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Electric Orange - Krautrock From Hell CD (album) cover


Electric Orange



3.78 | 70 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Does the idea of Krautrock still make any sense in the 21st century?

The original movement, in all its many forms, was very specifically a product of its era: the music of an angry young generation rebelling against the post-war hypocrisies of its elders. That same attitude is more valid today than it ever was. But the underground is a lot closer to the surface now, and the current of social unrest that powered the engine of classic Krautrock no longer exists, at least not in this facetiously titled 2010 recording by one of Germany's more popular Neo-Kraut outfits.

It might not even be Krautrock at all, except geographically, and in the ultra-Teutonic bluntness of its song titles: "Bandwurm"; "Kunstkopf"; "Wurmloch" et al, milking that German identity for all its worth. But it's still a thrilling album on a superficial level, even so far removed from the historical context that originally made Krautrock so vital. The band is very much in tune with the spacier textures of analog '70s Psych-Rock, and they have that motorik repetition thing down to a science, thanks in part to a drummer who probably snuggles into bed at night with visions of Jaki Liebezeit dancing in his head.

This is a group that enjoys working a single chord to the edge of oblivion, or grinding out a simple 4/4 rhythm with industrial precision. And I do mean grind: the sound of Dirk Jan Müller's organ is like molten sunlight flowing over rough concrete, abrasive and shimmering at the same time. They can even indulge in a bit of old-school, Pink-era Tangerine Dreaming, during the pulsating album closer "Wurmloch".

And yet there's something arguably too detached, almost dispassionate, in even their liveliest instrumental trips, including the epic 25-minute "Neuronomicon", with its fractured jamming and massive Space Rock mellotrons. This isn't a band of copycats, but they do at times play with the unruffled efficiency of a weekend Krautrock cover band. Or maybe I'm over-thinking here, as usual, and the question posed at the top of this review is meaningless. After all, authenticity doesn't need to be the final goal of creative music making. The music alone can be rewarding, despite its lack of deeper meanings.

Imagine the album as one of CAN's Ethnological Forgeries, but with the band itself as the subject of its own pastiche. In other words, hardly original but still unique, and totally unconcerned by the contradiction.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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