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Krautrock: Love it or Hate it!
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Re: Krautrock: Love it or Hate it!
Sep 02, 2004, 16:19
As for my faves, there's really too much of it to practically list here. Loads and loads and loads and loads and loads. I should also note that anyone who's listening to this stuff and getting big into it NEEDS to listen to Karlheinz Stockhausen's work from "Gesang der Jünglinge" up thru "Trans". Especially that first piece, "Kontakte", "Telemusik", "Hymnen" and the free-music-type noisefun of "Kurzwellen". Stocki's music is a critical element in all of what came out of the Krautrock scene in some way or another.

However, there have also been some Krautrock and kraut-related things that have elicited some real cringes from me over the years...

Jane...nonononoooo...picked up the first album on the basis of Conny Plank producing. Ugly prog-metal, with screechy vocals, all of it going approximately nowhere very fast. Album has perhaps one of the ugliest covers known to god and man, also, which was part of why I picked it up optimistically in the first place. But no...it just mirrors the bleah-ness of what's inside. I have heard that later albums of theirs are even worse, which makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

Kraan...got "Let it Out"...and aside of the rather interesting "Die Maschine", it's all feh-delic jazzrock junk that seems to have nothing to do with that one track. Had about the same effect on me as accidentally buying the 'Gong' album "Gazeuse" after getting very into the whole PHP Trilogy stuff.

Ash Ra Tempel: "Seven Up"...might've seemed like a good idea at the time, particularly if 'at the time' included being jacked up on a couple thousand mikes of White Lightning. Seems like a very BAD one now. Even if the charges they sent Tim Leary back to prison on were trumped-up and total Nixonian poop, you could've easily held up his vocals here as a valid excuse to have him locked up.

Later Guru Guru. Early Guru Guru good, later Guru Guru...ahh...is this even the same band? Same planet? Did someone put lameness drugs into the studio water cooler? Mr. Neumaier, please pick up the white courtesy clue-phone...

Novalis...ok, here's where I start getting ambivalent. Their first self-titled album is either one of the best arguments either FOR or AGAINST prog. It all depends on how you look at it. They do some amazing half-side-long workouts...but then again, they do some amazing half-side-long workouts. They base one piece off of a symphony by Bruckner...but then again, they base one piece off a symphony by Bruckner. They adapt lyrics from the German mystic/romantic poet Novalis...but then...well, you get the point. After that first album, which I say is worth getting just to see what I'm talking about here, there were some personnel changes and the usual 2nd-string German prog lameness settled in. Avoid.

Liliental...a one-off Conny Plank-produced Kraut 'supersession'...in theory. In practice, the resulting album has some amazing ambient bits...and then some INCREDIBLY craptastic moments, particularly when they start veering off into Vegas lounge stylings. See my review of this elsewhere on the site for details.

Eroc...there are some Kraut critics who really dote on his work. I found it aimless and tedious as hell. Very self-indulgent twaddle. I never got past "2", which was the only Eroc thing I ever picked up, mainly on the basis of said critics.

Tritonus...ack, ech, ugh, bleah...unlike Novalis, this is definitely an argument AGAINST prog. Album cover, as I recall, has a hilariously disco-looking blue-painted nude girl on it, and while one long synth-driven track, "Mars Flight", is interesting, it's a situation sort of like that Kraan album above...everything around it just drags it down.

I'm sure there's others to avoid, but the trauma of having encountered them is blocking their memory from my mind.
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