Bachdenkel

Bachdenkel was an English post-psych band based in France. In 1970, they recorded Lemmings, which appeared in 1973 on Philips. They resurfaced in 1977 with Stalingrad on the small-press Initial Recording Co.

Members: Colin Swinburne (vocals, guitar, piano, organ, harpsichord, electric mandolin, bell tree), Peter Kimberley (vocals, bass, piano, Wurlitzer), Brian Smith (drums, percussion, vibraphone, vocals), Karel Beer (12-string electric guitar, slide guitar, 1973-82)


Background

Bachdenkel evolved from The U (Don’t) No Who, a Birmingham psych-rock quintet that featured guitarist–keyboardist Colin Swinburne, guitarist Karel Beer, and bassist–keyboardist Peter Kimberley.

Beer (b. 1947, Sutton, Coldfield) DJ’d beforehand on the pirate station Radio City, which operated between 1964 and February 8, 1967, on the Shivering Sands Army Fort in the Thames estuary.

The U No Who recorded four songs: three Swinburne co-writes with Kimberley (“The Pain of Love”), Beer (“An Apple a Day”), and both (“Now and Again Rebecca”), plus the Beer–Kimberley number “Strange People.”

The Pain of Love” (3:11)
An Apple a Day” (2:30)
Now and Again Rebecca” (3:09)
Strange People” (3:22)


Lemmings

Bachdenkel released their first album, Lemmings, on May 29, 1973, on Philips. Sessions took place between June 1970 and January 1973 at Europa Sonor studio in Paris. They conceived Lemmings as a three-sided album. As such, the LP labels on the original album list the first side as “Side 2” and the second as “Side 3.”

Karel Beer produced the album and co-wrote the first three songs with guitarist–organist Colin Swinburne (“Translation”) and bassist–pianist Peter Kimberley (“Equals,” “An Appointment With the Master”).

The three joint-wrote “Long Time Living” and group-wrote “The Settlement Song” and “Strangerstill (You Leave Me)” with drummer Brian Smith, who also co-wrote the Swinburne–Kimberley epic “Come All Ye Faceless.”

1. “Translation” (4:18)
2. “Equals” (1:52)
3. “An Appointment With the Master” (5:16)
4. “The Settlement Song” (11:27)
5. “Long Time Living” (2:18)
6. “Strangerstill (You Leave Me)” (6:52)
7. “Come All Ye Faceless” (9:07)

Lemmings features a gatefold cover illustration by Italian artist Luciano Lanati, whose work depicts valley caravans of lemmings (front) and gas-masked soldiers. French photographer Jean Bottin took the scenic inner-gate photo. Lemmings credits three engineers, including Didier Perier (Albert Marcœur, Richard Vimal, Yan Tregger) and Pierre Guichon (Iris, Majority One, Pyranha, Red Noise).

Philips lifted an edit of “An Appointment With The Master” () as a single backed with the non-album “Donna,” a Beer-Kimberly number.

In 1978, Beer reissued Lemmings as a double-EP on Initial Recording Co., which issued the second Bachdenkel album and titles by electronic musician Bernard Szajner (aka Zed) and ex-Subway guitarist Irv Mowrey. Lemmings received its first CD reissue in 1990 by Berlin-based archivist World Wide Records, which also issued vintage recordings by T2, High Tide, Magic Muscle, and Junior’s Eyes. The WWR reissue contains three bonus tracks:

8 “The Slightest Distance” (E.P.) 6:09
9 “Donna” (E.P.) 4:16
10 “A Thousand Pages Before” (E.P.) 6:33

In 2001, UK archivists Ork Records reissued the album as Lemmings (And Other Songs of Alienation) with the WWR extras and three additional tracks:

11 “Through the Eyes of a Child” ()
12 “An (Other) Appointment With the Master” ()
13 “Strange People” ()


Stalingrad

Bachdenkel released their second album, Stalingrad, in 1977 on Initial Recording Co. In 1979, Initial reissued the title under its Russian spelling Сталинград.

It features eight songs with lyrics by slide and 12-string guitarist Karel Beer, including four (“Xenophon,” “Сталинград,” “After the Fall,” “Seven Times Tomorrow”) with music by Colin Swinburne, who plays piano, electric mandolin, and lead–rhythm guitar.

Beer co-composed two songs (“The Whole World,” “Easy to Be Hard”) with bassist–keyboardist Peter Kimberley, who plays Wurlitzer, Moog, and four- and six-string bass.

Kimberley wrote “The Tournament” and collaborated with Swinburne on “For You to Live With Me” and the instrumental title track.

1. “The Whole World (Looking Over My Shoulder)” (3:32)
2. “After the Fall” (4:23)
3. “Seven Times Tomorrow” (4:08)
4. “For You to Live With Me” (3:25)
5. “The Tournament” (2:47)
6. “(It’s Always) Easy to Be Hard” (4:45)
7. “Xenophon” (4:54) features guest vocals by Irv Mowrey of Subway.
8. “Сталинград” (3:30) features co-producer Andy Scott on Arp synthesizer.
9. “Stalingrad” (4:27)

Beer and Scott co-produced Stalingrad at Damiens Studio for Paris International Music Productions. Scott co-engineered the recording with returning soundman Didier Périer. Lemmings cover artist Luciano Lanati illustrated the Stalingrad sleeve, which depicts the a perished bird on a barren dune (possibly near the earlier location with the same bird).

In 1990, World Wide Records reissued the album on CD as Stalingrad (And Other Lost Causes) with ten bonus tracks:

The Unreleased Singles
10 “You Lied About Your Age” (3:10) Swinburne, Beer, Kimberley
11 “Ring of Truth” (2:54) Swinburne, Beer
12 “Sirocco” (2:56) Swinburne, Kimberley

Studio Live
13 “Ctalingrad” (3:21)
14 “After the Fall” (5:34)
15 “For You to Live With Me” (4:37)
16 “Seven Times Tomorrow” (6:48)

Archives
17 “Through the Eyes of a Child” (3:59) Swinburne, Beer, Kimberley
18 “An Appointment With the Master” (3:38) Beer, Kimberley

Live Cannes ’75 (Extract)
19 “Bo Bo’s Party” (6:11) Safka


Discography:
  • Lemmings (1973, recorded 1970)
  • Stalingrad (1977)

Sources:

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