Friday, August 22, 2014

Wind - Seasons (1971 germany, exceptional heavy prog kraut rock, 2009 remaster)

The German band Wind’s 1971 debut Seasons was one to watch out for. Well, it finally just got reissued via the Long Hair label (who have recently brought us several kraut-prog winners from Cannabis India, Mammut, and Et Cetera, amongst others) and so, already curious about it, we ordered a copy of it in…

First impression, before we even put it on, from looking at the photo on the back: damn, for a krautrock band, these guys have some seriously impressive, huge Afros!!! So, a lot of expectation / anticipation / long hair to live up to. And as it turns out, Wind don’t blow it (sorry). This album is fine indeed. It hits our “heavy” buttons but also has enough melodic and groove appeal that some of the folks here at AQ who, y’know, don’t spend time memorizing stuff out of krautrock reference books or obsessing about 1971 were into it too!

Wind were a five piece: guitar, organ, bass, drums, the singer sometimes busting out flute (yes!) and harmonica. With the organ, they’re in the “heavy progressive” mode of a lot of other early krautROCK bands, sounding as much like Deep Purple as they do Can. Both of which are cool by us, and the DO sound like both sometimes. Another once-popular krautrock band they remind us of is Birth Control (who we love, but sadly have never reviewed, relevant reissues seem scarce right now). So that means lots of thumping organ and fuzzy guitar riffs, which do indeed pound forth, especially on opener ‘What Do We Do Now’, and later on the even heavier ‘Dear Little Friend’, but even those songs have their shades of light as well as dark.

Wind featured raw sounds and tight playing, on this record definitely conveying an impassioned feeling, in part due to the singer’s often gruff, sandpapery voice, that at his toughest makes us think of Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty, though at times he can be quite smooth and soulful. His harmonica blowin’ on the 16 minute album-closer ‘Red Morningbird’ gives that song an evocative Ennio Morricone / Spaghetti Western vibe, also sounding a lot like one of Can’s Soundtracks tracks, and this album might be worth the price of admission alone just for that epic track. Certainly kraut-fans of Birth Control, Murphy Blend, Dies Irae, Gift, early Out Of Focus, will need to hear Wind’s Seasons, and like we said it has also been catching the ears of even those here who aren’t the biggest prog and proto-metal fiends.

Liner notes in German and English tell us that prior to the release of this album, the members of Wind were involved in recording an exploito-psych LP by “Corporal Gander’s Fire Dog Brigade”, and did an ill-fated, six-month tour of Vietnam (where there was a war going on, you may recall). But they survived all that to release this debut and another (much softer, we’re told) album in ’72, calling it a day not long after, having bad luck selling records despite good reviews and success on stage, having played clubs and festivals with the likes of Can, Family, East Of Eden, Pink Floyd and others.
Aq/rius recs
1. What Do We Do Now (Lucky Schmidt, Thomas Leidenberger) - 8:25
2. Now It's Over (Thomas Leidenberger) - 4:22
3. Romance (Lucky Schmidt, Thomas Leidenberger) - 1:31
4. Springwind (Lucky Schmidt, Thomas Leidenberger) - 7:08
5. Dear Little Friend (Lucky Schmidt, Thomas Leidenberger) - 4:15
6. Red Morningbird (Steve Leistner) - 15:56

The Wind 
*Steve Leistner - Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Percussion
*Thomas Leidenberger - Guitars, Vocals
*Andreas Bueler - Bass, Vocals, Percussion
*Lucian Bueler - Organ, Piano, Vocals, Percussion
*Lucky Schmidt - Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, Clavinet, Piano

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  1. At the end of the sixties music scene in the Greater Nuremberg, located on the territory of the German administrative district of Middle Franconia (state of Bavaria) in a period of the rainbow and effervescence. While Steve (Bernd) Leistner (Steve "Bernd" Leistner) toured as lead vocalist with the Nuremberg group «Faction», which has managed to feel the sweet taste of the first regional success, winning a music competition «Nuremberg Beat Band City Championship». And at the same time in 1964, there was also actively played music group «Bentox», in the lists which means four future party «Wind». Team one of the best team in Erlangen ( fränkischen agglomeration), and the musicians were considered heroes of the local underground culture. In 1969, they went on their own risk in the so-called East Asian tour, during which they entertained American troops in Vietnam, giving two concerts daily in the vicinity of the front. In the end, they were forced to sell cheaply their instruments and musical equipment to pay for flights to Germany. Their the asian tour has become set in a very awkward group's financial position and the struggle for survival was their "daily bread" in that difficult time for them time.

    Technically speaking, this is the second album of which this group of musicians is responsible the first being recorded under the name 'Corporal Gander's Fire Dog Brigade', minus lead-singer Leistner. Under the aegis of producer Jochen Petersen (see Icarus) created so that the album "On The Rocks", which was published in late 1969 under the impressive band name "Corporal Gander's Fire Dog Brigade". Wages (after all, $ 5000)

  2. LP "Seasons" is over long distances quite a hit. Here the organ roars violently, it is sung and aggressive electric guitar whines. As with several simultaneously active, especially British counterparts (in which not to hide wind needed), is therefore here rocked hard, enriched with progressive organ freak-outs, and provided with a herbaceous rawness, but the music quite edgy and rough, while can be quite refreshing coming from the speakers. But woven into this Proto hard prog are many intricate sections, dominated by flute and acoustic guitar (in 'What Do We Do Now' for example), elegiac songs ('Now It's Over'), dreamy interludes ('Romance'), some folky and jazzy sprinklings , various sweeping instrumental sections and spacey meditative soundscapes (especially in long 'Red Morningbird'). So gets "Seasons" to a very varied album, mixed the typical time, quite earthy organ-hard rock of the early 70s, proto progressive with many jazzy and herbaceous deposits. The whole is also produces very powerful, working its sometimes very substantial progress and is often pretty heavy ('Dear Little Friend').

    Thus to do after turn short overview the track:
    The album opens 'What Do We Do Now', a track combining both of the aforementioned influences, it shifts back and forth between straight forward aggressive rock and dreamy instrumental passages. The next track, 'Now Its Over' brings a softer mood to the album; it reminds me of 'I Talk To The Wind' by King Crimson in terms of atmosphere. Following this is the beautiful piano piece 'Romance' which sounds as if it were prepared for a silent film. "Can you see the wind if blowing" asks the powerful chorus of the track 'Springwind'. This track teeters between softer verses and explosive choruses and is sure to get your foot a tappin'. Next we have 'Dear Little Friend' has a main riff which is sure to remind listeners of Mountain's 'Mississippi Queen', but I prefer Wind's balls-to-the-wall take on the riff and I am sure you will like it too. Finally, the album closes with the sixteen-minute 'Red Morningbird' , which mysteriously, ballad-sounding war band, provided with a lot of reverb, glides, punctuated by very wild outbreaks, mainly of organ and electric guitar. . From its eerie acoustic guitar, vibes and harmonica opening to its equally eerie Cirrus Minor organ sound, to the primal rage Stooges rock, and its Saucerful-esque closing vocal section, this is a powerful track and should be heard. Who wants to meet a nice, if somewhat crude mixture from Harlem and the meditative, an imaginative, anglophile Kraut prog who should get "Seasons"! The album was released in the early 90 Second Battle on CD again, but this version is of course long out. Thereafter, primarily Bootlegger Album adopted, but in 2010 the disc was finally published regularly on CD and LP (Long Hair)
    Thx Marios :)