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Krautrock: Love it or Hate it!
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Re: Krautrock: Love it or Hate it!
Sep 03, 2004, 15:19
I love all of the major albums from the first-rank bands (Can, Faust, Neu!, Cluster, Harmonia, Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Guru Guru, Popol Vuh, Amon Düül II, in no particular order). I don't remember anyone listing Klaus Schulze's "Irrlicht", but I think it's magnificent, kosmische proto-synth drone coloured by orchestra.
Popol Vuh's "Hosianna Mantra" should get top mention too.

One album belongs to the top rank but is still little known and hasn't been legitimately reissued, though there's a good quality boot floating about: the second album of Tomorrow's Gift, "Goodbye Future". Don't confuse it with the first Tomorrow's Gift album, which was done by a very different band, and sucks. Amazing Canterbury influenced, cosmic rock, spiced with RIOisms, a wide variety of keyboards, and Conny Plank's production. Unique.

A few items are overrated in my book. The first Cosmic Jokers album is very enjoyable, the second a little less so, and then it drops into the toilet. Wegmüller's double album has a few good tracks, but is mostly weak, and I've like it less every time I've listened to it.

"Neu! 75" is good, but dwarfed by Harmonia's "Deluxe". Though the production is excellent and "Isi" is genius, the compositions are just not up to par; Neumeier's drumming is more subtle and effective than Dinger's, especially the slow build on "Walky Talky".

"Embryo's Rache" and "Steig Aus" are different but good; however, Embryo is just not as imaginative as the top rank krautrock bands. I've only heard the first Mythos album, but too much of it smacks of the bad side of prog (um, a cover of Handel?); "Oriental Journey" is brilliant, though.

I empathise with those who don't like "Cottonwoodhill". The woman's vocals annoyed me beyond end when I first heard them, and I wasn't too impressed with the funky ostinato peppered with random moments of musique concrete. (I always loved the first track on the album.) I think my problem was that I was expecting a great KRAUTROCK album, and it just doesn't have the alien sense I love about the best krautrock. Instead, it seems to me like the extreme conclusion of 60's psychedelia. I've since grown to appreciate it.
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