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
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more