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ROMANTIC WARRIORS IV: KRAUTROCK, PART I

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

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DVD/Video, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 1. Romantic Warriors: A documentary film by Adele Schmidt and Jose Zegarra Holder

129 minutes

Part 1 focuses on bands around the Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Hamburg
regions of Germany

Line-up / Musicians

Line-up / Musicians
Featuring bands from

Can
Faust
Kraftwerk
Floh de Cologne
Neu!
La Düsseldorf
Japandorf
Krautwerk
Electric Orange
Wume
Damo Suzuki Network

Releases information

DVD Zeitgeist Media UPC888295886710 (April 15, 2019)

Format: NTSC
Regions: All

Thanks to siLLy puPPy for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Romantic Warriors IV: Krautrock, Part I reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Adele Schmidt and José Zegarra Holder have gone well beyond mere fans of progressive rock and have taken things to the next level by writing and producing excellent feature-length documentary films that chronicle the rich history of progressive rock with a series of films that narrate the artistic, cultural and social aspects of the progressive rock paradigm. While the lion's share of the footage is dedicated to the earliest artists who gestated the genre into the long lasting powerhouse that it has become, this married couple also included many of the newer bands that have contributed to the prog revivals that have kept the genre, well?. progressing.

The series started with the 2010 "Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga" but soon became more focused on the individual sub-genres. The film was followed by 2012's "Romantic Warriors II: A Progressive Music Saga About Rock in Opposition," the 2013 followup "Got RIO? Romantic Warriors II: Special Features DVD," the 2015 "Romantic Warriors III: Canterbury Tales" and 2016's "Got Canterbury? Romantic Warriors III: Special Features DVD." It's quite clear that Schmidt and Zegarra Holder are in no danger of burning out soon and to the contrary seems like their passion for prog has only increased.

The next phase of the ROMANTIC WARRIORS universe comes in 2019 with the first of a planned trilogy of releases. ROMANTIC WARRIORS IV : KRAUTROCK, PART I starts the series by focusing on Krautrock that developed in the Cologne, Düsseldorf and Hamburg regions of Germany. The focus of these films is to highlight the bands that were innovative in the progressive rock scene and for the sake of not including every band that existed, the film opted to leave out bands that were more derivative of English prog and copycats of others. PART I captures many of the musicians who are still alive from Krautrock's early years and allows them to tell their stories while capturing some archival footage. Bands included on this first edition are Can, Faust, Kraftwerk, Floh de Cologne, Neu!, La Düsseldorf, Japandorf, Krautwerk, Electric Orange, Wume and the Damo Suzuki Network.

While there is never enough footage to satisfy the hardcore fans in these kinds of documentaries as i could personally watch entire documentaries for each of the bands involved, this is a very interesting journey into the greater depths of Germany's unique contribution to the progressive rock universe and no matter how much you thought you knew already about this vibrant movement that began in the 70s, ROMANTIC WARRIORS is guaranteed to reveal some of the long lost secrets that have been tucked away behind the scenes for many decades. While only one installment of this series would've been woefully too short for such an all- encompassing music scene, this one is very satisfying for the region of Germany that it covers.

Part 2 is intended to be released in early 2020 and will focus on bands from Munich, Wiesbaden, Ulm and Heidelberg. Bands that will be included: Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Embryo, Kraan, Popol Vuh and Witthüser & Westrupp. Part 3 is intended to follow in late 2020. This third installment will cover bands from Berlin and Hamburg which will include Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Günter Schickert, Agitation Free, Conrad Schnitzler, A.R. & Machines, Nektar and some contemporary bands such as Robert Rich & Markus Reuter and Coolspring. All these films have been financed by Schmidt and Zegarra Holder with crowdfunding on Indiegogo for the post-production.

I have been woefully unaware of these fine Zeitgeist Media documentaries but am glad to have finally delved into the wonderful history of progressive rock in full feature length films. While i cannot compare to previous films, this one is absolutely fabulous as it allows the bands to narrate their own biographies with ample video footage of the venues where all the magic emerged. This one documentary has surely whetted my appetite for more and not only do i eagerly anticipate the next installment of this KRAUTROCK series but now must go back and seek out the previous documentaries that preceded. All i can say is BRAVO!

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Well, just ask one hundred music experts, and you will get one hundred very different explanations when it comes to the complete phenomenon Krautrock, respectively which band will fit this odd genre music-wise. Fortunately Adele Schmidt and José Zegarra Holder avoid the mistake to delve into another new comprehensive essay. And this will also include the following two parts, I'm quite sure. However, what they necessarily have is a concept, of course. They are selective somehow, and that's good. Every other attempt trying to create something all-embracing or so would fail. For me the real fortitute, advantage, is that they let some considerable musicians and other key figures speak, simple as that. Pay attention of the zeitgeist. Let them explain their views, impressions, memories. And the interviewees are fulfilling the demands in an impressing manner throughout, enthusiastic overall, really being proud of their knowledge, experiences, and developed music most notably. Very informative.

Although this issue will support many interpretations, some facts are quite obvious. Less controversal, for example the 'Essener Songtage' in 1968 can be seen as an important point of origin. And let me emphasize the special historical dimension in Germany, coming together with a rebellious youth, for example manifested by the student revolts and protests against the US agression during Vietnam War. Open-mindedness was hip, nearly everything called into question. This benefitted a general atmosphere of departure, having effect on many sectors of the society, especially all sorts of art. One may sum it up with the approach 'unlimited experimentalism', which even infected Schlager music producer and major labels. While most of the musicians outside of Germany still were feeling comfortable with a more standard blues, psychedelic and jazz attempt, German artists started to break all barriers very early. And some of them evolved to real pioneers hereby.

This initially was concentrated on some major cities, those who regularly were equipped with diverse academies respectively universities and a vivid avantgarde scene. Part 1 (out of 3) now is focused on the Düsseldorf/Cologne and Hamburg region. The presented bands, their vita, each of them is rather diverse. Some are still active (Faust), some not (Can), Kraftwerk then completely changed the modus operandi to a totally programmed sound, reaping some critical words by Wolfgang Flür. Protagonists Eberhard Kranemann and Harald Grosskopf recently have founded a new fruitful entity (Krautwerk). 'Actually we were an agitprop theater group' - Floh De Cologne members even insist on not belonging to the Krautrock family in the strict sense (I agree). US duo Wume are in place for those artists from outside of Germany who are adopting diverse stylistical characteristics. And the Electric Orange staff is drawing references too, though nevertheless one of those neo kraut bands which are representing, okay, even are a push for a little renaissance in Germany currently.

Most of the sequences are filmed by Schmidt and Zegarra Holder themselves, often enough linked with music excerpts taken from live sessions or studio recorded songs, just referring to well-known key terms like Autobahn, Hallogallo, Vitamin C, you bet! But they are also incorporating archive material plus simple sightseeing impressions. This probably because several musicians are underscoring inspirations from the immediate evironment like nature or traffic noise, machines, construction areas aso. 'Krautrock Part 1' is a skillful effort, provided in two languages and the option to turn on subtitles in English, French and Italian. Chapeau! The Zeitgeist Media team have successfully started their mission, I would say. This documentation is a recommended add-on to your collection, a must have for Krautrock fans so much the more.

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Even among adventurous Progheads (a majority, one hopes), the subversive variations of Krautrock can be an acquired taste. The word describes an attitude more than a set of stylistic conventions, and the range of music is simply too broad to fit our usual pigeonholes, crossing the boundaries of post-rock, space-rock, jazz, ambient electronica, ethnographic raga, industrial noise, and other territories too remote or frightening to identify by name.

And there's a vital historical context to consider also, deeply rooted in the anger of a restless post-war generation of kids unable to abide the crimes of their parents, or the cultural hegemony of their Anglo-American occupiers after 1945. In short: it's a genre of music that requires an explanation rather than a simple definition, and to their credit the co-directors of the ongoing "Romantic Warriors" film cycle avoid doing either.

Don't expect a traditional documentary, with a disembodied third-person narrator reciting all the pertinent facts and dates ("the truth of accountants", as Werner Herzog would say). The film instead is structured as an oral history, related in simple talking-head interviews with the musicians who were at the front of the Krautrock barricades a half-century ago, and with younger artists carrying that torch forward into the new millennium.

Archival footage from the 1970s is included, but only in illustrative snippets: an early Floh de Cologne performance; a rare Klaus Dinger interview from his halcyon La Düsseldorf years; a television gig by the pre-robot Kraftwerk, with new hire Wolfgang Flür sporting an incongruous mustache ("I was a hippy at that time", he ruefully admits). You can probably find most of these clips on YouTube: the ramshackle necropolis for all our cultural daydreams. But they work better when seen in a narrative setting, as fascinating keyhole glimpses into Krautrock's unruly adolescence.

But it's the memories of the participants that make the film such an invaluable document. And the directors enjoyed impressive access to some major players: Irmin Schmidt; Jaki Liebezeit; Malcolm Mooney (who claims he left Can because he couldn't find Louisiana Hot Sauce in Germany!); Michael Rother; Jean-Hervé Peron and Werner 'Zappi' Diermeier of Faust...among many others.

Some of them might be unfairly regarded today as minor sidekicks: Eberhard Kranemann for example, who figured in the embryonic, overlapping biographies of both Kraftwerk and Neu! But as an articulate firsthand witness to changing times he shares some of the film's best anecdotes, and his impersonation of John Coltrane (blink and you'll miss it) is priceless.

The filmmakers remain invisible throughout, never once inserting themselves into their interviews, instead letting the musicians (the "sound-carriers", in Damo Suzuki's memorable phrase) tell their stories without interference. But they nevertheless draw some implicit, important connections between then and now: classic Can and the nomadic career of Damo Suzuki today; the spiritual link between the earlier improvisational Kraftwerk and the new Kranemann/Harald Großkopf collaboration Krautwerk; the evolution of La Düsseldorf into the sadly abbreviated Japandorf; the Faust/FaUSt dichotomy.

Electric Orange is briefly featured, and Stephan Plank (son of the legendary Conny, and the spitting image of his dad) is here too. The implications are never overtly stated, but should be obvious: Krautrock was a product and a portrait of its time, but fifty years later has yet to show its age.

The film is over two-hours long, and still only manages to barely penetrate the surface of a very deep ocean, skipping like a flat stone over still water: from Cologne to Düsseldorf to Hamburg. The ace Zeitgeist Media team of Adele Schmidt and José Zegarra Holder have released other entries in their "Romantic Warriors" film cycle, profiling the Canterbury sound and the Post-Rock scene, each on a single disc. But fear not: their examination of Krautrock needed a wider net, and this is only the first chapter of a proposed three-part saga, with future installments continuing the journey of remembrance through Munich, Wiesbaden, Berlin and beyond.

Fans of the many featured bands will eat it up, of course. But even newcomers lacking a palate for Krautrock's enduring power and deep musical legacy should appreciate the aim behind the project: to preserve, before it's too late, the personal testimony of influential artists who never received the historical recognition they deserved.

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