Crack in the Cosmic Egg:
The history of Xhol is not that well documented. Though we do know that they originated in the mid-1960's as Soul Caravan, changing name in late-1968 to Xhol Caravan after playing at the Essener Songtage. This new name heralded a more progressive blend of new ideas, and the developing their sound with a big conceptual opus now documented on disc 1 of the MOTHERFUCKERS LIVE set.
Still finding their feet, and moving on Xhol Caravan debuted with a single in the vein of SHADES OF DEEP PURPLE, still soul-edged but much more progressive. Though, it never hinted at all at the album that was to follow a few months later. ELECTRIP was one hell of a remarkable album, especially for the 1960's, an electric saxophone and organ fronted fusion (kind of classic "Uncle Meat" jamming Zappa territory) with a great deal of invention and energy, hinting at later records by Nosferatu, Faust, et al. It is also full of surprises and unlikely diversions, dazzling studio trickery and humour amongst its features. Remarkable throughout!
Whether they existed much beyond this, we don't know. We do know that the band name led to some confusion, and the name was shortened to just Xhol. The latest recording we knew of, dated from July 1970, and that's the "posthumously issued" live album HAU-RUK, which continues from ELECTRIP on a more esoteric level, overtly trippy in feel with one lengthy improvisation per side, the cosmic Annexus Quam like "Breit" and the psychedelic blues "Schaukel" with its X-rated variation on "Rock Me Baby". Confusingly MOTHERFUCKERS GMBH & CO KG proclaimed on the cover to be "2 years old" placing it in-between ELECTRIP and HAU-RUK. Obviously a collection of archive recordings: a few snippets of Soul Caravan can be heard in the opening "Radio" as well as a short slice of ELECTRIP, a Faust-like opening to a very varied album, with its superb lengthy organ piece "Orgelsolo", spaced-out flute lead instrumentals and a lengthy psychedelic blues number "Love Potion 25". A superb epitaph.
Xhol are certainly amongst the most mysterious Krautrock bands. The recent archive releases clear up some of the history, and their bizarre transition from soul to electronic gadget-ridden Krautrock fusion. Disc 2 of MOTHERFUCKERS LIVE and ALTENA 1970 show us how creative a live act they were, and the SWF television broadcast documented on DVD is a pure delight. They did also reform in 1974 for a planned album on Brain, however only one (LP side-long) track was completed (now documented on the CD reissue of HAU-RUK) which finds them on a jazzier footing, showing even more the Zappa fusion influence.
Hansi Fischer went on to Embryo (taking some of his Xhol themes with him), Klaus Briest later turned up in Dennis, and Tim Belbe later resurfaced in the 1980's as a key-figure in the underground band M.T. Wizzard.
01. Electric Fun Fair 6:27
02. Pop Games 6:55
03. All Green 7:37
04. Raise Up High 17:45
05. Walla Mashalla 1:39
06. Planet Earth 2:46
07. So Down 3:29
Tim Belbe (tenor saxophone)
Hansi Fischer (flute, soprano/alto saxophones)
Öcki Brevern (organ, electric piano, tuba)
Klaus Briest (bass)
Peter Meisel (toilet flush)
Skip van Wyck (drums)
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