Proper Krauts (West-Germany 1971-78)

Spareness, rigor, and a sense of experiment is what Brian Eno appreciates about a lot of West-German music from the early seventies. The stoic, almost machine like drumming of so many tunes subsumes these qualities and becomes the trademark of a new sound, labeled as Krautrock by the British music press. It’s different from UK pop or American rock, correlates with the German mindset, and – most importantly – is in no way related to the horrible nazi past that only came to an end not so long ago.

Around the world, people are surprised by the young musicians’ curiosity, originality, and friendliness. In West-Germany’s insularity, however, such music didn’t play a role – and to this day names like Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Klaus Dinger, or Werner ‘Zappi’ Diermaier are not part of the German collective memory. 48 minutes with Cluster, Faust, Harmonia 76, La Düsseldorf, and more.

Featured cover art: Riechmann ‎– Wunderbar

Faust – Untitled

from the library of private tapes with material recorded spontaneously in the band’s studio and home, located in a former school building in the tiny village Wümme near Hamburg – initially not intended for release and with no post production applied (1973, Virgin)

Can – TV Spot

recorded in Can’s studio inside the Nörvenich castle close to Cologne and discarded for an album release at the time of production (1971, United Artists Records / Re: Spoon Records)

Kraftwerk – Tanzmusik

approaching their signature electronic sound, the Düsseldorf based band integrates elements of pop into a minimal, yet rhythmic piece with quite a bit of wordless vocalising (1973, Philips)

Kalacakra – Jaceline

hailing from Duisburg’s vibrant and seedy port area Ruhrort, Kalacakra transform their curiosity about the Indian subcontinent and its spiritual promises into crude music – rehearsed in an improvised ‘studio’ in an attic floor (1972, self released / Re: Garden Of Delights)

Timothy Leary & Ash Ra Tempel – Downtown

after escaping a California prison in 1970, LSD advocate Timothy Leary is in exile in Switzerland, where he meets West-Berlin’s free-form improvisers Ash Ra Tempel to record the ultimate psychedelic trip (1972, Die Kosmischen Kuriere)

Cluster – Marzipan

rhythmic, spacy, and playful electronic music by Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius – made under the impression of the Weser Uplands’ lovely landscape that became the duo’s new habitat after moving from West-Berlin into a remote, old farm building located in Lower Saxony‘s Forst (1974, Brain)

Harmonia – Tiki-Taka At Harmonia Studio In Forst

after helping out Cluster with equipment like Farfisa instruments, a four-track recorder, and a drum machine, Neu!’s Michael Rother joins the band and they become Harmonia – three individuals with common ideas about living freely and being independent from record companies (1975, Grönland Records)

Riechmann – Wunderbar

he managed to make machines express longing, but unfortunately Wolfgang Riechmann couldn’t see his debut album in the shops – prior to its release, he was randomly stabbed in Düsseldorf’s historic centre and died shortly afterwards (1978, Sky Records)

La Düsseldorf – Rheinita

after drumming for Kraftwerk and Neu!, Klaus Dinger starts La Düsseldorf in 1974, reaching number 3 in the German music charts with the cheerful and over the top title Rheinita, an allusion to Dinger’s former love Anita Heedman and the Rhine River (1978, Strand)

Harmonia 76 – Les Demoiselles

when Brian Eno comes to Forst in 1976, Harmonia had already decided to split – the meeting is purely about recording the exchange of ideas, with no plan for an album (1976, S3)

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