Embryo is the birthplace for a new kind of fusion. Their roots are in the Munich late-1960’s scene. After leaving Amon Duul 2, Christian Burchard, a percussionist, formed Embryo in 1969. He was joined by other former jazz and underground musicians. Their goal was to work together, be intuitive, and allow the music to evolve naturally. The roots of Embryo are now found on the CD FOR EVA. Although it was released by Embryo, it is quite different from what they would record a few years later. This album should be considered a Mal Waldron Quartet album. It features the early jazz music by Christian Burchard and Dieter Serfas. On the CD reissue of OPAL, real primordial Embryo’s pioneering improvised sessions can be heard (with Lothar on bass), which takes a jazzy spin on the improvised Ash Ra Tempel and Amon Duul II sounds. They are freaky and innovative in the extreme. Embryo’s first album OPAL featured a wider range of musics. John Kelly, a British guitarist, had brought with him a lot of psychedelia into the rock, blues and jazz concoction. There’s even a tribute to the demise of soul! The last track, “People Out Of The Space”, hints at the Embryo that is to come. The original 1970’s line up can be heard now on the Bremen 1971 CD. EMBRYO’S RACHE, a surprising follow-up, featured new mainstay Roman Bunka, ex-Xhol Caravan Hansi Fischer, and exceptional keyboards courtesy Jimmy Jackson. (More well-known for his guest work as “Tabarin man”), the foundation for the distinctive Embryo sound. It was rich in riffing and dynamic, but also included Edgar Hofmann’s expressive saxophone and complex, hypnotic, and hypnotic, saxophone. The Embryo albums STEIG AUS (released later than expected, but recorded soon after) include some of the most stunning Embryo music. They are mostly instrumental fusions from an expanded line up including Sigi Schwab (hot from his Et Cetera stint) and Mal Waldron, a veteran jazzer. FATHER SON and HOLY GHOSTS’s more accessible and condensed style showed United Artists Records that they were not interested in ethnic cum-rock fusion like heard on STEIG AUUS or ROCKSESSION. They wanted a rock album with a high sales rate. Embryo was given the lead-seat to Dave King (a newly drafted multi-instrumental talent but primarily a bassist), who had the ability to make even the most complex music accessible and tight. Dave King is a highly sought-after musician in both the German jazz scene and the pop scene. Although the results were excellent, they were a more song-based slice than the original Embryo. They were also more Krautrocky, and less jazzy, hinting towards the later SURFIN’. When UA dropped Embryo in the early 1990s, Christian sold his earlier tapes to Brain. With BASF and a shift in focus, WE KEEP ONE, featuring Charlie Mariano took a backward step to free-riffing fusion realms. This allowed them to offer some of the most heavy Embryo ever recorded. It was the end of a phase. When the more commercially-oriented SURFIN’ (on BASF’s new rock label Buk), failed to achieve the success it hoped for, Embryo were thrown out with no hope of securing a contract with another label. Embryo decided to create their own label, allowing them complete artistic freedom. They formed April Records with other like-minded artists. For more information, see the April Records entry. The Embryo sound shifted radically to jazz with a more ethnic style, featuring Maria Archer’s songs. They embarked on ambitious trips to India and the East later. The first recordings include a session recorded with Trilok, Shoba Gurtu and the ambitious double album EMBRYO’S REISE. This documenting their journey through India, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. This extraordinary album combines the Embryo sound and many types of traditional and ethnic music. It takes you to new places. The Karnataka College of Percussion, an Indian troupe that was able to venture into Germany and tour with Embryo, later became famous for their work with Charlie Mariano and Iain Ballamy. The next big Embryo adventure, which took them from Turkey to Egypt and then on to Africa, was always a new one. LA BLAMA SPAROZZI and YORUBA DIUN DUN ORCHESTRA document these projects with an extraordinary variety of musics. ZACK GLUCK was the only Embryo album from this era. This album is a long and surprising album that often harkens back to the origins and features the extraordinary “U-Bahn”. There are also shades of EMBRYO’S RACHE, STEIG AUS, and more. It is a truly remarkable album. TURN PEACE, celebrating 20 years of Embryo was full of surprises. It showed that Burchard, and his colleagues, were still innovative and fresh musicians who were willing to try new ideas while still being able to recreate the music they started with. IBN BATTUTA returned to ZACK GLUCK with a more ethnic and spacey feel. Chris Karrer added his varied instrumentation to a number of Embryo releases, adding new layers to the sound. This experience also inspired his solo work. Christian and Jamal Mohamand collaborated on a self-produced cassette in 1993, which included traditional Indian singing and harmonium. In July 1996, we were able to see Embryo live in Munich. Once as a full-fledged band with Jamal as the main focus and then again “unplugged” with Chris Karrer. Their most cross-cultural incarnation, with a large ethnic group and an international cast, was perhaps their best to date. They were, naturally, excellent! Embryo continue to be great! Their later recordings were mostly live recordings. They cover jazzier areas and explore new avenues. Embryo continue their tour across Europe and abroad and are constantly surprising with new innovations. They have been the only Krautrock group to remain true to their ideals for over 30 years while still moving forward. The latest album is EMRYONNCK. It’s a collection of impromptu songs with American post-rock improv group NNCK (formerly known as the No Neck Blues Band). This album contains some of the most evocative Embryo music we have ever heard, and could even be from 1969. Encyclopedia of Krautrock and Kosmische Musik by Steven

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