Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Siddhartha - "Weltschmerz" {Germany} [1975] (Prog)

Named after a Hermann Hesse novel, Siddhartha was a unique and unusual blend of progressive and art rock, with bits of psychedelic and even proto-punk thrown in. The roots of the group go back to 1971, in a small town outside Stuttgart in southwestern Germany, where keyboardist Martin Morike and violinist Gerhard Kraus practiced constantly in Morike's basement. Eventually they decided to form a band, and they enlisted guitarist Eberhard Muller and drummer Klaus Hermann, fellow students at their university. After rejecting several bass players, they obtained Klaus Scharff through a classified ad.

In 1973, Muller came up with the name for the group and they started to gig locally while the various members continued their college studies. One of their live pieces, also called "Siddhartha," was a very long improvisation over which various members of the band read from the Hesse novel, accompanied by a light show and smoke machines. The group decided in 1975 to release an album as a way to get more live gigs. In early April and again in mid-May of that year at the Ton Studio in Stuttgart, they recorded material with the help of guests Gabi Popmanith on vocals, Iris Rothermel on flute, and Lothar Mattlinger on tuba. After failing to find a label that was interested in their unusual work, they released the album, Weltschmertz, as a 400-copy private pressing near the end of 1975. By the late '90s, this record had become a collector's item worth 500 dollars, and it was finally put out on CD by reissue label Garden of Delights. Siddhartha lasted until the end of 1977, when various members had to move away because of university studies or civil service. ~ Rolf Semprebon, All Music Guide

When Siddhartha originally recorded their only album in 1975, no label would commit to the uncompromising weirdness of the music from these art rockers. Weltschmerz starts off with "Looking in the Past," a track that goes from brash proto-new wave with female vocals, to laid-back psychedelic guitar rock, to hyper, keyboard-driven prog, and then into strange space rock territory with a chorus and finally back to the driving proto-punk. Siddhartha doesn't try to fit any niche too comfortably -- Pink Floyd-ian space rock, to Emerson-like symph-rock keyboard workouts, to psychedelic guitar solos, to haunting violin over a lush keyboard bed, to cosmic folk with acoustic guitar and flute. Siddhartha works against predictability as they pull one musical rabbit after another out of their hat, with strange song structures in between long instrumental passages of melodic beauty. Siddhartha is a difficult group to pigeonhole, if you are so inclined; however, for those who don't like their music pigeonholed, Weltschmerz is a wonderful treat. ~ Rolf Semprebon, All Music Guide

1. Looking In The Past (6:11)
2. Tanz Im Schnee (5:13)
3. Times Of Delight (7:09)
4. Weit Weg (12:18)
5. Gift Of The Fool (6:39)

- Martin Morike / organ, piano, vocals
- Klaus Hermann / drums
- Gerhard Kraus / violin, vocals
- Eberhard Muller / guitar
- Klaus Scharff / bass
- Gabi Rossmanith / vocals (1)
- Iris Rothermel / flute
- Lothar Mattlinger / tuba (4)

1. Looking In The Past ...
2. Tanz Im Schnee ....

Link for download "Siddhartha - 1975 - Weltschmerz" in comments ...


isabelbc said...


teapot said...

I've been looking for this album for years!
cheers, mate

Laurent said...

Thanks so much for the discovery, isabelbc. This album is delightfully magic, somewhere between Amon Düül and Pink Floyd, with haunting female voice as i like. I will purchase the recent Garden of Delight LP reissue, to judge from their CD reprints, must be a good press.

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