Released 1978 on Brain
Reviewed by Lugia, 04/01/2004ce

Liliental: "Liliental"
Brain 60.117, recorded 19??, released 1978.

1) Stresmanstrasse
2) Adel
3) Wattwurm
4) Vielharmonie
5) Gebremster Schaum
6) Nachsaison

This is definitely an odd affair. Liliental is a one-off assemblage consisting of Dieter Moebius from Cluster on ARP, guitar, and percussion, dark-ish synthesist Asmus Tietchens and his sometimes-collaborator Okko Bekker on synths, keyboards, percussion, some vocals, and guitars, two members of Kraan in Johannes Pappert (sax, bass, percussion, flute) and Helmut Hattler (bass), capped off with Krautrock Kingpin producer Conny Plank on ARP, guitar and percussion. Yes, Plank plays here, one of the few times we get to hear him on the other side of the desk, although what he's doing is perhaps a little difficult to pick out.

The whole thing starts off with something that might be jazz-rock. Maybe. And I say mayabe because no sooner than it hits a key modulation, it drops into drone-mode and the whole palette gets...strange. Various Moebius-like and Tietchens-esque pings and pongs weave in and out as we head straightforward into "Adel", which goes way off into klassik kosmische turf with droning, multitracked monk-like monotone vocals, heavy synth stuff...very much like some of what TD was up to around the same period, but not...exactly. Maybe a weird TD-cum-Harmonia thing. Maybe.

And then "Wattwurm". Cartoony sequencers start up, with the occasional guitar twang...and then we're into this simplistic four on the floor straighforward chart that would be at home on, say, Cluster's "Sowiesoso", save for the guitars and the fact that it's a little too lush for Cluster from that period. Twittery synth bits and a...vibraphone? Strangeness, to be sure. Then it all drops into a nice pretty chord at the end, washy string-synth, waaaaah, and you flip the record over.

And then perhaps the highpoint of the album starts side 2. "Vielharmonie" reminds one quite a bit of some of what Eno was up to on the more ambient-ish bits of "Before and After Science" or the first "Music for Films" release...not so coincidentally dating from this same general time period. It's nice, too...ultra-slow, lots of space between the obvious 'chords' that mark time in the piece Very slowly elements come into this mix, and it builds a bit of a rhythm, but never gets above this very gentle sunrise-like pacing. Pappert drops a nice sax solo into the background as a ticking pulse and the occasional drum hit start to more clearly mark time. As it heads toward a close, one might be tempted to call the results 'jazzy' with the overdubbed sax sections and chording, but this is an odd sort of jazz to be sure.

Then we get weird again. Electronic crickets, banging around inside a piano, big pauses, bells..."Gebremster Schaum". Very nocturnal, avant-garde. Coming after the ambient-jazz of "Vielharmonie", it's quite a jump. Even more of a jump is the latter half of the piece, as this very placid electric piano part starts up...and then...dobro?...acoustic guitar? What is this...some sort of proto-Windham Hill takeoff? A piss-take on Shadowfax? Not with those Dieter Moebius bleep-sput-farts in there, but still, it's definitely odd, especially after a few minutes of Stockhauseny klangness that starts it all off.

And then...LOUNGE. I half expect Barry White, but instead we get Okko Bekker sort of singing thru some weird filtery something. Yeaahhh, baby...c'mon over here and give the Braun toaster some lovin''s Krautrock time at the cocktail lounge, with Lilental groovin' it up for the swingers and hepcats. What...the...fuck?

OK, as you can guess from the above, this is a pretty varied affair. Actually, that's an understatement. It's all over the map. Parts are actually interesting. But other parts get tedious. And "Nachsaison" has GOT to be some kind of a joke. Please tell me it is. Please. Parts really retain that Krautrocky goodness. But other parts are either comedy or a total miscue of Biblical proportions. And with the personnel present, you'd have some high hopes...but the mix of people is doesn't quite ever gel. Those who really have to have ALL the Conny Plank work should probably shell out for this. But aside of some very nice bits in "Adel" and "Vielharmonie", there's flaws.

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