Imagine a young musician trying to interest you in a 20-minute cassette of instrumental music, on which he played every instrument. Such was the case when Virgin Records boss Richard Branson first encountered Mike Oldfield. Not that the young Oldfield didn't have credentials: He'd been in a folk band with his older sister Sally since he was 14, and spent the past few years in Kevin Ayers's band, the Whole World.
After the creative summit of 1971-1972, change was in the making for Amon Düül II. Before a tour of the UK in the spring (a session was recorded for the BBC in May), Lothar Meid and Daniel Fichelscher departed, the latter for Popol Vuh. Peter Leopold returned, and multi-instrumentalist Robby Heibl later arrived to help complete the ensuing album, Vive La Trance. Sporting 11 individual tracks, the band left the instrumentals of their previous albums behind for something far more concise and, perhaps, even more commercial.
Munich was an especially fertile breeding ground for rock music in the late 60s, perhaps because of its reputation as a jazz center in Europe; also, groups as diverse as Amon Düül I & II, Popol Vuh, Passport and Embryo all called it home. Percussionist Christian Burchard founded Embryo in late 1969, following a brief stint in Amon Düül II. After releasing their debut album Opal on Ohr, the group essentially solidified with drummer/vocalist Burchard, bassist Roman Bunka, flautist Hansi Fischer and saxophonist/violinist Edgar Hofmann.