Steven Freeman and Alan Freeman — The Crack in the Cosmic Egg
(Audion ISBN 0-9529506-0-CDRO, 2007, CD-ROM)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-10-01
Brothers Alan and Steve Freeman have been long time fans of Krautrock etc. as well as record shop owners specializing in this and similar music, and publishers of Audion magazine. This labor of love started well over 10 years ago to document Germany’s musical output. Originally available as a book published in 1996, the additional ten years of work has helped to flesh out a lot of information on German rock and experimental music scenes. There is a version you can access for free on the Ultima Thule web site, but that may not always be convenient. Due to popular demand the Freemans have now issued this excellent guide as a CD-ROM. All you have to do is copy the CD-ROM to your hard drive and you can access the information at any time. I have it installed on my laptop and it is very convenient, especially when researching music I am reviewing for Exposé.
The information contained in this guide is staggering. There are thousands of extra pictures, an album’s worth of music samples, tons of bonus appendices, and bonus features (sections on Austria, Switzerland, the former DDR; references to other countries and musicians related to the German scene; and focused information on Beat, Avant-Garde, Folk, New Wave, Synth Music and other related genres).
There are promo videos from four Krautrock legends: Embryo, Guru Guru, Faust, and Xhol Caravan. In order to fit on the disc, these are small format videos, and considering the age of most of them (30 years old), the quality is quite good. There is also a Faust video from December 2007 that you can tell is digital, but the volume was so loud that there is a lot of distortion.
The music samples available are from Embryo, Ethno Leaders, GAM, Guru Guru, Kontrast, Mythos, Neumeier-Genrich-Schmidt, Orange Peel, Out of Focus, Rollkommando, Günter Schickert, Schickert & Strodthoff, and Xhol Caravan. In addition there are samples from Ultima Thule releases by Aussenminister, Con-Herz, Peter Frohmader, GAM, No Zen Orchestra, Out of Focus, Günter Schickert, Conrad Schnitzler, and Asmus Tietchens. The non-Audion samples are either live recordings or unreleased material.
And then there are audio interviews in English with Christian Burchard, Manuel Göttsching, Michael Gunther, and Chris Karrer, a video interview with Alan Freeman, and interviews with Brian Barritt, Florian Fricke, Peter Frohmader, Wolfgang Hertz, Lightwave & Paul Haslinger, Mario Schönwalder, Klaus Schulze, and Space Explosion extracted from Audion magazine.
From the Home Page you can go directly to a band you want to research by clicking on the appropriate letter of the alphabet. You then go to a page that contains links to the bands with that letter. Each band page is then linked by keywords to other bands or genres. The Home Page also has a panel on the right that links you to References, Related Information, Other Genres, the Index, and the Appendices.
It will take me years to fully explore this mountain of information. All that I can say is bravo to the Freemans for making this monumental effort to document this extremely important slice of musical history.
And to make this deal even sweeter, there are two CDs included with the CD-ROM package: an Audion sampler titled The Cosmic Auricle & Other Eggshells which is only available with the CD-ROM and a Garden of Delights (GOD) sampler Psychedelic Underground 13. The Cosmic Auricle features tracks by Alan Freeman, Endgame, Günter Schickert, Triax, Extremities, Con-Hertz, Out of Focus, GAM, and Alto Stratus. The GOD sampler includes tracks by Waniyetula, Missus Beastly, Vikings Invasion, Live, Arktis, Level, Emma Myldenberger, Skyline, and Guru Guru.
The Cosmic Egg is quite a package and a bargain at twice the price. It is an important resource for anyone even marginally interested in this music. Other resources like Julian Cope’s book only pale in comparison.
Related artist(s): Brainstorm (1), Faust, Manuel Göttsching, Mani Neumeier, Robert Schroeder, Klaus Schulze, Guru Guru, Ash Ra Tempel / Ashra, Eroc, Edgar Froese, Grobschnitt, Tangerine Dream, Between, Abacus, Ainigma, Arktis, Can, Embryo, Yggdrasil, Missus Beastly, Xhol Caravan / Xhol / Soul Caravan, Agitation Free, Amon Düül I / II, Neuschwanstein, Aera, Schicke Führs Fröhling (SFF), Anyone's Daughter, Eiliff, Eloy, Flame Dream, Dzyan, Gäa, Hölderlin / Hoelderlin, Jane, Nektar, Missing Link, Neu!, Kraan, Brainticket, Release Music Orchestra, Sahara, Paul Haslinger, Checkpoint Charlie, Michael Rother, Nautilus, Conrad Schnitzler, Wallenstein, The Cosmic Jokers, Peter Frohmader / Nekropolis, Zweistein, Novalis, Rufus Zuphall, Kollektiv, Chris Karrer, Damo Suzuki, Lutz "Lüül" Ulbricht
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
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Five Fifteen - Six Dimensions of the Electric Camembert – For their fourth album (the first I’ve heard), Finland’s Five Fifteen continue their tradition of long psychedelic titles. Gong fans don’t be fooled, the mention of the French cheese... (1999) » Read more