July 19, 2024

Guru Guru – “Rotate! 50 Years” Fifty circuits round the sun for legendary Krautrockers

TRANCE MUSIC 29th June 2018

50 years is a long time in the story of a rock band. Guru Guru are one of the most significant members of what Britain’s rock press came to charmingly call Krautrock. Formed in 1968 in the midst of the student foment in France, Germany and the States; Guru Guru have hit their 50th year.

Sadly, due to the ravages of time, there is only one original member left: Mani Neumeier, playing drums and singing. He works with a couple of newer members – with the band for a mere 40 years or so. Surprisingly this works really well, producing an album true to the band’s history.

It opens with a rushing pace with clear Krautrock beats allied to blues guitar tones (of which more later) and little vocal insertions. It’s a blast of hippie energy. Moving on there is a crazy little combo of ideas with a Middle Eastern horn which gets more use later. Tightly circling beats create an intense little number, much like one of Can’s ethnological forgery series (EFS). Some semi-joking lyrics lighten a love song before an extended solo from a blistered guitar.

Spicy improvisation with entertaining percussion and an attentive deep bass guitar characterises the next track before a loose-limbed and groovy riff made for spacey dancing. Some slow blues Ry Cooder style soundtrack-esque guitar turns into something more world music-ish in a drifty exploration. Then, surprisingly, a Chuck Berry beat and lyrics that could have come from Don Van Vliet’s middle of the road period make a nice detour through Not Fade Away territory. A nicely wandering track follows; ploutering gently around the back roads of the blues before more Space-Blues – down and dirty grooves with mutterings about space travel. 

This is a worthy addition to the catalogue and, honestly, who could have expected that at this point?

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