Friday, September 6, 2013
Cosmic Jokers - Planeten Sit-in (1974)
The Cosmic Jokers was never an ensemble, per se; its members did not play together as Cosmic Jokers, and in fact were not even asked to join the group. Their music was created from sessions put together by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser and Gille Lettman in early 1973. He arranged for several acid parties to be held at the sound studio owned by Dieter Dierks, where musicians were offered drugs in exchange for recording tracks. Participants included Manuel Göttsching and Klaus Schulze of Ash Ra Tempel, Jurgen Dollase and Harold Grosskopf of Wallenstein, and Dierks. Prior to this, all of the musicians involved had been in the Cosmic Couriers, which had played on experimental recordings by Sergius Golowin, Walter Wegmüller, and Timothy Leary.
Kaiser took the tapes from these sessions, edited and mixed them with Dierks, and released them on his label, Kosmische Musik, complete with the musicians' pictures on the LP sleeve, without asking for their permission. Göttsching did not find out about the record release until he heard it playing in a record store in Berlin and asked the counter help what was playing. Kaiser released five records under the name Cosmic Jokers in 1974, one of which was actually a label sampler and a second, Gilles Zeitschiff, consisted of Kaiser's then-girlfriend Gille Lettmann speaking over sounds taken from prior label releases. While none of the musicians were happy with the recordings, Schulze was so angry after the release of Gilles Zeitschiff that he sued Kaiser. In 1975, Kaiser was forced to discontinue and withdraw the recordings, and he fled the country over the affair, abandoning the record label over the threat of impending legal problems."Planeten Sit-In contains much shorter snippets of music patched together with cross-fades and weird electronic effects. The effects -- burbling electro noises, high-pitched twees, and other sci-fi sounds -- are even more prevalent, erupting out to drown out the drum, guitar, and bass rhythms, as if to make full use of the quadraphonic sound of the original LP. As a much more disjointed effort, and lacking the sustained grooves of the earlier records, Planeten Sit-In is not quite as successful, but still has many fine moments, from the galloping rhythms and siren-like rising synth tones of "Raumschiff Galaxy" to the rotor-blade electronic patterns and echo effects of "Electronic News." The longest track, "Der Planet des Sternenmädchens," adds some vocal trills by Gille Lettmann and moves from loping jam band mode to far more improvisational realms with slow, almost haunting, keyboard tones, to come closest to the prior records. And like those records, Planeten Sit-In represents cosmic space rock in its purest and trippiest distillation. " (taken from All-music.com)