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This review is from: Echo + A.R.IV. (Audio CD)
Achim Reichel is one of the less likely pioneers of the cosmic, electronic and avant garde music that came out of Germany in the late 1960s and 1970s. He first enjoyed success as a pin up pop star with The Rattles before taking on a solo career at the opposite end of the musical spectrum. This CD brings together his double LP 'Echo' which spills over to the second disc and 'IV'.
Reichel had already made one great album, Die Grüne Reise - The Green Journey which consisted mostly of Reichel, his Stratocaster and an electronic box of tricks, but 'Echo' represents his peak. The first track is the 20-minute instrumental, 'Invitation', which is divided, like the other four tracks, into several sections. This time he worked with a loose aggregation of other musicians who tend to appear in twos and threes. Reichel sketches mellow lines with his guitar throughout, but the magic ingredient is the low-key electronic backgrounds which give the music its wonderfully trippy feel. There is a beautiful, delicate track featuring a string section in the middle, followed by a dreamy stroll centring on sax.
The other four tracks are titled for echoes in different time and tenses and make use of subtle echoing patterns. They also all feature lyrics which carry sexual and sensual metaphors. The final track includes a long section consisting entirely of multiple voices, some of which are provided by legendary producer Conny Plank and electronics wizard Klaus Schulze. This is an echo of another sort, as Reichel had tried something similar on 'Die Grune Reise'. The results on 'Echo' are, however, more impressive.
'IV' suffers here from following 'Echo' and may be better listened to in isolation as it is a fine album in its own right. It is a little more rock mainstream, however, and therefore less distinct. 'Echo' is an example of how subtle effects and distortions can do so much more for a piece of music than drenching it in psychedelic devices. I cannot recommend this double-CD enough.