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Tibet - 1979 Tibet

ALBUM: Tibet
LABEL: Bellaphon
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1994, Musea (France), FGBG 4115.AR * 2005, MALS (Russia), 045


LINEUP: Klaus Werthmann - vocals * Jurgen Grutzsch - guitars * Karl Heinz Hamann - bass * Fred Teske - drums * Deff Balin - keyboards * Dieter Kumpakischkis - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fight Back * 02 City By The Sea * 03 White Ships And Icebergs * 04 Seaside Evening * 05 Take What's Yours * 06 Eagles * 07 No More Time

This is a fairly obscure German progressive rock release from the late 70's and one which took three years to record. Despite an eight year career this was the only album ever issued by Tibet, who formed as far back as 1972, and reportedly were live favourites, which must have been the case judging by their discography. Grutzsch was the mastermind behind the band and from what I understand the band was named Tibet as he intended the band to be a forum for producing Tibetian type music. I assume we should be thankful this never materialised, and instead Tibet became the archetypal German prog rock unit, dispensing their own brand of unique organ driven epics, with the expected addition of space rock and fusion elements. It is easy to tell this was recorded years apart, it definitely has the feel of the mid to late 70's and really belies the 1979 release date.

The Songs
A feast of eerie synths form the basis for 'Flight Back' and this is so German in feel that it could be nothing else. The most obvious comparison is early Uriah Heep, with a distinctive Ken Hensley keyboard tone, and this actually could be labeled hard rock. Jazzy guitar interludes occur throughout 'City By The Sea' and this one might remind a punter or two of Genesis' 'Trick Of The Tail' era, which is quite a commendation. 'White Ships And Icebergs' conjures up Titanic images, starting out with an orchestral intro before delving into a number of directions, some acoustic, some synth, but mostly the hammond organ takes main stage. Very innovative, this one should maintain listener interest with all the twists. Totally out of the blue is the live 'Seaside Evening' which tries to emulate Tom Waits or something equally contrived, a drunk and poetic rant which is evidently a beat poet attempt. This u-turn is quickly overshadowed by the piercing and haunting keyboard work of 'Eagles' and another Heep romp, 'No More Time', which sounds more contemporary than much of what went before and this is possibly the 1978 recording session. Progressive in every sense, the imaginative arrangements really kept me riveted along the way, an important tangible in this form of music.

In Summary
This was all Tibet ever mustered and in 1980 they said their last goodbye, leaving this as their only contribution to music history. According to a website the album was re-recorded for CD release in 1994 by Musea Records, as the master tapes were long gone. If true then that's laughable. What I have before me here is indeed the genuine article and personally I think it would be impossible to replicate such music. This is a good listen for the general prog rocker in tune with the Kraut scene of the 70's and also those with a taste for Heep.

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#1 | Eric on June 02 2007 17:01:52
The musicianship here is top notch, but the vocalist leaves much to be desired. The Uriah Heep and Genesis comparisions are valid and I would also include middle period Caravan in the list of references too.

I also agree, this is the real deal and not a re-recording, at least Musea at the time of the release told us it was a reissue, and I can't imagine those guys passing off product as something it wasn't...
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