ROTW: Down In The Bunker!
Hey, folks. Thus far, reviews here have been few and far between, we know. We’ve been working on various projects – including, slowly, ‘The Book’ – but would like to get more posts happening here.
So, gonna try to post, yes, a RECORD OF THE WEEK every week. Not necessarily a review, more like an alert, or announcement. A recommendation. An advisory. Regarding something that, were we still making ROTW choices for aQ, might have been this week’s model.
We’ll try to do this every Tuesday, in honor of the day of the week that the God of the Old Testament decreed was the Day of the New Release, before some fools changed that to Friday.
Our choice today is an easy one, a real doozy, coming from krautrockers German Oak, who are thee originators of (literal) Bunker-Funk, and Andee’s favorite krautrock band ever. Allan loves 'em a lot too, though can’t necessarily rate them higher than, say, Faust, Can or Amon Duul II. But they’re up there. And with this new, expanded, totes deluxe reissue of their mysterious masterpiece from back in 1972, maybe now really up there.
As you may recall, aQ reviewed a prior, bootleggish edition of German Oak’s self-titled album some years ago, making it a Record Of The Week then, naturally enough, and among the things said about it then was the following:
"Dark and frightening, ominous and rumbling. A huge cavernous space, giving everything the appropriate claustrophobic, underground feel, drums stumbling through the darkness, warm swells of guitar and organ billowing out like puffs of smoke. Almost ambient at times, pulsing and pounding at others… Super lo-fi but thick and heavy and lush in its own way. The sound of the bunker is definitely another instrument, a primitive caveman studio, adding a subterranean timbre to the creepy jams and abstract rhythms… So gorgeously spacey and ominous, throbbing and moody."
Amazingly, the Now-Again folks, who previously celebrated the essential Paternoster album with a reissue in this same fancy ‘Reserve’ series of theirs, have managed in some occult manner to get in contact with the original members of German Oak in order to fully excavate the bunker and make this expanded, remastered reissue package an undreamt-of reality. Which means, three LPs, three cds worth of German Oak’s bunker-brewed genius – with alternate, extended, & unreleased tracks! Also, the band’s preferred song titles are now featured, not the WWII-oriented ones found on the original private-press LP release. Which, incredibly enough, includes a track titled “Happy Stripes (On Cats)” – now that’s a bit different in mood from the likes of “Swastika Rising,” ain’t it?
Because of the change in some song names, and the sheer extra expanse of material on offer here, we’re still a little bit unsure of the exact overlap between German Oak recordings we’ve heard before and this release – it would appear the tracks from the Nibelungenlied disc that Witch & Warlock put out in ’92 are not included for some reason. If this was a proper review, we’d find out. Presumably, that information (and lots more) is probably in the band-sanctioned liner notes (with rare photos, etc.) included here, which we have yet to delve into.
Order from Forced Exposure while they’ve got copies! Stranded we’d imagine might have them too, vinyl anyway.