Thursday, October 30, 2008

Krautrock Finally Recognised in Germany

Here's excerpts of piece from Reuters that appeared a few weeks ago about Krautrock, these weeks genre of choice on Rock Revival

BERLIN (Reuters) – Few scenes in rock history have won such fame abroad yet been so overlooked at home as the wave of music West Germany spawned in the late 1960s known as Krautrock. Four decades on, that is changing.

As the maverick rockers enter their 60s and 70s, interest in the bands is reviving in Germany: new documentaries are being made, and a book hailed as the first comprehensive overview in German hit stores this summer.

Devotees of British rockers Oasis are also receiving a dose: guitarist Noel Gallagher said recently his band's new single had a Krautrock sound.

"We're more accepted now," said Mani Neumeier, 67, a leading light of the era and drummer of underground stalwarts Guru Guru.

"We're doing more gigs than we have in 20 years. It's partly due to our 40th anniversary, but also because Krautrock has become more fashionable again in the last three to four years."

Nearly two decades since reunification, growing political self-confidence has helped nurture interest in Germany's postwar musical legacy, said Henning Dedekind, author of "Krautrock," the 300-page German cultural history of the scene.

"For years Germans had an awkward relationship with their cultural past, but it's changing," he said. "Plus we know all about Elvis and the Beatles already, but not the German bands."

The myriad output that at times defied categorization often struggled for acceptance, even though the student protests of 1968 and the hippy era were catalysts for major change.

"The prophet is sometimes a nobody at home," said Lutz Ulbrich, guitarist of Agitation Free, one of a handful of bands then holed up in West Berlin, right up against the Iron Curtain.

Elsewhere in Europe, the new gospel spread quickly with the backing of DJs like John Peel. Generations of punk, indie, synth-pop and techno acts have hailed the German sounds that were by turns unhinged and rigidly disciplined.

Julian Cope, who revived interest in the music with his 1995 book "Krautrocksampler," said it was unique on the continent.

"I can think of no other single musical time that sustained such a high-achieving experimental scene," he said. "It was perhaps because of their collective need to dance themselves out of the Hitlerian malaise rather than wallow in self-pity."

From Amon Düül II's thundering psychedelic garage to Cluster's hypnotic electronica and the jagged sound collages of Faust, Krautrock's impact has been cited on acts as diverse as David Bowie, Aphex Twin and Queens of the Stone Age.

Contemporaries like Hawkwind were among the first to catch the bug: the Teutonic grooves remain infectious today.

"A big influence," Steve Terebecki, bassist of Texan trio White Denim, said of Krautrock. "I'm not sure who the superfan is, but I'm always pushing Kraut on the other two."

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