GAM (Gunter Schickert)- Eiszeit LP - 70's Krautrock
Underground German kosmic rock band GAM recorded their sole record, Eisziet, in 1978 and then shelved it after the master tape disappeared. Comprised of echo-guitar pioneer Günter Schickert, guitarist Axel Struck, and drummer Michael Leske, GAM’s record sat undiscovered and thought lost until The Crack in the Cosmic Egg authors Alan and Steven Freeman tracked down Günter, found out that he had a copy of the recording, and released it on CD on their label, Cosmic Egg, in 2004.
Championed by Julian Cope, GAM wove echoed guitars and tripped-out vocals together over a tight rhythmic groove that still sounds current thirty odd years after their recording date. While the band was mostly improvising, they still kept their compositions tight and maintained a sense of direction. There are few overdubs and most everything on Eisziet was recorded live.
Günter, a veteran of the Berlin experimental and free jazz music scene, was a frequent visitor to the legendary German club/art space, Zodiac Free Arts Lab (founded by Conrad Schnitzler and Hans-Joachim Roedelius), where he encountered fellow German music pioneers and witnessed seminal live performances by now-lauded German bands. In 1974, prior to GAM, Günter self-released his first solo record, Samtvogel, which the label Brain reissued in 1975. Following working with Klaus Schulze, Günter recorded a second solo record, Uberfallig, on Sky Records in 1979.
With GAM, the musicians would largely improvise over pre-determined song structures, with the music constantly changing during live performances. Although GAM performed live in the mid-late 70s, they weren’t part of the blossoming Neue Deutsche Welle (German new wave) scene. GAM wasn’t interested—or even particularly aware—of that movement and instead existed in their own underground musical world, which espoused radical politics and progressive musical ideas.
After a small tour that included Bavaria and some Berlin club gigs, the band split up and Axel left Berlin. Axel and Michael’s current whereabouts are unknown, but Günter has continued to perform music since GAM’s demise. In addition to his notable solo career, Günter produces music for film and theater and has performed in such bands No Zen and Seelefunken. He currently plays with Ziguri.
Making its debut on vinyl, Eisziet was mastered from Gunter’s ¼” tape by Timothy Stollenwerk at Stereophonic Mastering. Featuring a tip-on sleeve, liner notes, and previously unseen band photographs, Eiszeit will appeal to fans of early Ash Ra Tempel, Cosmic Jokers, and Achim Reichel and the Machines.