Kommt gut ....

So sieht's der Amerikaner ....
Brainstorm in Audion magazine

2017 erhielt ich eine Mail von Alan Freeman, der zwischen 1997 und 2005 tolle Kritiken zu Brainstorm geschrieben hat. Voilà ...

Audion #37, page 16 (Spring 1997) "Rescued Relics" reissue reviews

I guess that quite a number of you out there will already have this on CD reissue from Germanofon. However, this Musea reissue makes that redundant, as not only is taken from pristine tapes (resulting in the appearance of many nuances even lost on the original LP) it also includes the bonus of an earlier radio session revealing the roots of Brainstorm as a more improvised combo. They originated from Baden-Baden (in South West Germany), as a Mothers Of Invention inspired band with the unlikely name Fashion Prick (or according to the info in the Musea booklet "Fashion Pink"). Brainstorm, only made two albums, but were seminal and very important, not least Roland Schaeffer as a long-standing stalwart of Guru Guru (and Embryo) and Joachim Koinzer who became prolific in innovative jazz-fusion bands. Also Brainstorm attempted to live up to their name, to shock and surprise the world.
Originally this caused quite a scandal due to its outrageous cover, though today most will snigger, and wonder why the German media tried to ban it. Though I think Brainstorm were saying via such a cover "sod the media, we're having fun" and thus aptly made a highly inventive blend of songs and instrumentals, with a touch of Zappa, and Canterbury stylisms, akin to Caravan, Hatfield & The North, Soft Machine, etc., but with a style all of their own. Highlighted by quality musicianship, notably use of odd time-signatures, a dizzying array of winds and keyboards, with complexly arranged instrumentals and, like the Dutch band Supersister (to whom they are often compared), a penchant for the unlikely and eccentric tongue-in-cheek humour. Fans of Krautrock fusion and Canterbury styles will both go bananas over Brainstorm I'm sure!

Audion #45, page 13 (Autumn 2001) "Longhair Records" feature

Fashion Pink, according to the history I knew from elsewhere were actually known as Fashion Prick (it seems controversy caused them to change it) before becoming Brainstorm. This CD documents a number of sessions (all prior to the one included on the Musea CD of their debut SMILE A WHILE) charting the early history of the band.
For those not in the know, Brainstorm were Baden-Baden's best-kept secret, the roots of Roland Schaeffer (later with Guru Guru and Embryo) and a phenomenal prog-fusion band that were comparable to the best Canterbury had to offer, with notable nods to other Euro stable-mates: Moving Gelatine Plates and Supersister.
The earliest works here find them in a heavy bluesy setting, reminding a little of early Steamhammer, though with that Krautrock angle that's so hard to quantify. With each track hereon you can hear the Brainstorm sound developing: the unusual time signatures, the place of song across the music, allowing different facets of a composition to criss-cross imaginatively, giving lots of room for solos (flutes, sax, guitars) and the increasingly prominent distorted keyboards, ever moving the music towards the classic Canterbury sound.
So, on one side you hear Brainstorm's creation, and hear (in both familiar and unfamiliar settings) how they took in the influences and made them their own. Dazzling all the way through!

Audion #47, page 24 (Autumn 2002) "Garden Of Delights" label feature
SECOND SMILE (Garden Of Delights CD 47) CD 41m
LAST SMILE (Garden Of Delights CD 51) CD 41m

Pretty much Germany's answer to Caravan, Supersister and the Moving Gelatine Plates, all rolled into one, simply put - Brainstorm were a real class-act. Brilliant musicians, dextrous, inventive, and with a wicked humour. It's great that they've now got the recognition they always deserved, with all their history now documented. The early days are collected on Long Hair SWF Radio Sessions disc (see Audion #45) and their debut LP came out on CD on Musea (sadly not available at present) which also contained a further radio session.
SECOND SMILE was previously issued, with rather mediocre sound, on the Germanofon label. This CD has it pristine and vivid. The band judged it as their finest release (although I'd argue it's not quite as inventive as the debut) but I guess from a musician's viewpoint it is all the more refined, complexly composed and powerful, notably with much more multi-instrumental work. The are sections comparable to the finest Soft Machine. Some of the lyrical content (often wry and surreal) still has me in stitches, all these years on. And, what's more, there's a bonus track: You're The One, a radically different alternative single version of the classic You Are What's Gonna Make It Last.
LAST SMILE documents a gig from WDR's "Nachtmusik" (6th April 1974), and features Das Schwien Trügt (originally on their 1st) plus two from their 2nd: Marilyn Monroe (only the latter half of the track) and There Was A Time (much longer than the original), plus two unique works: Signed a jazzy groove feeling a little like Sweet Smoke, and Stars On The Stage, which hints at the eccentric cabaret that Roland Schaeffer took with him into Guru Guru on TANGO FANGO and GLOBETROTTER.
Brainstorm certainly lived up to their name, pure invention in rock and jazz, with a potpourri of unexpected brilliance.

Audion #50 page 3 (Spring 2005) " Garden Of Delights" label feature
BRAINSTORM - BREMEN 1973 (Garden of Delights CD 074) CD 79m

Brainstorm lived up to their name, delivering two albums that are classics of the genre, akin to Dutch band Supersister, with a sublime air of satire on some tracks.
The creative live sound of Brainstorm is captured remarkably well on this CD, collecting vibrant performances of classics from both albums, all quite different, fleshed-out with lots of extra twists, and turns. This is especially so, being recorded only a couple of weeks after making their second album. Full of surprises, it documents just how much fun their gigs were, and displays their superb musicianship, that is despite some dodgy vocal bits, which are inevitable!

All features and reviews written by Alan Freeman (Audion Magazine)