Cosmic Jokers

The Cosmic Jokers was never an ensemble, per se; its members did not play together as Cosmic Jokers, and in fact were not even asked to join the group. Their music was created from sessions put together by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser and Gille Lettman in early in 1973. He arranged for several acid parties to be held at the sound studio owned by Dieter Dierks, where musicians were offered drugs in exchange for recording tracks. Participants included Manuel Göttsching and Klaus Schulze of Ash Ra Tempel, Jurgen Dollase and Harold Grosskopf of Wallenstein, and Dierks. Prior to this, all of the musicians involved had been in the Cosmic Couriers, which had played on experimental recordings by Sergius Golowin, Walter Wegmüller, and Timothy Leary.
Kaiser took the tapes from these sessions, edited and mixed them with Dierks, and released them on his label, Kosmische Musik, complete with the musicians' pictures on the LP sleeve, without asking for their permission. Göttsching didn't find out about the record release until he heard it playing in a record store in Berlin and asked the counter help what was playing. Kaiser released five records under the name Cosmic Jokers in 1974, one of which was actually a label sampler and a second, Gilles Zeitschiff, consisted of Kaiser's then-girlfriend Gille Lettmann speaking over sounds taken from prior label releases. While none of the musicians were very happy with the recordings, Schulze was so angry after the release of Gilles Zeitschiff that he sued Kaiser. In 1975, Kaiser was forced to discontinue and withdraw the recordings, and he fled the country over the affair, abandoning the record label over the threat of impending legal problems.

Cosmic Jokers
Cosmic Jokers - Galactic Supermarket + Planeten Sit-In

Artist: Cosmic Jokers
P: 1974 / 2015
Here two releases on 1 CD.

What a cosmic joke did the Fates of Music bring to all prog rock lovers around the world when the (arguably) best krautrock ensemble ever never happened to be a proper band but a congregation of accomplished musicians who out of friendship and pleasure managed to do some excellent jam sessions in a recording studio. This is what The Cosmic Jokers were all about, and the second release "Galactic Supermarket" happens to be my personal favorite of the whole bunch released by Mr. Dierks. The reasons why this sophomore release by this (non-) krautrock project appeals to be as the apex are: 1) the sonic pallet is wider, hence allowing the musicians to expand more effectively on the magic that was occurring at the time; 2) the ensemble's sound in itself feels tighter and more focused, without losing that sort of free-form edge that usually makes the best of the special atmospheres we appreciate as typical of hard edged krautrock. The guitar leads happen to enjoy a more focused protagonist role, as the soaring moods and spacey displays provided by the dual keyboard inputs get conveniently enhanced in the mix. Regarding the latter point, the way in which the electric and grand pianos and the mellotron enter in places to state specific orchestrations and ornaments is just lovely. Grosskopf's drum kit also happens to be enhanced in the mix, in this way generating a strengthened role for the rhythmic pulsations evolving throughout the jams. Like I said, this ensemble sounds more powerful than in their already great debut release. 'Kinder des Alls' fills the album's first half, bearing a solid presence of jazz-rock cadences fueled by Grottsching's stylish phrases (somewhere between McLaughlin and Hendrix). The second section slows down into a set of cosmic languidness, featuring synthesizer and mellotron, building up a dreamy ambience closely related to pre-"Phaedra" TD. With the arrival of the third section, the lead guitar returns to the front, only this time sharing the spotlight with the pairing of Dollase's organ and Schulze's synthesizer, in a sort of refurbishment of the framework that had been elaborated in the first section. IMHO, this is the album's peak, but I won't dismiss the other sidelong track at all. Not at all. 'Galactic Supermarket' is constructed in the psychedelic prog rock parameters, with Schulze and Dollase emerging many times as the dual leaders of the musical journey. The third and last section happens to be more oriented toward the free-form logic, with all musicians gathered in a somewhat challenging chaos, yet still revealing how well each musician is paying attention to the others. For instance, we've got synthesized machine gun effects that punctuate some funky guitar strumming, while, in some other passage, Dollase's playful piano chords counteract against the rhythm duo's delivery. We've got also some spoken female vocals that seem to work as priestess' evocations. It is a pity that the fade-out should get in so soon. Anyway, I thank these guys for the music, which I regard as indispensable for all true lovers of Ash Ra Tempel, first-era Guru Guru and Agitation Free. A krautrock masterpiece, this is, indeed.
The last of the old Cosmic Joker releases to finally see CD reissue after all these years. The Jokers were: Klaus Schulze, Manuel Gottsching, Harold Grosekopf, Dieter Dierks and Jurgen Dollase--jamming together for a series of sessions that rocked the electronic genre, leaving ripples, the effects of which can still be perceived.
Awesome, trippy, furious electronic music, "Planeten Sit-In" has always been my personal favorite for its sheer no-holds-barred attack synthi mode.
The other Cosmic Jokers CDs include: "TheCosmic Jokers", "Galactic Supermarket", and "Sci-Fi Party" (all on Tempel Recordsin France.
All are extremely worthwhile to the electronic audiophile.

Recorded: February to May 1973, Stommeln.
Manuel Göttsching
Dieter Dierks
Jürgen Dollase
Harald Großkopf
Klaus Schulze
Gille Lettmann
Brian Barritt
Liz Elliot


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