Electrip was released in 1969, the same year as the Amon Düül II’s Phallus Dei and CAN’s Monster Movie, which makes Electrip one of the very first albums to fall within the genre of Krautrock. The band successfully draw from an incredibly diverse list of contemporaries to create their astonishing sound. Album opener “Electric Fun Fair” and it’s successor “Pop Games” are heavily jazz inspired, and bring to mind some not so subtle Miles Davis influences as well as hints of rhythm & blues. The emphasis here is on rolling, varied, and downright enjoyable drumming, while a saxophone joyously riffs in the sonic foreground and a funky bassline intertwines with the drumming to create an impossibly smooth groove. Some minor electric guitar and organ work features here, though it should be mentioned that the primitive electronic influences that are present in some other German bands of the era are noticeably absent. It all add up to be a mess, but the result is nothing short of staggering and needs to be heard.
Next comes “All Green”, which, while following in a similar vein to the opening tracks, is somewhat more experimental. Some of the dreaded Krautrock clichés sneak in here – harsh noise breaks in, encroaching on the bliss – but they contrast with the beauty of the conventional components of the music in a complimentary manner. While the jazz and R&B influences pervade the album, they are far from the only genres that Xhol Caravan draw from.
Side B is where things really start to get interesting. Consisting mainly of the 17 minute epic “Raise Up High”, which is an engaging contrast with the contents of Side A. Kicking off with a roaring fuzzed out guitar riff, the song descends a focused funky hard rock tune which slowly descends back into the aforementioned smooth psychedelic jazz-rock bliss of the opening tracks. The first real vocals appear here too, which lend a distinctive intensity to the opening few minutes of the song.
All in all Electrip is an unusual listen, a forgotten forerunner of something special, boldly going where perhaps others had gone before, but in completely its own way. Bar the unnecessary closing track “Walla Massallah”, Electrip engages from start to finish with it’s lean 40 minute runtime which is almost devoid of filler, and will appeal to anyone who enjoys anything between rock, prog, and jazz.