Cosmic Jokers - Galactic Supermarket
The supergroup of Krautrock musicians, The Cosmic Jokers, occupy a curious corner in the history of progressive music in Germany. The band was comprised of Manuel Gottsching (Ash Ra Tempel), Klaus Schulze (early Tangerine Dream, plus solo recordings), Harald Grosskopf (Ash Ra Tempel, plus solo) as well as Dieter Dierks, Rossi Muller (on sparse vocals) and Jürgen Dollase. In 1973 they were put together in the studio by writer and journalist Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser for psychedelic jam sessions in which the musicians were given free reign to improvise and let the music develop organically. Yes, drugs were involved.
All of the sessions were recorded, much to the dismay of the musicians involved, and released on three different LPs in the mid 70s. With that in mind, The Cosmic Jokers weren’t a functional band and it’s likely their moniker was chosen for them. Whatever the case, the music they conjured up is some of the more far-out, cosmic and psychedelic material released during the Krautrock era.
Galactic Supermarket, (1974), is the third of the 3 LPs that were released and it may be the best of the bunch. Comprised of 2 side-long performances, the musicians let everything run free while keeping things beautifully loose. Gottsching’s guitar is augmented by his always liberal use of wah-wah, Grosskopf drumming is dynamic and deep and Schulze’s space-dusting synth tends to lead the workout with surging pulses and washes of noise.
Even if these records materialized when perhaps they shouldn’t have, I’m thankful they exist. It shows just how creative and talented the field of the German avant-garde was. If you love German music from this era, you need to hear what the Cosmic Jokers were up to. Truly mind-bending stuff. (Dom)
Check out a track here.