Yatha Sidhra - A Meditation Mass (1974)
Album: Yatha Sidhra - A Meditation Mass (Remastered Edition)
Released: 1974 (2007)
Label: SPV/Revisited - SPV 49462
Official re-issue at last of this this timeless piece of drifting head music from early '70s Germany. Exotic trippy dreamy textures over 4 long tracks with Moog synths, Indian flutes, electric guitar bass drums etc. One for those late night sessions.. .. Housed in a fantastic digipak with great detailed booklet. - Freak Emporium
Spacey trance music with a very prominent role for flute. Guitar, keyboards, and drums provide the spacey backgound and rarely take a solo lead. In the middle of the album there is a short change of direction into more jazzier realms. Great, trippy music. - Gnosis2000
Truely fitting of its title, YATH SIDRA's "A Meditation Mass" will certainly take your mind into another dimension. This is an album that simply must be experienced to be enjoyed through and through. Centered around a very slow and hypnotic trance like theme, YATH SIDRA a blend in elements of flute, piano and vibes giving the listener a holistic atmosphere. Although divided into 4 parts, "A Meditation Mass" runs like 1 complete song from start to finish. This is one of those turn down the lights and put the ol' headphones on for 40 mins kinds of recordings. YATH SIDRA create slow yet highly involved atmospheric movements which may be interpreted as hypnotic in aspect, but never seems to get stuck or become repetitive throughout. Vocals are at a minimal and really should be considered background chorus. Percussion is very delicious and never gets too loud remaining mostly tympanic in nature. For those who love it nice and spacey, this is definitely for you. This is another essential recording to adorn your collection. - James Unger
Another great, but little known gem of Krautrock. "A Meditation Mass" is perhaps the rarest album to be found on the Brain label, and it went through two versions: the original with the diecut cover, and the one without. Don't bother tracking down the LP (either version), as they don't exactly grow on trees. Later on, when reissued on CD, The Laser's Edge issued it in '92 with the diecut cover, and in '95, Spalax in France issued it without the diecut.
If you're a fan of ASH RA TEMPEL, or early, percussion-dominated POPOL VUH, then this is for you. Given the title is "A Meditation Mass", expect the music to be laid-back, don't expect raw, aggressive, and mindblowingly intense passages like you might get with ASH RA TEMPEL at times. YATHA SIDHRA featured the guitar/keyboards (keyboards include Moog synthesizer and Hohner Pianet) of Rolf Fichter and drums/percussion of Klaus Fichter (presumably brothers) with tons of beautiful flute from Peter Elbracht and guitar/bass of Matthias Nicolai.
The album is basically one long cut divided by four parts. Lots of nice, meditative passages, with some jazzy passages at times, especially "Part 2" and "Part 3". "Part 4" is mainly themes from throughout the album revisited. The guitar work often brings to mind Manuel Gottsching, but he often played his guitar more in the style of a sitar, in an attempt to create a droning effect. And given the band name is very obviously Eastern (presumably Sanskrit), little surprise that the cover artwork is very Eastern influenced, Indian style, of course. While most of the music is instrumental, Rolf Fichter provides the occasional vocals as well, nothing intrusive. This is truly an album that needs multiple listens, because it more or less keeps the same pace throughout. There are a few exceptions, especially the jazzier sections of "Part 3", where the band tries something a little more intense. Regardless, a truly wonderful gem of Krautrock, and if you can track a copy, do so! - Ben Miler, ProgArchives.com
The Fichter brothers from Freiburg, had been playing in various groups together since the mid-60's. Their first professional band was the rock and soul combo Lea Gamble which they formed with two American ex-service men. Later they formed Brontosaurus, together with French bassist Jean-Michel Boivert and flautist Peter Elbracht. Apparently at this time they sounded like a hard-rock twist on Jethro Tull. In early 1973 Brontosaurus began to work on a new ambitious opus, a suite called "A Meditation Mass". In concert, they caught the attention of Achim Reichel, who managed to get a contract for them via his Gorilla Music for an LP release on Brain. There was one concession, the name Brontosaurus no longer fitted the type of music they were making, so a new mystical name was chosen: Yatha Sidhra. A MEDITATION MASS is actually one of the most magical albums ever made, a single cosmic suite, with ethnic and jazzy touches, pure cosmic Krautrock which really trips-out. I've often quoted it as my favourite all-time album, due to its uniqueness, that it has never dated, and is so charged. Few albums hold that same quality. Flutes, guitars and electronics are the basis of the music, which floats, ebbs and grows and occasionally breaks out with real energy. A step on from the realms of Kollektiv or instrumental Thirsty Moon. It's a shame really that Yatha Sidhra only made the one album, though later the Fichter brothers did form a new band named Dreamworld. - "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg"
A rather rare item which combines the best of "pastoral" peaceful meditative music and spacey / psych instrumentation. The two multi-instrumentalists have composed one long tune, divided into two leading themes punctuated by numerous variations. The central theme comes to the light directly at the beginning of the album after a brief introduction of atmospheric / electronic noises: a dreamy, repetitive guitar part is progressively accompanied by acoustic percussions and relaxed flute solos. We go back to these wonderful and lovely harmonies in the last part of the album. Part2 & 3 starts with the same introspect theme. Part 2 first puts the stress on flute enchanting lines then finally progresses into a quick jazzy "trip" dominated by electronic organ parts. The third section is a convincing exploration throw space rock with "trippy" electric guitar passages & possessed flute sequences. In a few words, an inventive, beautiful "immersive" album which can naturally reach the most contemplative of us in a higher state of consciousness. A little masterpiece! - Philippe Blache
This group was responsible for creating one of the longest tracks of the early seventies. Their continuous meditation mass clocks in at just over 40 minutes. And this makes Yatha Sidhra one of the few bands that only got one track released, since this was their only release! The band was from Freiburg and was led by Rolf Fichter, who wrote this mass, sang and played moog, electric piano, vibes, guitar and flute on it. They acquired a recording contract with Brain, probably due to their relationship with Achim Reichel, who produced the album and wrote a poem for the cover. Reichel had a growing interest in such meditative music then, which also is slightly evident on his own solo albums for Brain, Zebra and Polydor. The cover of A Meditation Mass is worth mentioning - it's a detailed, oriental mantra painting. The original front cover had a stencil cut-in for the writing, while the second issue (also on the green Brain label, circa 1975) had a plain single sleeve, but was still good-looking! The mainly instrumental music was relaxing and had some very prominent flute parts. - "Cosmic Dreams At Play", A Guide to German Progressive & Electronic Rock
As the title states, Yatha Sidhra's only album is a very meditative and mostly peaceful work. It consisted of one album-length suite in four parts which all float together. It is possible that the album gave some inspiration for Jade Warrior during their period on Island (which also happens to be their best period in my opinion), but Yatha Sidhra's music was definitively less developed and without the melodic sense of Jade Warrior. The album opens with the electric guitar fading slowly in and together with the tablas creating the underlying foundation for most of the piece. The most dominant instrument is undoubtedly Peter Elbracht's flute that in an otherworldly and ethereal way improvises its way through most of the album. He is soon joined by Rolf Ficther's shimmering Moog and very dreamy vocals. They do however not last for long, as a vibraphone solo appears and brings the first part to an end. The second and shortest part of the suite introduces some el-piano to the sound, but the flute is again quickly taking centre stage in the music. The band goes into rock-mood on the third part, which is mostly a jazzy/bluesy electric jam of the kind that many krautrock bands had several of. The fourth and final part is basically a repetition of the first, but shorter and more tightly edited. "A Meditation Mass" makes some good relaxation music with its hypnotic structures and dreamy sound, and comes recommended for anyone looking for that - VintageProg.com
This record holds a true gem of aural art, and all possible associations of too stoned hippies fooling around should be spared for other records. The uniqueness of this album being a sole release by this group brings only more value to it, as it’s just like a sole deep realization of life needing no sequels. There is only one long piece, divided and named as four different parts.
The forty minutes long voyage starts with old vintage electronics painting abstract forms, where a beautiful guitar mantra slowly arises and weaves a beautiful melodic frame, where the improvised flute and moog solos start to dance. The peaceful beginning turns to a more intense trance, which leads to some jazzy passages. In the third part the progression leads to the powerful climax, which is calmed by deep, slow bass drones. After this the music returns to the beginnings mantra theme, making “A Meditation Mass” a cycle story, like the ancient Gilgamesh epic. I believe this resolution also describes a successful voyage to the deeper parts of a persons mind, which doesn’t initiate a psychosis, but one is safely returned to the basic mental state of the beginning.
There’s a one detail in the CD version which could have been edited by the releaser: The “Part 2” probably ended the vinyl’s A-side, as the faded beginning of “Part 3” is heard for a small moment in the end of track two, and it begins again at the track three. This brings an authentic vision of how the music runs on the LP, but on CD one could hear the whole work from first to last note without interrupts, if this transition would have been edited properly. At least I decided to do for myself this kind of copy where the music doesn’t have pauses. Similar remains of vinyl recording solution can be heard for example on HAWKWIND’s “Space Ritual”, where the music fades out and in between the changes of the sides of the original vinyl. These edits are logical on LP albums, but illogical on compact discs. Also here the four track divisions are futile, as in my opinion this record has to be listened all the way from its beginning to the end. It truly is a soothing and inspiriting spiritual work of art. - Eetu Pellonpaa, ProgArchives.com
After several vain attempts in many bands, the brothers Rolf and Klaus Fichter finally found in 1973 their own musical identity. At this time the band original name BRONTOSAURUS changes to YATHA SIDHRA, a musical name which is really suitable for the new musical orientation taken by the two musicians. Particularly attentive to ethnic and meditative influences in popular music, they began to work on a long & epic piece called “A Meditation Mass” (under the influence of the famous Achim Reichel, the virtual member of the band who produces the album in 1974).
The first intention was to create a dreamy musical landscape where the Moog synth, the flute & traditional "percussive" instruments play an important part. Seen as a concept album, “A Meditation Mass” is almost exclusively instrumental. A long suite divided in two themes with two variations for each one. A beautiful and ecstatic musical journey. Their sound oscillates between "pastoral" folk music, spacey rock with the addition of discreet jazzy accents. After this impressive work, YATHA SIDHRA is dissolved. At the beginning of the eighties, the brothers Fichter formed a new band called DREAMWORLD. A more synth meditative pop orientated music but it’s worth checking. - ProgArchives.com
A Meditation Mass - Yatha Sidhra's only album - undoubtedly is one of the few really legendary albums released in Germany during the 1970s. Before founding Yatha Sidhra, the two brothers Rolf and Klaus Fichter had been members of the professional band Lea Gamble along with two Americans, merging rock with soul music. After Lea Gamble had dissolved, the Fichter brothers were joined by the French bassist Jean-Michel Boivert and the flutist Peter Elbracht to found Brontosaurus; a band that, in terms of style, tried to create something like a tough version of Jethro Tull. Under the name of Brontosaurus, Peter Elbracht and the Fichter brothers started working at an album that was released one year later by Brain: A Meditation Mass. The conclusion of the contract with Brain, the "krautrock" label of Hamburg's Metronome group, was also attributable to the help of Achim Reichel and his publishing company Gorilla Musik. In the course of the negotiations, the musicians (meanwhile Boivert had left and was replaced by German guitarist and bassist Matthias Nicolai) decided to think of a new name for their band. So Brontosaurus was given up in favour of Yatha Sidhra and the hitherto straight rock arrangements gave way to a more colourful, stylistically open concept.
Those who bought A Meditation Mass (admittedly, there weren't too many) were fascinated by what presented itself as a "cosmic" mixture of rock, jazz as well as ethnic influences. What they created found some sort of continuation later in the instrumental parts of bands such as Kollektiv or Thirsty Moon. Yatha Sidhra's music abounds in its own and very special kind of magic that is characterised by high atmospheric density as well as brilliant compositions and musical techniques. The long playing time of the 40-minute mass allows its listeners to virtually immerse themselves in the music.
Collectors might be particularly interested in the very first release with its stamped cover. In fact, the 1974 LPs pressed under the catalogue number Brain 1045 are often explicitly sought after at music exchange fairs. The second release that came out about one year later was in fact a slim version, carrying the simple cover print that was usual at the time. The fact that press reactions to the album were rather moderate was something that fans of Yatha Sidhra and of their only release must have failed to understand even up to today. Although Germany's major music magazine "Sounds" used to feature side-long hymns of praise in favour of similar releases by international bands, it considered a two-sentence note as sufficient to describe A Meditation Mass: "Rolf Richter (the writers were even indifferent enough not to notice that his name was actually Fichter, the author) presents the first album of his band Yatha Sidhra. As the name of the band as well as the title of the album suggest, Yatha Sidhra is built on restrained improvisation patterns and encourages listeners to lose themselves in meditation". It goes without saying that these simplistic statements did not really motivate to any further reading of "Sounds". Who knows how many works full of wonderful sounds Yatha Sidhra might still have released if the German press had not commented in such an ignorant way on their music. But let's rather not think about that... - Matthias Mineur, "Kosmische Mischung"
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