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Kraan — Porta Westfalica 1975
(Bassball 21887, 1975/2023, CD / LP / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-07-08

Porta Westfalica 1975 Cover art

1975 was a great year for Kraan, and certainly a transitional period, having released their excellent double-live LP, Kraan Live, at the end of the previous year following a string of three solid studio albums, having left their mark on the German psychedelic jazz-rock scene. But 1975 would be different — the original quartet of Jan Fride (drums), Hellmut Hattler (bass), Peter Wolbrandt (guitar), and Johannes Pappert (saxes) was now joined by a new member, keyboard player Ingo Bischof, fresh out of Karthago following their third album, making Kraan a quintet for the first time. Porta Westfalica 1975 was recorded live in July ‘75, the same month that the five-piece wrapped up the recording of their next studio album Let It Out. Here, the band plays a sampling of material from their earlier albums Kraan, Andy Nogger, and Kraan Live, in addition to two numbers from the new album: “Prima Klima” opens the set, and a near-thirteen minute version of “Luftpost,” both are highlights, but none so much as “Kraan Arabia,” the ten-minute smoker from their debut album that’s always a little bit different each time — the extra instrumentation makes this version one of the best. So the uninitiated may be asking: what does Kraan sound like? Simply labeling them as jazz-rock is an injustice, though it is partially correct, while imbued with strong psychedelic tendencies and solid funk grooves that give their sound, especially at this juncture, a very unique character; “Hallo Ja Ja, I Don't Know,” pulled from the 1974 Kraan Live, is a classic example of both the psychedelic and funk, and given that the band is mostly instrumental, the incidental vocals on that song offer a glimpse into their trippy strangeness. By the time of the band’s next studio album, Wiederhoren in ‘77, Pappert and his sax were gone, and the band’s sound, while still driven by funky jazz grooves, was moving in a smoother direction with guitar and keys as the remaining lead instruments, which makes Porta Westfalica 1975 a unique signpost in Kraan’s live canon. The prospective purchaser should know that the LP version omits two tracks (the aforementioned “Hallo Ja Ja, I Don't Know” and “Holiday Am Matterhorn”) and splits “Kraan Arabia” across the two album sides.

Filed under: Archives, 2023 releases, 1975 recordings

Related artist(s): Kraan

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