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German Oak - German Oak [Aka: Down In The Bunker] CD (album) cover


German Oak



3.64 | 49 ratings

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5 stars In the early '70's, a few young musicians from Dusseldorf, newly baptised into the hippie movement, yet still angry at the actions of the previous generation, retreated into an abandoned war era bunker under the city. There, with cheap instruments, and cheaper recording equipment, they managed to cut a strange, dour hidden gem for krautrock. The result was hated and panned when it first surfaced, but would later be vindicated for what it was. So most of the album is a dark, tinny, claustrophobic rumination on the war and horror the Nazis wrought. Particularly terrifying voice samples of Hitler, and of falling bombs, hammer home the bleakness of war and how evil the party was. It feels like the whole war is just falling down on you. The recording techniques and makeshift recording studio result in the lo-fi sound quality that high fives that of the first Smiths album, but, and this is an important lesson to learn, lo-fi has its uses, and this is one of them. This album could not ever be as claustrophobic, as off, as horrifying, without it sounding like it came from a mine in Cornwall. We are in the bunker with the band as they play their anger out. Seventeen chords and the truth. Eventually, the rage the band had is quenched, and then they jam. The SQ is no better, but it is a unique effect, interesting to listen to the psychedelic throwdown through the lens of war's SQ; perhaps this is the aftermath, still dark, but now hopeful. The instrumentation is wonderful, and more people here would find much to love had this been hi-fi. The band, through the playing, sampling, and choice of recording techniques, were just excellent. The hatred came from being mistaken for being pro-war when the album first surfaced, and then compounded by those who listened to it and hated the sound quality, but this is a tin coated masterpiece. And it should never be listened to any other way.
LearsFool | 5/5 |


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