Mythos


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-72)

- Thomas Hildebrand -- drums, percussion

- Stephan Kaske -- vocals, guitar, keyboards, flute

- Harold Weisse -- bass

 

  line up 2 (1973-75)

- Stephan Kaske -- vocals, guitar, keyboards, flute

- Robbie Luizaga -- bass, guitar, mellotron (replaced Harold Weisse)

NEW - Hans-Jurgen Putz -- drums, percussion, vibes, mood drum

  (replaced Thomas Hildebrand)

 

  line up 3 (1976)

- Sven Dobrow -- guitar, mellotron

- Stephan Kaske -- vocals, guitar, keyboards, flute

NEW - Ronnie Schreinzer -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Hans-Jurgen Putz)

NEW - Eberhard Seidler -- bass, vocals (replaced Robbie Luizaga)

 

 

 

- M.A.S.S

- Metropolis

- Mon Dyh

- Mythos Meditation

- Plugged On

 


 

Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Dreamlab

Company: Cosmic Courier Club

Catalog: 840 062
Year:
 1975

Country/State: Berlin, Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: French pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6207

Price: $100.00

 

Having lived in Germany for about ten years in the mid-1970s and early-1980s I had quite a bit of Krautrock in my collection, but Mythos "Dreamlab" served as my initial introduction to space rock.  

 

In the Mythos chronology, this marked Mythos MK II; front man/multi-instrumentalist Stephan Kaske backed by bassist Robbie Luizaga, and drummer Hans-Jurgen Putz.   The group's first project was actually the soundtrack for a German television documentary - "Die Superspinne".  

 

Released on Rolf-Ulrich Kaiserís Cosmic Couriers label, the 1975 Toby Robinson produced "Dreamlab" seems to have been a stab at a concept piece with a slightly loose plotline apparently having something to do with extraterrestrials visiting earth ("The first expedition we sent to Earth, never returned to Sirius ..."). I've listened to it dozens of times and have to admit I still don't grasp the concept.   Most of side one was taken up by a series of extended instrumentals that managed to simultaneously highlight the band's strengths which included a knack for crafting pretty melodies ('Dedicated to Wernher von Braun') and some of their weakness (an over-reliance on the flute as a lead instrument and more than a touch of pretense).  Elsewhere, in the role of lead singer Kaske was definitely an acquired taste.  Hard to believe he was in his early 20s at the time since he had the voice of a much older person.  That voice wasn't particularly melodic and the performances certainly weren't helped by his thick German accent, or by singing in uncomfortable keys ('Expeditions').  So here's the funny thing about this collection.  So far I've been pretty critical, but for some strange reason the collection holds together well, making for an interesting listening experience.  Even Kaske's voice was worth hearing.  You certainly wouldn't want to hear this everyday, but given the right circumstances it's a cool way to spend 45 minutes (year it had a long running time).

 

 

"Dreamlab" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Dedicated to Wernher von Braun (instrumental)  (Stephan Kaske - Robbie Luizaga) - 5:53   rating: **** stars

Overlooking the questions associated with dedicating a song to the father of the V1 and V2 buzz-bomb that killed hundreds of civilians during World War II, 'Dedicated to Wernher von Braun' was a surprisingly enjoyable atmospheric instrumental.  Tuneful, yet quite calming, the focus was of Kaske's sweet, reverb-packed lead guitar.

2.) Message Part I (instrumental)   (Stephan Kaske - Robbie Luizaga) - 2:49   rating: ** stars

Opening up with an industrial sounding rhythm pattern and some equally disturbing and discordant drums and synthesizer sound effects (shades of early Atari), 'Message Part I' got even worse when Kaske's flute kicked in.  As good as the opener one was, this track was bad.

3.) Message Part II  (instrumental  (Stephan Kaske)- 5:24   rating: ** stars

'I'm guessing 'Message Part II' started where the flute solo morphed into a semblance of melody which certainly benefited the composition.  The weird a capella-meets-jazz-rock segment saw things go back down hill.  Hum, complete with lead flute, suddenly you were in the midst of crappy Focus-wannabe territory, though Focus and company never generated a lyric as funny as this one was.  So giving credit where due, Kaske turned in a heckuva guitar solo on this one.

4.) Expeditions  (Stephan Kaske)  - 6:02   rating: *** stars

A beautiful acoustic ballad, 'Expeditions' had previously appeared on the band's "Die Superspinne" soundtrack.  Easy to see why they decided to salvage it for this set since it sported one of the album's prettiest melodies.   

 

(side 2)
1.) Mythalgia (instrumental)  (Stephan Kaske - Robbie Luizaga)  - 2:12   rating: *** stars

Lots of reviews compare the band to Jethro Tull and for the most part that's a load of crap, but on the pastoral, flute dominated  instrumental  'Mythalgia' I can actually hear the comparison.  

2.) Dreamlab: - 11:17

     a) Echophase  (Stephan Kaske)  - 3:03   rating: ** stars

The title track 'Dreamlab' was a three part suite.  'Echophase' focused on Kaske's flute which when surrounded by another batch of Atari-styled sound effects, managed to come off sounding like a mildly entertaining slice of jazz-rock fusion.  I'd argue the highlight on this one was actually Luizaga's kick-ass bass.  

     b) Quite Amazed  (Robbie Luizaga)  - 3:10   rating: *** stars

Penned by drummer Luizaga, 'Quite Amazed' was a pleasant number showcasing a pretty acoustic guitar melody, overlain with lots of crashing cymbals and more synthesizer effects.  The segment got increasingly more attractive as it picked up speed.  Still it served as one of the isolated efforts that wasn't hurt by Kaske's flute work.   

    c) Going to Meet My Lady  (Stephan Kaske)  - 5:04   rating: ** stars

Another flute dominated instrumental, 'Going to Meet My Lady' opened up with a pretty and calming Asian flavored melody before bounding into Focus jazz-rock territory.   

3.) Eternity  (Stephan Kaske)  - 7:07   rating: *** stars

Another Kaske vocal, 'Eternity' has always reminded me a bit of a late inning Doors song (at least until the obligatory flute solo kicked in).  Yeah I know that sounds strange, but Kaske's elegant guitar solo always reminded me of something Robbie Krieger would have done and Kaske's arched vocals sounded a bit like a stoned Jim Morrison (had he been born German).  Yeah, when the flute kicked in the song went back into plodding Jethro Tull mode.

 

So at the risk of upsetting space rock fans who seem to worship this LP,  to my ears it isn't the classic release they'd have you believe.   Certainly interesting, but if you're not a space rock fanatic you probably want to wade into it with your expectations in check. 



 

 

 

 

 

 

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