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Thread: PELL MELL

  1. #1

    PELL MELL

    I never see anyone mention this band, but they have been long-time favorites of mine since I picked up an album at a used record store back in the 80's. Really cool Krautrock - symphonic prog with wild synth solos and lots of organ and violin. Any other fans?




  2. #2
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    They're not my favorite German Prog-Rock band, but I like them and have 2 or 3 of their albums. I found them when...wait for it...I bought a used LP back in the 80s. (Which I still have.)

  3. #3
    I have all of their albums in one box, including 2 Skyrider albums, one of which wasn't released before.

  4. #4
    Member Joe F.'s Avatar
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    I have the first 3 on vinyl. I was always lukewarm on them. It's been years since I've played them though, so I suppose a revisit is in order.

    I bought mine back in the '80s too

  5. #5
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    I liked Marburg, Rhapsody and Only a Star quite a bit at one time. There was something endearing about Marburg's shouty and energetic hard rock that was balanced with some great art music influence (or derived) melodies and occasional unpredictable sections. Rhapsody ditched much of the undpredictability but upped the ante on the melodies and classical-derived arrangements to a great effect. Only a Star was a more conventional symphonic rock album but more energetic and deliciously over the top melodically. I held them among the best German symphonic albums from the 1970s, and they are still fun to listen to.

    I only got From the New World a decade later with The Entire Collection box that Rarebird mentioned. Time and taste may have changed to influence things, but I found their rocked-up classical pieces and symphonic arrangements less interesting than on the other albums and without the excitement of Marburg or Only a Star. The synthetic, 80s Oldfield sound (though not as good as 80s Oldfield at his best) of Moldau didn't move me that much either. Actually, the more mainstream Skyrider material included in the box sounded better than it did, though it wasn't maddeningly memorable either. Time for another retrospective listen soon, I think.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    I liked Marburg, Rhapsody and Only a Star quite a bit at one time. There was something endearing about Marburg's shouty and energetic hard rock that was balanced with some great art music influence (or derived) melodies and occasional unpredictable sections. Rhapsody ditched much of the undpredictability but upped the ante on the melodies and classical-derived arrangements to a great effect.
    I'll have to revisit Only A Star, but Marburg and Rhapsody are my favorites as well. I agree with you on Marburg, it's easily their best - and one I didn't really find until it was available on CD. I was just shuffling some itunes today and some Pell Mell came up, so I thought I would post about them.

  7. #7
    I have bought Marburg, From The New World and Rhapsody back in the mid 80s. Their appeal somewhat faded over the years but still have them in the collection.

    Have not listened to any other though.
    Last edited by spacefreak; 05-20-2020 at 03:46 PM.
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  8. #8
    I seem to be that weird outlier with a lot of things and so it is with Pell Mell as well—Only a Star is my favorite of theirs. The “rocked-up classics” subgenre of prog got very old for me very quickly (though at least they deliver it with more energy and panache than, say, Ekseption), so an album of all originals was very welcome. It also has an excellent flow, each track seguing into the next in a naturalistic way. I was never too keen on their rather shrill vocals, though the high point for me across all of their albums has been Thomas Schmitt’s violin playing; he really is excellent. Still have not heard Moldau, which I understand was an archival release.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    I seem to be that weird outlier with a lot of things and so it is with Pell Mell as well—Only a Star is my favorite of theirs. The “rocked-up classics” subgenre of prog got very old for me very quickly (though at least they deliver it with more energy and panache than, say, Ekseption), so an album of all originals was very welcome. It also has an excellent flow, each track seguing into the next in a naturalistic way. I was never too keen on their rather shrill vocals, though the high point for me across all of their albums has been Thomas Schmitt’s violin playing; he really is excellent. Still have not heard Moldau, which I understand was an archival release.
    Actually, Moldau seems more like the Pell Mell Thomas Schmitt going all Oldfield and recording an album almost on his own to advertise his new PM recording studio. The version of ”Moldau” heard on the album is a new recording and different (more synthetic) from the Marburg version. The whole first side of the album is ”rocked-up” and ”synthed-up” Smetana pieces, so it probably won't be for you. The second side is original instrumental material, ranging from pretty good to passable. There is far less violin on this than on the earlier albums. Sadly, Schmitt had to abandon the instrument completely later, beacuse of problems with his left hand.

    Yes, Only a Star has a great flow.

  10. #10
    From the New World still sounds like an ice-cold sauerkraut equivalent of P.F.M or Pell Mell's own faint cousins in East Germany, the clunkydodgy Electra. and I've still got my original vinyl of it.

    I sold my CDs of Marburg and Only a Star and can't say that I ever missed them much. With the cornucopia (no pun!) of creative rock music being produced in West Germany at the time, no wonder how they never seemed fully able to get on the "symph" train, although there were fine things happening with acts like Schicke-Führs-Fröhling, Trilogy, Sahara et al.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
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