 1975)
Rock/Progressive
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals)
The band’s third and final double LP is very different from their first two: with no extended improvisations, it’s a carefully crafted concept album about the history of Germany. Opening with an excellent orchestral overture, the discs blend whimsical songs and heavier and ambient instrumentals into a very effective whole. Whilst it’s not the most consistent record, there is some strong material here, especially on the impressive first side. Unfortunately for the band, Made In Germany was deemed to have little commercial potential internationally and was also seen as controversial (a mock-humorous interview with Hitler led to accusations of anti-semitism) so it was cut to a single disc for release outside Germany. The cuts were not that severe (a short double album became a long single LP, losing about 20 minutes of music) but they were badly chosen, with nearly the whole first side being ditched in favour of weaker material from elsewhere. Worse, the set was resequenced and repackaged, thus destroying the concept; frustrated, the band fell apart, with more than half the members quitting (including Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz, who went on to Popol Vuh). In terms of a grade, the single album version would just about scrape a C+. GRADE: B–.
Amon Düül II (West Germany): Vortex (Telefunken 6.24874, 1981)
Rock
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (principal vocals, tambourine)
After releasing three albums in the late seventies with an all-male line-up (two of which, Almost Alive and Only Human, were subsequently reissued with recent bonus tracks), Amon Düül II broke up in 1980 only to reform the following year. Vortex takes them even further from their roots, being a polished mainstream rock album with AOR and pop edges. ‘Holy West’ is a great rock song and the opening title track is a reasonable instrumental, but mostly this is a safe and anonymous record (and quite remarkably different from Popol Vuh’s Sei Still Wisse Ich Bin, which Knaup-Krötenschwanz cut almost simultaneously). Two recent bonus cuts flesh out the most recent CD version. GRADE: C+.
Amon Düül II (Germany): Nada Moonshine # (Schneeball 3056-2, CD, 1995)
Rock/Progressive
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals)
Nada Moonshine # succeeds where Vortex failed in successfully updating the original Amon Düül II sound for a new generation. Admittedly, it’s their mid-to-late seventies sound more than that of their seminal early albums, but this is still a strong disc blending a distinctive Krautrock ambience with a polished rock production and lots of modern dance touches. The opening ‘Castaneda Da Dream’ is simply a classic, with a fantastic hookline and groove, but even the more obviously dancefloor-oriented material works surprisingly well. Needless to say, this new direction annoyed plenty of purists. GRADE: B–.
Amon Düül II (Germany): Live In Tokyo (Mystic MYS CD 107, CD, UK, 1996)
Rock/Progressive
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals)
Whilst this has an attractive tracklisting (much of Nada Moonshine # plus a number of older classics), the performances are generally quite mediocre. The Nada Moonshine # material does not translate well into a live setting, with that album’s best cut ‘Castaneda Da Dream’ being rather underwhelming, while even ‘Deutsche Nepal’ comes across as quite subdued. All in all, this is something of a wasted opportunity. GRADE: C+.
Amon Düül II (Germany): Flawless (Mystic MYS CD 113, CD, UK, 1997)
Pop/Rock/Psychedelic
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals, percussion)
I’ve never worked out quite what Flawless is. It’s not a collection of third-party remixes like the Japanese-only oddities Kobe – Reconstructions and Eternal Flashback, and according to the credits was entirely recorded between September 1996 and March 1997. But it’s not exactly a new studio album either, as nearly all the material is previously released (with one cut purporting to be a jam from 1971), and I’m not entirely sure whether these are true re-recordings or heavily overdubbed remixes. The remixes (or whatever they are) emphasise the dance and techno elements of the Nada Moonshine # material and are pretty embarrassing to the band’s legacy, whilst the album sets psychedelic jams against pop songs and seventies numbers against new stuff, in ever-more-inappropriate mashups; so perhaps it’s not a million miles removed from Kobe and Eternal Flashback after all. GRADE: C.
Amon Düül II (Germany): Bee As Such (Download, 2010)
Progressive/Psychedelic
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals)
Very similar in style to the bonus tracks on the CD reissues of their older work, this consists of four long jams lasting up to nearly half-an-hour apiece. Inevitably this is a bit short on composition and craft, with a rather amateurish, half-hearted feel about it, but it’s still a mildly interesting and enjoyable set and an effective yang to Nada Moonshine #’s highly polished yin. Four years later, the set was issued on CD, retitled Düülirium (Purple Pyramid CLP 1808, with digipak). GRADE: C+.
Amon Düül II (Germany): BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert Plus (Windsong WINCD 027, CD, UK, 1992, recorded 1971 & 1973)
Rock/Psychedelic/Progressive
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (joint lead vocals)
This interesting archive release mixes excerpts from a live concert in 1973 (featuring two songs from Phallus Dei, one from Wolf City and three from Vive La Trance) with the amazing drum solo underpinning ‘The Marilyn-Monroe-Memorial-Church’ and an alternate take of ‘Chewing Gum Telegram’ (both originally on Tanz Der Lemminge). The result is a fine set, but one that never threatens the supremacy of Live In London. The disc was reissued in 2002 as Mañana with the addition of a John Peel session from 1973. All four extra tracks duplicate material from the concert segments, so these numbers were clearly among the band’s favourites at the time. GRADE: B–.
Amon Düül II (Germany): Krautrock Meeting (SPV SPV 563-78157 2DVD, double DVD, with booklet, 2005)
Progressive/Psychedelic
Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz (principal vocals)
Sadly, Amon Düül don’t get the whole double DVD to themselves – this is a six-band compilation (the others being Jane, Epitaph, Guru Guru, Kathargo and Birth Control) to which they contribute a six-song set. The performance is ragged and punky, and I doubt it compares to their early seventies peak (though most of the material is drawn from that era), but it’s certainly quite interesting. GRADE: B–.
See also Gila, Maschine Nr. 9, Popol Vuh, Utopia

Amon Düül (UK) (UK/West Germany): Hawk Meets Penguin (Illuminated JAMS 24, 1981)
Progressive/Psychedelic
Julie Wareing (joint lead vocals)
Although credited simply to Amon Düül and originally billed as containing archive recordings, this album was actually taped by a new line-up of the band (generally known as ‘Amon Düül UK’) formed in Wales by founder members John Weinzierl and Dave Anderson. Ironically this is much closer to the true spirit of Amon Düül II than the main band’s Vortex, released the same year, featuring just two long tracks of 12½ and 23½ minutes. Belying its title, ‘One Moment’s Anger Is Two Pints Of Blood’ is a beautiful, tranquil piece with wordless female vocals whilst ‘Hawk Meets Penguin’ is an odd, trippy improvisation presumably intended to recapture the flavour of Phallus Dei and Yeti.

GRADE: B–.
Amon Düül (UK) (UK/West Germany): Meetings With Menmachines Unremarkable Heroes Of The Past (Illuminated JAMS 27, 1985)
Rock/Metal/Progressive
Julie Wareing (principal vocals)
Very different from its predecessor, this is a song-based album of guitar rock, with notable hard rock elements but also lots of dreamy keyboard passages. Julie Wareing’s soft, gentle vocals add an unexpected pop edge to the proceedings, although she doesn’t sing on the longest and heaviest cut ‘Burundi Drummer’s Nightmare’, which resembles a more cheerful Hawkwind. With some very catchy material, this is a good and underrated album. GRADE: C+.
Amon Düül (UK) (UK/West Germany/South Africa): Die Lösung (Demi Monde DMLP 1015, 1989)
Rock
Julie Wareing (occasional vocals)
Similar in style to Meetings With Menmachines… but without any real progressive elements, this is a pleasant but rather inconsequential melodic rock album. Julie Wareing has a much lower profile here, since most of the lead vocals are taken by Robert Calvert (the Hawkwind alumnus, not the Catapilla and Mother Gong saxophonist). GRADE: C+.

Ampera (Norway): A Vulcanized Mingle (Mylodon MyloCD048, CD, Chile, 2006)
Progressive
Hanne Tangstad (lead vocals)
I’ve seen this compared to a female-fronted Anekdoten, but there’s not much resemblance: whilst occupying the same general territory, Ampera sound more like the heavier end of Paatos or White Willow, shot through with some post-punk influences (including hints of Siouxsie & The Banshees and even Rubella Ballet). Like all the aforementioned bands, this is very gothic, minimalist and intense, and at its best superbly atmospheric. GRADE: B–.

Amuse Me (Poland): Amuse Me (Ars Mundi AMS 048, CD, with digipak, 2009)
Rock
Iza Komoszyńska (lead vocals, keyboards, harmonica, programming)
Although marketed as prog, this is basically atmospheric rock with a few pop edges and a light, dreamy mood. Although it’s by no means bad, it says something about the album’s sameness and lack of substance that I failed to notice it had played all the way through and started again, finally realising that one of the tunes sounded familiar. GRADE: C.