Kënnlisch - s/t. 1976 private.
Here's another major league rarity sent in from The Alaskan Connection. This is another one I'd never even heard of until now. Terms like "haunting folk" and "folk psych" are two of the most overused in the music collecting business. There was a time in the early 90s that I was truly excited to hear the albums that these collectors described ("enchanting", "mystical", "from the mists of time","shrouded in mystery"). Until I did. Most of the albums in this field are purely folk, with maybe a few minutes of electric instrumentation. And much of it is drinking around the campfire music, hardly the dark / mystical imagery that they would have you believe. With that in mind...
Kënnlisch is haunting folk personified.
The group is made up of two members, the Macherey brothers, and it's Philippe who makes this album very interesting. He plays electric guitar, harmonium and Moog. The latter element in particular makes this one far more interesting to me. And the harmonium recalls Windy Corner at their best. Though the location of the recordings is in Paris, I would suspect the band is Alsatian. I say that because there is a distinct German quality at play here. There are sparse vocals in French, but they're sung more forcefully. As well, the brief narration sounded Germanic to me (though still in French). The downside of the album is a few tracks are simply Jean-Francois strumming his acoustic guitar. I could see doing that for one song tops, but with about 30-35% of the album like this, it begins to drag a bit.
If there's a hot commodity in the collector world right now, it's psychedelic folk. This one is actually close to living up to its name.
Not a cheap record either, I might add. I would definitely second his opinion though with regards to mislabelled haunting folk-- at this point I specifically steer away from anything described with the dreaded 'psychedelic' label. Replace that with the word 'ordinary' and you get pretty much as close to the truth as you could hope. On the other hand, as you have seen on this blog, there are plaintively haunting folk albums which are totally unknown and do deserve the positive assessment, like the recent Rosemarie Taylor. But curiosity always has to get the better of us I guess.