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The following Krautrock reviews are courtesy of Aquarius Records in San Francisco, who offer many of these titles through mail-order (click on the "Aquarius" buttons to link to their site). For more mail-order outlets visit our contacts page.

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A.R. & Machines "Echoes From Times Of The Green Journey" [Polydor]
An anthology of the hypnotic output of this krautrock/electronica pioneer, taken from albums spanning the years 1971 to 1975. Beautiful, rhythmic stuff, way ahead of its time. For fans of Frippertronics, Cluster, Neu, Kraftwerk, Can, and (more recently) Kriedler.

Acid Mothers Temple "41st Century Splendid Man" [tUMULT]
The latest installment of psychedelic majesty from Japanese avant-hippy heroes Acid Mothers Temple. This is the debut entry in a series of 12" picture discs (future volumes to include Skullflower, Troum, Circle, Reynols, Loren Chasse and more) to be released over the course of the next 12 months and quite an auspicious start it is too. Recorded well over a year ago, this is AMT at their absolute prime, featuring special guest star Tatsuya Yoshida of the Ruins! Two extended tracks (35 + minutes) of transcendental psych-drone.

Side one has to be the most beautiful track they've ever recorded. Uncharacteristically tranquil and captivatingly beautiful. Droning, shimmering chimes coalesce into some sort of cosmic Ur-drone, punctuated by simple caveman thuds and epic swooshes, resulting in a grand and gorgeous ambience! Side two is a single track separated into two apparent movements. The first sees AMT back on more familiar ground, with swooping synths and freak out guitar. A stumbling kosmic krautrock, with motorik rhythms and free guitar, amidst a swampy wash of rumbling low end and squealing synths. The track erupts into bubbling atonal out-rock exploration splattered with mad scientist synthesisers as the whole thing slowly mutates into 'cosmic slop' of the nth degree, becoming gradually free-er and free-er. The second 'movement' is all slithery free jazz with bubbling cauldrons of synth sputter, wild keyboards and Can-like rhythms until the whole thing gets all dreamy, eventually blissing out completely.


Acid Mothers Temple "Electric Heavyland" [Alien8]
I know we're all thinking the same thing: Enough with the Acid Mothers Temple already! Can't Makoto Kawabata and his band of krautrock-obsessed Japanese pyschedelic hippy freaks go on a six-month nature retreat or something, and give us (and our wallets) a break? But, the fact remains, that for fans of psych-rock weirdness, very few of the many AMT releases have been disappointing, really.

So, then, what's the deal with this one? "Electric Heavyland" (one thing Kawabata & co. are NOT good at is titles) is a bit unsubtle, wearing its intentions on its all-black sleeve (or, rather, obi): this is AMT's stab at non-stop, super-heavy rockin'. Alien8 compares it to "Mellow Out", the now out-of-print first album from Mainliner, the High Rise related group that Kawabata played in prior to AMT's debut. (They even point out that "Electric Heavyland" even LOOKS a lot like "Mellow Out", something which hardly seems all that meaningful or significant...I mean, c'mon.) Regardless, it's certainly in the ballpark. Sloppy, noisy, spacey, utterly indulgent, this is the sound of a stoner heavy psych band fully amped up, plugged in, and jacking off. The blown-out, sub-Stooges motorcycle metal of Mainliner (and High Rise) is perhaps more purposeful than this, without the spacey detours, synth fx, and wordless female vocalizing of this disc. But, when you're in the midst of "Loved And Confused" or "Atomic Rotary Grinding God" or "?Quicksilver Machine Head" on this disc (see, decidedly un-subtle indeed), that hardly matters. Not the heaviest ever, but heavy enough. Would Monster Magnet dare take 'em on tour?

Acid Mothers Temple Family Compilation "Do Whatever You Want" [Earworm]
Furthering their status as a Grateful Dead for Japanophiles and krautrock nerds, this set kicks off with disc one's SIXTY MINUTE version of the AMT standard "Pink Lady Lemonade" (which appeared on their debut cd, as well as on the Live In Occident LP, and is now a staple of their live set). This new studio version, recorded in London, is yet another variant of the "Pink Lady Lemonade" template: it starts off with lots of spacey guitar and synth, sci-fi effects, and lovely bliss-out vocals from Cotton Casino. At about the half-way mark, after a jazzy interlude, the song gets a bit noisier, and dronier. But the mild feedback eventually gives way to a restatement of the song's initial theme, as everything comes full-circle to a mellow & pretty close at the end of the hour. Nice, but not a patch on their previous epic, the much heavier 40-minute "La Novia".

Disc two is where the "Family Compilation" part of the title comes in. The eighteen tracks found here are from a variety of artists, some featuring members of AMT, some simply being things AMT leader Kawabata Makoto liked enough to release on AMT's limited edition cd-r label, including two bands from the USA: San Diego's psychedelic indie-rockers Maquiladora, and Philly's female acid-folkie Fursaxa. Others include: the "mood cosmic sound unit" Pardons featuring AMTers Cotton Casino and Higahi Hiroshi, Kawabata's "shamanic acid-folk trio" Floating Flower, the acoustic, improvisational and not entirely serious Zoffy duo of Kawabata and Atsushi Tsuyama, the driving fuzz-punk of the Cosmic Riders (several original AMT members), the French solo guitar/vocal "acid chanson" of Frederic ... plus Father Moo & The Black Sheep, Seikazoku, Ueh, Alien Social Dance Party, Nipponianippon, The Wild Riders, and several more -- too many to describe. It all flows quite nicely -- there's no duds -- and all the selections, with or without members of AMT performing, definitely share the AMT acid-kraut-freak-pysch vibe. It's the best sort of compilation in two ways: 1) it's a "complete" listen, and 2) you'll probably want to hear more from all the artists on it (which may actually be a frustation 'cause it's going to be hard to find much else from some of 'em).

Disc three continues the compilation, but consists entirely of tracks featuring Kawabata Makoto projects or collaborations, including a Space Machine cut (Kawabata with Yamazaki "Masonna" Maso). Also: Kawabata solo, Uchu, Shogo-nari, Tsurubami, Kawabata with Miyamoto Naoaki, and an AMT track. With the big K on every track, this disc is somewhat more guitar-oriented than disc 2, tending towards darker, heavier, dronier, scarier stuff (disc 2 being a bit more "fun" and/or "folky", to generalize). On both discs two and three, quite a few of the tracks are unreleased or at least remixed, so even if you've managed to obsessively collect the various AMT-issued limited-edition cd-rs and so forth, you won't have all of these. And if you are such a collector, you'll be first in line to buy this anyway! And for most people, this will be your first and only chance to hear some of these projects.

AMT heads need this, others may find it a fascinating introduction into the realm of psychedelic excess populated by Kawabata Makoto, the Acid Mothers Temple, and friends.

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. "Absolutely Freak Out (Zap Your Mind!!!)" [Static Caravan / Resonant]
The out of print, year 2000 vinyl-only double LP release from everyone's favorite Japanese communal hippy band finally makes it to compact disc! Two compact discs, actually, which makes room for 44 minutes of bonus track action!! Kawabata Makoto, Cotton Casino, Ichiraku Yoshimitsu, Magic Aum Gigi, Tsuyama Atsushi, and the rest of their large cosmic clan do their acid freakout krautrock-inspired thing all over these two discs, it's so fried and psychedelic it's hard to comprehend. From heavy Hawkwind-style rock jams to gentle ambient drift, it's all here, and it's all sooo very psychedelic. The crude, crazy tape edits in the midst of the pounding "Magic Aum Rock" jam on disc two will indeed zap your mind. Acid Mothers Temple, they can't be stopped! As much as we'd like to razz this band for putting out way too many releases, it seems that with AMT too much is never enough.

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. "New Geocentric World" [Squealer]
More weirdness from our favorite Japanese avant-hippy musical commune. Starting off with some heavy, throbbing electric psych jamming ("Psycho Buddha"), and then calming down into the folky drone-chant of "Space Age Ballad", this disc promises to be as varied and trippy as any of their past efforts. And indeed it is (more so, really, than their last cd, the relaxed "Troubadours From Another World"). The spacey "Universe of Romance" is followed by the noisily freaked out astro-stomp of "Occie Lady", and so forth. Exciting, eclectic, experimental acid-rock demonstrating that the secrets of the '70s cosmic krautrockers weren't lost, as Kawabata Makoto and Co. seem to have channelled them quite well.

Agitation Free "Malesch" [Garden Of Delights]
Here's two long time Krautrock favorites -- the first and second albums by Berlin band Agitation Free. In the thick cd booklets, you get a band history essay (in English and German), collector's info on various vinyl pressings, photos, graphics, discography, and the obligatory Garden of Delights catalog (but that they've shrunk to 2 pages, to leave more room for all the Agitation Free material). Really nice. And the sound is great too of course. No bonus tracks, though, so if you've already got the Spalax versions, an upgrade to these will be mainly a visual/textual improvement.

They got their start as a hippie commune band, with ties to Guru Guru, Tangerine Dream, and Amon Duul. Their debut, "Malesch" (Arabic for "it doesn't matter, take it easy"), is a true cosmic Krautrock classic, blending the spacey psych of Pink Floyd and fellow krautrockers Ash Ra Tempel and Popul Vuh with a flair for Eastern "exoticism". Plus, in the intertwining guitars, you'll find some hints of the American West Coast psych sound (yes, even a little Grateful Dead -- but don't let that scare you off). The album was recorded in 1972 not long after the band was sent on a tour of the Middle East by the Goethe Institute, and incorporates field recordings (decades before the likes of Godspeed You Black Emperor!) from their trip: the bustle of Cairo streets, desert winds, calls to prayer, friendly airline pilots... These tapes are a key element of this record's appeal (along with their sheer talent for jamming and their synth and electronic experimentation). Oh, and some great Hammond organ sounds too. Basically, this is a fantastic album of mostly instrumental psych / drone / ethnic rock, that's generally mellow but powerful too. Whether to the Great Pyramids of Egypt (where the album cover was shot) or to inner space, "Malesch" portrays a true trip indeed.

Agitation Free "Second" [Garden Of Delights]
The ethnic influence that so defined Agitation Free's debut is not as much a factor on 1973's "Second" -- but both the West Coast style guitar jamming AND the way-out-there electronics experimentation really come to the fore. Again, mostly instrumental (one exception being the ominous, electronically treated reading of an Edgar Allen Poe poem that forms the last track, backed by gloomy Mellotron-led prog rock), psychedelic, trippy stuff, utterly gorgeous. Electronically created environmental sounds, wild and spacey synths, and relaxed, melodic guitar are all to be found here in abundance. "Second" was the second great album from this brilliant, often overlooked, Krautrock band. After "Second" they departed the scene with their excellent swansong live album, "Last" (not yet reissued by Garden of Delights, but still available on Spalax), though some other posthumous live/archival documents have subsequently been released.

Amon Duul II "Phallus Dei" [Repertoire]
Split apart from the more politicized fraction known as Amon Duul I (Psychedelic Underground, etc.), Amon Duul II emerged in 1969 when they released this fantastic debut album. It's a masterwork of drug-dazed guitar psych, long tracks, middle eastern influence, churning trance rock, etc. With the same four bonus tracks as found on the prior Gammarock label cd version: "Freak Out Requiem I - III", & "Cymbals In The End". Where the music of Amon Duul I flowed freely like the loose collective of hippies they were, Amon Duul II was a delirious explosion of psychedelia that, with small exception, always kept one foot firmly planted in structure. The extended jams, especially the title track, have the benefit of being both very accessible straight ahead, heavy, psychedelic rock while retaining the spontaneity of an improv sensibility.

Amon Duul II "Tanz Der Lemminge" [Repertoire]
Originally released back in 1971, "Tanz Der Lemminge" was the third album from the second incarnation of Amon Duul. Where the first incarnations of Amon Duul (along with Amon Duul I, there was supposedly an Amon Duul 0 from the mid-'60s) had much more of a anarchist / socio-political bent, Amon Duul II was the vehicle for the more musically minded folk from the collective, fully embracing the sonic potential of psychedelia. Oftentimes under-appreciated in comparison to the Krautrock triumvirate of Neu!, Can, and Faust, Amon Duul II had more than a fair share of moments that could rival the works of those three! That said, "Tanz Der Lemminge" may be one of the lesser works from Amon Duul II, but is still better than most of their Krautrock comtemporaries. This album is a sprawling psychedelic mess of free-form songs that filter early-Pink Floyd space-folk wispiness through some occasionally heavy prog leanings. Of particular note is the epic improv track "The Marilyn Monroe-Memorial-Church" as a meandering freakout with lots of organs, pianos, and phasing guitars that will make fans of Acid Mother's Temple very happy. "Tanz Der Lemminge" is recommended only after you've fallen in love with "Yeti" and "Phallus Dei," which totally kick ass.

Amon Duul II "Yeti" [Repertoire]
The absolute hardest albums to write about are those we hold in the highest esteem and though we have an aversion to the general notion of a "desert island selection", this Amon Duul II disc is one of those albums that we could see as an definite inclusion on a short list of "must have" rock records! "Yeti" is the second album of Amon Duul II, suceeding "Phallus Dei", and captures these krautrockers at their zenith. The album opens with the four movement opus "Soap Shop Rock", an amazing 13 + minute track that encompasses the gamut of psychedelia. It begins as an uptempo number with driving bass and drums in which vocals, guitars and amplified fiddles swirl around in a multitude of melodic variations in counterpoint before breaking down into one of the most kick ass tempo changes ever performed in rock; a heavy dirge that never fails to knock my knee caps loose, and it's got a guitar line that certainly must have been held in immense reverence by Kramer at some formative point in his career. The song doesn't settle down there, but continues in its focused meanderings for another ten minutes, retaining enough of an anchor of its beginings to give it coherence as a unified whole. The rest of the album is equally amazing, touching everything from blasted proto-punk psych ("Archangels Thunderbird" and "Eye-Shaking King") to spacey drone improv (the fifteen minutes of "Yeti Talks To Yogi" and "Sandoz In The Rain"). Hopefully this new, excellent-sounding digipak Repertoire-label reissue won't go out of print as quickly as previous versions did! It includes two bonus tracks from a 1970 single, by the way. Essential krautrock. In fact, one of the best records EVER.

Archetti, Luigi "Cubic Yellow" [Captain Trip]
There are so many offshoots of the prog/psych realm that cross into other genres, whose listeners would probably really enjoy, but don't ever get the chance due to the inherent flaws of niche marketing. Luigi Archetti's "Cubic Yellow" is one of those... Known for his collaborations with Mani Neumeier (Guru Guru) in Tiere Der Nacht, Swiss avant-guitarist Archetti now presents this exceptional downtempo electronica album with Hoovering swells that sound like Dom & Roland played at 33 1/3 rpm instead of 45 along with skittering breakbeats not unlike a stripped down Amon Tobin. Fans of Biosphere or The Orb should definitely take note of this one.

Ash Ra Tempel "Join In/Starring Rosi" [Purple Pyramid]
Two albums on one disc, this reissue features the talents of krautrock legends Manuel Gottsching, Klaus Schulze, Rosi Mueller, Dieter Dierks and others. Cosmic stuff, the title of the first (twenty-minute) track says it all: "Freak 'n' Roll".

Ash Ra Tempel "Schwingungen/Seven Up" [Purple Pyramid]
Another Ash Ra Tempel 2-on-1 reissue, more cosmic krautrock exploring light and darkness, space and time (with the help of acid guru Timothy Leary on Seven Up).

Blackwater Park "Dirt Box" [Spalax]
Reissue of the lone 1972 album from this German hard rock outfit with an English vocalist. This is the band that '70s-loving Swedish death-progressive metallers Opeth named their most recent opus after, leading us to think that it might be a weirdo prog-folk group or something -- certainly not heavy-duty boogie rock, which is what it is! But, it's pretty good. If you're looking for cosmic krautrock sounds, look elsewhere -- but if you enjoy early hardrock/proto-metal stuff like Led Zep or (another German band with a British singer) Lucifer's Friend, or dig the current champions of that sound, The Want, then check this out.

Bohren & Der Club of Gore "Gore Motel" [Epistrophy]
Their debut from 1994. Just like their other two albums, it's instrumental soundtracky stuff: dark, stark, slow-moving, and lovely. For those who crave comparisons, this is like a super-dirgey version of Scenic. Music for a dark-night campfire out on the plains of Mordor. Slow and beautiful, relying heavily on the ultra-heavy subsonics of the bass and the eerie wavering tones of the organ. Instead of the more appropriate late-night urban photography found on their two other albums, Bohren puzzles us with their packaging of this (Bruce Lee on the cover? A logo that incorporates an upsidedown cross and the number of the beast?). Are they being serious? Well, the music certainly sounds serious. Very atmospheric and evocative, indeed chilling. Get "Midnight Radio" first, then this and their newer disc "Sunset Mission".

Bohren & Der Club of Gore "Midnight Radio" [Epistrophy]
I was visiting for the 1999 total solar eclipse (well, among other things; I was also in the land of schnitzel for a metal festival...) and heard a tape of this sprawling double cd set in the context of a late night, post-eclipse, wine-drinking get-together. But when I finally got a hold of the actual album some weeks later (we couldn't even find one in the local record stores, my friend had to special order it and send a copy to me in the States), I was happy to discover that it wasn't merely my memories of the wondrous eclipse that had imbued "Midnight Radio" with such a gorgeous sense of darkness and dread, but that it really was an amazing album!

This is music for when you're *already* hypnotized, slumped near bed at home or cruising down that infinite highway at 3am, aware of only your own thoughts and the darkness all around made even more black by your headlights. (Maybe this is what some of those inexplicable people who I saw driving around during the eclipse were listening to...for two very long minutes anyway.) Heavy, heavy bass notes, glacially deployed, crushingly beautiful slow-motion guitar and dark, liquid pools of piano, with a narcotized drummer who must be passing in and out of consciousness to occasionally brush his snare and hi-hat. "Midnight Radio" enters into the tiny pantheon of somehow similarly intended doomy double cd sets beloved of AQ (Esoteric's "Pernicious Enigma" and "Epistomological Despondency", Corrupted "Llenandose de Gusanos"). Of course, Bohren is not at all metallic like those two outfits, but is knowing of the same gloombliss. Slow and low, and highly recommended!

Brain Donor "Get Off Your Pretty Face" [Impresario]
A two-song single from this project featuring Julian Cope (the former The Teardrop Explodes guy and self-proclaimed Krautrock expert) and two guys from Spiritualized, playing propulsive, heavy Stooges-style punkrock (Iggyish vox, loads of distorted psychedelic/metal guitar skree). Under ten minutes in length, but packing a lot of rock action in there.

Can "Can Box" [Mute]
Two cds of live & unreleased performances from 1972 - 1977 (culled and remastered from audience tapes with recordings of "Dizzy Dizzy", "Vernal Equinox", "Yoo Doo Right", "Spoon", and "Cascade Waltz" as well as spontaneous improvisations given the titles "Jynx", "Fizz", "Colchester Finale", and "Kata Kong"), an opulent 500 page book of interviews, reviews, histories, and photos (with full text in English, German, and French), and a two-hour video (including a rather artful documentary compiled by Rudi Dolezal & Hannes Rossacher and the concert footage of the Can-Free-Concert from 1972). Nits can be picked, but all in all this box is completely essential to any true Can fan(atic).

Can "Delay 1968" [Spoon/Mute]
Early material from Malcolm Mooney-era Can, recorded '68-'69. Features "Butterfly" and "Little Star of Bethlehem". Classic.

Can "Live (1971 - 1977)" [Mute / Spoon]
Live and unreleased performances from 1972 - 1977 (culled and remastered from audience tapes with recordings of "Dizzy Dizzy", "Vernal Equinox", "Yoo Doo Right", "Spoon", and "Cascade Waltz" as well as spontaneous improvisations given the titles "Jynx", "Fizz", "Colchester Finale", and "Kata Kong"). This double cd was the musical chapter of the Can Box.

Can "Monster Movie" [Spoon/Mute]
1969 debut from "The Can" (as it says on the cover) with Malcolm Mooney singing. Culminates in the 20 minute-plus "Yoo Doo Right".

Can "Prehistoric Future" [Tago Mago]
Vinyl-only, possibly-not-too-legit reissue of the "Prehistoric Future" cassette, documenting krautrock legends Can in their early days, June 1968 to be precise. Live ("spontaneously composed") stuff from their laboratory at Schloss Norvenich, taped edited and mastered by Holger Czukay. Mono. Sounds like a practice jam to us, very loose and stoned. But of course it's wonderful stuff for Can fans! It says something on the cover about it being "the very first session" but we don't know what that really means...

Cab "Radio Waves" [Sonic Platten]
Not-to-be-missed rarities from these krautrock masters, beginning with 1972's 35-minute live jam "Up The Bakerloo" (Damo on vocals). This disc follows "Bakerloo" with a great version of "Paperhouse" from the 1971 German Beat Club TV broadcast, another live track from 1970, and an alternate version of "Little Star of Bethlehem" from the Delay 1968 album--plus the non-album B-sides of Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi-era singles ("Turtles Have Short Legs" and "Shikaku Maru Ten", both great).

Can "Sacrilege" [Mute]
Seminal krautrockers Can are downright inspiring and short of adding four-on-floor-beats to make an insta-dance track, you be hardpressed to ruin a Can song. 15 classic tracks are remixed by the likes of Brian Eno, Sonic Youth, The Orb, A Guy Called Gerald, Pete Shelley, U.N.K.L.E., Bruce Gilbert and others. Some drum'n'bass, some weirdo techno noodling, and more than a few quite interesting interpretations.

Can "Soundtracks" [Spoon/Mute]
Tracks from various indie films scored by Can in 1970. Features the 14-minute, psych guitar-heavy "Mother Sky" and the beautiful Malcolm Mooney-sung jazz-lounge piece "She Brings The Rain."

Cha.Cy. Minicd 3-99 [Spider Records]
3-song, 20 minute ep from a freaky avant-pop band featuring Jean-Herve Peron of Faust and Chris Karrer of Amon Duul II, two krautrock legends up to strange new tricks.

Cluster "71" [Sky]
Moebius, Roedelius, and Conny Plank. "Cluster's debut was quite a phenomenal feat. No synthesizers, no advanced sound processors, their battery of musical weapons were aided and enhanced by a wealth of home-made oscillators and gadgetry to create an intense and highly original music ... Both composed with and recorded by Conny Plank, [this album and their second] are amongst the most essential of the genre." (--Audion: the New-Music Magazine, #32)

Cluster "First Encounter Tour" [Purple Pyramid]
German electronic music pioneers Moebius and Roedelius live on their first ever US tour.

Cluster "Japan" [Captain Trip]
Famed electronic krautrock duo of Moebius & Roedelius, like it says, live in Japan.

Cluster "Sowiesoso" [sky]

Czukay, Holger "La Luna" [Tone Casualties]
Holger Czukay (ex-Can) starts out "La Luna" on the right foot with Zoviet France-like dark ambient electronic loops, but to my ears missteps with the inclusion of new ageist female vocal incantations (from his wife, U-She) intended to draw from the power of the universe. Those who liked the long, ambient track at the end of his last solo album should check this out, however. And it's not deliberately wacky like some of his earlier solo work.

Czukay, Holger, vs. Dr. Walker "Clash" [Tone Casulaties]
Can's Czukay teams up with Dr. Walker (of Air Liquide) for two discs of live-recorded (on tour in the USA and in Cologne) "techno" jamming. This is a little better than we thought it would be, but it's still pretty bad. Thick rhythmic throbbing, utilizing dictaphone, shortwave radio, samplers, and an 808.

Damo Suzuki's Network "Seattle" [Damo's Net Work]
Recorded live in Seattle, WA, near the end of a brief west coast tour, this is an artfully packaged double cd of improv conjured by former Can vocalist Damo Suzuki, his former Can-mate Michael Karoli, Mandjau Fati, Thomas Hopf, and Alex Schonert. Additional sounds and textures created by Mark Spybey (Zoviet France, Dead Voices on Air, Download) and Dustin Donaldson (I Am Spoonbender). Nine lengthy tracks including a version of Can's "Mother Sky."

Deuter D [Kuckuck]
Reissue of electronic home-recording Krautrocker Deuter's first album. Subsequent releases devolved into New Age lameness, but this one, from 1971, is quite brilliant, a hallucinatory affair of studio experiments, tape effects, and guitar explorations. For fans of Sand, early Kraftwerk, or most of the Kranky contingent.


"Eurock: European Rock And The Second Culture" by Archie Patterson
[Eurock Publications] book
This, my friends, is a not a book, but a tome. Over 700 pages,
collecting together almost every important piece of writing that
appeared in Archie Patterson's Eurock 'zine during its existence from
1973 to 1990, and more. Eurock magazine was all about prog / psych /
krautrock / space rock / electronic stuff (in later years, entering
into New Age territory to be sure), not just from Europe actually but
from around the world. The earlier material is particularily cool
'cause Eurock's coverage of bands like Amon Duul and Can is like
reading a current magazine's stuff about Godspeed You Black Emperor!
or Acid Mothers puts things then and now into
perspective. There's tons of obscure lore in here to uncover --
paging through at random I found articles about Ash Ra Tempel and
Area, a piece on '70s Yugoslavian rock, a recent interview with
Magma's Christian Vander, a review of a 1980 Rock In Opposition
festival, and even an interview with our favorite '70s Italian prog
band Osanna! In addition, as a special bonus, this book includes a
seven-page appreciation of Amon Duul written in 1971 (for Creem
magazine) by famous rock crit Lester Bangs, that I for one have
always wanted to read. Basically, this book, I mean, tome, is highly
recommended to all weird kraut / psych / prog music fiends!
NB: All of this and more (excepting some new pieces and the
Bangs article), I believe, is also to be found on the still-available
Eurock cd-rom production "Golden Age" that we reviewed on AQ list
#105 -- but we have to say that the book format is far superior for
reading and browsing, though of course it lacks the multi-media
content etc. I'd pick this up a lot more often than I'd pop the
cd-rom into my Mac.

Faust "The Land of Ukko & Rauni" [Ektro]
San Francisco Faust fans disappointed by the legendary krautrock band's last SF performance (a lackluster jam-filled session) may find their faith in Faust's live abilities renewed by this album, released on our new favorite label, Ektro (run by Jussi Lehtisalo of Circle). No, they're not doing old Faust songs from "So Far" or "Faust IV", but their current improvisational efforts are very effective in a dark and droning way. As well, they do at least two songs derived from their last studio album, 1999's pretty great "Ravvivando" -- the line-up of which, minus only one guy, performs on this set. "The Land of Ukko and Rauni" (Ukko and Rauni being ancient Finnish gods, of course) documents a Faust show in Helsinki on April 20th, 2000, beginning with sub-aquatic dirge-rumble, like music for whales -- you get the sense of large, intelligent beings moving fluidly in the darkness. Soon the band is engaged in some exploratory, but quite propulsive, psych-rock, with keys, guitar (courtesy of the Davis Redford Triad's Stephen Wray Lobdell), and Zappi's drums, augmented by additional mysterious sounds (Faust's trademark proto-industrial sound effects). The textures and rhythms of this mostly-instrumental set (there's a few moments of nonsense word-blurt but nothing much) are unmistakably Faust-ian, and worthy of a double discs' investment in listening. Faust, even thirty years on, remain a potent outfit, one from which today's crop of supposedly trend-setting spacey post-rock bands could learn a thing or two.

Faust "The Wumme Years 1970-73" [Recommended]
The output of the band from 1970-73 is truly remarkable, and their work can hardly be compared to any of their contemporaries. They transcend both psych and prog, they influenced countless acts and anticipated many musical trends, from This Heat to Nurse With Wound, New Wave and No Wave, Industrial and "Post-Rock", the Boredoms old stuff to the Boredoms new stuff. Seminal musical genius that everyone should hear. And this is both a good place to start for newcomers and a necessary collection for fans.

Wumme refers to the schoolhouse-turned-studio that Faust producer Uwe Nettelbeck rented out at Polydor's expense (he also managed to get Polydor to buy the band all the recording gear they needed and pay for a 24-hour a day, live-in engineer.) It was under these ideal conditions that Faust recorded almost all of the material on this box set, which includes: Faust's self-titled debut, their second album "So Far" (both of those terribly hard to find on cd, with the Japanese edition of "So Far" having been out of print for years now), the ever-popular "The Faust Tapes" (now with a track listing and indexing) and "71 Minutes of Faust" (collecting both the "The Last LP" and "Munic and Elsewhere" LPs). And, also included in this set is an amazing disc of unreleased material, some recorded live at the BBC in 1973, plus some recently discovered & never before listened to tapes as well as the track "We Are the Hallo Men" which was originally on "Munic & Elsewhere" (though curiously credited here as having been on "The Last LP"), but previously left off of ReR's previous version of "71 Minutes of Faust". For this disc alone the set is worth the money to Faust aficionados! Then add in the 40 page booklet, illustrated with rare color photos (of them playing darts outdoors in the nude!) and Super 8 stills, that features essays/memories from Faust friends/fans Chris Cutler and Peter Blegvad, and interviews with several band members as well as with their producer (the reclusive Nettelbeck) and, for the first time ever, with sound engineer Kurt Graupner.

Faust "Two Classic Albums From Faust: Faust & So Far" [Universal]
Fairly well packaged, with reproductions of the original artwork and notes from the first album (no, not on clear plastic as the LP was) included, as well as the front and back cover images from "So Far" (but not the color prints found inside the original LP or in the previous cd reissues--if you want those, you gotta get the "Wumme Years" box). But, this disc comes with two pages of additional notes by Jason Gross of "Perfect Sound Forever" magazine.

Genrich, Ax "The Best Of..." [ATM/BMG]
The 'best of' Guru Guru's psychedelic Krautrock guitar legend Ax Genrich. Includes 2 previously unreleased *live* Guru Guru tracks, plus all of Ax's 1975 "Highdelberg" super session record, and 2 tracks from his 1994 and 1995 amazing solo records. Freak out!

Guru Guru "Moshi Moshi" [EFA]
Neumeier's legendary krautrock band returns with a new record for '98, the Japan-themed Moshi Moshi...not a whole lot like their stuff from the early seventies, but inventive and rockin' nonetheless--similar to 1995's Wah Wah.

Guru Guru "UFO" [Spalax]
Heavy 1970 debut from this Krautrock power trio. Caspar Brotzmann was probably into this band when he was a baby... Very freaky ("Der LSD Marsch") and heavy. One of Allan's all-time Krautrock must-haves.

Harmonia "Deluxe" [Polydor]
The Japanese cd reissue of the second Harmonia cd from 1975, Harmonia being the collaboration of Cluster's Mobieus and Roedelius and Neu!'s Michael Rother. The back cover picture shows the trio enjoying a sunny, lakeside picnic, and that's in keeping with the sunny sounds on the cd, truly lovely krautrock happy electronic music.

Harmonia "76 Tracks & Traces" [Ryko]
Long-lost (or neglected) tapes starring electronic krautrock luminaries Moebius and Roedelius (of Cluster) and Michael Rother (of Neu!), and Brian Eno!

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