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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
4.16 | 261 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 | 377 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 | 447 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

WELTSCHMERZ
Siddhartha
SILOAH [ALSO RELEASED AS SÄUREADLER]
Siloah
DELUSION
McChurch Soundroom
ARKTIS TAPES
Arktis

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Latest Krautrock Music Reviews


 Cottonwoodhill by BRAINTICKET album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.77 | 120 ratings

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Cottonwoodhill
Brainticket Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Forget about those lame Parental Advisory labels. The first Brainticket LP actually had the following tongue-in-cheek warning printed directly on its rear sleeve: "Only listen once a day to this record. Your brain might be destroyed! Hallelujah Records takes no responsibility."

Pure P.T. Barnum claptrap, of course. But unwary consumers should still approach the album with caution, because there's more at risk here than the tender contents of your skull. Consider the possible damage to clothing, furniture, and any remaining shred of dignity after you simultaneously void your bowels, flush your bladder, and begin bleeding from every other orifice while enjoying this lunatic musical experience. And yes, enjoyment is the correct word.

The album opens with two songs almost designed to lull you into a false sense of security: a pair of mildly psychedelic funk grooves with polite stoner poetry ("Your mind will ache to be carried off in her silver light / pain will fill your being as you devour the beauty that evades your control...") Go ahead and laugh, but the words foreshadow the unrestrained mayhem waiting just around the corner, in the two-part, three-sectioned title suite, spread like a virus over the remaining one-and-a- half sides of vinyl.

The track opens, appropriately, with a loud crash and the siren of an emergency response vehicle, closely followed by one of the grungiest Hammond organ riffs ever heard on Planet Earth. That nervous, jerky keyboard rhythm will repeat for 25-minutes, functioning like an anchor for a dizzy array of random sound effects: alarm bells, raucous laughter, breaking dishware, vigorous tooth- brushing (complete with gargling and spitting), freight trains, Gatling guns (or are they jack- hammers?), manic chimpanzees and, at the end of Part One, the heroic four-note orchestral fanfare to Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor. It isn't actually Krautrock, but where else would you put music like this, outside of a straightjacket?

And then there's Dawn Muir, the band's resident succubus: a lysergic Pandora opening the lid of her voice-box and unleashing a host of psychotropic demons upon an unsuspecting world.

Her performance (recited, not sung) is by turns seductive, menacing, funny, frightening, paranoid, ecstatic, and completely unhinged. I would love to have been a fly on the studio wall while the tapes were rolling and Ms. Muir was firing on all cylinders: whispering deep purple invitations, shouting brainwave non-sequiturs, hyperventilating on the edge of orgasm, and pleading (too late) for some return to sanity. Give her credit for holding nothing (repeat: nothing) back, least of all her unsteady grip on reality.

What it all adds up to is a unique but lopsided album, unbalanced to the point of near-collapse. The extended title track completely overwhelms the rest of the album, and likewise obliterates the band's entire subsequent discography, which can't help but sound tame by comparison. You may love the uninhibited self-indulgence, or you may hate the album for the exact same reason. But once heard it won't be soon forgotten, and there aren't many records able to make that claim.

 Full Horn by CORNUCOPIA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.11 | 36 ratings

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Full Horn
Cornucopia Krautrock

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars For sure, by training I am not a die hard fan of this kind of music. But ....very honest with you, I do enjoy the music this album presents. To me the composition is high calibre as it does not only contain change of styles that happen quite frequently but it has successfully blended various elements of music from psychedelic, rock as well as jazz. In fact I do enjoy how it flows from start to end as I don't feel any sense of getting bored with the music; in fact they have crafted wonderfully so that the listeners enjoy the movement from one segments to another. I am sure by design the music was not intended to be improvisational in nature - but as it moves there are some sort of jam session with stunning solo like guitar or in fact bass guitar.

I am not going to review on track by track basis as this kind of music has its own distinctive presence to be enjoyed the whole album as one piece of music so that we can get the overall picture how the music is shaped. However, there are some segments that are avant garde in nature if it is enjoyed at the segment itself it's not gonna be something interesting to note. But ...as one whole piece of music it's really a joyful experience enjoying this album - especially right now heavy rain outside as I am typing this review at my mom's home.

To conclude my overall view about this one album by Cornucopia, let me put it this way: composition-wise it's not something really melody-based or song orientated philosophy, rather it's like a concept album as you look everything in its entirety regardless how individual song is composed. While on the basis of style changes there are many happening here at this album even though it comes quite natural as consequence of whole-lot composition. There are basically some level of complexities and unusual compositions built around this album. The good news is that everything indicates one structural integrity if we look at the whole. So ....I conclude with an excellent addition to any prog music collection ...plus, I enjoy the vintage sound quality produced from this record. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Almost Alive... by AMON DÜÜL II album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.64 | 33 ratings

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Almost Alive...
Amon Düül II Krautrock

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars You must think me an ignorant bastard for rating this album so high. Ignorant because this is almost universally hailed as a lacklustre album where the band apparently sold their souls down the river. A bastard for simply saying otherwise. I have never been partial to the psychedelic space-jam. The first and most classic phase of Amon Düül II has never really got their hooks and teeth in me. I have eluded it's grasp, one might say. I do not comprehend it. I think the same goes for Brainticket and the likes. It does not feel right. So, now that we have gotten that out of the way, what is there to be said about Almost alive, that lacklustre disaster of an album, released in the crest of disco and proggy disillusion? I think a lot needs to be said. First I would like to point out that I, being ever the novice in the waters of Amon Düül II, really have no in depth knowledge of them. Bearing that in mind it may help to explain why I feel so positive about this album. Secondly, it is far from the intergalactid psychedelia of the early years. The music on Almost alive is a concoction of prog, disco and spacey interludes, mainly thanks to the wonderful keyboards present. Someone mentioned Eloy as a reference to this album. In parts I think that could be close to the truth but I get a sense of Hawkwind (around this time) aswell. There is a jazzyness to it aswell, as evident in the electric piano starting up "Live in Jericho". This is a track heavy on percussion but also very floating, gentle walls of keyboard that evokes images of floating in space. Stuck inside a drifting shuttle and what not. It is actually quite splendid. The disco parts are very evident in the opening track "One blue morning". No, it is not "Stayin' alive" by The Bee Gees but it holds a funky, discofied feel to it. Very much of it's time I think. Keyboards and guitar complement each other very well over the "dry" drums. "Good bye my love" opens beautifully with keyboards which reminds me of England's Garden shed but belongs in a distinctly more spacey genre. "Ain't today tomorrows yesterday" opens up with a great but simple, therefore effective, guitar riff and holds a great section of trumpets and mellotron (?) in an almost Beatles kond of way. "Hallelujah" is probably the most un-melodious of the songs, though by no means a free form jam. I hear (whether it is true or not) echoes of Exodus, the polish band. Great, nevertheless. "Feeling uneasy" is also a fine track in a spacey pop-prog kind of way. The Nik Turner-ian saxophone is great, so are the easy going bridges. And the ending "Live in Jericho" is, as previously stated, a great track. I think that some albums are misunderstood and miscredited, due to the fact that they differ too much from the more classical and generally more praised albums. This, I suppose, is one of those albums. It has, as stated, very little to do with the earlier incarnations of the band's sound. This is in fact a more melodious, "easy" album to approach. It has lots to offer. The band seems committed and determined to give their all, only in a different setting. Apart from that aspect, the music really shows the immense talent of the band. They are highly competent musicians able to transform and enter other realms and doing so in a splendid way. There is a majestic and sometimes otherwordly feel to it all. It is a product of the determination and drive to perform, evolve and change. That is truly progressive and while this album certainly isn't hard to chew and digest it holds plenty of progressive flavor to please me.

A great but misunderstood album. 4 stars for me.

 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.

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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
AMON DÜÜL Germany
AMON DÜÜL United Kingdom
AMON DÜÜL II Germany
ANIMA-SOUND Germany
ANNEXUS QUAM Germany
ANT-BEE United States
ARKTIS Germany
ASH RA TEMPEL Germany
ASHTRAY NAVIGATIONS United States
ASTERIX Germany
AVARUS Finland
AWAKE & GALLO Greece
BABA YAGA Germany
BACKNEE HORN Israel
HERBERT F BAIRY Germany
BAUMSTAM Germany
BEAK> United Kingdom
JERRY BERKERS Germany
BETWEEN Multi-National
BLACK SPIRIT Italy
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