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Michael Rother - Katzenmusik CD (album) cover

KATZENMUSIK

Michael Rother

 

Krautrock

3.47 | 11 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Anyone acquainted with the career of Michael Rother will know what to expect from the former Krautrock trailblazer's third (and best?) solo album: more of the same sunny, uptempo guitar minimalism, with toe-tapping assistance from CAN drummer Jaki Liebezeit and another dynamic production job by the celebrated Conny Plank.

And even if you're not on the Krautrock bandwagon you'll have to admit his credentials are impressive. He was briefly a member of KRAFTWERK, in their early, experimental days (between the first and second "traffic cone" albums)...was one half of the classic Krautrock duo NEU!...teamed up with the legendary electro- pioneers Mobius and Roedelius to form the group HARMONIA...recorded an ambient album in collaboration with ENO...and since 1976 has been a solo artist renowned for his melodic sensitivity and intimate guitar sound.

Rother's third solo effort doesn't stray very far from the template he patented on his first two albums, with lots of blissfully overdubbed guitars arranged in ear-pleasing patterns over a laid-back but unrelenting motorik beat (which a veteran Free Jazz noisemaker like Jaki Liebezeit could play in his sleep). And like some of the best German music it gets a lot of mileage out of precious little material. The first eight tracks here, simply titled "Katzenmusik 1" thru 8", rework the same basic theme in several different variations (including an evocative "backwards" version), separated by short, ambient interludes and one gentle, typically gorgeous ballad.

"KM 9" through 12" (Side Two on my sadly scratched original vinyl) offer more variety, but in the often willfully repetitive soundworld of Krautrock that's a relative term, isn't it? "KM 11" is the highlight here, maybe because Liebezeit's disciplined drumming is a little more adventurous, or perhaps it's the fullness of the studio effects, subtly updating some of the guitarist's early NEU! experiments.

Any of Rother's first three albums would make a good introduction, but this one has by far the best sound (later efforts would actually downplay his distinctive guitar playing in favor of more keyboard-based electronics). I suppose it goes without saying that if you've heard one Michael Rother album you've pretty much heard them all. But on the other hand, if you've heard one, why not hear them all?

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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