Underrated Bands from Super Seventies #12: NOSFERATU

Gatot Widayanto

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Melanjutkan tret yang menjadi trademark nya mas Cosmic ini saya ingin mengangkat sebuah band prog dari Jerman yang langka dan sempat menjadi buruan kolektor baik CD maupun Vinyl nya. Saya hanya punya CD nya yang saya peroleh di tahun 2004 saat saya sering hunting CD kemana-mana sampe ke Malcolm yang di UK. Saya lupa akhirnya CD NOSFERATU ini saya peroleh dari mana. yang jelas, begitu dapet CD nya saya njumbul kegirangan karena memang musiknya antik dan rekaman audionya rada kemlothak …tapi justru enak karena keliatan vintage nya.

Dari segi aliran musik, progarchives mengkategorikannya sebagai Krautrock. Namun saat saya dengarkan musiknya, saya gak tahu apa itu dulu Krautrock. Yang jelas saya tahu, musik Nosferatu adalah gado-gado berbagai nuansa musik pitungpuluhan karena kita bisa dengan kemiripan dengan King Crimson, Focus, Van der Graaf, Jimi Hendrix atau lainnya namun dengan sentuhan jazz yang cukup kentara. Yang jelas pasti prooooooooooog ….

Sayangnya band ini hanya punya satu album dan sejarahnya tak banyak diketahui orang.

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Highway 
2. Willie The Fox 
3. Found My Home 
4. No. 4 
5. Work Day 
6. Vanity Fair

Total Time: 46:32

Line-up / Musicians

– Byally Braumann / drums 
– Christian Felke / saxophone, flute 
– Reinhard Groh? / organ 
– Michael Kessler / bass 
– Michael Meixner / electric guitar 
– Michael Thierfelder / lead vocals

Releases information

LP Vogue LDVS 17178 / CD Ohrwaschl OW 020

 

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I just got this CD last week and I was amazed about the music quality produced by the band. Unless proven otherwise, I believe this is a one-album-band that later we label the band as unsung hero. The band is really terrific and if they continued, I believe they become the band of their own identity. Their music really reminds us to the classic rock era of 70s. Using the framework that we can identify through references with other bands we have known thus far, I think NOSFERATU music is a blend of early KING CRIMSON, VAN der GRAFF, FOCUS, NATIONAL HEALTH, SNAFU, JOHN MAYALL, THE FLOCK, STEPHEN STILLS, AL KOOPER and MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD, and . probably JIMI HENDRIX, with some jazzy touch. Quite complex hah? Yeah, that’s what I believe so. It’s quite tough for me to describe their music. Even, the statement in the CD’s sleeve notes by Tony Hendrik reckoned about the band: “Don’t let me describe their music – all self-penned -, just listen and enjoy it as much ..”. Let’s enjoy ..The opening track, HIGHWAY, is really an energetic tune in an upbeat tempo. At first, it gives an impression of typical classic rock music of the 70s. But when I observe in detail the chords they use especially in the way REINHARD GROHE plays his organ, it’s definitely a prog track to the corner! Beside old-style organ sound they use, the guitar work is really fascinating especially in accompanying the organ sound. The vocal quality of MICAHEL THIERFELDER is excellent – it’s a combination of HENDRIX and GREG LAKE voice, I would say. One of the catchy thing about this track is when the bass and drum perform their sound without other instruments. It reminds me to funky music of JAMES BROWN or JOE TEX but the tagline is still in the vein of classic rock.

The second track, WILLIE THE FOX, is relatively long track with heavy use of flute at the beginning part. Opened with a touch of jazz and classic rock sound that welcomes the vocal line nicely. Flute work by CHRISTIAN FELKE throughout this track is really wonderful. Unlike the first track, this track has some influence of psychedelic music in a dark mood. Especially, at the middle of the track (approx minute 3 onward for approx 4 minutes) there is a psychedelic and space music exploration appearing sax and organ works. When MICHAEL voice starts re-entering the scene, it’s obvious that his singing style at this part is what later would inspire RADIOHEAD. At the ending part, the flute player , CHRISTIAN FELKE demonstrates his capability. Really nice.

FOUND MY HOME is a typical classic rock music with great and tasty melody. Opened with an uplifting solo drum followed by flute and bass line, the music flows to a kind of bluesy rock music with flute (FOCUS like) work to accentuate the bar. When vocal line enters, the rhythm music is full with jazz touch. It reminds me to JOHN MAYALL blues rock and jazz fusion music. The bass guitar is played nicely to position the solo organ work and flute. For me personally, this track is really enjoyable and it’s probably accessible to most of you who like the sound of 70s. I keep repeating this track as my listening pleasure. Not only that, this track cheers me up, really. The electric guitar solo is also stunning especially when it is combined with hammond organ and flute. Oh man . it’s so damn WONDERFUL!

The fourth track, NO. 4, might be a funny title or the band got no idea to name the track so that they just name it that way. It starts with sort of spacey and atmospheric opening exploring drum, guitar, keyboard and percussion sounds. At first, I did not enjoy this opening. But as part of the whole album, I can understand clearly how this opening is positioned this way as the musicians’ interpretations. This track is probably the most psychedelic (even, it tends to be an avant-garde one) compared to others. When vocal line enters the scene, it reminds me to FLOYD’ Umma Gumma album; even though it’s totally different music. I like the use of clavinet as rhythm section accompanied by saxophone. The music then flows to the exploration of saxophone sounds accompanied by guitar fills. I did not like this part when fist time listening to it; but after 3 spins I loved it! Another interesting thing of this track is the use of drum beat during the sax and organ solo.

WORK DAY (track 5) is opened with a kind of NATIONAL HEALTH music but with a kind like classic rock singing style. It’s really a wonderful opening. The musical rhythm seems monotonous at beginning part but when the melody flows ups and downs it changes accordingly following the melody. The insertion of solo drum accompanied with organ sound at roughly minutes 2:10 is really nice. In the middle of the track there is an ambient music with some simple guitar fills and organ sounds accentuated by percussion. The music then enters in the same vein as the opening part with, again, unique solo drumming.

The concluding track, VANITY FAIR, is opened with latin music percussion style. But when the music enters, it’s again the kind of NATIONAL HEALTH music until the vocal enters the music. Consistent with other tracks, the singing style is in the vein of classic rock sounds of 70s. The solo sax in the middle of the track is stunning; performed in a jazz jamming style. Great! It’s a perfect track to conclude the album.

Despite the long music exploration part in the middle of track 2, WILLIE THE FOX, that tend to be, for me personally, so boring, this album deserves 4 stars rating. In giving the rating, I have excluded the consideration of sonic quality of this CD where I believe that most of you might consider it “very poor”. But for me, even this kind of sound quality has even provided the strong “nuances” of the 70s music. I might not enjoy this CD if the sonic quality is of the modern standard where all details can be heard clearly. Other factors: songwriting, structural integrity of song and album composition, and also musicianship are top notch! It’s not a matter of being naïve or generous (or not generous), this album is excellent. Trust me. If you are NOT an audio aficionado and willing to explore the roots of 70s prog, BUY this CD! – GW, Indonesia.

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Posted Sunday, October 10, 2004

 

 

6 Responses to “Underrated Bands from Super Seventies #12: NOSFERATU”

  1. Gatot Widayanto Says:

    Tumben sepi …Mudah2an bukan karena WP nya ngadat gak bisa bikin komen yah … Makanya saya pancing dulu .. Jangan2 karena WP masalah …

  2. Apec Says:

    Ndak ngadat Om,tenang wae,hanya krn memang buta dan tuli saja dengar nama band ini..tp untung wis sampeyan paksa melek mata ini terhadap Nosferatu..minimal kalo bisa nemu vinyl nya bisa dengan tanpa sungkan dan tedeng aling2 langsung disikat…pagi ini sambil bersih bersih rumah namun jiwa masih serasa melamun karena sambil mendengar A Gentleman’s Excuse me nya Fish dari album Vigil,gara2 setruman tret kapan hari

    • Gatot Widayanto Says:

      Syukurlah bro Apec …. Liburan sehari pada tiarap gak komen yo … Ha ha ha … Aku takut WP masalah. Gimana dengan radang tenggorokan? Semoga oke ya.

      Oh ya … Berkat rahmat Allah melalui bimbingan pak dokter Apec, nyonya sudah bener2 recover. Alhamdulillah … Nikmatnya punya temen2 gemblungers … Bisa saling bantu kalau ada kesulitan … Top!

      Wah album Vigil sebenernya tak ada lagu yg gak enak … Semuanya asik. Memang paling aku suka ya Cliche, Company, Family Business dan Vigil ….

      Aku malah menikmati Behind The Veil nya DT album ke 13 …asik juga nih lagu …sambil leyeh2 arep turu maneh … Jam 8 siap BDR. Yeah!

  3. Apec Says:

    Alhamduliillah hamba yo wis membaik..penyakitnya memang Difficult to cure jarene Rainbow…lha wong yang memberi resep kan bukan hamba,kan dokter jaga UGD waktu itu

  4. cosmic_eargasm Says:

    Mas GW, thanks bgt sdh ikut melestarikan dan menggali band2 70an yg jarang, bahkan blm pernah dijamah oleh telinga. Nosferatu ini dulu sy dengar di teman, seingat sy sound nya memang msh raw gitu. Sy jg lupa dulu sempat sy copy apa tdk. Nanti sy cari2 lg deh. Stlh baca review mas GW, jd makin penasaran dgn musiknya yg variatif tsb. Semoga sy nyimpan copyannya. Menyebut nama Nosferatu jd ingat band nya gitaris Tjahyo Wisanggeni dgn bule Amrik, dulu sempat ada kasetnya. Selain itu jd ingat album nya John Zorn “Nosferatu” yg dirilis tahun 2012 kemarin.

    *maaf baru respon, dikarenakan 3 hari ini lumayan sibuk bantu kakak sy mantu*

    ::: Stay Prog :::

  5. Budi Putra Says:

    Weleh, keren2 nih…byk band yg aneh2. Tentu butuh ketenangan buat ngederinnya. Prog seluas samudra, gak ada ujungnya…hahaha.

    Buat mas GW salam kenal. Bisa diulas band yg namanya nyindir gini “Djam Karet”……sy tau band ini pertama kali dr Strawberrybricks.com dan Progarchive.

    Tks

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