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Kraan: Berliner Ring and other exotic and unreleased 80's material

This recent collection of 1980's material from Kraan shows how the German band shuffled many different line-ups during that turbulent period for them, but still was capable of coming up with catchy instrumental progressive funk/jazz fusion. At the helm throughout the 7 year period this CD covers (1982-1990) is bassist Hellmut Hattler, with his acrobatic and muscular bass style in tow.

There's a lot of vintage Kraan sounds permeating the studio section of the CD, none more evident than the rousing "Kaffeefahrt", with its irresistable melody and intricate yet funky arrangement. Fans of the classic tunes "Nam Nam" and "Yaqui Yagua" will find that this song fits right alongside those two in terms of having "the" Kraan sound. The bouncy title track has some wonderful guitar lines from Peter Wolbrandt, and Hattler struts his stuff on the bass/synth workout of "Weitweit", with a little help from keyboard ace Ingo Bischof. "Komm Tanz" almost comes across like a funky Beat era King Crimson tune, with the lead vocals sounding just a bit like Adrian Belew.

There are a few lives tunes recorded between 1982-1989 in Germany that fill up the CD's second half. "Paranorm" has some rich synth tones and lead lines to go along with a surging rhythm from Hattler and drummer Gerry Brown, and the eight-minute "Nice Try" has a Police feel to it, a vocal number with a slight funk/reggae flavor. "Eef's Tune" is a raging jazz rocker featuring the guitar work of Eef Albers, who did some live work with the band in the mid-80's. "Dancing in the Shade" is another reggae flavored number, and sounds a bit out of place here, although it does feature some neat trumpet playing from Joo Kraus. The last two tracks finish the set though in fine fashion. "Filz & Fett" is a furiously intricate funk piece with some lethal guitar work from Wolbrandt, and the almost eleven-minute "Koffein" is a blistering progressive fusion romp that features ripping guitar and synth solos from Wolbrandt and Bischof, probably the hottest tune on the CD.

Not a perfect collection by any means, but there are some real gems here than any true fan of the band needs to hear. Berliner Ring and other exotic & unreleased 80's material is an essential companion to your Kraan CD collection, although those new to the band should start first with their classic 70's releases.

Added: September 25th 2003
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Bassball Recordings
Hits: 4349
Language: english

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