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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

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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 | 189 ratings
HOSIANNA MANTRA
Popol Vuh
4.17 | 260 ratings
ASH RA TEMPEL
Ash Ra Tempel
4.26 | 73 ratings
EDGE OF TIME
Dom
4.05 | 306 ratings
PHALLUS DEI
Amon Düül II
4.07 | 240 ratings
NEU!
Neu!
4.04 | 331 ratings
YETI
Amon Düül II
4.06 | 234 ratings
TANZ DER LEMMINGE (DANCE OF THE LEMMINGS)
Amon Düül II
4.11 | 132 ratings
GILA - FREE ELECTRIC SOUND
Gila
4.01 | 376 ratings
FUTURE DAYS
Can
4.16 | 85 ratings
LETZTE TAGE - LETZTE NÄCHTE
Popol Vuh
4.14 | 84 ratings
KÄNGURU
Guru Guru
4.12 | 89 ratings
SELIGPREISUNG
Popol Vuh
4.04 | 152 ratings
ELECTRIC SILENCE
Dzyan
4.00 | 194 ratings
MALESCH
Agitation Free
4.64 | 21 ratings
EISZEIT
Gam
3.93 | 446 ratings
TAGO MAGO
Can
4.02 | 104 ratings
AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD
Popol Vuh
3.98 | 128 ratings
IN DEN GÄRTEN PHARAOS
Popol Vuh
4.19 | 42 ratings
A.R. IV
A.R. & Machines
3.92 | 209 ratings
WOLF CITY
Amon Düül II

Krautrock overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

ORION AWAKES
Golem
SILOAH [ALSO RELEASED AS SÄUREADLER]
Siloah
TERRA INCOGNITA
Metabolismus
SUPERNOVA
Ibliss

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Latest Krautrock Music Reviews


 Temple by TEMPLE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.04 | 6 ratings

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Temple
Temple Krautrock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Unknown German band from Cologne, featuring Birth Control's Zeus B. Held on keyboards.The rest of Temple were singers Poseidon and Pauline Fund (she also played the tambourine), Heinz Kramer and Rolf Foeller (brother of Birth Control's bassist Peter Foeller) on guitars, Joachim Weiss on bass and Otto Bretnacher on drums.They reputedly released only one LP on the small Pyramid label in 1976, reissued on CD later by the British label Psi-Fi.

Temple may failed to make an impact back at the time, but they were certainly among the original bands of the period, that's because they combined the stylistical power of Kraut Rock with a certain Gothic atmosphere, which was later to be found in acts such as FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM or DEAD CAN DANCE, the dark grooves and emphatic lead vocals prevail in the album along with Heavy/Kraut Rock dynamics and some type of ELOY spacious, Teutonic vibes.Most of the material is guitar-driven with some organ washes by Held, their sound ranges from THE DOORS' like old-fashioned neurotic rhythms and vocals to an explosive Kraut Rock with raw guitars and a solid rhythm section.Their material included also some DZYAN type of storytelling with Pauline Fund on narration and some more symphonic soundscapes with Held coming in front armed with his Mellotron.The long ''Crazy hat/Kingdom Of Gabriel'' combines both sides of the band, the Teutonic/Kraut Rock touches with the scratching, rough guitar edges and the soft, ELOY-spiced textures, and the more groovy parts of THE DOORS and the pre-Gothic Rock darkness in an odd amalgam.

After this experience Zeus B. Held left both Temple (apparently they disbanded soon after the album was recorded) and Birth Control and started a solo career a couple of years later.

Genuine Kraut/Psych Rock with a gothic background.Energetic, psychedelic and fairly engaging.Warmly recommended.

 Silent Carnival by SILENT CARNIVAL album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Silent Carnival
Silent Carnival Krautrock

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Content Development & Krautrock Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars This release saw the light on the highly recommended independent label Old Bicycle Records. The label provides a wide range of (post) rockin experimental and minimal ambient releases, exclusively produced by Italian artists. This self titled album represents the more intensively rock facet of the label production with the add of nicely adventurous musical arguments. Fruitfully creative, eclectic and challenging this album admits a stylistic bridge between aleatoric abstract experiments, noisy electronic experiments, wild kraut-rockin minimal sequences, death-rockin-batcave fragments and apocalyptical folk tendencies. The album progresses like an existential-egotic tale along lonely hours of despair in an isolated-desolate, post-human, enthralling and downfall atmosphere. Imagine a cross between foggy death ballads of Nick Cave at the beginning of his career, Current93's stranged-out folkish darkness, Faust's krauty touch and doom-math rock materials from Earth. Prettily evocative and with long monologues this album has a nice murky flavor that could fit perfectly for a score to twisted road movie flicks. A difficult and hermetic listen for neophyts but a truly somber-addictive album that will seduce fans of bizarre and blackened kraut-post rockin exentricities.
 Supermarket by SIINAI album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Supermarket
Siinai Krautrock

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars The Finnish group SIINAI go wherever they want, and despite having a distinctive own sound, no one can predict what kind of an album will they do next. The instrumental debut Olympic Games (2011) earned them a place in PA's Krautrock section. Then they collaborated with the Canadian artist Moonface (Spencer Krug) on a fresh, vocal-oriented art rock album Heartbreaking Bravery (2012). Supermarket marks a return to instrumental music and is in my opinion notably more enjoyable and inspired than the debut. One could describe it as electronic music with a rock extension, for including also full use of guitar, bass and drums. There's a hypnotic electronic groove comparable to the likes of JEAN MICHEL JARRE and TANGERINE DREAM, as well as to the modern generation of Trance / Techno / Chill-Out. The production by the band is awesome, I wonder if even BRIAN ENO could have made it much better.

It's interesting to think how the four musicians have been hanging on in the alienating micro-universe of supermarkets, those modern temples of our everyday consumer's life, with all senses wide open to experience it all on unconventionable levels of consciousness. You know, like visionary film directors can make one see straight beyond the veils of the "familiar" and turn the whole idea upside down, to reveal something unspoken and universal. Indeed, someone could make an impressive silent film about supermarkets with this album as its soundtrack. On the other hand, each listener takes the director's seat and visualizes a new inner movie with each subsequent listening.

The 48-minute album flows in perfect balance, shifting between more rhythmic and solid stuff of tighter tracks, and deeply meditative atmosphere of the longer tracks. Sometimes the introspective side of VANGELIS comes to my mind. It's highly unusual for a democratic group to make an album of such singular vision. Strong four stars!

 Disaster by AMON DÜÜL album cover Studio Album, 1972
1.65 | 19 ratings

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Disaster
Amon Düül Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm tempted to award this notorious (and notoriously well-titled) document five contrary stars, but I'm afraid such an act of dissent would only turn me into even more of a crackpot than I really am.

The prevailing opinion of the album, on this site and elsewhere, regards it as the equivalent of a kindergarten drum class, dragged out to an excruciating 68-minutes of unskilled clattering and bashing. A single, strummed electric guitar (and a little stoned scat singing, buried in the uproar) is the only link to anything resembling genuine music; otherwise it's a radical '60s version of The Gong Show, with a blacksmith's anvil (and a ton of bongos) instead of an actual gong. Even the occasional idle daydream of a topless Uschi Obermeier smacking her tom-toms isn't enough to save it.

And yet, after sixty-plus minutes of uninterrupted exposure, the whole thing can begin making a warped sort of sense. A full hour of amateur Krautrock drumming by obvious non-musicians will sometimes have that effect: wearing down your aesthetic defenses and eroding your critical inhibitions.

This was the band's third album, all of them supposedly culled from a single, monster jam session, three years earlier. By this point you might expect it to represent the bottom scrapings of a very shallow barrel, and it's true that the energy level can't compare to the apocalyptic chaos of "Psychedelic Underground", the initial gleaning from 1968.

But the less hectic pacing actually improves the music (and here I'm using the word 'music' only in its most generic sense). None of the tracks has a real beginning or end; the edits merely interrupt a casual performance in progress. But the total effect is something (slightly) more than the sum of its haphazard parts, showing evidence of nominal post-production structure in places. There's even a surprising nod to The Beatles, in the song "Yea Yea Yea (Zerbeatelt)": a sixty-second cover of "I Should Have Known Better", from "A Hard Day's Night".

Albums like "Disaster" function like an audio litmus test, useful in determining a) the listener's forbearance in the face of extremity, and b) his or her attitude toward the ephemeral boundary separating music from noise. Even the album's mirrored subtitle (Lüüd Noma) seems appropriate, describing a communal music experience almost backward in its non-musical naïveté.

An hour of the stuff is certainly a lot to sit through. But I'm sure there's a few misfits reading this who might learn to appreciate it, if only for the brazen arrhythmic middle finger raised defiantly against The Establishment.

 Getting Up For The Morning by KROKODIL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.94 | 16 ratings

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Getting Up For The Morning
Krokodil Krautrock

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

4 stars Swiss band Krokodil released a bit of a classic with their 1971 album `An Invisible World Revealed', an addictive mix of swampy bluesy acid rockers with heavy psych flavours and plentiful Mellotron (prog listeners should instantly track down the CD reissue of that album, which adds two lengthy jams that just make an already terrific album even better - it's butter, baby, it's HOT!). Most of their other four albums never quite delivered the same excellence, but the follow-up to `...Invisible', 1972's `Getting Up For The Morning' comes damn close. As expected of the band, there's a ton of bluesy jams, fragile ballads and acid-rock fire, but the second side of the LP brings some subtle Krautrock elements mixed in, and overall there's a very upbeat quality to the music that is truly infectious and a joy to listen to.

Album opener `Marzipan' is an energetic harmonica-fuelled and acid-rock burning electric guitar powered gutsy swamp-rocker. Full of lengthy solos, one or two moments even briefly reminding of Jimi Hendrix, it makes for a kick-ass opener, but the best is yet to come. `And I Know' is a blissful acid ballad with a drowsy melody, it's full of delicate and dreamy David Gilmour-inspired guitar licks, and the piece could have easily appeared on any of those early acid/psych albums from Pink Floyd. Electric piano ripples, warm group harmonies in the chorus, while wafting Harmonica brings a dusty old western sound, and when the soaring Mellotron arrives in the second half, it takes on a restrained near-orchestral grandiosity to get swept up in. `Rabatz' is a short funky Southern rocker with dirty lead guitar slinging, and `Was There A Time' is a brief psychedelic interlude to close the first side, a sitar drone with mind-bending narration over the top - far out, man!

The second side brings some light but welcome Krautrock flavours to the album, instantly noticeable on `Schooldays', just listen for the fuzzy distorted guitar riffing in the background, stoned phasing electronics and the rattling maddening drumming. Drifting flute darts around, funky wah-wah guitar powers through and treated harmonica hovers in the air. Next up, being the sixth track, of course it makes sense to title it `Song No 2' (Ha, they beat you to it, Mr Steven Wilson, take that!)! It's an acid-folk vocal ballad bookended with wasted floating acoustic guitar and sleepy hazy harmonica, mellotron trickles, the warmest bass playing (that even takes flight with tasty soloing in the second half, almost like it's actually singing), before the middle gently moves up in tempo into a joyful sprightly electric guitar chill-out just like the first two Agitation Free albums. The rambunctious drumming and more urgent guitar strums just before the end even briefly remind of Amon Duul 2. `The 12th of March' is a frantic bluesy rocker to close on, full of heavy guitar grooves, a joyful and catchy vocal, more leaping harmonica, and the purring bass playing especially rumbles with purpose here, but it's a shame about the uninspired fade-out during a scorching electric guitar solo.

This fourth Krokodil album is consistently good all the way through, even if there's some moments (especially during the first half) that will be a little too straightforward for progressive rock fans who want something more interesting and complex. But Krokodil were a very strong hard-rocking band who displayed plenty of imagination and musical taste, a bunch of talented musicians who constantly showed great musical skill without ever bogging their music down in stuffy over-arrangements, instead letting their music have a real lively energy. `Getting Up For The Morning' is another great achievement from then, and anyone who enjoyed `An Invisible World Returned' should definitely consider looking into this one as well.

Four stars.

 Opus: Destroy by IRMIN'S WAY album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.15 | 8 ratings

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Opus: Destroy
Irmin's way Krautrock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars One of the mysterious entries from Germany, Irmin's Way was a group of British and German musicians, who's identity had remained hidden upon request.The band was named after the eponymous god on Saxon mythology and was around in mid-70's, at a time when they recorded their only album, previously carrying a different name, it was propably Tin Pan Alley.''Opus destroy'' was recorded at the Ege Studios, but apparently it was never pressed on time, only to appear two decades later on the efforts of the Kissing Spell label, which launched the album both on CD and vinyl formats.

You wont' hear many Kraut Hard Rock bands placing a neurotic keyboardist next to the sparkling riffs, but Irmin's Way was one of them and their sound showed a band with potential.''Past & present'' is such an example, where the frenetic hard riffing and the impressive guitar twists meet a flashy keyboardist with a sharp synthesizer in his armour, while the vocals are a bit amateur, I dare to say that the members should have been way too young at the time.But the music is mostly very good and dynamic with variations, tempo changes and complex themes akin to ERLKOENIG.''Eremite'' is a much more symphonic cut with Classical orientations and some spacey textures in the process, highlighted by the good combination of heavy guitars, soft piano and floating synthesizers, a mood strengthened by the very pompous and epic vocal lines.''Alone'' is more of the same, although a bit more fast-paced and pretty similar to early-80's German acts such as ANYONR'S DAUGHTER, eventually the synthesizer is now complemented by the Hammond organ and the smoky guitar work has something of an early ELOY flame into it.Especially the later part comes in an almost Proto-Metal style.At the end comes an ambitious attempt on a 22-min. epic by the band, which comes as a combination of Hard/Psych Rock and Symphonic Rock with lots of synth flights and guitar moves, creating atmospheres with laid-back instrumentals and more powerful deliveries, the first half actually comes in a more symphonic vein with a strong Teutonic edge due to the soaring keyboards and the epic vocals, featuring some nice lyrical parts and grandiose themes, while the second is pretty harder with its fantastic guitar parts and the surrounding keyboards.Maybe a bit like NEKTAR meet ELOY.

Both releases by Kissing Spell tend to be expensive, as time goes by, but the attempts of these mysterious guys on Kraut Prog were sincere, passionate and quite intricate.Recommended, especially if you like the archetypical style of 70's Teutonic Prog.

 Känguru by GURU GURU album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.14 | 84 ratings

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Känguru
Guru Guru Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Studio album number three from Mani Neumeier and crew is now regarded as Guru Guru's career peak, and after my own late exposure to the unpolished charms of this early Krautrock power trio I'm not about to argue. Their previous LP ("Hinten", 1971) has been described elsewhere in these Archives as a diamond in the rough (and it was indeed very rough, in places), but here the same gemstone was given a not-unwelcome spit-shine, hardly resembling like the same band at first exposure.

What happened, to make this session so different? Maybe producer Conny Plank was exerting a stronger than usual influence over the group, in effect transforming the crude trio into a more refined quartet. Certainly his (uncredited) keyboards and auxiliary guitar work enriched the Guru Guru sound considerably.

Or maybe the band decided to follow through on the epiphany of "Hinten", on which they discovered that a radical political mindset didn't have to lack a sense of humor. Look at the track titles here, and listen to the music: "Immer Lustig" roughly translates as "Always Funny", and they weren't kidding. The subterranean ganja riffing of the album opener "Oxymoron" isn't as oxymoronic as it sounds, and the extended thrash in the middle of "Ooga Booga" is one of the most joyful Krautrock power jams ever caught on vinyl.

The big difference was that the irritant factor of their first two LPs had all but disappeared. Ax Genrich (an awesome name for a rock guitarist, by the way) toned down his 10-penny nails-on- concrete playing style, while still managing to approximate the sound of a titan's dirty fingernails scraped down a cosmic chalkboard. The influence of Jimi Hendrix can still be heard ("He's my most important inspiration!" gushes Herr Genrich in the CD booklet notes). But I don't recall Hendrix ever straying quite so far from his blues roots, or singing in a style recalling Michael Palin portraying Mr. Gumby.

(...a quick digression. By openly acknowledging their debt to Hendrix the band contradicted the accepted Krautrock myth of musical isolation from English and American role models. In truth, without the good example set by Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, and Jimi Hendrix, there would not have been any Faust, Ash Ra Tempel, Can, or Guru Guru...)

In awarding the album five stars I'm choosing to interpret the ProgArchives rating guidelines with latitude. "Känguru" may not be a classic of Progressive Rock, but it's classic Guru Guru, and arguably the apex of what would eventually become an absurdly prolific discography. The iconic cover art alone is worth an extra half-star, and anyone who disagrees can go take a Baby Cake Walk.

 Saw Delight by CAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.32 | 71 ratings

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Saw Delight
Can Krautrock

Review by Fido73

4 stars No, Saw Delight is not a bad album, not in the same league as Tago, Ege or Future Days but still, it's a good album. I came to this album after hearing the previously mention, amazing albums. I thought I would be disappointed but no, it may sound a little more accessible but the groove are really great. Made in 1977 you can ear that sonically it's more modern than the early seventies release. It's start well with Don't Say No, a great groove that don't let go of your head long after hearing it. Sunshine Day And Night feels musically like you're in a caribbean island, that may sound un-prog, but it's done in a good way, Can style. The 3rd song, Call Me, sound closer to the old Can, very good song, short but good. Animal Waves is the long one, 15:30, love the drums on that track, the chord progression is simple but it let the drums shine thru, in fact, the drums may be the best thing on the album, so if you are a drum/percussion fan and like Can, this is a good album for you. Fly By Night, the last song is the only ok song of the album, it's not bad just ok. So, in conclusion, if you like Krautrock & Can, it's a safe bet, not a masterpiece like Tago, Ege or Future Days but it's a great addition to your Can collection.

4 Stars, Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

 The Lost Tapes by CAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
4.09 | 39 ratings

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The Lost Tapes
Can Krautrock

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I know it may be a shock to hear that a 3-hour collection of Can rarities, early versions and live tracks would be messy as hell, but this 3-hour collection of Can rarities, early versions and live tracks is messy as hell. Yes, there's some nice previously unheard material from the Suzuki era of the band, but this collection also spends an extensive amount of time in the Mooney era, and there's also a good chunk of post-Suzuki material as well. A good chunk of this collection is essential or close to it, but there's also a good chunk that I would be perfectly fine never hearing again.

The Mooney-era material, taken from both the 1968 Delay 1968 era and the 1969 Monster Movie era, has especially tremendous variance in quality. On the plus side, this era contributes what may be the best track on the set: the 17-minute "Grablau," a monstrous jam sorta in the vein of "Mother Sky," with a brief vocal section in the middle so distorted and screwed up that it's impossible to tell it comes from Mooney, and which undergoes tremendous variation from start to finish. The set begins on a strong note in this era as well, thanks to a great mostly instrumental jam in the Monster Movie style (starting quiet and atmospheric before picking up speed and centering around a bassline that sounds like something out of a spy movie) called "Millionspiel." There are some other nice tracks from this era as well, such as the weirdly up-beat "Deadly Doris," the gentle guitar-centric "Oscura Primavera," and the hilarious "Midnight Sky," which sounds like Captain Beefheart doing blues rock in a slightly less screwed up way than usual for him. On the negative side, well, there's pretty much everything else from this chunk. "Waiting for the Streetcar" is quintessential bad Mooney-era Can, featuring instrumental backing that might be pretty decent but is completely obscured by the way that Mooney basically sings "Are you waiting for the streetcar?" (or close variations, with occasional other lyrics) repeatedly for ten minutes. Other Mooney-era material here is a little less stereotypical, but not much more listenable. "When Darkness Comes" and "Blind Mirror Surf" each feature a lot of ugly squealing noises without much payoff, and putting them back-to-back makes for a really difficult 12 minutes to endure. "Your Friendly Neigborhood Whore" is at least cheery and upbeat, but Mooney's ugly singing makes it no better than an average Delay 1968 number, and that means it's not very good. "True Story" is Mooney telling a story over an ugly keyboard sound for four minutes, and finally "Desert" is an early version of "Soul Desert," which was the worst song on Soundtracks by a good distance. Material like this only serves to remind me just how glad I am that Mooney left the band.

The Suzuki-era material doesn't exactly contribute a lot to the band's legacy, but it's definitely the most enjoyable era of the collection. There are fine live versions of "Spoon" (extended to 17 minutes!!), "Mushroom," and "One More Night" (here called "One More Saturday Night"), and they all show that the band's amazing jamming power during this era translated just fine out of the studio and into live performance. On the first CD, one rarity ("Evening All Day") is a bunch of go-nowhere noise-making, but another rarity, "Bubble Rap," is a great Ege Bamyasi-era track, with Damo preaching whatever over guitar growlings with an awesome strong tone and the rhythm section in peak form. Otherwise, the Suzuki material here consists of early versions of later classics (aside from the :37 of "The Agreement," which seems to be somebody talking while peeing): "Dead Pigeon Suite" is alternately beautiful, exotic and intense jamming that eventually turns into "Vitamin C"; "Abra Cada Braxas" sounds like an early version of "Bring Me Coffee or Tea"; "A Swan is Born" is an early version of "Sing Swan Song"; "On the Way to Mother Sky" is just what it says; "Messer, Scissors, Fork and Light" would eventually condense down into "Spoon." It's very interesting to hear these tracks in work-in-progress mode, and for the most part they would have been just fine even if the band hadn't refined them further, but these are hardly superior to the versions that actually made it onto the albums themselves.

The post-Suzuki material reflects the corresponding releases pretty well, in that it tends to still show a nice amount of creative spark but a little lack of focus. There's an early version of "Vernal Equinox" called "Midnight Men," and it has the basic skeleton in place but isn't quite the destroyer of worlds that "Vernal Equinox" would be. The one really long track from this era is a live performance of a track called "Networks of Foam," and what it lacks in structure it makes up in terrifying aggression and energy (Jaki and Michael, good grief), and it's definitely a keeper. The rest consists of short ideas not explored to full potential ("The Loop," "Godzilla Fragment," and "Alice," which is gorgeous and really needed a full song built around it), a short idea explored to full potential and still found wanting ("E.F.S. 108"), a gorgeous atmospheric meandering (with some singing but done so quietly that it may as well not be there) in "Private Nocturnal," and a silly funk/disco number from the Saw Delight era ("Barnacles," which probably would have been the best number on that album). Still, while this section of the set can't live up to the Suzuki section, it says something that there's clear keeper material in here.

In a way, it's fitting that this collection didn't come out until a very late date, because this is a set made for the iPod/digital library era. As irritating as a good chunk of this set may be, there's still a very nice collection as long as 2 CDs buried within here, and that material is worth keeping around. Any Can fan should acquire and hear the best material from this set, and if that means getting the full set and having a CD's worth of dead weight, then so be it, but it would be better just to hear the good stuff. And besides, indications were from Schmidt that this might be the end of viable releasable material from the band, and thus it's worth savoring these remnants of the band's career.

 Cottonwoodhill by BRAINTICKET album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 119 ratings

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Cottonwoodhill
Brainticket Krautrock

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I love the hammond organ. It is the instrument of choice for me. When it is distorted and thumping away or when it is soothing and relaxing, gentle and loving. It does not matter. The organ. The word alone gives me shockwaves of delight.

On the wings of the organ I can suffer much and plenty. Having said that I must admit to sort of liking Brainticket's first album. The organ is omnipresent and really distorted. "Black sand" is quite a nice track. The vocals merge together with the organ in a very scary but fascinating way. Although... The presence of organ does in fact do little to warm my heart to this kind of music.

By large it is a collection of droning, so-called mind exppanding noise and uttter fury which in my ears leave little room for shifts in moods and texture and it gives me no rest at all. This is scary stuff. It is demented, twisted and very special, I have to say. I suppose that there are similarities to bands like Faust and Can etc but unlike the latter I only feel intimidated and uneasy by Brainticket's Cottonwoodhill. It sounds to my ears like a long nightmare without an end and that is not really entertaining or enjoyable.

The plus sides of the album, to speak of those, are the sort of unique ability to create music that is dark as the darkest darkness (plus-dark, as it would read in 1984) and scary like few black metal band have ever been able to. Whle this has nothing to do with black metal, it's scaryness lies in the dark and twisted sounds and noises made. No, the album does not lack melody or structure but it is, to me, simply a long droning experience. If you like this kind of music I suppose that this would be your cup of tea but to me it is simply unintelligable, though I recognize their plight and effort. I can even appreciate them for it.

So, how to rate it? I really do not know. On the basis of the plus sides, and avoiding my own and personal view, it would be rated four stars. I will however rate it from my perspective and that leaves me no choice but to award this scary pit of dark despair two stars. To me it is an overrated piece of noodling and an exercise in droning. Sorry!

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Krautrock bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
A.R. & MACHINES Germany
ACHTZEHN KARAT GOLD Germany
AGAM Germany
AGITATION FREE Germany
AINIGMA Germany
AIR Germany
ALASKA RANGE Switzerland
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