From Wuppertal, 20 miles or so east of Düsseldorf, Hölderlin evolved out of a 1960's folk group playing Fairport Convention and Pentangle songs. They took their name from the 19th Century writer Friedrich Hölderlin.
Originally, they were a family band, the core was the brothers Christian and Jochen Grumbkow, with Christian's wife Nanny as lead singer, with a trippy cosmic styled progressive folk, full of rich textures, psychedelic, medieval and classical touches.
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Hoelderlin Discography


Hölderlin* Hölderlins Traum (Album) Pilz (2) Germany 1972 Sell This Version
Hoelderlin Hoelderlin (Album) Spiegelei Germany 1975 Sell This Version
Hoelderlin Clowns & Clouds (Album) Spiegelei Germany 1976 Sell This Version
Hoelderlin Rare Birds (Album) Spiegelei Germany 1977 Sell This Version
Hoelderlin Traumstadt (Album) Spiegelei, Spiegelei Germany 1978 Sell This Version
Hoelderlin New Faces (Album) Spiegelei Germany 1979 Sell This Version
Hoelderlin Fata Morgana (Album) Spiegelei Germany 1981 Sell This Version
00946 3 85385 2 3 Hoelderlin Eight(CD, Album) EMI 00946 3 85385 2 3 Germany 2007 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

Hoelderlin Somebody's Callin' / The Shouter (Single) Intercord Germany 1979 Sell This Version
180028-B/3 Kraftwerk, Hoelderlin Kraftwerk, Hoelderlin - Ruckzuck / Phasing(12", S/Sided, TP) Not On Label 180028-B/3 Germany Unknown Sell This Version


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February 17, 2014
Hoelderlin are a group that we only recently found out about, who, on first listening, blew our minds. They are a classy rock group with a cosmic/folk touch and riveting viola work, and are easily on par with other groups in this class; for instance: Jane, Novalis and Satin Whale. Although at times they can resemble Genesis and Gentle Giant, they have managed to keep their own sound and original style.
The group were called Hölderlin when they first formed in 1971 at Wuppertal, West Germany. At this time they had a female vocalist, Nanny von Grumbcow, who sang in German. The rest of the group were: Christian von Grumbcow (guitars) and Jochen von Grumbcow (cello, organ, etc.), Peter Kassenberg (bass), Christoph Noppeney (cello, viola) and Michael Bruchmann (drums, percussion). The only album we know about is HÖLDERLIN'S TRAUM. Their style at this time was very much folk-rock. The next few years are a bit hazy, except that Jochen guested on Tangerine Dream's ZEIT playing cello.
Then in 1975 came the 'new' group, with a slightly changed name in Hoelderlin and a new approach. Nanny had left and so they now sung in English, they had now cut back on the folk sound bringing in a new cosmic sound, Jochen and Christian dropped the 'von'. For the debut album of this new line-up, Peter's brother Joachim joined on guitar, Christian took over lead vocals and Joachim switched completely to keyboards. The album itself is quite amazing, and highlights are Schwebebahn, a surging instrumental with layered viola work, and Honey Pot, which shows their brand of humour as a silly story about a man who collects honey pots, and imagines all the things he could do when he sells them, only to have his favourite item fall on his head. He then realises that 'this is not the way to happiness'. Deathwatchbeetle is a 17 minute epic with superb dynamics portraying the story of the insect in question. It is arranged perfectly and has a guest appearance by Conny Plank on synthi.
CLOWNS AND CLOUDS followed a year later. The Kassenberg brothers had left and been replaced by Hans Bäär on bass and guitar. Their style became more sophisticated, and Streaming (along with Phasing) on side two show new ideas coming out. At this time they were verging into similar areas as Grobschnitt (could it be that Hans Bäär is Baar out of Grobschnitt?).
In 1977, Christian dropped his role as vocalist/guitarist to concentrate on managing the group, writing lyrics, and designing album covers and the stage sets. Pablo Weeber joined as guitarist for RARE BIRDS, the next album. It has a similar formula to that used on CLOWNS AND CLOUDS. The title track has a very haunting feel, contrasted by the hurtling instrumentation of Necronomicon.
1978 sees the peak of Hoelderlin's career with the release of the amazing LIVE-TRAUMSTADT, There are 7 tracks on this album selected from their last 3 outings plus Die Stadt, a mind-blowing improvisation which really shifts. Here Christoph Noppeney shows that the viola is by no means a redundant instrument in rock music. Soft Landing has cosmic riffs that only Hoelderlin can produce.
by Alan & Steve Freeman, first published in Face Out, issue 5 (August 1979)

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