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Hoelderlin - Hoelderlin's Traum (1972)

Hoelderlin - Hoelderlin's Traum (1972)

Album: Hölderlin - Hölderlin's Traum
Released: 1972/2003
Genre: Krautrock: Progressive Fol
Label: Spalax/Arcángelo - ARC-7042

From 1972 Germany comes the first album by this German band who started off with progressive folk rock leanings. This is possibly their best album - richly textured and with a gorgeous female vocal and stands up with the best of seventies Kraut Rock for its invention and sheer class. - Freak Emporium

This had been the debut by German band Hoelderlin (here still spelled with an “umlaut”) and actually what an amazing one it was. Actually it should be considered as one of the most stunning first works by a band ever presented whereas usually it used to be rather underestimated. I’ve seen it rated with 9/15 on a German Prog site for example. Some people are comparing it with the style of some country fellow bands like Emtidi, Broselmaschine or Witthuser & Westrupp (musicians of the latter two guested here actually) which is only valid in some way with the difference that this album had been far superior to anything those bands ever released. The music they presented here was a lot different from the more classic Prog style they revealed on their later (also very good) albums. Being mostly acoustic with a broad range of used instruments the seven compositions here exhibited a quite unique blend of folk, classical, ethnic and some jammin’ Krautrock elements. But the latter feature comes here much more discreet and is mainly exclusively in one track (“Traum”) present. Thus it’s certainly not to be compared with anything from the LSD-inspired “Kosmische Szene” the band always refused to be part of and therefore had many juridical fights with their producer Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser. The lyrics (into parts inspired by their eponym) though being at times very dreamy and poetic are anything else than just misty-eyed romanticism but are containing as well many political and social comments, a fact that had been disliked as well by their manager back then. One could describe them as criticism of society packed into fabulous poetry. Most of them are sung by Dutch Nanny DeRuig in perfect German free of any accent thus I think it’s quite crucial to be familiar with the language to fully appreciate this record. On the other hand there’s plenty of brilliant music here to be enjoyed without taking care of the lyrics at all, played on acoustic classical-type of instruments like violin, cello and grand piano but also electric ones like organ and mellotron. Not to forget mentioning the magical flute play, the superb acoustic guitar and as well some sitar, tablas and nice percussion providing a slight “cosmic” touch. Finally I just can highly recommend this album not only to any fan of Prog Folk and Krautrock but to anyone looking for some unique and awesome music. It’s absolutely flawless (apart from its short length but just put it on repeat play!) and in my opinion can’t be rather lower than with the full score! - Dieter Fischer,

So you love cosmic folk and your looking for some great albums to play for your friends eh ! Well here is HOELDERLIN’s first album which is not connected in anyway to their later sound. "Holderlin’s Traum" is a great album full of cosmic folk prog and represents a very interesting listen with its rich mix of folk, classical and rock into seven tracks of varying effects. The standout track for me is "Requiem Fur Einen Wicht" which has a hauntingly beautiful dreamy feel in its musical elements: acoustic guitar, flute, and violin, as well as some strong vocals from the female vocalist Nanny de Ruig. This album will appeal greatly to those who like the 'progressive/cosmic' folk sounds that the Pilz label is known for. The album features guest musicians Peter Bursh and Mike Hellbach from Broselmaschine and Walter Westrupp of Witthuser and Westrupp fame. All lyrics and vocals are in German. A hauntingly beautiful album. - James Unger

This group started as one of those early 70’s folk rock prog groups along with Barrock, Ougenweide, Wittheuser & Westrupp (a guest on this album) etc… and produced one of the best and most stunning folk prog album ever, then disappeared for a while due to their label bankruptcy, before resurfacing as a symphonic prog band and a slightly differently-spelled name. Named after the poet, (there is another German group who did this with Novalis), the least we can say is that this album is pure poetry
This absolutely delightful record is an incredibly successful mix of medieval ambiances, stunning 60’s folk rock, slight Indian music influences, the whole thing sprinkled with a tad of hippy idealism and great progressive arrangements including the odd Mellotron. From the opening Waren Wir to the closing Traum (dream), the album is invitation fly out of our realm and head for Nirvana, paradise, Eden, Babylon, with flaunts of flutes, loads of Hamonds, Trons of Mello, guitars strings by the dozens and superb vocals both male and female. If you cannot find a suitable album to get comfy and shag the partner, try this one and do not forget to put the repeat (the album is fairly short), and the trick is half-done. To name a highlight would be quite difficult, as you’d be doing injustice to the other non-mentioned tracks. Not a weak note on this album. Nanny de Ruyg’s voice is right up with the cannons of the genre and the German lyrics are simply heavenly music for the mind.
One of those incredibly good-vibes record, with breathtaking beauty, this is easily in my top 50, and it would be criminal of you if it was not in yours within two months of reading this review. Run for it!!!!!!!!!!!! ;-) - Hugues Chantraine

A ravishing album, very folk, acoustic and dreamy with delicate, fragile female voices. This is their best and unique highly recommended effort they made. Celestial and floating kraut / folk music whose approach can be compared with Broselmaschine, Emtidi and others. "Waren Wir" is a magic, majectic, melancholic composition, very acoustic with desperate voices, lyrical passages and colourful "cosmic" improvisations for flute, keyboards and drums (at the end). "Peter" is a pleasant, dancing ballad for acoustic guitar and voices. An eastern flavour is sometimes added by the use of the sitar (in "Strohhalm"). We can also notice a subtle jazzy guitar touch, mainly improvised for long solo interludes. Specials guests as Walter Westrupp, Peter Bursch contribute to make this album an inspired progressive rock item with many acoustic ingredients added in a kind of fusion style. “Traum” can be highly recommended for every prog folk lovers. A very inspired effort that is hard to ignore! - Philippe Blache,

Formed in 1970, Hölderlin initially occupied a unique space in the German Rock, combining the influences of British folk with a musical classicism, obviously a nod to their namesake, the 19th century German poet Friedrich Hölderlin. Formed in Wuppertal, the core of the band included the Grumbkow brothers, Christian and Joachim, and Christian’s wife, Nanny de Ruig on vocals. Longtime members “Nopps” Noppeney on viola and Michael Bruchmann on drums also joined at this point. Story has it that after just a few gigs, and at the behest of German folkies Witthuser & Westrupp, Krautrock sevengali R-U Kaiser offered the band the chance to record. Their debut, Hölderlin's Traum (Dream), was released on the Pilz label, and is classic in its own right. Primarily acoustic in a folk tradition, it is a record of evocative beauty that features the German language vocals of Nanny de Ruig. “Waren Wir” opens gently, but the Mellotron-led section under the double-time beat highlights the electricity the band could generate. The acoustic “Peter” is more conventional folk, yet the baroque melodies of “Erwachen” add certain formality to the mix. “Requiem fur Einen Wicht” showcases the band’s extensive composition skills, even over a short six minutes, while the quite acoustic “Wetterbericht” again features the haunting beauty of de Ruig’s voice. The instrumental “Traum” is another electric and eclectic number, pointing in the direction the band would eventually follow. The album has (rightly so) achieved cult status since its release. But relations with Pilz overlord Kaiser would dog the band for the next few years. - 1972 at

&#160Holderlin, as they were originally known, released their first album, Hölderlin's Traum (that's, er, 'Hoelderlin's Dream'), in 1972, mixing folk influences into their fairly Germanic take on progressive rock, though this is not to confuse them with 'Krautrock', which is a different kettle of fish altogether. It's not a bad album - some would say a classic of the era; it certainly finds its own 'dark folk' style, well away from what most other bands were doing at the time. The only Mellotron, though, from Jochen Grumbkow, is on opener Waren Wir, kicking in along with the whole band after a typically gentle intro.
After considerable label hassles, it took the respelt Hoelderlin three years to follow their debut, finally producing their eponymous second album in 1975. A far rockier proposition than their first, Hölderlin opens with the excellent Schwebebahn, with duelling viola (from Christoph Noppeney) and 'Tron strings (from the also respelt Joachim Grumbkow), which turns out to be the album's Mellotronic highlight. Honeypot has a few background string chords, and apart from what may possibly be some brass at the beginning, the 17-minute Deathwatchbeetle features only a short (but potent) string part towards the end.- Planet Mellotron Album Reviews

Holderlin established themselves in the mid-seventies as the leading German folk-rock band, in close competition with Ougenweide. The group came together in December 1970. When Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser took over the management of the Pilz label in late 1971 he wanted to transform it into a progressive folk label, and Holderlin gained the opportunity to record their debut album Holderlin's Traum in January 1972 in the Dierks Studio. This collection of seven songs captured the sextet in excellent shape, resulting in an all-time classic album. Several members had a classical music education, which was evident in the refined and complex arrangement. Together they handled 15 different instruments! Even so, three guests were featured: Peter Bursch (sitar, from Broselmaschine), Mike Hellbach (tablas, also from Broselmaschine) and Walter Westrupp (recorder). As the title hinted, the music had a dreamy, sometimes psychedelic atmosphere. Dieter Dierks developed this particular style further on the second Emtidi album. The more folky driving force came from bands like Incredible String Band and more particularly Fairport Convention and Pentangle, who also featured beautiful female singers. Holderlin's further recording career was somewhat delayed by the demise of Pilz and Ohr in 1973. It seems as though the group weren't allowed to sign for another company before late 1974, when a contract with Intercord Spiegelel was secured. With Konrad Plank, they recorded their second album in February 1975. Nanny de Ruig had by now left the band. The vocals were now shared between Joachim Grumbkow and Christoph Noppeney. A second guitarist had also been added (Joachim Kaseberg, brother of Peter). Musically this was another great album. Their progressive folk-rock had gained some influences from the lyrical, vintage Genesis. Guests were Zeus B. Held (sax) of Birth Control and Norbert Jacobsen (clarinet) of Release Music Orchestra. The main work of the album was the 17 minute suite "Deathwatchbeetle". Clowns And Clouds, recorded during January 1976, continued the development towards lyrical progressive rock. The keyboard work, handled by J. Grumbkow, was now more dominant with a considerable use of electric piano and string synthesizers. Apparently it was a strange type of concept album with a 'clown' side and a 'cloud' side. The latter was the best one, offering mostly instrumental work in two long songs. The Kaseberg's had both quit Holderlin by this time, with Joachim taking care of the live sound. Hans Baar became their new bassist and guitarist. - "Cosmic Dreams At Play"

From Wuppertal, 20 miles or so east of Dusseldorf, Holderlin evolved out of a 60's folk group playing Fairport Convention and Pentangle songs. They took their name from the 19th Century writer Friedrich Holderlin. Originally, they were a family band, the core was the brothers Christian and Jochen Grumbcow, with Christian's wife Nanny as lead singer. Their debut HOLDERLIN'S TRAUM (aka "Hoelderlin's Dream") aptly lived up to its title, superbly recorded at Dierks' studio, with a trippy cosmic feel, progressive folk, full of rich textures, psychedelic, medieval and classical touches. The multiple strings: violins, cellos, acoustic guitars, along with flutes, piano, and rock instruments including Mellotron, made for a rich diversity, all topped-off by Nanny's delicate singing.
Three years on, Nanny had left, and one Joachim Kaseberg had joined. There was a big change though, with a shift to electric rock instruments. HOELDERLIN presented a new style, opening with "Schwebebahn", an instrumental that riffs at breakneck speed, with the king-pin of the new sound: Nops Noppeny's electric viola to the fore. Hints of Genesis and King Crimson were added. CLOWNS & CLOUDS saw a split into two styles: "Clown Side" being more song-based and complex, with hints of Genesis and Caravan, and "Cloud Side" with largely instrumental lengthy tracks fronted by Nops' viola moving closer to King Crimson. Christian Grumbcow moved on to become the band's manager, after this. RARE BIRDS was Hoelderlin perfected, deep and otherworldly. A magical album, sedate yet also dynamic, the ultimate track of all being the Pablo Weeber penned "Necronomicon". The double LIVE TRAUMSTADT, recorded two months later, proved them to be an amazing live band. With only eight tracks, much of it RARE BIRDS and CLOWNS & CLOUDS material, the extended space resulted in a much more instrumental music. The tour-de-force is the exclusive "Die Stadt" which trips out to King Crimson realms, but with that uniquely Hoelderlin cosmic touch... - "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg"

This, in my opinion, underrated German progressive rock band has its roots in ’63 when the brothers Joachim and Christian Grumbkow founded the rock-band The BEATKIDS and played covers from The BEATLES, The ROLLING STONES and The SHADOWS. In november ’70 the brothers GRUMBKOW presented the name HOLDERLIN (derived from a German romantic poet) after they had played with a sery of musicians mainly folk-rock covers (especially TRAFFIC), all layered with long instrumental improvisations. Then HOLDERLIN got an invitation from a record company, this after only three months of their existence! The debut-album “Holderlin’s Traum” was released in ’72 with a nine-piece line up, including female vocals and instruments like the Mellotron, Grand piano, violin, cello, sitar, tablas and flute. Their sound is a progressive blend of rock, jazz and folk. It sold 5000 copies and the LP is still a collector’s item. But then the troubles began with their producer Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser (TANGERINE DREAM, KLAUS SCHULZE and WALLENSTEIN). He tried to force the band into a more cosmic approach (‘LSD’ inspired complained the band) and was not amused with the “more political oriented lyrics” as he analyzed.
It took almost three years with many juridical conflicts to get rid off the contract but eventually HOLDERLIN won their case. Under the new name HOELDERLIN (in German the pronunciation of "oe" is the same as the "o" and much easier to write or type) the second eponymous LP was released in 75. The band called their music ‘romantic rock’, it sounded more jazzy and it contained echoes from KING CRIMSON and GENESIS. HOELDERLIN toured through Scandinavia, Holland, Germany and Switzerland, got good reviews and radio - and tv-airplay. In ’76 HOELDERLIN released the album entitled “Clowns and Clouds”. The music consists of more complex rock with many theatrical and surrealistic elements. In ’77 Christian had a mental breakdown, he could no longer combine the too busy work with the band and his family life (the upbringing of two children). He left and Spanish guitar player Pablo Weeber joined HOELDERLIN. In ’77 they released the album “Rare Birds”, a year later followed by the 2-LP “Hoelderlin Live Traumstadt”. Soon after the unstable personality of Pablo led to his dismiss. “Traumstadt” got very good reviews, it even reached the German charts. Further releases were “New Faces” (’79) and “Fata Morgana” (’81), including new drummer Eduard Schicke, know from the progrock trio SCHICKE, FUHRS, FROHLING. These albums have a more accessible melodic rock approach.
The double-album “Hoelderlin Live Traumstadt” is their finest work and showcases the band at their pinnacle. It’s still considered as one of the milestones in the German rock history and has some similarities with other German progrock band GROBSCHNITT concerning the long solos, visual effects, costumes and humor. The music was recorded in the Wuppertaler Opernhaus in October ’77, the 2-LP was released in ’78. The band was hit by multiple changes in the line-up, on “Traumstadt” the musicians were Joachim Grumbkow (keyboards and vocals on “Streaming”), Pablo Weeber (all guitars), Michael Bruchmann (drums), Cristoph ‘Nops’ Noppeney (lead vocals and violin) and Hans Baar (bass). All the nine melodic tracks have their own climate and features fluid accelerations, nice interludes, pleasant keyboards (string-ensemble, electric piano, organ and clavinet) and great interplay between electric guitar and violin. But the focus is on the solo work: fiery (“Sun Rays”), biting (“Soft Landing”) and howling (“Die Stadt”) on the electric guitar and exciting (“Streaming”) and spectacular (“Die Stadt”) on the violin. Many solos are supported by the wonderful and distinctive sound of the string-ensemble, a compelling combination! Recommended, especially to the fans of the violin play of Jean Luc PONTY and Eddie JOBSON. - Erik Neuteboom

1. Waren Wir
2. Peter
3. Strohhalm
4. Reqiem Für Einen Wicht
5. Erwachen
6. Wetterbericht
7. Traum