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31 Dec 2016

Kalacakra “Crawling to Lhasa” 1972 Private Germany Psych Kraut Rock monster

Kalacakra “Crawling to Lhasa” 1972 mega rare Private Germany Psych Kraut Rock monster


Kalacakra's 'Crawling to Lhasa' is one of the few German psychedelic classics. Their 1972 LP has become such an attractive collectors' item (today's value is 300 euros in mint condition) that several bootlegs have appeared on the market. The legitimate LP release on the Garden of Delights label is limited to 1000 numbered copies, comes in a deluxe gatefold cover and contains a 4-page colour insert in LP size, featuring a detailed history (in German and English language) of the Duisburg band together with a detailed discography, cover and label repros, and numerous photographs, which reflect the sombre, stoned atmosphere of the record in a perfect manner. 'Raga no. 11' is probably the best track, with 'Nearby Shiras' reflecting the most psychedelic aspect of the band's music. It is about the Black Plague raging in this Persian town hundreds of years ago. ...... 

New legit reissue of this "psychedelic jewel from Duisburg". Originally issued as a private press LP in Germany in 1972, there were a couple of bootleg LP versions of this floating around in the 80s and then a legit, but difficult to obtain CD issue on the long gone Lost Pipe Dreams label. This version contains the same 2 unfortunate bonus tracks as the prior CD (recorded in 1993, and in a "very different style"), but has improved Cedar-mastering and informative liner notes and previously unseen photographs -- the standard over-the-top GOD production. "Their music combined various folk and Eastern influences, slightly hinting at the Third Ear Band and Popol Vuh, but closest to Clark-Hutchinson on their album A=MH2. Kalacakra's blend of mantras, blues, folk and stoned psychedelia gained Crawling To Lhasa a well deserved curiosity value, yet they were an altogether more eclectic and strange band than any of their possible mentors." -- The Crack In The Cosmic Egg............... 

Kalacakra is one of the tantric gods of Vajrayâna Buddhism. The Kalacakra Mandala, the meditation symbol of the god, which can also be seen on the cover of the only LP of the German duo Kalacakra, is the time wheel symbolizing the cosmic rhythms and the passage of time. Their only LP was recorded by Claus Rauschenbach and Heinz Martin at the beginning of the 1970s and were published in 1972 by their own publishing house. Vinyl records of the record reach maximum prices in collectors' circles, so that the CD reissue by Garden Of Delights (there was already a 1993 CD version of the album on the label Lost Pipe Dreams) will be the first opportunity for many of the music of the album Duos to listen. 

Kalacakra's "Crawling To Lhasa" offer a music, which can be called an ethno-psychedelic cabbage skirt, as one might expect from the album, the cover picture and the name of the band. The two protagonists can be heard here on a whole number of acoustic and electronically amplified instruments, creating a relaxed-bumped, folky-meditative atmosphere, which was probably very fashionable in the late 60s and early 70s. Comparisons offer a whole series. Because once were the amateurish psychedelic-folk albums of the Incredible String Band , but sound Kalacakra significantly electric (at least partially) and are something crazier go. Then because the freer sound creations were on the first album of Älgarnas Trädgård name and the similarly mounted digressions the German colleagues of Limbus 3 and 4 respectively . Compared to these, however, the music of Kalacakra is again somewhat more simple knitted and has a somewhat more solid rhythmic basis. Then there are the British acid folk bands like January Dukes de Gray or Comus . But Kalacakra is not quite as inclined and freaked out. Last but not least you can still the first slices of Hölderlin and Bröselmaschine perform. On the other hand, Rauschenbach and Martin are again psychedelic and "Indian", although the piece "September fullmoon", for example, reminds the group of Peter Bursch. 

Kalacakra "Crawling To Lhasa" usually scrambled to their feet, rhythmically advanced by acoustic guitars or hand-percussion, sounded and solistically supplemented by various blowing, plucking, knocking and stringed instruments, and sometimes by a synthesizer. The latter is mainly used in "Raga No. 11", where he creates a hypnotic ascending and descending sound carpet. In addition there are various vocal sounds, mostly from more or less sensible text recitations - in "Nearby Shiras" there are for example various variations of the text "tomorrow comes the black plague, whether it lets us live, we celebrate a big festival" -, but also from purely "sound" sounds. Whether the powerful cough in "September full moon" belongs to the concept or simply "happened", is somewhat unclear. 

The first three numbers are quite nice if you like "Trippiges". With the already mentioned "September full moon" it is then however a little boring. The piece offers lame guitar guitars with flute accompaniment, which can hardly be tolerated over 10 minutes, without constantly suppressing a hearty yawn. "Arapaho's Circle Dance" and "Aunt Olga" then move in slanting blues, while the second piece is subject to a constant backdrop. In addition, someone is trying on a Captain Beefheart imitation. 

Let's get to the sound of the recording. This is not so terribly great. Created with quite primitive means, the whole thing has a lofty Lo-Fi charm, but it fits quite well to such music. In addition, the album seems to be mastered by an LP, which provides for additional light crackling and noise. 

The two bonus numbers come from the beginning of the 90s and were recorded by Heinz Martin in his home studio. The sound is a lot better here, but this Ethno-Rock-Newage mix from Midiklängen is quite unimpressive. 

Anyone who appreciates herbicidal-psychedelic oddities and also some of the above-mentioned comparison band, which could be quite pleased with "Crawling To Lhasa". To myself, the whole thing is too amateurish and unruly. So bad is the album, especially the first half, but Achim Breiling..

Kalacakra (the c is pronounced as tch) is called "wheel of time" in Tibetan. Inspired by the original culture of Tibet, mixed with oriental and Indian influence, the duo Claus Rauschenbach (guitar, conga, percussion, vocal, harmonica) and Heinz Martin (guitar, flute, piano, vibraphone, shawme, cello, Synthesizer) At the beginning of the 70's a wonderful psychedelic gem, which in the original vinyl version now meanwhile almost four-digit DM values ​​achieved. Interestingly, both musicians never visited Tibet, but their music is strongly influenced by that culture. More about the band history in the always exemplary model of Garden Of Delights researched booklet. 

Thus the songs on the first half of the record and, moreover, like a series of a monotonous repetitive Indian rag. A strange, strange fascination exudes a strange "singing", that is, unclear words, screams, mystical sound paintings of drums, played by the flute. The journey goes into the far distance - if one closes one's eyes, the spirit floats through India and Tibet, is frightened by words like "Morning comes the black plague" but always disturbed. If you listen to this experiment, you will be able to hear it, but also at the same time. 

After the trip into strange spheres the sudden break follows. The two titles, which originally came to the LP, are all in a pure Blu-ray, even if they are more about some psychedelic blues. There are the well-established completely only by Heinz Martin two bonus tracks from the 1993 mystical, very interesting, psychedelic space rock, the bonds with at Ozric Tentacles or Mandragora comes up. 

To evaluate this album is very difficult because it can be split into three very different parts, which are somehow related to the mood and attitude, but are musically Kristian Selm.

Kalacakra's "Crawling To Lhasa" is one of the few German psychedelic classics. Their 1972 LP has become such an attractive collectors' item (today's value is US$400 in mint condition) that several bootlegs have appeared on the market. In 1993, an official CD version was released on the Lost Pipedreams label, which has long since become unavailable. The final release on the Garden of Delights label contains a 32-page colour booklet, featuring a detailed history of the Duisburg band and their community together with numerous photographs, which reflect the sombre, stoned atmosphere of the record in a perfect manner. "Raga no. 11" is probably the best track, with "Nearby Shiras" reflecting the most psychedelic aspect of the band's music. It is about the Black Plague raging in this Persian town hundreds of years ago...

This is perhaps one of the strangest and most underrated records to have emerged from the first wave of krautrock. 1972’s Crawling To Lhasa was the first and, ultimately, only set of recordings ever released by Kalacakra, the short-lived duo of Claus Rauschenbach and Heinz Martin, but where the band lacked in staying-power they more than made up for themselves in pure imagination. You would be hard-pressed to find much in the way of comparable material from this era in time. 

Resting somewhere between the surreal communality of Amon Düül and the spooky grooves of Can, Crawling To Lhasa is a largely instrumental affair (even when vocals are featured, they are generally whispered, cackled or chanted to the point that they serve more as instruments than as any real vehicles of communication) exploring a sort of mysterious, stoned spiritualism hinted at by the record’s many allusions to Tibetan Buddhism. Songs meander, drift, or press on at indistinguishable points, and while this may seem to point to the record as simply being a collection of directionless jamming, the modus operandi serves the mood here in a way more elaborately crafted songs would fail to do. 

All this talk about religion and mystery is not to say that this record lacks a sense of humor, however. My German is not very good, but judging by the amount of (admittedly eerie) laughter going on in the background to some of these songs, Martin and Rauschenbach definitely made it a point to enjoy these sessions – even when discussing such topics as the Black Plague in opener “Nearby Shiras.” Tempos are generally slow, though the electric Indian/medieval music hybrid “Raga Eleven” does up the energy a little with cymbal crashes and an alarmingly insistent tambourine. Though the record maintains an extremely constant atmosphere, the band is not afraid to explore several different facets of sound, from the rather beautiful, nine-minute acoustic guitar and flute meditation “September’s Full Moon” to the creeping blues pastiche “Tante Olga,” which keeps reminding me of some sort of cosmic, acoustic Endless Boogie jam session. Rauschenbach’s deranged vocal mantra and Martin’s nauseous electric guitar riff just keeping their cyclical choogling from driving me up the wall. 

Garden of Delights reissued this album back in 2001 on compact disc, but unfortunately took it upon themselves to grace the end of this issue with two New Age synthesizer numbers from what must have been a reunion of sorts. Their vinyl issue makes the crime even worse: rather than tacked on at the end of the record where they can be easily ignored, these two additions are spread across both sides of the LP. Looks like you will either have to suffer through these two anomalies or look for one of the few rare original pressings of Lhasa before we can get a properly restored remaster from the band. Don’t let it dissuade you from hunting this number down, though. This is a real gem from the krautrock underground that anyone interested in the music deserves to hear....Rising Storm review

One of those rarities that came from early 70's German rock presenting a psychey-hippy folk-blues laced with eastern wisdom. The Garden Of Delights label did as usual a very fine job of reissuing this under the cd format , to soothe many collectioners's curiosity . This album was counterfeited a few times and still fetched astronomical prices, due to this album's reputation. 
The music developped here is certainly very worthwhile if you enjoy acoustic psychadelia lacing in folk , blues , strange eastern ranting, relatively poor recording techniques (nowadays we called this Lo-Fi), but good instrumental interplay. This album is certainly worth a few spin to any progheads, but I doubt that they will want to spin this more than a dozen time throughout their lifetime , because of the limited progressive content in this album. The musicianship is excellent but too many times the indulgent jam-like musical extrapolations will annoy very hard-to-please progheads. 

The two bonus tracks are somewhat different-sounding to the rest of the album (much better produced) but remain within the psychey folk-blues spectrum of the album, adding up real value to the original album. Something rare enough to point out. Hardly essential for demanding proghead but nevertheless quite pleasant and worth hearing at least once in your Sean Trane 

Really gorgeous eastern psychedelic kraut (related) improv in the mood of Siloah, Parson Sound, Lamp of the Universe, Dom.Some sections contain primitive, blues damaged folk jams. The result is astonishing, highly mysterious and luminous. "Naerby Shiras" is an acoustic, repetitive, dreamy and druggy little piece, dominated by simplistic but efficient guitars motifs, some dancing flute lines and discreet narrations at the end. Really warm & acid stuff. "Jaceline" is a percussive, floating ballad within a forest ambience, accompanied by voices and words, violin contrasts and vibraphone. The "pastoral" acoustic guitar parts always prevail. "Raga no 11" features an intense, chanting like raga improvisation with rhythms and "mantra" sonorities. "September full moon" contain folkish strings and rhythms for a rather light, bucolic composition. "Arapaho's dancing dance" is bluesy like tune with circular rhythms, evasive guitar parts and kinda folky harmonica arrangements. A charming artefact with some tripped out moments! philippe 

A very odd band formed by the duo Claus Rauschenbach ("guitars, kongas, percussions, vocals, harmonica, slentem") and Heinz Martin ("electr. guitars, flute, piano, vibraphon, schalmi, cello, violin, synthesizer"). The band released only one album in its all career. The name KALACAKRA refers to one of the main Tantric deities of Vajrayâna Buddhism which means "wheel of time". Their sound can be called as "mantric" acid folk. Thus the compositions have a heavily eastern influence (near to "raga" rock experiences) with a lot of flute, sitar and percussions. This meditative musical background provides a few musical interludes quite charming and dreamy. The general mood of the album is dominated by solid blues guitar sections accompanied by stoned, depressive vocals (in German) and many freak out, psychedelic rock sequences. The atmosphere of Kalacakra's musical universe is rather mysterious, sinister with a few humorous accents. Consequently it is an other acid trip from the early German underground, a good mixture of prog / psych and folk ingredients. ..... 

The duo of Heinz Martin and Claus Rauschenbach recorded and released “Crawling To Lhasa” in 1972. It is the only album the duo recorded and it’s a very funny experience to listen to it. Musically it sits somewhere between early Amon Düül, raw Captain Beefheart (the bluesy “Tante Olga”) and often it’s not unlike some of Witthüser & Westrupp’s folk music (who came originally from Essen, a town next to Duisburg). 

With Witthüser & Westrupp, Kalacakra share a sometimes silly sometimes witty sense of humor: Like the second song “Jaceline” – about a girl named Jaceline and her parents named “Herr und Frau Jaceline” who have friends named “Herr Jaceline und Frau Jaceline” which had seven kids named “Jaceline, Jaceline, Jaceline, …” like a mantra it goes on and on and on about various things and people named “Jaceline”. 

They must have had a lot of good weed back then. And that Jaceline-rhyme is even more hilarious if you are familiar with the dialect spoken by the locals in the Duisburg area (called “Ruhrpott”) where such a French name is usually pronounced as “Schakkeline” (and this wrong and somewhat sloppy pronunciation indicates a certain kind of provincial mentality of the locals, so to speak). It’s as complex as easy to get when you’re German, but we’re reaching a language barrier here – the joke and its meaning aren’t transferable into the English language. 

The same goes with “Tante Olga”. A bluesy jam with two separate vocal-tracks mixed together. One is in English – a Don-Van-Fliet-like rant; the other’s in German: Martin and Rauschenbach laughing and talking about getting another beer, about not having enough cigarettes and even about the fact that they don’t understand what the English voice-track is singing about: “Was singt der da? 
This dope-fuelled humour is as important as all the faux-indian-styled instrumentals such as “Raga No. 11”. Of course, the repetitive and instrumental folk jams are the reason why the record is loved internationally. “September Full Moon”: nine minutes of flute and guitar strumming, a simple and beautiful melody – perfect music to light another spliff. The more bluesy “Arapahos Circle Dance”: tambourine, harp and electric guitar n’ bass playing a psychedelic miniature. Nice one. 

Considering the drugs-induced humor and the beautiful psychedelic music “Crawling To Lhasa” seems like the perfect snapshot from the times past: early 1970’s in Germany, when wearing long hair wasn’t just a fashion-decision. These beautiful outsiders created something back then that’s dated on the one hand but on the other hand it is revived by beer-drinking potheads like Sylvester Anfang II who nowadays seem to carry the same spirit: having fun, not taking yourself too serious and making great music. 

Technical note: This once hard-to-find release has been rereleased/bootlegged several times. It’s best to search for the Garden Of Delights vinyl-reissue from 2010, because it comes with a 4-page libretto displaying labels of all bootlegs and previous pressings plus rare pictures and bilingual linernotes (German/English). It even features pictures of the obscure NDW-records Heinz Martin played on (as Heinz Robert Martin). One thing that is absolutely embarrassing about the re-release: it features two additional tracks recorded in the late 1990’s (“Deja-Vu” and “Vamos”) – cheap keyboard & drum-machine driven world-music-tunes, YorkshireNed...... 

One of the great underground kraut rock albums sure to please fans of Popul Vuh. Garden Of Delight reissue filled with unreleased material. A mega-dollar album that is actually as good as it is rare - 

(the C is incidentally tsch spoken) was a Duisburger Duo which is a single album was delivered in 1972. Damals völlig unbeachtet, gewann es über die Zeit einen Ruf ein besonders obskures Kleinod aus dem Krautrockbereich zu sein. At the time, completely unnoticed, it was about the time a call is a particularly obscure gem from the Krautrock area. Und es ist. And it is. Psychedelic-Folk, durchgeknallt, schräg und mit deutschem Humor wie es auf diese Art eben nur in den seligen Kraut-Zeiten zu veröffentlichen ging. Psychedelic folk music, without a slanting and with German humor as in this way only in the blessed herb-Times declined to publish. Since there is the eerie opening track "Shiro Nearby, the over 9 minutes menacing mood builds, as achieved by the frenzy whispered, and then, at times louder made headlines" tomorrow is the black plague. This is repeated over and over, then there's also a few other lines and musically this is the acid-folk. The next piece is normal on the musical track, but lyrically totally gaga. A song about all sorts of people "Jaceline" hot (still wrong). Lied 3 heißt so und ist ein indisch angehauchter Raga. Song 3 states, and so is an inspired Indian Raga. Then comes a rather lyrical pieces, then two bluesartige pieces, "Aunt Olga" then textually totally gaga again. The musicians play and brabbeln everything possible to herself, as if she simply in the studio had started talkin. The last two pieces then, are the bonus tracks recorded in recent times and were not quite fit for the album, but I might like. Kalacakra is really showing an angle and an enriching experience for my herb collection. - By Jerry, ........ 

#2: A German 70s oddity for sure, Kalacakra perform an eastern-tinged, heavily psychedelic, dreamy music. Undoubtedly, the hand percussion-based meanderings infused with instruments both strange and familiar will bear comparison to cross-ethnic groups like Ossian, Aktuala and Clivage, although, in this group, Limbus 3/4 would be the closest comparison due to the psychedelic vibe. However, Kalacakra never approach the bizarre, totally free terrain of Limbus 3 or 4, and there is always some grounding mechanism, even if it is a straight percussion and drone. Tracks like "Raga No. II" show their predilection for this Indian-flavored drone music, while on the more pastoral side is the album's longest piece "September Full Moon" which is based on a melodic, "Norwegian Woods"-like acoustic guitar vamp. Kalacakra also bring vocals into the mix, which are often bizarre interjections - even laughing and croaking. Overall, the production is pretty primitive, and musically, they never approach the sophistication of some of the comparisons mentioned earlier. But it's still fairly interesting to hear this type of musical fusion with an underground vibe. (The out of print CD reissue on Lost Pipe Dreams includes bonus tracks from a 1993 reformation.) - By Mike McLatchey,Gnosis....... 

Kalacakra were a German psych duo that played a very heady mix of percussion, flute, drones, and effects. But that short statement doesn't really aptly describe what Kalacakra sounded like. While perhaps and idealized (or romanticized) image, if you were imagine yourself stoned in the 70s, listening to two equally stoned musicians follow their muses, somehow managing to make it all work together, then you have at least a bit more info to go by. Throw into that mix the Lollipop kids from The Wizard Of Oz (equally stoned out of their minds) speaking in tongues, and to themselves, off in some hallucinogenic fantasy world ... then this is the additional element that...doesn't quite work for me. I mean, it's all part of the music and all, but... it's not the attractive element. That's just "Nearby Shiras," the first piece (misspelled on the sleeve as "Naerby Shiras"). The speaking/voicings in "Jaceline," the next track, are much more pleasing, and leads into the much more interesting core of the album, including "Raga No. 11" and the acoustic, mellow, lyrical "September Full Moon," with its gentle, warm flute tones and rich guitar. This latter track has a very intimate, live feel. If there are any drawbacks, it lasts a just a little bit too long. 

Psychedelia returns with "Arapaho's Circle Dance." The 4/4 circular rhythm is both mesmerizing and very evocative of dancing. "Arapaho" is a Native American word, and the music reflects this very same heritage. The album proper closes with "Tante Olga," which takes nearly the same rhythm as "Arapaho," but speeds it up a bit, and adds vocals -- you are in the center of party (even down to what sounds like pop-tops spitting open). The vocals have a bluesy cadence. Other than some interesting guitar leads lifted from classic blues-rock (though no track in particular), this track pretty much stays in one place. Percussion comes in to change the vibe, but this only makes the track dissolve into what would result if the guests were taking up the band's instruments while the band were on a break ... only some how finding a groove towards the end. Vocally, it sounds as if Van Morrison were holding court, but not making much sense. 

Two bonus tracks are included, "Vamos" ("We Go") and "Déjà Vu." which date from 1983 and were recorded by Heinz Martin in his home studio. The difference in feel is immediately evident... "Vamos" is more new agey in feel. I thought of James Reynolds's in particular (The Mind's Eye "soundtrack"), but many other synthesists come to mind as well, including early Steve Roach and Tangerine Dream (yes, that would be 80s TD). Synths, drum machines, guitars cutting across the instruments, but not in a lead role, ethnic percussion. All the right elements in the right place, but not a great deal of warmth, though it doesn't sound bad. "Déjà Vu." is more of the same, though it has more of a dark edge than does "Vamos." Crawling To Lhasa is the only release that Claus Rauschenbach (guitars, congas, percussion, vocals, harmonica and "slentem") and Martin (electric guitar, flute, piano, vibraphone, schalmei, cello violin, and synthesizer) produced. Kalacakra, where the "c" is pronounced "tch" as in "stitch," means "Wheel Of Time" in Tibetian (Lhasa is the capital of Tibet). It is the rhythms and patterns of the music from that region and surrounding regions, that informs the music. Sans vocals, and released today (for the first time) this would have likely been placed in the same bin as Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Vidna Obmana, etc. (to name the usual "suspects"). As it was, when originally released, this album didn't sell well. It is only in the "after market" that interest was piqued. Today, depending on the condition, a vinyl copy can fetch up to $350 USD. As you expect, because this is a carefully tended Garden Of Delights release, there are informative and extensive liner notes, which detail the duo's brief history, as well as the release history -- official and unofficial -- for the album. Taken from an LP, as the master tapes were lost, the GoD production is crystalline, as they employed the Cedar NoNoise system to clear out the clicks. 

Overall, it's a very interesting archival release, mainly for the middle four tracks. If you are into German psyche and/or "third world" musics, you will find either or both tastes satified. Recommended. - By Stephanie Sollow, Progressive World .... 

Line-up / Musicians 
- Claus Rauschenbach / Guitar, Congas, Percussion, Vocals, Harmonica, Slentem 
- Heinz Martin / Guitar, Flute, Piano, Vibraphone, Schalmei, Cello, Violin, Synthesizer 

Songs / Tracks Listing 
1. Naerby shiras (9:16) 
2. Jaceline (6:15) 
3. Raga No 11 (5:34) 
4. September fullmoon (9:35) 
5. Arapaho's circle dance (2:28) 
6. Tante Olga (7:31) 
Bonus tracks on cd release: 
7. Vamos (6:48) 
8. Deja vu (5:38)  

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..