The Pioneers of Krautrock Are Still Chugging Away

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Though few people recognized it at the time, 1972 was a renaissance year for German music. Can’s Ege Bamyasi, recorded in a converted cinema just outside Cologne, explored a sinuous trance-rock, helmed by Damo Suzuki in the role of vocalist-shaman. In a farmhouse in Wümme, the members of Faust were getting naked, getting stoned, and piecing together the surreal-pastoral prog of their second album Faust So Far to send to their increasingly bewildered UK label Virgin. Neu!’s debut album Neu!, recorded in Hamburg with visionary producer Conny Plank, showcased sleek, minimalistic instrumental rock with drummer Klaus Dinger’s motorik beat providing the pulsating engine. Meanwhile, in Berlin, Edgar Froese, founder of Tangerine Dream, joined forces with Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh, and using a cutting-edge Moog modular synth created Zeit, a cosmic drone exploring the nature of time itself.

These acts were largely unknown to one another and mostly worked in isolation. Yet 50 years on, they feel like a movement, and the music that they made feels timeless and modern. What’s astonishing is many of the individuals active in the genesis of what today is known as Krautrock are still active—and in some cases creating music as imaginative and innovative as the kind they made in their 1970s heyday.