This is that Soul Jazz compilation of (mostly West) German electronic and avant-garde rock music from the 1970s and thereabouts. It takes great pains not to refer to this stuff by the usual Krautrock moniker, saying that that was just an offensive term invented by the British music press and never really adopted by the German musicians (notwithstanding Julian Cope's claim that kraut is a German slang for marijuana). Anyway, this is deadly stuff, with lots of great tunes from the like of Cluster, Amon Düül II (no Amon Düül I, sadly, or perhaps not), Deuter, Neu!, Can, Faust, and so on.
There is also text situating this experimental music scene in the context of the wider youth revolt occurring in Germany in the late 1960s and 1970s. It maybe does not say anything that a student of that period of German history would not already know, but it is a good way of showing that the scene did not appear out of a void. It also maybe goes some way towards explaining the stories everyone had about the time the RAF were hiding out in their commune.
The music itself runs the gamut from wibbly electronic to the kind of Neu! motorik that to many defines the Krautrock sound. I was struck, though, by the amount of hippy folkie-sounding tunes on this – many of these tracks would not sound out of place on one of those Early Morning Hush style collections of English folk music.
I recommend this record highly to anyone who is not over-familiar with this scene and would like to get an overview of it. I cannot really see how any such person could be disappointed with this collection. I know some of my hipster friends have scoffed at this collection saying that everyone would already have all these tunes; I fear they are not its target audience.
One final thing – this is great music to listen to on headphones while walking around town. A lot of the songs have a strong driving beat to them, so the disc makes you feel like you are some big West German hippy stomping around confronting established bourgeois notions of behaviour.
An inuit panda production