No Neck Blues Band & Embryo EmbryoNNCK

Christian Burchard formed Embryo after leaving fellow travellers Amon Düül II in 1969. His mission since has been seeking out tribes of ethnic musicians with whom to collaborate and cross-pollinate. His tribe quest brought him to Harlem and the home of NNCK who’ve lately been hitting a peak in their own nearly 15-year career. Harvested from jams involving 13 souls (NNCK seven, Embryo six), EmbryoNNCK is remarkable both for its lucidity and harnessed energy. Opener "Wider das erst Mal” establishes the palette of hand drums, marimba, dulcimer, simple and exotic woodwinds and vocalisations blending, rising and falling in a lengthy raga-like workout. "Five Grams of the Widow” and "Frank Cologne” both mash marimba-driven prog/jazz propulsion with freer horns and vocal exhalations, the latter like a woman in childbirth at a Magma concert. After "Marja’s Cats” is a reminder of the seek-’til-you-find approach NNCK apply to music with arrhythmic tapping and scraping given liberty from and forward momentum. With so many players the train wreck possibility looms large, yet an organic restraint prevails with little cluster groups latching onto each other and serving the whole. The closing track "Das erste Mal” is an obvious slight return to the opener, but also an accrual of techniques and friendly tensions felt throughout the album. (Staubgold)