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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

4.22 | 189 ratings
HOSIANNA MANTRA
Popol Vuh
4.17 | 258 ratings
ASH RA TEMPEL
Ash Ra Tempel
4.27 | 73 ratings
EDGE OF TIME
Dom
4.05 | 302 ratings
PHALLUS DEI
Amon Düül II
4.05 | 324 ratings
YETI
Amon Düül II
4.07 | 236 ratings
NEU!
Neu!
4.06 | 231 ratings
TANZ DER LEMMINGE (DANCE OF THE LEMMINGS)
Amon Düül II
4.11 | 130 ratings
GILA - FREE ELECTRIC SOUND
Gila
4.15 | 92 ratings
LETZTE TAGE - LETZTE NÄCHTE
Popol Vuh
4.00 | 369 ratings
FUTURE DAYS
Can
4.11 | 94 ratings
SELIGPREISUNG
Popol Vuh
4.04 | 152 ratings
ELECTRIC SILENCE
Dzyan
4.01 | 191 ratings
MALESCH
Agitation Free
4.64 | 21 ratings
EISZEIT
Gam
3.92 | 438 ratings
TAGO MAGO
Can
4.07 | 82 ratings
KÄNGURU
Guru Guru
3.99 | 129 ratings
IN DEN GÄRTEN PHARAOS
Popol Vuh
4.00 | 110 ratings
AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD
Popol Vuh
3.93 | 204 ratings
WOLF CITY
Amon Düül II
4.18 | 41 ratings
A.R. IV
A.R. & Machines

Krautrock overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

MY SOLID GROUND
My Solid Ground
SUPERNOVA
Ibliss
A COUPLE OF TIMES
Twogether
I'M GONNA TAKE YOU HOME
Ya Ho Wha 13

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Latest Krautrock Music Reviews


 Malesch by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.01 | 191 ratings

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Malesch
Agitation Free Krautrock

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

4 stars East meets West on the debut Agitation Free LP `Malesch' from 1972, an album of exotic sounds and spacey atmospheres, as proposed by an improvisation based jam-band. Two identities, two musical sounds seemingly at odds with eachother instead become one unified whole, when it probably should sound very confused and conflicted. The band seamlessly blend eastern styles of the old world with space-rock and plodding Krautrock flavours of more modern eras, and the result is a collection of freeform psychedelic experiments full of mysticism and grooving rock passages. Of particular note throughout is future Tangerine Dream member Michael Hoenig's unearthly, atmospheric and restrained keyboard drones, although to be fair, four of the band members are credited to keyboards here!

There's a scuzzy, uneasy menace to album opener `You Play For Us Today', with splintering heavy psych electric guitar feedback that channels the late 60's Pink Floyd sound, alongside piercing upfront bass and droning maddening organ with an ethereal shimmering tone. `Sahara City' is more ambient and drifting, ethnic market place flavours introduced by acoustic hand percussion, cymbal rises and loopy electric guitar mangling from Jorg Schwenke in the manner of Syd Barrett's distinctive sound. The piece is full of meandering mystery, until it comes together in a shambling, nicely ragged acid-rock driving march in the final minutes, perhaps closer to Can. Burghard Rausch's drumming absolutely purrs on that one too. Searing electronic violations and repetitive hypnotic panning swirling organ permeates throughout `Ala Tul', with thick mumbling bass breaking through tribal percussion, the entire band working up a heady yet joyous intensity.

All the focus is on Michael Hoening's keyboards on the opener of the second side, `Pulse'. It's a bent sustained organ and wavering electronic drone with a maddening repulsive loop that plays over and over into infinity, likely to drive you to madness, brought on even sooner by relentless drum fills. Another droning synth hum pulses away in the background of `Khan El Khalilli', blanketing delirious sighing cries, skittering frantic drumming and chiming acid-folk acoustic guitars. There's a drawling bass plod from Michel Gunter that bursts through some meditative flute and lovely electric guitar soloing that takes flight, leaving the whole piece in a warm toasty haze. After opening with a chirping electronic loop, drums, bass and guitars seamlessly grow in confidence and tempo throughout the title track `Malesch', a never-ending pulsing Hammond organ joyfully noodling away, the whole band bringing a constant and infectious driving energy and whipping up a gentle fury. Sadly the album ends on a scorching rock track that only serves as an interlude at little over two minutes, but it does make for a memorable finale.

By the time their `Second' album came around, the band had abandoned most of the ethnic elements altogether, placing a greater emphasis on melodic, joyful electric guitar soloing and electronic experiments, which only makes this one all the more special. It's just as good, if rather different, to the follow-up, but both are essential chilled-out Krautrock works. It perhaps shares a similar searing spiritual ethnic flavour as the second half of Guru Guru's `Dance with the Flames' album, mixed with the expansive electronics of early Tangerine Dream, but there's always that thrilling sense of exploration and sonic freedom that the Krautrock bands are known for, and `Malesch' is simply beautiful, intoxicating music.

Four stars.

 Edge Of Time by DOM album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.27 | 73 ratings

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Edge Of Time
Dom Krautrock

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

5 stars Hypnotic, maddening, hallucinogenic...The sole album from 1970 by Dom, a group consisting of members from Germany, Hungary and Poland, `Edge of Time' is an atmospheric, precious and damaged Krautrock classic. Comprised of four trippy improvisations of space music, it's a mix of late 60's Pink Floyd, early Tangerine Dream and the Ash Ra Tempel, with acoustic acid-fried folk moments, avant-garde explorations and a lengthy psychedelic ambience. A predominately instrumental work that soundtracks the consequences and mental distortions resulting from a `bad trip', the effects of the music remain with the listener forever.

Dreamy flute wisps around delicate acoustic guitars strums and hand percussion growing more urgent in the opener `Intruitus', bringing an almost raga-rock quality that makes this as much a journey into the mind as it is to deep space. Panning mechanical harshness and electronic distortion takes over, swirling in a vortex of the most eerie, regal yet mournful organ that drones into infinity. The voyage takes a bad turn as the musical strains bend and twist. Electronic washes fade in and out during `Silence', harrowing other-worldly despairing wordless sighs gently cry into blackness. Voices whisper through the dark, taunting right beside you yet always out of earshot. Humming machine oscillations, distant explosions and somber reflective flute trickles along your mind.

Howling machine white-noise and abrupt cymbals crash alongside lazy acoustic guitar that floats behind the most tasteful shimmering organ this side of Rick Wright in the title track `Edge of Time'. Gloomy synths groan with a senses-shredding madness, as if you're caught up in an overwhelming rapture. A rambling stream-of-consciousness voice floats amongst meditative flute, reassuring as it is fraught with unease and mind-numbing fear. `Dream' contrasts insane crashing and clanging metallic percussion with oddly comforting and placid contemplative flute and guitar passages.

If you connect with this album, it has the chance of becoming a truly immersive, addictive and spiritual experience. You won't listen to it all the time, but when you do, it completely captivates and overwhelms you with its fragile beauty and intoxicating psychedelic flavours. It avoids the plodding musical heaviness of endless other Krautrock works, replacing it instead with an emotional, mental weight that crashes down and around. A total classic full of rambling lysergic beauty, `Edge of Time' is truly music to become lost in, and Krautrock fans should track down a reissue right away. Absolutely essential.

Five stars.

 Second by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.72 | 128 ratings

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Second
Agitation Free Krautrock

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

4 stars Agitation Free's `Second' album shows the German band moving in even more interesting directions than the ethnic music inspired flavours of the debut, while still bringing the band closer to that daring sense of sonic freedom and exploration that the Krautrock bands are known for. While the roots of the group are still kind of in an old-school jam-band on this one, the middle-eastern atmospheres of the first album are almost totally replaced here with bluesy guitar soloing, cruising space-rock diversions and experimental electronic passages. Perhaps the results are a little uneven, but the majority of the laid-back, sun-kissed dozy jams especially make it an addictive listen.

Album opener `First Communication' couldn't be more blissful. A careful build of liquid murmuring bass, nimble electric guitar soloing that bursts into sprightly life over and over and the most effortless and seamless tempo changes expertly reigned in by the drumming. The entire piece displays a restrained flowing ambience full of spirit, as if you're soaring amongst the clouds. `Dialogue and Random' is a curious, perhaps even slightly nightmarish electronic experiment of cold machine loops and mechanical oscillations. After a coffin-slamming-shut piano boom, the two part `Layla' is an acid-fried bluesy instrumental with electric guitar scorching away, purring bass and warm Hammond organ washes, the piece constantly growing in urgency, and always truly joyous and infectious.

There's a creeping lethargic and sexy groove to `In The Silence of the Morning', the main guitar melody twists around ripples of Hammond organ and flighty electronic shimmers. `A Quiet Walk' comes closest to the raga-rock ethnic sounds of the debut album `Malesch'. Starting as an ambient early Tangerine Dream-styled drone with wavering synths almost resembling running water with rippling synths before ominous Pink Floyd-like organ rises, eventually frantic acoustic guitar runs and pulsating hand percussion take over. It actually reminds me of moments from the Vangelis album `The Dragon', a default Krautrock album if ever there was one. `Haunted Island' is the only piece of have vocals, breathless and ethereal other-wordly rambling steam-of-consciousness voices. Electric guitar bending notes and searing Mellotron veils weave slinking grooves behind a heavy Brainticket-flavoured intensity.

While the album never quite gels perfectly, the warm jamming improvisations quite at odds with the cold electronic passages, there's no denying the inspiration and determination of the band to challenge themselves and listeners. Easy to put on as a background listen and drift away to, `Second' will appeal to fans of the Ash Ra Tempel, as well as those who don't mind more evocative and chilled out Krautrock sounds.

Three and a half stars.

 Volume 10 by ELECTRIC ORANGE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.09 | 8 ratings

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Volume 10
Electric Orange Krautrock

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars The Peyote Diet

Strange time in a band's career to be experimenting with hallucinogens, but then again what do I know? David Gilmour started flirting around with cocaine in his 40s...

Starting out with a a series of menacing violin strokes, screeching and writhing over an elegant, if not rather mumbling piano, hazy synth percolations from way in the back and then something as disturbing as strings being plucked like a rooster losing it's feathers. There is no melody only brooding atmospheric noise.........but navigated through by the utmost care and fragility that the piece becomes musical, albeit a strange hybrid of it though, with ambient whiskers attached and long yearning cello like cries.....and then the hypnotic Shaman drums commence and you're out on the prairie running with the buffalo.

To me it feels as if the opener, Paraboiled, welcomes you into an album that seeks out the same as the old Indian medicine men of the west. As a matter of fact, I hear a lot of Indian spiritualism in Volume 10. Paraboiled is like walking into an Indian séance - with Richard Harris suspended from the tee-pee roof, dangling away in eagle's claws. The whole track is like a small 7 plus minute raga that ends in those drums and an organ that only rarely takes form, and when it does it's like a warm gust of winds.

By stripping their expression down to a raw caveman-like essence Electric Orange have succeeded in doing something, that I thought was near impossible. They have actually managed to do a modern Krautrock album, that not only sounds incredibly unique and original, but interjects itself straight into what the real and genuine Krautrock of yore was all about: mystery and fumbling around in strange dark places with but a mere flashlight and an adventurous soul. Volume 10 takes Krautrock back to the trip - the interstellar space voyages and freak out sessions of 1971.............but it's never a real "throw-back" album. It utilises some of the same instruments sure, but the overall musical expression has more in common with a modern SWANS release than say Yeti, Tago Mago or NEU!'s debut. I often think of SWANS The Seer when I listen to this album. Maybe I've completely gone fishing, but there's a similar magnitude of sound going on - something that almost sounds teutonic and Magma-like huge, only far more loosey goosey, wavering and Hiawatha inspired.

Another one of Volume 10s defining qualities is the free form of the material. The music often wafts overhead you in swirling patterns for then to be sculptured into something altogether different - a sporadic rhythm intervenes, an organ cuts through, a guitar slushes away and swoosh now the music seems to have caught wind of something intriguing and consequentially adapts and transforms into a collective sonic force: The tune is now under way.

Ranging from phonofiddles and banjos to double bass, moog, mandolin, mellotron and guitars in reverse - the arsenal of this group is anything but ascetic, even if the flow of the music occasionally can feel that way - meaning that it sounds like a 'back to the basics' kind of thing 'Let's just jam together, although it'd be cool if none of you had any preconceived ideas coming into it'.

What more? Well some of this album genuinely sounds like a band trying to make ambient music - only with all acoustic instruments...............and then suddenly the electronics turn on together with a full rockin' explosion of the aforementioned Shaman sensibilities, and what you had in mind with those thoughts about ambient music are suddenly put to shame; -everything now is different and a thousand miles from the tee-pee where Richard hung (out) at the very beginning.

If you have ever wondered about how prog would've sounded like, if the Cherokee had been a major contributing factor in sculpting it, then this is the album for you. Dig out your old tomahawks and some peyote and get ready to party like it's 1999, there's dust and colourful feathers everywhere and you're in a drug induced trance. HEIYAHH YAHH YAHH!!!

 Krautrock From Hell by ELECTRIC ORANGE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.77 | 53 ratings

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Krautrock From Hell
Electric Orange Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

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

The original movement, in all its many form(s), 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.

 Düülirium by AMON DÜÜL II album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.29 | 5 ratings

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Düülirium
Amon Düül II Krautrock

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

2 stars And there has also been at least one Krautrock record yet released this year 2014 and that is Amon Düul II, the German band's eighteenth studio album "Düülirium" and just as many other records, there are positive and negative aspects to tell you about. The cover has a skeleton and shining letters. The musicians of Amon Düül II are John Weinzierl (guitar), Chris Karrer(guitar, violin) and Renate Knaup(vocals).

Düülirium is a very spaced out record which could be both good and bad. As a beginning I enjoyed that rather straight and determined rock sound. The singers sing in a special and honest way and they do it both in German and in English. The music has psychadelic passages of long time but it doesn't feels like high quality music. Words of randomness and improvised long chunks you have to wait out. I think it was funny for the musicians to play it and if you have drugs in your blood you'll perhaps like to halucinate through it. Especially the final and very long track was hard to understand for me. I though couldn't find interest in this record which I felt was inferior to many others. But I do believe there are others who are more into Krautrock and Psychedelic(I am not) who will like it. Give it a try hippies! I'll give it two stars.

 Terra Incognita by METABOLISMUS album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.44 | 7 ratings

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Terra Incognita
Metabolismus Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars METABOLISMUS are a German band who were formed in the latter part of the eighties, they have sought to keep that Krautrock spirit alive and have done a great job with it but unfortunately they are relatively unknown. One big reason very few people know them is that they've had to self-release their early albums with small quantities being released. Since then they've been on small and obscure labels and they seem to want to be as invisible as possible as even on their web-site little information is given. I understand that this is a band which has had as many as 30 members over the years as they are constantly in flux. I also understand that each album is different from the previous one. This is my first taste of this band and I would describe this record as being an organic Electronic recording more than anything else. Oh, and it is really really good.

"Disconnected Areas Of Outer Nothingness" is the over 14 minute opener. It sounds like percussion, electronics and squeeking sounds early on then vibes and bass? replace the percussion and electronics as the squeeking sounds become softer. This is very organic sounding and melancholic as keyboards now drone somewhat as the vibes become less prominant. This is really good people. Things begin to intensify before 11 minutes as the squeeking sounds return. A calm follows as percussion comes in but it's starting to rebuild. Great sound 13 minutes in with all of these interesting sounds even bringing to mind "The Wall" with those helicopter-like synths. "Spiel 2" has more interesting sounds that build to the end in this short piece. "Die Grunen Locher Von Aztal" is eventually led by percussion with an Eastern vibe after this eerie laugh is heard. This might be my favourite track. Sounds cry over top, so good!

"Les Automates Spirituels" is almost 14 minutes long and a top three tune. This one is spacey and dark with what sounds like keys and organ pulsating and droning. It calms down 10 minutes in as sounds swirl slowly. It starts to build including strummed guitar and violin to the end. "Mutter Erde/Terra Incognita" is the almost 9 minute closer. It's Eastern sounding with intricate sounds as spoken German words join in. The words stop as flute joins in before 1 1/2 minutes. The flute then stops and I must say this is a very cool soundscape that is dreamy and experimental. It's somewhat eerie 6 minutes in like the soundtrack of a horror movie. The second part of the song comes in before 8 minutes as we get what sounds like fuzzed out harpsichord.

I dig this one big-time and I applaud the band for keeping that Krautrock spirit alive and well.

 Organon by BACKNEE HORN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Organon
Backnee Horn Krautrock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars Sounds like there are wonderful dream and magnificent hope around this creation veiled in such a compulsiveness and inorganic soundscape.

"Organon" - that means the strategies for getting theoretical consideration - has been released as BACKNEE HORN's 4th album. They've done mysterious musical studies in previous albums, and much more experimental trial (with traditional Krautrock flavour) has been exerted in this newest stuff. We surely get surprised and amazed in broken sound material and glassy electronic taps in such a fragile beginning of the first track "Music Increases ..." and they would never stop attacking with heavy, tribal percussion to access another dimension or another space. This mystic glitters, also in the following track "Login Spirit" (even with deeper, more spiritual trails), give us driving sickness ... sounds like a dim light of dusk can be seen over there. Their original footprints along with contemporary electronic / experimental ambience can be heard, but might notify us of oldie goodie Krautrock taste like Neu.

And oh what. "Digestive Scenarios" is a space electronic like Acid Mothers Temple blended with Pink Floyd-ish mellow psychedelia. Here is wonderful dream constructed with their inexpressive sound happiness. Very mysterious indeed, but this confusion should make such an experiment. "Robot Rides" reminds me of something like One Point Music (by Pekka Airaksinen) or Hoichi (by No Neck Blues Band) due to experimental inorganic sound electrons. But hey, why can their effector-based funky voices satisfy us? Another mystery. So, the last song "Without Pre Creation" should be called as one of their important stuffs compiled with their whole material. Religious, shimmering, rigid, metallic, ironic, nauseous, and heartwarming, flavoury ... various elements of sound are there. Sadly quite a little essence might let us digest their "music axis" incompletely owing to difficulty of qualitative and quantitative analysis. Oh yes, this is so-called Krautrock. Enjoy without any defense around your ears.

 Volume 10 by ELECTRIC ORANGE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.09 | 8 ratings

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Volume 10
Electric Orange Krautrock

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

4 stars From the polished and carefully composed yet energetic grooving retro prog of their first self-titled album back in 1993, through modern electronic/dance influences, wild vocal- driven wig-outs and beyond, German band Electric Orange have constantly been evolving, changing their styles and sounds between albums on their unsuspecting listeners. Heading in directions that their last couple of albums only hinted at, `Volume 10' unleashes the band in pure Krautrock mode, with mostly instrumental lengthy freeform improvisations weaving a hypnotic spell over the listener, and the sparse production, along with the exploratory atmospheres and that necessary hint of danger ensures this is the band is honing the true essence of the style, something often missed in modern bands attempting to play in the Krautrock style.

Armed with a string of Black Sabbath punning titles, while the band doesn't employ attacking metal riffs like that band, there is a definite doomy atmosphere bubbling under `Volume 10', with the album almost resembling a long, murky bad confronting trip - emotionally, spiritually...perhaps chemically?! With ethnic instrumentation, warped electronics and ragged guitars, the plodding compositions (and I only mean that as a compliment) cast a murky shadow over the listener, only to be thrown back into reality at the end of almost 80 minutes, and there's no way they can remain unaffected.

`Paraboiled' is a stark opener, a lonely, droning middle-eastern theme with a thick tension trying to break to the surface, growing more rumbling and unsettled as it progresses. Crying mandolin, eerie spectral haunting Mellotron and a quickening beat easily intimidate, while off-key double bass slices at your mind with maddening results. `Slowbind' raises your pulse with a chasing beat and urgent banjo strums over sustained synth breakdowns. `Symptom of the Mony Nurse' brings brooding lonely wailing electric guitar strains around wavering deep-space synths, while the meditative 14 minute `Suite Beef' is a mournful early Pink Floyd/Popul Vuh styled organ drone, a dark spiritual reflection with weeping mandolin and driving drums to end on. These two especially show the talent of Dirk Jan Müller, on something of a run with the modern progressive electronic gem `Cosmic Ground' impressing earlier on in the year.

Rising and falling cymbal waves crash on `A Tuna Surprise', a bass violin rumination with crystalline electric piano tip-toes and blanketing Mellotron washes. The album suddenly moves up in tempo for the wild, unhinged 21 minute vacuum-like `Behind the Wall of Sheep', a real showcase for drummer Georg Mohnheim. In addition to his relentless primal drumming, you get ominous Mellotron choir, crackling white noise, Tom Rückwald's menacing thundering pounding bass and Dirk Bittner's squealing feedback laden guitars. `Seven and Smell' is a dark psychedelic mix of distorting electronics, reverse guitars, imposing recited voices and mesmerizing trance-inducing tribal percussion. Album closer `Worn Utopia' in one melancholic closer, full of twitching electronics, crackling static, twisting feedback, out-of-tune guitar note bending, maddening percussive repetition and harsh rising and falling synth hums that constantly speed up and slow down. There's a repulsive, suffocating machine-fuelled madness throughout the entire piece, along the lines of the darkest Tangerine Dream works like the claustrophobic deep space `Zeit' album, with only a skipping up-tempo beat and humming Hammond that slowly enters in the final minutes to offer any respite.

Mastered by Eroc of Grobschnitt, `Volume 10' sees Electric Orange proudly bringing vintage influences howling into the modern age, yet never sounding like a pale imitation of the German bands noted for defining the Krautrock sound. For fans of Agitation Free, Popul Vuh, the Ash Ra Tempel and the earlier works of Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream, this is Krautrock music in it's purest form, and some of the most subdued, intricate, thoughtful, restrained, mournful and uneasy ambience I've heard in years.

Four and a half stars.

 Volume 10 by ELECTRIC ORANGE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.09 | 8 ratings

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Volume 10
Electric Orange Krautrock

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars I am not going to back down from the admission that this is a masterpiece of Krautrock. Where others have shied away, I am putting it out there. From the very first listen to my most recent twenty-somethingth I hear the very special quality of this music. The reverence for the musics of the past is obvious but Electric Orange have gone further: they have added to the lexicon of Krautrock, even perfected it. The advantage of modern recording equipment and techniques adds a quality to this album that no Krautrock album from the 1970s I've ever heard has. Then this group of amazing musicians had the maturity and temerity to not only take turns featuring various instruments and musicians over the course of this 79+ minute long album but using time and space to slowly develop their ideas and slowly build each song's "sound palette." I love music like this! I love it when a theme or riff is beaten to death, given time to get into your head, get under your skin, take you into other worlds. And this is precisely what each and every song of this album does for me: takes me into other worlds, sometimes into altered states of consciousness. The journey of a listen to the whole album is well worth it--almost unavoidable because of the mesmerizing, hypnotic effect of the music.

I urge everyone to give this a listen-- but, please, not just ten seconds of each song. Let the album play while you cook, work on the computer, or read in bed. That way you'll have the chance to experience the music sucking you into its spiraling web. I can only imagine the pride the forefathers of Krautrock might feel upon hearing this album; the fact that the ground that they paved made this album possible must be humbling.

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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
ALCATRAZ Germany
ALEX ORIENTAL EXPERIENCE Germany
ALTONA (GER) Germany
ALUK TODOLO France
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