Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Planet Of Man
Code III

Released 1974 on Delta Acustic-Kuntskopf
Reviewed by gogmagog, 13/02/2005ce

Another obscure release from Shulze's little stable of cosmic electro-acoustic troubadours and a fine one at that. Taking as its pretext a concept as big as the formation of the cosmogony itself: this far-out piece of German-ness is in the same vein as Sand's Golem, and The Vuh's first two monoliths. A huge adam-and-eve-adelic experiment into sonic territories hitherto unexplored in 1974. This really was Delta-Acustic's year wasn't it. From the cover onwards the LP is a beautiful fusion of electronic and acoustic folkiness, the Sand LP is really the nearest comparison. Cosmic electronics of whistling and wind effects open up Side One and give the LP a very "Ligeti's contributions to 2001: A Space Odyssey" feel, formless moog ululations and spectral robot voices speaking about primitive (wo)man. The brainchild of Manfred Schunke and Ed Key the LP them merges into a sublime acoustic ur-folk plainsong, picked acoustics and English vocals, the bird whistles bring us right into Granchester Meadows (its very Roger Waters in fact, a re-write of that track and Atom Heart Mother's If); flutes are added and we are in the krautrock Book of Genesis. Primitive atmospherics dominate, until 10 minutes of random drum sounds ruin it slightly (in that 5 minutes would easily have sufficed).

Side Two and Aparna Shakravati adds tambura and chanting one-chord Indian wordless vocal, the whole thing morphing through more elctronic storms and tumult, samples from American and German voices, and we're into a sudden jump into early drum-machine motorik shuffle and trance-synths. Its very "Black Dance" and Klaus finally makes an appearance on Side Two - mid-way - on drums. The epic closer brings back the acoustics and it all builds into a spectacular finale of choral oooohhhs and aaaaaaaaaaahhs that the Germans do so well, including (according to the liner notes) a "Stone Age Choir" and a "Cosmos Choir." Fans of Sand, early Vuh, and early Schulze will love this LP.

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