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Amon Duul - Carnival In Babylon (1972)



Studio Album, released in 1972

This is a terribly underrated album. The problem with a band like Amon Duul II is that their sound and approach changed very radically as their career progressed, which means that you will have fans from all sides of the fence each harshly criticizing what they think to be the "bad albums" -- that are actually awesome -- which simply happened to have departed from their particular range of taste. This album (the band's fourth) is a completely different affair than the three that preceded it, in that it begins to focus more on songwriting, vocal work, and a degree of cohesion; as opposed to turning all the amplifiers up to 11 and freaking out for entire album sides (which is equally delightful, of course).

So, naturally, all the stoned "early ADII fans" hear Carnival for the first time, and come away saying ridiculous things like, "It's a pop album! There's no improvisation! They've lost it!" This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, it's on THIS album that ADII's lead guitarist (John Weinzierl?) really comes into his own, and proceeds to rip it up gloriously all over each and every track! The ten minute epic "Hawknose Harlequin" is one of my absolute favorite ADII songs, with a lengthy instrumental outro section that contains some of the most delectable guitar jamming I've ever heard. What's more, the "raw" sound quality of their previous releases has been replaced by a pristine, gorgeous sonic atmosphere replete with vocal harmonies (Vocal harmonies? ADII?!?), shimmering keyboards, washed-out sound effects, and tone-perfect guitar breaks (at times reminiscent of Hendrix's prettier moments). Needless to say, I adore this album (and it's follow-up "Wolf City") equally as much as I do the drugged-out insanity best represented on the first three releases, and at various points in time, Carnival in Babylon has actually been my *favorite* ADII album. So, when you've "freaked out" enough for one day listening to their earlier stuff, check this one out and prepare for one of the most perfectly chilled-out musical gems to ever come out of Germany.

There is something truly memorizing in the earlier works of AMON DUUL II who managed to release some fantastic early 70's albums. Literally wedged somewhere between the darker psychedelic 60's and the progressive underground German 70's AMON DUUL II emerged as the genre pioneers. "Carnival In Babylon" is a very trippy and evocative album full of allusions to PINK FLOYD and HAWKWIND and a ton of originality. I flip this album personally interchangeably with "Wolf City" and really find this to be the musical companion. As you would expect this album is full of creativity and progressive originality and if you listen real carefully you will hear things you have not ever before. I always said that AMON DUUL II is a band you have to acquire a taste for. I guess I have ... A FANTASTIC ALBUM.




Tracks Listing

1. C.I.D. In Uruk (5:30)
2. All The Years 'Round (7:20)
3. Shimmering Sand (6:33)
4. Kronwinkl 12 (3:52)
5. Tables Are Turned (3:34)
6. Hawknose Harlequin (9:48)

Total Time: 36:37

Bonus tracks on Repertoire Records CD (2002):
7**. Light (3:47)
8**. Lemmingmania (2:57)
9**. Between The Eyes (2:24)
10**. All The Years 'Round (Single Version) (4:10)

Musicians

- Danny Fichelscher / drums, congas
- Karl-Heinz Hausmann / keyboards, electronics
- Chris Karrer / acoustic & electric guitars, violin, Soprano sax, vocals
- Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz / vocals
- Peter Leopold / drums, tambourine
- Lothar Meid / bass, vocals
- John Weinzierl / acoustic & electric guitars, vocals

+ Joy Alaska / backing vocals
- Olaf Kübler / Soprano sax, door
- Falk U. Rogner / organ


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Amon Düül II - Carnival In Babylon 1972


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