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13 Aug 2016

Satin Whale ” Desert Places“ 1974 Kraut Rock debut album








Satin Whale ” Desert Places “ 1974 Kraut Rock debut  album

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First album by this rather late Krautrock band was undoubtedly their very best one. Actually the only point of criticism one could quote is the fact that it might have sounded already a bit dated in its year of release. Being much in the vein of early Tull, Iron Butterfly, Cream or The Doors the tracks presented here are a wonderful demonstration of this early Art Rock or Proto-Prog style. The title song is the one reminding the most to Tull with a soaring flute and heavy organ. It’s a very powerful and grooving one with a sort of psychedelic blues guitar play that’s bringing Cream back to mind. “Seasons Of Life” is even in a stronger psychedelic vein, kinda The Doors meet Cream or Iron Butterfly, very groovin’ stuff as well. This record doesn’t let your foot stand still only for one second. Though it might be not considered as that much progressive for the year of 1974 “Desert Places” was nevertheless a brilliant album in organ driven Art Rock typical for beginning seventies.

Probably not essential for any prog collector in general, but highly recommended for fans of jammin’ and groovin’ early 70s psychedelic blues rock!……

Found in 1971, German band Satin Whale originated from the Cologne area with Thomas Brueck on bass, Gerald Dellmann on keyboards, Horst Schöffgen on drums and Dieter Roesberg on multiple instruments and vocals.The rumors say that they started as an all instrumental group, before adding vocals in their repertoire, then signed with the legendary Brain label and released their debut “Desert Places” in 1974.

Despite heading to the mid-70’s, Satin Whale played a typical, old-fashioned Kraut/Progressive Rock, a bit like TOMMOROW’S GIFT or EILIFF, with also references to the British scene, mostly because of the English lyrics and the evident bluesy influences.On their debut album they present a rich and energetic Progressive Rock with long tracks, characterized by the extended instrumental themes, the good interplays, the dynamic jams and the powerful rhythmic parts.Their music is based on the strong rhythm guitars, the jazzy rhythm section, the sharp riffs and the constant use of Hammond organ in quite a psychedelic mood.There are also some JETHRO TULL-eque flute bits and more discreet Classical inspirations in some preludes or the use of harsichord, but the main force of the release remain the abstract jamming sessions, the Hard Rock parts and the solid solos on guitars and organ.Surely there are a few sudden surprises to be found in the album, which is heavily influenced by the German monsters of the recent past.But the band delivers some good breaks and “Desert places” contains plenty of shifting climates to satisfy the Prog listener.

Consistent and well-performed Kraut Rock with decent performances and lots of psychedelic moments in a Hard Rock enviroment.Not outstanding, but definitely rewarding.There is also another vinyl release out from 1979, again on the Brain label, featuring a different cover.Recommended…….

Satin Whale’s debut album Desert Places is a very solid guitar-driven progressive rock record with blues rock elements. There are some jazzy influences one some of the songs as well. These five tracks here are all more or less great. The guitarwork is just pleasure to my ears on this LP. It’s pretty hard to choose any favourites because the whole record is so consistent and highly balanced.

In case you’re into prog with tremendous guitarwork then this album is made for you. Highly recommended album for any fan of this kind of music. ….

Satin Whale is one of my all-time favorite bands and this is one of my all-time favorite recordings. There is lots of great wah-wah guitar and tons of rippin Hammond on this album. This is German psychy proggy hard rock from the early 70’s with well written and well played tunes. I really like this album and I consider it a masterpiece, you may not. A buzz and headphones make this a glorious recording. …..

The German band ‘Satin Whale’ was founded around 1971 in the region of Cologne by Thomas Brück (bass, vocals), Gerard Dellmann (keyboards), Dieter Roesberg (guitar, sax ,flute, vocals) and Horst Schöffgen (drums). Their first record 'Desert Places’ was released in 1974 on the green 'Brain’ label, musically a typical example of German Seventies rock not unlike their stablemates 'Grobschnitt’ and 'Jane’ for the harder edge, with guitar and organ jams.

During a rock contest in 1974 ('Rocksound 74’) 'Satin Whale’ was elected the most popular German band. For the second release 'Lost Mankind’ 1975 new drummer Wolfgang Hieronymi joined and the band changed to the 'Teldec’ label, continuing musically in the same direction as their first record, with 'Jethro Tull’ inspired flute-work. The band then went on tour as a support act for 'Barclay James Harvest’. This had a direct influence on their music and their third record 'As A Keepsake’ was inspired by BJH, less rock and more symphonic influenced pop.

Their consequent tour served for the double live 'Whalecome’, which showed the good musicianship of the band, giving room to extended improvisations, especially on the 17-minute long 'Hava Nagila. In the same year 'Satin Whale’ released 'A Whale of Time’, a good record especially the title track, an instrumental with a great string arrangement. In 1979 the band composed the soundtrack for the German movie 'Die Faust In Der Tasche’ by director Max Willutzki. As the film was a popular and with their popularity rising the band released the same year 'On Tour’. In 1980 'Satin Whale’ released 'Don’t Stop The Show’,their last and commercial record, together with Ex Triumvirat singer Barry Palmer and the band split up in 1981.

Satin Whale was one of those bands that never managed to transcend the 1970s, and because their sound was less original than their more adventurous Krautrock cousins they merit barely a footnote in Prog Rock history.

Which is a shame, because not every German band needed to be as seditious as CAN (to cite the obvious example: both groups hailed from the same vicinity of Cologne). To their credit, Satin Whale would later riff all over the Hebrew folk song “Hava Nagila” on their 1978 live album “Whalecome”, which I suppose might be considered almost a daring act in a country notorious for its anti-Semitism, especially when juxtaposed against the old minstrel tune “Camptown Races” (dooh-dah, dooh-da, so forth).

But that would be years later. The band’s debut album in 1974 was a hard-hitting, heavy rock effort driven by the blazing guitar of Dieter Roesberg and the Hammond organ grunge of Gerald Dellman, with some breathy flute for added variety. Comparisons to early JETHRO TULL wouldn’t be out of order, but any similarity is most likely coincidental.

On its own merits the album is surprisingly vital, perhaps too light on memorable melodies but full of muscular jamming, with the best moments reserved for when the singer takes a back seat and the music is pushed to center stage, as in the 13-minute album closer “Perception”. The English language titles and lyrics don’t lend it any distinction, however, and the band certainly doesn’t sound very German, perhaps the key to their enormous success in their native country at the time. But that anonymity of style works against them in the long run: they might be just about anyone (except maybe Tull). ……

Line-up / Musicians

- Thomas Brück / bass, vocals
- Gerald Dellmann / keyboards
- Dieter Roesberg / guitars, saxophone, flute, vocals
- Horst Schöffgen / drums

Songs / Tracks Listing

1.Desert Places (6:48)
2.Seasons Of Life (6:41)
3.Remember (9:38)
4.I Often Wondered (7:15)
5.Perception (12:56)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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