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KRAUTROCK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Krautrock definition

Krautrock (also called "Kosmische musik") is a German avant-garde / experimental rock movement that emerged at the end of the 1960's. It was intended to go beyond the eccentricities developed by the wild psychedelic rock universe of the US, by giving a special emphasis to electronic treatments, sound manipulation and minimal hypnotic motifs (continuing the style of "musique concrete" and minimalist repetitive music but within a more accessible environment).

Krautrock put the emphasis on extended and ecstatic instrumental epics, neglecting the format of conventional psych-pop songs. The term Krautrock was first used by the British music press in a very derogatory way. The term rapidly found a better reputation in underground music circles and finally gained a certain popularity (thanks to the Brain-Festival Essen...)

The Krautrock movement is widely associated with notorious bands such as Popol Vuh, Amon Duul, Faust, Neu!, Ash Ra Tempel, Agitation Free, Guru Guru, etc. With their own particular artistic expression, these musical collectives provided rocking psychedelic incantations, mantra like drones, melancholic lugubrious atmospheres, long and convoluted collective improvisations, binary repetitive drum pulses, fuzz guitars, feedback, primitive electronic noises, hallucinatory ballads, and garage blues rock trips. Krautrock can be described as an anarchic, intense, acid, tellurian, nocturnal, spacey, dark and oniric "adventure" through rock music.

The most consistent years of the Krautrock scene cover a relatively short period from 1970 to 1975. After their first spontaneous, hyperactive and psychedelic efforts, the bands generally split up or declined into other musical sensibilities, more in line with mainstream rock or with ambient soundscapes.

Each region develops its particular musical scene, interpreting differently the Krautrock musical structure. For instance the Berlin school focused on "astral" synthscapes, weird electronic experimentation and acid jams (Ash Ra Tempel, Agitation Free, Mythos, The Cosmic Jokers, Kluster...), The Munich scene offered fuzzed out (Eastern) psych rock mantras with some folk accents (Popol Vuh, Amon Duul, Gila, Guru Guru, Witthuser & Westrupp...). Cologne and Dusseldorf underground scenes focused on happenings, political rock, electronics, pulsating rhythms and clean sounding Krautrock (Floh de Cologne, La Dusseldorf, Neu! Can...).

This musical cartography is correct in the absolute but naturally reveals some variations and exceptions. This intriguing and freak 'n' roll 1970's German scene enjoyed a rebirth in recent years thanks to a large number of reissues (of long lost classics) published by several independent labels (Spalax, Garden of Delights, Long Hair Music...) as a direct result of Krautrock's musical inspiration of modern post rock bands. There are actually some neo psychedelic rock bands who try to hold up Krautrock, and who notably find a major place to express themselves during the historical Burg Herzberg Festival in Germany.

Philippe Blache
December 2007



The responsibility for the psych/space, indo/raga, krautrock and prog electronic subgenres is taken by the PSIKE team,
currently consisting of
- Sheavy
- Meltdowner
- siLLy puPPy
- Rivertree



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Krautrock Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Krautrock | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.21 | 257 ratings
HOSIANNA MANTRA
Popol Vuh
4.15 | 340 ratings
ASH RA TEMPEL
Ash Ra Tempel
4.10 | 413 ratings
YETI
Amon Düül II
4.24 | 105 ratings
EDGE OF TIME
Dom
4.09 | 295 ratings
TANZ DER LEMMINGE [AKA: DANCE OF THE LEMMINGS]
Amon Düül II
4.06 | 482 ratings
FUTURE DAYS
Can
4.07 | 304 ratings
NEU!
Neu!
4.10 | 165 ratings
GILA - FREE ELECTRIC SOUND
Gila
4.16 | 107 ratings
LETZTE TAGE - LETZTE NÄCHTE
Popol Vuh
4.51 | 35 ratings
EISZEIT
Gam
4.02 | 368 ratings
PHALLUS DEI
Amon Düül II
4.08 | 116 ratings
SELIGPREISUNG
Popol Vuh
4.08 | 115 ratings
VOLUME 10
Electric Orange
3.96 | 561 ratings
TAGO MAGO
Can
3.99 | 235 ratings
MALESCH
Agitation Free
4.02 | 175 ratings
ELECTRIC SILENCE
Dzyan
4.06 | 118 ratings
KÄNGURU
Guru Guru
4.43 | 31 ratings
TONY CONRAD & FAUST: OUTSIDE THE DREAM SYNDICATE
Conrad, Tony
4.02 | 126 ratings
AGUIRRE
Popol Vuh
3.99 | 160 ratings
IN DEN GÄRTEN PHARAOS
Popol Vuh

Krautrock overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Krautrock experts team

FORGET YOUR DREAM!
Pacific Sound
ORION AWAKES
Golem
A COUPLE OF TIMES
Twogether
VAMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Alcatraz

Latest Krautrock Music Reviews


 Knirsch by ET CETERA (DE) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.23 | 16 ratings

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Knirsch
Et Cetera (DE) Krautrock

Review by Igor91

4 stars With the recent passing of the great Larry Coryell, I made it a point to put on this monster of an album on in his honor the other day. This was the only Et Cetera album that he played on, but man did he leave his mark! The previous LP had the excellent German guitarist, Sigi Schwab, who injected his ethnic style into the music. Coryell, an American, brought in more of a West Coast, psychedelic, jazzrock style to Et Cetera's Kraut-jazz. Experimental German jazz keyboardist Wolfgang Dauner, of course, was the leader of Et Cetera and composed all but the opening track.

That opening track, "The Really Great Escape" is Coryell's, and it is a one of the grooviest, stoned-out tracks from that era. The song reeks of the 70's, and is sticky with resin. Some might call it dated, but I call it pure awesomeness. Coryell's guitar work is superb, and his vocals are stunning. He wasn't known for his vocal skills, but here he kills it. It is the only song to feature vocals and it really differs from the rest of the album, but the album definitely benefits from it being on there. Coryell released a different version of this song on one of his own albums, which is longer and features horns, but it does not compare to the version on Knirsch.

There rest of Knirsh is pure Dauner, and Coryell's stunning guitar work helps lift it to great heights. The rest of the band, long-time Dauner drummer/percussionist Fred Braceful, Colosseum drummer Jon Hiseman, and German jazz bassist Günter Lenz, all shine on their performances.

The second track, "Sun" is a piano driven jazz number, which also displays Coryell's jazz chops. "Yan" is the most avant-garde piece on the LP, and is devoid of structure, melody, or rhythm. There is lots of experimental noodling and noise here, parts of it reminding me of the studio disc of Pink Floyd's Ummagumma, "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" in particular. Next up is the stellar track, "Tuning Spread," which is a nice mix of Krautrock unconventionality and jazzrock. It has an excellent groove in parts, with Jon Hiseman laying down a funky-as-hell beat. The closing cut is "Yin," which gradually builds from a quiet jazz tune to a more energetic jazzrock.

While I feel it is a stretch to call this album Krautrock, it definitely encompasses a good deal of that genre into its jazzrock cocktail. This is a great record to chill to with friends late at night, or with headphones on your own, if you prefer. I would have given this a five star rating had it not been for the track "Yan." While I can appreciate some good old experimentation in music, when it lacks any kind of structure, rhythm, or melody, and goes on past the five minute mark, I will often begin to get bored and/or annoyed. "Yan" goes on for thirteen minutes.

I highly recommend Et Cetera's Knirsch for those who are into Krautrock and/or experimental jazzrock. It does have a very early 70's vibe to it, but the experimental structures and performances keep it from sounding dated, in my opinion anyway. I give it four stars. Larry Coryell R.I.P.

 Celebration by DEUTER album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.00 | 8 ratings

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Celebration
Deuter Krautrock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Georg Deuter is a German born instrumentalist who has released more than sixty albums to date since beginning his musical journey back at the start of the early Seventies. These days he is mostly associated with New Age and meditation music, but at the very start of his career, his first few releases were frequently in a Krautrock mold, where rough-around-the-edges ethnic instrumentation blended with organ, electronics and both electric and acoustic guitar passages. His classic debut `D' from 1971 was comprised of schizophrenic and psychedelic sound collages, the follow up `Aum' a year later focused on a variety of shorter eastern-flavoured fragments with strong world music elements. Fortunately, 1976's `Celebration' was still quite a way from the placid New Age flavours he would eventually move in to, embracing a frequently acoustic hippie-folk vibe whilst still making time for experimental Krautrock-styles electronic and ethnic-laced drones.

The trio of the two part `Celebration of the Moment' that opens and closes the first side of the LP and the purposeful `Life is Love' are mostly contemplative flute ruminations crossed with vigorous acoustic guitar rambles that at least remain quite lo-fi enough to maintain just the tiniest trace of grit, pretty much a constant to all the acoustic playing throughout the album. But it's the eleven-plus minute ` Von Hohen Himmel Ein Leuchtendes Schweigen' that proves to be exceptional and completely intoxicating. A seeping and humming electronic drone consuming a blur of groaning chants and uplifting acoustic themes, it reminds of the best of the Krautrock-associated groups that blended ethnic elements with electronics and is truly one of the best pieces to appear on a Deuter album.

Side B's spontaneous `Grass Grows by Itself' initially opens with lightly trilling synth wisps over placid acoustic guitar strums and gradually emerging low-key groaning sitar strains before diverting into a sweetly joyous flute dance. The hypnotic chiming guitars flecked with delay of `Solitary Bird' briefly call to mind the classic Manuel Gottsching/Ashra works, soon joined by eerie wavering synths that hold just a hint of unease next to drifting flute drones. `Le Ciel est Bleu' is an experiment in cut-up harmonica and ringing sitar over glistening electronic programming, and the field recordings of nature that pepper the background of `Easy is Right' (almost reminding of Pink Floyd's `Cirrus Minor' off their classic `More' soundtrack!) close the disc behind spirited and toasty acid-folk guitar strums with just enough of a deliciously shambling manner to really nail the laid back summer vibe.

Deuter's third album may be gentle, but there's a massive difference between faceless, overly- pretty and pleasant New Age pap and intelligent, undemanding music that is meditative and full of personality and atmosphere. Truly the soundtrack to a hazy warm afternoon with its sunny and embracing vibe, `Celebration' is a very respectable and dignified work that still finds the time to carefully experiment within its affable acoustics.

Three and a half stars.

 Prof. Wolfff by PROF. WOLFFF album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.87 | 24 ratings

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Prof. Wolfff
Prof. Wolfff Krautrock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars A fairly unknown German band from the early Seventies, Prof. Wolfff released a single self-titled work in 1972 that seems to completely fly under the Prog radar, and it's an album badly in need of rediscovery - perhaps for many listeners for the first time! The group played a mix of blues, psychedelic rock and acid-folk peppered with a tough Krautrock hardness, coarse vocals and light jazzy qualities, utterly dominated by the tastiest of heavy Hammond organ liberally slathered over the disc beginning to end! Bands like Deep Purple, Birth Control, Frumpy, Bodkin and even some of the Italian groups who favoured the instrument played in supremely dirty style in their sound such as Il Biglietto per L'Inferno and Il Balletto di Bronzo are easy comparisons, but although hardly commercial or even remotely radio friendly, the band grafted melodic tunes to their workouts, even if the vocals themselves were hardly easy to love.

The ten minute opener `Hetzjagd' is the longest and best track here, a powerful and dramatically unfolding rocker that explodes with a battery of 'Romi' Schickle's Hammand organ plied over almost every second of it. Several short but memorable themes are constantly reprised back and forth throughout, with plenty of energetic bursts and even a frantic up-tempo run in the middle all given life by the instrumental skill of the musicians and taken even further by Klaus-Peter Schweitzer's firm and coarsely charismatic vocals. After such a great opening that sets a very high standard, thankfully the rest of the album still manages to deliver a constant run of equally impressive shorter pieces. Although hardly a pop song, `Hans Im Glück' holds a frequently repeating punchier group-vocal chorus popping up between alternating slowly moody and rapid-fire snappy verses driven by 'Mondo' Zech's pumping bass and Michael Sametinger's nimble drumming, and `Missverständnis' is a bit too tough to be a true full-blown folk piece, acoustic guitars chiming over exotic percussion and a variety of persistent group vocals carrying a pleasing melodic tune.

The opening and close of side B's `Das Zimmer' reminds a little of Novalis with its hazy vocal and mellow acoustic guitars, but it picks up a spring in its step for an infectious and lightly jazzy break in the middle. Almost ten-minute closer `Weh Uns' is full of momentum, being all rumbling drumming, twin wailing guitars, bouncing bass, urgent group vocals and endless scorching brimstone-fuelled Hammond organ fire that culminates in a Floh de Cologne-like spoken word climax.

`Prof. Wolfff' will likely appeal to those who love the tougher vintage German bands but want something a little more structured that avoids the aimless drawn-out explorations that frequently came from so many of the Krautrock groups. Admittedly those who speak German will get much more out of the frequently darker political-flavoured lyrics here, but it still holds up as a forcibly melodic and rugged rocker with that relentlessly addictive Hammond organ sound. It truly is a rarely spoken-of dirty gem of early German progressive rock badly in need of reappraisal now that deserves to be placed alongside the higher regarded and more well-known classics of the Krautrock subgenre.

Five stars. (and a long-held personal favourite!)

 Misophonia by ELECTRIC ORANGE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 18 ratings

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Misophonia
Electric Orange Krautrock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Offering in their twenty-five-plus year career everything from colourful retro-prog, electronica/dance and even psych-pop party blowouts (the cool stop-gap release `Nein! HITS à Gogo!' from 2015!), unpredictable German group Electric Orange delivered a masterwork in 2014 with their moody and atmospheric Neo-Krautrock stunner `Volume 10', and they're back two years later with another refinement of their sound, `Misophonia'. This time around, the instrumental band offer a heavily- improvised collection of eclectic sounds that moves through everything from ambient, Post-Rock, drone and psychedelic flavours, even some light New-Wave touches all woven to their lengthy Krautrock jams, with the band constantly displaying a masterful control of mood, build and atmosphere throughout.

Eighteen-minute opener `Organized Suffering' is constantly rhythmically driven, frequently racing with an up-tempo momentum by way of rippling psychedelic cascades, parched guitar clamour and hovering electronic drifts, with little traces here and there even calling to mind the Delerium Records-era of Porcupine Tree. Dirk Bittner's guitars slink with everything from a cool Eighties sleekness, bluesy bends and stuttering spasms, Tom Rückwald's heavy bass grumbles seductively, and the closing section hums warmly with toasty thick Hammond organ and congas. `Bottledrone' opens as a lulling ambient drone over fuzzy embracing guitar caresses that reminds of the Ash Ra Tempel, Ashra and Manuel Göttsching before catching fire with Dirk Jan Müller's bleeding vintage electronics unravelling over Georg Monheim's rising energetic drumming. 'Demented' is a percussion-driven piece over shimmering ambient washes and murkily grooving guitar strums, the loose New-Wave flavoured guitar-driven `Shattered' almost grooves in the manner of the `Beat-...Perfect Pair' King Crimson era, and `Opsis' glistens with chiming mandolin mystery.

The almost thirty minute title-piece `Misophonia' is spread out over three tracks at various intervals throughout the disc. The first piece opens as a dusty distorted drone that grows in relentless power from ringing bluesy guitar and heavy dreamy electronics, the second is a hazy rumbling interlude, but the third and final act is a full-blown seventeen-minute epic. This album closer starts as a howling and wavering throb that spontaneously explodes to life with rattling drums, roaring guitar snarls, seeping electronic bleeds and looping Tangerine Dream-like machine repetition. It's a masterclass in brooding intensity and spiky danger, with delicious little traces of that precious early Pink Floyd fragility emerging throughout.

Once again mastered by frequent EO collaborator and Grobschnitt's leader/drummer Eroc, `Misophonia' perhaps doesn't quite reach the defining atmospheric heights and carefully sustaining mood of `Volume Ten', but it absolutely presents a band still exploring, refusing to merely recreate the sounds of the past, and challenging both themselves and their listeners. Electric Orange successfully bring vintage Krautrock sounds rumbling into the modern age and fuses it with a range of other styles, and this intoxicating, slow-burn hypnotic album ranks amongst their best releases to date.

Four stars.

 Sacrilege by CAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
2.90 | 15 ratings

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Sacrilege
Can Krautrock

Review by Lewian

4 stars This is a collection of remixes of Can tracks, mainly by people who did techno of the alternative non-mainstream varieties in the nineties, with some for the prog listener familiar names thrown in (Brian Eno, Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, Sonic Youth). A "remix" here means that parts of the original tracks were cannibalised to create something more or less new and autonomous. The title "Sacrilege" testifies the huge respect that the participants of this project have for Can's work and the influence that the band has had on musicians of various genres and over a long time.

The remixes are quite different regarding how much of the original track was kept and how much they're dominated by it. In A Guy Called Gerald's Tango Whiskeyman one need to look hard for traces of the original, whereas for example Sunroof's Oh Yeah follows the concept of the original quite closely.

I have always enjoyed this double-CD big time, from start to finish, despite the presence of some weaker pieces or at least some pieces that in itself don't tell me that much. Surely there is enough strong material here, although it definitely helps if nineties techno music doesn't make you run away screaming for mercy. Many of the remixes are dominated by heavy rhythms, some pretty dancefloor-proof, split up between sampling and looping the mighty man machine Jaki Liebezeit (RIP), making him even more machine-like, and some techno rhythms created by the remixers themselves. The use of samples and sounds is generally inspired by how the masters themselves did it with material from other sources, and consequently the Can members have enjoyed this collection, too, as far as I know (except Damo, who in the booklet is just cited saying that this is "not his cup of tea").

Overall, despite its dancefloor credentials, this is quite experimental and playful and not always an easy ride. Also in this respect, the collection is varied; 3P's Yoo Doo Right could have been hit single material, so smooth and nice to the ears it is, whereas Hiller/Kaiser/Leda's Unfinished and Bruce Gilbert's TV Sport are rather noise avantgarde, although at least the former treats the listener to some rhythm toward the end. A number of pieces are generous with the rhythm but more modest with melody and harmony (i.e., Father Cannot Yell by Pete Shelley); but melody and harmony aren't necessarily what the Can fan is looking for.

I could nominate quite a number of these as highlights; by and large more of them are on the second CD. The already mentioned Unfinished and Father Cannot Yell are bold and adventurous and pretty autonomous constructions. I also love the addictive underground dance orgy that System 7 (that's Hillage and Giraudy formerly of Gong) made of Dizzy Spoon; these prog veterans surely know how to produce an attractive techno rhythm.

Surely part of the listener's joy comes from looking for and recognising their Can favourites; U.N.C.L.E.'s Vitamin C and both remixes of Oh Yeah make heavy enough use of the original material that they are basically failproof (still there is enough artistic freedom in them to justify their existence in the face of the original) and of course I can listen day in day out to Jaki's drumming, even looping him does not hurt him much. There's a case though for not attributing all the quality that can be found here to the remix collection, a good deal is of course claimed by the originals.

I am really in love with the whole concept and how it plays out, and also some of the highlights. It would be a far stretch to call this "a masterpiece of progressive rock", firstly because it is a far stretch to call this "progressive rock" at all and secondly because this kind of project can of course never reach a sufficiently monolithic experience and everyone can certainly find the odd low point here. Never mind, personally I am fascinated and delighted from start to finish, and so I give it four stars and feel rather stingy.

 Hau-RUK by XHOL CARAVAN / XHOL album cover Live, 1970
3.79 | 30 ratings

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Hau-RUK
Xhol Caravan / Xhol Krautrock

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Without considering the bonus track, which is present only on the CD reissue, the only flaw of this album is the bootleg quality. It seems recorded in a garage, the drums don't have a proper mike set but this is not a big issue in Krautrock. If one can survive the first jam of Amon Duul, can survive to everything.

Said so, the music is good. The two side long tracks have that psychedelic mood vaguely reminding of early PINK FLOYD, especially in the bass line, which is made jazzzier by the sax. It's a nice trip, not too acid, which contains very good passages.

Of course, being a jam, the bass line is almost repetitive, but the sax makes its good work and also keyboard and guitar are able to fit in the ensemble without any jamming excess. In brief, even jamming, the band shows good skills.

A mention is deserved by the bonus track, The sound quality is really better, the fact that half of the band is not the same of the first two tracks doesn't impact too much. It's not nice that the best thing in an albnum is the bonus track. Basing of the two side long tracks I would have rated it with three stars, but the very high levek of the third deserves a good appreciation. The flute added to the sax is an enhancement and the over 20 minutes in which it developes are a pleasant journey.

4 stars

 Collage by BABA YAGA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.57 | 16 ratings

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Collage
Baba Yaga Krautrock

Review by Progfan97402

5 stars How did Baba Yaga pass me by? Plain and simple, just like a lot of other truly obscure Krautrock. Mainly because the lack of reissue, the original LP on Cycle being very rare and expensive (as is the case for these kinds of albums). Collage (apparently their second release) consisted of Ingo Werner and Iranian-born Nemat Darman. "Mokscha" starts off with Netmat Darman exploring his Persian roots with the santoor (dulcimer common to Iran, it sounds similar to the Hungarian dulcimer called the cimbalom, or the Arab zither called the qanun, except of course, the qanun is plucked). Then droning synths from Ingo Werner, at first I thought I was hearing a didgeridoo (no didgeridoo was credited). The music is now in early Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh (that is, the early electronic era) mode, the kind of tripped out Krautrock we all come to love. Sitar and santoor kick in again with that Indo/Persian crossover style, then going back to synths, created in a nice spacy manner with EMS Synthi A sound effects to go with. The only thing is I wished the santoor and sitar was more integrated with the synths, but I was so blown away by the santoor playing that I didn't care if it was unaccompanied. So many times if Krautrock groups wanted to explore Eastern styles, Indian seems to be the de facto style, many groups like Amon Duul II, Brainticket, Mythos and the likes had incorporated sitar into their music, so it's nice to see Persian influences for a change (although the Indian influence shows up when Nemat Darman plays sitar). When I hear this, I imagine those colorful stained glass patterns projecting on the floor of the Nasir al-Mulk mosque in Shiraz, Iran when the sun shines through. "Wadia" is a totally sticks strictly to Western styles here, even Nemat Darman sticks to a standard rock drum set here. Here the duo has much greater interaction. The piano intro makes me think of the piano part heard on Brainticket's Celestial Ocean, and I assumed that's where they were heading, but instead the go the space fusion route, a bit like a more relaxed, spacy version of Mahavishnu Orchestra. No surprise that electric pianos and clavinets dominate, with spacy synths and string synths, but tons of spacy passages that would be out of the question with John McLaughlin & Co. (besides Baba Yaga never touched a guitar here). This album just left my mind completely blown! I can't believe what I was hearing! It totally rivals the best stuff from the better known acts I have heard, and that's no joke. Sure the santoor and sitar passages may not be to everyone's liking, but I really enjoy them as much here as the Western side of things, so it's a complete win/win for me, because a lot of these East/West experiments don't always work, but in the hands of Nemet Darman and Ingo Werner, they succeed with flying colors. Incredible stuff that deserves a five star for me.
 Eiszeit by GAM album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.51 | 35 ratings

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Eiszeit
Gam Krautrock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a krautrock set recorded in 1978 but then left shelved until its eventual rediscovery decades later. It's a shame it didn't come out when it was originally recorded, because the spooky, chilly atmosphere of the piece is awfully in keeping with the dark post-punk and proto-goth material that was making the rounds at the time, and as a result Eiszeit could have had a shot at gaining traction among fans of the more motorik, krautrock-influenced end of Public Image Limited's work. As it stands, it's a lost gem which has a really unique atmosphere that makes it stand apart from much electronic-oriented krautrock - less tripped-out and spacey, more cold and paranoid and fearful.
 Ordre by ALUK TODOLO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Ordre
Aluk Todolo Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Sandwiched between their albums "Finsternis" and "Occult Rock," the French experimental rock act ALUK TODOLO released a few nonconventional items. Firstly they were included on the split album "On The Powers Of The Sphinx" with Nihil Nocturne, Nightbringer and Saturnialia Temple. Then there was the collaborative effort with Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand. And then there was this tiny two track EP titled ORDRE which was essentially some unreleased material from the "Descension" era and was excavated from the caverns of creativity to be resurrected onto they vinyl 10." The two tracks are simple called "Side A" and "Side B."

"Side A" sounds very much like the "Descension" album where their mesmerizing and transcendental opiate grooves combined with spooky atmospheres create nightmarish visions of cold ethereal visions of lost worlds. This track is characterized by a repetitive marching of the cymbal heavy drumbeat that works in tandem with the bass line as the guitar performs horrific distorted and mangled dissonant antics around them. As it continues the percussion becomes somewhat sloppier and erratic as some kind of buzzing sound swarms in and out while swirling ambience effervescently haunts the soundscape. Towards the end the percussion picks up speed and becomes quite solid as the no wave ostinati pummel the senses.

"Side B" continues imperceptibly with the chaos continuing in full force and continues to ratchet up the nightmarish tension with the instruments falling increasingly out of sync with one another generating true occult mystic psychological assaults as the pummeling percussive drive seems to be at war with the atmospheric swarms of sounds. ALUK TODOLO really blur the genre lines here as it sounds like a form of black metal no wave with Krautrock type psychedelia. While the earliest albums weren't very metal oriented yet, this release is actually the first one that has enough drive and distortion of the guitars to be classified as part of the metal universe.

Despite being some leftovers they seem to have gotten the royal treatment and elements of blackgaze were unleashed to steer ALUK TODOLO towards the more metal oriented "Occult Rock" sound. While they've always been on the verge of being somewhat metal, the intensity fell just short enough to actually feel like they would fit in. On ORDRE that thin grey line was crossed and there is lots of energetic noisy distortionfests at hand although the song structures are nonexisistant and simply relies on free form meandering down a torturous sonic path into oblivion. Pretty cool stuff if you like dark ambient distorted no wave with Krautrock and traces of black metal chaos.

 Aluk Todolo by ALUK TODOLO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
2.69 | 4 ratings

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Aluk Todolo
Aluk Todolo Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars The debut release by ALUK TODOLO came out a year before the first full-length album in the form of this eponymous EP that contains only two tracks simply named "Side A" and "Side B." This one was only released on 7" vinyl and debuts this French experimental band's fascination with incorporating magical theories with traditional rock instrumentation to create new forms of consciousness and meditative states. Although they don't incorporate black metal into the mix quite yet, they are often associated with black metal because of members involvement in Diametregon and Vediog Savior.

"Side A" begins with a repetitive bass ostinato with cymbal action and drumbeats accompanying. The guitar takes on a post-rock type of role as it dances around the groove and creates hypnotic riffs. The track picks up steam gradually and ratchets up the tension while the cymbals and drumbeats become more powerful. In the middle there's a slow down but picks up the tempo again as the guitar becomes more frenzied and murky in the mix. It ends with some spoken dialogue by Aleister Crowley.

"Side B" is a lot more energetic than the "A" as the drums take a prominent role in fast and furious rolls while the bass while still repetitive has a more complex ostinato riff that has a touch more melody to it. The guitar floats in screechy sustained distortion mode but also has the role of extending the sound structure to include a dissonant riff while background ambience bleeds in to create a sinister sounding backdrop which is more poignant when the instruments drop out for a while and only its spooky howling is heard. The band jumps back into the groove and the guitar adds more antics and effects and i also detect a slight surf rock type of guitar riff popping in towards the end.

Not a bad start for ALUK TODOLO as this would establish their hypo-groovy mix of no wave and Krautrock. The no wave aspect is more in play at this stage with jangly dissonant guitars reminding me of early Swans but the mesmerizing repetition certainly brings Kraut classics by Neu to mind as well. This one doesn't sound much different than the first full-length album but isn't quite as dark and spooky as the following releases become.

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Krautrock bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
A.R. & MACHINES Germany
ACHTZEHN KARAT GOLD Germany
AG A.M. Germany
AGITATION FREE Germany
AINIGMA Germany
AIR Germany
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