Monday, 2 February 2009

AMON DüüL UK - Hawk Meets Penguin / Meetings With Men Machines / Fool's Moon / Airs On A Shoestring

Hawk Meets Penguin and its successors reissued here were recorded in Wales during the 80s by former Amon Düül II (and In Search of Space Hawkwind bassist) Dave Anderson and their long-time guitarist John Weinzierl, sometimes collectively known as Amon Düül UK. Based on old rehearsal tapes, Hawk… is closest to the improvisational krautrock anticipated from anything labelled Amon Düül, comprising two extended free flowing movements. ‘One Moment Of Anger Is Two Pints Of Blood’ is, despite its title, a pleasingly pastoral and bucolic work, whilst the title track is a monotone jam. A little more of the former and a tad less of the later would have been perfect.

Weinzierl professed himself “not keen” on the follow-up Meetings With Men Machines and claimed later releases (including a tie-up with Hawkwind’s Robert Calvert, Die Losung) “shouldn’t have been released” perceiving them “unfinished”, but they all have commendable elements. Men Machines… is a more traditional rock album, Anderson’s sombre bass playing juxtaposed with singer Julie Wareing’s candy-sweet voice. In reflective moments, this incarnation sounds like a studied mix of Joy Division and OMD (who had their own Germanic influences in Neu!), notably on the absorbing nine-minute ‘Marcus Leid’.

In Fool Moon, it’s to be conceded that Weinzierl had a point. It feels less complete than its predecessors, opening with a portentous ramble, ‘Who Who’, that aims to be a complex and sinister improvisation but throws it away with overblown abstract lyrics. Principal interest here is Robert Calvert’s guest vocal on ‘Haupmotor’ sung entirely in German. Finally, Airs On A Shoe String is labelled a ‘best of Amon Düül’ but is actually a summation of Anderson and Weinzierl’s collaboration. However, it’s a good choice of tracks, a nice overview, and this material stands on its own merits.

This review originally appeared in Rock N Reel magazine.

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