Mike McLatchey    6-May-2001 Cosmic Jokers/Galactic Supermarket

Cosmic Jokers - Cosmic Jokers
(Spalax 14293, 1974/1994, CD)
Cosmic Jokers - Galactic Supermarket
(Spalax 14292, 1974/1994, CD)

Give LSD to the Haight Ashbury scene in the bay area in the late 60's and you have the flower power generation; give it to a bunch of young radical German musicians and you have the Ohr, Pilz, and Kosmische labels. Take the best young German musicians from these labels, give them more acid, and record their jams (but don't tell them you're going to actually release the results.) The result? The Cosmic Jokers. This was the album (and one of its follow ups - Galactic Supermarket) that used to piss Klaus Schulze off royally (or was that royalty?) as it was renamed The Klaus Schulze Sessions in France. Most musicians would comply with this feeling - imagine someone releasing your scrappy basement tapes on album and emblazoning your name on them.

Well this ain't Joe, Bobby and Billy covering "Louie Louie" in the garage for fun - this is truly a line-up of fine musicians - Klaus Schulze, Manuel Gottsching, Jurgen Dollase, Harald Grosskopf and several others taking a break and recovering from Wegmuller's Tarot sessions. So as you can expect this isn't just any recordings of jam sessions. Nevertheless its obvious they are just improvisations, with alternating excellent parts full of invention and obvious filler. Yes I do believe these are a tad overrated - if it was the same jams different names, I don't think these would have received nearly the hype that they do. Not that they aren't good - overall they're some of the best cosmic tripping on album - but if it wasn't for Schulze's appearance, I doubt most would care.

Both albums are very similar, although Galactic Supermarket has more vocal whispering by Sternenmadchen with much more than a hint to Gilli Smyth. You can pick the musicians out left and right - Gottsching's Garcia like bluesy guitar licks, Dollase's classical rock meanderings, and Schulze's stoned synth experiments are all over the place. It's pretty simple, if Kosmische music is your thing - Ash Ra Tempel, Schulze, Xhol, Guru Guru, Tangerine Dream - then you'll probably love these. Otherwise, they'll probably sound like just another jam session.

(Originally published in Exposť #5, p. 38, Edited for Gnosis 4/23/01)

Mike McLatchey 6-May-2001 Planeten Sit-In

Instead of the two side-long tracks format of the Cosmic Jokers and Galactic Supermarket albums, Planeten Sit-In is a mosaic of numerous odds and ends from this unintentional Kosmische supergroup. And perhaps it's this mishmash of jam excerpts that gets this paralleled more to Sci-Fi Party and Gilles Zeitschiff than the former albums. The early moments on the album are synth dweedlings and spacey twitterings before Harald Grosskopf's drums build up into something more familiar. And throughout the rest of the album, one becomes fully aware that these must have been the leftovers. In fact, as great as they are, the Cosmic Jokers and Galactic Supermarket albums do have their moments of noodling, yet they must contain all of the high moments of the jams that produced these supersessions, based on Planeten Sit-In. Because, there ain't a whole lot different here from any novice mini-moog garage stone-in. The original, unofficial release of this album must have been a tremendous blow to the players involved - think how you'd feel had your garage meanderings been made public. This one is for serious krautrock collectors only.

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