Embryo – Message From Era Ora (1976/2013) review
Let me start by saying that I’m a big fan
of Kraut Rock. I may not have the most comprehensive knowledge of artists
beside the behemoths of the genre, like CAN and
Amon Düül II but I adore what Kraut Rock stands for, which is boundless
creativity; essentially, keeping music defined as art. That said, when I was
introduced to Embryo and their extremely rare 1976 live jam session Message
From Era Ora, featuring legendary italian jazz artist Massimo Urbani, it
introduced me to elements I never would have thought to pair with Kraut Rock. I
was taken aback at first by the harsh sound quality, but upon further listening
those reservations melted away like butter and I became wholly enthralled by
what I had been introduced to.
are primal Afro-funk drumming rhythms paired with psychedelic guitar noodling
and an ultra-cool saxophone that pipes in, taking us on a leisurely trip
through space and time. When Side A transitions into this Jazzadelic foray it
leaps back and forth between saxophone and keyboard with ease and comfort among
one another, like lovers whispering silent affections back and forth. The
smoothness of a guitar takes over for the saxophone and they flirt shamelessly.
Then the bass kicks back in and stirs the pot. Deep and heavy, it makes its
presence known with its steady melody. The keyboard and the cymbals duke it out
amongest one another until Side A comes to a close.
B picks up with an extremely driven bass line. This seems more along the lines
of Kraut Rock & Roll, but we’re given reminders throughout the track that
this isn’t just any Kraut Rock experiment with saxophone lurking beneath the
scathing guitar wahs, crashing cymbals and that killer bass. As the track
continues, the saxophone chimes in more prominently, with the deadly precision
of the band to back it. There’s no need for vocalists here, the instruments
speak for themselves and they do it confidently. After the back and forth feuds
between players and their instruments, the drummer breaks things up and
introduces to us something new to wet our beaks in. The coordination in these
live tracks are like threading needles with so much improvisation but Embryo
have a musical understanding that is far reaching. We’re given another driving
melody in the guitar with the drums setting our ears in a mystical blaze.
Pictures are sketched in our minds with delectable and articulate guitar
soloing that would make any modern Rock guitarist blush. If you can imagine the
scene on stage, it is altogether mesmerizing and chaotic. But in chaos there
lies immeasurable beauty.
you have a mad hunger for music that will blow your mind and expectations, then
please, do yourself a favor and indulge in Embryo’s Message From Era Ora. It is
a uniquely colorful example of where Kraut Rock can be taken, as well as music
as a whole. I almost can’t bring myself to call this Kraut Rock―it’s Kraut