08 April 2010

Drum Circus - 1971 - Magic Circus

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Something pretty strange must have been seeping into the Germanic water supply in the early 1970's. This uber-freakout involves Swiss drummer Peter Giger, some folks from Brainticket including Joel Vandroogenbroeck playing flute and sitar, and apparently Timothy Leary sending some of the lyrics their way. The sound here is definitely follows a firm trajectory through the outer reaches of the krautrock universe, but there's also a notable jazz influence that sets this one apart.

The main event here is the twenty-four minute long track, "Magic Circus." This tune offers several distinct sections, with percussive walls of sound, clouds of flute, sitars, modal jazz passages, spoken word, and odd chants. The chanting in particular makes me start thinking about the Firesign Theatre or the Monkees' oddball chant from their film Head. It's a first rate musical trip and chances are that even if you don't dig all of it, some of it will get your attention. Side two brings us some shorter form pieces, with "Papera," "Groove Rock," and "All Things Pass" putting on a convincing jazz and/or funk hat on pretty convincingly, and "Now It Hurts" and "La-Si-Do" recalling the lysergic sounds of Brainticket.

If there's nothing else you can say about this album, it's pretty diverse. But I can say a lot more in favor of it and I'd be willing to toss it at least in the "underrated minor classic" category. Drum Circus is very ambitious in terms of their sonic targets, and I think you'll find that they mostly hit the mark. I just wish that someone had made some groovy psychedelic artwork for the cover instead of the 'I just learned Photoshop yesterday' look (I'm assuming this art is for a more modern release).


Anonymous said...


Yair Yona said...

brilliant album.

Joe said...

Very cool

The Bomber said...

Lets check, this is new to me!

Jörg said...