following Krautrock reviews are courtesy of Aquarius
San Francisco, who offer many of these titles through mail-order
(click on the "Aquarius" buttons to link to their site).
more mail-order outlets visit
our contacts page.
Gunter "Uberfallig" [Green Tree]
This is the cd reissue of Schickert's second album (following his
Brain debut "Samtvogel") originally issued in 1980. It's hard to
believe somebody this good didn't record more or with other people.
Schickert's exceptionally hypnotic space-echo guitar work similar
to Manuel Gottsching is matched by fascinating rhytmic pulsations
(at times recalling prime Can-like velocities or AR & the Machines
circular bubbliness, and some Pink Floyd "Meddle" era pastoral psych
as well). Guitar, drums, some voice, and nature sounds...Superb.
Irmin "Gormenghast" [Spoon/Mute]
A fantasy opera, based on Mervyn Peake's gothic novels, written
by keyboardist Irmin Schmidt of krautrock legends Can. He utilizes
everything from traditional operatic vocals to synthisized breakbeats
to tell the story inspired by the great castle Gormenghast and its
Conrad "Blau" [Marginal Talent]
This rare album (only 500 copies of the LP were originally issued
in 1974) is now finally reissued on cd! "Blau" (Blue) is the second
solo effort from krautrock electronics pioneer Conrad Schnitzler,
following his amazing debut "Rot" (Red) and his late sixties work
with Tangerine Dream (on their freaked-out debut "Electronic Meditation")
and with Moebius and Roedelius in the original Kluster. As you might
expect, this is moody, dark, rhythmical proto-electronica somewhere
between Morton Subotnick and today's Ovals and the like. Burbling
tones meet spiralling buzz-drones and flickering, glitch-like bleeps
in hypnotically building patterns. This cd includes six unreleased
bonus tracks we're told were recorded at the same time period as
the original LP, although they're a lot more aggressive and overtly
mad-scientist like than "Blau" proper. Only complaint: no liner
Conrad "The Piano Works, Vol. 1" [Platelunch]
Not really new, but I don't think we listed it before. Krautrock/electronica
pioneer Schnitzler (original member of Kluster, with a long solo
career) sets aside the synths and investigates actual piano sounds
on this release. Of course, these compositions are not humanly playable--a
computer has assisted with the process. Kind of an update on Conlon
Nancarrow's player piano pieces, or doing for piano playing what
drum and bass programming does for human drumming... Insane stuff,
but not utterly chaotic--this is really melodic and quite musical.
Schnitzler, indeed, remains a genius.
Explosion [Purple Pyramid]
Domestic issue of all-star "Legends of Krautrock" jam, with members
of Cluster, Faust, Amon Duul and Guru Guru. These guys still have
the cosmic vibe, quite nice a disc indeed.
Dream "Electronic Meditation" [Relativity]
Reissue of the spacey 1970 LP.
3 krautrock albums that were supposedly issued in the 70s in tiny
editions of, like, 50 copies or something. The Pyramid album sole
track is a mysterious 35-minutes of spacy drone with mellotron,
moogs, and Tibetan bells. The Nazgul cd, our favorite of the three,
is from 1975 and features 4 long tracks of droning ambience that's
easily as good as any current space rock outfit could put together;
i.e. Magnog, Labradford or anything else on Kranky.
Terre "Die Roboterrubato" [Mille Plateaux]
Kraftwerk songs "interpreted" on the piano, with extensive liner
notes explaining Thaemlitz's approach. Quite beautiful, although
the Kraftwerk component is not always immediately obvious.< a href="http://www.aquariusrecords.org/"
Der Nacht "Sleepless" [Captain Trip]
From the duo of Mani Neumeier (of Guru Guru fame) and Luigi Archetti,
features guest Dieter Moebius of Cluster.
s/t [Second Battle]
Why does anyone bother with the current crop of "stoner rock" when
there's so much better stuff made back in the original stoner age
(the '70s) now being reissued?? If you're into the Man's Ruin roster,
and prone to buying albums by the latest Swedish Kyuss clone, yet
don't have, say, Lucifer's Friend, Flower Travellin' Band, Leafhound,
Captain Beyond, or Buffalo reissues in your collection, it's time
to get with the program! Not that that's easy, since much of the
good old shit is definitely obscure and unheralded. This self-titled
disc is the first and best of Swiss-band Toad's three LPs, serving
up hard-rockin' stoner psych in the best blues-based tradition of
early Blue Cheer and Led Zep. The first track "Cotton Wood Hill"
will offer a clue about the lineage of this band, as Toad's rhythm
section played on the classic LP of that same title by acid-fried
Krautrockers Brainticket! Toad boasts an excellent vocalist put
to good use on the more melodic parts of their sometimes quite long
songs, but a large part of the LP is occupied by heavy (HEAVY) jamming
instrumental excursions featuring the killer guitar of one Vic Vergeat.
This is genuine heaviness, circa 1971. This reissue features four
bonus tracks, including their spacey cover of Hendrix' "Purple Haze",
a suitable choice indeed. Toad, dude.
"The Story of Volkslied Into Krautrock Goes On"...the third and
fourth volumes of the previously vinyl-only "Pre-Kraut Pandaemonium"
series are compiled onto cd. 29 tracks of crazee German '60s beat
"Electrick Loosers: The Story of Volkslied Into Krautrock"
The cd edition of the"Pre-Kraut Pandaemonium" lps vol. 1 & 2, crazy
German beat music from the late 60's, before the punks went cosmic,
the same scene that spawned the Monks (who appeared on a later edition
in the Pre-Kraut Pandaemonium series). Cryptic liner notes indicate
that there's indeed some pre-Can (then called Inner Space), pre-Amon
Duul etc. musicians on here.
"Golden Age: Eurock, A History of European Progressive Music"
Where to begin with a review of a cd-rom that includes over 1,500
articles and reviews? Well, this is what I can tell you upon first
examination of this disc, but many many hours could be spent exploring
the material to be found here. Basically, this is an cross-platform
(Mac and PC) cd-rom archive of every issue of Archie Patterson's
Eurock fanzine, from 1973 to today, 45 issues worth. Eurock, as
you might guess, specializes in European progressive rock sounds
(although you'll also find coverage of scenes in Japan, Mexico,
and other non-European places). Beginning in '73, it was initially
focused on the contemporary krautrock scene (with features on Can,
Amon Duul, Tangerine Dream in issue #1!), but as you browse through
the issues you'll find stuff on Magma, Kraftwerk, RIO, Guru Guru,
and then soon you'll be reading about Franco Battiato, Nektar, Lars
Hollmer...it's endless. The Wire review of this of course bagged
on the exclusion of much UK prog-rock (as if you'd rather read about
Gentle Giant than Le Orme), but Patterson could hardly go back in
a time machine and add stuff to the old issues of his zine -- what
they wrote then is what you get now, and that's the beauty of it,
the sense of "being there", of discovery, and all that...I almost
wish that the magazine had been archived PDF fashion, so that you
could actually see the original page layout and funky fonts. At
least there's a gallery of cover art (unfortunately not viewable
at full-size), for fans of the '70 underground press aesthetic.
some bonus video material as well, an Urban Sax concert and a cut
each from Amon Dull II ("Eye-Shaking King", goddamn!) and Popul
Vuh from German TV. Very cool! Oh, and then the regular audio portion
of this cd is some inoffensive New Agey symphonic music from one
Hiro Kawahara, which might have its uses when trying to relax after
several hours of computer-screen staring eyestrain that this cd-rom
will surely cause.
"Homage To Neu!" [Cleopatra]
Krautrock legends get their props with this comp, featuring Michael
Rother (ex-Neu!), James Plotkin, Autechre, Legendary Pink Dots,
Dead Voices On Air, and others...but no Stereolab! What?
"Hungry Krauts, Daddy!" [BK]
The sequel to "Kraut! Demons! Kraut!" More than 70 minutes
of Weltgeistangst. Mind-blowing.
"Kraut! Demons! Kraut!" [BK]
Subtitled "German Psychedelic Underground 1968-1974." From the purveyors
of the "Pre-Kraut Pandaemonium" lps and the "Electric Loosers" cds,
this collection moves a few years ahead from the 60's German beat
groups of those comps to full-on cosmic krautrock rarities. There's
an unreleased early Can track on here ("Kama Sutra), also the likes
of Exmagma, Electric Sandwich, Limbus 4, and many others--all very
obscure and very psychedelic!!
"Mitten Ins Ohr" [Ohr]
An "Appetizer" of the Krautrock-scene featuring Popol
Vuh, Anima and Guru Guru.
"Musique Non Stop: A Tribute To Kraftwerk" [EMI, Japan]
Japanese artists cover their favorite Kraftwerk tunes. Participants
include Melt Banana, Zeni Geva, Buffalo Daughter and a bunch of
others we're not familiar with, but who seem to be part of the Japanese
avant-pop electronica scene. The whole thing is great, absolutely
"The World Of Krautrock" [XYZ]
Bargain price import double cd sampler of some pretty cool, cosmic
70's German rock. You get two hours worth of the likes of Popol
Vuh, Guru Guru, Birth Control, Witthuser & Westrupp, Holderlin and
many more (obscure) bands.
German producer Markus Schmickler -- who was responsible for that
great Tortoise-beating Pluramon record on Mille Plateaux a little
while ago, the one with the cameo from Can's Jaki Liebezeit -- turns
his talents to full-on abstract drone electronica with Wabi Sabi.
Forced Exposure's Jimmy Johnson calls it "...a staggering sounding,
beautifully packaged and simply significant contemporary electronic
Caravan "Motherfuckers Live" [United Dairies]
Achtung Krautrock heads! Previously unreleased live recordings by
this way-out-there, pioneering German band. Xhol Caravan, who started
life playing R&B as Soul Caravan in the late sixties and then mutated
into Xhol Caravan (and finally, just Xhol) as their sound developed
to encompass hippified jazz fusion and post-"Revolution No. 9" psychedelic
sound collage, on albums like "Electrip" and the wonderfully titled
"Motherfuckers GMBH & Co KG" (that one a classic krautrock freakfest
document indeed, hence this new live collection's title.) Two live
shows on two discs (crazed, spacey stuff from 1968 and '69, including
a lengthy version of Donovan's "Season Of The Witch" interpolated
into Xhol's freeform "Freedom Opera") and a third 20-minute disc,
called "Hot Buttered Xhol", that features Current 93, Nurse With
Wound, and Christoph Heemann covering Xhol material. The archival
recordings are great (one was for a radio broadcast), plus the booklet
is stuffed with colorful art and photos, and liner notes by super-Xhol
fans Heeman, David Tibet and Stephen Stapleton.
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