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KRAAN – ZOUP (2023) and PORTA WESTFALICA (1975/2023)

Quite by chance I came upon a new Kraan record released on 24th November; I had no idea they were still around, but HELMUT HATTLER bassist extraordinaire and composer, guitarist PETER WOLBRANDT and drummer JAN FRIDE appear with some guests on an enjoyable album, especially the 7-minute title track and ‘Uberstürtzer Aufbruch’, on which the funky, idiosyncratic and boundary hopping Kraan that have provided so many great moments in the past are still alive and kicking: all except for keyboardist Ingo Bischof who has sadly passed: one must assume that his appearance on ‘Aus allen Wolken’ is from a past session.

There is still plenty of power and energy, but it’s a pity that saxophonist Johannes Pappert only appears on one track, and that nine of the eleven are instrumentals. There is nothing to match pieces like ‘Holiday am Matterhorn’ and ‘Kraan Arabia’ (10-minute live versions on “Porta Westfalica”); nor does anything come close to the classics ‘Andy Nogger’ also heard here – pity there’s no ‘jerk of Life’ – you have to go to the famous Kraan Live double LP for that. Still, Kraan fans will want to hear ‘Zoup’.

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