While Krautrock of the early 70s took on many forms with some bands being heavy hitting rockers and some more on the jazz- fusion side of things, almost all these bands shared one tangible attribute and that would be dreamy psychedelia-drenched motifs that would meander nonchalantly for lengthy periods of time. While an attribute shared by the entire subgenre, a few bands took it to extremes and the German band YATHA SIDHRA was one of these bands that took this type of meditative music to new relaxing heights. This band was formed in Freiburg in 1973 by brothers Rolf and Klaus Fichter under the name Brontosaurus but they soon found that a giant dinosaur didn't quite convey the message they were hoping for so they followed the trend of of the Indo-raga world and changed their named to the more Hindu sounding YATHA SIDHRA.
While the band's existence was fairly brief and they only managed to create this one cult classic titled A MEDITATION MASS, a true treasure trove in the world of experimental, progressive and über-kosmische music that for all intents and purposes creates a single connected album long track despite being technically separated into four suites. This is mesmerizing music if there ever was some. The kind of music you envision playing in your head at a mirage near a desert oasis where the spiritual world and the physical are somehow connected for a brief moment. This spacey forty minute journey begins with some stellar progressive electronic which displays the Moog synthesizer as the main atmospheric generator of the album. After a while the music cedes into a smooth form of rock with a strong presence of the Indian flute, vibraphones, an electric piano and sparse vocals.
The rock aspects are all but absent on "Part 1" but become more prominent on "Part 2" which allows the drums and bass to shine for a brief moment on an otherwise ethereal and mellow album that is a mind-altering mystical experience with a pulsating reverie of 60's acid culture that sounds more sophisticated with the menagerie of ethnic influences and breaking free from the cliches. The album shines even more in the excellent production that found Achim Reichel at the helm to polish the project off which appeared on the famous Brain label that hosted many of the great Krautrock bands such as NEU!, Guru Guru, Cluster as well as others. Continue to "Part III" and the music engages in free-form jazzy rock with a wailing guitar, a syncopated beat that rock out over otherwise trance inducing rhythms that all climax to the expected Kraut approved freakouts. "Part IV" simply continues the ambience space rock.
This mostly instrumental album is supposedly a concept album but no intellectual capital need be expended to enjoy this one. When all is said and done, this is a Moog driven journey into the sonicsphere which takes the listener on the ultimate space rock trip. A musical trek into a free flowing ecstasy that slowly oscillates between pastoral folk, space rock and the occasional foray into jazzier passages. All and all, A MEDITATION MASS is the perfect album for its namesake. It's neither too complex for its own good nor too simplistic to be of much value. It is perfectly balanced as it takes soothing melodies and teases them out into infinity which just happens to be cut off by the limitations of the original recording technology of the day.
If you seek mesmerizing, dreamy and hypnotic space music accented by rock, ethnic folk and jazz then YATHA SIDHRA sired the perfect sonic trip into the inner worlds of your meditation. What sets A MEDITATION MASS apart from other trippers such as Amon Düül II or Ash Ra Tempel is that this is less "freaky" and more grounded. It resonates as being more spirit and less chemical inspiration yet as detached from reality as the best that Krautrock had to offer. Perhaps the closest musical relative i've found of the era is not from Germany at all but from Japan. The Tokyo based Far Out would also release one meditative classic "日本人 (Nihonjin)" only a year prior and shares the same overall characteristics. While YATHA SIDHRA would only release this one underground classic, the Fichter brothers would continue their world of psychedelic with their progressive electronic followup artistry in Dreamworld which would release two more albums in the 80s.
Progarchives.com (Review by siLLy puPPy) http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=960
Yatha Sidhra - A Medidation Mass (1973)
1. A Meditation Mass 1 17.45
2. A Meditation Mass 2 3.13
3. A Meditation Mass 3 12.00
4. A Meditation Mass 4 7.16
Rolf Fichter - Moog, Indian Flute, Electric Piano, Guitar, Vocals
Klaus Fichter - Drums, Percussion
Matthias Micolai - Guitar, Bass
Peter Elbracht - Flute