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Thursday, February 17, 2022

Krokodil - An Invisible World Revealed (1971) [German Original]

Krokodil - An Invisible World Revealed

Original 1971 German LP
United Artists Records UAS 29 250 I (Discogs)
~ThePoodleBites rip at 96 kHz / 24 bit FLAC + full high-res scans!~

The first Krokodil record to reach my turntable was the debut, and though I almost instantly loved it, C.F. did give me fair warning: "The Kroks get better. Swamp is twice as good as the 1st LP, and Invisible World is f*ckin' killer."

Most collectors seem to agree that this is band's strongest LP. It certainly is an evolution from the previous two; for example, while the blues harp that featured prominently on the previous albums is still here, you'll be surprised to find that it's now been run through analog delay and reverb... it's hard to classify this record's sound, as it's pretty unique; Krokodil usually gets grouped with the early-'70s "krautrock" scene -- which I'm not sure is fair, given that the band is Swiss, not German, and the (admittedly broad) electronic-based exploratory style which spans from Neu! to Kraftwerk to Can to Faust to Agitation Free, for me, doesn't seem to capture what's happening in the grooves on this tremendous psychedelic, progressive, experimental rock LP. Okay, I could see an argument for Guru Guru, but this is way better...

It goes without saying this post wouldn't have been possible without C.F. -- major thanks, man!

The cover for the third Krokodil album again features the beautiful artwork of the multi-talented Düde Dürst, also the band's percussionist

Psychedelic influence immediately makes its presence known: the spacey "Odyssey In Om" gives a mood not dissimilar to the Jimi Hendrix Experience's "1983"; the sound collage towards the end of "Looking At Time" reminds me of similar moments on Jefferson Airplane's After Bathing At Baxter's; and I can almost feel the grade-A Swiss Sandoz kicking in as ground begins to swell with the vocal harmonies of "With Little Miss Trimmings." I think it's fair to simultaneously call this "progressive" as well, given that two of its tracks are over 14 minutes long, but it's not at all prog like Tull or ELP or Yes. The compositions are much more tastefully heady and experimental, rather than being noodling and show-offy. Even the relatively proggy "Green Fly" (later retitled "The Morning Sun") reminds me more of The Moody Blues or Spring than of King Crimson or Pink Floyd.

The album lifts off with "Lady Of Attraction," one of the band's strongest tracks. The accompaniment is acoustic guitar and a simple mellotron bass line, but Walty Anselmo's vocal deliverance is haunting, sounding like it's been double-tracked through a Leslie. There are accents from a tabla through a phaser, a flute, and a trippy harmonica solo though the same vocal effect, which sounds like an instrument from another planet. I wonder if the lady on the cover -- complete with fangs and blood dripping out of her mouth -- is the embodiment of Walty's "trap." This eerie mood reflected in the artwork also extends to the off-color, ritualistic image that graces the gatefold.

Gatefold design, with a red-tinted photo of the band in a graveyard surrounded by candles

Like the other Krok LPs, this album was reissued on CD on the Second Battle label in 1999, but unfortunately the mastering suffered extreme levels of gain and peak limiting. The difference between this master and the CD remaster is nearly 7 dB! The speed is also marginally different, and "Lady Of Attraction" has an added fade-out, whereas the original audio seamlessly streams into the second track. Luckily these original German pressings have unbelievably great sound quality, and this copy in possession of C.F. had only been spun once or twice before, originally coming from a cache of unplayed copies that turned up in Australia, of all places.

The original master tape has some static here and there, for example during the reverb-drenched flute intro to "Odyssey In Om," which seem to be from tape saturation. I did remove some non-musical clicks in other places, such as the car-screeching intro to track 2, where they really distracted from the album's gentle flow, along with carefully mitigating the 50 Hz AC hum where it was noticeably audible. I also experimented with rotating the phase to bring up the album's levels a little closer to its reissue, but I decided to leave it as-is, so that the grandiose dynamics can come through unhindered by limited headroom. The channel separation isn't quite as good as the CD, but it's damn close, and given the flatter mastering, this new digital master sounds much more natural than the old.

And so, I hope you will grab a Rivella and enjoy the band's third album as it was meant to be heard in 1971...

Mojo enlisting some chemical assistance
while recording at Dierks Studio

Track Listing:
1) "Lady Of Attraction" -- 4:22
2) "With Little Miss Trimmings" -- 1:46
3) "Odyssey In Om" -- 15:26
4) "Green Fly" -- 4:22
5) "Looking At Time" -- 14:08
6) "Last Doors" -- 3:58

Vinyl condition: M-

Dynamic Range: DR 11

Equipment Lineage:
– Audio-Technica VMN40ML stylus on AT150MLx dual moving-magnet cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB direct drive professional turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– Pro-Ject Phono Box S2 Ultra preamp with dedicated Zero Zone linear power supply
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2020 (recording)
– iZotope RX 9 audio editor (manual declicking, EQ subtraction, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.3.3 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.6.9 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)

Full album available on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFfkQQQHaOU
 
Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and check out my blog. I'd greatly appreciate it if you leave a small comment below. Notes from my readers are what inspire me to keep going. Thanks!
MEGA: https://mega.nz/folder/XhJzhYxD#RtBKrlIvJMf-o_8CqIOa8Q

Enjoy, and keep on krockin'!  :)

Walty Anselmo with sitar

I again highly recommend checking out Klemen Breznikar's interview with Düde Dürst: https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2019/07/krokodil-interview-with-dude-durst.html

18 comments:

  1. Great stuff. Thanks again.

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  2. Love it mate! Glad you've continued with the Krokodil! I'm a bit young for the psych era, so have loved your blog and how it has allowed me to discover some lesser known releases and items while also enjoying some fantastic mastering :)
    Love from Australia

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  3. Amazing sound thank you for all your effort.

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  4. Brilliant. Many Thanks. This is one of the best blog around. The info is really interesting.

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  5. Many thanks once again. It's so refreshing to hear music as it was intended to be, with real dynamic range.

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  6. I have the originals and the c.d and I have made a comparison with your rip. For me, your's has a better balanced sound then the c.d and more dynamic range. my vinyl has a bit of hiss and a few pops here and there so I would prefer to listen to your copy. Many thanks PoodleBites another record archived properly.

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  7. Many thanks for another awesome post TPB!!

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  8. Hi tpb
    I've been listening to the Totally UNKNOWN 1970s USA Prog Rock LP - St. Louis Group on your youtube channel.
    What an interesting record! Too bad we know nothing about the group.
    Also, in your sidebar, you mention a "want list" that's supposed to be on the general discussion page, but I couldn't find it.
    Is it there?
    Cheers,
    Marc

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  9. Thanks for fulfilling my request! :)
    Time to delet my CD rip!

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  10. Thanks very much for more Krokodil. I've been enjoying the first LP. My receiver enables me to play the files you provide at their full resolution from a thumb drive and they sound great.

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  11. Hello TPB,
    thanx for another brilliant work! Great sound and beautiful music.
    Georg

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  12. A bit late but thanks for another awesome post!

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  13. Krokodil is one of Kraut rock scene band and their LP is AMAZING. IMHO - kraut rock criminally underrated, still. I have a lot of first press kraut LP, but that one still in my wish list. MANY THANKS. Love that band.
    Would be great gift from you if you will share german band My Solid Ground.

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  14. IMHO their best album!
    thank you very much for this very fine rip, TPB :)

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