Re-mastered from the original analogue tapes. Released on the original Kosmische Kuriere label * The legendary debut album of the Krautrock all-star band from 1974. Produced at Dierks Studios with the collaboration of Dieter Dierks. What an amazing improvement in the sound of this 48 year old recording. Recorded in 1973 during a series of acid-fuelled all-night jam parties, Cosmic Jokers was the work of a veritable krautrock supergroup that included Dierks himself, Manuel Göttsching (Ash Ra Tempel), Klaus Schulze (Tangerine Dream), Jürgen Dollase and Harald Grosskopf (both of Wallenstein). This free-form freak out -- consisting of two epic tracks, the 22 min "Galactic Joke" and the 19 min "Cosmic Joy"--was first of five albums by the group to be released on Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser's Cosmic Couriers label in the coming months. A first rate slab of space rock up there with other classics of the genre.
The first of Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser's exploitive cosmic space rock albums is also the best, and certainly kicks the seat out of the many jam bands that arose in the '90s. Unlike most "super groups" who collapse under the weight of their own hubris, the Cosmic Jokers, who were never really a proper group anyway, almost improve upon the sound of their precursors, namely Manuel Göttsching and Klaus Schulze from acid-jam-supreme Ash Ra Tempel, and Jurgen Dollase and Harald Grosskopf from blitzkrieg psychedelic Wallenstein.
Structurally, the record is similar to those vintage Ash Ra Tempel albums, with two sidelong suites, the first side representing the peak of the acid freakout and the second side more relaxed, acting as the chill out later in the trip. Thus, the first side, "&Galactic Joke," has more emphasis on Gottsching's freaked-out guitar, as the music slowly builds to full phased-out fury and then subsides and builds again. The flip side, "Cosmic Joke," is mellower, though no less improvised as it travels with Schulze's keyboard washes at the forefront into deepest space on a similarly slow ebb and flow. The effects are laid on much thicker than on a normal Ash Ra effort, especially on this second track, enhancing the sci-fi aspects as the mixing board of Dieter Dierks adds another dimension to the sound.
Unlike later Cosmic Jokers records, where vocals were added in, this album is completely instrumental, letting the music stand by itself.
Starting with a heavy piano-drums groove like John Cale and Terry Riley's "The Protégé" from their classic LP Church of Anthrax, The Cosmic Jokers return to their trip with an un-cosmic dub beginning, melodicas and guitars spinning off all over the place Gille Letmann says a couple of words before the breakdown into Clangerland, a place where goofy synthesizers call to each other over exquisite mellotrons and tinkling spacey grand piano. Again, it's just two huge tracks - this time the ever shifting "Kinder Des Als" and the title track "Galactic Supermarket". The female voices take a while to assimilate after the austerity of the first Cosmic Jokers LP, and the opening track wanders around for a while before ascending to its righteous groove. The women scream "Schnell Schnell!" and the helicopter drums of Harald Grosskopf propel us once more into a hectic frantic major-chord trance out. It's the sheer unbalance that makes this recod such a delight. At times, Klaus Schultze's synthesizer is so loud that it swamps everything in its path.
The title track "Galactic Supermarket" begins like one of Van Der Graaf Generator's greatest and most drawn out riffs. A slow 6/4 bass licks over ominous Pawn Hearts style shifting chords. Again, the piece is slow to begin, as though they are searching for harmony but each musician is confused and solitary. Manuel Gottsching freaks out in a fury of wa-guitar madness, forcing the others awake, but this really is a down-in-the-mouth scene and the whole Trip descends further and further until...an inevitable slow burning groove gets itself together and the scene whips itself up into a Shake Appeal Flip Out. The LP takes a little longer to get into than The Cosmic Jokers, but give it time and it's in your head forever. Those piercingly loud Klaus Schultze snythesizers which sound so bizarre the first time? You'll be waking up with them in your head, whistling them in the street, people will think you've lost your fucking mind. Right On.