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What a godfather of German rock Achim Reichel (born 28.1.1944) has been! His musical career started when he founded The Rattles with Herbert Hildebrand in 1961. They were kind of Liverpool-beat clones, regularly performing at the Star Club (in Hamburg), attempting to fill the vacuum when Beatles returned home. In 1968 he departed to form Wonderland. Reichel and Dostal continued to work together with more experimental music as Wonderland Band and Frankie Dymon Jr. Reichel's first four solo albums, as A.R. & Machines, were also experimental to say the least! Die Grune Reise (1971) was a twisted and whimsical work for echo-guitar, voice and bass, Reichel's idiosyncratic battle against the machines!
Check out the insane voice-play "Truth And Probability"! Indeed he revealed himself as a talented multi-instrumentalist elsewhere on the record. Frank Dostal took care of the lyrics and drums, while Reichel did all the rest. His roots in conventional rock were also revealed though by the inclusion of some boogie-blues songs. These tracks were out of context with the otherwise experimental music and the result was a bit mixed in the end. Reichel's use of echo-guitar style predated Ash Ra Tempel's Inventions For Electric Guitar, but was used in a quite different manner. Also the subsequent albums of A.R. & Machines were mixed affairs. On Echo (1972), a whole symphony orchestra contributed, but this double album didn't receive many favourable reviews. The heavy boogie-blues rocking Propeller album (1972) gained much more success. A.R. 3 (1972) was more or less a return to the group format. Even with this long list of participating musicians, the overall sound was very much the same as before. Apparently, Reichel still wasn't tired of his experiments with echo guitar. Perhaps the album was a bit chaotic and over-produced - it was not an easy task to amalgamate echo guitars, rock and jazz. A.R 4 (1973) was generally a better effort. Here were just two long pieces of more simple echo guitars and jazz-rock fusion.
Reichel finally broke away from his machines on Autovision (1974), a more meditative album. Erholung (1975) contained tracks recorded live in Hamburg, on 4 August 1973 with Jochen Petersen (sax, flute), Peter Franken (drums) and Olaf Casalich (percussion). This was also an uncommon musical move from Reichel - a kind of jazz-rock fusion with the spotlight on Petersen's wind instruments. Perhaps Reichel should have explored this direction further, as this album was quite good. After a year of rethinking, he returned to straight rock with Dat Shanty Album (1976), but the choice of material was uncommon: old traditional sea shanties! He played most of the instruments himself.
Later albums have gradually become increasingly pop- and rock-based (Reichel has even enjoyed some chart success in Germany!), and I will not go into details about these albums. With Frank Dostal he set up the production unit Gorilla Musik, which has been responsible for several fine albums by Novalis, Kin Ping Meh and Ougenweide. Even the legendary Yatha Sidhra-album (one of the rarest on green Brain) was produced by Reichel. He also managed the label Ahorn, a Telefunken subsidiary that is now defunct.
1. Globus (Globe) (2:56)
2. In The Same Boat (2:06)
3. Schönes Babylon (Beautiful Babylon) (5:01)
4. I'll Be Your Singer, You'll Be My Song (Ich Bin Dein Sänger, Du Bist Mein Lied) (2:25)
5. Body (1:57)
6. A Book's Blues (1:39)
7. Als Hätt Ich Das Alles Schon Mal Gesehen (As If I Had Seen All This Before) (5:31)
8. Cosmic Vibrations (4:41)
9. Come On, People (2:53)
10. Wahrheit Und Wahrscheinlichkeit (Truth And Probability) (11:40)
Achim Reichel / guitar, vocals
Frank Dostal / lyrics
Dicky Tarrach / drums
Hans Lampe / percussion (2)