Morpheus

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This instrumental Krautrock group from the Westfalia region of Germany only lasted about two years and managed to self-release one very obscure record in the mid-'70s. Morpheus' short history begins in…
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This instrumental Krautrock group from the Westfalia region of Germany only lasted about two years and managed to self-release one very obscure record in the mid-'70s. Morpheus' short history begins in 1971 with the formation of the jazz group Opossum. This six-member group eventually split up when two of the musicians wanted to veer further into free jazz, whereas the other four -- guitarist Gerold Adler, bassist Peter "Rabe" (Raven) Blömeke, saxophonist Heinrich Holtgreve, and drummer Alfred Franke -- wanted to add more rock elements to their sound. After Blömeke did a brief stint with the much better-known Krautrock band Mythos, the four got together near the beginning of 1975 to form Morpheus. Whereas Opossum's music was completely improvised with tracks that went on forever and were somewhat unfocused, the new quartet concentrated more on syncopated rhythms, as well as the concept of using echo to create sound shapes to be put into the tracks. Though still very jazzy and improvised, Morpheus had a lot more rock and compositional elements in their music, similar to other fusion groups like Kraan, Munju, Out of Focus, and others. In March of 1976 they recorded an album, and self-released it soon after, pressing 500 copies under the title Rabenteuer, which combines the German words for "raven" and "adventure." The record was well liked by those who heard it and soon became a rare collector's item, even though it was mastered slightly slow so that the sound was a semi-tone too low, a problem that was eventually rectified with the Garden of Delights CD reissue. When Franke left the group in late 1976 or very early 1977, the band continued with a new drummer. However, three months later saxophonist Holtgreve moved to a different region in Germany, and the others decided to call it quits. Holtgreve eventually joined a bluegrass band, while Adler later formed a fusion band, imaginatively named the Gerold Adler Fusion Band, and also taught guitar, while the other two drifted out of music for other careers. Morpheus' sole album was reissued by Garden of Delights in 1998 with a 20-minute bonus track taken from the same sessions as the original LP. Though they are a footnote in German rock history, their record is worth seeking out for those who like the jazzier side of Krautrock.