Krautzone is a German collective of musicians from such bands as Electric Moon, Zone Six and The Pancakes, who got together in 2011 for some jamming and produced enough recordings for several albums. Kosmische Rituale was their debut in 2013, a split with Lamp Of The Universe came out last year, and now we’ve got Spiritual Retreat, a vinyl release (limited to 777 copies) with one 20+ minute excursion on each side.
And what a journey it is! Side A opens in stoned, grooving cosmic mode, and gradually picks up the pace as the fuzzed out and acidic elements mesh with one another and the buzzing and tinkling effects provide an alien presence. I like the free-wheeling Space-Blues and generally brain scrambling jamming from the guitars as the music trips along steadily in stoned, doomy space. Later the music transitions to a freakier passage where the organ is pulsating, the guitar is cranking out wailing and bubbling, spaced out angst licks, and the rhythm section is maintaining a slowly propulsive march that eventually starts to rock harder but not much faster as things go cosmically quiet for the Side A wind down. Side B picks right up and quickly develops into a spacey Psychedelic Pink Floyd mode, at first having a deep space Shine On Your Crazy Diamond vibe and then morphing into an extra lysergic Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun groove with spaced out and acid crashing guitars and eerie oscillating organ lines, creating one big atmospheric and effects laden voyage.
Capping off the Krautzone story is the new Complete Works 2-CD set which brings together the first album, Krautzone’s side of the split with Lamp Of The Universe, the new Spiritual Retreat, and one unreleased track. If you’re new to Krautzone this is the way to go. And if you’ve got the vinyl this is a nice CD package. The 7 minute Schwebung is the unreleased track and includes intense Space-Blues guitar licks that at one point have a cool Pink Floyd One Of These Days grind, plus symphonic keys, hypnotic drone atmospherics and a throbbing beat. Another small bonus is that both sides of the Spiritual Retreat LP play as a single track for a more seamless experience on the CD.
It’s all about the journey friends. If you like music that expects you to climb aboard, strap yourself in and just enjoy the ride, Krautzone will keep a smile on your face.
For more information visit the Sulatron Records web site at: http://www.sulatron.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz