Author Topic: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?  (Read 1589 times)

The Mollusk

  • We whipped 'em, didn't we?
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #30 on: October 06, 2020, 01:26:37 PM »
Sorry everyone I will get around to checking out some new stuff mentioned here soon, but in truth I only discovered Yeti on Sunday and I have been listening to almost nothing but that record since.

A couple of friends and I are in a little record club where one of us will choose an album and we all have a week to analyse it and write a review. It's my week and I chose this album. Here's my review (with some added history, as my two pals aren't quite as clued up on the genre):

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Nestled in between the mid-'60s explosion of psychedelia and the steady ascension of prog rock in the early '70s, virgin ears will easily recognise Amon Düül II's "Yeti" as, at the very least, a musical curio. Its far-reaching multifaceted layers are undeniably well-performed, and the tunes have a beguiling charm which draws the listener in instantly. However, whilst it could be comfortably summarised as merely a hidden gem of heavy psych-rock, bizarre yet alarmingly cohesive, it's when you really start to look into its history as the music gradually envelops you on repeat listens that you realise it's so much more than that.

Amon Düül was an art commune which formed in Munich in the late '60s as a response to (or a rebellion against) the stiff conservatism of post-war Germany. As the country steadily sought to build itself back up from the ruins, its cultural identity lay comparatively stagnant and apathetic. Musically, the best material on offer was bad German pop and equally bad imitations of British and American pop. The all-encompassing genre known as Krautrock (a term lazily shrugged off by a dismissive British journalist which, oddly, still remains its most identifiable placeholder) would soon see German music rising from the rubble with a unique new vision spurred on by the unpatriotic self-loathing and lack of identity that burdened its creators. Merging styles such as psych, jazz, avant-garde, funk and electronic experimentation, Krautrock would go on to be acknowledged as a revolutionary art form, playing a pivotal role in the early formation of musical milestones such as punk rock, ambient, techno, and pioneering the bold, insistent drum beat known as "motorik". At the starting line of all this was Amon Düül, and from that collective of improvisational musicians, the more focused and successful band Amon Düül II was formed.

Coming from a city with a history as weighted and troublesome as Munich (where Hitler and the National Socialist Party first rose to prominence in the early 1920s), it shouldn't come as much surprise that alienation, disillusionment and post-war horror are coursing so thick through the veins of "Yeti" that it practically turns the stomach. The mesmerising bluesy rhythm sections and far-out cosmic licks woven through this record, although standing out as its most instantly recognisable qualities, are more a vessel for the blighted souls that cling to the sides like passengers of a train bursting from an existential hell. The lyrics, few in number but monstrous in design, come from nightmares that would have most macabre poets and extreme metal bands stirring fretfully in their sleep, and the vocals bark and howl like tortured spirits alongside discordant strings, organ and rhythm guitar, the grinding wheels of the train straining under its tumultuous weight.

On Spotify we're graciously treated to the definitive 2005 remaster which really helps to accentuate every element here to its fullest, especially the bass which sounds magnificent on every track, serving as a thick primordial soup underlying the rest of this densely textured record which incorporates a great many different styles (it's this open-eared enthusiasm to build outlandish and colossal forms from whatever's lying around that would go on to leave such a lasting imprint on the various branches of Krautrock in the years to follow), with drone, acid folk, jazz/avant-garde, psych/garage rock, Eastern traditionalism and blues (almost heavy enough to be considered proto-doom) all merging here in glorious coalescence. Skull-splitting headbangers like "Archangels Thunderbird" and "Eye Shaking King" sit impressively alongside ragalicious folk wig-outs like "She Came Down The Chimney" and "Cerberus". 

Where "Yeti" really shines, though, is in its final three tracks, particularly the eponymous 18-minute colossus and the mournful closing number "Sandoz in the Rain". Not to discount the spectacular first side of the record, but if you're any sort of fan of psychedelic music and you aren't awed by these three tracks - and I really should emphasise the fact that they're improvisational works - then you must have smoked some pretty bad granola, man. "Yeti" is a demonstration of a band completely in sync with one another, a seminal long-form expression with damn-near perfect execution, a truly magnificent psychedelic epic. As the record gradually simmers down through "Yeti Meets the Yogi" and finally into the haunted, sobering "Sandoz" reflecting on post-war PTSD, it becomes abundantly clear that there would have been no more fitting way to end the record. I don't doubt that there could have been at least a flicker of discussion on how these tracks should take shape before the recording sessions took place, but the whole becomes far greater than the sum of its parts, and the results are nothing short of incredible. 

British or American sprawling psychedelic landmarks such as "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" or "The Parable of Arable Land", fantastic though they are, couldn't hold a candle to "Yeti". Whether or not it's ever properly recognised in as high esteem as its peers from across the pond, or whether it had any impact on any other music outside of Germany in the 1970s, it matters not to me. 50 years after the rise of National Socialism, the "Yeti" reared its massive head, and another 50 years after that, I can sit here and listen to it 5-10 times in the space of a couple of days and consider it a masterpiece.

Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #31 on: October 06, 2020, 01:55:02 PM »
Never took to Amon Duul II after Tanz der Lemminge and Phallus Dei but gave Yeti a chance and it's blowing my balls off.

The Mollusk

  • We whipped 'em, didn't we?
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2020, 02:12:23 PM »
I did also give Wolf City a spin earlier just for a bit of a reprieve from the endless repeat rinsing Yeti's been given in my living room (my poor suffering partner must be glad she's able to politely shut the kitchen door to accommodate the Zoom meetings she's having at work) and it's very very good. I was particularly amazed that the weirdo new-age art-pop track Mystic Blutsturz was created nearly 50 years ago, and seems to not only anticipate goth and synth/dream pop but also do a remarkably fucking good job of doing it. It doesn't sound primitive or dated in the slightest.

Dirty Boy

  • Gallant rider
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2020, 02:13:08 PM »
That's a good appraisal dude, well written and a nice plug for ADII.

I reckon Tanz der Lemminge should be your next port of call given it's more psych madness with longer song lengths. Not as heavy as Yeti, but not much is. They get steadily more song based from then on.

I think they were great until Vive Le Trance personally.




Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2020, 02:13:47 PM »
Yeti is truly one of the greatest albums ever made - I played the arse off it back in the mid 90s at uni. For me, Wolf City is the perfect companion to Yeti, like emerging from a dark forest into a bright clearing.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2020, 05:25:59 PM »
This thread has sparked my listening again, and I'm currently playing some of the Conrad Schnitzler / Kluster stuff. Trying to figure out what made the sounds on "Klopfzeichen" is a lot of fun, like there are some percussion sounds coming out of one of the speakers that I can't fathom at all. I like that Schnitzler said the religious dialogue he was forced to put over the record in order to get permission to record a specific church organ works better if you don't understand the language.

The Mollusk

  • We whipped 'em, didn't we?
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #36 on: October 07, 2020, 02:30:38 PM »
Can up to and including Landed is all great and Tago Mago in particular is a psychedelic classic, but i've really got into the early, raw and repetitious pre-Soundtracks stuff of late.

Oh my god, Soundtracks! I have this on now for the first time ever, fucking hell it sounds so much like Blonde Redhead. I am loving this!

The Mollusk

  • We whipped 'em, didn't we?
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2020, 07:27:03 PM »
I watched Can's Free Concert film in Sporthalle Cologne from 1972 earlier. I read a few accounts of it being incredible but I just couldn't get into it. The sound quality isn't great which hampers it a bit, but not too much; What I found the most unbearable was the shite editing, where the long meandering improvised freakouts are suddenly chopped right off and spliced with footage of a train station or whatever. It's a mess!

Dirty Boy

  • Gallant rider
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2020, 08:07:41 PM »
That juggler is good though.

Oh my god, Soundtracks! I have this on now for the first time ever, fucking hell it sounds so much like Blonde Redhead. I am loving this!
I envy the person just hearing Mother Sky for the first time!
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I really need to force myself more into the second side of Tago Mago but I'm apprehensive given its reputation of being quite nightmarish and also that I'd consider the first side to be a pristine paragon of psychedelic repetition, among the greatest hypnotic groovy music I've ever heard. This style is more readily available throughout the majority of Ege Bamyasi, although it is spread comparatively thin, I think. It is a stunning album but the combined double whammy of Oh Yeah and Halleluwah is a fucking unwavering colossus.
Just spotted this. Y'know i wasn't really aware the second half wasn't well regarded (i know that's not exactly what you're saying). I suppose Augmn might be considered superfluous by some. I like it, but i think there's a severely condensed version on one of the Cannibalism comps, so you could just listen to that. As for Peking O... i hope you like Pingu is all i'll say.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2020, 08:36:22 PM »
I did also give Wolf City a spin earlier just for a bit of a reprieve from the endless repeat rinsing Yeti's been given in my living room (my poor suffering partner must be glad she's able to politely shut the kitchen door to accommodate the Zoom meetings she's having at work) and it's very very good. I was particularly amazed that the weirdo new-age art-pop track Mystic Blutsturz was created nearly 50 years ago, and seems to not only anticipate goth and synth/dream pop but also do a remarkably fucking good job of doing it. It doesn't sound primitive or dated in the slightest.

That was one of three bonus tracks on the 2007 re-release. It sounds like it was recorded at that time. Although I have nothing to back that idea up. Listening now and its amazingly clear (I guess a good remaster, whereas my vinyl of the original had all the trademark sounds of the time).

Here is an early video of a lost member of Amon Düül I creating some of the most obscure Krautrock ever

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU2I9BYP-ro

Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #40 on: October 08, 2020, 09:20:05 AM »
I have just been listening to Kollection 01: Sky Records which is a great compilation of the more electronic side of Krautrock with tracks by Roedelius, Moebius, both separate and in collaboration, and loads of others

There are 3 very good krautrock compilations on Soul Jazz as well, Deutsche Elektronische Musik volumes 1-3

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20

the science eel

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Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2020, 09:33:57 PM »
Did anyone ever see that Deutschrocknacht or whatever it was called? I'm trying to remember the exact name and where I saw it - it was broadcast over several hours on a German TV channel about 15 years ago and I have a feeling it was shown in the UK once too. You got all kinds of German bands - some not quite what we're discussing here, but quite a bit of the ol' krautrock too.

I'll come back to this.







BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #44 on: October 08, 2020, 09:43:49 PM »
yeh, the Petards aren't krautrock but check them out, some wonderful Deutsch psych, a bit like Agemo's Trip to Mother Earth (Dutch). Featured on a wonderful compilation

https://www.discogs.com/Various-Electric-Monster-Rock-Show/release/2495220

which was one of my first experiences with Krautrock (features Krokodil (fantastic SwissRock), Can, Düül, Doldinger's Motherhood (later Passport), as well as a load of great US and UK bands) and this (feat. Cozy Powell)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Itz3CWUddVI

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #45 on: October 08, 2020, 09:57:12 PM »
I should also recommend "Between", check out this beast

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StYaNaanOc0


chveik

  • vampires have it easy
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #46 on: October 09, 2020, 02:47:55 AM »
love this LPD's kraut influenced song The Saucers Are Coming

xxxx xxx x xxx

  • Can we have a quick burn, sir?
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #47 on: October 09, 2020, 07:09:39 AM »

There are 3 very good krautrock compilations on Soul Jazz as well, Deutsche Elektronische Musik volumes 1-3

...and a fourth volume coming next week:

https://soundsoftheuniverse.com/sjr/product/deutsche-elektronische-musik-4

I think Volume 3 was supposed to be the last one judging by "That's All, Folks!" on the cover, but I suppose times are hard and this series was probably their best seller.  It looks as well curated as ever though - 'Flammende Herzen'!

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #48 on: October 09, 2020, 08:23:45 AM »
...and a fourth volume coming next week:

https://soundsoftheuniverse.com/sjr/product/deutsche-elektronische-musik-4

I think Volume 3 was supposed to be the last one judging by "That's All, Folks!" on the cover, but I suppose times are hard and this series was probably their best seller.  It looks as well curated as ever though - 'Flammende Herzen'!

Featuring Between I see, for all those who have criminally ignored the legend that is Peter Michael Hamel. Three unheard artists on there, Alex, EMAK and Klaus Weiss, so I will be buying this, thanks.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #49 on: October 09, 2020, 07:04:42 PM »
from the latest (after what a decade?) Audion magazine


Absorb the anus burn

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Re: Can we absolutely go off on one about krautrock?
« Reply #50 on: October 09, 2020, 07:21:52 PM »
I've contributed to 3-4 Krautrock threads on CaB and have never lost my passion for one of music's vital scenes.... Most of the keystones have been mentioned above, but the following twelve LPs got 3-4 spins during Coronavirus lockdown days and are as bewitching as ever.


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