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STERN COMBO MEISSEN - Weisses Gold - CD 1978 Buschfunk

Price: EUR 10.88 (incl. VAT) plus shipping

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Progressiv / Krautrock
Manufacturer: Buschfunk
Original release year: 1978
Manufacturing year: 2006
Cat. Nr.: BF 05862
Barcode: 4021934958621
Weight:94 g
Country:East Germany
Processing time:1 day
Link auf die Plattform der EU-Kommission zur Online-Streitbeilegung:

Much like the Moody Blues (and others), Stern-Combo Meissen (stern means star, and Meissen is their home town) started out as a rock band in the early '60s. The usual lineup and style changes occurred, until they settled into symphonic prog. This didn't happen until 1977, when they released their self-titled debut. SCM became one of the bigger East German bands of the seventies. They relied heavily on keyboards (ala Emerson and Wakeman), and classical influences.

By the release of 1980's 'Reise Zum Mittelpunkt Des Menschen.' They had dropped the 'Combo' from the band's name. The next two albums saw them following a familiar pattern, and pursuing more pop oriented music. In fact, 1985's 'Taufrisch' was completely out of the realm of prog. After this album the band broke up.

In 1995 they reformed with most of the original members, and put the 'Combo' back in. The band still tours, and has released some live recordings. No new studio work has been done as of yet.

Änhlich wie Electra mit ihrer Sixtinischen Madonna huldigt im Stil des Art-Rock der 70er Jahre Stern Meißen mit diesem rocksymphonischewn Werk dem Erfindergeist von Johann Gottlieb Böttcher, der statt Gold das weltberühmte Meißner Porzellan erfand. Ein Klassiker der rock- sinfonischen Musik made in gdr mit Kurt Demmler als Texter.
Titel 1: Ouvertüre
Titel 2: Der Traum
Titel 3: Des Goldes Bann
Titel 4: Der Goldmacher
Titel 5: Die Flucht
Titel 6: Zweifel
Titel 7: Die Erkenntnis
Titel 8: Weißes Gold

Established as the oldest of all DDR rock bands, their roots go way back to 1963, originally as 'Combo' an amateur group from the well-known pottery city of Meissen. Apparently, they were the first band of the 1960's to be permitted to cover Western hits, and had a repertoire that included: Jimi Hendrix, Vanilla Fudge and Blood, Sweat & Tears numbers. In 1970 the female singer Veronika Fischer debuted with them, before going on to Panta Rhei. From their inception through to 1971 only Martin Schreier remained.

Stern-Combo Meissen, the progressive band, came about with the addition of classically trained keyboardist Thomas Kurzhals. The 1971 line-up consisted of: Martin Schreier (drums, vocals), Bernd Fiedler (bass, vocals), Norbert Jäger (keyboards, vocals), Werner Kunze (guitar, trumpet), Mico Nagel (vocals, violin), Thomas Kurzhals (keyboards), Axel Gothe (saxophone, flute), Gerhard Lau (trombone) and Christian Höhle (trumpet). At this time they apparently sounded a lot like the Dutch band Ekseption.

No doubt, in refining and developing their sound, they drew inspiration from the likes of the Moody Blues and Procol Harum, along with classical and folk influences, often adapting whole classical works to the rock idiom. They became ever more focused on keyboards after this, developing a very large symphonic sound, and at one time the group contained three keyboard players! Still, it took a long while before they got an album released, but such a long apprenticeship lead to a band with a highly original sound.

Stern-Combo Meissen can be seen as establishing what was to become the characteristic sound of DDR progressive rock: a symphonic yet hard-edged complex rock with poetic German lyric, often close to the sound of Novalis and later Anyone's Daughter. Their debut was a fresh and surprising album recorded live in concert, most varied, it hinted at several avenues that the band could take, and especially memorable is a highly original version of Mussorgsky's 'A Night On Bare Mountain'. Further albums refined their style, especially so the symphonic rock opus WEISSES GOLD, which is largely instrumental and highly complex opus (with restrained German language narration), full of rich textures and rhythmic sections akin to the Polish band SBB, it pretty much pre-empts the feel of PIKTOR'S VERWANDLUNGEN by Anyone's Daughter.

Their greatest work has to be the 'Zarathustra' conceptualised space-rock flight REISE ZUM MITTLEPUNKT DES MENSCHEN, which is amongst the high-points of DDR progressive rock, pompous in its concept, and riddled with vast synthesizer/keyboard/Mellotron driven instrumentals, and complexities comparable to classics of the Italian scene. It's a 'must hear' for all prog fans.

As far as I can gather, from the official web-site, as with most DDR bands in the 1980's, Stern-Combo Meissen were instructed by the State to do a more mellow pop biased music. Martin Schreier (the original drummer) who was just credited as leader from the second album onwards (we have no clues as to what his role was) thus drafted in a new singer, soloist and drummer, leaving only one 1970's musician Thomas Kurzhals on the keyboards. Thus STUNDENSCHLAG went part-way with the States whims, but it seems that Thomas refused to compromise further and left the band. So, the Stern Meissen releases after this (with no original performing members), can be considered as a completely new band, especially as the music they played amounted to a borderline pop-prog, largely penned by new singer Ralf Schmidt.

In 1996, four original members reformed the band for a few concerts, with the line-up: Martin Schreier (drums, vocals), Norbert Jäger (percussion, vocals), Thomas Kurzhals (keyboards), Reinhard Fißler (vocals, guitar), Michael Behm (drums, vocals), Alexander Procop (bass), Eghard Schumann (keyboards). They are still together in 2003, but with Frank Nicolovius replacing Kurzhals. No new album has appeared as yet, however.
(Crack in the cosmic egg)

1. Ouvertüre 8:21
2. Der Traum 2:13
3. Des Goldes Bann 1:53
4. Der Goldmacher 2:31
5. Die Flucht 4:10
6. Zweifel 9:08
7. Die Erkenntnis 5:25
8. Weißes Gold 3:54

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