Exposé Online banner

Xhol — Hau Ruk
(Garden of Delights CD 076, 1971/2002, CD)

Xhol — Motherfuckers GMBH & Co. KG
(OHR 70040-2, 1971/1999, CD)

Xhol Caravan — Electrip
(Garden of Delights CD 045, 1969/2000, CD)

by Jon Davis, 2005-03-01:

Hau Ruk Cover artMotherfuckers GMBH & Co. KG Cover artElectrip Cover art When you think of German rock of the 70s, you’re likely to think of extended spacey jams with effects devices in evidence and a bit of jazzy flavor. Xhol’s first album (under that name at least) is pretty much that distilled essence, consisting of two twenty-plus minute pieces recorded live in July of 1970. The band had originally intended it as the live half of a live/studio double LP, but ended up releasing the two halves separately. The basic elements of Xhol are Tim Belbe’s saxophone (frequently altered by wah-wah pedal and other devices) and Gerhard Egmont von Brevern on keyboards (mostly organ, also with effects). The two are backed by bass and drums, with no guitar in sight. The improvisations are along the lines of what Soft Machine did for their Third album, though less inspired, and sometimes verge on free blowing. The second track features some near-annoying vocals begging for sexual favors from an unnamed source, though luckily that only occupies a few of the twenty minutes. For this CD reissue, a third twenty minute piece recorded in a studio in 1974 has been added. This must have been a one-off session, since Xhol had broken up two years prior; three of the four original members appear, augmented by others from the scene. It’s very much in the same vein, however, and does not sound out of place despite the addition of flute.

by Mike McLatchey, 1996-03-01:

Amongst the annals of the most psychedelic German rock of the early 70s stand out the legendary Xhol, a band that remains one of the most challenging that that country had to offer. Initially a band playing R&B tinged rock in the vein of Otis Redding or maybe Rare Earth (check out the "So Down/Planet Earth" single by Xhol Caravan if you can find it), by the time the group released a proper album, they had gelled into a formidable unit. For an album from 1969, Electrip was an incredibly groundbreaking release, and unfortunately overlooked. The music is like a psychedelic R&B tinged early period Soft Machine with lengthy jazzy/bluesy instrumental sections fronted by amplified/fuzzed or wah-wah'd sax. The intensity and the feel are what makes this such a bonafide classic. Each jam on the album is worked out perfectly with a variety of solos from flute and sax. Some other pointers would be the early French or Dutch scenes, there are shades of Moving Gelatine Plates and Supersister here, but Xhol Caravan had a distinct acid-drenched feel that is distinctly Teutonic. Dropping "Caravan" from their name, Xhol signed to the Ohr label in 1970 and released the self titled album Xhol (commonly referred to as Hau-Ruk due to the words on the cover) in 1971. Two side long tracks take up the album, both more or less improvisations based around some written material or covers (like their racy version of "Rock Me Baby"). For the most part Xhol had dropped the more overt jazz influences, and the sound is closer to a more underground psych-rock, somewhere in the vein of early Guru Guru or Ash Ra Tempel yet far less refined than even those groups. While this is generally the weakest of the three, it grows on you over time. Motherfuckers GMBH and Co. KG was Xhol's last release and a more focused effort than the previous release. The band had resorted to a lot of effects (interesting use of radio static and other electronics) to augment their sound and the overall effect is of a sonic acid trip. Amongst all of the psychedelic meandering, Xhol's early R&B influence remains and the finale is a great rendition of "Love Potion Number 9." Xhol's crazed vocals, obvious drug influences, and general lasciviousness may not appeal to everyone, but for those into psychedelic krautrock, these are about as good as it gets. Prog fans should check out Electrip and tread carefully afterwards.

Filed under: Reissues , Issue 9 , 2002 releases, 1971 releases, 1999 releases, 1971 releases, 2000 releases, 1969 releases

Related artist(s): Xhol Caravan / Xhol / Soul Caravan

More info

Latest news

2017-05-19
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

2017-05-05
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

2017-05-02
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

2017-04-16
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

2017-04-16
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


Previously in Exposé...

Outer Limits - Misty Moon – Musea continues to unearth the most unknown and rare albums from the annals of obscure progrock history. Outer Limits were a pretty original Japanese band from one of the darkest times in prog...  (1999) » Read more

Nuova Era - Il Passo del Soldato – Nuova Era are one of the few newer Italian groups performing music in the 70s style of dramatic/romantic/ symphonic rock with strong hints of Banco, PFM, Metamorfosi etc. Their second album, Dopo...  (1996) » Read more

Remotion - Between Fiction and Reality – Remotion is musician Richard Stuij assisted by engineer Arjan Steenbergen. Like contemporary Ron Boots, Stuij is profoundly influenced by Berlin school electronic music in addition to the more...  (2001) » Read more

Onségen Ensemble - HottoïzzoH – They call it a Mini-CD, not because it’s smaller than a normal size CD, but because there is only about 15 minutes of music on it. But it’s among the coolest 15 minutes of 2007 releases I...  (2008) » Read more

No-Man - Flowermix & Heaven Taste – I suppose the music on these two remix CDs by No-Man could be categorized as loosely flirting with the techno / trance / ambient realm of things, but since the exceptions far outweigh the rule, it...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues