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Kraan - 1982/2005 - "Nachtfahrt"

(47 min, Inside Out)

TRACK LIST:                             

1.  Wintruper Echo 4:29
2.  Faust 2000 4:12
3.  Elfenbein 5:08
4.  Nachtfahrt 6:28
5.  Playing for You 3:55
6.  Viel zu Neib 3:00
7.  Normal 4:05
8.  Paper Stars 4:50
9.  Luna Park 6:02
Bonus track:
10. The Daily Blues 5:04

All tracks: by Wolbrandt & Hattler, except
4: Hattler / Bischof & 10: Brown. 
Produced by Kraan & C Plank.


Peter Wolbrandt - guitars; vocals 
Hellmut Hattler - bass; vocals
Ingo Bischof - keyboards 
Jan Fride - drums
Gerry Brown - drums

Prolusion. Here is KRAAN's seventh studio album, "Nachtfahrt". For more info on this deluxe reissue series and for the band's discography, please check the review of their fifth studio effort, "Wiederhoren".

Analysis. Ouch. "Nachtfahrt" was made at the beginning of the 'dark decade' of the '80s. Like many of the other classic bands of the genre, Kraan turned out to be led by "demands of the time" in those troubling years. This album has a strong commercial sense, some of the tracks having nothing to do with Prog Rock in general and with Jazz-Fusion in particular. The songs: Faust 2000, Viel zu Neib and Normal are pop-funk with reggae-like vocals, somewhere in the vein of Queen's Another One Bites the Dust (from "The Game", 1980) and are the most primitive, particularly the former, which is just incredibly monotonous, due to the abundance in electronics and the absence of theme and tempo changes either. Like Faust 2000, the instrumental piece Wintruper Echo has also a certain robotic feel to it, but there are also some fine solos of electric and acoustic guitar, making it sound more or less natural. Elfenbein is a traditional mainstream Pop Rock song with the structural construction where everything has been sacrificed to the passion for absolute symmetry, the couplets and refrains alternating each other with a fatal-like inevitability. It's all the same in the vocal-based arrangements on Paper Stars, but there are two instrumental sections filled with some tasteful quasi Jazz-Fusion. This would be the first of the five numbers that are a decent listen. The meaty Hard Rock guitar riffs in conjunction with bluesy harmonies and a sincere, expressive singing determine the sound of the other two songs with English lyrics: Playing for You and The Daily Blues, the bonus track being one of the best three tracks on the album. By the highest standards however, only the instrumental compositions: the title track and Luna Park (both are the longest and are full-fledged Jazz-Fusion) are worthy of Kraan's glorious past, even though the band is less unpredictable on the latter. Finally, I'd like to mention what follows. As it's stated in the CD booklet, The Daily Blues should have been included in the LP, but was left off in favor of Faust 2000 at the last minute, "due to time restrictions on the original vinyl", which is an absurd statement. The Daily Blues is less than one minute longer than that track, so the album's running time would've been about 43 minutes had it been there, which is far from the time limit the LP had in the '70s, just remember Genesis, each of the first ten albums by whom exceeds 50 minutes in duration. After listening to "Nachtfahrt", the true reason of the replacement will be clear to anyone.

Conclusion. I am not about to blame the band for giving up their principles while trying to survive. Unlike the same Genesis however, they weren't aware of the difficulties, waiting for anyone on the way of the change of direction. In any event, "Nahtfahrt" can be recommended to the die-hard Kraan fans and so-called collectors only. Prog lovers, start with "Wiederhoren" and then work backwards.

VM: October 3, 2005

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