Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Ego On The Rocks (early Eloy & ex- Scorpions members) “Acid In Wounderland” 1981 Germany Private Kraut Rock,Space Rock,Synth Pop,Electronic Experimental


Ego On The Rocks  (early Eloy & ex- Scorpions  members)   “Acid In Wounderland” 1981 Germany Private  Kraut Rock,Space Rock,Synth Pop,Electronic Experimental
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Ego on the Rocks was a short-lived collaboration between ex-Eloy members Detlev Schmidtchen (vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass) and Jürgen Rosenthal (drums, vocals), just after they left the legendary German Prog band, following the release of “Silent cries and mighty echoes”.Their only documents was a single and a concept album, titled “Acid in wounderland” (1981), released on Jupiter Records.Side A suffers from the transitional period between analogue and synthetic sounds with the duo confusing the listener with both natural and computer sounds.It’s somewhere between Pink Floyd and Electronic Prog with strong hints of a poppy The Alan Parsons Project and even more apparent New Wave-ish stylings, strongly based on metronomic drumming, synthesizers and less efficient guitar parts.Irritating material, like music performed by robots, not consistent and not very pleasant I am afraid with some flashy keyboards sounding like winning ideas in a mess of spacey, New Wave-ish and Electronic Pop/Rock passages you shouldn’t expect much.Side B is a lot better, although far from extraordinary.It eventually flirts with the more captivating Eloy style, even if it’s much more keyboard-based.Mix of electronic beats, more human drumming, more convincing vocal lines and a steadier Rock enviroment.Even the guitars play a more prominent role, especially on the excellent outro “Civilization song 1”, adding a bit of human drama and sparkling proggy vibes in the storm of electronic and spacey underlines.Ego on the Rocks disbanded in 1982, but worked as a great school for Schmidtchen to develop his multi-instrmunental skills, which he often used in the 00’s on the large scale of his solo releases….by….apps79…~


Ego on the rocks is one of the forgotten bands from late ‘70’s from german scene. Featuring two members from famous Eloy, - Detlev Schmidtchen / vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass, and Jürgen Rosenthal drums. I’m agree with previous reviewers that this album is definetly a grower, it took me more then 4 spins to fully apreciated this album. The music is quite good and but offers some truly great moments combining elements from Eloy (Silent cry and mighty echoues era), those spacey moments of the highest calibre and some electronica arrangements not far from Tangerine Dream or Krafwerk. The album original release in 1979 and re issued on CD at Jupiter records in 1993 and Second Battle in 1997, have 6 bonus tracks (the jupiter re issue doesn’t have those bonuses) who are lenghty then the entire album with the excellent final track Once in Africa 1 full of Pink Floyd and Eloy atmosphere. So overall a good album for sure, I like it, in places are some spoken words in german and english but fits very well in the atmosphere of the album. The band had a metheoric career, and soon after because of poor sales and problems between musicians split up in 1981. Still a pleasent album to my ears with some fantastic pieces like Erected Error - full of Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream moments, those beginnings of the '80’s synthesisers sounds are all here, and Godbluff. I will give for sure 3 stars, for this album, who needs a better view, nothing groundbreaking here but pleasent most of the time…..by….b_olariu….~


Ego on the Rocks was obviously Deltlev Schmidtchen and Jürgen Rosenthal after they left Eloy in 1979 following the release of Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes. Schmidtchen shows that he was also capable on guitar and bass as well as guitar (he was actually originally a guitarist, but he concentrated on keyboards while in Eloy). He also sings, while he’s not that great of a singer, at least doesn’t have that heavy accent of Frank Bornemann. And then of course, Rosenthal handling the drums. Schmidtchen seemed to be using the same keyboards he did on Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes, except for Hammond organ, which seems completely absent here. He uses Minimoog, Solina string ensemble, RMI keyboard computer, Yamaha CP-70 electric grand piano, and perhaps some newer polyphonic synths like the Prophet-5. 

Frank Bornemann claimed the reason for Schmidtchen and Rosenthal’s departure was their egos, but in my opinion it was the classic musical differences, as there are several cuts on Acid in Wounderland that would be really out of place on a late '70s Eloy album. But to be fair, there are other cuts that retain that Eloy sound, but you can’t be too surprised about that. 

_Acid in Wounderland_ was released on the Jupiter label around 1981, a label that Beggars Opera recorded during their later period, as well as a group called Zomby Woof. “7 to 7 or 999 to 99 Hope”, “Unallgemeine Bestürzung” and “Asylum” all show most strongly that Eloy sound, “Asylum” also shows a strong Alan Parsons Project feel, a style that Eloy was doing around the same time with Colours, in fact I’m certain this duo was trying to imitate what their former band was doing around this time on this song. Some of the other pieces, like “Erected Error”, “Mystik +1+9+8+0” and “Godbluff” finds them more in Tangerine Dream territory, but with vocals and drums. In between many of the cuts, you’ll hear snippets from German and American TV and radio broadcasts, as well as from movies. None of this music is exactly what you would call very complex prog rock. Prog rock after about 1977 have been really rough times, the punk and disco scene coming along, the major acts releasing substandard products, I really enjoyed the acts that seemed to ride the storm out without much problem. Eloy proved that (not just with Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes, but albums like Colours and Planets). And so did their splinter group Ego on the Rocks. Great stuff, and definately one of the better post-1978 prog rock albums out there…..by…..Proghead72….~


Early ELOY members Jurgen Rosenthal (also ex-SCORPIONS) and Detlev Schmidtchen combined talents in 1979 in what I consider simply to be an amazing album all the way through. Rosenthal & Schmidtchen broke ways with Frank Bornemann and ELOY after recording “Silent Cries & Mighty Echoes” and immediately began writing and recording what they considered more “creative” and “progressive” music. “Acid In Wounderland” is full of great space atmospheres combined with loads of loop and tape effects, acid like guitar solos, bass trance like grooves and loads of electronic keyboard accents. Without a question this album will take your brain into the wonderful world of deep space. The fine folks at Second Battle have found an additonal 35 minutes of unreleased EGO which includes a wickedly wonderful 20 min epic space journey called “Once In Africa”. I can not say enough about this album and will recommend this to all lovers of electronic space psychedelia. Buying this album is a better value than going to see another one of those “lovie - dovie” Tom Cruise flicks….. by loserboy ….~


It took a while, but this is starting to grow on me. There is a lot of sampling that really doesn’t help make this record better, in fact I believe the opposite is true. Samples from movies and other sounds that I have no idea what they are, and spoken words (literary quotes and a poem recited) that again takes away from the music instead of enhancing it. 
The first track really reminds me of THE TALKING HEADS, there is an 80’s feel to it. The second song is a highlight with some great drumming from the former Eloy drummer as synths carry on.The third song “Erected Error” reminds me of the OZRIC TENTACLES (similer sound from the rhythm section). 

“Asylum” has an Alan Parsons vibe with some crazy synths to end it. Some nice guitar on “Civilization Song 1”. And of the bonus tracks “Losers And Finders” is another highlight, but the best song by far is the final one “Once In Africa I” clocking in at just under 20 miutes with Pink Floyd written all over it. Great spacy synths and some scorching guitar, it’s a beauty ! It’s also the closest they would get to sounding like their old band Eloy. 
Worth 3 stars certainly for the last track alone, but overall I can’t rate it any higher then that….by Mellotron Storm …..~


In 1975 the prog rockers of Eloy started in new occupation to the commercial high point of her career. At that time, drummer and conceptionist Jürgen Rosenthal (ex-Scorpions) and multi-instrumentalist Detlev Schmidchen ebeson, as well as Ur-Eloy Frank Bornemann and bassist Klaus Peter Matziol, had a significant share in the creative output. The results were fantastic albums such as Dawn and Ocean, for which Jürgen Rosenthal also wrote all the lyrics and concepts. Eloy plates went over the counter like fresh cakes and the band played only in sold-out halls overnight. Unfortunately, the worm was also in this hitherto most successful Eloy team. Frank Bornemann, the only original founding member, held the overall musical concept firmly in his hands and also directed all of Eloy’s business. 

Some years later, after the release of “Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes”, Kutz had reached zero. Jürgen Rosenthal and Detlev Schmidchen were finally fed up with “all sorts of creativity-inhibiting, mind-narrowing and identity-destroying mechanisms and spheres”. For them, it was necessary to redefine their own artistic identity and to market themselves in the future. Until then it was a long way. As a crossover between music and fine art, they created a new sounding world view in 1980: EGO ON THE ROCKS. 

Instead of continuing to celebrate galactic sounds of the Eloy brand, the two egos designed surreal and bizarre sound images, blending them with modern progressive rock music. A trilogy with the theme “Civilization Suite” was planned, in whose concept beside the music also film, video, radio drama and theater should be installed. Following “Alice in Wonderland”, “Acid in Wounderland” was proclaimed the working title of the first part. 

Since the industry-standard donors for such experiments had nothing left, Jürgen and Detlev had to pay the entire cost of production, ie slack 30,000th - DM out of pocket. It should be even harder. The recordings made in the Tonkooperative (studio community) were everywhere rejected as avant-garde to unsellable. The whole project was on hold for months and threatened to fail, until finally Michael Mellenthin, a former audio-co-operative and mutual friend of the first-person team, sold Acid in Wounderland-Tape at the Cannes Music Fair to the hit king Ralph Siegel. 

The so released debut album in 1981 presented the already copiously abolished German prog rock again in absolute top form. A compliment that is still valid today: It is a thing that breaks through your heart when Herbert Wehner’s thunderous organ opens with “That we start to stumble already at the beginning ”
The following fireworks will inevitably banish the listener for the next 40 minutes. Because the eight Acid songs teem with imaginative brilliant catchy melodies and surprising sound collages, text fragments and countless sophisticated soundscapes. Then again, subtle literature quotes invite to fully concentrated listening and reflection. The individual elements sound brilliantly mixed. An adventurous combination of entertainment and information that can not be satiated. Anyway, I think Acid in Wounderland is one of the last big prog rock albums in Germany. 

When the disc was finally on the market, old and new fans should soon be able to experience the “Civilization Suite” live. For this purpose, the duo began to design their own stage, with which they wanted to tour in the future as alternative as possible. Unfortunately, the planned EGO trip through Germany never took place. After the long stress months, both the batteries of the two musicians and their financial cushions were pretty much over. The last energies fizzled more in the daily fight against the impending bankruptcy than that they were used creatively. Detlev and Jürgen gave up their EGO project in 1982 and parted in friendship. Acid in Wounderland was written off as a flop by the record company, the album disappeared from the shelves for many years. 

A renaissance took place in the late 1980s, when the EGO album evolved into a considerable prize rocket among collectors. The South German Bootlegger Group responded promptly to growing demand by launching cheap CD counterfeits, including an additional background noise: 40 minutes of vinyl crackling. 

Two years later, an official re-release finally followed, which was hardly promoted at all and therefore has long since been canceled. After several negotiations with Jürgen Rosenthal and Detlev Schmidtchen, this gem once again became “Second Battle” with an additional unpublished 30 minute bonus track. ………Second Battle….~


In 1979, Eloy released one of their finest albums, Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes in an era where I didn’t expect much great prog rock coming out. I would have thought after Ocean it was all downhill for Eloy, but not at all. After Silent Cries, Detlev Schmidtchen and Jürgen Rosenthal left the band. That didn’t provide a problem for Eloy, they simply brought in some new members and surprisingly, in the dark days of prog, continued releasing some of the finest prog to be released in the early '80s with Colours and Planets that can hold their own with the stuff they did in the late '70s. 

Frank Bornemann claimed the reason for Schmidtchen and Rosenthal’s departure from Eloy was their egos. Well, I’m certain there’s also the usual musical differences as well. 

The duo recorded as Ego on the Rocks and released Acid in Wounderland in 1980 on the Jupiter label. Schmidtchen handled all instruments and vocals, except for drums, of course, which was handled by Rosenthal. Schmidtchen didn’t seem to have that heavy German accent of Bornemann, and he also demonstrates quite well his abilities on guitar, since he was originally a guitarist, and it was basically his time with Eloy that allowed him to shine on keyboards. 

There are some cuts on this album that aren’t too far from the late '70s Eloy sound like “7 to 7 or 999 to 99 Hope” and “Unallgemene Bestürzune”, but on a cut like “Erected Error” there are some Tangerine Dream or Jean Michel Jarre-like synth rhythms that would be out of place on an Eloy album. Another cut, “Mystik +1+9+8+0” is another piece that sounds quite a bit different from the Eloy sound. “Asylum” is by far the most catchy piece, once again showing the Eloy influence, especially the heavy use of string synths and Minimoogs. Throughout the album, you hear lots of snippets from German and American radio, movie and TV broadcasts, the stuff in English is obviously the American stuff. 

If you own the Second Battle CD reissue, then you get treated with lots of bonus cuts, apparently from a never finished second album. Unfortunately my CD reissue did not come with those bonus cuts, only the eight cuts that made the original Acid in Wounderland album. 

After Ego on the Rocks, both Schmidtchen and Rosenthal had retired from music, it’s no wonder why they didn’t participate in the Chronicles I and II projects (that were mainly re-recordings of late '70s to early '90s material), or appeared on the 1998 sequel to Ocean called Ocean 2: The Answer. 

Acid in Wounderland certainly proves that this duo was able to hold their own without Eloy and it’s great stuff!…by…. BENJAMIN MILER…..~


“Ego on the Rocks” was a short-lived project by two former Eloy musicians. Detlev Schmidtchen decisively influenced the sound of such classics as “Ocean” with his spherical keyboard sounds. Jürgen Rosenthal provided the often mythologically inspired texts. Since the two were of the opinion, at Eloy their creativity can not fully live their lives, they separated in 1979 from the band. 

“Acid in Wounderland” was planned as the first part of a trilogy, but the other two parts never appeared. Already with this first part the two flashed off at all labels - at the beginning of the 80s this music was no longer in demand. Oddly enough, they found just listen to the hit producer Ralph Siegel. But do not scare right away, hits are not on it here ;-) 

However, anyone expecting an Eloy copy will be disappointed; The music reminiscent of their Eloy past only very rarely, although it is already rooted in the 70s scene. The album opens with a sentence by Herbert Wehner (for the younger readers: long-time chairman of the SPD parliamentary group), then starts with a quite rocking piece. The not very complex songs are interrupted again and again by strange sound collages and well-rehearsed vocal sequences (including Herbert Marcuse). For only two musicians results in a pretty full sound, with Detlev Schmidtchen also proved to be a guitarist thoroughly. His vocals are not exactly intoxicating, but quite passable, and the instrumental parts outweigh anyway. Unlike Eloy, the keyboards are not quite in the foreground, 

Regarding the origin of the bonus titles you will not learn anything in the - otherwise very informative - booklet, I suppose that they were meant for the second part of the trilogy. Here, too, extensive use of voices and other sound recordings is made, but the music is much more keyboard-oriented. Not in the famous (or infamous) symphonic-bombastic style of the 70s, but more in the style of Tangerine Dream. The absolute highlight of the bonus tracks, oh well, the whole album is “Once in Africa 1”, on the Schmidtchen combined atmospheric synth sounds with great guitar effects. In addition a German-language text is declaimed. As time progresses, rocky passages that alternate with seemingly almost ambient sequences alternate again and again. 

Overall, “Acid in Wounderland” is an outstanding piece of work that does not sound a bit dusty or “retro” even after 20 years. Who knows, maybe the two will reunite with the renewed interest in Progressive Rock to complete the trilogy …By Jochen Rindfrey…baby blue prog……~




The former Eloy members that made up this “band” played a significant role in Eloy’s most popular albums; in particular Jurgen Rosenthal was responsible for the concept of “Ocean”, widely regarded as their best. Frank Bornemann claimed that it was their large egos which caused them to splinter from the group, which might have contributed to the chosen name. While I believe Eloy produced some of their best albums following the split, this one is no dud. 
The style is not really Eloy-ish but more kraut rock with spacey tendencies. I hear Amon Duul II and Kraftwerk for instance, as well as some Hawkwind, such as on the strong opener “01. 7 to 7 or 999 to 99 Hope”. Lots of spoken parts and sound effects introduce and interrupt the material and would have been best dispensed with, but perhaps had an important meaning for the writers. For that reason, and because of the percussive keyboard instrumentation on some songs, such as “Godbluff”, I am reminded of Jon and Vangelis “Friends of Mr Cairo”, but this came first, so I am probably missing a common ancestor. Certainly those sounds also have a very electronic Tangerine Dream like quality, and the album also heralds the 1980s tendency to minimally emotive vocals surrounded by washes of synthesizers, but thankfully here real drums are used. “Asylum” grafts some intelligent pop onto the formula. Ego in the Rocks is keyboard dominated, but the guitars offer strong support with little flash, probably best illustrated on “Hazard”. The highly techno synthesized approach is several levels removed from Eloy and as such sounds more dated that the material of the mother group. 
Unfortunately, although I have a CD copy, it does not contain bonus tracks so my assessment is based only on the original album, which I find to be a flawed but enjoyable work that can be enjoyed straight up. …..by kenethlevin…..~



Line-up / Musicians 
- Detlev Schmidtchen / vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass, strings, sequencer 
- Jürgen Rosenthal / drums





















Songs / Tracks Listing 
1. 7 to 7 or 999 to 99 Hope (6:09) 
2. Unallgemeine Bestürzung (4:58) 
3. Erected Error (4:18) 
4. Mystik +1+9+8+0 (4:53) 
5. Asylum (4:53) 
6. Hazard (4:20) 
7. Godbluff (5:27) 
8. Civilization Song 1 (6:15) 
Bonus tracks on cd release: 
9. Destroy the Gun (5:07) 
10. Losers and Finders (6:03) 
11. Another Saturday Night (2:41) 
12. Civilization Song 2 (3:42) 
13. Once in Africa 1 (19:15) 

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