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 teir 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.
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