All The Years Round (7-inch single, 1972).
I mentioned earlier that Falk-Ulrich Rogner’s cover art for Amon Düül II was worthy of a post so here you are. Amon Düül II were slightly ahead of the pack in the German music scene of the 1970s, starting earlier and (arguably) finishing their prime period earlier. They were also closer in musical style and group ethos to the psychedelic/early prog groups in Britain and America, especially Hawkwind with whom they shared a record label and a bass player. Other German groups were often psychedelic to some degree but Amon Düül II went all-out for a German take on psych rock, with extended guitar-heavy jams played against oil-on-water projections.
Falk-Ulrich Rogner was one of the longer lasting members of the group’s shifting personnel, playing organ and electronics, writing lyrics and creating artwork that’s a perfect match for what I always think of as Amon Düül II’s Gothic Surrealism: a blend of lyrics and themes running through songs titled like Max Ernst paintings: Flesh-Coloured Anti-Aircraft Alarm, Archangel’s Thunderbird, Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight, Green Bubble Raincoated Man. The cover art is generally a collage of photographs, old paintings and other graphics, a familiar technique for psychedelic album covers. What gives Rogner’s work an edge is the way he blends multiple collages together by either photographic exposure or the photographing of projected transparencies. This has the effect of softening hard edges and transitions, and makes the resulting images all the more hallucinatory and dream-like. Effects like this are easy to achieve today with Photoshop but in the early 1970s they required a considerable effort.
Phallus Dei (1969).
At first glance the cover of the gloriously titled debut album looks like a painting but it’s a photograph of a tree silhouette juxtaposed against some vague collage business. This doesn’t really communicate the lysergic intensity of the music within which may explain why the cover was changed to something more typically psychedelic for its UK release.
The back cover inaugurates a pattern of placing the band on the back of the album, a reversal of the usual state of affairs even today.
The first CD release of Phallus Dei on the Mantra label featured what may be another Rogner photomontage, one that I’ve not seen anywhere else.