Mike McLatchey 29-Sep-2006 s/t (1973) + SWF Sessions Volume 5

Kollektiv - Kollektiv (1973)
Kollektiv - SWF Sessions Volume 5 (June 7, 1973/2001)

A great deal of classic Green Brain albums have been reissued on CD, but this is one of the gems that hasn't been (that is, if you're discounting the flash-in-the-pan, illegitimate Germanofon CD of the 90s). Kollektiv are a group that reformed in the 80s even, releasing a slick fusion album with Jonas Hellborg and a slightly different lineup. However, their first release is early 70s jazzy experimental krautrock at its best. Opening with echoing flutes, "Rambo Zambo" takes you on a nearly 12-minute voyage where grooves are laid down by the brothers Karpenkiel and effected, tripped-out flute and guitars ramble psychedelically in the front. "Baldrian" is laid back and slightly bluesy with its wah-wahed sax and reverbed slide guitar. A short, vocal experiment closes out the first side, giving way to the band's side-long, three-part opus, "Gageg." Having a more composed feel than most of side one, "Gageg" is still mostly a vehicle for flute, sax, and guitar soloing. "Adante" atmospherically sets the stage, "Allegro" brings a laid back jam for both flute and guitars, while the final part, "Pressluft" takes 11 minutes to conclude, starting with an angular, Crimson-esque riff over which drums jazzily riff and more Xhol-ish sax plays in front.

More attention to Kollektiv will likely be paid due to the release of their SWF Session gig on July 6, 1973, an archive release that covers the suite "Gageg," "Baldrian" and three long pieces that were not included on their debut. The first of these, "Tamboura," is almost exactly like something from the first Agitation Free album with its breezy, jamming, spacey feel, although the flute gives it that something else. In fact, there is also a ton of flute in the 14 minute "Mollzitter," accompanied by Jurgen Havix's effected zither and guitars. This piece starts spacey and laid-back, before developing a Gong-like vamp to drive the rambly/echoey flute and effected strings forward. The renditions of "Baldrian" and "Gageg" here, largely improvised, are uniquely different, particularly the latter piece. This live session clocks in close to an hour, has great sound quality (perhaps even better than the studio album itself) and is maybe a step up in quality from their self-titled album.

Kollektiv would later reform in 1987 with Hellborg and record one album. I've left this one out of the review as its bland fusion nature wouldn't stand out amongst better albums in the same style, and after finding this in a cut-out bin, I wasted little time in finding it a newer home. So its mention is more of an afterthought, and it's likely fans of their early albums won't think much of it and vice versa.

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