Citadels Of Mystery Bernie Krause


Catalogue Id:
CDTKM 6512

For many readers, the name Bernie Krause may not be one they recognise. Yet they should. Here is a musician, sound track composer and recorder of natural sounds, who has made around 60 albums for such labels as Warner Brothers, Nonesuch, Rykodisc and The Nature Company (the ten albums he made for the latter have grossed over $24 million). He has further contributed to the soundtracks of 135 major feature films (including Apocalypse Now, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Rosemary's Baby) and TV productions.

As an interesting career genesis, he was the musician who replaced Pete Seeger in the Weavers and even produced for a time at Motown Records. In 1966 he and his late partner Paul Beaver produced one of the earliest synthesiser classics "The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music" (NS 1967), an album that stayed an industry best seller for the best part of a year. The pair later took a stall at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and, through that exposure, introduced the synthesiser to such groups as the Doors.

Shortly after the release of the Nonesuch recording, Krause began working in bioacoustics, recording the different environments of the natural world and, along the way, developing technologies that have not only aided these recording processes but also contributed to other sound innovations (the Intelligent Sound System is just one).

CITADELS OF MYSTERY was recorded in 1975 and originally released as Takoma TAK-7074 four years later. Drawing inspiration from such ancient citadels as Machu Picchu and Stonehenge, it is a musical feast of sounds ranging from the reflective (Stonehenge: A Mid-Summer's Day Dream) to the physically stimulating (the Afro-Jazz rhythms of Jambo, Jambo and the Haitian-inspired, but Calypsonian-resolved Citadel, Ay Bobo, replete with compelling childrens opening chant).

Around the time of the recording, Krause's partner Paul Beaver died and the album was completed without him. Whether Bernie assembled this crack team of musicians as support during his loss, as he tried to establish an identity outside of the duo Beaver and Krause, is speculation. However, the addition of such musicians as Kenneth Nash, Glenn Cronkhite, George Marsh, Mel Martin, Peter Maunu, amongst others, contributed a different vibe to the proceedings. Certainly the tribal world music feel, the effortless blend of 360 string-controlled synthesiser sounds and the natural timbres of such instruments as flute, piccolo and saxophone (courtesy of Martin) and congas and bongos (from Nash), anticipates the dance club fusions that would emerge more fully in the music of the 1990s.

By John Crosby


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