There have been a number of excellent books on Krautrock, from Julian Cope’s foreskin pullback to the Freeman Brothers’ cosmic egg basket. This latest effort approaches the runway from the direction of group collaboration, where a number of writers, musicians and DJs celebrate the crest of German popular music unfurled between 1967 and the late 70s.
The text ranges from the wonderful split atomic radiations of David Keenan’s prose, to delicious observations by Stephen Thrower on the masterful and essential La Düsseldorf. The genesis of this musical explosion is put in context via Stockhausen and the desire to assert cultural identity through sound. Thirty well-known (Can, Faust, Cluster…) and lesser known (Gila, Limbus, Walter Wegmuller…) bands are explored in detail and record labels are paraded – as are key producers, from the sainted Conny Plank to the underrated Dieter Dirks. It’s great to see so many unfamiliar photos of familiar bands such as Kraftwerk and Neu!, along with a bevy of young men sitting before behemoth synthesisers.
With album sleeves, record labels and all manner of cracking memorabilia on display, this is a fantastic book in look, style and content. Let’s hope we get a second volume so that some of the more obscure acts get a look in.