Amon Düül II was born of an artistic and political community called Amon Düül (which recorded during the late sixties a long live session made around collective and free musical improvisations). The band emerged from the underground German rock scene with a very original and eccentric album called "Phallus Dei" (1969). Only Human (1978) is way better than people give it credit for. Granted, it does not sound like Phallus Dei at all, but that doesn't make it bad, just different. What we have here is a band stretching out to encompass the style of the times, while adding its own unique flavor…
Amon Düül II (or Amon Düül 2) is a German rock band. The group is generally considered to be one of the founders of the Krautrock scene and a seminal influence on its development."Utopia" is a studio project by Olaf Kübler and Lothar Meid. Because it featured several regular members of AMON DÜÜL II (including Chris Karrer and John Weinzierl), it has usually been regarded as part of the DÜÜL discography, and, indeed, the CD reissue credits the album to AMON DÜÜL II.
Released to raise money for victims of the Kobe, Japan, earthquake, this Amon Düül II disc from 1996, like the very similar Eternal Flashback, is actually material from 1969 to 1971 reworked through the wonders of plunderphonics by members of the group into one seamless, 65-minute-long space rock epic. It's not quite as radical as the John Oswald remix of the Grateful Dead's "Darkstar" on Grayfolded or the Can remix album Sacrilege, though it's still a quite fascinating bit of trickery, as bits of tracks from the first two albums, Phallus Dei and Yeti, are blended with previously unreleased material. The rhythms are often looped to retain the essence of the original album, but drawn out into long, hypnotic passages with oozes of guitar floating around them, while most of the vocal sections have been completely excised out, leaving this a complete instrumental workout. It comes off like an early version of the group on an endless jam section, and though it is no match for either Yeti or Phallus Dei, it will certainly satisfy those who can't get enough of Amon Düül II's early psychedelic sound.
All great bands eventually reunite: and so it was, 14 years after their last, rather dull attempt at an album, the “original” line-up of “Amon Duul II” (with no Weinzierl who was off doing who knows what at this time) gets together to show the world they still have it nearly 30 years after their debut and 20 years after their last great album.
Incredible debut by these Krautrock pioneers. This was one of only two albums to feature British-born bassist Dave Anderson (who would leave this band in order to join Hawkwind for a short time). This album was the result of the Amon Düül commune breaking up. The first half was more in the politics and community, but they did record a series of albums all under one jam (excluding 1970's Para Dieswierts Düül which was a separate recording session). Then the other half of the Amon Düül was of course, far more musically inclined, and of course that was Amon Düül II. "Phallus Dei" was the beginning, a wonderful psychedelic offering.
There aren't many double art-rock albums from the early '70s that have stood the test of time, but then again, there aren't many albums like Tanz, and there certainly aren't many groups like Amon Düül II. While exact agreement over which of their classic albums is the absolute standout may never be reached, in terms of ambition combined with good musicianship and good humor, the group's third album, is probably the best candidate still. The musical emphasis is more on expansive arrangements and a generally gentler, acoustic or soft electric vibe; the brain-melting guitar from Yeti isn't as prominent on Tanz, for example, aside from the odd freakout here and there…
The second album by Amon Düül II is their first masterpiece, one of the defining early albums of Krautrock. The band injects an incredible sense of improvisation, with absolutely mind-blowing "mantric" ambiences. Almost all compositions are cosmic-kraut classics but the peak of "Yeti" is in the three long epic improvisations.
"Vortex" was the first and also the only album the band recorded in the 80th. Renate Knaup, Chris Karrer, Daniel Fichelscher, Jorg Evers and Falk U. Rogener, and the "guests" Lothar Meid, John Weinzierl and Stefan Zauner met 1981 in the studio too try it again. With "Vortex" they wanted to show, that there is still that old magic in the music of Amon Duul II. Songs like `Wings Of The Wind', `We Are Machine', `Vibes In The Air' or `Holy West', are comparable with all the Duul-Classics.
Amon Düül II's fifth studio album is a more conventional recording than most, though there's still a lot of the involved experimenting and dark undercurrent which sets the band apart from the mainstream, along with the off-kilter hooks and odd humor which saved them from being lumped alongside more serious (and less easy to take seriously) prog rock outfits. After the lengthy explorations of Tanz der Lemminge, Wolf City seems targeted to an extent at a commercial English-speaking audience, perhaps reflective of their increased status in the United Kingdom, if not in America.