Tag Archives: 70’s music

by way of Krautrock

HISTORY IS OFTEN DEFINED BY THE HISTORIANS.  TAKE FOR INSTANCE KRAUTROCK (OR ITS’ SISTER KOSMISCHE),  A GENERIC TERM THAT HAS BEEN APPLIED TO GERMAN BANDS MAKING ADVANCES IN ROCK & ELECTRONIC MUSIC DURING THE 1970’S.  STYLISTICALLY, KRAUTROCK DOESN’T REALLY EXIST BUT CAN BE APPLIED AS A POINT OF REFERENCE TO INCLUDE A NUMBER OF ARTISTS INCLUDING (BUT NOT LIMITED TO) NEU!, KRAFTWERK, CAN, AMON DUUL, CLUSTER/HARMONIA, FAUST, POPOL VUH, TANGERINE DREAM/KLAUS SHULTZ/ASH RA TEMPLE AND LA DUSSELDORF.  MUCH LIKE POST-ROCK IN THE 1990’S, KRAUTROCK EXISTS LARGELY DUE TO THE IMAGINATION OF CRITICS AND FANS.

DESPITE OUR LOVE OF THE ‘GENRE’, WE HAVEN’T REALLY FOCUSED MUCH ATTENTION ON IT HERE.  WHY IS THAT?  MOSTLY BECAUSE IT HAS ITS OWN DEVOTED FOLLOWING AND HAS RECEIVED A LOT OF ATTENTION ELSEWHERE…… WHAT WOULD WE BE ADDING TO AN ALREADY GROWING PANTHEON OF WRITTEN MYTHOLOGIES AND PRAISES ON THE SUBJECT?

WHAT WE FIND AS INTRIGUING AS THE RECORDS THEMSELVES IS THE LASTING INFLUENCE AND INSPIRATION THEY’VE HAD ON DECADES OF MUSICIANS.  ALTHOUGH TECHNICALLY THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS MODERN KRAUTROCK, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF ARTISTS AND ALBUMS THAT SHOW ITS DIRECT INFLUENCE WHILE CREATING THEIR OWN DEFINING STYLE.  A FEW OF OUR FAVORITES IN RECENT YEARS INCLUDE THE LIKES OF CAMERA (Berlin), BEAK (UK), ARP, CLOUDLAND CANYON AND JONAS REINHARDT (USA).  WE MENTION THESE IN PARTICULAR AS DEMONSTRATIONS OF THE SUBTLE ART OF INFLUENCE, WHICH IS NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH APPROPRIATION.  ANYONE CAN STEAL SOMEONE ELSE’S IDEAS (and many do these days).  THE ART LIES IN CREATING SOMETHING OF YOUR OWN WHILE ADOPTING SOUNDS OR STYLES THAT HAVE COME BEFORE YOU.  ALL OF THE AFOREMENTIONED ACTS SEEM TO BE DOING JUST THAT.  EACH IS TAKING PARTICULAR INFLUENCES FROM KRAUTROCK/KOSMISCHE AND BUILDING UPON THEM, OFTEN UPDATING CLASSIC SOUNDS OR APPROACHES IN MODERN WAYS.

GIVEN THE VARIOUS ‘RETRO’ WAVES THAT HIT POPULAR MUSIC EVERY DECADE,  WHAT IS OLD WILL ALWAYS BECOME “NEW” AGAIN (AT LEAST FOR 5 MINUTES).  THERE WILL BE A NEW GENERATION THAT DISCOVERS THE 60’S, 70’S, 80’S OR 90’S AND, ONCE AGAIN, TURN OUT RECYCLED IDEAS FOR THE BILLIONTH TIME…….BUT NOT ALL ESTABLISHED GENRES ARE DEAD END STREETS.  KRAUTROCK MIGHT BE A GREAT EXAMPLE OF THAT; WHERE NO SINGULAR BAND DEFINES THE TERM AND MORE OFTEN THAN NOT THE NATURE OF EXPERIMENTATION IS THE COHESIVE ELEMENT OF THE GENRE.  THE SOCIAL CLIMATE AND FASHIONS OF THE 70’S THAT ALLOWED THE AVANT GARDE TO FLOWER IN GERMAN MUSIC MAY HAVE CHANGED AND FALLEN OUT OF FAVOR BY THE 80’S, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE SPIRIT, OR THE SOUND, OF THAT INNOVATION ARE NECESSARILY DEAD.

REMEMBER THAT ALTHOUGH THESE-THINGS-PAST BECOME HIP AGAIN, LIKE VINTAGE ANALOG SYNTHS, ONCE YOU WADE THROUGH THE MIRE YOU CAN FIND FOLKS OUT THERE DOING NEW AND GOOD THINGS WITH THEM.   

GOOD LUCK.

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