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Kollektiv - Kollektiv (1973)

Kollektiv - Kollektiv (1973)

Album: Kollektiv - Kollektiv (Remastered Expanded Edition)
Released: 1973 (2007)
Genre: Krautrock
Long Hair - LHC00064

Here are one of the true hidden gems to come out of the 70's German underground scene. This album since I first heard it has moved into the ranks amongst my all time Krautrock favs.......and for good reason. I would rank this album on par with the first 2 Neu ! albums and in favt can draw many similarities to their music. Kollektiv were a 4 piece band led by jazz and experimentalist Klaus Dapper (Flute and Sax). Musically this is a pure juxtaposition of early Pink Floyd (aka Ummagumma) with Neu!. This all instrumental album really knows how to soar into the depths of space. One of those albums that you toss late at night into the stereo and just sit back and relax too. There is nothing to loud or musically complex here but rather seductive and transcedental. Kollectiv musically blend soft flute with flowing bass guitar and drum lines. This is one of those albums where all 4 instruments work to perfection. Highly recommended. - James Unger

This one sounds a little like Organisation or the first Kraftwerk album, though more livelier and jazzier, with some great rhythms and a lot of amazing guitar, flute and sax solos, and some nice electronic effects. The three tracks on the second side form one long suite that starts off slow and builds in intensity to the last track, "Pressluft", with it’s frenzied guitar riff. It’s one of those albums which is way too original to be categorized as fusion. - Rolf Semprebon, New Gibraltar Encyclopedia Of Progressive Rock

Kollektiv was an almost unknown Krautrock formation hailing from Krefeld and originally consisted of Waldo Karpenziel (drums), his twin brother Jogi (bass), Jurgen Havix (guitars) and Klaus Dapper (flute and sax) who played before together with Ralf Hutter (who founded pre-Kraftwerk band Organisation soon after) in a band called “The Phantoms”. Waldo, Jogi and Jurgen started playing together in a school band already back in 1964. After listening to Frank Zappa, Blodwyn Pig and King Crimson records and a couple of jazz musicians like Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery and Cannonball Adderly they gradually got bored by Beat music and decided to do something completely different and much more exciting. They started using effect machines, sometimes homemade, a zither played with drumsticks on an amplifier, metal sheets and rotating discs, played the bass with a bow and employed any type of exotic instrument. To make a long story short Kollektiv had been a Krautrock band in its very original sense doing really inventive music mainly based on improvisations of minimal themes, often in excess of 10, 15 or more minutes. Some people compare them with closely related band Neu! but if one should draw comparisons at all I hear rather some similarities with Organisation’s “Tone Float”-album (which is for me the best work done by Kraftwerk). I’ve to say that the music presented here is much more diversified and elaborate than the one of Neu! and moreover despite all free-form and loosely structured nature much more enjoyable and comprehensible. Honestly this album has even reinforced my interest in such type of music which gave initially a rather disappointing impression for me after listening exclusively to its famous forerunners. I read an interview with Klaus Dapper published in Sounds magazine in 1974 explaining very well how collectively organised this band was and how they finally reached to the type of music they were actually doing. Basically they were using rock, jazz and pop music as stocks and extracted the best ingredients from each of them or in other words omitted their individual drawbacks. Let me say it in his very own words:
“The high complexity in harmony and melody of jazz music and its overvaluation of instrumental virtuosity is quite disturbing for some of us and a non-expert can easily get the impression that it’s a kind of competition between musician and listener which is successful for the former if he plays more complicated than the latter is able to support. In several domains of rock and pop music on the other hand melodies, lyrics, arrangements and improvisations are sometimes that much uninspired and poor. We’re trying to find a blend between those genres and other forms of music (free-form and electronic) without taking over those mistakes mentioned. Our music has a structure which is simpler than it’s used to be in jazz, instead we pay more attention to tones and moods. It’s predominantly improvised music what we’re doing. Even most of the themes and determined parts are originally based on improvisation. We broaden the common range of tone colours by using sometimes a rather strong electronic alienation of guitar, flute or saxophone. According to our experience our music is well appreciated by both jazz and rock fans since each of them can find sufficient elements of their preferred style respectively.”
I think it’s rather futile and redundant to describe the six musical pieces presented here in detail. Nonetheless I’d like to contribute with my review a bit to provide more recognition for this unique band than it actually gets. I’d highly recommend both their debut, the one with recorded SWF-studio sessions and as well the one done after their reformation with exceptional Swedish bassist Jonas Hellborg not only to all Krautrock fans but to anyone open for free-form rock/jazz/electronic who might have been alienated so far by music done by Can, Neu! or Kraftwerk for example. That's why I'll use here the maximum rating option since this work must be considered a masterpiece in progressive music IMO. - Dieter Fischer,

The story of Kollektiv is quite complex. Originally a school band playing pop songs in the mid-60's as a trio called The Generals with the twin brothers Jogi and Waldemar Karpenkiel, and Jurgen Havix. During the late-60's the three went their separate ways playing in diverse rock, blues and psychedelic bands. In 1967 Jogi joined The Phantoms, which also featured later Kraftwerk member Ralf Hutter. This band went through several changes of name: Rambo Zambo Bluesband, Bluesology and, after Jogi had left to rejoin The Generals, became Organisation. Also in Bluesology was the talented jazz saxophonist Klaus Dapper who left the band along with Jogi. With Dapper at the helm, The Generals changed style completely and changed name to Kollektiv. It's hardly surprising then that Kollektiv's debut album bore much resemblance to the music of Organisation and early Kraftwerk, a spacious fusion featuring electrified flute and sax, too esoteric and complexly crafted to be called jazz-rock. In fact, along with the likes of Xhol, instrumental Thirsty Moon, Ibliss, et al., Kollektiv exhibited a style that was uniquely German, the jazzier end of Krautrock, full of invention and exceptional musicianship. Like many bands of the era, though they existed for several years on and off, with members moving into other bands like Guru Guru, Katamaran, etc., Kollektiv disappeared into obscurity. Eventually a radically different sounding Kollektiv appeared in the late-80's aided by Swedish bassist Jonas Hellborg, presenting a very lively and high-tech fusion - "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg"

A great deal of classic Green Brain albums have been reissued on CD, but this is one of the gems that hasn't been (that is, if you're discounting the flash-in-the-pan, illegitimate Germanofon CD of the 90s). Kollektiv are a group that reformed in the 80s even, releasing a slick fusion album with Jonas Hellborg and a slightly different lineup. However, their first release is early 70s jazzy experimental krautrock at its best. Opening with echoing flutes, "Rambo Zambo" takes you on a nearly 12-minute voyage where grooves are laid down by the brothers Karpenkiel and effected, tripped-out flute and guitars ramble psychedelically in the front. "Baldrian" is laid back and slightly bluesy with its wah-wahed sax and reverbed slide guitar. A short, vocal experiment closes out the first side, giving way to the band's side-long, three-part opus, "Gageg." Having a more composed feel than most of side one, "Gageg" is still mostly a vehicle for flute, sax, and guitar soloing. "Adante" atmospherically sets the stage, "Allegro" brings a laid back jam for both flute and guitars, while the final part, "Pressluft" takes 11 minutes to conclude, starting with an angular, Crimson-esque riff over which drums jazzily riff and more Xhol-ish sax plays in front. - Mike McLatchey, Gnosis

This group made one fine jazz-rock fusion album, released on Brain in 1973. The album was recorded in March 1973 at the Windrose Studio in Hamburg with Konrad Plank engineering. The best tracks on it were "Rambo Zambo", a work-out for electric flute, and "Gageg", a large scale fusion composition covering the whole side two and featuring many great guitar passages. Jogi Karpenkiel later became a member of Guru Guru and contributed to some of their most jazzy albums: - "Cosmic Dreams At Play"

Early 70's kraut-jazz fusion that contributes to the best of the genre. The music is really, cool, imaginative, intense, improvised and still fresh after all these years. These intuitive jazzy improvisations also introduce some sunny, enchanting flute parts and groovy sax solos. It’s largely instrumental and devoted to dynamic prog injections with some flowing, spaced-out sessions. "Rambo Zambo" starts with a high quality improvisation, delivering very colourful free jazz freakout. “Baldrian” introduction delivers a dreamy, psychedelic soundscape, then it provides a kind of ethereal country-rock “trip”. “Foirsterlied” is an eccentric, humorous improvisation in the genre of some RIO musical provocations. “Gagen-Andante” is full of tripped out effects, mixing floating flute lines and e- guitars disharmonies in a relative calm tempo. An adventurous & talented effort, moreover the sound is really refined, sophisticated contrary to most of krautrock albums. - Philippe Blache

In March 1973 the band recorded its first LP, with Conny Plank as co-producer and sound-engineer, for the legendary Brain-Metronome Label. Acclaimed by progressive and krautrock fans and critics alike, it showed a different, more innvative style of playing contemporary German rock music and was honoured with a nomination for the German Schallplattenpreis. They produced an incomparable, unmistakeable sound with echoes of Organisation and early Kraftwerk: spacey but melodic, elevated yet rocking, innovative: progressive in the best sense, consequent in the realisation of intent, forging new musical territory without denying its roots. The musicians did not set great store by making the kind of music that would „match" the common stereotypes. Instead, they mocked the tendency of music critics and listeners to ascribe each song to a certain genre, by allowing the owners of the album to decide for themselves what kind of music they were listening to. The movable "snippets" on the album's fold-back inside would produce bizarre names, such as Rozz-Pack, Pack-Jack, but also Pop-Rock and Jazz-Pop...
On the album's inner cover, however, the musicians eventually commented on the recordings:
Rambo Zambo: A rocky improvisation, created by sound cascades of the flute con­nected with an echo machine.
Baldrian: The most atmospheric piece on the record has Jürgen playing on a self-made instrument with 56 strings, built from a zither and parts of a guitar.
Försterlied: Our contribution to jazz and lyrics. With a text by Robert Gernhardt. Nicely kaput.
Gageg: Starting point was a melody consisting of the notes g-a-g-e-g. This developed into a three part piece containing the movements: Andante, Allegro, Compressed Air. The most versatile piece on the record.
A glance at the bands evolution and musicial roots of the individual musicians helps explain Kollektivs musical self-confidence.
Waldo Karpenkiel remembers: "Influenced by Beat music coming from England we started a school band, The Generals, in 1964: My twin brother Jogi Karpenkiel was on bass, Jürgen Havix played guitar and I was the drummer. We gradually got bored with Beat music and started listening to early Frank Zappa, Blodwyn Pig and King Crimson records. Jazz musicians like Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery and Cannonball Adderly also influenced us. Then Jogi started to experiment with the Phantoms, another Krefeld band with Ralf Hütter on organ, Klaus Dapper from Duisburg on the flute and saxophone. In 1968 Jogi returned to the Generals. We decided we should work together with a windplayer and contacted Klaus Dapper. In the meantime, Ralf Hütter had founded Organisation, the forerunner to Kraftwerk.
In 1970 the Generals and Klaus D. became Kollektiv. Our maxim: Everything is allo­wed! Music as experiment! Effect machines, sometimes homemade, were used: a zi­ther, with an electrical amplifier played with drum sticks, the bass played with a bow. Metal sheets and rotating metal discs were used, in addition to any type of exotic instrument or outlandish machine. The musical pieces are improvisations of minimal themes, often in excess of 10, 15 or more minutes. In 1971 we were ready to go on tour. The first concert was 400 km away in Wilhelmshaven (North Germany). On the day before the tour we hurriedly bought an old Volkswagen bus for DM 400. It has Campari-Bitter written on it and served us well from many years. We played in almost all the relevant music clubs, at university fests and small and large festivals. We often Iplayed with Sweet Smoke, who we had befriended.
After intensive practising and all the performances we felt ready to record an LP. My brother Jogi travelled to Hamburg to meet Conny Plank and make arrangements. In March 1973 we did the recordings that were released on the Brain LP. After that we sent SWF some demo cassettes and they invited us to a recording session (Kollektiv, SWF- Sessions, Vol. 5, Long Hair, LHC 05).
The first split in the band came in 1975. My brother Jogi left the band and joined Guru Guru, were he played bass until 1979. Also Klaus Dapper left the band. In 1976 Waldo and Jürgen played a number of concerts with organ and piano player Klaus Hackspiel (a.o. at the legendary club Onkel Pö in Hamburg and at University Krefeld, which best moments will be released on a forthcoming CD on Long Hair.
Once this line-up split up as well, Waldo was joined by Axel Zinowski (guitar), Georg Funke (bass) and Christoph (electric piano). The recordings of the bonus tracks inclu­ded in the CD were done in this formation in the band's rehearsal room. Meanwhile Volker Hahn (violin), of the Mainz based band Unterrock, who had formerly replaced Klaus Dapper while Dapper was sitting for his exams, had chipped in. Unfortunately the short "Intro" is the only piece surviving of that time. Further information on Kollektiv are available in the Kollektiv-CD booklet already mentioned, containing SWF- recordings (LHC 05), as well as on the CD Kollektiv Live 1973, LHC 40, also published on Long Hair. - Manfred Steinheuer

More than enough has been said about the jungle of terms that serve to obscure musical styles rather than describe them. But how can one describe ones own music without using one or more of these rubber terms? We tried out a possible solution on our record covers, by including a sliding game with the letters of the most common terms jazz, rock and pop. The letters can be shifted so as to create individual terms for our music, like Pap-Jack or Rozz-Pack. But now to our music: we think that the virtuosity of the instruments and the complexity of melody and harmony is overrated in some areas of jazz. For non experts, it might seem like a duel between listener and musician is going on, and the musician wins when his music is more complex than the listener can tolerate. On the other hand, the texts, melodies, arrangements and improvisations in Rock and Pop are often terribly lacking in imagination and are kind of dull. Even if it is effective, we think it is unfair to dazzle people with lightshows and circus gags, or (more commonly) press them down into their seats with noises resembling pneumatic drills, whenever the music alone does not cut it. This way you raise non-critical listeners. Kollektiv tries to blend these forms with other forms of music (free music, electronic music), without making the same mistakes. The structure of our music is more simple than usual in jazz, instead we pay more attention to sounds and moods. We mainly do improvisations. Even the themes and arranged parts were once improvised. We try to expand the tone quality by sometimes strong electronic alienation of the guitar, flute and saxophone, and apart from the "small underground-set" fuzz tone and wah-wah, we use echo, octavoice, phaser, ringmodulators, vibrators and sound filters. In our experience, our music is equally accepted by both jazz and rock people, since they both find sufficient elements of "their" music in what we do. So let's call it "Rock-Jazz". - Klaus Dapper

1. Rambo-Zambo 11:40
2. Baldrian 6:59
3. Försterlied 1:49
4. Gageg - a) andante 5:11
5. Gageg - b) allegro 3:39
6. Gageg - c) preßluft 11:06