Rufus Zuphall — Weiß der Teufel
(Long Hair LHC29, 1970/2004, CD)
by Mike Ohman, Published 1995-03-01Originally produced in an infinitesimal pressing on the tiny Good Will label, this is one of those releases that gains legendary status not so much because of what's on the album, but because of its rarity. Rufus Zuphall were a German band that recorded in the Netherlands. The only name of the personnel that rings a bell is that of percussionist Udo Dahmen, who much later (almost ten years, in fact) would replace Jan Fride in Kraan. Their music couldn't be more different in style, though. The line-up consists of guitar, bass, flute and drums — no keyboards. Things start off on a tenuous note with "Walpurgisnight," which strangely enough sounds like a multiple cross-pollination of Cream, Jethro Tull, and Soho Orange. The heavy psychedelic air hints mostly at Soho Orange, though. It's loaded with fuzztone guitar and heavy reverb that screams out, "This Is 1969!" Not exactly a promising start, but hang on, it gets better. The second song, "Knight of Third Degree," is a much more acoustic affair, with tablas and flute being the prominent instruments. It reminds of Popol Vuh a bit, but rockier. Then things start getting really good. The other songs are startlingly complex, with fast, exciting flute and guitar runs. It's the flute playing that makes this something other than just another prog/psych album. Klaus Gulden's tireless flute playing makes the all-too-short "Spanferkel" sound surprisingly like early (L'Uomo) Osanna. The only problem with the song, other than its brevity, is that it tends to be a bit repetitious. The seventeen-minute title track contains a good many surprises: an unexpectedly restrained (and short) drum solo right near the beginning, a verse or two (uncredited, apparently) from Gershwin's "Summertime," and a solo in which Gulden goes totally berserk. It almost makes the flute solo in Joy Unlimited's "Sensual Impressions" seem subdued. Also remarkable is the flute solo in "Freitag,", in which Gulden switches to recorder almost imperceptibly one-thrd of the way through, then back to transverse flute for the balance of the solo. The guitar solo is likewise engaging, so distorted with feedback and echo, it becomes almost unrecognizable. This is one of those few albums that mates the progressive and psychedelic successfully. Rarely do they overstep the bounds of good taste with "tunnel reverb" and gratuitous fuzztone, but when they do, it's forgivable (remember the date). There are enough progressive moves to make this album of general interest to fans of prog as well as psych, and as such, is better than I expected.
Related artist(s): Rufus Zuphall
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more