Mike McLatchey 26-August-2002 Planet of Man

This is considered an obscurity by collectors of fine krautrock, although the participation of Klaus Schulze, who guests on drums here, has brought some attention to it nonetheless. This album is really out there, at the far corners of the same galaxy that early Tangerine Dream, Cosmic Jokers, Ash Ra Tempel and the like inhabit. It's a blur of instruments with so many effects and electronics that it's often difficult to tell them apart. After the heavily reverbed psychedelic intro of "Formation" comes just about the only safe moment, "The Genesis," an acoustic guitar ballad with undermixed vocals and samples of twittering birds. "Dawn of an Era" is like an Amon Duul outtake with its monotonous pounding percussion and weird pagan vibe. "Countdown" brings out voices and eastern instrumentation, which seems to include some guy yelling and screaming in the background. It is a bizarre piece of music that wanders into electronics and a wailing female voice before a strange voice cries "Make War, not Lies!" It's, overall, an unsettling piece of music. The quiet and general unease of finalé "Phoenix Rising" only adds to the strange abstract nature of the whole.

Word has it that there are actually two versions of this album, the version that clocks in at 52 minutes here, and another that is quite a bit shorter. There is also a fairly common bootleg CD version of the former in circulation. Planet of Man is certainly an album a krautrock collector will want to track down.

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