Damenbart was a trio consisting of Erwin Bauer on synthesizer, organ and guitar; Bernd Barth on synthesizer, effects and vocals; and Tina S. on lead vocals. Their sound was unpredictable and mercurial, characterized by thick, amorphous atmospheres formed by layers of droning synths and stacks of overdubbed vocals, with intermittent forays into rhythm and frequent left turns into cavernous, echoplexed noise. Impressionen '71 is the literal wet dream-cum-reality for fetishists of German progressive and kosmische, encompassing all the outre' musical elements that collectors yearn for. "Innovative Schwingungen" (trans: "Innovative Oscillations") begins with a loop of Tina S. intoning the song's title, as scattered drums fly around the stereo channels and stacks of oppressive synth and keyboard are compounded, with excessive phasing and metallic flanging lending a consistently drug-damaged air to Damenbart's psychotic invocations. At about the six-minute mark, aggressive blasts of battering-ram noise signal a brutal descent into a barrage of industrial rhythms. It's actually amazing how much Damenbart's proto-industrial noise has in common with the later strategies of 80s underground artists like HNAS and others. In fact, their gothic-tinged synthesizers sound positively anachronistic at times, forcing me to wonder if Damenbart were somehow able to get hold of prototypes of technology that wouldn't be on the market for at least a decade hence. "Blumen im Haar" ("Flowers in Hair") uses synthesized panpipes, flute, gently strummed guitar and a galaxy of production gimmicks to create a sinister fireside magickal rite in Germany's Black Forest. "Marihuanabrothers" is positively terrifying: a nine-minute wall of amorphous noise with undifferentiated blasts of mindbending distortion.
Though the album, true to its namesake, was recorded in 1971, it never saw the light of release until 1989, when it was issued on the DOM Elchklang label. The tapes for the legendary unreleased album were given to Dr. P. Li Khan and Christoph Heemann of HNAS in 1987, after being discovered in Spain by a former associate of the band.
Impressionen '71 certainly earns its reputation as one of Krautrock's long-lost gems, not least because the whole thing is a very ingenious hoax perpetrated by Heemann and Khan. HNAS are, in fact, the true musicians behind the album, and they created everything from photos and biographies of the band, to extensive press notes, in an attempt to put one over on unsuspecting Kraut enthusiasts.
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