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Thread: Krautrock Bit Me In The Ass

  1. #1
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    Default Krautrock Bit Me In The Ass

    lilac.jpg

    The year: 1973
    Produced by: Klaus Dinger on Vacation from Neu! AND Conny Plank.
    The Artwork: Gatefold Sleeve in Purple

    All too good to be true, but sad to report this (quite expensive LP) is a pile of shite. Kind of bluesy Scorpions-esque rock music in thrall to a comic vision of US Rock of the worst kind (The Scorpions who incidentally Conny also produced).

    Terrible shame the way dipping into Krautrock can be a cosmic disaster.

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    Matt was this the first thing (or maybe even the only thing) released on Dingerland? I read about this somewhere, maybe in one of Copey's Kraut pieces, that Dinger spent a fortune on it and it completely bombed, leaving him with thousands of unsold copies. So it's not much cop eh?

    I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that with Krautrock the 'canon' is actually quite accurate. Although your Krautrock piece at Woebot hinted at some interesting avenues. But once you get past Faust, NEU!, Can, Amon Duul, bits of Ash Ra, K/Cluster, Harmonia, Popol Vuh, there lies a fair bit of tedium. (And I know this is hypocritical after my Prog post last year, but I listened back to some of that stuff recently and just thought "my God what was I thinking? This is just boring hairies banging on drums!"

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    PS 'Day Tripper' genius tag, Matt you joker!

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    i had to look up Lilac Angels in my (usually) trusty "crack in the cosmic egg" book

    they are listed in the back- in the section called "rejects and misfits"- basically the section where they list krautrock bands to avoid...

    "dusseldorf pop-rock band of no real interest" it says

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    Default kosmische kanon

    guru guru belong on the edge of it i think

    what about this guy Deuter? any cop? he seems to have New Age in a serious way a la Ash Ra

    and what do we think of Tangerine Dream and the solo tributaries thereof -- schulze, froese?

    personally i was well underwhelmed by the Cosmic Couriers stuff, after Copey's praise

    jwd, i actually think Canons are usually fairly spot-on, or at least they miss the occasional thing but if you push too far beyond them it's just diminising returns, you're well into the zone of "there's a reason there's not many copies of this in the world",

    c.f. the whole private press, self-released in edition of 500 psych-folk/psych-prog/late-psych thing that forced exposure got behind in the early nineties
    -- these were records made during the absolute boom period for the rock album, the progressive era, almost anything any remotely any good could get signed by a major label. lots of really strange out-there things were on big labels. ergo anybody who had to self-release their own records in 1970 was pretty desperate-sounding

    although you could say the oposite i suppose -- there was so much great music, that some equally great and deserving bands never made -- eg with psychedelia, groups like john's children and tintern's abbey made records the equal of the who or traffic but got crowded out

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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    guru guru belong on the edge of it i think
    Oh yeah forgot about them, the first record is pretty neat isn't it.

    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    and what do we think of Tangerine Dream and the solo tributaries thereof -- schulze, froese?
    My bro bought a 4LP box of Tangerine Dream about a decade ago and we duly listened to it all, he loved it and I was just "oh God, doesn't this ever go on" (fast forward a decade and...) I reckon that stuff'd sound much better to me now. I seem to recall "Electronic Meditation" is neat. And Schulze's "Irrlicht" is pretty massive.

    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    personally i was well underwhelmed by the Cosmic Couriers stuff, after Copey's praise
    Ditto, you'd put on Cosmic Jokers/Couriers etc records and go 'this matters for *what* reason'? I had a similar response to that Sergius Von Golowin record, or whatever it's called (sorry I'd look it up but the tape is in the back of a cupboard in a box of several-hundred...), when I listened to it recently. But then I'm experiencing pretty big burn-out w/that gear in general (faced with new-psych collector insanity clamoring for Guru Guru Bongload Live Wuppertal 1969 bootlegs)

    Strikes me Kraut-rock worked much better when it had a heavy dose of -pop. So my fave Can is 'Ege Bamyasi' (ooh "Spoon" and "I'm So Green"! But you also get "Pinch" and "Vitamin C"...), the best Faust is the pop songs ("It's A Rainy Day"), much of the NEU! stuff is kinda mantric-pop. And of course Kraftwerk's 'Computer World' era stuff, and Cluster, all those beautiful bucolic miniatures.

    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    jwd, i actually think Canons are usually fairly spot-on, or at least they miss the occasional thing but if you push too far beyond them it's just diminising returns, you're well into the zone of "there's a reason there's not many copies of this in the world", c.f. the whole private press, self-released in edition of 500 psych-folk/psych-prog/late-psych thing that forced exposure got behind in the early nineties -- these were records made during the absolute boom period for the rock album, the progressive era, almost anything any remotely any good could get signed by a major label. lots of really strange out-there things were on big labels. ergo anybody who had to self-release their own records in 1970 was pretty desperate-sounding
    Yeah I do agree with canons being fairly spot-on, was probably just smarting after the uber-canon Beatle talk (OK I'll shut up now.) Can't help but wonder whether there was *too much* difference between the coupla-hundred private press and the lesser-known gear on major labels - some of those major label discs really got *buried* at the time (cf. Comus, was Simon Finn on a major - I think so, etc.) I tend to think that you get pretty even levels of good- and badness. So for every great private press record unearthed - Mellow Candle, Stone Angel, some of the Kissing Spell gear - there's tonnes of crud. Same for major labels really innit. Although I still think pushing far far outside the canon is a really important thing cf. unearthing new things, even if you hear some bad shit, it's all knowledge.

    But *back to Krautrock* the major labels offered so much breathing-space didn't they? All those great records on majors or large indies... Of course, as Matt discovered, it really does bit you in the ass sometimes.

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    Outside of the KrautRock canon things becomes more bluesyrock, proggyrock, hardyrock, jazzyfusiononandrocky or simple messyrock (alas we don't have a personal sound but we want to record a gatefold lp on Brain, let's get also a little weird to confuse the water), so is a dangerous (fan)zone. Strangely, in opposite of krauting, you find some interesting things outside the canon of ProgRock (Genesis, EL&P, etc.) but this has been discussed before, and crap abound even (here) there (and everywhere).

    Tangerine Dream first LP is a rite of mindfuck passage, like first Amon Duul I or first Ash Ra Tempel, and all theyr records until Rubycon are more of less fine to me, even if sometimes sounds no more than a PinkFloyd saucerfullagumma ripoffreelaborations. I read somewere in the internet (so probably is babble) that Bjork favorite record is Peter Bauman "romance '78". Anyone here ever listened to it? Schulze other than Irrlicht the second Cyborg is good. Deuter is meh second choice, only the first lp "D" has something of interest to the terminal kraut fans. Better to check "Rot" and "Blau" by ex tangerine/kluster Schnitzer. Guru guru i love "Kanguru", their best for me (also for the cover). Now we can just make a citation of Gandalf just for a laugh. Mellow Candle weren't on a major, Deram/Decca? To go on private pressing inferno is something you do if you are only interested in few genres of music, a friend of mine who only listen to seventies rock have tons of this stuff (that i have never listened for ages (seem to recall the "magical emporium" and "bobby brown somethin enlightment somethin axonda were interesting, someone can confirm this before i throw away my money?)). Cosmic Jocker are nothing great except a track i love: on the "SCI FI PARTY" mess the first track is taken from a section of the first album and is processed with echo and others studio tricks so is the only KrautDub i have ever listen. The album then is a collage of the other KK album so more than a good introduction is simply all you want to have, maybe you can also add the silly Starmaiden record who is done in the same way.

    Back to work

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    anyone know any good 80s kraut stuff? The only bits I've got are ex-cluster people: a roedelius LP which is nice and moebius' albums with conny plank & others (mani neumeier, gerd beerbohm, jurgen engler) which I absolutely love, epecially 'zero set' & 'en-route' Was anyone else doing stuff in this vein in the 80s?

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    Strikes me Kraut-rock worked much better when it had a heavy dose of -pop
    Yeah this strikes me as often very true. It's best when it's utopian rather than droney, and the pop-utopias are the best of all. Even Manuel Gottsching's new-agey guitar bits are quite poppy- all shiny surfaces, pop music to put it on in the background while you do yoga.

    I love Tangerine Dream. Alpha Centuri (with real instruments), and Zeit (ambient electronica) are both fantastic records from the early period.

  10. #10

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    I never bothered with any of the Kraut stuff outside the canon (it even took me ages to hear Amon Duul), and I've sold back 75% of it (survivors: Can, natch; Neu 75; Faust Tapes and IV...Kwerk never counted as Krock to me.) Did I miss the biggest hipster swindle of the 90s?

    (When I think about the money I wasted on 70s funk/soul obscurities, however, I realize that, no, I didn't.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger

    what about this guy Deuter? any cop? he seems to have New Age in a serious way a la Ash Ra
    Deuter is brilliant, highly underrated I think. Personally I rate him as high as Neu and Faust. His first lp, D, is the most kraut-rocky, and great, but probably not that representative. The rest is New Age for sure. The early stuff is where he shines, Haleakala and Celebration in particular, very very strange, sometimes heavy and brooding, sometimes overflowing with restrained, crystal clear joy. Silence is the Answer is his key work, in a way the definitive New Age album. A double with one meditative, ambient lp (lots of gongs and drones), and one lp of silly instrumental pop, acoustic guitars and cascading, bubbling synths - will probably make a lot of people sick, personaly I find it bizarrely charming. Subsequent albums became sweet and sentimental and are not all that, except for a few mystic gems here and there.

    I think the New Age side of kraut is much more interesting than usually asumed, New Age being the most ridiculed and tabooed genre ever. Worth checking out is also Stephan Micus, a kind of restrained laboratory version of Deuter, extremely hypnotic and minimalistic music with multitracked patterns of few, usually quite odd, instruments. Tuned flowerpots! And there was also Peter Michael Hamel, making brilliant, Terry Riley-isch minimalism with lots of droning electronics.


    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger
    and what do we think of Tangerine Dream and the solo tributaries thereof -- schulze, froese?
    I find the claim that TD got progressively (!) bad from Phaedra and onwards very avant-snobbish. They got streamlined and somewhat symphonic, but that was their way of making pop and it worked wonderfully through most of the seventies, even though it also became too much of a formula. The way they used sequencers influenced a lot of stuff, and not just trance. Chris and Cosey and the pop tracks of Throbbing Gristle owes a lot to TD. Check out the Sorcerer soundtrack.

    Froeses two first solo lps are great. As for Schulze, I could go on and on. The first musician I got completely obsessed with. In spite of surface similarities, TD and Schulze are very, very different. TD basically made pseudo-symphonic suites, where Schulze was much more part of the minimalist school, tracks slowly flowing and drifting and mutating. His two first albums, Irrlicht and Cyborg, have allready been mentioned. They're great. Cyborg in particular is one of the heaviest, darkest, most unearthly things you're ever to hear. Utter Solaris music. Then he began using sequencers, the closest you'll get to proto techno next to Kraftwerk. Mirage is a beautyful record, pre-empting much chill out and ambient electronica. Audentity covers both ambient, musique concrete and hard driving sequencer workouts. Dziekuje Poland could be the most unrestrained, insane electronic live album ever, pure mayhem. Many Schulze fans hate his 80s and 90s music, yearning for the spaced out, cosmic 70s Schulze they loved, but personally I have some of my all time favorites there: En=Trance and Miditerranean Pads in particular have somehow reached the core of what Schulzes music is all about, highly energetic and still totally at rest within itself. Ehm, well, as I said, I could go on and on.

    Of the ex-TD members, Conrad Schnitzler needs mention too, crucial to the development of the early indistrial. Listen to Rot and Blau and Gelb, and it's obvious that most Throbbing Gristle was little more than Schnitzler with bad sound.

    I'm not too fond of the traditional kraut canon I must admit. Seeing the electronics as the most interesting thing of that era, I have my personal canon of Sculze/Schnitzler/Cluster. And I think there's still plenty of discovery to be made outside the traditional view, all the stuff NOT being kraut rock, NOT fitting the Cope equation of proto-punk+psychedelics. In addition to the new age stuff mentioned above, there's guys like Holger Hiller and Asmus Tietchens (industrial Residents), or Clara Mondshine or Eberhard Schoener. Or even the bizarre Claude Larson, sometimes sounding like a synthetic ethno-Wakeman, sometimes making the most insane electro funk imaginable. An acquired taste, obviously.
    Last edited by hamarplazt; 04-01-2005 at 12:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by francesco
    I read somewere in the internet (so probably is babble) that Bjork favorite record is Peter Bauman "romance '78". Anyone here ever listened to it?
    Yeah, I have it. It's pretty much like basic 70s Tangerine Dream. OK, but nothing I couldn't live without.

    Bauman tried to go electro pop in the early eighties, with horrible/hillarious results. I'm a sucker for the kind of ultra-synthetic pseudo-Numan kitch he made on Repeat Repeat. One of the tracks is called "Kinky Dinky"!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamarplazt
    Or even the bizarre Claude Larson, sometimes sounding like a synthetic ethno-Wakeman, sometimes making the most insane electro funk imaginable. An acquired taste, obviously.
    Wow I forgot about a Larson LP I have, presumably 80s from the sleeve, called 'synchrosonic patterns' - has moments of brilliance - It's kind of a library LP and I couldn't find any information about him on the net - any other LPs I should check for hamarplazt?

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    Larson (real name Klaus Netzle) have made unfathomable amounts of records, a lot of them library records, and a lot of them not that good (some actually rather dull). My personal favorites are: Environment, Surroundings, Climax and especially High-Tech. The cover notes of Climax claim: The whole record was entirely played by robots like Fairlight Music Computer and Roland MC 8 Microcomposer. Right on!

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    the second side of schnitzler's 'rot' is awesome, this huge pointillist electro squall....v nice sleeve also

    re- kraut-into-pop, how much do people like der plan or the stuff on those 'tuetonik disaster' comps count as krautrock? obviously not very hippy and (thank god) not much jamming, but still lots of experimentation and conceptualising and general overambitiousness...
    the 'cosmic' angle is a bit played out, can be more fun to plot the links between this stuff and eg beuys or the RAF or fassbinder...

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