Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Walter Wegmüller - 1972 - Tarot

Walter Wegmüller

01. Der Narr (3:55)
02. Der Magier (4:38)
03. Die Hohepriesterin (4:17)
04. Die Herrscherin (4:16)
05. Der Herrscher (2:58)
06. Der Hohepriester (3:10)
07. Die Entscheidung (3:51)
08. Der Wagen (5:15)
09. Die Gerechtigkeit (3:01)
10. Der Weise (4:01)
11. Das Glücksrad (3:38)
12. Die Kraft (3:26)
13. Die Prüfung (4:56)
14. Der Tod (1:19)
15. Die Mäßigkeit (4:47)
16. Der Teufel (3:38)
17. Die Zerstörung (4:00)
18. Die Sterne (6:14)
19. Der Mond (2:50)
20. Die Sonne (3:03)
21. Das Gericht (2:06)
22. Die Welt (8:41)

 Manuel Göttsching / guitar
- Hartmut Enke / guitar
- Jerry Berkers / bass
- Jürgen Dollase / keyboard
- Walter Westrupp, Klaus Schulze, Harald Großkopf / drums

In 1972, Rolf Ulrich Kaiser of Ohr records and a group of musicians from the Berlin Underground scene (Ashra Tempel) seriously started to think about cosmic rock music to satisfy their adventurous life with appropriate sounds. The idea of "Cosmic music" was also born as a protest against UK and United States obvious influences on rock music worldwide. The aim was to create typical German "acid" rock music. To put in practice his project, Rolf Kaiser founded his own label and called it "Cosmic Couriers". The name of "Cosmic Couriers" is an attitude of mind that emerged during the 60's. It was an idealistic movement which conceptually tries to look for ways to stay in high states of consciousness thanks to mescaline, LSD trips. The first album released under Rolf Kaiser's drug inspired philosophy was "seven up" with the guru of "acid test" Tim Leary and Ashra Tempel musicians. Soon after, the Kaiser produced two others albums with personalities from the underground psychedelic movement. There was the mystic, esoteric writer Sergius Golowin (on recitations for the cosmic/psych folk project "Lord Krishna") and the Swiss gipsy folk artist Walter Wegmuller for the project around the symbolism of "Tarot" cards.

In 1972 will be released the "Tarot' album with the help of many krautrock musicians, notably Manuel Gottsching (for many guitars parts), Klaus Schulze (for electronic & effects), a few members of Wallenstein as Harald Grosskopf (on drums), Jurgen Dollase (on keyboards) and Walter Westrupp (on acoustic parts). Musically "Tarot" consists of numerous short tracks that we can describe as a great synthesis of everything that emerged during the first krautrock years. Consequently the stress is put on hallucinatory, psych effects, bluesy/ trance guitar sounds, free form rock augmented with sophisticated synth sounds, acoustic folk passages with flute and guitar, piano pseudo romantic arrangements, odd recitations. Each track represents an idea developed by a "tarot" card. A fascinating travel through the subconsciousness and cosmic energies.

Here are a few lines which sum up Walter Wegmuller's Tarot mystical universe:

The travel starts with the madman. He is the beginning and the end at the same time. So you can hear how he goes through his own world. He stumbles over earthy things and material obstacles and doesn't know that it can give. The wizard opens the door himself. In triumph, he appears on the scene. Then he lets himself play during an endless eternity. In his scenic railway, he plays his own life into a brand eternal one. He opens the door which leads to all secrets.

Walter Wegmuller was a Swiss painter who was an expert on the subject of tarot cards. He is not a musician, but is on this double album to offer up his thoughts on each tarot card with his spoken and whispered words. He has an all-star cast playing the music here including Manuel Gottsching and Hartmut Enke both from ASH RA TEMPEL, Jurgen Dollase, Harald Grosskopf and Jerry Berkers from WALLENSTEIN and Walter Westrupp from W&W and Klaus Schulze. These guys were also known as THE COSMIC COURIERS and THE COSMIC JOKERS. Dieter Dierks and Rosi are also listed as guests. For more background info and the subject matter of this recording I would highly recommend you read the bio here at ProgArchives and Sean Trane's review. The spoken words are all in German which suits me fine as it is all about the amazing music. Speaking of which this is such a great example of what Krautrock was all about. "Tarot" is a cosmic trip with mellotron, synths and electronics creating a spacey base, while the guitar, bass, drums and percussion create a variety of sounds and styles to make your trip both an exciting and relaxing one. I'd like to touch on some of my favourite tracks.

Disc One opens with the only English on the recording as the band is introduced one by one as an uptempo melody is played. Nice."Die Hohepriesterin" features slowly spoken words as waves of mellotron and sound drift along. Great sound. "Der Herrscher" has some fantastic guitar playing front and center from Manuel as spoken words come in. This is one of the few tracks that isn't spacey. Love the guitar that goes on and on. "Der Hohepriester" has this beautiful piano melody with intricate guitar as whispered vocals and flute come in. Simply an emotional, uplifting song that has to be heard. "Der Wagen" opens quietly but the sound is building. Very cool. Spoken words before 2 minutes. Some prominant drumming on this one as spacey sounds are shooting around. A wall of sound before 3 minutes. Spacey winds are blowing before 5 minutes. "Die Gerechtigkeit" is dark and serious with haunting spoken words. It's like impending doom is near. While the next song "Der Weise" is light with piano, mellotron and fragile spoken words. Gorgeous song. "Die Kraft" features tribal-like drumming as Gottsching lights it up with his guitar.

On Disc Two "Die Massigkeit" opens with spoken words as the guitar rips it up big time. Eerie sounds 2 minutes in as guitar is still on fire. Organ replaces guitar late. "Der Teufel" features dual guitar melodies, whispered vocals and flute. "Die Zerstorung" opens with piano as softly spoken vocals come in then waves of mellotron. Explosive sounds before 3 minutes as drums go crazy. "Die Sterne" builds slowly as guitar and spoken vocals come in. Drums 2 minutes in before synths and mellotron washes arrive before 3 minutes. Spacey, cosmic winds 5 1/2 minutes in. "Das Gericht" features beautiful, heavenly sounds(mellotron etc.) as spoken words come in. Heaven must sound like this. The final track is "Die Welt" and it ends this double album in fine style. Marching-like drums early as guitar makes some noise. A great rhythm comes out of this with psychedelic guitar playing over top. Awesome sound. Spoken words and spacey waves with mellotron come in. Percussion 3 minutes in. It gets so intense 5 minutes in as Manuel is absolutely on fire ! Drums continue to pound. A wall of spacey sounds can't contain the blistering guitar. In the end though the spacey sounds win out as the song and album drift away.

Essential for Krautrock fans in my opinion. This is the stuff that legends are made of.



  2. Wow, spooky! I just left your blog to go and have a look for the Tarot album which a friend had just emailed me about and told me I would love it - I did a search on google for it and your blog came up in the first few! Clearly you have great taste and after reading your review, I am looking even more forward to hearing it.

    It's a good choice filefactory for hosting as they do seem to keep the files longer than others (I used to say MF was the best but they can easily close your account and zippyshare is good but the links never seem to last long) - Mega does seem to be good and the Russian hosting site yandex and the Czech site are good - files seem to stay up for years - the best precaution to take down is the one you are doing - name the files with letters and numbers, it is so obvious but many blogs fail to observe it and then spend most of their time answering re-post requests until they get so sick and tired of it that they close the blog!