Originating from what was at the time East Germany, City are virtually unknown to this day outside their native country. The band are rightly listed on this site as Prog related, that relationship being largely down to their one prog epic and best known song "Am Fenster". That song appears on this the band's first album released in 1978, supported by a further 5 songs. "Am fenster" (at the window) was originally released as a highly successful single, the album version being an expended version in 3 parts. The five songs which make up the first side of the original LP are well crafted but rather undistinguished blues/guitar rock. The lyrics are all in German although the sound is rather British; those looking for Krautrock need to look elsewhere. There are hints of bands such as Wishbone Ash (especially in "Nachts um halb eins") and Golden Earring ("Traudl" is more than a little like "Radar Love").
"Meister aller Klassen" (Master of all classes) is a slower guitar driven power ballad which tells the tale of an over ambitious motorcyclist. The appearance of flock like violin played by Georgi Gogow on "Der King vom Prenzlauer Berg" offers a pleasing additional dimension to the song.
It is though to "Am Fenster" that we look for the band's piece de resistance. This 17+ minute suite is made up in three contiguous parts, opening with the acoustic "Traum". Here, violin and acoustic guitar combine in a slightly folk influenced melody, the violin gradually swelling the sound in a manner similar to the middle section of Curved Air's "Vivaldi". The section ends abruptly as ticking clocks and chimes introduce the brief "Tagtraum". This simply acts as link to the main part of the suite, which is also titled "Am fenster". Here we find the first vocals of the track, but violin continues to dominate instrumentally. The track now finds a rhythm and a hook, the relentless violin acting as the catalyst for the development of the song into a hypnotic daydream (Tagtraum). While the song did find significant success in East and West Germany, and indeed in some other parts of Europe, it failed to find an audience in the lucrative markets of the English speaking countries. Such an injustice has befallen many bands who record in their native language, examples such as this merely emphasising how fine music is ignored simply because of the language used.
In all, this is something of a "Tarkus" with one superb side long number, and a collection of good but unremarkable supporting songs. Highly recommended simply for "Am fenster" though.
- Fritz Puppel / guitars
- Klaus Selmke / drums
- Georgi Gogow / bass, violin
- Toni Krahl / vocals
1. Es ist unheimlich heiß (4:30)
2. Der King vom Prenzlauer Berg (4:55)
3. Nachts um halb eins (3:55)
4. Traudl (3:15)
5. Meister aller Klassen (5:35)
6. Am Fenster (17:40)
III) Am Fenster
Rip from CD 256@ (artwork included)