Electric Sun – Earthquake (1979)

FrontCover1After his none-too-pleasant exit from German hard rock icons the Scorpions, guitar wizard Uli Jon Roth launched the next phase of his career via 1979’s Earthquake album, which was released through his ostensible solo project, Electric Sun — a psychedelic power trio fashioned in the image of his idol Jimi Hendrix’s Experience. Unfortunately, Electric Sun’s hippie tendencies were already severely outdated by this time, and with Roth handling the singing despite his obvious technical limitations (even with the Scorpions, he frequently insisted on sharing lead vocals with true frontman Klaus Meine), the project was probably doomed to commercial failure from the start. Indeed, no matter how categorically dazzling his guitar-playing skills, Roth’s incompetence as a singer transformed Earthquake into the sort of album that made his loyal fans want to pull their hair out in frustration. On the one hand, here was the glory of Roth’s guitar work, with its effortlessly fluid melodic lines, unexpected twists of the imagination, astounding improvisations, complete control of tone Live1979_02and texture, and not a single note wasted in the bargain; on the other, there was Uli’s nasal and unruly voice, rambling on about painfully archaic flower-child subjects, with no help from his heavy German accent. And perhaps even stranger, nestled in alongside epic workouts like “Burning Wheels Turning” and the neo-classical tour de force of a title track, other songs simply found Roth and company reinterpreting his brighter moments with the Scorpions — e.g., opener “Electric Sun,” which was a pretty straightforward reworking of “Polar Nights” with altered lyrics, while “Lilac” clearly aped the midsection of “Fly to the Rainbow.” All this being said, it’s still impossible to recommend against Earthquake where pure guitar shredding nirvana is concerned; Uli Jon Roth’s vocals may produce a certain amount of discomfort, but his jaw-dropping six-string heroics will have loyalists convulsing with delight. (by Eduardo Rivadavia)

Clive Edwards (drums)
Uli Ritgen (bass)
Uli Jon Roth (guitar, vocals)

01. Electric Sun 5.16
02. Lilac 2.49
03. Burning Wheels Turning 6.41
04. Japanese Dream 3.52
05. Sundown 4.06
06. Winterdays 1.25
07. Still So Many Miles Away 4.40
08. Earthquake 10.31

All songs written by Uli Jon Roth


Electric Sun – Fire Wind (1981)

FronCover1The same conflict of extremes that had blemished Uli Jon Roth’s debut with Electric Sun — mind-blowing guitar work marred by painfully ineffective vocals — were reprised with increasingly dire consequences on the power trio’s sophomore outing, 1980’s Fire Wind. At least on Earthquake, large doses of hard rock akin to that of his former employers, the Scorpions, had helped soften the blow by keeping Roth’s outmoded hippie ramblings in check, but on Fire Wind the guitarist was even less disciplined, his songs trippier, and his Hendrix fixation crossing the line from honest inspiration to poor man’s imitation. To the UliRothlatter point, “I’ll Be Loving You Always” lifted melodies from both “The Wind Cries Mary” and “Angel,” while the nearly 11-minute “Hiroshima” — spine-tingling as it was as a guitar-playing showcase — essentially represented the German guitarist’s personal take on Hendrix’s “Machine Gun.” And in broader terms, the heartfelt messages parlayed by Roth’s flower-power lyrics were generally stripped of significance when sung in a style reminiscent of Frank Zappa’s comedy routines — an inevitable byproduct of his deficient vocal talents. Even so, the album had at least one undeniable highlight in energetic opening rocker “Cast Away Your Chains,” which overwhelmed any vocal failings with a solo and extended coda that’s as good as guitar shredding has ever been. Notwithstanding this one track, though, only guitar freaks and Roth completists will likely want to venture into Fire Wind’s sonic vortex. (by Eduardo Rivadavia)

Sidhatta Gautama (drums)
Ule Ritgen (bass)
Uli Roth (guitar, vocals)

01. Cast Away Your Chains 3.56
02. Indian Dawn 5.16
03. I’ll Be Loving You Always 5.00
04. Fire Wind 5.03
05. Prelude In Space Minor 1.22
06. Just Another Rainbow 3.54
07. Children Of The Sea 3.23
08. Chaplin And I 5.45
09. Enola Gay (Hiroshima Today?) 10:37
a) Enola Gay
b) Tune Of Japan
c) Attack
d) Lament

All songs written by Uli Roth
CD1(this rip was taken from the 3 CD compilation “From Here To Eternity”)