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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



handbook

Krautrock Top Albums


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

4.19 | 269 ratings
HOSIANNA MANTRA
Popol Vuh
4.15 | 352 ratings
ASH RA TEMPEL
Ash Ra Tempel
4.11 | 428 ratings
YETI
Amon Düül II
4.23 | 113 ratings
EDGE OF TIME
Dom
4.08 | 503 ratings
FUTURE DAYS
Can
4.09 | 303 ratings
TANZ DER LEMMINGE [AKA: DANCE OF THE LEMMINGS]
Amon Düül II
4.08 | 315 ratings
NEU!
Neu!
4.51 | 38 ratings
EISZEIT
Gam
4.09 | 174 ratings
GILA - FREE ELECTRIC SOUND
Gila
4.02 | 381 ratings
PHALLUS DEI
Amon Düül II
4.14 | 110 ratings
LETZTE TAGE - LETZTE NÄCHTE
Popol Vuh
4.07 | 122 ratings
SELIGPREISUNG
Popol Vuh
4.00 | 241 ratings
MALESCH
Agitation Free
4.06 | 122 ratings
KÄNGURU
Guru Guru
4.06 | 122 ratings
VOLUME 10
Electric Orange
3.95 | 583 ratings
TAGO MAGO
Can
4.01 | 180 ratings
ELECTRIC SILENCE
Dzyan
4.43 | 32 ratings
TONY CONRAD & FAUST: OUTSIDE THE DREAM SYNDICATE
Conrad, Tony
4.03 | 133 ratings
AGUIRRE
Popol Vuh
3.95 | 256 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

I'M GONNA TAKE YOU HOME
Ya Ho Wha 13
MAGIC THEATRE
Drum Circus
PLANET OF MAN
Code III
ARKTIS TAPES
Arktis

Latest Krautrock Music Reviews


 Würzburg Cairo 2015 by ELECTRIC ORANGE album cover Live, 2017
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Würzburg Cairo 2015
Electric Orange Krautrock

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

4 stars German band Electric Orange have been around in some form for twenty five years now, founded by Dirk Jan Müller, a multi-instrumentalist who primarily handles keyboards (and also recently started a well-received Berlin School-influenced prog-electronic side-project Cosmic Ground). Over their early years, alongside frequent contributor Dirk Bittner, the group was mostly occupied by guests and/or a rotating door of varied musicians, but a settled line-up of the band eventually found their calling in heavy Krautrock-flavoured ambient jams on their most recent works. To commemorate their anniversary, Dirk and the group have delivered three very different and worthy works this year, one of them being `Würzburg Cairo 2015', a live document that showcases their set of trippy, atmospheric and frequently minimalistic jams from the 8th Psychedelic Network Festival of two years ago.

Fifteen-minute opener `Behind The Wall Of Sheep' (yes, you read that right!) sets much of the template that several stretches of the performance cover - behind Georg Monheim's rumbling incessant drums, Dirk's keyboards lightly coat the background in the most subtle of ways with pristine electronic caresses, Tom Rückwald's bass grumbles with purpose and Dirk Bittner's squalling feedback-laced distorted guitars reverberate into infinity. Traces of the improvisation remind of the legendary early Pink Floyd live performances in their more howling moments, and the piece moves between noisier builds and serene come-downs like so many of the classic Krautrock works.

Over a plodding beat, the guitars of `Fluff' move between victorious dreaminess and fierce defiant contemplations, Dirk's bleeding keyboard violations chug in and out of stormy drum tantrums throughout `Perpetuum Mobiliar', and `A Tuna Sunrise' drifts with shimmering electric piano tendrils and shambling acoustic guitars before culminating in a blissful Mellotron lift. `Supptruppen' is eleven minutes of haunting and mysterious drowsy guitar splinters cutting through murky ambient drones, and `Auslauf' is a shorter Mellotron-flecked guitar maelstrom that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the early Tangerine Dream albums. `Ducktango' is an early A.M hours drifting darkly jazzy saunter with slithering thick bass and groaning trumpet cries, and `Samba Ohrleck' is an equally stormy and chilled psychedelic shimmer with maniacal spoken-word rantings.

Equal parts dreamlike wander and nightmarish intensity, the near seventeen-minute closer `Mischwesen' is a relentless percussion-driven masterclass of hypnotic power and carefully executed build. Slow to unfold, meandering bass ruminations, droning trumpet wafts and maddening incessant drumming build into a barely restrained storm, Dirk adding a thick layer of brooding electronic washes, ghostly Mellotron choirs and a touch of early Klaus Schulze to his frantically delirious synth soloing.

Any listeners who have witnessed the band grow into the dynamic and mesmerizing Krautrock band that they are today over their last few studio albums will greatly appreciate this comparable and superb live account. While perhaps the band might be overdue for a new live DVD/Bluray, their first since `Live at the Psychedelic Network Festival 2007' a decade ago, `Würzburg Cairo 2015' is available on both CD and a lavish double LP on Sunhair Records, and it makes for a very fine way to celebrate the first twenty-five years of the group - here's to the next quarter century!

Four stars.

  Lottery Of Memories  by SWARA SAMRAT album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.74 | 4 ratings

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Lottery Of Memories
Swara Samrat Krautrock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

5 stars I've got shocked, and immersed in really. Stumbled upon a obscure track "Lottery Of Memories" by a Krautrock killer Swara SAMRAT via YouTube, that completely knocked me out. Very soon I've searched his album (vinyl) but the mission could not be done easily ... what a rare gem. As for such an explosive paranoia, I've already had a similar experience via "Cosmic Kraut Experience" by Merlin, Swara, Ilor And Friends. "Lottery Of Memories" should be considered as another incarnation of Swara's multi-dimensional Krautrock authority.

In this sense, the titled track "Lottery Of Memories" can be called as his masterpiece, I'm sure. Based upon oriental vibes and movements filled with sitar shower and ritualistic percussion, crazy pan flute flames and technodelic inorganic electronika keep dancing around and around. Swara's voices are convoluted like dragon rising to the heaven, and drive the audience mad like a psychoactive substance. Excessive, energetic, eccentric surrealism could be heard ... such a massive sound effect has not be experienced until now.

"Walkin' On The Beach" is not only a melodically of delicious pop indeed, but also flooded with impressive crooked guitar sounds and ethnically tribally danceable percussion. Mysterious electronic footprints can give weird, psychic herb flavour into the sound colour. Sounds like Swara would shout he'd let us touch not simple rock texture but complicated sound collective produced fully with his initiative. "Angelina" has bluesy, deep, heavy touches full of exaggerated dissonant hard-edged guitar enthusiasm. Another psychedelia can invade into our mind. The guitar plays are so sensual enough to absorb the audience inside. Via "Hello Goodbye", we can grab some musical essence ... pop, ambient, psychedelia ... it's fine even that each element repels another, like oil and water. Don't imagine the same titled song by The Beatles lol.

Sounds likewise via the following samba "Samba For Lisa", with crooked electronic ambience and mad guitar daemon behind it. Suppose this vision might have been Swara's music identity or attitude for the world. It might not be bad for the audience, but simultaneously we would be afraid he should have needed such a quirkiness all around. On the other hand, the last "A Kind Of Loneliness" is a magnificent sound experiment. Colourful melodic, tunic variation should burst out, battled and be merged, be unified, and be melted. Sweet dissonance of full volume is comfortable for us, and sound confusion gives a dreamy dream to our brain. Just like a French experimental commune Semool, or a weird music actor Mahogany Brain.

In conclusion, we should have an interpretation that Swara has merged 70s pop essence into authentic Krautrock material. This is his vectorial, I can mention here?

 Hesse Between Music by BETWEEN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.77 | 4 ratings

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Hesse Between Music
Between Krautrock

Review by ProgAlia

4 stars For their fourth album, Between had made something special. Selected texts by Hermann Hesse should be the focus of the album, presented by Gert Westphal and musically complemented and framed by Between. The whole thing was probably mainly an idea of ​​"Jazz Pope" Joachim-Ernst Berendt, who has been organizing projects under the motto "Poetry & Music" (or "Jazz & Poetry") since the early 1950s. Berendt not only produced "Hesse Between Music" but also selected the lyrics.

Lyrics and music in "Hesse Between Music" are so balanced. Westphal reads (speaks) excerpts from Hesse and Between make music. The music of the group represents a similar mixture of jazz, Indian, classical and a trace of electronic, as on the previous discs. The music is a bit more varied, however, with meditative, hypnotic-hymnic soundscapes,and simple improvisation. The mood of the music adapts to the respective Hessetexten, which sometimes turned out poetic-word-painting, sometimes humorous-direct, occasionally ironic, almost sarcastic. By and large, the group succeeds in finding the right mood and merging text and music into a single unit. A little put on and imposed on the whole but in places, something intentional intellectual. Since the music is often subordinated to the lyrics, it sometimes seems a bit pale and simple, just like accompanying music.

"Hesse Between Music" offers an interesting tightrope walk between music, poetry and lyric. The Italians of Pholas Dactylus had a similar concept, but with a much more rock-oriented "accompaniment music". Who appreciates their only album, has something for Hesse and the contemplative Indojazz (rock) of Between mag, should also check out "Hesse Between Music"!

 Sehr Kosmisch Ganz Progisch by WESERBERGLAND album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.33 | 7 ratings

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Sehr Kosmisch Ganz Progisch
Weserbergland Krautrock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars When guitarist-producer Jacob HOLM-LUPO (WHITE WILLOW, THE OPIUM CARTEL), flutist-keyboard player Ketil Vestrum EINARSEN (WHITE WILLOW, JAGA JAZZIST, WOBBLER, MOTORPSYCHO), guitarist Gaute STORSVE (RHYS MARSH) and drummer extraordinaire Mattias OLSSON (ÄNGLAGÅRD, PINEFOREST CRUNCH, PÄR LINDH, WHITE WILLOW, THE OPIUM CARTEL, NECROMONKEY) get together to create an album of music in tribute to the Kosmische Music (Krautrock) artists of the 1970s you can bet it's going to be a good one. And it is! Each song on the album is like listening to a drum, keyboard, and guitar clinic. It's as if JAGA JAZZIST and CAN were merged--as if Lars and Martin HORNTVETH were collaborating with Jaki LIEBEZEIT in this, the 21st Century, with all of the gizmos and effects that give 21st Century musicians such versatility and variety. The bass is often keyboard or computer driven, but it works. Mattias' drumming blends computer technologies with the live kit sounds. The keyboard and guitar sounds and techniques used are all over the place. Overall, the music is derivative, yet experimental; it's rhythmic and yet avant; it's militaristic yet psychedelic. It's genius!

1. "Tanzen Und Springen" (9:44) the most melodically memorable song on the album but perhaps the least adventurous. Nice lead guitar work (especially the Todd Rundgren-like work in the ninth and tenth minutes). (9.25/10)

2. "Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde" (15:42) starts off very etheral/ambient before electronic drums and deep synth washes take over. Such a deeply engaging song--definitely one of the highlights of 2016/2017 for me. Even the "copied" Pink Floyd "Time" reverbed rototoms and the Holger Czukay-like radio samples in the last three minutes are wonderful inclusions. (9.75/10)

3. "Kunst Der Fuge" (12:02) AMAZING drums and awesome organ/keyboard work. (9.5/10)

4. "Tristrant" (8:48) with the sound base of a 1980s song by ABC (there's so much of that 80s retro sound going around, why not in Kosmische Musik?) Great synth, winds, and percussion work. I love the cacophonic buildup in the second half and then the slow release toward the end. (9.25/10)

Five stars; a masterpiece of progressive rock music and a brilliant shot in the arm for the resurgent Kosmische Musick scene.

 Der Grosse Rote Vogel by PINGUIN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.98 | 3 ratings

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Der Grosse Rote Vogel
Pinguin Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars Germany's Krautrock scene produced a score of incredibly talented and far thinking bands of great substance, but the decades that have elapsed since the first wave of progressive rock in the early 70s has yielded a scant few champions of the era such as Amon Düül II, Can, Ashra Temple, Grobschnitt and Popol Vuh just to name a few but many more were unsuccessful at all, hardly capturing any attention during the era not to mention in modern times have been seemingly forgotten and if lucky enough to find a repressing of any sort, instantly subjected to the bargain bins. My experience with such bands is that such humiliation is never incumbent on the quality of the product but rather due to the role of lady luck in the vast scheme of elements that require any given musical entity to rise above the crowd. The German band PINGUIN is one of those such bands that despite having more than enough original ideas and talent to pull it off, was buried deep beneath the heap and in the process utterly snuffed out and suffocated before it could even get its feet off the ground. Even to this day, there is scant information on this band but appears to be from the Cologne (Köln) region. The band consisted of seven musicians which included two guitarists, electric and double bass, organ, drums including bongos and tenor sax, flute and even the use of choirs.

The band started as the psychedelic rock band Talix and released one album titled "Spuren" (Traces) in 1971 on the Vogue record label before upping their musical game into the progressive rock world and changing their name to PINGUIN (German for "penguin"). The band emerged at the very moment that the Zebra label which was a new sub-label of Polydor was being implemented for more progressive music and DER GROSSE ROTE VOGEL (the big red bird) was the very first album to appear on the new fledgling label. The album is quite diverse in its sound and unlike most other acts that fall into the vast net that the term Krautrock falls under. The band has been described to engender a more international rock sort of sound that could bring similar organ dominated bands like Frumpy of Faithful Breath to mind that utilizes stunning passages of heavy rock that alternate with psychedelia, jazz and even avant-garde electronica. The album enjoyed one initial pressing on the Zebra label and then was lucky enough to receive a second release on CD by the Minority label which was also short lived and focused on the extreme obscurities of early 70s rock.

PINGUIN were masters at adapting many elements and creating a cohesive mix. All six tracks were written by organist Volker Plitz and because of that fact, are unified by a heavy organ-rich texture that strings everything together so neatly. The band quite skillfully display all the tenets of progressive rock ranging from unpredictable compositional approaches, time signature deviations and larger than life tangents that includes full-fledged freakouts, extended musical passages and bouts with dissonance that take the listener to the brink in a rather truncated period of time before finding resolution with catchy and easy-on-the-ears melodic resolution. The opening title track displays many of the band's carefully crafted songwriting skills. While it begins with a moody organ accompanied by a fluttering flute, the chant-like vocals are interrupted by heavy guitar outbursts and the two styles trade off in an exotic flair before the track becomes a heavy guitar led rocker with a steady beat and melodic march. While the lyrics are totally in German, which for 1972 was becoming rare (and possibly the reason they never extended beyond their borders), Klaus Gebauer delivers them with passion and precision. The track alternates between more progressive and catchy rock segments. Very addictive.

The beauty of DER GROSSE ROTE VOGEL is how each track differentiates itself from the other despite the psychedelic time-revealing organ runs remaining the focus and common thread of the overall sound. "Die Angst" (the fear) follows with a connecting organ run that is calm and placid but is punctuated by a frenetic heavy guitar driven rock segment that cuts in only to have the calm organ dominated part to return and blossom into more melodic developments. When the guitar parts return they display a slight dissonance that turns into a more normal heavy rock run with sizzling saxophone solos by Elmar Kast. "Der Frosch In Der Kehle" (Frog in the throat) begins with more of a folk rock feel even slightly Tull-ish with a beautiful flute run over the rock energetic beat and continues its excursion into a dual guitar attack with the flute smoothing things out. There is a nice organ dominated run before the flute led segment begins once again. The pattern is clear at this point that PINGUIN knew how to alternate patterns quite skillfully and each time a certain segment made its reprise the ante was risen ever so slightly all the while keeping the overall melodic march completely in tact. This track vocally reminds me a lot of the heavy rock / prog attack of Hanuman / Lied Des Teufels band that blended prog with the straight forward German rock scene. Track ends with some cool bongos and percussion outbursts including some intense talking drum workouts.

"Der Blaue Wind" (The blue wind) also begins with a flute but this one is more bizarre as high pitches erupt into an avant-garde soundscape but after a short while it completely transmogrifies into a beautiful melody. The track remains very chilled and as the organ counterpoint slightly elevates it into psychedelia, the vocals and song structure immediately remind me of the Goldring antics in the strange musical world of Gnidrolog which shows just how far PINGUIN's influences ranged. This one may be the most sophisticated tracks in terms of progressive rock with all instruments simultaneously creating interesting sums that when taken into the world of parts constitutes a very cool little spread of sounds uniting for a true cause. The organ runs on this are exquisitely textured to heighten a bizarre tension that clashes with the bass. The track becomes more loose and free form as surreality ensues and becomes ever more unstable. An organ run picks up the pieces and creates a rather pastoral medieval feel. "Die Nachtmusik" (The night music) deviates from the weirdness and creates a catchy rock track that has a very strong guitar driven melody that has a satisfying sax attack. This one in contrast, is very melodic and constitutes the track most worthy of earworm status on the album albeit with moody organ intermissions. Just try to get those sax hooks out of your head after hearing this! The closer "Der Traum" (the dream) is an extremely moody organ dominated chill session that makes use of a jazzy bass line and percussion.

I found this album in the bargain bin for 5$USD. When i looked it up on line, there was hardly any information at all. It was woefully underrated on Rate Your Music. It even wasn't included on Prog Archives, the world's best progressive rock database and absolutely nothing about the band, the history or the ill-fated Zebra label that PINGUIN appeared on. Unfortunately both label and band disappeared as quickly as they emerged and that is the true shame of all of this. As it turns out, PINGUIN exhibited the perfect balance of quirky progressive rock in all its excesses in tandem with highly accessible melodic rock in all its catchiness. The perfect fusion of the avant-garde and the emotional hooks of well performed music. The fact that this band and their one album has fallen in the cracks while countless other bands with tunnel vision have risen to the top seems, well, utterly illogical. While i can concede the limitations of the day and time, a resurrection of some of these long lost classics needs to emerge and while the art of finding long lost classics in bargain bins rarely occurs, i must say that this one was a total surprise. PINGUIN created a type of band sound that i would love to hear about 20 more albums of. There is something about the finesse of how they pull off all the elements that really blows me away, something that very few bargain bin bands have managed to do. While this was love at first listen, this easily went from an instant 4 star album to a buried 5 star treasure masterpiece in my book. Please do give this album a spin. It won't disappoint if you crave the perfect marriage of highly developed progressiveness with more accessible melodic song structures.

 Flammende Herzen by ROTHER, MICHAEL album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.71 | 18 ratings

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Flammende Herzen
Michael Rother Krautrock

Review by Vinyl Connection

4 stars Lots of elegant guitar on this first solo release from the co-founder of Neu! In his former band, Rother was responsible for much of the melody while ur-punk Klaus Dinger added the gravel and punch. That division is reflected in this record, which is steeped in a European romanticism speaking more of rivers than autobahns. But though often pretty, it's not all languid. Jaki Liebezeit of Can provides the quintessential krautrock motorik beat while Rother does the rest. 'Karussell' could have been on Neu!75?superb. At a touch over 34 minutes, it feels too brief, yet remains a very satisfying instrumental record. (The CD re-issue of Flammende Herzen adds a couple of inessential remixes).
 Der Grosse Rote Vogel by PINGUIN album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.98 | 3 ratings

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Der Grosse Rote Vogel
Pinguin Krautrock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

5 stars An excellent, authentic German psychedelic album featuring dreamy organ / keyboard / mellotron, ethnic / mystic percussion, quirky jazzy saxophone vibes, and magically addictive flute wind. Another Krautrock obscure fantasia with a weird ( but interesting, impressive) pic-printed sleeve has touched my heart obviously. Bringing complicated anti-pop melodies and phrases seasoned with folksy atmosphere and jazzy taste to the forefront sounds like a late-60s Krautrock superstar Xhol Caravan meets another obscure German psychedelic combo Air ' in the first track 'Der Gro'e Rote Vogel', delicious oriental flute melody opens the cage of the 'big red bird', and the melodic texture is leaning towards Air's folksy one. Their jazzy flavour is in the similar vein to Xhol Caravan (but not so improvised nor passionate as Xhol). Their soundscape is not so dissonant as other Krautrock acts but well-composed and crystallized.

Anyway, the following one 'Die Angst' or the third track 'Der Frosch In Der Kehle' is cool jazz rock tinged with psychedelic organ sounds harmonized with tight rhythm sections. Brilliant saxophone movements are crazy strict and sharp-edged especially in the second track ... just like "Yeti" by Amon Düül II. On the contrary, the first shot upon B Side 'Der Blaue Wind' is kinda warping floating keyboard-stream-oriented psychedelia without any rigidity. Very charming are heavenly xylophone footprints and distorted air. 'Die Nachtmusik' is slightly pop-flavoured but rhythmically tight like ones upon A Side, The last 'Der Traum' is potentially critical in the former part but fascinating and lovely in the latter, with complex sentences all over the track. Totally mentioned, Krautrock fans might get immersed in their strict, tight sound reaction and feel it be a pity that they had soon disappeared. Worth having a listen.

 EOXXV by ELECTRIC ORANGE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.13 | 4 ratings

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EOXXV
Electric Orange Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

3 stars Gosh, how time flies! Meanwhile we are noticing the band's 25th anniversary! In the light of this event they have decided to release a double CD (on Fleisch) respectively tripple LP (via Adansonia). A good reason for a short retrospective at first. Originally initiated more as an experimental solo project, keyboarder Dirk Jan Müller started in 1992 recording and releasing songs. The album 'Cyberdelic' (1996) then manifested the begin of a very fruitful collaboration with Dirk Bittner, and the progress towards a real band. Both will represent the stable and congenial core furthermore. Josef Ahns (guitar, flute) then would follow as a steady member for some years, until, while continuing with the highly acclaimed 'Morbus' album in 2007, Tom Rückwald (bass) decided to enter the crew.

Since 2008 the current line up will be completed due to Georg Monheim. Deep respect to the previous drummers, but with his unique percussion style he definitely managed to add a special note to the band's sound. Musically ELECTRIC ORANGE are standing for a modernized interpretation of the 'good old' krautrock spirit. While combining some main ingredients, which are classic space rock, tribal percussions, hypnotic rhythms as well as ambient progressive electronics. This based on a proper amount of improvisation and experimentalism by using a lot of exceptional instruments. Well, the murky front cover solely will come into effect actually regarding the vinyl version, I would say. Since 'Misophonia' at least relatively dark-coloured visuals are dominating, probably aimed at complementing with their somewhat doomy melancholic soundscapes.

Content-wise it appears that some leftovers from previous sessions are given, I assume. The first CD is comprised of three tracks, recorded early 2013, hence originally to be designed for 'Volume 10' most likely. Where hereby Gnosis solely appears on the compact disc version with Tom using an acoustic bass! Continuum is a really gripping affair, mirrors the global EO sound and spirit at its best. Groovy and floating parts are constantly alternating, you won't have any damn clue in which direction this is going to flow. Bass, drums, keyboard and guitar are swirling around with fantastic interaction. Second CD starts with two further 'Misophonia' partitions, recorded in 2016 where IV does not really meet my taste due to its depressive atmosphere overall. Additionally two excerpts appear, which are relatively new, recorded in January 2017 precisely defined.

Very convincing according to my taste. Faint and Residuum yet again are offering a wonderful meandering and spacey execution over the course of nearly 40 minutes. Provided with the option to really tune out for some time. The bass playing sounds rather different here. A lonely dog is barking towards the end, probably a mysterious sign pointing to the next album which will follow? 'EOXXV' is a considerable achievement, a good album comprised of extended and rather loose jams. Newbies shouldn't necessarily start with this one. Die-hard ELECTRIC ORANGE fans will get their money's worth though in any case, as the band once again confirms a very unique atmosphere throughout.

 Time Machine 1992-2017 by ELECTRIC ORANGE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Time Machine 1992-2017
Electric Orange Krautrock

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

4 stars It's hard to believe that German band Electric Orange have been around in some form for twenty five years now, founded by Dirk Jan Müller, a multi-instrumentalist who primarily handles keyboards (and also recently started a well-received Berlin School-influenced prog-electronic side-project Cosmic Ground). Over their early years, alongside frequent contributor Dirk Bittner, the group was mostly occupied by guests and/or a rotating door of varied musicians, dropping albums (some even on the renowned Delerium Records label) that covered everything from psychedelic rock, retro-flavoured prog and even dance/trance/electronic pieces, and frequently with a wry sense of loopy humour! A settled line-up of the band eventually found their calling in heavy Krautrock-flavoured ambient jams on their most recent discs, and to commemorate their anniversary, Dirk and the group have delivered three very different and worthy works this year, one of them being `Time Machine 1992-2017', a schizophrenic and eclectic collection of rarities and unreleased exclusives - and make no mistake, this is hardly some mere throwaway compilation!

Dating from 2012, the clanging machine vibrations and scuzzy feedback-driven guitar strums over a rattling incessant drumbeat of opening jam `Psysomasyl' would easily fit on their recent albums, the piece growing brooding and intense as it progresses. Those who've only checked into the band on their recent dustier eastern-flavoured jams will likely fall off their camel when they hear the first curveball, `Bone And Rock', a groovy psych-rocker powered by grumbling bass and a hint of twanging Sixties surfie rock to the guitars, whirring organs and shimmying up-tempo vibes, and there's just a trace of delicious dirty danger to some deranged faraway spoken rantings! The infectious `Noila' from 2000 then embraces the Krautrock influences of the band, being a bouncy and buoyant Neu!/Can-esque jangling pop guitar groover.

But unexpected surprises await, as we turn the clock back to the mid-Nineties - `Six Fives' is an effortlessly cool and mellow chill-out with clicking trip-hop beats that might have more in common with Massive Attack, and despite incorporating Berlin School sequencer patterns, `Patient's Pop' is a vocal dub popper that calls to mind the more commercial The Orb moments, and it's likely to be a bit of a controversial moment here!

Shooting forward to 2004, `Vegetables' returns to trippy shimmering psychedelia and fuses it with tasty slow-burn bluesy and jazzy guitar jamming. The stunning near-ten minute `Life Evil', one of the more recent pieces here from 2013, is a drifting improvisation of glistening electronics and slowly unwinding dreamy distortion-laced guitar that lightly calls to mind the early `Alpha Centauri/Zeit/Atem' period of Tangerine Dream. 2004's `Shunguki' has relentless and lurching bottled-up programmed beats that almost take on a tribal flavour, flecked with the lightest of reggae touches and twitching electronics.

`Back From The Funny Farm' (from all the way back in 1993) is a deeply psychedelic and disorientating collage of Mellotron slivers, feverish organ bleeds and drowsy Pink Floyd-like rippling guitar tendrils, and the fifteen minute closer `Time Signals' returns to the very start of the Electric Orange story a year before that. More or less a solo piece from Dirk of reverberating drones, wild drumming crashes and ultimately serene humming synth washes in the early Krautrock and Tangerine Dream manner, it's like dry run for the sort of music he offers in his Cosmic Ground side-project these days.

Also throughout the disc at various points are six sprinkled short fragments of `Dirge', an ambient and cavernous drone improvisation from 1995, perhaps the first sign of the moody atmospheres the band would embrace more fully in their recent years.

There's no doubt that Electric Orange have had a big boost in status since the release of their defining musical statement - to date - in 2014 with `Volume 10', and there's plenty of moments on this compilation that will especially appeal to listeners of that recent period of the group, as well as fans of Dirk's own Cosmic Ground. The disc has multiple personalities, so perhaps it's best to just think of it as an awesome mix-tape, and you'll likely have a great time with this unpredictable, colourful and superb collection from this talented bunch!

Four stars.

 Psychonaut by BRAINTICKET album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.74 | 123 ratings

BUY
Psychonaut
Brainticket Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It's always hard to get a handle on a band that reinvents itself for every album, but in truth the second LP from the Switzerland-based Brainticket was made by an entirely different group than the one that recorded "Cottonwoodhill" in 1971. Only multi-instrumentalist Joel Vandroogenbroeck remained from the original lineup; his erstwhile bandmates were likely still under medical care after surviving the borderline insanity of that earlier session.

Hearing both albums back-to-back (and they were packaged as such in at least one reissue) can be a tremendous letdown. The band's sophomore effort is a lot more inhibited than "Cottonwoodhill", but let's face it: outside of a tightly-knit straightjacket few things could possibly compare to such an extreme experience.

But just because the music was on a tighter leash is no reason to dismiss it. On its own terms "Psychonaut" is a more or less typical scrapbook of early '70s Head etiquette, complete with tablas, sitar, and Good Vibes, the latter an actual performance credit (along with "Strange Sounds"). Considered in isolation, the album is creative, unpredictable, and sometimes even exciting, from the heavy Krautrock-cum-early Tull jam in "Coc'O Mary" to the atypically haunting "Feel the Wind Blow" to the mildly lysergic flute curlicues in the opening "Radagacuca", later sampled (without acknowledgement) by fanboy Steve Wilson in his faux-LSD trip "Voyage 34".

The full effect never quite lives up to the album's awesome title or Bosch-like artwork. And the long shadow of "Cottonwoodhill" continues to linger over every note, even now. But that's okay: after such an untethered freakout the milder highs of "Psychonaut" can be a welcome relief.

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