Category Archives: krautrock

Vaster than empires, and more slow

Featuring : kosmiche, krautrock + SciFi

There was quite an interesting debate in one of the darken spaces that thee 20jazzfunkgreats roam regarding the extent to which the trend towards tunes of 10 minutes or longer which has become growingly common in certain genres you know we dig, such as kosmische disco, is a good or a bad thing. We pray at the altar of kraut rock, whose spirit has always been one of expansion broad like the horizon with an intensity which seems way less lightning bolt flash than the progressive and monumental movement of shadows brought by the sun doing its eternal circunvolution over the fields, so you might expect our feet to hang on the side of the fence where things spread open and free.

It is in our opinion interesting that it is precisely now, when it seems that music has become instantly accessible, but also ephemeral, usually embodied in the epitome of disposability, the mp3, when many talented producers have started engaging in the creation of epic odysseys that to be savoured fully require the listener to devote his or her wholehearted attention and a good chunk of time, with the finger away from that pesky iPod clickwheel. This aren’t tunes for mixing either along the traditional lines of the expanded disco edit, although a few magi out there like Optimo are able to use them to compose psychedelic symphonies behind the wheels of steel (of a wagon travelling through the space in time of the spiritual autobahn), because their progression makes sense only when allowed to unfold fully.

And when it does, and it is well done, synth lines rise into the air like ghosts to their scattered bodies going in exercises of slow restrain delivered with gentle and steady pulse, the tension builds metronomically as vast vistas of alien beauty unfold upon our ears, the pleasure is of the journeying, not of the arriving, attention is focussed and thus a strange place is created where the sounds can exercise their spell upon us, slow, slow, good wine requires patience to mature, and has similar effects.

We love it when this happens, and the sorcerers who make it so, we are happy to give them our time so they can fuck around with our perception of reality, here you have two examples, and a little bonus, but what a bonus.


I have always thought that in the Castle of Progressive German Rock where NEU! is the king and Can the Queen, you know which one, that which is surrounded by dark woods inhabited by the fierce Wild Hunt of Amon Duul over which Kraftwerk roam in their silver flying machine, that with vast underground laboratories where Cluster and Harmonia conduct their alchemical sonic experiments, a castle full of dragons and spells and ghosts and (Tangerine) dreams and nightmnares , in that castle Faust must be the jester, the joker, not in the sense of clown, of which they have a bit anyway, but of the crazy enlightened type clad in a custome which is a patchfwork of random colours and shapes, a bit like Bob Arctor’s suit in A Scanner Darkly, facing him can be befuddling and even annoying, feel free to ignore him, but be aware that, when you do, you are missing the true spirit of this place of creation, now, pay some attention to 71 Minutes of Faust, and particularly ‘Chromatic’ aka Party 3, because if they had a Halloween ball in that castle, this is the way it would sound.

Faust- Chromatic (Party 3)

Which unfurls sedate and majestic following the green waves of surf raised by the cruising of Brian Eno’s Big Ship, and makes Jean Michel Jarre’s early attemps at crafting thee electronic symphony sound a bit feeble by comparison, this is the march that seals a human marriage with the fairie folk, the veils of melody somehow manage to create a space of weightlessness and transition to a glimmering otherworld, this is an epic success of the weird and inexplicable processes I was talking about at the onset of this article, and whenever I listen to it, its sounds tint the dullness of reality with the glamour of wonder.


I mentioned Tangerine Dream before, well, here you have our definitive changelling disco faves Studio doing a version of Williams doing the Tangerine Dream (Love in a Real Train is in the fantastic soundtrack to Risky Business), through which you gain passage into an alternative reality of ethereal flight through the pastel coloured skies of sunset, or that LSD trip where heaven downloaded itself into Sonny Crockett’s head, the guitar melodies, spaced out synth waves and steady metronomic drumming draw neon lines connecting the stars above into new constellations of blissful content, it doesn’t get any prettier so, once again, be thankful for living in a world where music like this exists.

Williams- Love in a Real Train (Version by Studio)


And we close for the day with a little dessert, shorter but oh so sweet, we mentioned Crockett above, and this gets the Miami Vice Connection started, you know how we are obsessed with Jan Hammer, well, in the 1970s he was in this little outfit called Mahavishnu Orchestra, together with John McLaughlin of ‘Me and Miles Davis fame’, well, we are posting them today and henceforth putting the jazzfunk back into 20jazzfunkgreats, which is a very healthy thing to do once in a while,

Mahavishnu Orchestra- Open Country Joy

Because although the theme of today was in principle one of length, and how in its plains beauty can run, grow and take shape free, that was only an accident of the post, as you know we are at the end of the day concerned with substance, or whatever makes our hearts skip a beat by whatever means, which in the case with this small gem by Mahavishnu Orchestra is the sheer amazingness of placid melodies, delivered warm and gentle, and also the furious coiling of that solo, a whirlwind which sucks you into a place not dissimilar from that where we found ourselves above, intensity spreads perception like butter over the space-time continuum which at the end of the day is not only a sequence, but also a cycle, we are sounding like total hippies here you say, well you know, maybe, we are.

Just joking, scared you there for a second. Off now. Take it well easy kids.

PS- The nice and I think suitable title of the post is taken from a short story written by wonderful Ursula K. Leguin

Fossil Music

We are not sure on the official release of this amazing new Nemesi 12″ via Relish. Its on iTunes, its been and gone on Juno and its expected on Picadilly. In any case check it out real quick kids cos its got the seal of approval from every warlock DJ and mixtape alchemist who isn’t afraid to slot in a 13 minute piece of epic star destroying kraut-funk – its the Prins Thomas Miks!

Nemesi – Jurassico (Prins Thomas Miks Del 1&2)

Pray silence for the coming of one of the 7 Kings…

Prins arrives in a time machine covered in blue flame, transmographying away from the jurassic period. He’s skipped across the remnants of the primordial soup and unearthed this amazing lost world Neu! instrumental seemingly remixed by the love child of Damo and Carl Craig. Hear how it undulates through the oceans of sounds like a Plesiosaur with a spinal column made of chrome, but then live drums hiss into the mix of thumps and echoing effects and its suddenly soaring over the jungle like a holographic Pterodactyl, snapped at by a rushing T-Rex thats lost in the K-hole.

We continue our seismic theme with the Principles of Geometry. With new LP “Lazare”, Principles record neanderthal cyborgs running through the forests of deepest darkest Canada, they’re circuits occasionally fizzling due to the snow blizzards tearing into they’re rusted joints. Expect more on this album right here in the very near future.

On new 12″, “A Mountain For President”, laser-sex crooner Sebastien Tellier purrs over electrokraut beats and sunrise-on-alien-planets synth effects. But its to one of the 7 Kings, French bastion of dark protoplasmic pop Joakim, that we turn to for a discopic journey to a world not our own.

Principles Of Geometry – A Mountain For President (Joakim Remix)

The remix opens with a sunrise of bubbling synth effects that quickly peaks above jagged motorik beats with warped time signatures. Into this blue and green landscape comes a heavily effected Sebastien, like the ghost of a robot, his reverberating voice spinning across the disco plains until the 8O’s techno eclipses the sun and looms like a shining shadow of negative energy dragging the planet into negative frozen space.

Check the new tres limited upfront Promo at Picadilly, be quick like the fox, bro!

I’m obsessed by Strandbeest

Featuring : krautrock

Home made electronic noise makers Neptune rise on a two-part concept song Tell my people to go Home.

Tell my people to go home (Part I) begins, full of under-mumbled urgency hinting at the great Howard Devoto, with hooks of early Devo noise.

Hella’s approach to Load Records is echoed in the drums, while most readers will smell Oneida’s wild eyed unhinged moments.

Neptune – Tell my People to go Home (part I)

For those of you who show no fear, no respect for standard song structures, or just do something out the ordinary – well here are Neptune with promising beginnings. Keep up the good werk guys!

MusicCargo’s Der Schmetterling EP was one of those we managed to play pretty much every track off when djing, a rather rare thing, swinging from glam rock to Sigue Sigue Sputnik all under a veil of krautrock was not an easy thing to do, but they managed it quite well. Guitarist Gerhard Michel has been playing live with Klaus Dinger, which added a rather large delay in their new material and we kinda thought they were one of those bands that disappear into a black hole of non-hit wonders.

Now we are glad to say they are back with a new 12″ Ernte 05 on Amontillado Music

MusicCargo – Ernte 05

It wasn’t just us that seemed to like MusicCargo as tracks by the band have snook onto both the Cosmo Galactic Prism by Prins Thomas and Ivan Smagghe & Chloe’s The Dysfunctional Family.

MusicCargo’s home town of Duesseldorf and its musical heritage is obviously a big impact on their sound, but its one we love, and Ernte 05 snuggles in equally well next to the classic sound of Duesseldorf or Brighton’s own Fujiya & Miyagi

Nothing to do with music, but can we have one of these cuties?

Charisma is between 8 and 17, phew – i’m an Elf.

Featuring : 20jfg, kosmiche + krisma

Quite how Chrisma (later Krisma, erm why??) came across their 80s German sound is anyone’s guess but it seems likely they jumped every band wagon, and tried every scene in musical history at one time or another. Most of it you would rather listen to a George W speech than, but for some very very odd and unexplainable reason 20jfg got the big love for a few of these time traveling lycanthropes tracks.

From supporting the Beatles as part of the Italian beat movement to becoming a cut down Bucks Fizz/Dollar doesn’t seem a good starting point for any act –and lets set it straight – Chrisma is an act, not a band.

Whether it was working with Vangelis and his brother Nico that gave them the over-serious edge of just copious amounts of cocaine and bad taste, we love them for it.

In the late 70s they managed to produce the blatantly ridiculous cliche full b side ‘Black Silk Stockings’ which defies all common sense to be amazing. The shockingly bad a-side and minor hit Lola still gets played on Radio 2 for your Dad to sing along, but it’s the b-side that’s worthy of inserting myringotomy tubes.

Black Silk Stockings seem to capture the spirit of Suicide, and a guitar like straight from the Helios Creed school of sounds.

Christina Moser sings with the deadpan of a barely conscious Nico and the swagger of Amanda Lear, combining in a sexy punk rock version of The Normal.

Chrisma – Black silk stockings

This is back before manufactured pop, predating even Trevor Horn’s dalliances or Trio’s VL-tone masterpiece.

At the time of moving to London from Maurizio Arcieri’s dress sense in this video they must have had an interest in what was going on their with punk, and did many dodgy things including cutting his finger off on stage, oh those Italians.

The proto New Wave of Gott Gott Electron shows them shifting genre again as soon as punk lost its selling power.

The 1979 euro-art erotic video for Aurora B, with its depiction of sex on the underground and suicide should clearly have been a hit on late night MTV only a few years later, but instead you got the 10cc/Godley and Cream directed sub-page 3 style titillation Nite version of Girls on Film.

By the time of the 1980 hit Many Kisses it was more like bad Silicon Teens with Hazel Dean, which as anyone knows who’s been forced to watch Breaking Glass is a legitimate reason for euthanasia.

Let’s not end on the bad points though.

Here is the almost motorik ambience of their perhaps most unexpected classic C-Rock, full of a left over feel when Maurizio worked with Brian Eno who probably lent him some Neu! Or Harmonia.

Chrisma – C-rock

Talking of Kosmische types, Cluster have done a remix of Alexis Georgopoulos’s new moniker, Arp.

Alexis has already won a place in our, and many an XXJFG readers hearts with wonderdrums band Tussle, still one of our favorite live shows we have ever seen. The Arp project sees him take off in a very different direction from Tussle, but don’t be scared! The direction is somewhere near 1970s experimental German music.

Fireflies on the water merges dissonant detuned analogue, rubbing against each other to produce a warm glow in the listener, and also seems to involve a kettle boiling.

Arp – Fireflies On The Water

Arp seems super busy at the moment working on mixes for Charlotte Gainsbourg, Touring with Sunbured Hand of Man and having just produced a our pick of the mix of Lindstrom’s Breakfast in Heaven which you can hear of the Feedelity Myspace.

The Arp debut album In Light is released on label of the week it would seem Smalltown Supersound and is a promising start that shows a great deal of potential. Delicate and beautiful repetition is the order of the day across the album of alien landscape soundscapes the BBC Radiophonic Workshop would have been proud of.

Have a good weekend everyone, and if your in town on Saturday Night :

At the Freebutt

20jfg june flyer by juan!

Shoreham Airshow on Sunday too! tally ho, and chocks away….