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The second album by Amon Düül II (not to be confused with the more anarchic radicals Amon Düül), 1970’s Yeti, is their first masterpiece, one of the defining early albums of Krautrock. A double album on vinyl, Yeti consists of a set of structured songs and a second disc of improvisations. It’s testament to the group’s fluidity and improvisational grace that the two albums don’t actually sound that different from each other, and that the improvisational disc may actually be even better than the composed disc. The first disc opens with “Soap Shop Rock,” a 12-minute suite that recalls King Crimson’s early work in the way it switches easily between lyrical, contemplative passages and a more violent, charging sound, and continues through a series of six more songs in the two- to six-minute range, from the ominous, threatening “Archangels Thunderbird” (featuring a great doomy vocal by mono-named female singer Renate) to the delicate, almost folky acoustic tune “Cerberus.” The improvisational disc contains only three tracks, closing with a nine-minute stunner called “Sandoz in the Rain” that’s considered by many to be the birth of the entire space rock subgenre. A delicate, almost ambient wash of sound featuring delicately strummed phased acoustic guitars and a meandering flute, it’s possibly the high point of Amon Düül II’s entire career. [Most CD issues have squeezed the two discs onto one CD by cutting three minutes out of “Pale Gallery,” but the Captain Trips CD restores it to its full five-minute length.]

-AMG

DOWNLOAD:
Amon Düül II-YETI (1970)
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