Week of February 10, 2002

Nine Days' Wonder

Walter Seyffer founded the group Nine Days' Wonder as early as 1966. Four years later, the line-up was: W. Seyffer (lead vocals, drums, percussion), John Earle (sax, flute, guitar, vocals, from Ireland), Rolf Henning (guitar, piano), Karl Mutschlechner (bass, from Austria) and Martin Roscoe (drums, from the UK). They recorded their first album in the Dierks Studio, January 1971 with the Hauke & Dierks team. This was a fine example of more bizarre German progressive rock, clearly inspired by King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Soft Machine, Traffic, Family and Deep Purple. They presented long, complex suites of heavy progressive riffing, jazz fusion, large amounts of free improvisation, neck-breaking shifts of tempo and general insanity on tracks like "Morning Spirit" and "Stomach's Choise".

A fine achievement, if a little difficult to get into. The original German issue of the album came in a green foam-rubber cover designed by Seyffer!!! It surely qualifies for the top ten list of the craziest sleeve designs ever made! John Earle's talented sax and flute work was particularly notable. When the original Nine Days' Wonder disbanded in 1972, he went to England and joined Gnidrolog (you can hear him on the classic album "Lady Lake"). Martin Roscoe drummed for a while in 2066 & Then. Seyffer joined Michael Bundt's band Medusa. In December 1972, this band suddenly turned out to be the new Nine Days' Wonder: Seyffer (vocals, percussion), Bundt (bass), Hans Frauenschuh (guitar), Freddie Munster (sax, keyboards) and Karl-Heinz Weiler (drums).

In July 1973, they recorded "We Never Lost Control", which, understandably, was totally different to the 1971 album: a 'straighter' progressive rock album comparable to other Hauke productions like Epsilon, Nektar or Message. In 1974, Nine Days' Wonder went through further changes and ended up as a quartet at last, consisting of Seyffer, Bundt, Rolf Henning (guitar, bass) and Sidhatta Gautama (drums). They recorded "Only The Dancers" in September 1974 in England with guests Dave Jackson (sax, flute, from Van den Graaf Generator) and Steve Robinson (keyboards, ex-2066 & Then). This was a much more straight rock song-oriented album, with tuneful and sophisticated compositions. The last incarnation of this unstable group was formed in the Summer of 1975: Seyffer & Gautama with Bernd Unger (guitar, vocals), Peter Oehler (guitar, vocals) and Rainer Saam (bass). Their album, "Sonnet To Billy Frost" (1976) was dismissed in the music press at the time of release, but has proved able to stand the test of time.

A kind of rock opera, it sounded strangely British (short, melodic up-beat rock songs with some linked musical themes and clever lyrics). After Nine Days' Wonder disbanded, Unger and Seyffer made three further albums together as Wintergarden.

Taken from Cosmic Dreams at Play - A guide to German Progressive and Electronic Rock by Dag Erik Asbjørnsen, Borderline Productions, ISBN 1-899855-01-7

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