Welcome to Raja's Pretension Palace
  ...built for those in relentless search of eternal damnation

"I'd call that a bargain, the best I ever had" - The Who (from the song "Bargain")

Hopefully, you are reading this page after reading the holy masterpieces page. If not please back immediately and read it in the right order - first the holy masterpiece page; then holy songs and then this page. I have the links in the right order; why would you not follow them? If you disregard my request, you end up reading, inadvertently, a big spoiler on one of the main stories on the holy masterpieces page. Anyway, the idea with this page is to take the only twelve artists that have multiple albums on my holy masterpiece page, and add more personnel to these bands to make them even better - one of whom would be... wait for this... a classical composer from more than a century ago. Since there are only 12 classical composers who are represented in my holy masterpieces list multiple times, it all fits in perfectly. 12 bands expanded to a field of 12 with one classical composer included!

Many would argue that there is absolutely no need to tinker with those bands when they were at their peaks and adding more musicians will only destroy the band chemisty. Yes, I agree; its a valid point. But I am assuming the additional musicians can get along with the original band... somehow. In my opinion these additional members were inherently compatible to the original band (at least during that certain period) and also had similar artistic vision, goal and ambition.

The idea here is not to drastically change the band's sound. It is to get these new musicians as additional contributors to enhance the band's sound. In fact none of the twelve ensembles have more than seven full-time members. I know a twelve-member ensemble sounds ridiculous and there has never (or hardly) ever been an twelve-man band. I don't expect twelve men or women to get on stage. The idea is to use the some of these additional musicians not as part of the touring band, but as ocassional guest contributors in studio or live. Most of the time the additional members play an instrument different than what the original band members played. In cases where the new members plays same instrument as one of the band member, he or she plays that instrument in a drastically different manner. In many cases, the band musicians may have expressed a desire to work with the additional musician or may have worked in side projects or may have expressed admiration for one of the band members. Most of the musicians being added have been session musicians who have worked with many artists... except of course those classical composers. Let's say those are added in to just add some spice

I am not picking names out a hat. I have given some thought into this. I have short stories on how these lineups were formed. Most of them are formed before either the bands had recorded anything at all or before they found commercial and critical success or before recovery from a setback, in the real world. Bands typically do not add new members unless they are in a state of turmoil or just starting out. The stories have to make some sense; shoudn't they? I will appreciate your input on whether this will work or not at all. Please note that I do take some liberties with the stories like most hollywood fact-based movies do. Many of the musicians play multiple instruments here. There is no way to find out when they started playing which instrument. I assume that all the musicians were skilled and interested in playing the instruments they play in my alternate world at that point of time (even though they may have not in real life).

I have tried to keep this list as diverse as possible. Every one of the tweleve ensembles will have a female musician and many of them play instruments. This is not your typical greatest ever or best or most technical musicians list (there are no typical lists on my websites, anyway). Not all musicians I like fit in the storeies I have made for the ensembles; some tough choices were made! Also, keep in mind that some musicians appear on multiple bands - in fact one of them appears in all of them and that musician recorded just one album his whole career... I had to come up crazy scenarios to make that work.... and I think those scenerios in fact make the storylines more interesting!

PS: If I were to make a best of list it would be somewhat like this!

My would-be best of list of progressive rock musicians!

Forget that image above. I am not discussing that list here. That is just to show you what I think the 50 best musicians are from the progressive rock era (1967-76) - 7 musicians from 7 categories with a wild-card virtuoso (a multi-instrumentalist who is also virtuoso on all the instruments he played) category. Many of these musicians will be featuring on the list I am going to discuss in this page... i.e. - Twelve twelve-man dream ensembles!

Enough chit-chat; lets do this

Led Zeppelin (Oct 1968) - Wasn't my favorite rock band already perfect at peak? Their first six albums are almost unanimously considered as all-time classics. They were firing on all cylinders in their first four albums. The next two albums were only slightly lesser. Robert Plant did lose the power in his voice around mid-1971 and could only hit the high notes ocassionally since then. But the rest of the guys were in top notch form until their sixth album. So, Can I make this band better? Yes, by increasing their scope! They were excellent in achieving all their artistic goals. What I hope to do though, is to expand their goals by making them more diverse, by bringing in musicians who were influenced by genres like avantgarde, electronic, western classical, middle-eastern classical, Indian classical, jazz etc - genres which Led Zeppelin did not venture into or venture deep enough unlike say blues, hard rock, psychedelia and folk.

Since Led Zeppelin were a overnight success once the debut album was released, I am going to add musicians to the band when the lineup of Led Zeppelin was just being formed around mid to late 1968. Jimmy Page, then part of the Yardbirds, had a tough task of adding musicians to fullfil their tour commitments, after everyone had quit with bassist Chris Dreja being the final one to bail. Jimmy ended up with singer Robert Plant whom he found out via Terry Reid - his first-choice lead singer. Plant recommended his drummer friend John Bonham. And then finally, John Paul Jones who knew Page from the session days approached him at his wife's behest. And thus began the Led Zeppelin saga!

But what if, in a parallel universe, the sequence of events were a bit different? Let's imagine for a second that Chris Dreja did not leave the band before inadvertently getting a replacement in. In our imaginary world in August 1968, while having breakfast in a cafe in London, one morning, Chris spots a completely rehabilitated Syd Barrett (forced into rehab by concerned friends and relatives once he quit Pink Floyd in March 1968) and mentions to Syd that he is thinking of leaving Yardbirds to pursue photography. Syd having heard Little Games (Yardbirds' final album released in 1967) just recently, was impressed with Jimmy's guitar experimentation on songs like the Davy Graham-inspired Celtic-Arabic-Indian classical tuning on acoustic guitar on the song White Summer and the sitar-like guitar tuning on the very psychedelic sounding song Glimpses, the two best (and only instrumental) songs on an otherwise god-awful final album. Syd wondered that with the right people Page could form a revolutionary band built around his guitar heroics. Syd himself had experimented with various psychedelic sound effects on his guitar during Pink Floyd days. Syd ends up meeting Jimmy the same evening and asks if he can join Page's new band. Jimmy, however had already met Robert Plant couple of days ago, and was considering giving him and John Bonham the offer as vocalist and drummmer respectively. This put Jimmy in a dilemma as Syd was already a big name and also a songwriter he respected, and was also someone whom he would have loved to work with. Jimmy had always liked Syd's unconventional psychedelic guitar work with Pink Floyd. And he was sure this would broaden the scope of Led Zeppelin. He signs up Syd on the condition that Syd will help write songs and play guitar but will not be the primary lead vocalist; that honour would go to Robert Plant. A deal is reached as Syd was never too keen on being the sole vocalist (Rick Wright had sung on two and Roger Waters on one of the nine non-instrumental songs on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn). Page officially gives the offer to Barrett, Plant and Bonham the next day.

The bassist role is still left to be filled. Syd requests that they find a organ player as well since he had always played in tandem with an organ player (Rick Wright) before. Page and Barrett place an advert in the Melody Maker newspaper looking for a bassist and keyboardist. They get several responses; but the most compatible and visionary musician was one young organ virtuoso called Rick Wakeman who had responded after reading the ad in a London pub. Wakeman needed the money and was pretty much broke at the time. The band member liked the young kid's (a year yonger than both youngsters Plant and Bonham) sense of humour, dexterity on keyboards, and quickly signed him. Rick being the only classically-trained musician in the band, would add another dimension to the band's still developing sound. Rick was not only adept in playing church organ and hammond organ; he was a virtuoso on mellotron and was also skilled in playing the then recently produced Moog synthesizers. They also receive a call from ex-Tommorow guitarist Steve Howe who was with this group called Bodast at the time. Bodast coudn't get anyone to release their material and Steve was frustrated with the situation. Steve primarily played guitar but he told Jimmy he was ready to switch to bass. Page who had heard Tommorow's self-titled album liked Steve's playing and had heard a lot about him, but was not sure he needed another guitarist-converted-to-bassist situation (like with Chris Dreja) and politely declined the request.

For the bassist role, Rick suggests they meet this German multi-instrument who is not just great on bass guitar, but also double bass, guitar, cello, sarangi, rebec, trumpet, piano, sitar and synthesizer. Rick had met this guy (Reinhard Karwatky) during one of his drinking sessions, when Reinhard was on a short visit to London. In the meanwhile, John Paul Jones comes to know of the bassist position from his wife and contacts Page. Rick tracks down Reinhard who was just about to head back to Germany and brings him the same night John Paul Jones joins the band for an audition. The band decide to jam with both Jones and Karwatky instead of holding a regular audition. Karwatky is a full-blown virtuoso but a real humble guy who gells well with the guys. Jones seemed a perfect fit for the band however and is also very soft spoken and is also a multi-instrumentalists like Karwatky. Page says he can offer Karwatky a permanent position if he plays double bass and sticks to exotic instruments like sitar, sarangi, rebec while letting Jones handle the electric bass guitar, and Page and Barrett, the guitar and Wakeman the keyboard instruments. The band is formed. The line-up is finalized now. The band is a seven member band with a vocalist (Plant), two guitarists (Page and Barrett), two bassists/multi-instrumentalists (Jones and Karwatky), one keyboardist (Wakeman), and drummer (Bonham).

The band acquires few more musicians as guests. Jimmy Page decides to get blues guitarist-extradionairre Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac play on some blues covers which they record as a live-in-studio jam (in fact most of the album is recorded live-in-studio). Peter Green mentions that he is looking for another lead guitarist in his band since their other guitarist Jeremy Spencer was was only interested in blues covers and was not willing to share the workload on songs written by Peter. Jimmy suggests that he listen to ex-Tomorrow guitarist Steve Howe who was looking for a new band. Jimmy plays the Bodast tapes Steve had sent to him. Peter likes Steve's confident and uniquely diverse style of guitar. Peter thought this will add a new dimension to his band and welcomes Howe to the studio where Led Zeppelin is recording so that he can audition Steve for his own band. Steve meets Green and they discuss future plans. Steve also says to Page he is willing to contribute to the album without any charge as a return of favor. Page uses Howe for playing acoustic guitar duets with him in a couple of instrumental songs that he had been working on since the Yardbirds days. Barrett and Karwatky suggest that since they have a 7-member band and 2 guests (Howe and Green), they should expand the album to a double LP thus making space for the instrumental songs they had already partially written before joining. Howe also offers a couple of instrumentals he had written. The rest of the band help Barrett, Karwatky and Howe finish the songs. They decided they needed few more session musicians in particular a tabla player.

Karwatky who had a great interest in Indian classical music had befriended an Indian classical (the Carnatic variety) musician Sundaram Balachander who was on tour in the UK. The muti-talender Balachander who directed the first non-musical Tamilian film-noir Anda Naal and had acted in movies was an accomplished veena player. Karwatky meets him in search of a good tabla player. Balachander had a mridangam player touring with him and said he himself could play the tabla very well although he hadn't played it for years. Balachander inspite of being a staunch proponent of the South Indian Carnatic classical was a fan of western classical Music and the the north Indian Hindustani classical. Balachander was curious and wanted to help out this new band. He and Led Zeppelin end up recording a progressive rock-styled world fusion instrumental epic (12 minutes) which has elements of Indian classical, western classical and western folk, with Page on acoustic guitar to the sitar-like DADGAD tuning and hurdy-gurdy, Barrett on lap-steel, Howe on Portuguese guitar, Green on resonator guitar (dobro), Jones on mandolin, Karwatky on sitar, sarangi and rebec, Rick Wakeman on pipe organ and the then recently released transistor-based electra piano (which had harpsichord, lute and guitar sounds) and Balachander on veena, bulbul tarang, dilruba, shehnai, harmonium, mridangam and tabla. Plant and Bonham sat out on this one. They also played on three other short three minute instrumentals composed by Karwatky, Howe and Barrett each. There was another drum instrumental on which Bonham played a drum solo with Balachander accompanying him on mridangam and tabla. Overall the five instrumentals accounting for 25 minutes made up 1/3rd of the double album with still about 15 minutes left to fill.

The final piece of the puzzle was adding a purely Western classical song which Wakeman and Jones had ideas for and which would nearly fill the double LP. Wakeman wanted a pure acoustic harpsichordist player for the song. They ended up meeting the great Danish/German veteral classical composer Dietrich Buxtehude who was then holding Baroque classical classes in London. Buxtehude was a organ and harpsichord virtuoso. Jones, Wakeman and Buxtehude recorded a 10-minute piece of various acoustic keyboard instruments like pipe organ, virginal, harpsichord, pedal harpsichord, lute harpsichord, clavicytherium, archicembalo, spinet and ottavino in Buxtehude's church where we was giving his lessons. In the studio, Page, Karwatky, Green, Howe, Barrett, Wakeman, Jones and Balachander overdubbed other instruments like theremin (Page), hurdy-gurdy (Page), veena (Sundaram), sitar (Sundaram), steel guitar (Green), six-string bass (Green), pedal steel guitar (Howe), Portuguese guitar (Howe), mandolin (Jones), ukulele (Jones), rebec (Karwatky), sarangi (Karwatky), slide guiar (Barrett), 12-string guitar (Barrett), electric piano (Wakeman) and clavinet (Wakeman) making it a sort of a symphonic string section backing. Plant and Bonham again sat out.

Instead of stretching the 10 minute song written with Buxtehude and filling up the double album, Page wanted to record an electronic avantgarde instrumental somewhat similar to Glimpses he recorded with Yardbirds. Barrett had similar ideas as well. Barrett and Page wrote a five minute song with Barret on slide guitar and Page on theremin. But both of them were not completely thrilled by it. They wanted to give it a futuristic spacey sound somewhat like Pink Floyd's Astronomy Domine. Barrett had an idea. He was fond of the TV series Dr. Who and loved its theme song and wanted some of the same effects on this song. Page tracked down its creator Delia Derbyshire who worked at the BBC Radiophonic workshop. Delia considered the unsung heroine of British electronic music was then with the band called White Noise and was thrilled to contribute. She added futuristic-sounding electronic sounds using electronic instruments at the BBC radiophonic workshop. Her contributions enhanced the quirkiness and zaniness of the song and brought the vision of Barrett and Page into fruition.

Page and company finished work on the album around October 1968 clocking in 90 minutes with 40 minutes of it being completely instrumental. Everything was all set except naming this band! The name The New Yardbirds which they had arbitrarily used at the begining of the recording did not make much sense as the new music they were working on was far more adventurous, heavier, virtuosic and exploratory than anything The Yardbirds ever did. They also got a cease and desist letter from Chris Dreja asking them to stop using that name which as per Dreja was only applicable to the live tour of Scandinavia prior to the recording of this album. Recollecting an old incident that happened during one of the recording sessions from May 1966, which Page had played with Jeff Beck, John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins and Keith Moon (which would yield the very first heavy progressive rock song - Beck's Bolero), Page decides to name the band Lead Zeppelin. Keith Moon and John Entwistle (who never joined the session) had remarked that starting on a new project like this would go down like a lead balloon. Zeppelin's manager Peter Green decided to drop the 'a' from Lead Zeppelin to make it Led Zeppelin saying something like "thick Americans will spell it as lead as in leading".

The double album was simply titled Led Zeppelin and released quickly in October 1968. The album is considered a landmark album which is among the very first heavy psych and progressive rock albums predating Black Sabbath's heavy psych/rock debut and King Crimson's progressive rock debut by an year.

That was quite a story, wasn't it? Now let's do the rest of them!

Yes (September 1969) - This fictional lineup is only possible because of certain fictional events in Yes-verse - 1) It is not just guitarist Peter Banks who is vocal against use of orchestra while they were recording their second album in the first week of September 1969; it's the keyboard player Tony Banks as well. As the result of the tensions in the band both of them get fired and plans to record the second album in its then proposed format are abandoned and 2) Ahmet Artegun, the Atlantic label chief hears of disarray in the Yes camp and also of plans from other label executives to drop them (because the first album had sunk without a trace and the second album is abandoned) and decides to help them.

So in our alternate Yesstory, Artegun decides to reach out to Led Zeppelin who are Yes' labelmates to help them, since he likes the music of Yes and thinks they have potential to succeed. He arranges for a meeting between Chris Squire and Jimmy Page, who quickly become friends. Squire tells Page that he and Anderson have already composed few songs but they needed guitar and keyboards on it. Page says that he wants full songwriting credit on those songs if he were to play guitar on it and that he can help them with recording the album but this would be in no way a merger of Yes and Zeppelin. He says that they would need to find a quitarist to play his parts live once the album is done. A deal is reached. They still needed a keyboardist though. Zeppelin bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones is already on vacation and unavailable until the end of the year and Yes have a deadline to record the second album in three months. So the quandary continues.

Squire mentions to Page that they were courting a talented keyboardist called Rick Wakeman who had made quite a name for himself as a session musician with David Bowie and had just recorded as session musician with the folk rock band The Strawbs who were already thinking of signing him. Strawbs at the time were on equal footing with Yes in terms of popularity. After Squire is told by a confused Wakeman over the phone that he can only decide on joining Yes in January, Squire is dejected and goes back to Page for recommendation. Page mentions to Squire that he knows a great guitarist from an unknown jazz band that opened for Led Zeppelin while they were touring in Germany that March. That guitarist also plays bass, mellotron, sitar and baglama well. Page says their guitarist and keyboardist problem could be solved in one stroke. Squire who respect Page's opinion, flies to Germany to meet this guy. The guy in question is virtuoso guitarist Eddy Marron who was then playing bass for the Jochen Brauer Sextet. Squire meets him and instantly takes a liking to him. Eddy is much older than Squire though (born in 1938, 10 years older than Chris and 6 years older to the eldest Yes member Jon Anderson), but Squire is quite sure he got the right man. Marron who is a jazz musician is not sure he wants to join a rock band though. Squire doesn't really relish the prospect of flying back empty-handed, having already dealt a blow with Wakeman's indecision.

Back in England, Bruford personally goes to meet Wakeman to try to convince him to join Yes without any of the Strawbs or the Yes members having any clue about this meeting. Both being Taureans and just born a day apart and sharing a vision of making expansive progressive music, decide that they are mutually compatible and should work together. Wakeman reckons that since Page is involved, Yes were more bound for success than The Strawbs. He accepts the offer. The same day Anderson after listening to the hit song "Rain And Tears " on radio which has some sweeping grandoise keyboard playing which he guesses would suit what Yes were about to record, tells Page about it. This single which was released in 1968 had sold a whopping one million copies already! Page and Anderson decide to go to a record store and find who recorded that song. It turns out they are in fact a Greek band Aphrodite's Child who had already recorded two albums and were in fact in London, having just recently recorded their sophomore album. The group's keyboardist and leader is Evangelos Papathanassiou (Vangelis). Page makes him the offer he cannot refuse. And Vangelis who was already feeling a resistance from his band to moving to a progressive direction decides to quit the band and join Yes.

Vangelis is brought in and they decide to jam in Anderson's basement. Bruford brings Wakeman in to everyone's surprise. Though Anderson is happy Bruford managed to coerce Wakeman, he is also baffled that Bruford decided to meet Wakeman without consulting him. Anderson who is the group leader in Squire's absence cannot chose between Wakeman and Vangelis as he likes them both equally. Page says to Anderson they should look at having both Wakeman and Vangelis in the band since both the keyboardists were vastly different to each other and would complement each other well. Wakeman was a virtuoso but Vangelis was the better songwriter. So they could serve different roles. Also Vangelis had more experience with synthesizers than Wakeman had at this point. Anderson likes the idea but says to Page would it make sense to have a six-member band. Page mentions to Yes that the Stones were a six member band initially when Ian Stewart was their keyboardist. Anderson jokingly says that if a six-member band is possibly why not make it a seven-member band with two guitarists. Anderson was in fact partially, serious. He actually wanted Page and another guitarist he knew of in the band. He knew that Page would never leave Led Zeppelin. So his comment was tongue-in-cheek. Page asks him if he is serious and has another guitarist in mind apart from Marron whom Squire had gone searching for. Anderson said he wanted them to listen to this guy called Steve Howe who could play guitar in a variety of styles (classical, country, ragtime, rock, blues). Steve was then with this band called Bodast who were not going anywhere and failed to get any of the labels to release their recording. Page knew Howe as a guitarist and sitarist for Tomorrow whey were considered the three most promising psychedelic band in 1967 along with Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine. Tomorrow had released two quite popular singles My White Single and Revolution in '67 both of which Page was fond of. Anderson brings Howe in who is delighted to meet Page. After a short jam session, it is decided that Howe fits in perfectly. Now the band is eager to know what happened between Squire and Marron. Would he manage to bring Marron as planned? If not, they decide they would just stick with Howe (and Page as guest musician) on guitars.

Well as fate had wished, it would turn out to be a seven-member band. Squire had managed to convince Marron to leave the Jochen Brauer Sextet who were not having much success anyway. Eddy had said that he won't only travel from Germany to UK unless he is already promised the position. He was unwilling to travel even if Squire is paying for it. Squire is convinced both Anderson and Bruford will like Marron and closes the deal. Squire gets the visa for Marron and gets him to the UK paying for the travel with his own finances. The both arrive at Anderson's home to be stunned to see that there are already three new band members waiting to welcome them. Squire is pissed that they made these hiring decisions without him but is calmed down by Page. The bamd hold a short audition with Marron. They play the song Nether Street which was written by Howe during his Bodast days. Anderson and company are ecstatic after hearing Marron (guitar, sitar and electric sitar) and Howe (electric guitar, acoustic guitar) play together. Marron is officially added as well. The seven member band (Anderson - vocals, Squire - bass, Wakeman - mellotron, organ, moog, Vangelis - organ, synthesizer, Howe - guitar, Portuguese guitar, electric sitar, Bruford - drums, Eddy Marron - sitar, baglama, mellotron) is finalized with Page as a guest musician.

The band start recording a double album called Close To The Edge. However this would soon morph into a triple album with Page, Howe, Marron and Vangelis adding their songwriting contributions to the songs Anderson, Squire and Bruford had already written. And also because of songs from other guest musicians who actually donated their songs free of cost. So who were these guest musicians? They were essentially tramps! And two of the four guest musicians were literally and figuratively back from the dead. Yep, this is where the story gets interesting.

It would all start by Page proposing that they need to have violin solo at the end of the baroque-styled song composed by Anderson, Vangelis and him. The song had an extended exotic instrumental break with Anderson playing harp, Wakeman playing harpsichord on his Electra Piano, Vangelis playing vibraphone, Marron playing saz, Howe playing electric sitar and Page playing the mandolin. Vangelis, who was a multi-instrumentalist offered to learn violin and play it. But the band decided against it because the rest of the composition was technically sound and they wanted the violin solo to be perfect.

Vangelis, who was a vagabond of sorts himself, knew a street-musician in Venice whom he was sure could do the job. The rest agreed to let Vangelis go fimd this guy. Vangelis who did not want to go alone asked Page to tag along assuring him that he will have a fruitful trip. He mentioned that the street musician had a band and they played renaissance instruments like hurdy-gurdy, mandolin, dulcimer etc. Page who was fond of these instruments was curious and decided to make the trip. This street musician was none other than the yet undiscovered classical composer Antonio Vivaldi (aged 69) who was sort of a Moondog personality performing on streets. He had his own band of outlaws. He however shunned publicity and preferred to compose quietly thus keeping a low profile. He was not homeless and was in fact quite well to do; but loved enjoying nature and being a travelling vagabond without having the pressures of recording. Vivaldi also kept changing his material and performed with a revolving door line-up of musicians.

Once Vangelis and Page tracked down Vivaldi in the pub where he was performing alone that evening, Vangelis who knew Italian told him about this hugely barrier-breaking triple album he was recording with a new group. Vangelis reminded Vivaldi of a promise he had made earlier that year the last time they met. The promise was that Vivaldi would let Vangelis record some of his compostions if Vangelis does try to get him to join his band or give him credit for it and publicize him. The only thing Vangelis would have to give him in return would be the Greek bouzouki which Vangelis had jammed with, during the jam session with Vivaldi's band in the previous visit. Vangelis had already given him his instrument but hadn't borrowed Vivaldi's songs yet. Vivaldi agreed to keep the end of his bargain. He had recorded new material fairly recently with an entirely new band. The new band compromised of Vivaldi on violin, an unknown elderly Belgian guitarist (aged 59) who apparently would not tell his name and would go by Anonyme "Vega" Bondens, a 17 year-old young French female hurdy-gurdy player called Marie Yacoub (discovered by Anonyme Vagabondens) who also played electric dulcimer, zither and bouzouki, and another (23) Brit slide guitar player who also chose to remain anonymous and called himself (another silly name) "Worthless Assassin".

Page and Vangelis were curious to listen to this record and also meet this motley crew of musicans Vivaldi had gathered. Vivaldi warned them that the two guitarists in particular were least interested in meeting musicians from the rock n roll world. Both were famous back when they were mainstream musicians and had effectively retired from the music business. They absolutely did not want to be thrusted back into the limelight. Page and Vangelis promised that they will not try to lure these rejects back into the mainstream and would not ask them about their previous lives either. After a short trip on the gondola to Vivaldi's old inherited home, they met the the other three who were in fact living with him as roommates. The slide guitarist who seemed very untidy and was pretty much covered with facial hair would not say a word except "hi". The Belgian guitarist would only speak in French thus making the communication very difficult. The incredibly shy French girl spoke few words in English but was inaudible and incomprehendible. The group seemed introverted and aloof. Page decided to break the ice by playing Black Mountain Side (from Led Zeppelin's first album), which he said was the the most "non-rock 'n roll he had got recently". It was actually Page's trick to get the rest to play with him. The tricked worked to his surprise. Soon everyone joined in for a extemperoneus jam session. The jam got really intense and last for about an hour with Vangelis playing bass guitar, Page and two unknown guitarists playing triple-lead on guitar, Vivaldi on violin and mandolin and Yacoub playing bouzouki and hurdy gurdy. Page and Vangelis had never seen any thing like this! They were so thrilled they wanted to play this stuff again andnext time record it!

At the end of the session, Page remarked that the elderly Belgian gentleman reminded him so much of Django Reinhardt a guitarist he grew up admiring with but never had an opportunity to have seen, live. To which the guitarist said "Why? Because I am indeed Django". Everyone laughed but Django was serious. The Belgian guitarist then told his story about how he faked his own death in 1953! He had grown tired of all the attention on him and wanted to retire without making a fuss about it. Luckily for him, he had a heart attack in Avon, France while walking out of a train station and to his home. He was taken to the hospital and was declared dead on arrival by doctors but somehow managed to wake up after ten minutes of being dead!; much to the shock of his friend who hadn't left with the other doctor as he was on late-shift. He and his friend decided to keep this a secret. Django donning some facial make-up decided to leave France and go back to his ancestor's home in sparsely populated village called Pont-A-Celles in Belgium. He stayed there putting himself in house arrest for almost a decade before starting this vagabond life. By the 60s Django's memory had faded in the public eye and being older and looking somewhat different (having gained some weight and lost hair) he was practically unrecognizable. This allowed him to freely move around Europe without being recognized. Antonio Vivaldi was shocked to hear that he was playing with someone who was considered the best guitarist in the first half of the century, for the past three months. How could he have not spotted that! He had listened to Django in his younger days. He figured he was getting old!

Django got promises from both Vangelis and Page to not let this secret out to anyone including their own wives! Vangelis and Page who did not have wives yet, agreed! Vivaldi threatened to sue them if their names and especially Django's existence is made public. Page who had immense respect for Django agreed. And so did Vangelis. Page, then looking at the slide guitarist said "I think I can reveal the identity of the second anonymous person in here". To which the guitarist replied, "If you guess wrong, you lose and you would never know the truth". Page responded by saying "there is only one guitarist I know who uses a cigarette lighter as a slide - especially the zippo!". The guitarist smiled. He had been found out. Such was the small world of psychedelic rock... where everyone knew each other. The guitarist was none other than Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd had absconded the music scene as early as March '68 when he was fired from his band for erratic behavior. Syd said to Page he was now experimenting with other sounds like violin bow on guitar and also this instrument called Theremin which his female bandmember had brought along when she joined them a month prior. Page said "Well you got to listen to these two songs - Dazed and Confused and Whole Lotta Love a certain band has recorded".

The six of them spent couple of days together and improved upon the songs Vivaldi had composed and also improvised and added sections to the songs (which Vangelis was carrying) which Yes had recorded in the studio until then. And they also ended up recording excerpt of the song they had jammee earlier. Venice didn't have a recording studio as such, so everything was recorded in Vivaldi's house with whatever rudimentary recording equipment Vivaldi had. Since Page was skilled in capturing the ambience of the room, he was able to extract the most out of it (just like on Led Zeppelin's self-titled debut). Once the recording was done, Vangelis and Page quickly bid adieu to the vagabond group and headed back with loads of excitement. They had new material which could fill up an entire LP! They had the task to convince the rest of the band to include this new material. Vangelis was not particularly sure Yes would accept this recording since they already had enough material for a double LP. Once they met the Yes members, however, all the doubts were cast away. The band absolutely loved it and got actively involved in integrating the new sections to the existing songs and overdubbing on the new numbers in studio.

The band collectively decided they would do little editing and decided on making it a triple LP as they did not want to discard anything. Page was able to convince Atlantic executives who were initially not sure a triple album would sell. Page's idea was to sell the album at double LP price since the third LP was essentially free material. Ahmet hears the triple album and is absolutely sure it would be a massive success, and indeed, he would prove to be right! The album is released immediately in September 1969 and advertised as "Yes with Jimmy Page" although Page was credited on only 7 of the songs and played in only 10 of the 17 songs. The album was Yes breakthrough to the mainstream topping the charts both sides of the Atlantic. The album had many epic songs in particular the seven big hits - "Yours Is No Disgrace, I've Seen All Good People, Roundabout, Long Distance Runaround, title song Close To The Edge, And You and I and Siberian Khatru". The third instrumental LP with Vivaldi and company was also well-received. The album was hailed as a flawless masterpiece. And would become a one of a kind album never to be topped by Yes again.

Page and Vangelis would team up with the outlaws in Italy once again and eventually it would be made public that Django is alive. And Syd Barrett would be back in the mainstream. And Yes would credit all the four musicians in re-releases of Close To The Edge and would also collaborate with them on their next album Relayer which would also be a triple album and which would also top the charts.

Pink Floyd (November 1967) - Anyone who is a serious fan of Pink Floyd knows the early-Pink Floyd saga with Syd Barrett, the subsequent team work with replacement guitarist David Gilmour, the rise of Roger Waters as the main songwriter and eventually a tyrant leading to Pink Floyd's decline as an art rock in the 80s and 80s. In my alternate universe, some of the events in early-Pink Floyd history are slightly different and that results in our alternate universe where Pink Floyd is a even stronger band!

In our alternate world, Pink Floyd's producer Norman Smith who produced Pink Floyd first two albums and the fourth album, is the key to changing history. In the real world, Norman Smith didn't completely understand what sort of band Pink Floyd were and kept pushing them towards pop sounding material in spite of reluctance from the band. He, however, kept the band focused during the The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn sessions. He had issues with Syd Barrett not following his suggestions and turned to Roger Waters for support considering him the real leader (though Syd wrote most of the songs). Norman's presence empowered Waters and the rest. It was Norman Smith (along with the rest of the band) who opposed (Syd and Pink Floyd managers Andrew King and Peter Jenner) against the release of Syd's song Jugband Blues as a single. In our world Norman Smith gets frustrated with Syd enough during the recording of The Piper At The Gates of Dawn that he quits midway through the album, leaving the band to produce the rest of the album. This doesn't alter the the sound of the album as the engineer, Pete Bown was truly responsible for the exquisite production, anyway. The result is the content of the album is somewhat different compared to the real world version. Our version of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn includes the real world single See Emily Play as the 12th song on the album. Also without Norman Smith involved in production, the production on the album is fast and album gets released much quicker - in May 1967 as soon as it is recorded.

By end of May, Syd's mental health due to LSD abuse slowly starts deteriorating. By July the record label puts pressure on the band to release another single since their first single Arnold Layne/Candy And The Currant Bun was released long back in Feb of that year. Syd Barrett and company start recording their second album while also doing gigs. Pink Floyd records Syd-written songs like Apples And Oranges, Scream Thy Last Scream and Vegetable Man, Wright-written songs Remember A Day and Paintbox and Waters-wrriten song Set The Controls At The Heart Of The Song and there is also the instrumental In The Beechwoods which is a group composition. Syd is finding it difficult to come up with songs and both Wright and Waters are not completely confident their songs are any good. During one of the gigs where they open for The Rollings Stones, Syd Barrett shows up completely hallucinated on LSD. And keeps playing the same chord again and again eventually detuning his guitar and walking off stage. This causes great embarassment for the band as Keith Richards of the Stones has to fill in.

After the gig is over both the bands huddle. Waters apologizes to Jagger and Richards for the fiasco. He says that Syd has got addicted to LSD and is losing it. Richards says it might be high time to "toss the bugger and get a new guitarist" just like how they did with Brian Jones early in May and got a better one in Mick Taylor. Waters mentions that they were already half-way recording an album. Jagger says "scrap it then and record with a new guitarist. We did the same; we were supposed to release a psychedelic album Their Satanic Majestic Request, but we have wisely scrapped that one and are going to make a country-blues oriented album called Beggars Banquet. We did release the five best songs from that psychedelic album as an EP which was that well-received anyway. You might wanna do that". Waters says that would probably work and Waters, Wright and Mason decide to have a band meeting on vote on this decision. They do vote the next day and Wright is the only one against this decision to fire Syd.

Syd Barret completely unaware of this latest happening shows up fresh to the studio the next day and says he has a new song to record having completely forgotten what happened the previous meaning. The rest of the band also pretends that nothing has happened and records the song called Jugband Blues. The song has the ominious line - "Its awfully considerate of you of think of me here And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear. That I'm not here". Its almost as if Syd knew what was gonna happen to him. Waters, Wright and Mason also have a strange feeling that Syd knows about their decision. They have a difficult decision to communicate the bad news. Syd is not completely satisfied with a song and wants the Salvation Army Band to play a horn section at the end of the song. He instructs them to play whatever they like to. He says to Waters they should hire a female singer and a saxophonist for their next song. Waters thinks Syds is nuts and merely rolls his eyes. He thinks Syd is ruining the song but the managers Ander Jenner and Jonathan King think it is brilliant. Waters get frustrated and tells Jenner and King (who had always admired Syd) they have decided to fire Syd. King and Jenner tell Waters if this happens, they can consider themselves fired too. Jenner and King leave the studio in disgust. The band goes over to Syd who is seen packing his gear already. Wright asks Syd what he is doing. Syd tells them "We have recorded seven song good enough for an EP and I need a break". The band is stunned. Did Syd know it already?

The band do a press release a week later saying that they have a new guitarist an old friend called David Gilmour in the band and they will have an new EP out that week which has the last recordings with Syd Barrett who had quit abruptly. The EP is released to mixed reviews but is successful. Syd stayed out of the public eye for a month pretty much locked himself in his apartment both angry and sad that he longer had a band. He still had friends come over for LSD sessions but stayed pretty alone most of the time. One day he reads an interview with ex-Rolling Stones Brian Jones in a magazine. Brian said in the interview he had greatly recovered from drug and mental health problems with pyschiatric treatment in London by one famous psychiatrist R.D. Laing and was now thinking about starting a new band. Syd decides to visit Brian and get treatment along with him. Brian is thrilled to meet Syd. They meet R. D. and he accepts Syd as a patient.

After couple of months, Syd had completely quit drugs and had received treatment for early signs of schizophrenia. Brian Jones who was completely recovered by now asks Syd if he wants to join a band he was thinking of form. Syd tells Jones no one would join them LSD losers. Brian says he has made many friends outside of The Rolling Stones over the years. He has already found a great session musician who was a kind and soft spoken guym who was tired of doing session work and had expressed interest in working with him. The guy in question was none other than John Paul Jones who did the string arrangement of "She's A Rainbow" the last song Brian Jones recorded with Rolling Stones before being fired the same day - May 18th 1967.

After they both are discharged from the hospital in the first week of September 1967, Brian calls John Paul Jones and asks him to come meet up in his apartment. Syd, John and Brian play together on a novelty song "Effervescing Elephant" he had in his mind for many years. Syd had a folk arrangement in mind but with John Paul Jones on bass guitar and organ and Brian Jones on mellotron they make it sort of a heavy prog rock song. Syd decides to electrify the song playing electric guitar instead of acoustic. Syd has few other songs in mind and so does John Paul Jones. Brian seeing the potential of these Barrett/Jones songs decides that they need a drummer. John Paul Jones suggests they get a technical proficient jazz drummer who could help them with arrangements and they could make a band that is better than Pink Floyd's or Rolling Stones. Brian thinks this would be a nice "fuck you" to the bands they were ousted from.

Brian Jones receives a call from his ex-girlfriend Nico who was back in her home town in Germany for the upcoming holidays after being fired from Velvet Underground. Though unaware what he was called for, Brian decides to tavel to Dover, UK to Calais, France via ferry and then do the drive from Calais to Cologne. Brian insists that Syd join for the trip as it would be a nice change for him. Syd says it might be a good idea to take Jonesy (John) as well and they could write songs while Brian drives (even though the road trip was not that long). All three pack their bags and gear and head to Cologne for a mini-vacation. Nico who is staying with their grand parents welcomes them and informs them that she is recording a solo album and she needs a guitarist. She had ex-Velvet Underground mate John Cale play bass and viola and also found a Swizz jazz percussionist whom both Cale and Nico had found while attending a jazz festival, and had become friends with. The musician in question was on Mr. Peter Giger who was an exceptionally multi-talented drummer who had a large collection of percussion instruments from all over the world and could play of all them as if he had been playing on them all his life. Brian happily volunteered for the guitarist role and Jones and Barrett also chimed in. Nico had written few songs but was not sure of the arrangement for any of them. Cale, Jones and Barrett helped her finish the songs and Brian chimed in by adding his assortment of exotic instruments which included theremin, mellotron, harmonica and sitar. The album was recorded in a brisk pace of two weeks.

The whole trip was a success for all of them. While recording the album Syd and Nico grew close to each other and got romantically involved. Brian was happy too as he spent most of his time with his current Swedish girlfriend Anna Wohlin who had travelled from London to Cologne via flight soon after Brian left to give him company. Jones was happy too as his brand new wife Maureen had travelled with Anna to visit them. Nico suggested to Syd that he should record duets with a female singer on some of the softer songs. She did not suggest herself as she thought her voice would not suit the music Syd and Jones were writing. She however suggested a female singer she was friends with when she was in London for a few months that year. The female singer was with this folk rock band called Fairport Convention who were making waves in the London folk rock scene. Nico thought that the singer (Judy Dyble) had the perfect voice for singing duets with Syd. Syd and Brian upon hearing this decided to meet Dyble upon reaching London. Dyble says she has just recently joined a rock band and cannot quit. She agrees to be a guest singer. The next day Dyble brought her boyfriend to the studio. She mentions to Syd that if they are looking for a woodwind player, her boyfriend might be the best choice. Turns out Judy was not overstating her boy friends skills; he was indeed extremely talented and also played a variety of instruments like clarinet, flute, saxophone, mellotron, harpsichord and organ. Syd and Brian decide to use him as a session player on a few songs. His name is Ian McDonald.

Brian secures a work visa for Giger (who does not want to leave his lucrative jazz session work but agrees to travel to Britain for a month) and Jones, Jones and Barrett start playing their new material at the UFO club with the three guest musicians. They call themselves Recerj Encid (a portmanteu of Resurgency and Syd). Syd approaches his ex-managers Jenner and King who he knew had quit from Pink Floyd. They both were not just managers but partners with Syd and company when Syd was in Pink Floyd. King and Jenner mention that while Syd was out Pink Floyd went into turmoil. The four of them without Syd recorded and released another album in October. The album called A Saucerful Of Secrets featured songs penned by Waters (Let Their Be Light, Corporal Clegg and Julia Dream), Wright (See-Saw, It Would Be So Nice) and the group instrumental (A Saucerful Of Secrets). Except the instrumental song all other songs were poorly received, critically panned and the album tanked. Waters and Wright blamed each other for the songs and eventually had come to blows. The situation became so bad that Wright who never approved of Syd's dismissal quit the group in disgust. Syd who was bitter about the whole event was secretly happy that Pink Floyd were disintegrating without him but also felt bad for his old bandmates. King and Jenner approached EMI to sign this new band with Syd and Brian. Jenner and King mentioned to Syd that Rick had approached them asking about Syd once he heard that Syd was recovering from mental illness under R. D. Laing. Syd says to King and Jenner that they already have started recording at Brian's house and he would check with others if bringing Rick in as a new band member is agreeable.

Syd mentions the situation to Brian and John where essentially the group leaders with Syd and that he really wanted to help Rick who was now an orphan musician. Brian and John say they need more time to think. John mentions to Brian that he was a fan of Rick's keyboard work and he was another multi-instrumentalist who could be very handy to them. This would also allow them to reproduce their studio material (which had double-tracked bass guitar and organ) live effortlessly. Rick could play all the keyboard parts, while Jones plays bass, Brian plays guitar and sitar, and Ian plays woodwinds when called upon. Brian has enough finances to record and produce the album all by himself. Jones mentions that they needed a real studio professional studio though.

Jenner and King approach EMI to sign Recerj Encid so that the band can finish and fine-tune their songs at EMI studios. EMI were delighted to have Syd back. But were wondering whether they could essentially manager two splinter bands at the same time of whose band members have had acrimonious relation. And would this be a conflict of interest to promote either of this rival band. Recerj Encid had two ex-Pink Floyd members after all. And moreover the remaining Pink Floyd members had started recording their third album at the studios already! Jenner and King approached Pink Floyd's sound engineer Peter Bown who had deep appreciation for Syd's musical skills to get him to convince EMI to sign Recerj Encid . Peter has a meeting with EMI executives and then comes back saying EMI has agreed to sign Recerj Encid if they have a meeting with Pink Floyd and get them to merge with them. If the current members of Pink Floyd refuse the merger Pink Floyd will be dropped and Recerj Encid will be signed in.

This was a smart move by EMI. If the merger happens they have Pink Floyd back at its full strength and with a much large ensemble including the popular Brian Jones. If the merger fails they drop the weakened three-member Pink Floyd who were in doldrums and didn't seem to have neither the song-writing talent nor the charisma to succeed. This however put Syd and Rick into dilemma. They would need a record label to market them but they have to make truce with the band from which Syd and Rick they had essentially quit. Brian however thought it was not a bad idea to hold talks. If the merger happens nothing is lost and they get the name Pink Floyd which was big and had a lot of fans. If the merger does not happen, it serves as a big fuck you to the guys who fired Syd and Rick as they get signed and Pink Floyd get dropped.

The meeting happens between Recerj Encid and Pink Floyd with Pink Floyd completely unaware that they would be dropped from the label if did not agree to the merger. Brian is the negotiator from the Recerj Encid side. And Waters the leader from the other side. Brian mentions to them the terms of the merger would be he and Syd become the de-facto band leaders and make all the decisions with respect to music direction and marketing of Pink Floyd and also get exclusive rights to the name. Waters who has the legal rights to the Pink Floyd name thinks the whole thing is ridiculous. But he does not have a keyboardist now and is the only real songwriter in the band and not a real confident one. The meeting is quite short and Syd and Rick do not mention the word in the entire meeting. Neither do Gilmour and Mason. Pink Floyd go back to their base. They are seething with the prospect of essentially getting bought by a new band who haven't proven themselves at all but who are extremely promising and have great musicians playing with them - most of whom are more talented than any of them. Gilmour who had partly written the successful instrumental A Saucerful Of Secrets from their second album is furious that Roger is even considering this takeover as some sort of deal. Mason is torn. He is sure that they were good at spacey experimental collages but he is not sure they are any good at writing actual songs like how Syd wrote and all their attempts to ape Syd have been hilariously bad. And getting Syd back may not be a bad idea. Gilmour says "Isn't an idea of a seven member band with three guest musicians, ridiculous and would EMI ever approve of this merger?" To which Waters says "This is EMI's freaking idea in fact! Pete told me in secret!"

The next day Pink Floyd have made a decision. They call upon ? with King, Jenner and Bown present in the room. Waters says "We are willing to merge and give Syd and Brian creative control and leadership if the four songs they have written for their third album are included on the album. The songs are the instrumentals "Careful With My Axe Eugene" and untitled instrumental "Song 1", the mostly instrumental "Embryo" and the psychedelic rocker "Point Me To The Sky". Syd and company liked the song Embryo very much and were okay with Careful With My Axe Euguene but found the song Point Me The Sky ridiculously bad and rejected it. They suggested they could work on Embryo and Careful With That Axe, Euguene and make the songs sound a bit more rocking. And expand the song Song 1. Gilmour was a bit disappointed no one liked the song "Point Me To The Sky", but Waters and Mason were delighted the Recerj Encidguys liked the rest and were willing to include it in the album. So the merger was official now. Recerj Encid was dissolved and the new-line up of Pink Floyd had seven full-time members.

The problem now they had was after merging both of the bands material there was 55 minutes of music which would is too long for an LP and too short for a double LP. Barrett and folks from the Resurgensid line-up did not want to part with any of their songs which was actually very good. And Waters, Gilmour and Mason did not want to let go of their three songs either. After a lot of back and forth and fighting for which songs need to be chopped off or excluded, Jones intervened and suggested making it a double album. He had an idea for a classical epic which would last about 20 minutes and would feature sections of hard rock interspersed with a classical concerto with piano as a lead instrument. He had a friend who worked at the cathedral who had composed pieces of incidental music for an imaginary movie which was a mix of western classical and Nordic folk. The composer was none other the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg who would go on to score many soundtracks in the 70s. John Paul Jones idea was to merge his composition with Grieg's composition and create an epic which sounded hard rock but with progressive symphonic passages and piano interludes. He sought permission from Edvard to use his music. Edvard agreed as long as he credit and is allowed to oversee the orchestration. The epic turned out to the best part of the double LP. There were still about 15 minutes left on the album. Syd and co were running out of ideas. Syd decided to rerecord two of the songs from the six song demo they had cut in 1965. The songs chosen were Lucy Leave and the cover song "I am a King Bee". There was still ten minutes left. Syd composed an epic ten-minute pure space (without much rock) song with him on slide-guitar, Brian Jones on theremin and John Paul Jones on droney organ. Syd felt that there was still something music on it to make is sound eerie and spacey just like the soundtrack of Forbidden Planet. He sought the help of Pete Bown to find someone who can do that. After some extensive week of hunting for a week, they seem to find no one and gave up on it. Ultimately the issue was resolved when Brian Jones came in with his dear friend who was none other the guitar God Jimi Hendrix. Brian Jones after having heard the song "Third Stone From the Sun from Jimi's debut album decided they did not need a keyboardist to make up the spacey sounds but a guitarist. Hendrix came in and did the song in one take. And did not demand anything in return for it. This was the ony time Hendrix guested on album by another rock band.

The resulting album titled Resurgency released in November 67 would prove to be a momumental psychedelic album and the best psychedelic album of 1967. The seven member band would slowly disintegrate by the 70s leaving only Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason at the helm but not before they would record two more albums in 1968 with this line-up. By the end of the 60s, Hendrix, Jones, Barrett and Green will form a spin-off band with Jim Morrisson (vocals) and Keith Moon and become one of the most popular rock bands of the decade.

Caravan (Aug 1971) - Caravan hit its peak with two masterpieces (If I Could Do It All Over Again, I Would Do It All Over You and In the Land Of Grey and Pink) in a row and then suffered a sudden setback which would result in the band never reaching the peak again. In 1971 after the release, keyboard player David Sinclair abruptly left the group disgusted with the lack of commercial success. This would prove to be ironic given that Caravan would be the only band in that whole subgenre (Canterbury scene) to have any commercial success. But that's besides the point. They would recruit fellow Canterbury musician Steve Miller to join as keyboard player who would pull the band in a different more jazz oriented direction; this would also destroy the band chemistry. The next album Waterloo Lilly is not as good as their previous two. For the next album For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night which was more artistically but again not commercially successful , they would gain back David Sinclair but lose his cousin, the bassist Richard Sinclair. So essentially their third album - In the Grey and Pink would be the final album to have both the SInclairs together. And the last time they had that winning combination. As they say never fuck with a winning team...

In our alternate world, before David Sinclair quits, group leader Pye Hastings decides that they need to reproduce their studio sound while playing live and also improvise upon it. So they get his elder brother who had contributed a lot on the previous albums to become a full time member. Jimmy's hiring would alter the band's history. Once David Sinclair leaves the band, Jimmy suggests they do not replace David Sinclair immediately but get someone to try reproduce David Sinclair's sound live. They decide to get keyboard player Steve Miller as a salaried musician (instead of a band member) for their live performances. The band while touring quickly realize that Steve, though extremely talented is quite a different type of keyboard player than David Sinclair. David Sinclair played (primarily) organ in a psychedelic style with hints of jazz while Miller was intent on playing jazz styled piano and electric piano which simply did not have the psychedelic hammond organ feel. The keyboardist role would become a bit of a question mark as they ponder if they should get someone else as a full-time band member than Steve Miller.

The four band members with the guest keyboardist decide to record a studio album in August 1971. Right before the recording of the album, Jimmy suggests that the new album follow their prog rock peer Yes' idea of everyone soloing together. Yes had released The Yes Album that February and it was the most successful prog rock album thus far. Since Pye was not very confident playing solos, the band decided to hire another guitarist as a guest musician. Steve suggested his younger brother Phil who was a talented guitarist and had played with him in the rock band Delivery in 1970 and was not afraid to solo. Delivery had already broken up. Pye liked the idea and Phil joins as a session guitar player, playing on all songs. Pye and Richard wrote a few songs that required presence of soprano saxophone. Jimmy who primarily played tenor and alto saxophone suggested they recruit Soft Machine's bassist Hugh Hopper's older brother Brian Hopper for a few sessions who was with them in their orginal band - The Wilde Flowers (which splintered to Caravan and Soft Machine before releasing any material at all) and who could play both guitar and soprano saxophone. Brian who played on Soft Machine's second album as a guest musician had retired a year earlier in an attempt to get away from the rock n roll world after the death of two of his bandmates. Pye and Jimmy promise him this would be a one-off and lure him for what they called as one final gig in the Cantebury scene.

Once Brian joins, he informs his younger brother about the massive double album project Caravan was developing. Hugh offers Caravan songwriting contribution and ocassional bass and joins as another guest musician as a return of favor for brinking back his elder brother from the wild. He had wanted to jam with his brother in a professional setting for quite a long time. He mentions to Caravan that they need to get back David Sinclair in the band as he completed their sound and takes the responsibility of convincing David to rejoin again as a full-time member. One of the reasons, David had left because he felt he was becoming stagnant playing with the same musicians. With so many new musicians involved in the new Caravan album, David accepts Hugh's request and joins the band once again.

Now Caravan are a five-man band (Pye Hastings - guitar and vocals, Jimmy Hastings - sax, flute, Richard Sinclair - bass and vocals, David Sinclair - organ, mellotron, harpsichord, Richard Coughlan - drums) with 4 guest musicians (Phil Miller - guitar, Steve Miller - piano, electric piano, Brian Hopper - saxophone, guitar and Hugh Hopper - bass). The line up was also because it had three pairs of brothers and one pair of cousins. This family band quickly starts recording material written primarily written by Pye and Richard, but also jams written by David. They also get some significant songwriting help from Hugh who does not demand any credit. The other guest musicians also contribute a bit to the long instrumental jam "Can Of Beans/Hot Air/Travel to Wanderland/Do That Again, Please!" They are almost done recording an LP and in post-production when they hear a knock on the door. Who's that? An old lost soul!

Its the recently recuperated (from mental illness) ex-Pink Floyd guitarist Syd Barrett. After getting fired in 1968 for mental illness, Syd recorded couple of solo albums in 1979 and 1970. He then retreated from the music scene for almost a year. A month ago he was inved to join the band Comus by leader Roger Wootton to record their proposed second album (the first album being the all-time freak folk classic First Utterance). This line-up however never got going and internal difference between the band ended up with tha band recording noting at all before breaking up. The aborted sessions however had reinvigorated Barrett who was determined to record some material with any bands that hires him. He also got romantically invovlved with Comus lead singer Bobbie Watson who offered me moral support and told him she can sing songs Barrett writes. Initally the idea was to record as a folk duo. But that reminded him of his failed solo albums and he wanted to go back to electric rock music which he figured he was better at that the acoustic folk based psychedelia or his solo albums. So Barrett who was friends with Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt ever since his Wyatt guested on a few songs of Barett's debut album The Madcap Laughs, went to meet literally knocking on his door. Completely unaware of what was happening with Soft Machine, Syd offered "I am willing to contribute to the next Soft Machine album, if welcome". Wyatt who was shocked Barrett looking sane and sober remarked "My Soft Machine days have gone soft. Now I am technically a free agent myself. And I would advise you to not to approach the other guys since they are not recording what you and I like". Wyatt was referring to the fact that he had quit Soft Machine after disagreement about the direction (jazz fusion) they were heading. He however had one suggestion "Caravan! They are right up your alley and they have an excellent band too. Not sure they need your services, but you can try!"

Pye and the rest are shocked to a completely sober Syd Barrett knocking on their doorstep. Pye mentions to Syd that although he loves his guitar work with Pink Floyd they already have three guitarist contributing on the albums - Phil, Brian and himself. Syd says if they want to listen to the few songs he had recorded on acoustic guitar and electric slide guitar with a female vocalist. They can turn him down if they did not like the material. The band reluctantly listens to the tape as a sign of respect. Well it turned out that the songs were fabulous and they have the same whimsical feeling of the Pink Floyd days and it had some fabulous slide work too. Pye asks Dave and Richard Sinclair if they like it. Richard and Dave like the songs and also like the fact that Syd is the only guy currently in the recording studio who has had commercial success before. After a short discussion Pye comes back and tells Syd, he is welcome to record with them if he can get that singer with that angelic voice to sing for them. They in fact band are willing to offer both the female singer and Syd full-time status if that happens.

The next day Syd brings his girlfriend in. Bobbie had heard Caravan material and readily agreed even though she was a bittle nervous of making a move from a freak-folk band to a pyschedelic and progressive jazz band. The band crew offer her the support she needs. And they start recording all the material Syd had written not just electrifying them but inserting jam sections centered around the organ which Dave Sinclair had in his mind for a solo album he was working on before Caravan recalled him. Once the Syd written songd are converted to epics, they have enough material clocking more than what a double album can hold. Syd who had been listening to previous Caravan albums and overdubbing slide guitar on the Pye Hastings written songs on this album (called Pengola). He loved the songs from their second and third album and suggested the make it a triple album with a live album as part of the third LP where they should record songs the two epics (For Richard and Nine Feet Underground) live with an orchestra. Pye liked the idea. He always wanted to record with an orchestra.

Pye's brother Jimmy knew a well-known Czech conductor and composer who had expressed interesting in working on a rockestra project for a while and had asked Jimmy to join his orchestra. He was in fact composing a rock symphony for the previous three years. The Czech conductor was none other than the great symphony composer Antonin Dvorak. Dvorak in fact had just finished his rockestra and was performing with this orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. The band went and attended the concert and were blown away! Pye and Jimmy approached Dvorak and backstage that if he like to conduct for a rock band. The songs were written and they just needed orchestral backing. They mentioned that they need the orchesta members to be geniunely enthusiastic about Caravan's music to work. Dvorak after listening to both the epics, mentioned to Pye and Jimmy that their music has all the ingredient for a rock symphony.

The band (Pye, Jimmy, Dave, Richard, Richard and Syd) backed by Dvorak's orchestra - The New World performed in front of a live audience on August 31st 1971. The performance was recorded professional and became the 3rd LP of the triple album with only the two epics songs on it.

The album as Caravan with Dvorak and Syd and was the most successful album of the Cantebury scene selling a record 20 million copies. This album also brought the Canterbury scene music into mainstream. It was progressive rock but far more whimsical and jazz and psychedelic based than the mainstream ones. This album also resulted in pushing the hey-dey of progressive rock longer into the late 70s.

Dzyan (May 1977) - This, I say is my by most exotic and most interesting of the twelve imaginary line-ups here. And I would say the best if you are looking for truly adventurous music. I saved the best for the month I was born, haven't I? In fact I say they recorded this live album on May 18th, my birthday to commonerate the birth of yours truly - Raja The Great. And not just that, one of the musicians in this ensemble was born on May 18th and hence they were performing on his birthday. This is also the only album in which all the 12 musicians appear on every song on the album - this being a live performance.

Dzyan (derived from the Sanskrti word dhyana which means concentration in Sanskrit) broke up once they released their third album Electric Silence which honestly features one of the most insane exploration of ethnic music from India, Middle Eastern, Jazz fusion and Caribbean rhythms that I have ever heard. It features a variety of percussion instruments and string instruments played in a jazz kind of music with a world music bent. The album was truly world music because it had instruments from Africa, India, Middle-East and the Carribbean apart from the usual drum, bass and guitar. Every member of the power trio was a multi-instrmentalist. Its not just a display of skills though. There are improvisations and experimentations on the album but on the whole the music has the smoothness of a composed chamber music recital. Unfortunately the band would break up as the only original member would quit the band. And they would never again... in the real world.

In our imaginary world of course, they would record again. And there is a interesting story behind it. Unlike the stories above the Dzyan reuinion story here will not focus on the Dzyan members themselves. It will start with in fact the least influencial member of the ensemble. Our story starts with one American musician Laurie Spiegal who in the real world did not record much. And in this world will not record much either. Laurie is a nerd who has been working at Bell Laboraties since 1973 and has been working on a composition using Buchla and Electronic Music Laboraties synthesizers. This piece of music called Expanding Universe, true to its name was cosmic in nature, yet accessible, unlike German electronic pioneers from the same era - Tangerine Dream. While Tangerine Dream explored the cosmos with slow hypnotic often improvised drones, Laurie Spiegel was making music was more mathematical in nature while being also melodic. Laurie was still two-thirds of the way through (she would finish her work in 1978) recording her vision in April 1977, when suddenly, she received a telegram from a distant grandmom of her (one of her grandmom's distant cousin), who lived in the idyllic village of Fussen, close to Munich, Germany. Laurie was particularly fond of this grandma Anke who was German and barely knew English but used to visit once every two years in the US for Christmas, back whe she was younger. Now old and on her death-bed, Laurie grandma remember her sweet little grand-daughter she hadn't seen for years and who used to lovingly call her "granke" when she was a little child. Anke was estranged from her own daughters and had not been with in touch with any of her immediate relatives for more than a decade. This was an especially rainter summer and Anke felt she needed somebody on her bed-side. The doctors had only two months to live.

When Laurie received the letter, it merely said "One month left - Anke" with the Fussen address on the second line. Laurie knew something was wrong and packed her bags and left alone. Laurie's parents were not very happy with her travelling alone (she was only 22) but they knew they would not be able to stop her from visiting her beloved granke. Laurie flys direct from New York to Munich and takes the train to Fussen. Its a gruelling long journey but she is excited to meet her grandmom. And is worried if she is still alive. Anke's house is like a small castle in itself and Laurie has no trouble locating it. Her grandmom was married to the richest businessman in Fussen. Though the town was extremely small and had a population of just around 5000 back then, there were a lot of rich Bavarians living there. So it was no mean feat to be in fact the richest person in town. Laurie sees her bed-riddden granke in distress. She had few nurses by her side. Granke is happy to meet her lovely young granddaughter but she can barely gather the energy to smile. Laurie knows her grandmom's days are number.

Laurie knew the end was near. She wanted her grandmom to hear the stuff she has been working on and brought the recording with her. She also brought some of the recording equipment with her so that she continue working on her composition while she takes care of Anke. After a couple of days, Anke asks Laurie to call a certain number and invite the person to come over. Anke does not know German and the gentleman who answers her call does not know English. She somehow manages to ask the person to come over. The person happened to be Anke's lawyer. He brings some paper for Laurie to sign. Its all in German so Laurie has no clue what she is signing. Regardless she trusts her grandmom and signs it. The lawyer then tells her "She has given you a present... this house" and smiles. They were testing her! The German lawyer did know English and so did Anke. Laurie couldn't believe this. This beautiful old mansion in this beautiful village was her. She was suddenly close to a million dollar rich! She wanted to inform her parents but it was raining too much. Anke said "Play some of that stuff. I want to hear it". Laurie played her record at a low volume. Anke said "I don't have your ears, dear. Play it loud!". Laurie smiled and made the music louder. With the heavy rain outside and her cosmic space-themed electronic music in the background, it all seemed transcendental. Laurie who could read music started writing more music in spirt of the surreal atmosphere surrrounding.

She opened all the windows and she gazed outside. There were several beautiful small houses next to her. She was the third floor of the house. And her grandmom had asked her nurses to position her bed close to the largest window in the room so that she can see the whole town and the mountains through the window. Suddenly Laurie saw the window from the opposite (another castle like home) slammed shut. This freaked her out a bit. She was curious what prompted her neighbor to slam shut the window. Did she disturb a voyeur session?

Turns out she did. Her neigbor was a photographer and a painter. He had spotted the very first day she had moved in. And was somewhat infatuated with her. He has been seeing her through his binoculars and also shooting her. And also painting her when she was not next to the window. Laurie hadn't spotted the stranger yet. But she almost caught him red-handed couple of days later. She asked her grandmom, if she knew the person. Anke said "Some stranger, who moved in three months ago. He never leaves the house and gets all of his food and milk delivered. Seems like a lonely guy... even lonelier than me". Anke assured him that he is not some creep. And told her "She should talk to him". Well, Laurie was not the talking kind, especially to strangers. She was almost as introverted as the man himself. But she was curious.

After a week of hide-and-seek, Laure has had it. Who was this stranger? And why did he seem so obssessed with her. And what was he painting? On the other hand grandmom's situation was getting worse. She was in the final stage of her cancer and there was no going back. Laurie kept her spirits high by playing her music and talking about what the weird little stranger was upto. Anke wondered whether Laurie was the one obsessing about the stranger now. Laurie blushed. After a few days of encouraging her to talk with the strange, Anke emotionally blackmailed her by saying "This suspense is killing me. It better get killed before the cancer kills me". Now Laurie had to do something. The next day morning Laurie decided to play a prank. She met the milkman half-way and paid him some Deutsche Marks and asked him to give the stranger's milk and scoot. She then rang the bell. She wondered how the strangers reaction is going to be. She did not want to embarass him, but she did want to see the reaction.

The stranger opened the door. And was shell-shocked and could barely utter a word. He has been caught. Laurie, after seeing the reaction, knew the stranger was harmless and posed no threat. She leaned over and handed the bottle to him saying "Milk". To which the stranger said "Thanks... and sorry". He smiled as well. They seemed to have the same frequency. The stranger invited her in. Laurie knew the guy was not German. From his accent, she was certain he is English. The stranger said "he doesn't live here and is house-sitting for his German friend". He was a photographer and painter came here to capture nature's beauty. Laurie asked him why he never left the house. The stranger said he never had to. He was keeping himself busy. He showed all his paintings some of which were her potrait. He was a talented painter. And he had completed about 50 painting in a space of three months. Laurie realized she had spent way too much time at this house and needed to go to the opposite house to see her grandmom. She had quite a story to tell her. Before she left she asked the stranger his name. He simply said "Roger".

Laurie ran back to her old woman. Anke heard every word of it in detail. She wanted to know more about the stranger. Laurie mentioned she is too shy to visit him again. Anke said she will get one of her nurses to invite the man for dinner next day. Laurie was no cook, but Anke knew a family who made home-cooked food. Roger came to the house and spoke to Anke. Anke asked him why did he chose Germany for his visit. Roger said he was looking for an opportunity to move from his sister's house and the German friend gave him an oppotunity. Anke them talked about Laurie to him and asked Laurie to play her music. The stranger hadn't heard space music like this especially with synthesizers. He liked it anyway. He remarked "I used to write songs like this".

Yes, our Roger, was a musician back then. Roger told them his entire life saga. His real name is Roger Keith Barrett. And he went by Syd Barrett. He was the primary songwriter of the English band Pink Floyd who were pinoeers of space rock. He lasted only one album due to mental illness and drug abuse. And after that never really recovered and had faded to oblivion. Anke said "Why don't you record music again? Does it bring back old memories?" Syd said "Not really, I just didn't think his music was relevant anymore". Laurie said "I have heard your music and it is still relevant and you are in fact one of my greatest inspirations. And I always carry your record with me". Syd said "Thanks. I am really happer to hear that". Anke put further pressure on Syd by saying "I will go in peace if you guys record something together".

Roger came over next day with some of his paintings and photographs and showed it to Anke as well who was pleasantly surprised at the individual's multi-talent. She then asked Laurie to play some of Syd's old material. They all listened to Pink Floyd's debut album "The Piper At the Gates of Dawn". Though it was not Anke's style of music, she liked few of the songs especially Astronomy Domine and Lucifer Sam. The rest was too complex for her to understand. She preferred uncomplicated music. She told them she was a big fan of a musician who is performing in Munich the coming Saturday. But she would not be able to see them. She had two tickets for Laurie and her to go. But now she was not in a position to go.

The musician referred to Anke was Indian classical musician Shivkumar Sharma who played a trapezoidal hammered-dulcimer like instrument called santoor. Anke wanted both Syd and Laurie to go together and attend it. Syd and Laurie could not disappoint her although both of them had hardly ever heard Indian classical. Anke had an old record which she asked one of her nurses to bring. After dusting it off, Laurie played it on her grandmom's old grammaphone. It still sounded great. The album being played was Call Of The Valley which featured Shivkumar on santoor, Hariprasad on bansuri (Indian flute) and Brijbushan Kabra on slide guitar. Laurie loved this music. She had never heard anything like this. She wanted to learn this santoor. Anke said she was not sure where it can be purchased - may be in some store in Munich? Syd liked it too, especially the slide guitar parts. It did not sound Western at all yet it was a guitar. He did not know that Indian classical music featured guitar as well.

Syd and Laurie took the train to Munich. Laurie took a small tape recorder with her to record the show. The concert was at the Freiheizhalle, Munich which is a small concert hall accomodating an audience of less than 400. It had a private setting feel. Anke had booked expensive front-row tickets for them. It was not a solo performance. Shivkumar was accompanied by Hariprasad and they also had a tabla player (Kashinath Mishra) and tamboura player (Hariprasad's second wife Anuradha Chaurasia). Shivkumar and Hariprasad were promoting their collaboration albun Yugal Bandi which was recorded in 1973 and released in 1975. Syd was hoping they had the slide guitar player was with them but neverthless enjoyed the performance. After the concert was done, they were told they had their tickets had backstage passes and they could see the group. Laurie and Syd were delighted to talk with the folks. They seem to speak English very well and seem to be genuinely nice people. Shivkumar said this was their last performance of the Euro tour and they were heading back except Shiv who was going to stick around Munich for another couple of weeks to meet some friends and visit Bavaria. His flight to Bombay was on May 22nd and asked Laurie (who was more communicative than Syd) if she knew places around here. Laurie had never been to Munich before but had explored Fussen and suggested that he has to visit Fussen and see her dying grandmom who was a big fan. Shivkumar said he will definitely do that. Laurie also told Shiv she was fascinated by the santoor and would love to get some lessons from him before he leaves. Shiv said he is okay with that but will have to find another santoor for her to practice and he had only one he used to perform and the one he used was something he personally modified to sound more classical than folk by increasing the range to full three octaves and also creating a technique for making it sound like human voice. He was not sure there would be another santoor in Germany which would match his specifications. She told her if she can find an instrument which sounded like the santoor he can help her tune it to sound like the Indian santoor and give her lessons on it. Laurie asked Shiv when can he make the trip to Fussen to meet her grandmom. Syd gave him further incentive that if Shiv makes the trip, he can rent a car and they can travel to castles nearby especially the famed Neuschweinstein castle which was built for Richard Wagner. Shiv told him he has few commitment to visit some of his Indian friends in Munich and will possibly make a trip Thursday morning.

Syd and Laurie got back late night and narrated the details of their trip to Anke. Anke was ecstatic that she is going to be visited by a musician she deeply admired. She had reason to pull longer now. Syd had gotten the name of the hotel where Shiv was staying from him. They called him Sunday afternoon and officially invited him Thursday brunch at Anke's house. They also asked him to stay with them for the weekend. Laurie wanted to purchase something close to a santoor before Shiv arrived. She asked if there are any shops in Fussen which sell musical instruments. Well she was in the right place - Fussen is considered the cradle of lute and violin making. And also has a great history of making organs. Anke recommended a stored called Urs Langenbacher Zupfinstrumentenbaumeister which had a great collection of stringed instruments. Laurie and Syd both did a long walk to the store. They had a great collection of lutes, violins and guitars. But there was no santoor there. Syd picked up a acoustic lap steel guitar and a slide there. He thought he can tune to sound like the one played by the guitarist on the album Call Of The Valley. Laurie picked up a lute, a mandolin and banjo (she was proficient on these instruments already). Laurie met the owner of the store and told about the Indian musician and his santoor and she wanted to get something like that. The owner of the store suggested that they get the German version of the Indian santoor called the hackbrett. He did not have it in store but he had one store in Stuttgart which had it and it belonged to the same owner of the store and he can order it for them. Syd paid for all the instruments The store owner gave his number and asked them to call on Wednesday to check if the hackbrett has arrived.

On Monday, Syd rented a car and Syd and Laurie went for a short tour around Fussen visiting historical and visited lake Alatsee. Tuesday they decided to stay at home, take care of Anke and listen to some records from Anke's collection. They played the instruments they had recently bought. Laurie taught Syd how to play the lute, mandolin and banjo. Syd showed Laure how to play slide on his acoustic guitar. Grandma was entertained as both played songs in her bedroom. They also experimented some of old instruments which Anke's late husband had collected like the very German organ glockenspiel, lute-guitar, bavarian zither and waldzither. On Wednesday they called up the store to see if the hackbrett arrived. It hadn't but the owner of the store in Stuttgart was going to personally drive and bring the instrument with him to Urs Langenbacher Zupfinstrumentenbaumeister. They practiced again on the various instruments and also booked a Bavarian chef to come over the next morning to cook them brunch. When Sharma arrived at the station, he brought his santoor along and also a gift for Anke. On the way, Laurie mentioned to Shiv that they bought a lot of instruments and they also ordered this German santoor called hackbrett which should arrive in the afternoon. Sharma wanted to go check out this store.

Anke was delighted to receive Sharma from her bed. They had an hour discussion about music before brunch and Sharma presented her a miniature Taj Mahal. After that they had some great German food. Sharma was not an alcohol drinker so refused the wine but did enjoy the authentic Bavarian food. Around 2 pm they got a call from the store. The hackbrett had arrived. All three of them drove to the store. They were introduced to the store owner from Stuttgart who had a friend with him who was apparently a hackbrett maestro. The hackbrett maestro was none other than the drummer Christian Burchard of the German band Embryo who also played a host of other instruments like vibraphone, marimba, mellotron, clavinet, piano and organ. Shivkumar and Christian got along very well and had a jam session which was a hackbrett and santoor duel. The owner of the Stuttgart store was also a musician. He had effectively retired like Syd. He used to be the bass guitarist of another jazz band called Dzyan who made ethnic jazz music like Embryo. While Embryo did use some Indian instruments like nadaswaram, Dzyan's final effort Electric Silence recorded in 1974 had take a deep dive into Indian classical with sitar and tanpura dominated songs. Karwatky was not the one who played sitar and tambura on the album, it was their guitarist Eddy. When Karwatky talked about Dzyan, Shiv and the rest got interested about it. Luckily for them, Karwatky and Burchard carried few German records with them which had Indian classical music in it which included Electric Silence and also the Embryo record We Keep On (which had some elements of Indian classical as well). He knew from the Fussen store owner that Shivkumar would be here on Thursday (as mentioned by Laurie to the store owner during their phone conversation) and planned to show him his music.

Sharma liked the Electric Silence record very much. He could not believe that the guitarist was so good with sitar. He told Karwatky he should reuinte his band again. And if he did he would like to play with them. Syd suggested why not record something while he was here. It was short period though. It was already May 5th and Sharma was due to depart on the 22nd. Karwatky said he can find his band soon and get them by Saturday. Laurie mentioned to them that her grandmom's place is a large castle which had many rooms and they could all stay together and jam.

Come Saturday and Karwatky arrived with bandmates Eddy Marron and Peter Giger who were also living in Stuttgart. He also got Burchard with them. They had rented a small van and got all their gears with them. All the 7 musicians (Laurie, Syd, Shiv, Eddy, Reinhard, Peter and Christian) jammed together. It was magical. They were making something new which seemed even more adventurous and beautiful than Dzyan's final record. Giger had loaded the van with a plethora of percussion instruments from all over the world which also included the Indian dholak. He kept alternating between them in their jam. Marron primarily played mellotron, sitar, tanpura and saz. Karwatky played his 8-string bass and his invented synthesizer which he called as super-string which made this incredible sproing sound. Laurie who had a mini-synthesizer with her she got with her from the US, played it during certain moments in the jam. She also interjected some lute, banjo and mandolin wherever she thought was appropriate. Syd played in tandem with Shiv trying to follow whatever Shiv was doing on his lap guitar. He played zither during the quiet section and waldzither during the folksy section when Laurie played the lute. Chriistian played hackbrett and followed Shivkumars santoor leads. He switched over to marimba and vibraphone whenever Eddy played his leads. The jam kept hopping between different genres - avantgarde, space music, folk, electronic, rock, bluegrass, funk, Indian classical, Middle-Eastern classical, Carribbean rhythms and jazz with everyone taking leads af different times on different instruments and their being funky jam sections as well. Though they were all jamming in one of the other rooms, Anke could hear it. She knew she was hearing something incredible. This was something which was undefinable. It was something complex yet beautiful. Tears rolled down her eyes, she had heard something heavenly. The group jammed well into the night. Laurie was recording all of this. They have to do this again and perfect this.

The band listened to their own jams next morning. Laurie thought it was incredible that they were covering music from all parts of the world. Shiv smiled and said "We have covered many styles for sure. But I wouldn't say we have covered it all. Peter said "We don't have blues, East Asian or even classical". Shiv said "But Western classical is composed, Indian classical is improvised and so are the different styles we are playing here". Karwatky mentioned most progressive rock bands have explored the merger of classical and rock - why not mix it with Indian classical and jazz? Eddy mentioned it would be nuts to add more musicians and destroy the chemistry if they are serious about recording this. Such interesting discussions dominated the conversation between the seven until lunch time. Then they had the chef prepare lunch for them. After a brief nap, Shiv said to them "Let's go out. I am here to see some places after all". Syd said "Laurie and I wanna see Neuschweinstein! Are you guys interested?" All of them with the exception of Eddy who decided to stay back and converse with Anke, set off to Neuschweinstein castle. The castle was not too far. They all marvelled at the construction of the castle. Burchard noticed that they have a free evening concert. Apparently the management had decided they will hold concerts every Saturday of that summer. Most of the time it were local musicians, sometimes it was the head-supervisor of the castle along with his son playing organ and harpsichord. This evening was supposed to be father and son playing but the father was not feeling well. So they had been asking all the tourists since morning if anyone knew how to play organ and apparently found one volunteer who signed up that afternoon. Karwatky was interested to stick around and watch. And Shiv who always liked the serenity of church music, also welcomed the idea. The six of them with handful of other tourists sat in the small concert hall. They were shocked to see a young looking fella (apparently the son who could not have been a day older than 18 walk in). And behind him was walking another gentleman who was the tourist and who seemed awfully familiar. he gentleman said "We apologize. We had only a couple of hours of practice today, so they will be very good". Everyone laughed. Both the kid and the tourist started playing. The kid played what looked like a harpsichord but wasn't sounding anything like it. The gentleman played the church organ. He had a British accent. His beautiful girlfriend who looked like a model was in the audience and cheering him on. She was even younger than the kid playing what looked like a harpschord. Burchard said he was sure he had seen her on TV. The performance was excellent. This little kid could play and the gentleman at the organ seemed a professional. Both were playing incredibly fast. Laurie went next to the girlfriend and introduced herself. She complimented the girl on her boyfriend "He is a good keep". The girl said they had recently got married and are on their honeyman. The concert lasted another 30 minutes with both the performers playing passages from Baroque composers like Domenico Scarlatti, Orlando Gibbons, Johann Jakob Froberger and Johann Pachelbel. At the end of the performance both the virtuosos bowed. The young kid introduced himself as Johann Sebastian Bach and thanked and introduced the British gentleman as rock musician Rick Wakeman of Yes. Everyone was stunned!

After the concert Kawatky remarked, "Looks like we got our harpsichord and organ players!". Shiv said "not a bad idea if they are willing". The six of them approached young fella Bach and Wakeman and asked them if they want to be part of a musical project the six were on. Wakeman was pleased to be working with the likes of the long-lost Syd Barrett and Shivkumar Sharma, both of whose work he was aware of. Wakeman said he and his girlfriend Nastassja Kinski are on honeymoon and are travelling and won't be around for much long. They were planning to go to Salzburg in a couiple of days and then go to Venice and will be back in Munich a day before his birthday on 18th when he was planning to celebrate with friends. Laurie invited both Kinski and Wakeman to come over on Tuesday and stay with them before they travel to Salzburg. Wakeman had rented a car too. So it wall worked out perfectly. As for young 18 year old Bach, he was pretty much free and had only duties at the castle on Sunday's. He said he will definitely be on Tuesday and will bring some of his compositions as well.

The six drove back in good spirits. They were on to something amazing - an amalgamation of all kinds of music in a quirky and surreal style. They informed Eddy about the events of the day. Eddy couldn't believe they met Rick Wakeman there. Eddy played the mellotron but he could never play like Rick. He had seen Yes live in early 1972 but hadn't kept track of what they have been doing lately. He had a record of Close To The Edge in the record collection he was carrying with him. All of them marvelled at the epic song song Close To The Edge. It provided them new ideas to perfect their jams. The next day they continued playing the same jam and practiced it many times. They had to to perfect it and demo it to Rick after all who was probably the biggest virtuoso along with Shiv and Eddy in the entire group. They were also nervous about being outstaged by the young musician Johann Sebastian.

On Tuesday aftenoon around 2 pm, both Kinski and Wakeman arrived. They were greated warmly and then Laurie played the recorded version of the jam they played the night before. Kinski gave company to Anke while they discussed how they could integrate the various acoustic keyboard instruments. Eddy asked Bach what was the instrument he played at the castle. Bach said it is a lute-harpsichord which he is especially fond of and that he also plays other renaissance and baroque instruments like virginal, harpsichord, pedal-harpsichord, spinet, and clavichord. He had mastered these instruments but hadn't mastered the piano or organ yet. Wakeman said that this all sounded promising but he didn't have time to record with them since they were travelling to Salzburg the next day morning. He was note carrying any instruments either since he was on vacation. He said he will be back in Munich from Venice on the 17th morning via flight. And he was going to stay in Munich until 31st so they had many days to record something. Shiv said that would not work since he had to fly on 22nd himself and he had to commitments with the India cultural organization in Munich from May 19th to 21st. After a moment of everyone staring at each other, Karwatky came up with a plan - why not perform live? Why not do it on 18th in the afternoon? Wakeman said this would work and it would be a fun thing to do on his birthday. He wanted to spend the evening with his girlfriend in the evening so it would have to be during the afternoon. He also offered to make a few calls and organize a concert and generate public interest. Wakeman says he will call on the 15th and inform them about the arrangement. Kinski likes the idea. She says she this music reminded her somewhat of an album she had listened to few months ago. The album she was talking about is Implosions by German jazz musician Stephan Micus which was released just that March. She said that was something Anke would definitely like. Wakeman joked that "She likes sleep-inducing slow music. So don't even try it". Natassaja was not too amused. After dinner, the duo bid adieu and so did young man Bach.

On Wednesday morning, Shiv borrowed Syd's car went for a trip to Austria (Innsbruck and Salzburg as planned before). His friends travelled seperately and they met him there. Christian Burchard and the Dzyan folks left back to Stuttgart. They promised to be back on Saturday. They had to get arrangement to get the live album recorded. Karwatky also had to get some marketing done and get his agents to advertise a Dzyan reuinion with friends. This has to be something big. Laurie and Syd were left behind. Syd went back to his house with the slide guitar to get organized. Although Nastassja suggestion was laughed off the previous evening, Laurie was curious. She called up the record and musical instrument store Urs Langenbacher Zupfinstrumentenbaumeister and asked them if they have the record in store. They did! She rang up Syd and asked him to accompany her. They walked to the record store and bought the record. They also bought Syd's favorite guitar - The Fender Esquire, amplifier, pick and a zippo lighter. Laurie wanted him to play electric lead guitar like he did in the Floyd days. She told him he could play dual leads with Eddy (when Eddy played lead sitar solo in one of the sections).

Things were uneventful in the castle until the Dzyan gang arrived on Saturday. Burchard couldn't make it. He sent his drum kits, vibes, marimba and other instrument through Karwatky's van and informed everyone he will be back the next day. Once the group sat down to practice their jam, Laurie said they should listen to Implosions, the album Nastassja suggested. She praised the album saying that it was an incredible listen and that she was amazed the musician integrated so many different kinds of instruments seemlessly to make a cohesive sound. The back cover liner notes said that there were three sitars, three Bavarian zithers, acoustic guitar, shakakuhachi (Chinese/Japanese), sho (Chinese/Japanese), khlui (Thailand) and rabab (Iran/Iraq). Since it was now recommended by Laurie and Syd (who had heard it the same day they bought the record), the Dzyan folks listened to it. Although it was much more chilled and serene and not as experimental as what Dzyan did, it had a free spirit about it which was agreeable to the Dzyan members. They liked it. Laurie said she has done somerthing daring. She contacted Stephan Micus and informed him about the project. Micus lived in Ludwigsburg, a town close to Stuttgart. She had Burchard carrywith him the jam tapes to Micus. Burchard was planning to meet Micus on Saturday, demo the tape and convince him and bring him to Fussen. That was in fact the reason Burchard did not travel with Dzyan. Karwatky smiled and the other Dzyan members approved of Laurie's sneaky little plan.

The Dzyan folks practiced more with Syd and Laurie. The jams were almost the same except Syd was now playing lead guitar on his Fender whenever Eddy soloed on sitar. He also played slide on his electric guitar now at certain other moments. Burchard brought Micus in on Saturday when it was almost time for dinner. To everyone's suprise there was 15 year old African boy with him. The African boy was from Guinea and he introduced himself as Djeli Moussa Diawara. He was a kora (a 21 string lute-harp with an incredibly sweet sound) maestro. Djeli had developed his own version of kora with 31 strings. He also played acoustic guitar and balafon (African wooden xylophone like instrument). Micus had spotted Djeli in a International film festival in Berlin in April when he was performing wuth his elder brother's band, and took him under his wings, enrolling him in State University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart. Micus thought Djeli performing with these talented musicians live would be a great outlet for him and could bring African music to the fore. Micus showed the folks some of the instruments he played on the Implosions. He also showed them some other instruments he was good with, which included Angklung (Indonesia), Gendèr (Indonesia), Classical guitar (Spain), Sarangi (India), Suling (Phillipines), Bodhran (Ireland), Kortholt (Germany), Ney (Iran), Flower Pot (China), Dilruba (India), Tin Whistle (England), Steel Drums (Trinidad And Tobago), Bolombatto (West Africa), Talking Drum (West Africa), Ngoni (Mali), Duduk (Armenia), Began (Eritrea), Chimes (Tibet), Maung (Burma), Kyey Se (Burma), Charango (Peru), Mbira (Africa), Chitrali Sitar (Pakistan), Rubab (Afghanistan), and Nyckelharpa (Sweden), Raj Npailm (Laos), Genbri (Morroco), Rewab (China), Nohkan (Japan), Balanzikom (Tajikistan), Flamenco guitar (Spain), Uillean pipes (Ireland), Sinding (Gambia), Dondon (Ghana), Duduki (Georgia), hne (Burma), Bagana (Ethiopia), Nohkan (Japan), Ryuteki (Japan), Tama (Senegal), Zither (Germany), Sattar (China), Tischharfe (Germany), Sarangi (India), Tambura (India), Djegok (Indonesia), Stone Chimes (China), Ki Un Ki (Russia), Mudbedsh (Iraq), Mandobahar (India), Kalimba (Tanzania), Ndingo (Botswana). The group practiced until late night. They waited for getting a call from Rick Wakeman but did not get it.

Next day morning Burchard told everyone he had few contacts in the Munich area and he can call them to organize and advertise the concert since only three days were left and they did not hear from Wakeman yet. The group assumed that Wakeman had bailed. Laurie said it is understandeable since the couple were on their honeymoon and that they shouldn't have expected Wakeman to join in the first place. However around the stroke of 12, Wakeman did call them. He told them he had not only organized an open air outdoor concert in Marienplatz, Munich with a friend's help. He friend who already had an entire floor of the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten booked offered them to stay there for the 17th and 18th free of cost. They could also use one of conference room for rehearsal on the 17th. And he was also going to pick up Bach on the way to Munich. And his friend who a band manager had already advertised this a free concert for all. It was being adverstised as Dzyan and friends including Shivkumar Sharma, Rick Wakeman and Syd Barrett. Munich had a lot of Pink Floyd fans. And this sudden concert featuring their ex-guitarist who was not seen in the public eye since 1972, was generating a lot of interest. This was all in the papers and the news had now had even reached UK and India. This was perfect. Everyone was excited now. They group practiced vigorously for the next two days.

They all set off in Burchards van packing all the musical instruments they had. Karwatky had packed more instruments from his store some of which none of they had played before like mandola, ukulele, koto etc. They had tough time fitting them in especially Bach's harpsichord and lute-harpsichord. But they managed to do it. Wakeman, Kinski and Bach travelled seperately. Wakeman with his friends help had arranged for a large outdoor church organ to be brought in Marieplatz and installed in the centre of the market square. Another minature organ was transported to the hotel for Wakeman to rehearse with the bans. This event was going to be recorded live as well as broadcast live on local network. So Wakeman with Burchard's help had all the recording equipment, roadies and other personel already in place before they arrived. They reached the hotel around 11 and by 2 pm headed to the conference room where their equipments had already been transported. Then they all jammed. Wakeman was jamming with them for the first time. He and Bach was told by Shiv to introduce their organ, lute-harpsichord and harpsichord in sections following Eddy Marrons and Syd Barrett's solos. The idea was to take solo turns in a jazz fashion but also keep a funky rhtyhm provided by Burchard and Giger as a constant background in all sections except the truly acoustic sessions featuring Shivkumar and Syd on santoor, Micus on Bavarian zither and acoustic slide guitar. They jammed non-stop until they were interrupted at 3:33 pm by a knock on the door. Wakeman had instructed the hotel staff to not interrupt them, so he was furious. Burchard asked if this could be his friend who helped him set up the concert and book the hotel. Wakeman said it can't be because his friend was in London and doing all this through phone calls.

When Wakeman opened the doors with annoyance, he was shocked and pleasantly surprised. It was the band members of the band his friend was managing. They had been on tour and heard about this musical project from their manager and were curious. They also had heard about Syd Barrett returning. And were looking forward to meet the like of Shivkumar Sharma. Wakeman introduced the band to the rest of the group, "Ladies and Gentleman, meet Led Zeppelin!". Everyone was shocked! The manger whom Wakeman was friends with was none other than Led Zeppelin's manager Peter Grant. Wakeman was not aware that Led Zeppelin. He was pleasantly surprised. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were big fans of Indian classical music and John Paul Jones always like Western classical especially pipe organ music. And John Bonhan was thrilled to meet Giger and look at his assortment of percussions. The Led Zeppelin members conversed with the band and said they were excited about this project and looking forward to hear then the next day afteroon at the Marienplatz. They were planning to watch them from their hotel room balcony. The group jammed again. Page and company couldn't believe how good this was and was not a complete mess with so many musicians playing live as they had assumed. Mid-way through the jam, Wakeman signalled the Zeppelin members to come join and jam. Page told the other guys, this was too complicated music for him but Jones or Bonham could join. Bonham preferred to watch it as there were already two drummers up there, but John Paul Jones saw a mandolin up there and decided to pick it up and join in the fun. Jones used his mandolin sparingly and added some bass guitar whenever Karwatky switched over to playing other instruments like rebec, cello or sarangi. The jam lasted around 3 hours. At the end of the jam, Page, Plant and Bonham were still there. Their jaws had dropped. Plant mentioned this is the kind of music he had dreamt of Zeppelin making. Zeppelin would venture in this territory in the 80s peforming with these musicians live.

Page mentioned to them, that he is going to act like a band manager for this band even though this is going to be a one-off live performance. He said he will also make sure this is recorded well. Plant suggested they add Jones for the performance the next day thus rounding up the line-up to twelve members. Bonham called up Grant and asked him to publicize that Jones will be participating in this line-up. The next morning the newspapers in UK and Germany had headlines mentioning Syd's return and also the live concert featuring "world music" with the group Dzyan and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Rick Wakeman of Yes. By after a sizeable amount of crowd had gathered, especially fans of Indian classical, Led Zeppelin, Yes and Pink Floyd and enough security was in place to not cause any issues. Various members of the media had also gathered. Professional audio and video recording was done. This had a feel of a mini-wood stock. The performance was supposed to be between 3 to 7 pm. After a bit of warming up they started around 3:17 pm. Everything would come together in the performance. All the stars had aligned. The group was in a zone. The music was improvised like it was jazz, but also had the danceability of American and Carribean funk and serenity and spirituality of Indian classical, the beauty of Celtic folk, the structureless avantgarde of Giger's percussions and Spiegel/Barrett space music, the soul of Arabic blues and the grand wall of sound of Western classical. This was World music in its truest sense. The ensemble did not perform all the instruments they carried with them but performed whatever they had on stage (having filtered out instruments the previous night). The variety of instruments from different parts of the world performed were - santoor and tabla (Sharma), kora and balafon (Diawara), synthesizers and lute (Spiegel), electric slide electric guitar, steel guitar and acoustic lap slide guitar (Barrett), mellotron, minimoog and pipe organ (Wakeman), marimba, vibraphone, hackbrett, pianet, drums (Burchard), lute-harpsichord, harpsichord, pedal-harpsichord, clavichord, virginal and spinet (Bach), bass guitar, pedal steel guitar, ukulele, koto, autoharp, hamond organ, VCS3 synth, clavinet, electric piano, mandolin and mandolin (Jones), acoustic guitar, electric guitar, sitar, baglama, tanpura, classical guitar (Marron), rebec, sarangi, double bass, bass guitar, 8-string bass, trumpet, supersynth and cello (Kawatky), drums, tbilat, talking drum, dholak, steel drum, gong, bendir, reco-reco, bass marimba, crotales, darbouka and flexatone (Giger), flamenco guitar, angklung, gendèr, suling, bodhran, kortholt, ney, flower pot, dilruba, bolombatto, ngoni, duduk, began, kyey se, charango, chitrali sitar, rubab, nyckelharpa, genbri. rewab balanzikom uillean pipes, sinding, bagana, sattar , mudbedsh, mandobahar, sho, khlui, shakahuchi, and hammered dulcimer (Micus).

This reording would rebroadcast many times all over the world and would get feverish reception. Led Zeppelin would use most of these musicians as session musician for their triple album The Final Frontier released in 1983 which would be a massive success. Rick Wakeman would reunite with Yes the same year and Yes would also include some of the musicians in their 1984 world music album Elixir. Syd Barrett, Laurie Speigel and Christian Burchard would join Dzyan as a full-time member. They would also include Roman Bunka of Embryo as the seventh musician and would go on to massive and unexpected success in the 80s. Djeli Moussa Diawara, Stephan Micus and Shivkumar Sharma would team up in the early 90s forming a world fusion trio would be very successful as well. And Johann Sebastian Bach would become the leading classical composer of the 80s and 90s.

Can (Jan 1976) - By 1976 Can had gone commercial and hence irrelevant. They were one of the most "out there" experimental rock bands out there. Their music was two steps ahead of the current music scene. Along with the German band Faust (who sounded nothing like them) they were the most cutting edge German rock bands out there with three classic albums in a row which made music which was mixture of avantgarde, jazz, pyschedelia, electronic and funk - Tago Mago (1971), Ege Bamyasi (1972) and Future Days (1973), until they lost their lead singer Damo Suzuki who pretty much ad-libed their lyrics and sang in a completely improvished fashion in made-up language, Japanese and German that served as a instruments. Once Damo was gone after Future Days, they lost their edge slowly as they churned out one pop-wannabe albums after another which alienated their fan base and did not gain them any new fans either. Their 1975 album Landed bombed as the band seemed to be running out of ideas. In the real world the rot had set in and none of their subsequent albums of the 70s had done anything to reverse the trend.

Our story of course does reverse the trend in a rather unlikeliest kind of way. This is fantasy world, remember. Everything is possible. So our story starts at the Montreux Jazz festival, where German trumpeteer Manfred Schoof is scheduled to perform. Manfred's drummer had fallen sick just a month before the festival. And Jaki who had performed with Manfred in the mid 60s before joining Can gets a call. Luckily for Manfred, Can had taken a break from touring and Jaki was itching to get back to proper jazz music after a long time. Jaki accepts Manfred Schoof and says he will play with him during the festival alone. During the festival, Manfred runs into his old acquantaince pianist Irene Schweizer with whom he had recorded the seminal album Jazz meets India. Turns out Irene had reformed her Jazz trio (who was present on Jazz meets India) and was performing at the festival as well. Manfred Schoof asks Irene if they should play some of the songs from Jazz meets India together. They gather some local Swizz-Indian musicians together and decide to perform the whole album together. Its all good fun and Jaki also guests on drums in this performance. This is where he forms a friendship with drummer Mani Neumeier (Guru Guru) and bassist Uli Trepte (ex Guru Guru) who are part of the trio. Mani says he was planning to do a jazz-drum trio performance with another drummer in the same festival and he had compositions for it. But unfortunately they could not find a drummer who would gell with them. Jaki volunteers. Mani intrdouces Jaki to the drummer he was playing with. The drummer is none other than Werner Diermaier of Faust. Faust had broken up by now. And Werner was attending the festival as just an audience before he met Mani. The jazz drum trio performance happens after a day of intense practice by the three. And is well received by the three. Jaki says he wants to use both the drummers for the next Can album which they are planning to record the next year. Mani and Werner are happy to volunteer.

At the beginning of the year, back in Germany, the Can members are contemplating what will their next move. Their previous commercial attempt had bombed both critically and commercially. Although keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, guitarist Michael Karoli and bassst Holger Czukay all wants to keep moving forward in the pop direction and even embrace disco and reggae which were all over the mainstream back then, Jaki veers them to more experimental direction by saying he has plans for an expanded experimental double album like the 1971 album Tago Mago. Holger mentions that they need someone insane like Damo Suzuki or their original lead singer Malcolm Mooney for that to happen. Jaki said there were chances of finding the elusive Elixir Of Life are higher than tracing Mooney or Suzuki (both of whom had disappeared from the music business by then). Irmin Schmidt joked may be they should find a mainstream wacko like Brian Wilson. Jaki quipped "yeah that would be so not pop".

Well this joke of getting a mainstream musician would not stay a joke for long. Karoli suggests the band they should meet up at the same bar in Munich where they found Damo. May be they will find another busker there. That was however in 1969, this was 1976! The music atmosphere had changed by then. Where will they find a Damo like musician. Well to their surprise, they did find some bald guy with an electric guitar playing guitar and singing. The guy was not out there to beg, though he was getting quite a bit of charity money. He was in fact showcasing his paintings out there. It was like an outdoor art exo with people visiting him and marvelling his drawings while listening to his music. Jaki inquired about the guys with the crowd. One of the guys said, he had seen this guy with some other English friends of his. They had been performing together at the same spot for a week. His band had disappeared a couple of days ago though. Jaki decided to talk with the guy once the music session was over and the guy started packing.

The guy was a silent guy. Jaki asked him what happened to his band. The guy said they had to leave back to England. And he would be leaving in a couple of days as well. He had just come with them for a vacation. Jaki told him that he had a great voice and would like him to jam with them. He introduced the rest of the band to the guy. The guy shook hands and said he is Roger Keith The next evening Roger showed up at the hotel in Munich they were staying. Can had planned to record their album in Munich. So they did have all their instruments with them. They tell Roger to just play some rhythm guitar and improvise vocals as he deemed necessary. They play few songs off of Tago Mago (Halleluhwah, Paper House and Oh Yeah). They are secretly auditioning Roger without this knowledge. Roger is just having fun though, completely unaware why he was even there. Rogers voice suits the material and his ramblings though sounding nothing like Damo are very much improvised and entertaining. And he is a very good guitar player sounding like a true professional in fact. Holger who is curious asks him if he was ever played with a professional band before. Roger said "Yes, I did once about a decade ago. a band called Pink Floyd!"

Can are stunned. This is in fact Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett of Pink Floyd. What was he doing here? And is mentally stable now? Well not quite. He is still some what schizophrenic, but has greatly recovered and hasn't done LSD or any other drugs for years. Jaki mentions to him that he has written some new songs but is not sure how to finish them. He says he will be greatful if Syd helps him finish them before he leaves. Syd who didn't have much to do the next two days decides to sit with Jaki and help Jaki complete his compositions. Once the compositions are complete everyone is very much impressed. Holger says to Syd they should record an album together and asked Syd to officially join the band. Holger calls and cancels Syd's flight. He calls his old friend Mr. Vohwinkel and gets him to let them to live in his castle Schloss Norvenich for the next six month for free. Vohwinkel had also allowed them to stay free of rent and record Tago Mago. Everyone packs to move to Cologne into the castle. Once they reach Cologne, Syd suggest they add a new band member. He had played while he was busking in Cologne (he had been in Germany for past three months busking in all the major cities with his friends) with this Polish pianist hobo called Frederic Chopin who had some great piano compositions. The six pick up Chopin from the streets and get him to the castle as well. And they soon start recording.

Holger sets up a recording studio and summons well known producer Conny Plank to help produce the album. Can had never worked with Conny before. So this was something new. Conny who had produced acts like Cluster, Kraftwerk and Neu! before brought in a new sense of professionalism and perfectionism to the band. He was also into tape -based effects just like Syd and Holger. Recordings begin soon and they first record Jaki's and Chopin's compostions. Then they record group epics. Czukay does cut and paste and merges some of the compositions together creatingly completely brand new songs. Once they start recording his compositions, Syd says his composition required some wood-wind players. His group whom he had busked with featured a saxophonist, a flautist and a oboe player. They could get some decent session musicians to perform those songs. Conny calls in recently ousted Kraan number to provide saxophone. They still need a flautist and oboe player.

Jaki meanwhile suggests to the band that they record the jams he had performed at the Montreux festival the previous year, as a drum trio with two other drummers. Conny is delighted as he had worked with Mani (and Guru Guru) before. Werner, Mani and also Uli Trepte are brought in as session musicians to record the jams with the rest of the band. Uli who is a better bassist and funkier and heavier sounding adds another dimension to the band on the few songs he plays. Since Jaki was the main idea behind those jams, Werner and Mani do not demand credit for these jams. Conny asks Mani if he knows a oboe player who could fit in this with kind of music they are recording. Mani is out of ideas but Werner says he can help. He calls up his ex-band members asking the same question. The Faust saxophonist Gunther Wushtoff suggests they check with the band Slapp Happy who were doing a collaboration album with an English band called Henry Cow which did have an oboe player and bassoonist. Ultimately Werner contact Dagmar Krause of Slapp Happy who suggests the name of Lindsay Cooper of Henry Cow who not only played oboe very well but also the bassoon, flute and recorder. Henry Cow who were in fact on tour with Slapp Happy and in Berlin at that time. Werner decides to travel to Berlin and brings Lindsay for a week to record all of Syd's songs.

Syd has one more request. They need somebody who played the organ well just like his ex-Pink Floyd band mate Rick Wright. He particularly needed the organ and the synth for a 14 minute instrumental space rock epic he had written and had been performing the last three months. The Can members had changed the music slightly changing it to sort of a funky space jam with Irmin Schmidt playing synth. They needed to overdub organ now. Irmin could do it by Syd had written complex virtuoso parts. Lindsay suggested they contact David Sinclair (who she would would sound the most like Rick Wright). David was without a band then and back in England. When Lindsay called him and asked him to contribute for a project which would feature the return of Syd Barrett, David readily agreed on the condition he would be offered to join the band.

David works with Syd and Karoli and creates another epic song which becomes the final song of the album. Since it is primarily a David Sinclair composition he gets credited for the song. He is made a full-time member of the band thus bringing the count to seven members (the three new band members being Syd Barrett, David Sinclair and Frederic Chopin). The album Return to Tago Mago is released soon as it is complete and become a rousing successs and the biggest selling krautrock album in history.

Hawkwind (Dec 1972) - This is probably going to the shortest story on the ensembles I have. It was easy to add members to the Hawkwind lineup which already had 7 members. Hawkwind being the least complex sounding bands of the twelve here, this is the easiest of the stories that I had to conjure. Easy story for a easy-going band with easy "dance rock" music primarily designed to put you hynotic trance.

So our story begins when Robert Calvert imagines this double album with live performances of songs mostly from their third album along interspersed with spoken word poetry written by him about space (just like in the real word). In our imaginary world however; group leader Brock requests Calvert to create additional poetry so that they can include more songs from their sophomore as well as debut album - thus making it a double-double album instead. The plan was to release two double live albums in a row in a space of 2 weeks .

The idea was to chose the best performances from their Space Ritual tour in December 1972. Calvert wriyes more spoken word poetry in November 72 which would connect songs from first two albums to the third album. Space Ritual 1 would have the same content as the real world Space Ritual LP (released in 1973) except for the song Master Of The Universe (the only song from the second album) being replaced by the extended live version of the hit single Silver Machine (which funded this whole tour and which ironically they left out in the real world version of Space Ritual). Space Ritual I had the same lineup as the real world lineup. Space Ritual 2 on the other hand had five additional guest musicians, some of them very much unexpected. So our story primarily focuses on how Space Ritual 2 got recorded!

There were eighteen tour dates in December with songs from either the 22nd or the 30th performances being the ones chosen for Space Ritual 1. The first six dates until December 22nd (in Liverpool) had the same musicians (as the real world) performing all the material. Dave Brock was the primarly lead singer for the band on all the songs. And Robert Calvert did the spoken-word interludes. While on flight from Liverpool to London Calvert got struck down with a bout of flu and quickly lost his voice. Stacia the group dancer was brought in to do all the spoken-word poetry narrations for the December 24th performance in London. This however did not seem to work out well as Stacia was the dancer on stage and the singing interfered with her dancing, which the audience loved. Stacia suggested they get another female to do the narrations for the show on December 25th Christmas show in London.

On 25th morning tacia introduced this new girl to the band. The girl's name was Uschi Obermaier. She was a German who had settled in the UK during the past six month with her English boyfriend with whom she had moved in. She used to be part of the radical and political German psychedelic group called Amon Duul in 1968 and 1969. She was not a musician as per se. She did play maracas with them but was primarily with them to get close to the writer Rainer Langhans who followed the commune (Kommune 1) which Amon Duul was part of. She had no interest with politics either. She was also a beautiful girl who was a model before and had also done small parts in movies in the 60s and was a well-known groupie of Amon Duul. Now she was essentially retired from music, movies and modeling. She was primarily helping her English boyfriend with his music playing some percussion (tambourine, maracas) on the songs he was recording. Brock and Calvert liked the idea. The ruse of having a beautiful petite German singer with another tall (6 ft) beautiful big-bosomed amazonian nude dancer on stage could never go wrong after all. It could only add to the sex appeal and debauchery of the band's performance.

The 25th performance with Uschi worked well. She had a Germanic accent which seemed to give the narrations a colder and more alien feel. The audience seem to love as her cheering her everytime she came on stage. Stacia did not mind the attention being taken off of her as they were pretty close friends though Stacia was six years younger than Uschi (who herself was just 26). Calvert had however recovered by then. So the question was now what shall be done with Uschi. Uschi would gladly leave if asked to, but it would been a smart thing to do or even a nice thing to do? Calvert told Brock he could let Uschi narrate all the poetry meant for Space Ritual 2 and let her be on stage to playing maracas and tambourine for the entiretly of the show featuring Space Ritual 2. Robert was singing many of the proper songs already so he had no problems letting go of most of the spoken poetry. This made everyone including Nik and Lemmy happy. Dave however was not entirely happy with the songs they were performing off of self-titled debut. That album had a lead guitarist playing leads. Dave was a talented rhythm guitarist but did not have the confidence to play leads. They need a lead-guitarist and that too quickly. They were supposed to wind up recording for the album at the end of the year!

The next day, early morning Dave woke everyone up and asked them if they knew a guitarist who could play leads and will be ready for the 27th show. Several suggestions were thrown by Lemmy, Nik and Dik Mik and none of them would work as most of the guitarist were not in town or playing vastly different kinds of music. Dave turned to Stacia and Uschi and asked if they knew any one who could come in at such a short notice. Stacia did not know many musicians except the Hawkwind folks, but Uschi had a suggestion. She said she would try to convince her boyfriend whom she was living with. Her boyfriend played in a spacy style and was working on an album for the past few months, recording at their rental apartment. Dave asked Uschi to get him in the evening. Before the evening Nik and Dik Mik brought in four guitarists who they knew were avaiable for auditions. A couple of them seemed to be reasonably good but did not have that spacey sound they were looking for.

In the evening Uschi brought her boyfriend in to the hotel room in London. The guitarist covered in facial hair seemed to be recognizable but did not talk much. The band played "Master of The Universe" together with the guitarist contributing few leads which he had come up with on the spot. Lemmy asked the guitarist if he can play any of the songs he has been writing. The guitarist said "I haven't completed any of those songs. I can play one of the songs I wrote a while ago. It is space-themed". Dave said "Let's hear it then". The others looked at each other wondering what can as spacy as their material. Well to everyone's amazement, the guitarist played Pink Floyd's "Astronomy Domine" on his Fender Esquire. The band did not interrupt him. Their jaws dropped to the floor. Is this guy joking? Surely he did not write Astronomy Domines. That's a Pink Floyd song. Everyone clapped at the end of their song. Uschi was happy. Lemmy said "Listen mate, this is a Pink Floyd song. I know it. Surely they did not steal this song from you?". Uschi laughed and said "No they didn't steal from him. They played with him on that song. This is Syd Barrett!". Hawkwind members couldn't believe it! They had an ace in the hole now!

The next evening show was amazing - the best they had ever done. Syd played on most of the songs from Hawkwinds debut. They also added Astronomy Domine to the set list playing the song much heavier and longer than what it was. Though it was not advertised that Syd Barrett was playing in the 27th show, some media folks recognized Syd and the 28th Daily Mirror tabloids had Syd all over them with photographs. Early Pink Floyd fans who were hardcore Syd fans flocked in unexpected numbers to the 28th show. The band decided to announce the arrival of Syd Barrett as a guest musician for the show. They also ended up playing a medley of early Hawkwind songs, early Pink Floyd songs - Astronomy Domine, Interstellar Overdrive and some of Syd's new songs he had recorded. The concert was longer than usual going on from 9pm to midnight. The audience were thrilled to hear the new material for this. They had also added another guest musician for this show. Syd had demanded an organist for the medley featuring Pink Floyd songs. The musician added was an old acquaintance of Uschi's called Felix Mendelssohn who was then a popular session musician for rock bands like British hard-rock bands Black Sabbath, UFO and Foghat. Felix gave some of his instrumental organ compositions to Hawkwind in return for the publicity. They ended up incorporating that in the medley as well.

The show was a rousing success so much so that Syd got a call, next morning from a manager who said he managed a very famous band (that he did not want to disclose) wanted to know what his future plans were. He asked him to meet him at a bar the same day. So around 4pm and just four hours before, Syd and Uschi met this band manager. This band manager was no ordinary band manager. He was Peter Grant the famed manager of Led Zeppelin. Grant was apparently in the audience on the 28th being a fan of Hawkwind. He had heard about Syd's return and was curious to hear the type of music Hawkwind and Syd were making together. He was mightily impressed and per Jimmy Page's (who always admired Syd) wish wanted to offer to manage any new band Syd wanted to form. Uschi and Syd were gratetful for the kind gesture. Uschi asked Pete where is Jimmy. Uschi had dated Jimmy in the late 60s but hadn't seen him for a while. Pete said Led Zeppelin is in town and have a show on the 30th not far away from where Hawkwind are performing and in fact wants to meet them and is on his way to the bar in fact! Peter and Syd discussed plans for recruiting members for Syd's new band. Within few minutes Jimmy showed up to the bar accompanying another guitarist - Steve Howe of Yes. It turns out Led Zeppelin and Yes were doing a special show as planned by Atlantic as a double header on the 30th, celebrating the new year, with Yes peforming first followed by Led Zeppelin. And for Zeppelin's encore, Howe and Page were supposed to play together in a medley of Yes and Led Zeppelin songs (with all nine musicians from both bands - Page, Plant, Jones, Bonham and Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and Bruford; Bruford deciding against his original decision to quit Yes in exchange for being allowed more songwriting contribution in the next album) on stage talking alternate leads. Page and Howe had been practicing their guitar leads for the couple of days and gotten friendly with each other. Page did not want to travel alone to the bar and asked Howe to join. Page, Howe and Syd got along fine and were discussing the state of the rock music industry and the current trends and how it would be nice to tour together.

After an hour had passed by, the Hawkwind members arrived to pick up Syd and Uschi. They met Howe and Page and asked them to come see the show. The concert lasted 3 hours and sounded extremely professional. The band performed exceedingly well knowing that this performance will make it to the live album. Howe and Page were so impressed with the performance they offered to jam together for their next show during the mid-way break. Brock informed that this was supposed to be the last show. Syd asked why not do anther show and announce it at the end of the show. Calvert said it will be great if they can do one on New Years and finish up as the clock rolled to the next year and said both Howe and Page will be more than welcome to join in the encore section. When the show got over Calvert announced that they will have a special show on the 31st at the same venue with two special guests!

Led Zeppelin and Yes performed the special double-header at Alexandra Palace (10 miles away from where Hawkwind were scheduled to perform the next day). It was attended by a record audience and would become the most talked rock concerts of all time. The next day Hawkwind decided to record the performance and perform a three hour concert from 9 to 12 with all the stuff which would eventually make it to Space Ritual 1 and Space Ritual 2. The encore section which would begin around 11:30 would have a 30 minute instrumental medley with bits from Hawkwind songs Be Yourself/Seeing It As You Really Are, Pink Floyd songs In The Beechwoods/Interstellar Overdrive, Led Zeppelin songs Dazed And Confused/Communication Breakdown and Yes songs Starship Trooper/Perpetual Change. This would become the most talked about concert of the decade apart from the concert the day before.

The album would be released in next month and become the biggest selling Hawkwind album in history. This would not be a one-off as there would be several tours later with Hawkind, Yes and Led Zeppelin fitting the bill.

Tangerine Dream (Apr 1973) - Tangerine Dream were doing something unique in the 70s. They started out (debut album titled Electronic Meditation was ironically devoid of electronic instruments) as an experimental band who were hellbent on marrying the concepts of avantgarde and psychedelic rock music in the most primitive way possible doing electronic manipulation of structureless jams using traditional rock instruments and found instruments. The album reminds me of weak Pink Floyd's sophomore effort A Saucerful Of Secrets; sharing the latter's penchant for drawn out melodic lines and making extensive use of "druggy" organ. The Tangerine Dream debut was far more radical and little connection to the pop world unlike Pink Floyd.

With their sophomore album - Alpha Centauri, they slowly moved more into space music. It still had Floydian influences but explored space music in more depth than Floyd ever did and no connection whatsoever to pop music at all. I do not consider their first two efforts as successes of any kind. Their third album however was a stone cold unforgiving masterpiece. With Zeit they eventually completely moved outside of rock music into pure space ambient drone music. It sounded far more advanced than their previous two courtesy reduction of usage primitive sounding organ and other organic instruments like flute and introduction of proper synthesizers and usage of sound generators. They brough back rock influences in the neir next less successful venture Atem which was nevertheless still hailed as album of the year by DJ Peel. This brought them some commerical appeal. They switched labels for their fifth album and completely changed their style bringing rhythm and melodies using the newly discovered analogue sequencers. By the end of the 70s they would move on to more melodic and less experimental sounds which though accessible was no longer as cutting-edge and awe-inspiring as their albums from 1972-76 (which featured the albums Zeit, Atem, Phaedra, Rubycon, Ricochet and Stratosfear) their classic period.

We catch them between their fourth album Atem and the fifth breakthrough album Phaedra. I have envisioned them making another "missing" album between these which essentially is a one-off ambitious divergence never meant to be repeated (in spite of it becoming a huge success). And like all the imaginary stories above, this one features a twelve-man ensemble.

As of April 1973, Tangerine Dream had critical recognition with the previous two albums (Zeit and Phaedra) but not much worldwide popularity and recognition. In the meanwhile since the beginning of the 70s, classical composer Ludwig Van Beethoven had emerged as the most popular and well-recognized classical music composers of the 70s. Ludwig had interest in the nascent electronic and avantgarde music scene and frequently listened to obscure records to seek inspiration for incorporating novel ideas to his orchestral and chamber works. He had been obssessed with eary electronic instruments especially the Ondes Martonet for quite a while now and was invisioning writing a chamber music epic with electronic music which will be performed live and recorded with a large ensemble which would involve the Ondes as the primary instrument. He decided to a hunt to get some musicians who would participate in this live album.

The first musician Beethoven would acquire for his project would be Jeanne Loriod who was the most prominent Ondist on the planet during that period of time. Jeanne was a classical musician like Beethoven who had already recorded legendary French composers Olivier Messiaen and Andre Jolivet's work for Ondes Martenot. Although Beethoven's composing style was nothing like the experimental sounding works of Messiaen and Jolivet, Beethoven liked the ondes playing ability of Jeanne and travelled to Paris to visit her. Once they met he requested her to come to Germany and play with the group he was gonna assemble. She would be the first member. Jeanne was glad to join. Beethoven brought both Jeanne to Germany. Beethoven suggested that she stay at his large house in Strausberg, close to Berlin. Berlin was quite the hub of electronic music back then. Beethoven had written almost three-fourth of his chamber composition by then. To seek inspiration, Jean suggested they all listen to recent albums being recorded by artists which have a spacey feel. Beethoven like the idea and they set off buying a bunch of recent space music records. They made a trip to the famed Platten Pedro store and bought a bunch of records which the store owner mentioned are as close to space music as he could find. The first record they heard was Pink Floyd's first two albums. Beethoven did like few of the songs from both the albums but thought the Pink Floyd sound was way too commercial. Next they heard Hawkwind's firs two albums which Beethoven liked better. Next, they heard a compilation called Koshmische Musik which was highly recommended by the store owner. It featured tracks by Popol Vuh, Klaus Schulze, Ash Ra Tempel and our own Tangerine Dream. Beethoven was mightily impressed with the music on this album. After a couple of days of listening both popular and obscure space records. He said "I think we have found our musicians".

Beethoven made a couple of calls to the musicians he was most impressed with. Both the calls end up in major disappointments. The musicians Beethoven was interested in signing up for his project were the German electronic pioneers Tangerine Dream and Klaus Shulze. Klaus Schulze was very much tempted to work with Beethoven given his reputation but was in the middle of recording his sophomore electronic album Cyborg and was not keen on taking focus off of it. And Tangerine Dream was too busy touring and promoting their latest album Atem. Edgar Froese the group leader was very much interested though and said he would be in available in couple of months. But Beethoven did not want to waste two months sitting idle for Tangerine Dream to show up. The deal was off.

Though extremely disappointed Beethoven decide to carry on. He next rang up Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh. This call also turned out to be disappointing. Florian, who recorded two electronic albums in the early 70s had moved on to acoustic spiritual music which would go on to define New Age music in the later part of the decade. He however suggested that Beethoven could work with his bandmate Klaus Wiese who played tamboura for them and had some brilliant ideas for electronic drone music but was not confident of composing. Popol Vuh were then working on their album Seligpreisung and Wiese was recording them in Cologne. Florian said Wiese work is done and he can send him over to Berlin (6 hour drive from Cologne). Beethoven thanked Florian. Once Wiese arrived, things changed a bit. Wiese steered both Beethoven and Jeanne to a different direction. He was interested in electronic music but wanted to primarily use acoustic droney instruments although he did not mind electronic embellishments on the synthesizer. Wiese was the master of the India tamboura and Tibetan singing bowls. He also played the Bavarian zither, Chinese gong, Indian sitar, Indian sarod, Indian tabla, Iranian dutar, harp and harmonium. He also possessed extremely rare instruments like the steel cello and bow chime which are this deep droning instrument invented by American Bob Rutman in 1967. Beethoven got fully engrossed in these discussion and decided that he would reverse his decision and make an organic drone album (with electronic instruments in the background) instead of the electronic space epic he was initially envisioning.

Wiese now got excited and brought all the instruments he had collected and kept in his house in Ulm. Once he came back the trio got fully immersed in all the instruments. Beethoven wrote and played the compositions on his piano and Jeanne and Klaus repeated that in the Ondes and the plethora of Klaus Wiese drone instruments. While composing they kept listening to the albums they had bought from Platten Pedro. One album they were all finding particularly interesting was by this Italian band called Aktuala. Aktuala's self titled debut was just recently come out and it seemed to have music similar to what Beethoven and Klaus were envisioning. They called up their leader Walter Maoli and asked him if he was interested in joining their project after they played an excerpt of their music session over the phone. Maoli was mightly impressed and decided to make a trip to Berlin. He was a virtuoso of wood wind instruments like oboe, bamboo flute, bass flute, piccolo, harmonica, ney and the jew's harp. Once Maoli was added to the line-up, their music changed a little with Maoli's input. They started adding more melodic rhythms and decided against making an album composed of drones alone.

Though Beethoven did not want any percussion on the album, Walter managed to convince him to add a bassist. Beethoven did not want a rock or a funk bassist. He wanted somebody who appreciated electronic and classical music. They searched a week for a bassist but couldn't find anyone. Finally Beethoven remember his old friend, Eberhard Weber. Weber primariy from the jazz world had a lot of interest in chamber jazz and classical music and also played the cello and ocarina. He also played an electric upright bass which was not in prevalent use. Eberhard in fact used his own designed electric upright bass. Eberhard did not live far off. He lived in Ludwidsburg, which was a mere six hours drive away. Eberhard always had wanted to work with Beethoven and had no qualms about making the trip. He brought his custom design upright bass with him and also the cello and ocarino. He met the guys and added his own songwriting contributions to it. In fact all the musicians with the exception of Jeanne had now a major stake in this project and had provided songwriting contributions. Eberhard suggested to Beethoven they should do a big band sound. They should find other musicians who were interested in drone musicians and played different instruments. They should make this big, probably a double album? Eberhard suggested a jazz drummer who was friends with him and who had promised to work with him on the debut album that Eberhard was planning on. The jazz drummer was Peter Giger of the band Dzyan. Peter Giger joined the band without hesistation once Beethoven gave him the offer.

They went back to their favorite store looking for more drone albums. Could they find another album they like there? They hit a jackpot there. They found a pure drone album made by this American musician called Stuart Dempster. Stuart who played the trombone and didjeridoo came and joined the band. After a couple of jam sessions, Sturart suggested they should add the slide guitarist, and audio generator and trombonist who had recently joined a new band he was forming. The guitarist called himself Marsveen S. Mercurius (obviously not his real name). The audio generation player was Michael Davis (ex-Hawkwind) who had met Stuart when Stuart was visiting London. They managed to get all three of them into the studio and decided to start recording.

It seemed like all set until they heard a knock on their door in the last moment. It was none other than Tangerine Dream. They had wrapped up their tour earlier and were eager to record another album. In fact they had composed an album worth of material. Beethoven said it might be a good idea to make a double album with all these musicians together. And they did.

They released an album credited to Tangerine Dream and Beethoven with Weber, Shulze and Wiese also getting songwriting credits. The album was a massive success. After the album was released they found out the real name of Mr. Marsveen. It was Syd Barrett!


Kraftwerk (Aug 1978) -
For each of the five bands above, I have chosen a seperate phase of their career to create the fantasy all-star lineups - Led Zeppelin (formation), Yes (first lineup change pre-success), Pink Floyd (turmoil - key member having nervous breakdown and eventually leaving) and Tangerine Dream (pre-commercial breakthrough). For Kraftwerk, I am chosing a different phase. I am chosing the phase when they are already very successful (especially for a German experimental band) and entering their peak. So our story begins when with the lineup of Ralf Hutter, Florian Schneider, Wolfgang Flur and Karl Bartos, Kraftwerk had already started recording their next album - one of the first synth pop albums, The Man-Machine. It is at this time they run into Giorgio Moroder who was producing American glam-pop band Sparks' album No. 1 in Heaven next door. Moroder suggested that Kraftwerk increase the scope of their album (which he liked very much when he listened to the demos) and incorporate some pop, disco and rock influences into it. Kraftwerk members liked the idea and they decided they would make a sprawling double album instead of the planned single album. Moroder joined up as a guest musician and producer for the band.

Moroder and Florian needed some bass, guitar and real drums on a few songs. Kraftwerk first decided to bring back Klaus Roder from the Autobahn album sessions to add some electric violin touches on the few rock oriented songs. For drums, they got French disco icon Marc Cerrone whose album Supernature aka Cerrone 3 released the previous year was a big hit. For the guitar and bass, Moroder phoned up American disco band Chic. Chic members Nile Rodgers (guitar) and Bernard Edwards (bass) were recruited. Moroder wanted some Kraftwerk to do more disco-oriented songs. Moroder who liked Bee Gees music liked the bass on their disco albums of the late-70s and thought it would be nice to get their synth bass player Blue Weaver to perform on few of the songs. Kraftwerk accepted Moroder's proposal.

One of the most suprising guest artist on the album was Indian tabla player and percussionist who played tabla with a style which had infuences of Indian classical as well as African polyrhythms. Moroder had heard fellow Italian act Aktuala (with whom Gurtu had played on the album La Terra) and thought Kraftwerk could sample some tabla sounds to make a synth-raga of sorts. Hutter and Schneider liked the idea. This addition added another dimension to an already diverse album.

The final piece of the puzzle was the punk/new wave band Blondie who were moving to a pop and disco direction with producer Mike Chapman in charge. They were already recording their masterpiece Parallel Lines when they received a call from Moroder. Moroder wanted their lead singer Debbie Harry to contribute vocals on a few songs which Kraftwerk had written. The band had listened to the previous Kraftwerk album Trans Europe Express. They were more than happy to loan Debbie to record with Kraftwerk and Moroder.

And lo it was born - The Man Machine, the disco and computer music laden electronic-pop masterpiece with hints of new wave, psychedelia and funk by Kraftwerk and friends.

Popol Vuh (Mar 1974) - So we have had five ensembles before this and they all were formed at different phases of the bands' careers. This one is going to be no different in being different than the rest. This time I am going to form the imaginary large ensemble in between 2 different peaks when in my opinion they were going through some what of a transition phase between ambient classical of Hossiana Mantra (1972) to ambient rock of Letzte Tage and Letzte Nachte (1976). As of early 1974, Popol were having a mini set back. They had lost three members (Connny Veit - guitar, Klaus Weise - tamboura, Robert Eliscu - oboe) and guest musician violinist Fritz Sonnleitner with only electric guitarist and drummer Daniel Fichelscher and vocalist Djong Yun alongside group leader Florian Fricke. Florian decided to break up the band and Daniel Fichelscher went and rejoined Amon Duul II. At the same the psychedelic folk band Broselmaschine leader Peter Bursch was looking for a new venture. Broselmaschine had released just one album in 1971 and had broken up. Florian Fricke and Peter Bursch ran into each other while attending a Ravi Shankar concert in Berlin. They both meet with Ravi Shankar and end up discussing how much their music influenced they were with Ravi Shankar's Hindustani classical ragas. Ravi Shankar had worked with jazz and Western classical music before but had never thought of mixing Indian classical with folk, psychedelia, rock or electronic music. Ravi Shankar wanted to explore it but did not want his name on it. Ravi agreed on one condition that if they can convince his dear friend sarodist Ali Akbar Khan to join the project, he would join as well. Ali Akbar Khan who was also in Germany to join Ravi for a few concerts was available going to be in Germany for a month like Ravi was to be, and agreed to the project when Bursch and Fricke told him that Ravi was interested in it and was only waiting on Ali to join to confirm.

This new band Florian Fricke on piano and harpsichord, Peter Bursch on guitar, sitar and flute, Ravi Shankar on sitar and Ali Akbar Khan on sarod. Now the idea was to bring in guest musicians who played a variety of instruments. The next thing to do was to find a percussionist who could play a mix of styles which sounded like the spiritual style which Florian Fricke was into, but was also compatible with the idealogy of Ravi Shankar. After a lot of digging and listening to many current world music records, they ended up with a husand-wife team of Walter and Laura Maioli who were with the Italian world music group Aktuala who had released their debut just an year ago and were then working on their second album. Laura played the tamboura, percusion and whistles. Walter was a true multi-instrumentalist who played oboe, flute, harmonica, the India bamboo flute (bansuri), piccolo, djembe, naj, maranzano, and percussion. Peter suggested that they recruit Willi Kismer who played guitar and waldzither (a type of German mandolin) on the Broselmaschine album.

Another great world music like album which was released an year ago was German band Embryo's We Keep On which mixed jazz, Arabic classical and Indian classical. Bursch suggested they get their percussionist Christian Burchard who was the leader. Burchard played drums but also was very skilled at marimba, vibraphone, hammered dulcimer and mellotron. When Bursch contacted Burchard and asked him if he would like to record with Ravi Shankar and Florian Fricke, he was more than thrilled. The next addition was none other than high profile jazz bassist and cellist Eberhard Weber who had just recently recorded a milestone ECM chamber jazz album called The Colours Of Chloe. Eberhard's style owed as much to Western classic as to jazz. On Eberhard's suggestion they got female classical pianist Brigitte Engerer to play alongside Florian Fricke. Eberhard said that Brigitte's relaxed piano style complemented Florian's introspective and spiritual sytle of piano play. The rest agreed. Ravi Shankar seeing how the new group is a melding into a mix of jazz, Hindustani classical, Arabic classical, Western classical and folk, suggested they get synthesizers on the album to get an electronic feel to the album as well. Florian had abandoned electronic music so he did not want to play the synthesizer. The engineer Dieter Dierks with whom Popol Vuh were recording had heard this really odd Swedish band called Algarnas Tragdad. He was really impressed by their album Framtiden which had elements of psychedelic rock, space rock, electronic, raga, folk and avantgarde. He thought their keyboard player who could play moog modular and mellotron would be nice addition. Ravi Shankar gave his blessings to the addition and Florian eventually agreed as well.

Florian wanted to get his violinist Frtiz Sonnleitner back. Fritz had guested in the classic Hossiana Mantra and also the previous album Seligpreisung. But Fritz was unavaiable during that period because of a family emergency. Bursch suggested using Trond Villa of the Norwegian folk rock band Folque. Trond played the Norwegian hardanger fiddle, an instrument which is similar to regular fiddle except it has more sympathetic strings and is more resonant. The addition of hardanger fiddle, used in Norwegian folk music, added another exotic instrument to the album. The final addition was Danish jazz trumpeteer Palle Mikkelborg whom Eberhard Weber knew very well and who played a very relaxed slow hypnotic style of jazz music called ECM style jazz. Eberhard was sure that Mikkelborg's style would fit in well with the sound of the album. Mikkelborg also played piano and flugelhorn and also electronic instruments like then recently released RMI keyboard computer.

Fricke and Bursch decided it is best to call this new incarnation as Popol Vuh as Florian did more composing than Bursch. Ravi Shankar played as a guest musician and co-composed one epic song with Fricke. Bursch was added to Popol Vuh as a band member, so were Jan Ternald (whose band had broken up after one album just like Broselmaschine) and Willi Kismer. Palle who did quite a bit of co-composing with Fricke on the album also added as a full-time member once the recording sessions were over. With a wide array of instruments used on the album, the resulting double album Einsjager Und Siebenjager was a landmark album which fused ambient, neo-classical, Indian classical, Western classical, Arabic classical, drone, psychedelia, chamber jazz, electronic and folk music.

Faust (Jan 1975) - This is going to be a motley crew of insane weirdos. Well not all twelve of them; two of them are fairly normal guys who worked for bands with insane music. But anyway when these twelve got together, they all brought out the weird within themselves. In the real world Faust recorded a fifth album in 1975 which was rejected by their label and they promptly split. We tweak the history a little bit. Their fifth album was indeed rejected by the label but they did not split. Instead they decided to do a final concerts tour in London where they had record their fifth album anyway. Instead of the fifth album they would do a live double LP mostly consisting of old songs from the first four albums. Virgin agreed to releasing a live album. Faust had a significant cult audience in London, so they booked few underground clubs in London for them to record the live album. They also financed the band for couple of weeks with rental equipment to record the performances. They even got the drummer from the first album to tour with them to show it as proof that they were indeed going to perform material from their earlier albums. But Faust being Faust were planning to fool the record company. The idea was to intersperse all the material from the fifth album within the songs from the first four and make it as radical as possible with the song not resembling any of the original songs. An elaborate sinister scheme to con the label was watched.

There was one problem though. All the songs from all their five album were done with a lot of overdubbing and tape editing. To perform the song efficiently live and get all the weird sound effects (and considering they were essentially recording a new studio album live) they wanted a professional yet improvised sound, not a raw sound. They needed two guys straightaway. On many of the songs Rudolf Sosna had overdubbed synthesizer and guitar and Gunther Wushtoff had overdubbed saxophone and synthesizer. Rudolf just wanted to play the guitar and Gunther just wanted to play synthesizers. So they needed a synth player and a saxophonist. They hunted for a saxophonist session musician and the best one they could is Jimmy Hastings who had guested on Soft Machine and Caravan. Jimmy was a virtuoso so he could play the sax parts easily. He was a bit hesitant initially after listening to the weird material but took it up as a different sort of challenge for a large sum of money which Virgin funded. The unreleased fifth album had some crazy percussion which drummer Werner Diermaier had overdubbed in conjunction with his drumming. So they needed another percussionist to reproduce the sound. Werener liked this Swedish band Samla Mammas Manna and their drummer played an assortment of found objects for percussion. His name was Hasse Bruniusson and Samla Mammas Manna happened to be touring the UK and were going to come to London for a three consecutive nights playing with another Rock In Opposition group Henry Cow. Henry Cow was with Virgin as well. Faust ended up getting one musician from both band each - Hasse Bruniusson from Samla Mammas Manna and the female bassoonist Lindsay Cooper. Henry Cow and Samla Mammas Manna were by far the weirdest European groups out there apart from Faust. So it made sense that all three bands had a part in this.

Faust decided they still needed two more musicians - a proper synth player and a guitarist. The reason being that Gunther did want to play his saxophone part on few songs and Rudolf wanted to play his synth parts on the few old songs. They ran into none other than Pink Floyd's keyboardist Rick Wright. Pink Floyd was in Abbey Road studios recording their album Wish You Were Here and Jimmy Hastings was initially called in for a sax solo. The whole thing never worked out and Pink Floyd got back Dick Parry for the same part but Jimmy and Rick had stuck a friendship. Jimmy mentioned to him he was playing some interesting gigs with Faust and they were looking for a VCS3 expert. Rick said he can be summoned anytime if really needed. Virgin thought it would be a great idea. They could sell this album saying Faust live featuring Rick Wright. They even paid Rick Wright heftily for the few sessions he did with them. The guitarist parts went to the King Crimson(having broken up in late 1974) prog guitarist Robert Fripp who was into experimental music like the kind Faust makes. Fripp played guitar on all the songs Rudolf played synthesizers. On certain songs like the song Krautrock and Giggy Smile off of Faust IV (and few others from their unreleased fifth album), they were going for a heavier sound. So with Wright assistance they were able to lure none other than Black Sabbath's Geezer Buttler to play bass solos (in conjunctions with bass and drums) for a few gigs, some of which made it to the live album.

Virgin did release the album saying Faust featuring Rick Wright, Tony Iommi and Robert Fripp. The album was the most successful Faust album yet and Faust continued on for another five years releasing few more classics.

Between (Jul 1976) - In the real world Between recorded two masterpieces in a row - their second album And The Waters Opened and third album Dharana in 1973 and 1974 respectively. Their fourth album was a disappointing spoken word experiments called Hesse Between Music and they recovered releasing two more lacklustre albums disbanding in 1980. Between were a multi-national band with almost every member of the band being a different country. The idea here is to come up with a twelve man ensemble with artists from twelve different countries of various backgrounds but who are inherently compatible by the droney psychedelic Indian classical influenced sounds of Between.

Having been disappointed with the reception the previous album Hesse Between Music got Between group leader Peter Michel Hamel wanted to get something more mainstream sounding. With most of the musicians from the previous album, Between had only three musicians left - keyboardist and leader German Peter Michael Hamel, guitarist, motocello, harp and bass guitarist Argentinian Robert Detree and oboeist and recorder player America Robert Eliscu. They decided to make a new album of live recordings of both new and old songs instead of releasing a new studio album. The group was then based in London and they had a small following in London. So the idea was to record few of the gigs in small clubs in London. The problem was Between's music was extremely studio based with a lot of overdubs and everyone of the three playing many instruments. So they had to get more musicians. First and foremost they needed a bassist, drummer and a tabla player. Hamel thought he could replace the conga (used in their third album DharanaO with tabla for live performances.

Hamel auditoned many drummer first. To their surprise one of the adutionee was none other than Ian Paice of Deep Purple who was disgusted that Deep Purple had broken up just recently and was looking to work with a non-rock band. The members of Between seemed like nice chaps, wer not making any sort of rock music and Ian Paice did not want to deal with ego of rock musicians. Hamel was surprised to see that Paice was multi-talented and could play with the same pace and tempo of Between music. Paice was hired as a full-time member for the live shows. Hamel got an idea now. They could get musicians from rock backgrounds who no longer have bands and have played pyschedelic music before. They auditoned for a tabla player now. And they had a Swedish tabla player whom all of them liked. He played tabla, drums, zink and jewish harp. Zink is an old instrument with a droney sound. His name is Dennis Lindh and he was with a band called Algarnas Tradgard which had recorded a classic album in 1971 and then another one in 1974 (which remained unreleased) and had then broken up.

This could have been it to play the live shows but Hamel was developing new material which was more and more Indian classical and Middle-Eastern classical based. He needed some virtuosos to play them live. Though the band was set, there was always room for guest musicians. He didnt have to travel too far to find out a Middle-Eastern musician. Having heard French musician Andre Fertier's debut album Clivage, he was eager to get their santur (Iranian hammered dulcimer) player to play with them for the live concerts. Hamel located the santurist (Mahmoud Tabrizi Zadeh) in France and got him to come back to London. While in France Hamel met Fijiian bass guitarist Mike Howlett who was bass player for the werid jazz-influenced French space rock band Gong. Hamel borrowed him for the live tour as Gong were inactive after just recording their album Shamal last December. Hamel's new material featured more drones. Roberto Detree used a strange instrument called motocello to achieve that effect on their second album. But Hamel was looking for something more. While in Paris, he met his dear friend French dronologist Eliane Radigue for a coffee and asked her if she knew a drone expert who can collaborate with him on his live album project which already had musicians from all backgrounds. Eliane, to Hamel's suprise, offered to play synth drones for him. She also suggested they use true drone instruments on the album like hurdy-gurdy, the Indian instruments like tambura, veena, sitar etc. For tamboura Robert Eliscu suggested the Dutch tamboura player (who also played tablas) who performed with him in Popol Vuh as guest musician. For hurdy-gurdy he ended up hiring Celtic musician Andy Irvine.

Next step was adding a sitar player and veena player as per Eliane's suggestion. Hamel found a guitarist who played sitar as well. He was the Japanese Hideki Ishima who played both sitar and guitar very well. Hideki used to play with heavy psych band The Flower Travelling Band, but they were no longer together. He played the guitar with an oreintal feel almost sitar-like. And he was proficient with sitar as well. For the veena, Hideki suggested they listen to this great veena player from South India called Sundaram Balachander. After listening to Music Of India album released by Sundaram Balachander in 1965, Hamel was convinced the sounds of Balachander's veena fit Between's music well. Hamel had to travel to India to get Balachander but it was worth the trip as he gained a lot of knowledge of both Hindustani classical and Carnatic classical and wrote few more songs on the way back home. Balachander was a multi-talented open-minded musician who like Hindustani classical and Western music even though he was knee-deep into Carnatic classical music. He was also a great movie director and actor during his younger years. When he heard of this massive project which sought to bring Indian music together with synthesizer drones, German experimental and rock music, he was more than thrilled to lend a helping hand.

Once all the musicians were together, they decided they will record more music than intented. So the original intended double LP of live album became a triple LP. This was Between's breakthrough album. Though the album did not much radio-friendly material, it became popular through word of mouth. Between soldiered on until the end of the 70s releasing few more classics.

(PS: Gold color background means original band member; purple means the musician is being offered permanent band membership; and orange means guest musician)