Experimental music pioneers Amon Duul 2, whose music defined the German progressive rock scene of the 1970’s, are back with a new album Bee As Such. Currently only available by download through the band’s website, the CD marks the first new album by the legendary group in several years. Amon Duul 2 reveal on their website: “Recorded April 2009 at Dreamscape Studio, Amon Duul 2 celebrated a highly sensitive performance, of finding back to the roots – not in the past, but essentially – seeking the new sounds and contents at the same time. No ‘kraut’, no ’70s’, but the music of the new millenium. This sound painting is one more of our unique works, containing the spirit of our time.”
“Amon Duul never used to present the same style on their albums,” explains guitarist John Weinzierl “We like to develop our music into all kinds of directions and sometimes we donÂ´t even know where itÂ´s gonna lead us. We don’t follow a pattern only because it is successful. Since 2000 weÂ´ve used lots of elements of world music, we had eastern influences, ethnological sounds, and of course we never forgot ‘sound painting’.” When asked if there was a concept behind this new album? Weinzierl expounded, “Avoiding industry music, heading for new frontiers.”
Formed in Munich in 1968, Amon Duul 2 rapidly excelled to the forefront of German avant garde music along side notable peers Can, Faust and Tangerine Dream. Amon Duul 2 quickly distinguished themselves from these other ensembles with their use of pop elements interspersed with eclectic songwriting and arrangements along with deft musicianship and the sweet voice of female vocalist Renate Knaup-Krotenschwanz. The band’s influences ranged from jazz and classical to Zappa and Syd’s Pink Floyd, although the music has remained so original these past 30 years it’s difficult to tell who the band’s influences are! “That’s because Germany culture-wise has no rhythm and blues influence,” explains Renate. “We have classical music and traditional music, so we just experimented with what we had. To copy rhythm and blues or rock and roll would be silly because they are not our roots.” By 1979 and many critically acclaimed, pioneering LPs later, Amon Duul 2 went their separate ways, only to reunite in the 1990s, and most recently in the mid-2000s. The current line-up includes original members: Chris Karrer (guitar, violin, vocals), John Weinzierl (guitars, synth, vocals), Renate Knaup-Krotenschwanz (vocals), Danny Fichelscher (drums), Lother Meid (bass, vocals) and neo-Duul Jan Kahlert (percussion, vocals).
And where did the name Amon Duul 2 come from? “We didn’t want to have an anglophonic name, because in those days everybody was called Rattles, or Beatles, or some other english name,” explained John Weinzierl. “We didn’t wanna have a German name either, that’s why we went into a long period of finding an appropriate name. At some point the band had a different name with every other concert that was played. Finally it was AMON DUUL. Amon referres to the Egypt sun god Amon-Re. Duul (with the “Umlaut” dots, that your computer can’t print out) comes from a Canadian group’s album called Tanjet, that we used to listen to a lot. On this album there was a self-constructed mythology with a part called Dyyl. This eventually was transformed into Duul and the Umlauts gave it this slight German touch. Since then many groups started having fantasy names, or even using Umlaut dots like in Motorhead. Understand? (of course you have to imagine the Umlaut dots, cause your computer can’t…) And I shall never answer this question any more now.”
Yet one question still remains; It has been 40 years since the incarnation of Amon Duul 2, what has kept the band together all these years? “As we are not just a band, but a music commune, a social experiment, and a work of art, it’s just natural to stay together, and of course: it must be love, or something close enough….”
Amon Duul 2 – Bee As Such will be released on CD and DVD later this year. It is currently available for download at: www.amonduul.de