Sand’s 1974 debut album Golem is an excellent oddity in the Krautrock canon. The album eschews the normal reliance on chugging rhythms to provide the backbone of their sound. Instead they use space and more importantly headspace to create their psychedelic platform. The album was recorded by Klaus Schulze in a format described as “Artificial Head Stereo Sound” (which sounds like a psych band in its own right). Immediately plunging into opener “Helicopter,” the band creates a cavern of sound that was made for headphones. It was an attempt at surround sound before there was a market, improving on Quadrophonic and dunking the listener head first into the band’s creeping psychedlics.
Golem is as uncharacteristic of Krautrock as it is of the rest of Sand’s catalog, which would largely become more proto-industrial, roping in factory field recordings and ambient noise to their sound. Here they incorporate picked acoustics that roll into menacing cradles of tone, enveloping the listener in anxious waves, curling and uncurling their grip on the throat. Then they completely break out for a wistful romp on “On The Corner.” Its atypical of its peers but it stands as an important rung on the ladder connecting the audio tissue between Ash Ra Temple, Pink Floyd, Träd, Gräs och Stenar, and naturally their mentor Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. There have been several reissues but Rotorelief’s 2013 version (still available) is probably the most deluxe and well presented. If you have a soft spot for 70’s excess and German Progressive rock, then this one is a must have.
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